Monday, April 2, 2012

Vietnamese Banh Mi Steak Sandwich

Spring break is in full swing at my house. We are enjoying the proverbial "staycation" at the moment. These kind are ideal in some ways, but it can be a lot of work staying home with energetic kids.

 For instance:

I experienced complete mental taxation this afternoon was when my 7 year old came in to me with a huge, and I mean GIGANTIC spider that he caught while playing outside. He comes into me, smiling ear to ear like that spider is just the greatest thing ever. I tried to be a good sport about it but inside I think I was having a mini heart attack. (..mind over matter.. mind over matter..mind over matter..)

I flipping hate spiders!

So all day he had his spider box, lovingly collecting grasses and other little insects to add to it. While I tried to remain supportive and cautiously kept my distance. Thankfully the spider is back outside where he belongs now.

But other than that, today was an unexpectedly gorgeous day here. My husband got out and mowed the grass for the first time this year and we also pulled our patio furniture out of the garage. And that inspired me to make us an early dinner that we could all enjoy in the back yard together. Spring is in the air big time today and I love it!!

My happy countenance definitely helped this meal come to be.

 My kitchen was like an obstacle course this afternoon.

I had my 11 year old son working a delicate feat of lego brilliance all over the kitchen table.
While my little 7 year old shadow was running a restaurant right next to me, complete with setting up all kinds of little tables and props all throughout my kitchen.

And of course he needed to make food too.

On the prix fixe menu at Chez Jacob there were freshly peeled oranges, red grapes, pretzels and orange juice, (he is a man with a simple palate).

On a side note, he did make sure I was wearing my apron though, which I always seem to forget to do. So thanks for that, son.

To top things off, my 10 month old german loves to lay literally right under my feet when I am trying to prepare food. She has done this pretty much since the day we brought her home as a puppy. It's sweet...and annoying at the same time

My kitchen was in total chaos.

But in my heart I kept thinking, "this is what life's all about".

I couldn't have been happier.

Vietnamese Banh Mi Steak Sandwich
~serves 4~

For the pickled carrots and daikon radish
1/2 c. peeled, matchstick-cut carrots
1/2 c. peeled, matchstick-cut daikon radish
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. rice vinegar
1 T. sugar
1/4 t. kosher salt
1/8 t. red pepper flakes
For the spicy mayo
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1 T. siracha hot sauce, or as much as you personally prefer, I like it fairly spicy
salt to taste
For the rest of the sandwich
1 baguette (I like to use a take 'n' bake baguette from the bakery of my local grocery store), split for sandwiches
1 lb. flank steak
salt & pepper
2 t. canola oil
english cucumber, sliced thin on an angle
cilantro leaves

1. Make the pickled carrots and daikon: Place carrots and daikon in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan combine water, rice vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper flakes. Bring just to a simmer. Pour pickling liquid over the vegetables. Set aside while making the sandwich. (At least 30 minutes, longer if you can.)

2. Make the spicy mayo: Mix together ingredients for the spicy mayo, seasoning to taste with salt. Set aside.

3. Sear the steak: Pat the steak dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat until the oil just begins to smoke. Add the steak and brown well on the first side, 3-5 minutes. Flip steak over and reduce the heat to medium, cook steak about 5-8 minutes longer (125 degrees on an instant-read thermometer for medium rare). Transfer steak to a plate and cover loosely with foil. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing thinly.

4. Assemble sandwiches: Drain the pickled vegetables well. On each side of a roll, spread some of the spicy mayo. On the bottom half, add a layer of cucumber, then steak, then pickled vegetables, then cilantro, then top the top half of the roll. 

5. Dig in!


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