Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Bahn Mi’s have taken over my life.


It is the food that consistently takes over my mind, BAHN MI. There is a very dangerous addictive quality to these mysterious little Vietnamese sandwiches. I'm constantly peer pressuring my friends to have the same addiction as me, so I can have Bahn Mi buddies. The result is somewhat selfish. I mean you can't blame me!? I don't want to be the Bahn Mi loner girl in all the local Vietnamese joints.. While in New York I tried my fair share of Bahn Mi’s. The most popular Bahn Mi shop was not nearly as tasty as the one I stumbled upon one day while wondering aimlessly around Chinatown... (Which happens everytime I'm in Chinatown... Aimless wonder..) I don’t even have an idea about what the name of this little tiny shop was called, but they also had some BOSS bubble tea.

Components to a BOMB DOT COM Bahn Mi:

Fresh French Bread
Homemade Mayo (SO GROOVY GOOD)
Pickled Daikon and Carrots with Jalapeno
Whatever Vietnamese Meat you shall please: shredded pork, pate, tofu, Vietnamese meatball, shredded chicken.. (We did an nontraditional ELK meatball with Vietnamese flavors)

After my brother and Kristi's fairytale wedding in Idaho, we all traveled to their new home town of Livingston Montana. I was staying there with them for a few days before my flight out of Bozeman to FINALLY head back to Houston to get back DANCING. (*INSERT HAPPY DANCE HERE.) I couldn’t ask for a more lovely sister and companion for my brother. I feel so lucky to have the two of them in my life. They are good people, with great souls. They inspire me everyday. So after an exhausting weekend, Greg and I decided to spend our day in the kitchen. It was the perfect day to be adventurous and make all the grand Bahn Mi components from scratch. Early in the day I headed into the small little town of 6,000 and found the local gym. It was built in an old firehouse. Luckily there was a studio at the top of the firehouse that I was able to use for my self barre class. Afterwards I walked over to the adorable "Gilly Goods" for a delicious cappicino. (Believe it or not they have a pretty decent roaster and espresso machine to make some tasty coffee...) The end of the day resulted in a dinner invitation to their landlords house for the most epic dinner I’ve had in a long while. Local rack of lamb done perfectly on the grill, mouthwatering mashed taters, garden fresh kale salad with garden tomatoes, pickled beets, and grilled eggplant (and a little red wine....)! Once we received the invite we decided to make our Bahn Mi ingredients anyway and we would just enjoy them for lunch the following day. Also with the invite, I felt the need to test out my pastry skills with a fresh peach pie...

Barn Wedding

My macarons and cookies on the dessert table (Chocolate Hazelnut Espresso Macarons with Lemon Buttercream and Espresso chocolate ganache and PB&J Macarons with Huckleberry Jam..)



First Dance


SISTER (in law)

Now back to the Bahn Mi. Starting with the very important baguette...
The whole baguette thing is super interesting to me, especially in Vietnamese cuisine. Like why the hell would they have a sandwich with mayo built on a french baguette. Well, the french baguette was introduced to Vietnam by the French during the colonial period and it made love with their local ingredients to make the best drool fest sandwich. I guess that solves the mayo question too.
I read up on the process of making a proper baguette on this site:

This was SOO helpful and informative. Check it out and make your own baguettes for life!

My first baguettes EVER.

Next up were the meatballs. We ended up doing our own thing with a mix and match of different flavor ideas we found on the Internet. Greg had some local elk meat that we used. In the traditional Vietnamese meatball pork is used. We through in a combination of soy sauce, sriracha, chopped basil, green onion, garlic, an egg for binding and a little sprinkle of corn starch. I never thought to use corn starch in a meatball, we have always used bread crumbs, but the corn starch makes a lot of sense. The flavor and texture of the meat isn’t altered with cornstarch but works as a binder in conjunction with the egg.

