Banh Mi, Vermont seasonal style
Banh mi is a type of Vietnamese sandwich. You can tailor the sandwich to meet your preferences and can be made with meat or with a meat substitute (like tempeh or tofu). There are 8 components to a banh mi but you can swap specifics:
Banh mi sandwich bread, or French bread, baguette, or kaiser roll
Spice - either chiles or kimchi
Cucumber, or lettuce
Protein (meat, tempeh strips, or marinated tofu, or veggies)
Seasoning - soy sauce, Bragg's liquid aminos, tamari sauce, or kimchi
Build your sandwich!
Kimchi is a Korean condiment, typically spicy and made with Napa cabbage. It is made using the fermentation process, which gives it lots of healthy probiotic goodness. It can seem daunting but is worth the effort. Making your own allows you to control the spiciness. Feel free to experiment with vegetables!
4 Tablespoons of sea salt or kosher salt
4 cups of water
1.5 pounds or 1 large Napa cabbage
1 daikon radish or a handful of red radishes, thinly sliced in half moons
1 medium yellow onion, leek, or scallion
4 garlic cloves
2-inch knob of ginger
1 - 2 Tablespoons gochugaru (Korean red chili pepper flakes, or substitute any red pepper flake)
4 green onions, chopped
Mix a brine from the sea salt and water. Stir well to thoroughly dissolve salt.
Coarsely chop cabbage, slice radish and carrots and let vegetables soak in brine, covered by a plate or other weight to keep the vegetables submerged. Soak for at least 5 hours, and up to 24 hours.
Prepare spices: dice the onion and garlic. Use a food processor to process onion, garlic, and ginger into a paste. Mix in the gochugaru and green onions.
Drain brine off of vegetables, reserving brine. Taste vegetables for saltiness. You want them to taste decidedly salt, but not surprisingly so. If they are too salty, rinse them with water. If you cannot taste salt, sprinkle the vegetables with a couple of teaspoons of salt and mix.
Mix the vegetables thoroughly with the spice paste. Pack them tightly into a clean jar, pressing down until the brine rises. If necessary, add a little of the reserved vegetable-soaking brine to submerge the vegetables. Weight the vegetables down with a smaller jar if necessary (fill the smaller jar with liquid to keep everything weighted down). Cover the jar with a towel to keep flies and dust out.
Ferment in your kitchen or other warm place. Taste the kimchi every day and check it to make sure it is still submerged under the brine. Depending on your tastes and the temperature of where it is stored, the kimchi can be ready in as soon as a few days or a few weeks. The fermentation process generally takes longer in cool weather and shorter in warm weather. When your kimchi tastes ripe (sour and tangy), move it to the refrigerator. It can last for several months, if not longer, in the fridge as long as it still has some brine in the jar.
Be sure to ferment your kimchi in a glass jar or glazed ceramic crock. Since the brine and vegetables are heavily salted, it is important to avoid using metal or plastic.
Do NOT use iodized salt or any product with preservatives in your kimchi. Iodine is antimicrobial and will prevent the kimchi from fermenting.
You do NOT want air touching your vegetables. It is vital to keep everything submerged under the brine. As long as everything is submerged under liquid, mold will not develop.
After your vegetables have soaked in the brine, they will lose a lot of moisture and will decrease in volume. Depending on the size of your jar, some of the brine might flow over as the kimchi ferments so sometimes it's helpful to put a glass plate under the jar as it sits.
Napa Cabbage Slaw with Cilantro Dressing
1/4 cup rice vinegar (not seasoned)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon grated peeled ginger
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 fresh serrano chile, finely chopped, with seeds
1 small head Napa cabbage (1 1/2 pounds), cored and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
1 bunch scallions (or other alium - onion, leek, etc), sliced
1 kohlrabi, sliced thinly
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
Whisk together vinegar, sugar, ginger, oil, chile, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add remaining ingredients and toss well. Let stand, tossing occasionally, 10 minutes.
Brussels sprouts and Kohlrabi Salad with Tahini-Maple Dressing
I haven't made this but I am going to. The original recipe was a Kale and Brussel Sprouts recipe but the kohlrabi will be a great substitution. Thinly sliced kohlrabi and toasted slivered almonds will lend the crunch, while parmesan and miso will contribute savoriness.
1 bunch of curly green kale
3 tablespoons sliced almonds
¼ cup shaved Parmesan (use a vegetable peeler to shave the cheese into little strips)
dash of sea salt
Top with crunchy bacon if you prefer
¼ cup tahini
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons white miso
2 teaspoons maple syrup
Pinch of red pepper flakes
¼ cup water
Strip the kale leaves from the ribs of the kale. Chop the kale into small, bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle a dash of sea salt over the kale and use your hands to massage the kale by lightly scrunching handfuls of kale in your hands. Release and repeat until the kale becomes darker in color and more fragrant. Transfer the kale to a medium serving bowl.
