Tag Archives: recipes

Mango Sago

Whenever I look at the calendar on my wall, I always find myself shocked that it’s already August. Summer is nearly over, and for most of my friends (and my younger brother), school is starting in a matter of days. Not weeks or months—days.

The feeling of a waning summer hasn’t really set in for me yet, mostly because Stanford University, where I’ll be an incoming freshman this school year, follows the quarter system, so my move-in date isn’t until mid-September! (The flip side, of course, is that I’ll be taking midterms in May while everyone else is beginning their summer breaks.)

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It really has felt like an eternal summer for me. But even though the days have been getting shorter (technically) and everyone has been buzzing about going back to school, the mangoes are still sweet—summer must still be going in full force. Continue reading

Mom’s Spaghetti

Ever since I was young, I’ve always thought that my mom makes the best spaghetti ever. And I do mean that very seriously—nothing compares to the orange heaven that is my mom’s spaghetti. A few years ago, a family friend from Italy invited us over for dinner. While she made some of the most delicious pastas I’ve ever had, my mom’s spaghetti still reigns supreme.

In the Philippines, spaghetti is seen more as a snack than a full-fledged meal, and it’s usually very sweet when compared to the spaghetti we eat here in the United States. That’s why if you go to Jollibee or a McDonald’s in the Philippines, you’ll notice the spaghetti will taste totally different! (And, yes! They have spaghetti!) My mom says that every Filipino person has a different way of making their spaghetti. Hers has more garlic, is less sweet, and uses bacon instead of hot dogs. But for what it lacks in sugar, it makes up for in flavor.

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In the summer before ninth grade, I took a cooking class as part of Senior DECATS, a selective summer program only available to academically talented students who attended a Catholic middle school. It was my first real exposure to cooking—and also where I learned I enjoy tasting food more than making it! For our biggest group cooking challenge, we had to prepare the best spaghetti we could.

Well, actually, we were told we needed to find one of the teaching assistants who had been hidden in the park across the street, with the first group getting to pick their ingredients first—much like a MasterChef competition. But that’s a story my thirteen-, almost fourteen-year-old self told on my personal blog, Kuya’s Notebook, after it happened, complete with blurry iPhone pictures and full recollections of middle school students trying to get out of cleaning for the day. Continue reading

White Toblerone Macadamia Cookies

Wow, it sure is crazy to think that 2013 is taking its last few breaths. Pretty soon, the full force of 2014 will be upon us! It’s weird to think how quickly this year went by. But as the seasons change and our calendars change dates, some things always stay the same.

The last day of the year will always be December 31, and it’s been that way for a very long time. If I’m not mistaken, December 31 was created back when Julius Caesar reformed the calendar in 45 BC, where December was given 31 days instead of the 29 it had under the old Roman calendar.

Mixing the Toblerone with the cookie dough

On this last day of the year, people everywhere will begin making resolutions to themselves. Some of that will include eating healthier, losing weight, exercising more, getting more sleep, procrastinating less, etc. Personally, I don’t have my list of New Year’s resolutions ready yet, but I will! I’ll probably post them on my personal blog (kuyasnotebook.com) later today or tomorrow when I finally have the list finalized.

Before midnight rings, it’s also important to clean the house and get everything ready for the new year. Today has been filled with cleaning, tidying things up, and just getting the house ready to soak in all the luck that 2014 has to offer.

Preparing the cookies

Filipinos have always been superstitious about New Year’s, probably a product of our Chinese ancestors. A few important things you should do before the calendar rolls over to January 1 include:

  • Cleaning your house
  • Fill your wallet with money (no empty wallets unless you want an empty wallet all year!)
  • Scatter coins around the house and outside your door
  • Eat round grapes at the stroke of midnight
  • Have long noodles for long life

I’m also going to be jumping twelve times at midnight to increase my height this year. 🙂

Cookies in the oven

Also, on New Year’s Day, it’s very important that you don’t clean anything and don’t spend any money at all! You wouldn’t want to wipe away the good luck that came in on New Year’s Eve, and your spending habits on January 1 will last for the rest of the year! As in, if you spend money of New Year’s Day, you’ll spend away too much of your money this coming year!