1 pound ground elk (use pork if you can't find elk ;) )
1 large egg
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup minced green onion
½ cup minced jicama
chopped fresh basil
½ tablespoon cornstarch
½ tablespoon Wondra flour
½ tablespoon fish sauce
½ tablespoon soy sauce
½ tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon whole black pepper
sriracha sauce (to taste)

1.Combine all the meatball ingredients in a large bowl and mix well with your hands. Use your hands to form meat balls, putting each in a glass or metal bowl, put it in a steamer and steam over boiling water until cooked, about 40 minutes. 
2. Heat 1 tbls sesame oil in a skillet. Brown meatballs in pan before assembling sandwiches.
3. To make a sandwich, slice the meatballs in half and put inside the French bread. Spoon the tomato sauce atop the meatballs. Finish with some pickled daikon and carrot and a few sprigs of cilantro. 

As for the pickled vegetables, it couldn’t be more simple. Slice or shred some carrots and daikon and then do a quick pickle in rice vinegar and sugar. We threw in a jalapeno from the garden as well for heat. They turned out lovely!

OHHHH and last but definitely not least.. THE MAYO. Now I am the ultimate mayo hater. Have been since a child. That jiggly, nasty, cellulite looking blob of white death?!
Homemade Mayo? Nothing like white death. Quite the opposite! Delicious, tangy, SANDWICH MOIST MAKER. It’s the bomb dot com and will have you hooked for life. It isn’t the lowest calorie treat, but it’s far better than that crap you buy at the food store. YUCK. You can whip up this homemade version in like 5 mins. It’s SOOOO worth it. Dip it in everything, (like the Germans)!

5 min Mayo!
Yard eggs gave the mayo this gorgeous yellow tint.


Bahn Mi fixings

As for the peach pie, I might as well throw that one in this post as well...!
I took my sweet ass time and made the most flaky, delicious pastry dough I’ve ever made. (And got the greatest compliment of all from my non-sweet loving brother that is was the best pie he has ever had!!!) It really did turn out magically delicious and it had a lot to do with the flaky crust and fresh Washington peaches. For the pastry, I like to amp up my recipes with different flavor profiles so it’s not just a boring old pie or treat. With this one I decided to throw a little lemon zest, cinnamon and nutmeg. And to pair the filling, I added a bunch of lemon juice and cinnamon and nutmeg to it as well. The key to a flaky pastry dough is patience and proper temperature of the butter and water. If you allow the butter to get too warm all your ingredients kind of just mush together and won’t give you that flaky crust. Also ice water is very important for the same reason. I cut mine up in a bowl, switching between knives and forks until it crumbled and then added the ice water in small increments until the dough was right. We did an old traditional double crust (with the full crust on top and bottom). It was so perfect with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream at the end of our delicious garden and farm fresh meal in the quite quaint town of Livingston Montana.

Peaches for pie

peach pie fixings

Peach pie
Pastry Dough


  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, chilled and diced
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  • 1/2 tsp Lemon Zest
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg


  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon zest and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in water, a tablespoon at a time, until mixture forms a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
  2. Roll dough out to fit a 9 inch pie plate. Place crust in pie plate. Press the dough evenly into the bottom and sides of the pie plate.
Peach Pie
adapted from food.com

* 5 cups fresh peaches, sliced
* 1 cup sugar
* 1/3-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and nutmeg
* lemon zest
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 2 tablespoons sugar


1.Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2.Stir together flour, 1 cup sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon and nutmeg and set aside.
3.Wash, peel, and slice fresh peaches.
4.Mix together peaches with the combined dry ingredients.
5.Turn into pastry-lined pie pan and dot with butter.
6.Cover with top crust, cut slits in it, seal the edges.
7.Sprinkle top with 2 tablespoons of sugar.
8.Cover the edges with foil to prevent over browning; remove foil for the last 15 minutes of baking.
9.Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until crust is brown and juice begins to bubble through the slits in the crust.
10.Pie may be frozen for future use.

Hitched MO-bile

Headed to Livingston after my brother and Kristi's wedding


Sunflowers in the SUNshine

 Heading to the dog park.
Morning piano playing

Garden tomatoes

 Lamb Rack, Mashed Potatoes, Kale Salad and Grilled Eggplant