Banh Mi, and a Happy Picnic

It seems like the only time I really get to blog these days is when I find time on vacation.  How sad is that?  I really wish it wasn’t so difficult to find time to do everything I love.

But then again, I do love a lot of things.

I’ve been spending the past week or so visiting friends and family along the west coast.  I thought I’d escape Washington’s dreadful humidity – in the process, I missed out on the rare East Coast earthquake, and my flights might be delayed by the rare hurricane that’s threatening our nation’s capitol.


Ma3lesh.  That’s okay.  I choose California – for now.  When the weather is perfect, your friends surround you, and you finally take the opportunity to film your grandparents telling the story of how they met, the world could be ending at home while I ecstatically reminisce and accumulate memories, new and old.

Interestingly enough, I’ve found myself doing things I’ve never done before on the West Coast this time around.  Like going to see a show at the Hollywood Bowl – with the family.  I told Papa Gerrity that I’d gladly take care of dinner, if he took care of booze.


Wine, and Banh Mi-style turkey meatball sandwiches.  Parents, grandparents, friends, and a happy couple made my last night in Los Angeles one of my favorites.

Bahn  Mi turkey meatball sandwiches, Chili pepper aioli, and lightly picked vegetables

Chili pepper aioli:

2/3 cup mayonaise
1-2 hot red peppers (I picked these fresh from my parents’ garden)
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
2 green onions, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced

Grind finely sliced peppers into the olive oil.  Mix all ingredients together.  Set aside – I filled a plastic ziploc bag with the aioli, and just snipped the corner for ease of use.  It must be the pastry chef in me.

Pickled veggies:

2 cups shredded carrots
2 cups grated daikon radish
2/3 cups seasoned rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons sesame oil

Same as before – combine ingredients in a bowl or container.  Stir until sugar is dissolved, cover, and set aside.


2 packages Trader Joe’s turkey meatballs (don’t hate – I was short on time)
3 green onions, finely diced
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 hot chili peppers, finely diced
1/4 cup basil leaves, sliced into long strips

Combine all ingredients in a large saute pan or wok.  Let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes – if you must add water to allow the meatballs to cook, do so, but allow time for reduction to sharpen the flavor after heating.

To assemble the sandwiches, first slice a French baguette, then slather in the chili pepper aioli.  Dress with the pickled carrots and daikon, then fill with the meatballs.  Garnish with fresh cilantro and chopped basil.  Beware – the mayo has more than a bite to it.  Keep something refreshing nearby for those who struggle with spiciness.