Tofu Banh Mi, With CSA Veggies!

Tofu Bahn Mi, tofu, bahn mi, mark bittman, crown heights csa

First, I’m not even going to bother saying this is a recipe post, because we literally followed this Slate recipe verbatim. Second, have you ever had banh mi? It’s basically a Vietnamese hoagie (or sub, if you prefer that term, but I don’t. I’m from Pittsburgh.) Anyway, there is this place. It’s in Little Italy. It’s called Saigon Vietnamese Sandwich Deli. It used to be called Saigon No. 1. They’ve expanded a bit and apparently changed their name since we first went there three years ago. Not that we were the first people to go there or anything because we most definitely weren’t. But clearly business has boomed since our presence was had. But back to the point: their sandwiches. Banh mi is a traditional Vietnamese sandwich on a baguette that has warm, sweet pork and rich pate, served with slices of cool cucumber, crisp pickled carrots, and a spicy chili sauce. It’s an amazing combination of sweet, savory, fatty, spicy, cool, and crunchy. Totally amazing.

BUT. This post is obviously not that. This post is about our imitation of that amazing sandwich. Matt found this recipe on Slate for a tofu banh mi. We’ve both had tofu before, but we’ve never cooked it before. But since we’re always looking for more vegetarian recipes to make, and we got all of the veggies necessary for this in our CSA baskets, I was all about making this. Also, the tofu cooking method is from Mark Bittman, and he’s basically our recipe god.

Local highlights: Carrot, cilantro, and kirby cucumber from Sang Lee Farms via the Crown Heights Farm Share

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I Made This: Garlic Scape Pesto

Garlic Scape Pesto, garlic scapes, jessica dailey

I know what you’re thinking. “Garlic scapes? Jess, you did not get garlic scapes in your first CSA.” I know, I know. If you haven’t noticed, I’m quite slow at posting (this pesto is long gone by now), and we’re already on our third CSA delivery. Just bear with me. I promise CSA veggie recipes will be on the way.

But right now, let’s talk about this pesto. Have you ever had garlic scapes? Have you ever seen them? You may have thought, “what the heck are these crazy curly things?” Well. I will tell you.

Garlic Scape Pesto, garlic scapes, jessica dailey

Local highlight: Garlic Scapes from Phillips Farms in Hunterdon County, NJ

Scapes are the fresh green shoots that grow out of hardneck garlic, and they are cut off because, if left on, they’d just take away from the formation of a nice plump garlic bulb. And that’s the last thing that anyone wants. Me, especially. Garlic scapes are garlicky, vegetal, and slightly herby, so they can be used in so many ways. The best way (at least in my book) to use them is to make a pesto, but my parents love them just sauteed or grilled.

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Bright & Refreshing Thyme Collins

thyme collins, jessica dailey

One of Matt’s hobbies, much to my delight, is to make cocktails. He loves experimenting with new bitters and liqueurs, and I love drinking whatever fancy concoction he whips up. Over Memorial Day weekend, we visited his parents in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and their garden inspired him to brighten up one of our favorite drinks with some fresh herbs. Gin is our liquor of choice in warm weather, and a lemony, fizzy Tom Collins is our preferred method of consuming said liquor. To fancify things, Matt muddle a few sprigs of fresh (like plucked-from-the-plant-five-minutes-ago-fresh) thyme in the bottom of each glass before adding the drinks, and I garnished each with a bit of thyme flowers (I didn’t even know thyme had flowers!). Thus was born the Thyme Collins.

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