meatball banh mi sandwich

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This is one of the best sandwiches I ever ate. It’s fresh and filling, a complete meal between two pieces of bread.

Meatball Banh Mi Sandwich (adapted from Bon Appetit)

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 5-10 minutes
Servings: Makes 4 sandwiches

Hot Chili Mayo:
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon hot Sriracha sauce (more or less)

Stir all ingredients in small bowl. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Meatballs:
1 pound lean ground pork or ground chicken or lean ground turkey
1/2-1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil or chopped celery
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fish sauce (Tiparos is recommended)
1 tablespoon hot sriracha sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Line rimmed baking sheet with foil. Spray with cooking spray. Gently mix all ingredients in large bowl. Using a moistened 1 1/2 inch scoop, pick up a packed and level scoop of meat. Arrange meatballs on prepared baking sheet. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Bake meatballs at 350˚F for 5-10 minutes or until lightly browned and no longer pink. One pound of meat will make about 10-12 3 inch meatballs.

Vegetable Pickle:
2 cups carrot sticks
1 cup cucumber slices
1 cup sweet bell pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

Toss carrots, celery, sweet pepper, vinegar, sugar, and salt in medium bowl. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour, tossing occasionally.

Sandwiches
4 10-inch-long individual baguettes or four 10-inch-long pieces French-bread baguette (cut from 2 baguettes)
Thinly sliced jalapeño chiles (optional)
16 large fresh cilantro sprigs
4 stalks scallion, trimmed

Cut each baguette or baguette piece horizontally in half. Pull out enough bread from each bread half to leave 1/2-inch-thick shell. Spread hot chili mayo over each bread shell.

Arrange jalapeños, if using, then cilantro and scallion in bottom halves. Fill each with 3-4 meatballs. Drain pickled vegetables; place atop meatballs. Press on baguette tops.

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Ina Garten’s gluten-free flourless chocolate cassis cake

 

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I’ve wanted to try Ina’s recipe for sometime now, but finding creme de cassis in Bangkok was a challenge. Then I found cassis syrup. Cassis, pronounced ka-CEESE, is made from blackcurrants. While creme de cassis is a liqueur, and thus alcoholic, the syrup is not, thus making it an acceptable substitute.  This recipe is flourless but I’ve also made it gluten-free by using cocoa instead of flour to dust the pan. The cake has a dense fudgy interior, lightly sweet with a delicate taste of blackcurrants.

Chocolate Cassis Cake (adapted from Ina Garten)
Prep time: 40 minutes
Baking time: 35-40 minutes

For the Cake:
170g plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter for greasing pan, room temperature
284g unsweetened or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup cocoa powder plus extra for dusting pan
6 tablespoons cassis syrup (can substitute creme de cassis)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 extra-large eggs, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the Glaze:
170g unsweetened or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
2-3 tablespoons cassis syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

For the cake, Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F/175 degrees C. Grease a 9-inch round springform pan with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper then butter it. Dust with cocoa powder. Tap out the excess powder.

Melt the 170g butter and chopped chocolate together in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes. Whisk in the 1/2 cup cocoa powder, cassis, and 1 teaspoon vanilla and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (you can also use a hand mixer), beat the eggs, sugar, and salt on high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until pale yellow, thickened,  and triple in volume. Pour the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and carefully but thoroughly fold them together with a silicone spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until just barely set in the center. Allow to cool in the pan for 30 minutes and then release the sides of the pan. Invert the cake carefully onto a flat serving plate, remove the parchment paper, and cool completely.

Cake Baker’s Note: At 35 minutes, the entire cake seemed to be not set yet. So I gave it 5 more minutes. The cake was level with the top of the pan when it came out of the oven. After 15 minutes, the volume fell 50% as it cooled. In my experience, this is normal for flourless cakes.

For the glaze, melt the chocolate and cream together in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until smooth. Turn off the heat, then whisk in the cassis and vanilla. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and spread just over the top of the cake. Let the topping set as it cools.

Serving Suggestion

  • Whip 1 cup whipping cream with 2 tablespoons sugar and serve a dollop with a wedge of cake.
  • Add sliced fresh berries on top of the cake. Glaze berries with melted apricot jam.
  • Serve with a strawberry coulis. About 1 cup crushed strawberries with juice, 1/4 cup water, and cornstarch to thicken, will make a divine strawberry coulis. Spoon it on the side and scoop it up with some cake.

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almond cream with mandarin oranges

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This is one of the oldest recipes in my recipe collection. I bought Alison’s book when I was in graduate school, and I made this dessert for its cool refreshing quality after a spicy meal. This dessert and another one called Almond Lake, a rice pudding, were early favorites when company came over.

Almond Cream with Mandarin Oranges (Alison Burt)

Prep time: 20 minutes
Chill time: 2 1/2-3 1/2 hours

1 x 16 oz can mandarin oranges or chopped fresh fruit, such as kiwi, mango, dragon fruit, and tangerines, chilled
2 1/2 cups water
4 tablespoons gelatin powder (4 gelatin leaves = 1 tablespoon)
2 cups milk
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract

I made this with gelatin leaves. I put 16 leaves in a large bowl of cool water for 4 minutes or until softened.

In a medium sauce pan add the water, milk, and sugar, then heat over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Drain the gelatin and add drained gelatin to the milk mixture. Stir until the gelatin is dissolved. Remove the pot from the heat source. Add the almond extract and stir. Let the mixture cool to room temperature about 30 minutes.

Pour into an ungreased glass dish about 9 inches square. Chill until set about 2 hours. Cut into small squares and pour into a large bowl. Add the mandarin oranges, syrup and all. Chill and serve in individual bowls.

almond-brown sugar potica cake

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Pronounced paw-TEET-zha, this cake is light and moist with a crunchy brown-sugar-and-almond filling. I made this cake once before in New York so it’s only fitting that I try it again in Bangkok. I had a near disaster because my oven was too slow, so the center of the cake was still raw when I made a test slice. So I put it in the microwave for 4 1/2 minutes on high, and that finished the cooking.

Almond-Brown Sugar Potica Cake (adapted from Gourmet magazine)
Prep time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 35-40 minutes
Cooling time: 2 hours

Ingredients:
Cake
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter plus more for greasing, room temperature
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups low fat yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Filling
1 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325˚F/165˚C. Grease a 10 inch tube cake pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside. Mix together the yogurt and vanilla; set aside. Make the filling and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3-6 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until just combined.

Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beating until just combined. Add 1/2 of the yogurt mixture and combine. Add half the remaining flour and the remaining yogurt mixture, beating after each addition. Add the rest of the flour and beat until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Pour 1/3 of the batter into the prepare pan, spreading it out evenly. Sprinkle 1/3 of the filling on top. Drop spoonfuls of half the remaining batter on top of the filling. Sprinkle half of the remaining filling on top of the batter. Scrape the rest of the batter on top of the filling. Sprinkle the remainder of the filling on top of the batter. Bake 35-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted near the center of the cake comes out clean, with just a few crumbs attached. If the batter is still raw, continue baking in 5 minute increments.

Cool on a wire cooling rack placed over a baking tray. Cool 2 hours in the pan, then unmold. To remove the side, use a thin blade by placing the blade against the side of the pan and pressing it towards the center. Use your fingers to push up the centerpiece from the bottom, and separate it from the side. To release the centerpiece, Turn it upside down over the rack with the tray underneath. The tray will catch all the sugar and nuts that fall off the top of the cake. Re-invert the cake. Slice and serve.

 

 

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