the sharing of bread.
togetherness, in a group, with people i like, even.
while i was over here saying bye bye to marzo italiano,
the ides were all but rewarding me for abandoning that ship!!
i had some folks over for dinner,
and it was good.
the food was tremendously satisfying,
having people over to eat it with me was pretty effin' good, too.
my very worthy, very earnest, and excellent beau is in town for a bit,
so you KNOW i needed to have him over for family dinner.
and he brought his friend meaghan,
who i believe uses all the letters you can to spell her name,
and she brought me a PLANT!
a wandering jew.
shoutouts to botanical insensitivity in nomenclature.
a plant, kids.
i love that.
and, of course,
my man carlos was also in attendance,
since he has a standing appointment with the food
of the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress on wednesdays, anyway....
what do we eat,
when we all get together?
a superlative sarnie is the sort of smashmaster superiority
that only ever serves to accentuate and elevate friendships.
they're so expert,
and they've got all the important elements, too.
salty, sweet, smooth, crunchy, bitter, spicy, etc. etc. so on and so forth,
yeah yeah yeah..........YEAH!
and what sandwiches sits above the rest?
which 'guini gets the girl in the end?
which sammitch spikes it in the endzone?
man, the answer is OBvious.
it's gotta be the BANH MI!
we did the thing, and we did it so hard!
check the bang-bang-bang-me-type teleport:
BANH MI BANH MAXIMUM!!!!!!
how soft are those buns?!?!
the softest, and the squishiest, but still,
they've got all the flavor poppin' off,
and that's before being buttered and toasted!
i still swear by the double-yeast technique.
here's my banh recipe, bro-
BANH BREAD! (bread bread)
3 cups of flour;
2 tsp salt;
4 tsp olive oil;
2 1/2 tsp regular-actin' commercial yeast;
1 tsp sugar.
1 cup warm water + 1/4 cup non-dairy milk,
with 1 tsp sugar, and 2 tsp bread machine yeast,
allowed to bloom for 5-10 minutes....
...i'll say it one more time-
if you're a real one, you'll get yourself a stand mixer.
knead that dough for a good long while,
like, 8-9 minutes of brutal pounding *ahem*
and let it bulk for thirty.
punch it down, cold proof it for another hour or two,
until it's good and big,
divide it into quartrers,
shape those into long loaves,
and olive oil the tops for that extra golden sexxy magic coloration in the oven.
which will now begin preheating to 410F,
while your shaped loaves continue to rise on the counter....
score them with a super sharp lame of serrated blade,
so that they are less likely to burst as steam escapes their soft and succulent crumb,
while they're being activated for 15-18 minutes.....
^the bread needs all that oil, or it sucks.
i learned that from making focaccia.
it's worth it, too,
because crusty bread, or dense bread, or dry bread
would all absolutely diminish this meal by an appreciable margin.
the homemade bread scene was taken care of.
buttered, toasted, and turned up another notch,
with vegenaise spread on one side,
and sriracha squeezed out on the other,
they were all set aside to wait while the fillings were fleshed out.
.....and the FILLINGS, folks.
that's what the F* was gucci last night, for realsies.
soy-and smoke-seared butter-and-oil fried seitan steaks
with sriracha flakes, and black pepper?
crisped up on the outside, still soft and moist within,
with that tamari amino sorcery stirred with a few droplets of liquid smokiness,
and the dusts of onion, garlic, and hot peppers to catalyze the flavor!
filleted out and laid out, over slab-style dill-pickled cukes,
and shaved red onion rings.
that'd be enough, if we were poor and lame and lazy.....
but we're NOT, and it wasn't and we continued apace.
instead of pate',
which is horrible and horrifying,
and absolutely a d!ck move to pull on a goose or anyone else,
we used avocado slices!
smooth, fatty, dreamy creaminess, without being an A*-hole?
ummm, hold on.......TOFU!!
fried tofu is the truth.
anyone who says otherwise is a liar.
and when it's coated in crushed coconut, and cracked black pepper,
and a little of that pink salt, too?!?!
if you can't hang out, it's because you're no good,
the skins get so crunchy,
but the squish of the exxxtra-firm 'fu within stays so nice!
damn, i love tofu.
WOULD YOU JUST TAKE ANOTHER LOOK AT THIS BUSINESS?!!
BANH BANH BANH!!!!
quick pickled radishes and carrots have all the sharp tangy terrificness,
and lose none of their important crunch,
when they marinate in a salty, sweet, vinegar bath all day.
they do get a little aromatic, tho, and in the most semi-flatulent way.
it's no big deal, that leaves when you drain 'em,
but it's possibly disconcerting to the novice when you unlid those bad boys.
.....is that it?
no way. what are you?
some kind of a diapery doo-doo baby?
rules is rules,
and they clearly state that too much is the right amount!
that's a thing.
there are also pea tendrils on that jaun,
AND fresh, but holy-hot-surprisingly-spicy jalapeno slices.
just to put that coolwater refreshment on top,
cilantro sprig sprankles!
that's stacks on stacks on stacks on stacks on stacks!!!
because expert recognize expert, son;
and we all tuned up our sandwiches like it was the first meal we'd had
after an age of drought and famine.
i'm just sayin',
it got realllllly quiet for those first few bites.
and there were even microgreens!
a little sploosh of those heavily-nutrient-dense barely-growns
......and that SLAW!!!!!
y'gotta have a proper side of sexxiness, man.
red cabbage, green cabbage, carrots, parsley, scallions, cilantro,
lime zest, lime juice, pink salt, black pepper, and a splat of vegenaise.
i liked it.
i think they liked it.
i definitely liked having them over.
...and we even had two desserts!
that's how you take it to eleven.
MORE time spanned with people worth being near.
i am grateful for the people who actively participate.
they matter twice as much as spectators.
and the best part?
crabtree crashed out SO hard after they left,
he likes having company even more than i do.
other people think he's amusing,
because they only get small doses of his antics.
he slept like a boulder, and so did i.
i hurt my back so badly that i've been hobbling around all morning,
and with a wild whipping wind barreling into the woodsly goodness,
and the frosty temperatures turning anything that melted yesterday into ice,
i have to say-
not super excited to walk that little shark-bullet-croco'gator battle beast today.
even when it's gonna be the worst,
it still has to happen.
...and it all really is.
the memory of that meal,
and the people who shared it,
is going to stick with me for some time.
i count myself lucky for the shared experience,
and i sincerely hope they left better off for the time invested;
never quiet, never soft.....