Bok Choy and Broccoli has a very international audience, many of you hailing from the United States, Canada, and the Philippines. Please in the comments leave how you celebrate the New Year and what your superstitions are (if you have any)! Until next time, have a great 2014 ahead of you!

Toblerone Cookies

White Toblerone Macadamia Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ¾ cup salted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups (approx. 2 bars) white Toblerone, coarsely chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300° F.
  2. In a medium bowl, comine flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix well with a wire whisk. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, blend sugars at medium speed. Add butter and mix to form a grainy paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the flour mixture and macadamia, and blend at low speed until just combined. Do not over-mix!
  5. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto un-greased cookie sheets 2 inches apart. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until edges are just beginning to turn golden brown. Transfer cookies immediately to cool, flat surface.

Vegetarian Flatbread with Sun-Dried Tomato & Kalamata Olive Spread

Hello from New York City!

I just arrived in the Big Apple yesterday evening. Within just the first few hours of getting into New York, I met with some of my relatives and had dinner and dessert overlooking Times Square. The bright, flashy lights of Times Square were completely breathtaking. I’ll have a post filled with photos on Kuya’s Notebook either later today or early tomorrow.

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So what else is on the agenda this week? Tomorrow, I’m heading off to Columbia University and going to Hangawi, a vegetarian Korean restaurant, to celebrate Meatless Monday (do click the link, you never know what surprise you’ll find, wink wink)! Later this week, it’ll be pizza time—and I’ll get to eat delicious New York pizza! Yummy! All I have to do now is fold my pizza like a New Yorker, and I’ll be all set.

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The quest for the perfect pizza began in Italy, about four years ago. We were on a vacation to Sorrento, and I, as a picky eater, wanted to find the perfect pizza. The pizza I’d had from here in the United States included the usual variety: cheese, pepperoni, that weird one filled with vegetables that I wouldn’t even touch, the meat-lovers, Hawaiian, etc.

Personally, I found cheese and pepperoni to be my personal favorites (read: only ones I’d eat). The vegetable one was just plain strange and disgusting (I still feel that way about some of the veggie-lovers pizzas), and the meat-lovers pizza was just plain gross. Hawaiian pizza was my mom’s favorite—and eventually mine too before I stopped eating Canadian bacon—but that one was best left to mom.

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In Italy, my first instinct was to ask for a pepperoni pizza. Guess what kind of pizza doesn’t exist in Sorrento? (That’s right, pepperoni.) I realized the closest thing to what I was used to was margherita pizza. And that was my first experience of margherita pizza. There was another pizza I tried that even had french fries on top! How awesome is that? (Okay, maybe it’s not that cool, but I think most eleven-year-olds would have the same reaction as I did.)

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I may not have gone to Naples, a place famous for its pizza, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the pizza there in Sorrento. The best pizza I’ve had is definitely from Italy—there’s just something about it that just feels so… authentic! Although, New York may attempt to compete for that coveted “best pizza” spot… who knows?

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When we decided to share this recipe, my mom jumped at the opportunity to use some of the basil we’ve grown in our backyard. She was so excited, I just had to snap a picture of her running out of the kitchen, to our backyard, and picking it.

My mom would always make this vegan flatbread with Italian-inspired ingredients. I would always be so excited when I’d hear her say she was going to make it for dinner. When I first got my braces on, I wanted to cry because it meant I couldn’t eat it easily. (To the ire of my orthodontist, I did it anyway.) But now that my braces are off, I don’t need to worry about it anymore!

So forget what I said earlier. I think I already found the best pizza in the world.

It’s the one my mom makes.

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Vegetarian Flatbread with Sun-Dried Tomato & Kalamata Olive Spread

Good for 3 people.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  • 1 eggplant, cut in rounds
  • 1 can artichoke slices
  • 1 small tomato
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 flatbread (can be substituted with pita or naan bread)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
  2. In a food processor, combine the sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, and olive oil. Process until puréed.
  3. Wash and cut the eggplant and cut it in 1/4 inch round slices
  4. Place the eggplants in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Let it stand for about 15 minutes to rid of excess water and for a less bitter taste.
  5. Drain the artichokes from the can and set aside. Slice the tomato thinly.
  6. Brush the bread with olive oil and spread the kalamata mixture.
  7. Layer the bread with eggplants, artichokes, and tomato. Brush with olive oil if desired.
  8. Place the pizza in the oven and cook for about 12 minutes or until the vegetables are roasted and the bread is crispy.

