Oh, children. I’m sure you feel like I’ve abandoned you. Would you believe me if I said that abysmally slow February was followed up by an outrageously busy March? I know it’s no excuse, darlings. But don’t despair. You know I’ll always love you.

To make it up to you, I made you a sandwich. Not just any sandwich. This sandwich is piled high with love, care, and more condiments than you can shake a mid-century walnut veneer stick at. It’s my favorite vegetarian banh mi, originally cobbled together from several sources and tweaked obsessively until it was as close to perfect as I could get it. I’m not going to lie, it’s a bit labor-intensive, but doesn’t that make it the perfect apology? Time-consuming, impressive, and so delicious it’ll distract from the issue at hand? I think so. Give it a try.

Kate’s Favorite Vegetarian Banh Mi
adapted from SuperVegan and Serious Eats
makes 2 large sandwiches

For the daikon-carrot slaw:
1 cup peeled and coarsely grated carrots
1/2 cup peeled and coarsely grated daikon
1/4 cup rice vinegar (whatever variety you like)
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup water
generous pinch sea salt

For the mushroom “meat”:
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 Tbsp sesame oil
1 lb Baby Bella mushrooms, sliced (button will work in a pinch)
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

For the sesame aioli:
1 egg yolk
1 tsp dijon mustard (or spicy brown)
1 tsp lime juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp sesame oil

For assembly:
2 small French loaves/sandwich hoagies
Mint or Thai basil leaves
1 cucumber, sliced thinly
Sriracha to taste

1. First, make the slaw. This part’s super easy. Grate up your carrots and radish and mix ’em in a bowl. Mix in the sugar, vinegar, water, and salt. Mash it around so everything gets nice and seasoned. Put it aside while you make the rest of the ingredients.

2. Next, make the aioli. Combine the egg yolk, mustard, lime juice, garlic, and a teaspoon of water in the food processor. Run it until smooth. While it’s running, slooooowly pour the canola oil into the processor in a thin stream. You might need to stop and scrape down the sides. It should eventually get nice and thick and fluffy and yellowish. Once it reaches this point, keep it running and sloooooowly pour in the other two oils. (Note: do not be tempted to pour in all your oils at once. The canola builds the fluffy structure; if you don’t do that step first, you’ll have a soggy mess on your hands.) Set this aside in the fridge.

3. Make the mushroom “meat.” Heat up the olive and sesame oils in a big skillet (I use my cast-iron one, and it’s awesome). When it’s good and hot, throw in the mushrooms and onion. Sauté for two minutes or so, just until the mushrooms release a tiny bit of juice. Add in the garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, and some salt and pepper, and cook until the onions are brown and translucent.

4. An optional but very nice (and easy!) step is to toast your bread. Slice your hoagies in half horizontally, turn your oven broiler on low, and put the hoagie halves in with the cut side toward the broiler. Watch them carefully, because it only takes a minute. When the cut sides are a nice light brown, take them out.

5. Assemble these suckers! First, slap a generous amount of aioli on both halves of the bread. On the bottom half, pile a bunch of mushroom filling, followed by the carrot-daikon slaw (squeeze it to get excess liquid out so it doesn’t make the bread soggy), cucumbers, and then some mint or basil. Drizzle the sandwich with your preferred amount of Sriracha. Slap the top bun on, and if you’re smart, wrap about two-thirds of the sandwich in parchment or paper towels–this is one messy affair. (But hopefully not as messy as the argument that led to your apology sandwich.) Enjoy, use lots of napkins, kiss and make up (maybe after you brush your teeth to get rid of the Sriracha breath).


I also figured I’d give you a quickie house update, although I don’t have any pictures just now. After weeks of fruitless searching, I managed to track down picture frames large enough to hold my 18×24″ Modest Mouse screenprint (with a mat even! this is one gargantuan frame) and my weirdly-sized but awesome 18×18″ square Beirut screenprint (with a small float mount). I had to paint one of them white, because they only made square frames in black, but I snagged them at Michael’s while they were having a 25% off sale on frames and I had a coupon for 40% off one item. I only paid $20 total for both frames. They look awesome in the nook! I’ll get pictures soon, I promise. I just have to finish installing the knockoff Random light, build the DVD rack, and finish switching out the base on my freshly-reupholstered Eames rocker.

Oh oh! One more thing! My tax refund is pretty generous this year, so I’m picking up a brand-spankin’-new DSLR camera. I’m pretty excited about it, and it should mean a significant increase in the quality/quantity of photos on this blog. Get excited…