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.
All my life, I have loved pizza. Now, everyone says they love pizza, but when I say I love pizza, I mean that I love pizza. It is truly, honest to goodness, my favorite food. And I don’t discriminate when it comes to pizza. I’ll gobble down a greasy late night slice just as soon as I’d make reservations at the newest gourmet pizza restaurant. So when I finally got my own pizza stone for Christmas, I was over the moon. Finally! I can make delicious, non-pita bread pizza (my specialty) whenever I want!
But then came the problem of the dough. Everyone says frozen dough is the quickest, easiest way to whip up a pie, but guess what? My city grocery store (read: not a suburb supermarket wonderland that has 17 types of every product) does not carry frozen pizza dough. Plus, why buy the frozen stuff when homemade dough only calls for about four ingredients?
For the first couple tries, I made a rather sticky dough based off the recipe in the instruction booklet that came with the pizza stone. It tasted ok, but it didn’t crisp up very well, yet still wound up being kind of hard and chewy. The week before I embarked on my clam pizza, I found Mark Bittman’s simple pizza dough recipe that used the food processor. I don’t have a stand mixer (you may have heard something about apartments in NYC being small…), and I love my food processor almost as much as I love pizza, so I knew I needed to make this dough. And the simple toppings of a New Haven-style clam pizza were actually perfect for being able to really taste the dough. It was thin, crispy, and the crusts were beautifully golden on the outside while still light and soft on the inside.
I think it’s safe to say that winter, if you can even call it that, is over for New York City. I’ve been saving this soup recipe to post on a chilly day, but today’s dreary weather will have to do. Every year, we get a boatload of carrots in our farm share, so I’m always looking for new recipes to do something more interesting than simply roasting them or throwing them in a stir-fry. So when Matt came across this cumin carrot soup recipe from Mark Bittman (one of our go-to chefs for simple, delicious recipes), we knew it was a must — plus, I really wanted to make a soup so we could use our new immersion blender.
Local highlight: carrots (duh!) from Phillips Farms in Hunterdon County, NJ
This recipe is really as easy as they come. There are only six ingredients, and all you have to do is roast the cuminy carrots until soft, sweet, and browned, then simmer them with onions and more spices in rich vegetable stock, and blend. Voila! Delicious, velvety soup. Top with cilantro, toasted nuts, or a dollop of creme fraiche. This recipe makes quite a bit of soup (six large bowls, maybe?). We ate it for dinner, and enjoyed the leftovers for several days. The soup keeps very well.