Pork Loin Banh Mi

banh mi

Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cook Time: 5 minutes | Inactive Time: 30+ minutes

Serving Size: 4 – 6 sandwiches

Podcast Recommendation: Fresh Air interview w/ Jordan Peele about his movie, “Get Out.” We watched the movie in Pittsburgh with some friends and it was excellent on so many levels. Definitely recommend watching the movie and then listening to the interview with Jordan Peele about it!


For the Pork:

  • 1 pound pork loin, very thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon diced ginger or 1/2 teaspoon ginger power
  • garlic salt
  • 2-5 dried thai chilis, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • small bunch of cilantro (5-10 stems) but rip leaves off and toss stems
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • zest of 1/4 lime
  • 3 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped

For the Pickled Veggies:

  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1/2 cucumber, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar (I used this kind.)
  • garlic salt
  • 1tablespoon sugar

For Sandwich:

  • 2 loaves french bread, each loaf cut in half (or thirds)
  • mayo
  • Sriracha
  • thinly sliced jalapeño
  • cilantro leaves


  1. To make the pickled vegetables: In a bowl, toss together the carrots, cucumbers, rice vinegar, sugar, and salt and let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Put all ingredients for the pork in a bowl and toss to evenly coat the pork. Marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 300 degrees and slice bread into halves/thirds and then in half for sandwich assembly.
  4. Once meat is done marinating/you can’t wait any longer to cook it, put a wok/pan on medium heat for 30 seconds.
  5. Put bread in oven to toast.
  6. Since the marinade contains oil, there’s no need to add oil to the wok/pan. Dump entire contents of pork bowl into wok and cook, stirring frequently to get all faces of pork slices exposure to the direct heated metal of the wok/pan. When all surfaces seem cooked (this will take 1-2 minutes), turn off heat. Be sure not to overcook the pork or else it’ll get rubbery.
  7. Take bread out of oven and while meat is cooling, spread mayo on top and bottom sandwich slices bread.
  8. Put cilantro leaves on bottom layer to help prevent pork juices from absorbing into bread too quickly before you can eat it.
  9. Layer pork slices on top of cilantro leaves.
  10. Put sriracha on top of meat.
  11. Put jalapeño slices on top of sriracha.
  12. Put pickled veggie mixture on other half of bread.
  13. Combine and enjoy!
    1. Tip: Dip the bread in the juices that spill out from the pickled veggies and meat!

Recipe adapted from the New York Times.

Banana Bread with Walnuts

Prep Time: 10-15 minutes | Cook Time: 1 hr, 10 minutes

Serving Size: ~10-12 slices per loaf

Podcast Recommendation: BBC Documentaries Podcast: Reflections: Islam, People and Power Boxset. As the first in a series of podcasts examining Islam, Safa al Ahmad reflects on Islam as a religion, political philosophy, social contract, etc. through her own experience growing up in the Middle East and with experts/academics.


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 8 tbsp butter (1 stick), microwaved for 20 seconds
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2-3/4 walnuts, roughly chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Butter a loaf pan and then put a little bit of flour in and roll around the pan by physically moving/tilting the pan. This makes it easier to pop the loaf out once it’s done cooking!
  2. Cream the sugar and butter with hand or stand mixer (low to medium speed) until light and fluffy (about 1 minute). Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition (about 20-30 seconds per egg).
  3. Add all bananas in and mix for another minute. Pour in milk, vanilla bean paste, and cinnamon and mix for another 20 seconds.
  4. Add baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and mix for additional 10-20 seconds.
  5. Add 2 cups of flour in and mix until flour is well incorporated, scraping down as needed.
  6. Add chopped walnut in and mix for another 20-30 seconds.*
  7. Pour butter into prepared pan and bake 1 to 1 hr 10 min.** Bread should not wiggle when you pull the pan out to check on it (or you can use your own doneness test, such as with a toothpick).
  8. Wait at least 5 minutes until bread has cooled and then pop out of the loaf pan. Cut and eat!

Recipe adapted from Food Network.

* At this point I added Christmas sprinkles, which melted unrecognizably into the bread. You can skip this step.

** I set the timer for 1 hr and then an additional 10 minutes thereafter when it was not done at 1 hr.

Chorizo Quiche, Take Two (No Milk or Cream!)

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 45 minutes

Serving Size: 4-8 people

Podcast Recommendation: Not a podcast, but the Ken Burns documentary “The Central Park Five” was well done – both in its investigation into the failure of law enforcement investigators and prosecutors, and also in its probe into the life of the five boys (now men) after serving prison time for a crime they had no involvement in. It also highlights the failure of the most widely used interrogation tactic in the US (the Reed technique), which encourages false confessions and instructs interrogators to look for red herrings as signs of guilt. More on that in this Fresh Air interview.


