Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bad Pseudo Fusion Cuisine

For Christmas, Jamie got me a book called 'Buy This, Make That' or possibly something slightly more specific like 'Make Bread, Buy Butter'.  I do think it's the latter, because my immediate thought was that butter is so easy to make and turns out great, yet bread is a pain in the ass and never ends up the way I've intended.  I believe this is because I've not yet reached the point where I have a bucket of yeasty, fermenting goodness living in the basement that I feed regularly and show people when I want to frighten them.  I believe that one day, I will have such a creation and my bread will be better because of it, but until that day, I can make butter with great success.  Anyway, I immediately decided that I would set out to prove this book wrong.  But then I read it, and I sort of liked it, and felt there was a lot of good stuff that it said I should make that certainly sound like a good ideas.  Like Camembert cheese.  And bagels.  Though, that's sort of bread like, but the book sold me on it anyway.  Before I came around though, the book spoke of Banh Mi's.  This was in the buy category.  A $4.00 Vietna-Franco sandwich with lots of ingredients.  Why make is when it's so cheap to begin with and easy to come by.  Why indeed?

So, we went on a road trip up to Green Bay.  I told the kids we'd go up to see Lambeau Field.  Now Lambeau Field is a great football stadium.  The only problem is the team they let play there.  Though I didn't want to nurse the kids growing Packer affections, it was the excuse I needed to get them to Green Bay.  My real motivation was to go to Pho #1.  There, in addition to delicious looking noodles and soups, they had Banh Mi's on the menu.  So we had lunch.  The sandwich was delicious and well worth the trip.  But I wasn't convinced.

I'd been reading the Momofuku cookbook and looking forward to making ramen for the next dinner party.  Only, I needed to go vegetarian for the next dinner and didn't want to do veggie ramen.  So, ramen would have to wait.  But I wanted to do some pickling.  I had a blackened tofu concept that looked fantastic.  Then there was The Perfectly Cooked Egg that I'd been wanting to take a shot at.  And, oh yeah, a braised pork belly, so maybe not strictly vegetarian.

So, ramen out.  Bi bim bap out. Banh Mi?  Damn straight.

Wednesday:   Julienne the carrot and daikon.  Mix sugar, salt, hot water and rice wine vinegar.  Cover veggies and place in fridge.

Friday:  Rub that pork belly with sugar and salt.

Saturday:  Day of reckoning.  Start braise early.  High temp, short time.  Low temp, long time.  Take out, wrap and place in the fridge.  Make mayo.  (I am just realizing now that mayo comes down on the make side in the book,  As it should.  But kind of goes against my original intent.)  Buy French bread (back on track!).  Press tofu.  Press tofu more.  And more.  Marinate briefly and coat in spices.  Slice chilled pork belly and heat.  Sear tofu and slice.  Chop cilantro.  Slice Cucumbers.  Make some Momofuku Ginger Scallion Mother Sauce.  Slice bread and heat until warm and crispy.

Assemble Sandwiches:  Bread, slather on mayo, add pickled daikon and carrots, alternate slices of pork belly and blackened tofu, place cucumber, spread ginger scallion sauce, sprinkle cilantro, and squirt on some sriracha.  Now that's a good sandwich.

So, buying a $4 sandwich is easy, and pretty good.  However, making your own is not all that difficult and even more delicious.  Feel free to mix it up.  Ginger scallion sauce is not a traditional accompaniment, but it is tasty.  So, I say buy this and make this, whenever you have the opportunity.  It's a win-win.  And if you are wondering about the egg....well more on that later.     

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