Sun-Dried Tomato & Kalamata Olive Dip

We’re in the final stretch of July, the last ten days before we flip the page in our calendars and face August. So while we have this last week and a half, let’s enjoy it and collectively have our tastes of summer. What do you think of as “summer food”? Personally, I’d have to say olives and sun-dried tomatoes.

This Sun-Dried Tomato & Kalamata Olive Dip is a perfect way to have a quick and easy start to a summer meal, especially with crunchy breads or pita chips!

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I’ll be completely honest. This is actually a precursor to tomorrow’s recipe, which will be a full meal with an Italian-influence—perfect timing for my upcoming trip to New York City!

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Sun-Dried Tomato & Kalamata Olive Spread

  • 1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (plus a little extra for drizzling)

Combine the sun-dried tomatoes, olives, and the extra virgin olive oil in a food processor. Process until finely puréed. Place the mixture on a plate and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Stir well until mixture is no longer paste-like. Combine well with the oil. Serve with pita, crackers, or bread. (We highly recommend parmesan-crusted crisps!)

Waldorf Grape Salad

It’s been a few years since I last stepped foot in the Waldorf Astoria New York. It was my first trip to the Big Apple, a city I had always dreamed of seeing, even in my young, fresh-out-of-fourth-grade body. To make it even better, I was staying in the Waldorf Astoria New York, a luxury hotel in Park Avenue. It was as if I was a part of the rich and famous.

It was the luckiest trip I’ve ever been on—we were upgraded to a suite and given free breakfast for our entire stay since the hotel gave away the room we booked (we were late because of a bizarre plane delay). One night of fitting a family of four into a two-person room was heavily rewarded! And when the second part of our vacation—a flight to Florida—was abruptly cancelled because of an impending hurricane, we were able to stay in the suite AND get more free breakfasts.

As cool as seeing rooms of where Brad and Angelina slept (as well as foreign dignitaries) and sitting in John F. Kennedy’s rocking chair, my absolute favorite place in the whole city was definitely the Nintendo World Store in Rockefeller Plaza. I had my Nintendo DS with me—as always—and I was so excited to meet Mario! I’d love to say it was dumb luck that allowed my brother and me meet the red-hatted mascot of Nintendo, but the truth was, I had planned to go on a very specific day and hour to maximize my time with him.

Five years later, I haven’t been back to the Waldorf Astoria New York ever since. It truly was a once-in-a-lifetime experience—we don’t have as many Hilton points after my dad began traveling less for work, and we definitely can’t afford another suite at a luxury hotel.

But to celebrate its memory, here’s a Waldorf grape salad made with walnuts and blue cheese.

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If you didn’t know, a Waldorf salad is made of fresh apples, celery, and walnuts, plus mayonnaise and lettuce. It got its name because it was first created in the late 19th century at the Waldorf Hotel—this was before it became the Waldorf-Astoria, which is now the Waldorf Astoria New York.

But, we decided to experiment a little and make it with grapes instead. Because why not? Pretty soon, the “Big Apple” will be known as the “Big Grape,” just because of this recipe! (Okay, maybe not.)

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Actually, I’d like to include a little travel announcement in this post…

I’m going to New York City next week!

My mom and I are both heading out to NYC next week for four days, and I can’t wait to hit some fun restaurants and places! My most recent visit was last summer (around this time) for only about a day and a half, and we squeezed out every last minute. Definitely look forward to some new restaurant reviews next week, as well as more about my trip to the city on my personal blog, Kuya’s Notebook.

One of the things I really wanted to do with this blog was include restaurant reviews from my travels. While I don’t travel as much as I would like—which would really be traveling at least every season (I enjoy traveling, if you can’t tell)—I definitely want to share the trips I do go on when I go on them!