  • 1 pie crust (homemade or store bought)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded gruyere cheese
  • garlic salt
  • 7.5 oz uncooked Mexican chorizo (I used one tube of the “El Popular” brand)
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • parchment paper
  • cast iron skillet or pie pan
  • 3-4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • dried chives, for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Sauté diced onions with chorizo over low/medium low heat (be careful not to burn the chorizo), about 5 minutes, and then transfer to a separate bowl to cool slightly.
  3. Line cast iron skillet or pie pan with parchment paper.
  4. Put the pie crust on top of the parchment paper.
  5. Whisk eggs, garlic salt, cheddar, and gruyere cheese in a bowl.
  6. Add chorizo onion mix to the eggs and whisk.
  7. Pour egg chorizo mix into the pie crust.
  8. Top with dots of goat cheese and chives.
  9. Bake for 40-45 minutes.

Paprika Chicken (Great for Stroganoff)


Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 15 minutes

Serving Size: 2

Podcast Recommendation: The Ezra Klein Show: Interview w/ Deborah Tannen on gendered speech and this election. The best piece of this interview is towards the end where Tannen talks about the general differences in the way men and women communicate as a result of our socialization as children (women trade on closeness and men trade on hierarchy) and how the different communication styles play out in the workplace. For example, in the companies Tannen looked at, women were just as effective as men in getting things done but because women are more indirect in their way of asking for things to be done due to the communication philosophy of communicating with subordinates as equals, the women were judged as less competent.


  • 2 pieces chicken thigh, about 8 oz, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • garlic salt
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth (or 1/3 bouillon cube + 1/2 cup water)
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 piece of bacon, chopped small like pancetta
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • Optional: cooked rice or egg noodles


  1. Melt butter in pan over medium-high heat, then add diced onions and bacon and cook until translucent, about 2-3 minutes, stirring often so the onion doesn’t burn.
  2. Push onion out to edge of pan, lower heat, and add chicken, spreading so there’s only one layer of chicken and each piece is touching the bottom of the pan.
  3. Season chicken with garlic salt, smoked paprika, and garlic powder. Cook chicken for about 3 minutes or until it not longer sticks to the bottom of the plan, then flip the chicken pieces so the original raw up side is touching the pan and cook for another 3 minutes.
  4. Add chicken broth or bouillon water mixture to the pan, along with the white wine and worcestershire sauce and continue to cook on low (medium low if it’s taking forever to reduce) until reduced by half, at least 6 minutes for me.
  5. Add sour cream and stir to incorporate well into chicken mixture and turn heat up to medium low if it wasn’t already at medium low. Cook for another minute.
  6. Serve over rice or egg noodles!

Recipe was adapted from this chicken stroganoff recipe. I upped the paprika for the extra smoky flavor but cut paprika to 1 teaspoon and it’d be great with egg noodles for a traditional stroganoff or keep the recipe as is and serve over rice!

Chicken Thighs w/ Sage Jus and Zucchini

Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 30 minutes

Serving Size: 4

Podcast Recommendation: This American Life: Seriously? This American Life tackles crazy aspects of politics 2016.


  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • garlic salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or other high smoking point oil)
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine (I used this one)
  • 2 cups chicken broth or water + 1/2 chicken bouillon cube – I used Knorr brand)
  • 1/2 lemon zest + juice
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard (I used TJ’s dijon mustard)
  • 3 tablespoons minced sage
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter
  • 3 zucchinis/yellow squash, diced


  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Pat chicken thighs dry with paper towels and season on one side with garlic salt and pepper.
  3. Heat ovenproof skillet on stove over medium-high heat.
  4. Once skillet is hot, reduce heat to medium and add oil, then add chicken thighs, seasoned side down, cooking for 2 minutes.
  5. While waiting for 2 minutes to pass, season the upward facing chicken thighs.
  6. Flip chicken and cook another 2 minutes then put pan into oven and cook for 10 minutes.
  7. Once 10 minutes are up, take chicken out of pan and let cool on plate.
  8. Return skillet to stove over low heat, being careful to wear an oven mitt when handling pan since the handle will still be hot.
  9. Add minced shallots and cook until shallots are tender, about 2 minutes, then add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  10. Deglaze pan with wine (using wooden spoon to scrape up browned bits from the bottom of the pan) and cook until reduced by half.
  11. Add chicken broth, lemon zest and juice, and mustard.
  12. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer, reduce again by half, about 6 minutes.
  13. Remove pan from heat and whisk in sage and cold butter.
  14. Pour 2/3 of the sage jus onto the chicken.
  15. At this point you can either put the chicken over the zucchini/squash raw OR, to cook the zucchini/squash, return the skillet back to the stove over medium-low heat and cook zucchini/squash in the remaining 1/3 of sage jus for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. If zucchini/squash starts to burn, lower heat and continue to cook.

