I originally was planning to make the Vietnamese Pork Sandwich from the Sandwich King, Jeff Mauro, on Food Network. This was even before I started this blog. I wanted to surprise my boyfriend when he came back from Boston with a picnic. My culinary skills aren’t that great and last time, I surprised him with my fried rice, of course with cut up hot dog, but he didn’t seem to like it. A few bites here and there and I ended up eating most of it. I try to tell myself he just wasn’t hungry or that it cooled down by the time he sampled a spoonful.
I like hot food but food taken to picnics have obviously cooled down by then. Most of the food videos I’ve seen involved preparing hot meals. Also, because I’m Chinese and had a lot of Asian ingredients at home by default, I wanted a dish that would utilize them. I love Vietnamese Sandwiches, a.k.a. Banh Mi. When my college’s dining hall served it once, I took two. Technically each serving was half of the baguette roll and even though it was just school food, I thought it tasted pretty decent. This is as close as I’m going to get to NYC’s Vietnamese Sandwiches — might as well be content with what I have.
My favorite part about the Banh Mi is the pickled vegetables. There is something so flavorful about the tangy sweet pickled daikon and carrots that make it so delectable. I usually don’t like carrots raw but when it has been immersed in pickling juices, it becomes something different. I don’t find baby carrots cute. I’d rather have it pickled. Orange strips of yumminess. And white strips. My favorite side dish which is automatically served at a Korean restaurant by my college.
On the morning of July 4, after a spree of blog posts as I was setting this blog up, I decided to go try to make it. A few days before, I remembered seeing daikon in the fridge. That morning, there was none to be found. Dang it. Must have been used for a soup when I wasn’t home for dinner. There were carrots even though I remembered asking if there were any a few days ago and being told that we have none. I also would have to buy the baguette to contain this combo of deliciousness.
I then checked if we had the condiments. I found vinegar but not distilled vinegar (what is the difference?). I wondered where the cilantro was hidden or if we even had any. I found mayo in the fridge but then began to get worried. Who actually ate mayo in this household during the time of my absence? There were two jars and one, thankfully, was not expired.
When I returned from college, there were just a couple of things that I found that didn’t belong in the fridge. I found guacamole that should have been tossed out weeks, or even months ago. I winced wondering if it was from when I was back during winter break since I liked guacamole. Just a thought, but it sucks that it costs extra to add guacamole at restaurants! Chipotle, I’m looking at you.
I wanted to bang my head onto the granite countertop in the kitchen for my carelessness in not prepping ahead of time. So many ingredients… Maybe I should start with recipes with a shorter list of items. Much more manageable and reasonable, considering I already had my parents at home cooking me meals. Glad that my friend suggested some cheap & easy food blogs. Maybe I’ll start there and work myself up. Or would I be taking the easy way out? What do you think?
I’ll just insert a picture of an Egg (Scallion) Pancake I made on June 20 and do a short recipe for it. I basically winged it. Hopefully I can reclaim my dignity after the above botched attempt. The scallion part of title is in parenthesis because it’s not necessary. You’ll see it as Step 2.5.
1. Crack two eggs. Mix it. I prefer chopsticks since I use them to eat everything. Even chicken wings. I think I mentioned this before.
2. Add flour. Not sure how much. Just add as much while mixing till it becomes the consistency you think pancake batter is. Cooking is about experimenting.
2.5. I added water. Not sure why. I just did. Is it necessary? That’s why I made it Step 2.5.
3. Chop some scallions. Add as many or as little as you want. It’s your pancake!
4. Turn on the stove and heat the pan. I would recommend using a pan that is about the size of the pancakes you want to make.
5. Pour in the batter. The more you pour, the thicker the pancake will be. (Not sure how to describe this portion) Rotate your wrist while holding the pan’s handle so that the batter spreads around the bottom of the ban. This way, your pancake takes the shape of the pan and forms a nice circle, or almost circle. Do this immediately before it starts to stick. You want the batter to still be liquid so it’s easy to maneuver.
6. Wait. When the edges of the pancake starts to turn slightly golden-brown (that is the color most cooking people say, “golden-brown”) try to flip it with a spatula. I’m not skilled enough to even attempt the flipping with just the pan. Maybe another day. If you can do that, go ahead and then teach me. Guest blogger? Cassey Ho said you have to believe in yourself when you do this flip in her Banana Berry Crepes video. I need to believe in myself!
7. Wait until that cooks. When it is again golden-brown, transfer it to a plate. Repeat until you finish your batter.
You can add whatever you want. When my mom made this, I would spread hummus over the pancake. Then I added spinach or whatever salad greens we had with turkey slices. I would roll it and eat it like a burrito! I tried to use the salad greens in the fridge. When I opened it… It didn’t look right. How long was this in the fridge… Just like that guacamole.
I instead just added good ol’ ketchup, like when I was younger, rolled it up, and ate it. Stereotypical American (“Murican”) adding ketchup to everything. Side note but when I was younger and visited China, all my relatives thought all I ate was bread, cheese, and milk. Of course I would also love burgers (which I do but don’t tell them that).
Now you know where my level of cooking is at. Hopefully my next post on my open face breakfast sandwich will redeem myself.
(Catchy end-phrase? Nah. I guess this counts as a Chinese recipe?… Maybe not. Whatever.)