Cut off the tough outer skin of your kohlrabi and then cut into matchsticks or other 1/4" thick shape.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the tahini, vinegar, miso, maple syrup and red pepper flakes. Whisk in the water until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Some brands of tahini are thicker than others, so if your dressing is too thick, add a bit more water and/or vinegar, to taste. Pour the dressing over the kale and sprouts and mix well.
In a small pan over medium heat, toast the almond slivers, stirring frequently, until fragrant and turning golden (this will take less than five minutes so watch carefully). Add the toasted almonds and parmesan shavings to the salad and toss. Serve immediately.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic
This recipe comes from chef Mark Bittman. Last time I made it, I forgot the balsamic vinegar and I didn't even miss it. This is a great Thanksgiving recipe and can convert anyone who is a non-believer in sprouts!
1 pint brussels sprouts (about a pound)
4 to 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, to coat bottom of pan
5 cloves garlic, peeled
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Trim bottom of Brussels sprouts, and slice each in half top to bottom.
Heat oil in cast-iron pan over medium-high heat until it shimmers; put sprouts cut side down in one layer in pan. Put in garlic, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Cook, undisturbed, until sprouts begin to brown on bottom, and transfer to oven. Roast, shaking pan every 5 minutes, until sprouts are quite brown and tender, about 10 to 20 minutes.
Taste, and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Stir in balsamic vinegar, and serve hot or warm.
Thai Curried Butternut Squash Soup
2 tablespoons coconut oil or olive oil
2 pound butternut or kabocha squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into small ½-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
1 medium yellow onion (or leek), chopped
4 garlic cloves, pressed or chopped
2 to 3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon sea salt
? teaspoon red pepper flakes (up to ¼ teaspoon for spicier soup)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
4 cups (32 ounces) vegetable broth
½ cup full fat coconut milk for drizzling on top
½ cup large, unsweetened coconut flakes
Handful fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add squash, onion, garlic, curry paste, coriander, cumin, salt and red pepper flakes to skillet. Stir to combine.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until squash is soft, about 15 to 20 minutes.
While the soup is cooking, toast the coconut flakes in a medium skillet over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant and golden on the edges. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. Transfer coconut flakes to a bowl to cool.
Once the squash mixture is done cooking, taste and add a little more Thai red curry paste if it’s not quite flavorful enough for you. Remove the soup from heat and let it cool slightly. Working in batches, transfer the contents pan to a blender (do not fill your blender past the maximum fill line!). Securely fasten the lid and use a kitchen towel to protect your hand from steam escaping from the top of the blender as you purée the mixture until smooth. Transfer puréed soup to a serving bowl and repeat with remaining batches.
Stir the lime juice into the blended soup. Taste and season with additional salt if necessary. Ladle soup into individual bowls. Use a spoon to drizzle coconut milk over each bowl, then lightly swirl the spoon through the topmost layer for a pretty design. Top the soup with toasted coconut flakes and a sprinkle of chopped fresh cilantro.
Winter Rainbow Panzanella
This recipe comes from my favorite food blogger, My New Roots. You will probably see this recipe again as it is a great way to use a variety of seasonal veggies - whatever you have on hand! If you need to clean out your fridge, this is the kind of dish to make.
4 cups shredded kale and kohlrabi leaves (or any hearty winter green, such as chard)
1 Tbsp. cold-pressed olive oil
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
a couple pinches sea salt
A variety of winter vegetables suitable for roasting, such as:
golden & red beets
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Scrub veggies well, chop into similar sized pieces (no need to peel!) and place on a baking sheet with a few knobs of coconut oil or ghee. Place in the oven and when the oil has melted, remove pan from oven, toss to coat veggies and return to the middle rack. Bake for 25-35 minutes, depending on the size of your veggies. Remove from oven, season with salt and pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.
While the veggies are roasting, prepare the kale and /or other greens. Wash and dry them well and chop into small pieces. Place in a large bowl and dress with olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt. Vigorously massage the oil and juice into the greens for two whole minutes until they are tender and dark green. Season to taste.
To assemble salad, top the greens with the roasted veggies, add as many pickled carrots (or other veg) as you like, drizzle the dressing over, and toss. Top with garlic croutons and serve.
Grainy Mustard Dressing
3 Tbsp. cold-pressed olive oil
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. whole grain mustard
1 tsp. maple syrup
generous pinch of sea salt
Whisk all ingredients together. Season to taste.