Recipe adapted from the Sur la Table Girls Night Out cooking class.

🌹🍂🍎Apple Rose Tart w/ Sweet Custard and Walnut Crust🍎🍂🌹

Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 30 minutes + 2 hrs custard chilling time

Serving Size: 4 smallish tarts or 1 full-size tart

Podcast Recommendation: NY Times: The Run-Up: The Trump Tapes, Part I: ‘He Doesn’t Know Himself’ Michael Barbaro interviews Michael D’Antonio, the last man to extensively interview Donald Trump and his family for a biography (in 2014) and gets his take on what drives Trump, the coping mechanisms he has developed, the amount of self-reflection that Trump practices, and some of D’Antonio’s explanations on how Trump’s upbringing has shaped the man we see today.


Walnut Crust:

  • 2 ½ cups walnut pieces
  • 4 tbsp (half a stick) butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • ¼ tsp salt


  • 1 ½ cups milk (I used almond milk)
  • 6 egg yolks
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup (I didn’t have any on hand so I used this sugar free breakfast syrup)
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste

🍎Apple Roses🌹

  • 2 apples, sliced as thinly as possible while still slicing entire pieces from skin to core
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste


Walnut Crust

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Put walnuts in food processor until they are about the size of breadcrumbs.
  3. Place the chopped nuts in a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients, tossing together with a fork.
  4. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of tart pan or pans and up the sides but indented in the center. Bake for 15 minutes if using a 9-inch tart pan and only 10 minutes if using multiple smaller tart pans. Cool completely, then fill with Maple Custard.


  1. Pour the milk into a small pot and place over medium heat until small bubbles form around the edges (not boiling!).
  2. Whisk the egg yolks, syrup, cornstarch, and salt together in a bowl until combined.
  3. Slowly pour the hot milk over the egg mixture, while whisking, to warm the eggs.
  4. Transfer the mixture back to the pot and place over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes very thick then immediately turn off the heat and add the vanilla.
  5. Place plastic wrap directly onto the surface to prevent gross skin from forming and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Apple Roses

  1. Right before you are ready to take the custard out of the fridge, cook the apple slices.
  2. Warm butter in pan over medium low heat with sugar, cardamom, and vanilla bean paste.
  3. Once the butter is melted and incorporated with the other ingredients, dump apple slices into pan and lower heat. Don’t worry about moving the top layer apples to the bottom. The steam formed from the layers of apples should cook all of the apple slices to a point where they are pliable. This will take about 8 minutes on low heat with very occasional turning of apple slices just to coat evenly with butter mixture – being careful not to tear apples. Test apples by holding one slice and bending it without the slice cracking. If the apple slice cracks then keep cooking apple slices on low heat and turning occasionally to coat apple slices evenly.
  4. After apples are done cooking, form roses in custard in tart. you can create one big flower by laying apple slices down from the outer perimeter in. You can create individual roses by forming the outer circle of the rose and then working inwards, forming the center of the rose by rolling up one slice small and then sticking in the center.

Recipe married between this one and the Sur la Table Girls Night Out cooking class!

Beef Chili (Perfect for Chili Dogs!)🌭🌭🌭

Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 40 minutes

Serving Size: 8-10

Podcast Recommendation: Lore: Trick or Treat 2016 – Set 1: Just rediscovered Lore in my podcast repertoire and listened to four in a row today. Lore explores different spooky stories and tales from around the world. Just in time for Halloween!


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 lbs ground beef (I used 85/15)
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large or 2 small onions, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cube beef bouillon
  • 1.5 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 12 oz can dark red kidney beans, drained
  • 1.5 cups water
  • sour cream, for garnish
  • grated cheddar cheese, for garnish


  1. Heat olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add bouillon cube, bell pepper, onion, and celery and sautee about 5 minutes, being careful not to burn the vegetables.
  2. Clear the vegetables to the outer edge of the pot so the bottom of the pot is exposed in the center and add ground beef and minced garlic, breaking up quickly so the beef cooks crumbly.
  3. Add all the spices (chili powder, cumin, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, garlic salt, and ground black pepper),worcestershire sauce, and the tomato sauce and incorporate well into the beef and vegetable mixture, stirring frequently until beef is cooked all the way through, about 8 minutes.
  4. Add kidney beans and stir for 30 seconds.
  5. Add water and diced tomato and stir again. Turn heat down to medium-low or low heat and simmer, uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent stuff from burning onto the bottom of the pot.
  6. Top with sour cream and cheese and enjoy! We spooned the chili over hot dogs the night of and the leftovers were equally delicious as standalone chili the next day!

Recipe amalgamated from here, here, and here.

