My Bánh Mì obsession

Okay, maybe it’s not really an obsession, but there is not much else that will make me drive 10 miles of crosstown Atlanta traffic for lunch. Bánh mì is the Vietnamese equivalent of a sub sandwich. Owing to the French Colonial influence in Indochina, the Vietnamese quickly adapted the baguette to deliver some very local flavors – grilled pork or chicken, pork pate, pickled daikon radish and carrots, mayo, fresh basil, fresh mint, cilantro and chili peppers. If you’ve had one, you know that a bánh mì is like an amazing salad sitting on top of a grilled meat-filled sub roll. The taste is so fresh and delicious … and they’re only a couple of bucks each! 

My friends know that I love these sandwiches and will seek them out in strip malls all up and down Buford Highway, the center of our culinary and cultural melting pot here in Atlanta. I often get texts in the middle of the day from friends asking “Where was that Vietnamese sandwich place you were talking about again?” There are a lot of little places where you can get great bánh mì, but my two favorites are Lee’s Bakery and Quoc Huong Banh Mi. You can do a sit-down lunch at either of these places, with more selections of traditional Vietnamese food such as pho noodle bowls, but they are great for take-out. I just wish that they were a little closer to my house.

Maybe because most weeks I’m too lazy to drive over to Buford Highway, I’ve started making bánh mi at home. Once you gather the ingredients, they’re actually quite easy to make. The key is getting the fresh veg and a good crusty baguette as your sandwich base. A quick trip to the Dekalb Farmer’s Market works for both.

Vietnamese Pork Spice Continue reading »

Making Pizza At Home

Making Pizza at Home

Within walking distance from our house, there are probably three or four amazing pizza places, with another 3 or 4 within a short driving distance. So there is no shortage of fantastic pizza options for us on the nights that I don’t want to cook. But making pizza at home is so easy and so gratifying, that it is in my regular “cooking dinner at home night” repertoire. Once you can make a good crust, it’s just a matter of deciding what crazy things you want to put on top. It’s easily one of my family’s favorite homemade dinners. Continue reading »

Mushroom Brie Pizza – Recipe

Mushroom Brie Pizza with White Truffle OIl

Here is one of our Pizza Night variations – Mushroom Brie pizza with white truffle oil.

I love the combined taste of mushrooms and truffle oil. It has an unbeatable earthy, savory flavor. For this pizza, I use a combination of fresh baby portabello and dried porcini mushrooms to pair with the white truffle oil.

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Baked Potato Pizza – Recipe

Here is one of our Pizza Night variations – Baked Potato pizza. 

My family loves the Baked Potato pizza made by one of our local pizzerias, so I thought I’d try to recreate it at home. It’s essentially a good crust topped with sliced boiled potatoes, crumbled bacon, a bit of swiss cheese, chives and sour cream. No pizza sauce! What’s not to love, right?

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Fig and Goat Cheese Pizza – Recipe

Fig, goat cheese and prosciutto pizza

Here is one of our Pizza Night variations – fig and goat cheese pizza. My friend Carolyn offered up the idea and the toppings for this pizza. She started by making a Fig/Onion Jam, adapted from a recipe she found on The Food Network website. She modified the jam by leaving out the goat cheese and adding it at the end, directly on the pizza. Continue reading »

Making Pizza Dough at Home – Recipe

Making your own pizza dough at home is really not that complicated. It just takes a little ahead-of-time planning. If you are planning pizzas for dinner, you will need start your pizza dough in the afternoon. For my Pizza Night entertaining, I started my dough 2 1/2 hours before my guests arrived. I used Deborah Madison’s dough recipe from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. Here is her recipe, which I doubled to make 4 large pizzas. 

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