Often times I come home from shopping at my local grocery store with two of one item. Sure, most of those times are large quantities of frozen waffles for the kids, but I am a real sucker when it comes down to thing like buy…
Month: February 2010
I have had a real craving for sushi lately, in particular I have been looking for the balanced heat from the wasabi paste. I love wasabi, and I have only had the real root paste while living in Dallas when a friend of a friend was the owner of a killer Japanese sushi house. I still love the powder that you can buy, adding a bit of water, and making it into a simple paste. I love how the heat opens your sinuses, and has just the right heat to rattle your cage. With that said, I knew I had some of the powder, and really wanted to do something with it, without any nori, or rice.
We recently hosted our usual family gathering over the weekend, which is typically spur of the moment, and prompting the family with ‘Want to come over for dinner?’. This is usually an easy sell as no one has to cook (but me), and we gather around the table for a few hours telling stories and getting some really good laughs in. So when I prompted the question, and everyone agreed to come over, I had no plan. Maybe that is what I was looking for, a five challenge.
As my wife has been on the verge of begging me for meatloaf, I thought, how about an Italian meatloaf, but it needed a salad. I immediately thought of a classic. The seven layer salad, but with a twist; a wasabi mayonnaise dressing. This allowed me to satisfy most everyone. My wife could get her meatloaf on, my mother-in-law loved a recent lasagna I made with fresh basil and homemade sauce, (I would use those flavors in the meatloaf), and I could slide in my wasabi paste!
- 1 head of iceberg lettuce, cleaned, dried, rough chop
- 1/2 head of Boston bibb lettuce, cleaned, dried, rough chop
- 5 leaves of romaine lettuce, cleaned, dried, rough chop
- 4 ribs of celery, cleaned, thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, cored and seeded, diced
- bunch of scallions, white and green part, thinly sliced
- 2 hard boiled eggs, thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 cup of frozen peas
- 1/2 English cucumber, thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 cup of good mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp honey
- 3 tbsp of wasabi powder, with a few tablespoons of water mixed to make a paste (let sit for about 10 minutes)
- 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
- 8 slices of smoked bacon, cooked, and crumbled
OK. Let’s face it, when you hear cheese, and bacon, that is typically a winner, but when you add mayonnaise, people start to question the health factor. Looking at the recipe however, there is some really great ingredients in there, and plenty of vegetables, which make for a nice balance. This classic salad, with the wasabi mayonnaise is a serious contender with any picnic salad, or dinner salad, plus who can go wrong with the presentation!
First, if you do not have a nice glass bowl, go get one. They are only about six dollars, if that. The beauty behind the salad is not only the flavors, but also the presentation. Trust me, your guests are taken back to their childhood days, and are reminded of what goes into this great salad.
Start with half of the lettuce mixture on the bottom. Then add half of the celery, then the green onion, the red bell pepper, the peas, cucumbers, the eggs, then repeat. Finish with the peas. Mix your wasabi paste into the mayonnaise and add the honey. Mix well. Mix your cooked and crumbled bacon with the cheese. Carefully spread the mayonnaise mixture onto the top of the peas. Top with the bacon and cheese mixture.
Sorry, but now you have to wait. You have to cover this up with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. This will allow all of those layers to set in and create something wonderful. When you are ready to serve, get a big spoon out, and get to the bottom, and scoop upward.
It’s funny, as I sat back and watched the table, everyone was really going after this wonderful salad, more than once! The classic salad, with just a subtle kick of the wasabi, really pulled this classic out of the closet and into the modern day home. Enjoy.
This month I was fortunate to give a presentation during Health and Wellness Week at Marquette University Law School. The focus of the day long event was to inform students, faculty, and staff on the benefits of living a healthy life. The day included screenings…
I have a lot of favorite sandwiches, however Bánh Mi has got to be up near the top of the list. If you have never had a Bánh Mi sandwich, you must seek one out. I will admit that while living in Dallas, Texas for a handful of years, I was blessed with great Vietnamese restaurants that served pho, as well as awesome bánh mi. I will also admit that Milwaukee, Wisconsin has nothing in terms of a bánh mi shop. Rumor has it that some Asian markets get them shipped to their shops on Friday, but I have yet to see one, and with that said, some times you just can’t wait for something this wonderful to arrive at your feet. You have to make it yourself.
Don’t get caught up with the name, or how to pronounce it, just remember the letters that make up this sandwich. If you see a sign for it, go get yourself one. You will be introduced with a sub sandwich, that is served on a great baguette, and loaded with the best flavors and textures out there. What I love about the bánh mi, is that it is very flexible in what you can load into it. My favorite has always been the traditional grilled meat, paté, and pickled vegetables, along with some great spicy peppers. All I can do when explaining this sandwich is that it is the perfect combination of flavors in every bite. Creaminess from the mayonnaise, freshness from cilantro, a bit of sweet and sour from the pickled vegetables, some coolness from the cucumbers, and a bit of salty heat from the grilled pork and peppers. Give this sandwich a shot next time you are in the mood for something wonderful.
Ingredients for Grilled Pork Bánh Mi Sandwich:
- Great French Baguette, should be soft, with a slight crust, split lengthwise, however not all the way through
- Grilled Asian Pork (here or here), thinly sliced
- English Cucumber, thinly sliced
- Pork Paté, sliced
- Thinly sliced Serrano or Jalapeno Peppers, or whole Thai bird chilies
- Fresh cilantro sprigs
- Pickled Carrots and Daikon
Begin by making your pickling mixture. You can do this ahead of time.
- 3 carrots, thinly sliced, about 3 inches long
- 1 large daikon, thinly sliced, about 3 inches long
- 1 1/2 cup of white vinegar
- 4 tbsp white sugar
- 2 tsp of salt
- 3 cloves of garlic, smashed
- 1/2 serrano chili
- 1 bay leaf
- pinch of dill
Begin by adding the vinegar, sugar, salt, and garlic to a sauce pan, and cook on medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves. Add the bay leaf, serrano pepper, and a pinch of the dill. Remove the pan from the heat and let this come to room temperature. Fill a mason jar, or Tupperware container full of the sliced daikon and carrots. Add the pickling liquid, and place in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours, however the longer the better. Trust me, you can eat these alone, they are that great.
To make your sandwich, have everything ready. Spread the mayonnaise on the top part of the baguette. Layer the paté on the bottom of the baguette. Now you can begin to layer. Add the thinly sliced cucumbers, grilled pork, peppers, and stack in the pickled veggies and cilantro sprigs. Open wide, and begin to experience a whole new world of flavors.
Keep in mind that you can diversify this sandwich by adding beef, going all veggie and adding a nicely marinated tofu, or with grilled chicken. Whatever you decide, use the fillings noted above for something really delicious, but however you stack it, my bet is that it will begin to make it to the top of your sandwich list as well. Enjoy.