I never go to the farmer's market as much as I want to in the summer. In Portland, OR, though we are lucky to also have a year-round farmer's markets, I only get there maybe once a month. So it's time to daydream of fragrant tomatoes, shiny peppers and bounties of cucumbers and basil. No better way to start that reverie than with Leanne Brown and Sarah Chan's cookbook Velo Fare.
Brown and Chan are veteran city cyclists in Edmonton, Alberta. They love to make good food and go by bicycle to buy good food at the farmer's market. That simple.
To whet your appetite for their cookbook, which divides their city into three sections and gives some recipes for each area - Chinatown, Little India, and Italian 'Centre' - here's their recipe for a tofu Bahn Mi sandwich. (slightly modified)
Tofu Bahn Mi
2 lemongrass stalks, finely chopped
2 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs rice wine vinegar or lime juice
2 Tbs fish sauce
2 Tbs chili paste, like sambal oelek
2 Tsp brown suger
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 package firm tofu, diced
2 tsp olive oil
Slice the tofu into centimeter thin squares. Peel away the green outer leaves of the lemongrass to the white core. This is the good part. Chop it very finely. Place the tofu in a resealable bag with the lemongrass, soy, vinegar or lime juice, fish sauce, chili paste, sugar, and garlic. Let marinate two hours.
Once the tofu has marinated, heat the olive oil to medium in a pan, and fry the tofu together with the marinade until the tofu is golden brown on all sides.
For the mayonnaise:
1 Tbs lemongrass
1 tsp olive oil
4 Tbs mayonnaise
For the mayonnaise, prepare the lemongrass as above, chopping very finely. Fry it on medium heat. Cook until it gets tender and smells delicious. MIx it with the mayonnaise. Add a little bit of salt if needed.
4 carrots, grated
1/2 cucumber, sliced into circles
1 jalapeño, sliced (optional)
4 green onions, finely chopped
cilantro, chopped (optional)
Add the diced tofu to cover one side of the bread, then grated carrot, cucumber, jalapeño if using and green onions and cilantro. Top with the other half of the baguette to form a sandwich and enjoy.
Split and cut a baguette into four pieces. Cut the pieces down the center and spread both sides the the mayo.
To sample more of the delights of Velo Fare or buy the book, go to the authors' Lulu page.