New Year's Fun

Since Christmas, we've been pretty preoccupied with the house and Tuan's had groups on-site. This meant that our five-year anniversary went largely uncelebrated and New Year's was more afterthought than planned-out party. Our anniversary will be celebrated more properly when we can make it down to Florida. With Tuan's job, the 28th pretty much always involves groups being at Twin Lakes. That's okay, though. I'd rather be here than anywhere else and able to celebrate!

New Year's Eve involved a grocery trip to Wal-mart and dinner at El Ranchito, then homeade chocolate cake and asleep before midnight! New Year's day turned out to be a really fun, productive day, full of good food and beautiful weather.

We made Vietnamese po-boys for lunch. If you've never enjoyed the complete bliss of a Vietnamese-style po-boy, then I invite you all over this week! We skip the pate that the New Orleans bakery includes, but imagine a baguette piled with thinly sliced pork, carrot, cucumber, jalapenos, and cilantro, topped with soy sauce and garlicky-sweet nuoc mam! It's a pretty amazing taste.

Vietnamese Po-boys

Tuan marinates a pork sirloin roast in a marinade of garlic mortared with sugar and salt, then mixed with water overnight. He bakes the pork (in the marinade, covered) at 250 for 3 hrs until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 150. He then sprinkled it liberally with sugar and placed it under the broiler to let the sugar carmelize/pork brown. He then sliced it super thin. In fact, everything on the sandwich is very thinly sliced ( a vegetable peeler works great for the carrots). If you are interested in making the nuoc mam, here it is.

Nuoc Mam

3 cloves garlic
3 Tbsp sugar
combine in mortar/pestle until thoroughly smashed (I suspect a food processor would work in a dire pinch).
2/3 c. warm water (add to the garlic mixture to get it out of the bowl)
In a bowl, combine:
Garlic/sugar/water mixture
5 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp lemon/lime juice
To taste: hot pepper paste/thai bird chili sauce

The heat gives it taste, but be conservative! We use a mixture of Tuan's dad's which involves sugar/vinegar/habanero peppers. Yeow! Surprisingly, the sandwhich is not "hot" even with the jalapenos. It's just immensely flavorful.

At lunch, Tuan decided that the baguettes we purchased at Walmart were not good enough and that we should try to make French baguettes. We didn't start until three, which means they are just now in the oven. The above photo is of them on the second rise. I am anxious to see our results! Wish us well. I leave you all with this quote:

Me: (sighing contentedly after lunch) Oh, Johnny, that was so good my mouth is singing. Is your mouth singing?
Johnny; (shaking head) Nooooo

Ps. I'm going to put photos of our kitchen on facebook if anyone is interested. Blogger is too slow.

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