See more photos from August on Argyle on the Les Dames Chicago Chapter Facebook page.
VIETNAMESE BANH MI SANDWICHES
The French influence on Vietnamese foods is never more clear than in these simple street-food sandwiches. Any number of variations are available, and can include sliced roast pork, hard boiled eggs, deli cold cuts, etc. but this is the most traditional of combination. The sauce can include chili-garlic sauce, or chili oil or these ingredients may be stirred into the mayonnaise. Some of the slaw is included in the sandwich and the rest served on the side.
Four 10-inch French baguettes
8 thin slices Vietnamese style pork roll (available in Vietnamese markets)
4 thin slices French pate
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 Tablespoons light soy sauce
Asian chili oil to taste
1 cup thinly sliced cucumber
2 small fresh jalapeno chilies cut very thinly crosswise
1/2 cup cilantro sprigs
For the slaw
3/4 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/2 cup fine julienne carrots
1/2 cup fine julienne daikon radish
2 green onions, thin julienne
Prepare the slaw: Heat the vinegar, sugar, salt and water just to a boil, remove from the heat and stir in the carrot, radish and green onions. Let cool and refrigerate in the liquid overnight.
Cut the baguette lengthwise in halves and toast lightly in a 400º oven. Smear mayonnaise on each side of the toasted roll, then sprinkle with the soy and chili oil if using.
Layer pork, pate, jalapeno, cilantro and cucumbers and finally the cilantro sprigs. Top with a spoonful of slaw and close sandwich, wrapping tightly and let stand to meld the flavors. Serve with any remaining slaw on the side.
VIETNAMESE ICED COFFEE
This may be served hot or cold and requires a mug-topped coffee filter to make properly. If you don’t have one, or don’t want to buy one (inexpensive in Vietnam markets) you may use a French Press, then pour the coffee over the milk.
2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons finely ground dark-roast coffee
1/4 cup boiling water
Place the condensed milk into a heavy coffee mug or glass and place the filter on top.
Add ground coffee into the filter, packing it down, and pour water over grounds and allow to drip (or steep in a French Press) for 3–4 minutes. Stir to combine milk and coffee.
For iced coffee, prepare a tall glass filled with ice cubes. When coffee is dripped, stir to combine the milk and coffee, then pour over the ice to serve.
PHOENIX HOT & SOUR SOUP
Makes 8 small cups
4 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into small “coins”
2 Tablespoons finely minced fresh ginger
1 Tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 Tablespoon water
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
2 cups snow peas, cut in half crosswise on the diagonal
10 ounces spicy tofu stir fry (see note)
8 ounces tofu noodles (or standard fresh Chinese noodles, cooked & drained)
4 green onions, trimmed and slivered very thinly
Bottled chile garlic sauce or ground black pepper to taste
In a four-quart heavy pot, bring broth to a boil over high heat. Add carrots and cook 2 minutes, then add ginger. Return to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook 3 minutes until vegetables are crisp tender.
In a small bowl, mix cornstarch with water to form a paste. Add soy and vinegar. Stir into simmering soup and cook 2 minutes or until broth thickens slightly.
Add snowpeas, tofu and noodles and turn off heat. Let soup sit, covered, 2 – 3 minutes until well warmed through. Taste for seasoning – it should be balanced between hot and sour. Add bottled chile sauce, salt, or black pepper to balance. Garnish with scallions.
Note: If using plain tofu, cut into cubes and add 1 small Serrano chile, chopped very fine and stir in Chili-Garlic sauce to taste.