Apple Spinach Salad w/ Pomegranate Seeds, Goat Cheese, Candied Walnuts, and Balsamic Viniagrette


Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 30 minutes

Serving Size: 5-7

Podcast Recommendation: In the Dark by American Public Media: Ep. 1 The Crime. This is an excellent investigative crime podcast about the murder of Jacob Wetterling, a boy who went missing in Minnesota when he was 11 in 1989. Just prior to this podcast’s release the man who kidnapped, molested, and killed Jacob Wetterling confessed to the murder – 27 years after he was first kidnapped. The podcast examines the facts of the case, takes a critical look at the subsequent police investigation, and delves into byproducts such as the sex offender registry legislation that was passed as a result of Jacob’s mother’s efforts to provide more comprehensive database information to police departments.


  • 1 bag spinach
  • 1 pomegranate, seeded
  • 3 apples, sliced into bite-size pieces
  • 4 oz goat cheese, crumbled (I used a cranberry goat cheese and think a honey goat cheese would be good too)
  • 8 oz walnuts
  • honey (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (I also added a bit of fancy quality garlic olive oil – about 1 tablespoon – and it was delicious!)


  1. preheat oven to 300 degrees
  2. line cookie sheet with parchment paper
  3. toss walnuts with honey on parchment paper, turning to coat
  4. bake walnuts in oven for 25 minutes, taking them out after the first 15 minutes to toss again to avoid burning
  5. pour spinach bag into big bowl
  6. layer on apple slices
  7. layer on pomegranate seeds and goat cheese
  8. combine balsamic vinegar and olive oil (shake in leakproof container or stir vigorously right before serving)
  9. take candied walnuts out of the oven and put in salad bowl
  10. toss all contents of bowl to combine
  11. pour dressing onto each individual salad to avoid drowning the spinach in case there are leftovers

Recipe adapted from here.

October Things

Pressure Cooker Pork Harissa w/ Israeli Couscous and Carrots


I love seasonal items at Trader Joe’s and discovered a jar of harissa sauce the other day. I’ve never cooked with (or consumed) harissa before but the ingredient list promised a spicy experience so I picked a jar up. According to an article on the Kitchn, harissa is “a spicy and aromatic chile paste that’s a widely used staple in North African and Middle Eastern cooking…[a] standard version includes a blend of hot chile peppers (which are often smoked), garlic, olive oil and spices, like cumin, coriander, caraway and mint.” The Kitchn had me at spicy and aromatic chile paste…and TJ’s had me at capsaicin as the first ingredient listed.

I know I post many variations of “pork butt in the pressure cooker” but I can’t help that pressure cooker pork shoulder yields an amazing meal meat base in a very short period of time. I think the more actual variations in taste or combinations, the better!


Prep Time: 15 min (excluding marinating time) | Cook Time: 1 hour

Serving Size: 5-6 servings

Podcast Recommendation: Okay, this isn’t a podcast but I have been loving Halloween Wars. It is infinitely hokey and about the aesthetic nexus between candy makers, professional pumpkin carvers (I guess that’s a thing), and cake decorators instead of the traditional food network shows which ostensibly provide recipes for the viewer to recreate at home. Pretty cool to see the insane stuff that people can make!


  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2.5-3 lbs pork shoulder, cubed into 1.5-2 inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup of Trader Joe’s harissa paste
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • garlic salt
  • 1 box (8.8 oz) of Israeli couscous (I used Osem couscous)
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 cup hot or boiling water
  • 1.5-2 cups water, or more depending on how much is needed to cover pork in pressure cooker
  • 1 cube pork bouillon


  1. Put the chopped onions, pork shoulder, harissa paste, coriander, olive oil, and garlic salt in a ziplock bag and squish to distribute the paste and spices evenly over the pork; marinate in the fridge for at least 3 hours and up to 24.
  2. Once the meat is done marinating, dump all the contents from the ziplock bag into pressure cooker and add enough water so that 3/4 of the meat is covered. Drop the bouillon cube into the pressure cooker and turn on high (I use the meat/stew option) for 30 minutes.
  3. A couple of minutes before the 30 minutes in the pressure cooker is up, put a pot on the stove and put the water, carrots, and Israeli couscous into it and turn on high.
  4. Once the meat is done cooking, take the pressure cooker outside to manually release the pressure.
  5. Add 1 cup of the pork juices from the pressure cooker into the couscous pot and then turn the heat down to low. Continue to cook, stirring as needed, for 8-10 minutes. You will be able to tell if you need to stir the pot if the couscous is stuck to the walls of the pot. You can also add more water/broth from the pressure cooker, 1 tablespoon at a time, if the couscous is sticking to the walls or burning but not done cooking.
  6. While couscous is cooking, turn the pressure cooker back on high for another 10 minutes.
  7. Once couscous and meat are done, plate the couscous first and then create a crater in the center to hold the meat. Top with the broth from the pressure cooker and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Crepes of Wrath.