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Be sure to stick around! We leave for Manhattan on Sunday, but don’t worry! We won’t leave you hungry—not even for a second! And you can keep updated with our travels on my personal Twitter @kuya_joshua or on Kuya’s Notebook! (Plus, our Facebook page will stay updated during our travels!)

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Waldorf Grape Salad

  • 2 pounds (about 7 cups) organic grapes (red or green… or both! Your choice!)
  • 2 tablespoons organic canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
  • ¾ cup blue cheese (add more if desired)

Wash the grapes and pat dry. In a large bowl, combine the grapes, canola oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, kosher salt, walnuts, and blue cheese. Chill until ready to serve.

Quinoa Cereal (with Pecans)

Happy Monday! (I honestly never thought I’d say those words… ever!) They always say you should start your day off with breakfast since it’s the most important meal of the day and all that other stuff. But, what do you do if you (gasp!) don’t like breakfast? You look for a better, more exciting breakfast food! Take this quinoa cereal, for example—it uses one of my favorite grains!

Back when I was originally trying to go weekday vegetarian in the winter, I began frantically searching for vegetarian/vegan recipes that could sustain me from Monday through Friday (and possibly even on the weekends). I ended up finding an incredibly interesting concept—quinoa cereal! It was originally a vegetarian recipe being reposted on a vegan challenge (advising to just substitute cow’s milk for soy milk).

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At the time, I really wanted to try quinoa. (Turns out, of course, that I’ve had it many times before, but I never knew.) I ran to my mom, demanding that we try this recipe… especially since my mom and I both hate breakfast (wonder what I got that from…?). The only difference was that we used raspberries way back in December instead of blueberries now.

That ended up being my first food picture using the camera I still use today. I still look back at it and feel proud, despite some of its flaws. My photography has definitely improved since then (no more reliance on auto “food” mode!) and I know how to better set up food pictures.

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This quinoa cereal is completely vegan, but if you’re not a fan of rice milk (or the alternate organic soy milk), you can use organic 1% milk. Personally, I’m still scarred from some of the vegan documentaries I watched (like Vegucated, which is amazing by the way) to NOT use a milk alternative, especially when there’s no real difference in taste. (That, and milk sometimes makes my stomach hurt…) Personally, I think rice milk has the best taste with this recipe, but soy milk is good in here too.

Also, you can switch out agave nectar for local honey. We didn’t have any agave nectar, so my mom’s local honey was all we had. (Local honey, especially in your tea, is a great alternative to sugar, plus it helps with seasonal allergies.) Of course, if you would prefer not to use honey, agave nectar is always a good alternative.

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Quinoa Cereal with Pecans

Adapted from 101 Cookbook’s Warm and Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa Recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rice milk (or organic soy milk)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup organic quinoa (rinse first!)
  • 1 cup organic blueberries
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • pomegranate seeds (optional)
  • drizzle of agave nectar or local honey

Directions:

  1. Combine milk, water, and rinsed quinoa in a saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil over low heat.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes (or until most of the liquid is absorbed).
  4. Turn off the heat, cover, then let stand for 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the blueberries and cinnamon.
  6. Transfer to individual bowls and sprinkle pecans and possibly pomegranate seeds. End with a drizzle of agave nectar/honey on each bowl to taste.

Asian Coleslaw & Cilantro-Lime Brown Rice Sides

This Thursday, we here in America are going to be celebrating the Fourth of July, American Independence Day. A day filled with patriotism—and barbecue!—awaits! No Fourth of July celebration is complete without sides though, and as a country that values diversity and inclusion, here are some unique side dishes inspired by our friends to the east and the south!

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The Asian coleslaw is something my mom has made for a while now, a side to everything from Korean food to American food. I’ve always loved its vinegary taste; it leaves your mouth feeling pungent and tangy after every bite.

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The cilantro-lime brown rice is actually inspired by one of my favorite fast-food restaurants, Chipotle. The great thing about Chipotle is their commitment to hormone-free meats. Lately, a big “scandal” erupted when Chipotle labeled GMOs on their website, showing that much of their food is in fact genetically modified. Personally, I commend them for labeling GMOs, something food companies have fought against for years. (They have said that they’re working towards a completely GMO-free ingredient list, and I’m sure it’ll happen sooner or later!)

Both recipes aren’t complicated in the slightest, so you’ll be able to whip them up without stressing yourself out too much! Remember, they’re only sides, not entrees—you have more to focus on later!

The United States is a melting pot of many cultures and all walks of life. This is a country where diversity is accepted and cherished. So what’s stopping you from adding a little diversity to your Independence Day meal to remind everyone of the principles this country stands on?

Asian Coleslaw

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Ingredients

  • 1 bag prepared coleslaw mix (preferably tri-colored salad mix)*
  • julienned mangoes (optional)
  • julienned cucumber (optional)
  • slices of canned mandarin oranges (optional)
  • fried wonton strips (optional)
  • chopped nuts, preferably peanuts (optional)

Note: If you don’t have a bag of prepared coleslaw mix, you can use: ½ head of green cabbage (or Napa), shredded; 1 cup of matchstick/shredded carrots; and ¼ head of purple cabbage, finely shredded

For the dressing

  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ½ tablespoon sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

May be doubled if needed.

Directions

  1. Mix the rice vinegar, sesame oil, kosher salt, sugar, and sesame seeds in a bowl to use as the dressing.
  2. If using the prepared coleslaw, mix the dressing with the coleslaw. If not using the prepared coleslaw, place the green cabbage and purple cabbage in a food processor one at a time until they are finely shredded. In a bowl, add the matchstick carrots. Mix well with the dressing.
  3. Add the mango, cucumber, mandarin oranges, fried wonton strips, and nuts if desired.
  4. Refrigerate until ready to eat.

Cilantro-Lime Brown Rice

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Ingredients

  • juice of two small limes (or 1 large lime) — add more according to taste
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • ¾ teaspoon sugar
  • 6 cups cooked jasmine brown rice

Directions

  1. Mix the lime juice, cilantro, olive oil, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Stir well.
  2. Toss the rice with the seasoning mixture. Mix well.

Lemongrass Tofu Banh Mi

At Me So Hungry in Austin, I tried the lemongrass tofu banh mi—my personal favorite from the truck. With the help of my mom, I have a new recipe today… our take on the banh mi we tried! You can read the full review here.

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I first tried banh mi last summer in San Francisco, where the Asian American Donor Program introduced it to me as a Vietnamese sandwich. Excited to be surrounded by all the delicious Asian food of the Bay Area, I was incredibly depressed to hear I was being fed a sandwich. I mean, I was only gonna be there for a little less than two days!

Turns out, those “Vietnamese sandwiches” were some of the best banh mi I’ve ever had. And so began my love affair with banh mi, one of the few Vietnamese dishes I can point out and say, “I know that! And I like to eat it!” (Disclaimer: As much as I’d like to consider myself a “food connoisseur” of some sort and try to pretend I’m one, especially on here, I can’t honestly say I am.)

After some trouble with jalapeños at Me So Hungry—and in San Francisco, for that matter!—we decided NOT to include any of that vile, hell-bringing pepper. Instead, we have lemongrass. Beautiful, beautiful lemongrass.

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Lemongrass is an incredibly amazing, fragrant grass used in Asian cuisine. Its fresh, clean, lemony aroma smells heavenly. Personally, I’d love to have some lemongrass in the kitchen just to smell. All the time.

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The best part of this banh mi is that it’s pretty much all vegetables. By choosing to eat vegetarian—whether every day, on weekdays, on Mondays, or just a meal here or there—you’d think eating mostly vegetables would be a requirement. Well… not really. You can still fill yourself with processed, fake “meat” that makes you feel much, much worse than having wild-caught salmon or organic chicken. Trust me, I know. I went the super-processed route a little after I started eating mostly vegetarian, and it wasn’t pleasant.

If you really want to feel good while eating vegetarian, you need to be eating a meal where you can see the veggies. Thankfully, this banh mi is nearly all vegetables.

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This is also probably a good time to mention that this recipe calls for mayonnaise, the only vegan offender. But don’t worry, you can fix that by swapping out low-fat mayo for a good vegan alternative. Personally, I refuse to eat non-vegan mayonnaise… mostly because I hate the taste and the thought of what it’s made of. Definitely use vegan mayo. It’s better that way. (You can thank me later.)

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It’s also important to buy ORGANIC tofu, since soy is nearly always GMO (genetically modified organism)! Geez, I feel like this post unloaded all the stops, from organic food to processed food to even vegan mayo. In order to not bog down this recipe with all sorts of preachy stuff, I’ll move on.DSC_0207

This banh mi is great for all meals, but lunch would probably be best… just like any submarine sandwich, except this one is Vietnamese! Actually, banh mi is an infusion of both local Vietnamese and the colonizing French cultures, making it a nice East Meets West meal. Naturally I feel personally connected to the banh mi.

I know you probably only came here for the pictures and the recipe so I’ll let you go. If you decide to give it a try, be sure to comment below and tell me how it went! I’d love to know!

Also, you can stay connected with us through RSS, Facebook, and Twitter by using the links at the bottom and side of the page. On top of that, you can sign up for our email newsletters (I promise you won’t get spammed)!

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Lemongrass Tofu Banh Mi

For the pickled daikon and carrots

Note: Needs to be made 3 to 7 days ahead of time.

  • 2 cups daikon, sliced in thin strips
  • 2 cups matchstick carrots
  • 1 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container. May be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month.

For the tofu marinade

Note: Be sure to marinate the tofu overnight.

  • 1 package extra-firm organic tofu, sliced in rectangular sizes
  • 4 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 bulb lemongrass (use top third), finely minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons sugar

Drain the tofu from its package, and wrap it in dry towels to rid of excess water. Let it sit for about 15 minutes, then slice in rectangular sizes. Marinate the tofu overnight (or up to two days) with the soy sauce, lemongrass, garlic, and sugar in a ziplock bag.

Ingredients

For the cilantro mayonnaise

  • ¼ cup vegan mayonnaise (or low fat mayo)
  • ½ juice of a half lemon (small)
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon sriracha (optional)

Other ingredients

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons oil
  • 4 loaves Mexican bolillos bread or French baguettes
  • slices of cucumber (preferably hothouse), sliced diagonally
  • sprigs of cilantro

Directions

  1. Make the pickled daikon and carrots 3 to 7 days ahead of time. (Directions above.)
  2. Marinate the tofu overnight. (Directions above.)
  3. Combine the cilantro mayonnaise ingredients in a bowl. Keep refrigerated until needed.
  4. Heat a griddle (preferably one with ridges) with 1 to 2 tablespoons oil. When hot, fry the tofu slices on both sides until brown.
  5. Remove the tofu from the pan and place on a plate. Lightly dab the tofu with a paper towel if oily.
  6. Toast the bread, then cut in half.
  7. Generously spread both sides of the bread with cilantro mayonnaise.
  8. Layer the bread in the following order: a few slices of cucumber, 1 to 2 tofu slices, a handful of pickled daikon and carrots, and a few sprigs of cilantro.

Baked Cauliflower with Tahini-Yogurt Sauce

One of the most common reasons I hear from people who say they could “never become vegetarian” is that they wouldn’t know what to make if they couldn’t cook with meat. When my mom and I began thinking of possible vegetarian (and even some vegan!) meals, we realized there is a plethora of great and easy meals, side dishes, and desserts.

To show you what I mean, here’s a very quick and easy baked cauliflower recipe my mom always makes whenever we have Mediterranean food, always served with a yogurt sauce.

The great thing about this recipe is how easy it is—all you need is cauliflower, salt, pepper, olive oil, garlic, yogurt, and tahini. If you’re unfamiliar with tahini—also called “tahina,” from the Greek “takhini” (which is based on Arabic “tahana,” to crush)—is a Middle Eastern paste made from ground sesame seeds.

Out of all the ingredients, tahini is the only one that’s a little more out-there. You should be able to find it at any Middle Eastern grocery store, but I heard Indian grocery stores have it too, as well as Whole Foods and some regular supermarkets (look in the “ethnic foods” aisle). Continue reading