Seduction Meals is about food + romance and the premise that everyone should learn to master one dish that is their signature dish—a Seduction Meal, to enchant and captivate that special someone in your life...
Seduction Meals is pleased to present the fifth of a six-part series: Vietnamese Splendor by Tastemaker and Trendsetter, Moshe Aeylon.
"Sandwiches are my comfort food...each culture & cuisine has their own version, from hot dogs, to Panini's, I love them all. I was surprised how delicious and sophisticated the Vietnamese version of this street food was. Pate? Who knew? Flavors dancing in my mouth...YUMM!" Banh Mi Sandwich A mix of French and Vietnamese cultures, Banh Mi are baguette sandwiches that are made with two main ingredients: the french influenced baguette and savory Vietnamese fillings that make up this deliciously unique sandwich. During the French colonization in IndoChina; France brought the bread and pate, and the Vietnamese added their culinary magic with unique flavors of thinly sliced pickled carrots and daikon, onions, cucumbers, cilantro, jalapeño peppers and meat or tofu. In the United States, this typical Vietnamese sandwich is known as the bánh mì thit and it is often made with broiled pork and goose liver pate.
Banh Mi Sandwich Recipe and Photography by Moshe Aelyon Adapted from a recipe by Andrea Nguyen
1 petite baguette roll or 7-inch section cut large baguette
mayonnaise (preferably homemade if possible)
Maggi seasoning or sauce soy
Your choice of bold flavored meat or tofu sliced, room temperature (pork, chicken, pate, or any cold cut combo)
3-4 cucumber strips, seeded, pickling or English variety preferred
2-3 sprigs of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
3-4 thinly sliced jalapeño peppers
Everyday daikon and carrot pickle (do chua)
Slit the bread lengthwise, and then use your fingers or a bread knife to hollow out the insides, making a trough in both halves.
Discard the insides or save it for another use, such as breadcrumbs. If preferred, crisp up the bread in a toaster oven preheated to 325ºF, and then let it cool for a minute before proceeding.
Generously spread the inside with mayonnaise.
Drizzle in some Maggi Seasoning sauce or soy sauce.
Start from the bottom portion of bread to layer in the remaining ingredients. (As with all sandwiches, you'll eventually develop an order for layering the filling so as to maximize the interaction between flavors and textures.)
Close the sandwich, cut it in half crosswise for easy eating, and enjoy.
Seduction Meals is pleased to present the fourth of a six-part series: Vietnamese Splendor by Tastemaker and Trendsetter, Moshe Aeylon.
"I love pickles. Growing up in Istanbul, Turkey pickles were street food, part of the local culture. I remember buying pickle in a glass & drinking the garlic scented vinegar juice with a crushed red pepper kick. It was a ritual and a guilty pleasure; II used to be told I had to watch it otherwise I was going to end up with a stomach ulcer. This recipe is sweet and mild but awakens all the other partners that it is served with. Subtle but sexy."
Daikon and Carrot Pickled Makes about 3 cups Recipe by Moshe Aeylon Adapted by a recipe of Andrea Nguyen
"Perfect for preparing many Vietnamese dishes including Banh Mi sandwiches, this pickle (Do Chua) is used as a condiment. Try this daikon and carrot pickle recipe once and then tweak the recipe to your liking. Variations of the include adding tangy-sweet-pungent pickled shallots (cu kieu) to the mixture, as well as making heavier on the carrot side than the daikon side. I prefer to keep a higher ratio (say 2:1) of daikon to carrot as I like the mild bite of daikon radish. I like a tangy-sweet flavor whereas you can alter the ratio of sugar to vinegar to make the brine sweeter, and hence affect the pickle's flavor."
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into thick matchsticks 1 pound daikons, each no larger than 2 inches in diameter, peeled and cut into thick matchsticks
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons plus 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups distilled white vinegar
1 cup lukewarm water
Place the carrot and daikons in a bowl and sprinkle with the salt and 2 teaspoons of the sugar.
Use your hands to knead the vegetables for about 3 minutes, expelling the water from them. They will soften and liquid will pool at the bottom of the bowl. Stop kneading when you can bend a piece of daikon so that the ends touch but the daikon does not break. The vegetables should have lost about one-fourth of their volume.
Drain in a colander and rinse under cold running water, then press gently to expel extra water.
Return the vegetables to the bowl if you plan to eat them soon, or transfer them to a 1-quart jar for longer storage.
To make the brine
In a bowl, combine the 1/2 cup sugar, the vinegar, and the water and stir to dissolve the sugar. Pour the brine over the vegetables to completely cover them. Let the vegetables marinate in the brine for at least 1 hour before eating.
They will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks. Beyond that point, they get tired.
Seduction Meals is pleased to present the third of a six-part series: Vietnamese Splendor by Tastemaker and Trendsetter, Moshe Aeylon.
"This dish is soooo satisfying. The layers of flavors are robust and the applause will truly make you feel like an iron chef. Although super simple to prepare the results are restaurant quality. You can't have enough of this savory sauce over your simple canvas "white rice".
Chicken Stir-Fried with Lemongrass and Chile Serves 4 to 6 with 2 or 3 other dishes Recipe and Photo by Moshe Aeylon Adapted from a recipe by Andrea Nguyen
1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and finely chopped (about 3 tablespoons)
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and cut into ¾ inch squares
1/2 cup coconut milk
3 or 4 sprigs cilantro, coarsely chopped
In a bowl, combine the chicken, salt, sugar, curry powder, and fish sauce and turn several times to coat the chicken evenly. Set aside to marinate at room temperature for at least 15 minutes and for up to 1 hour.
In a wok or large skillet heat the oil over high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the shallot, chile, and lemongrass and stir-fry for about 1 minute, or until fragrant.
Add the chicken mixture and the bell pepper, quickly move them around to coat them with the aromatics, and then let the chicken cook, undisturbed, for about 1 minute, or until nicely seared. Using a spatula, flip the chicken pieces over and cook, undisturbed, for about 1 minute, or until nicely seared on the second side.
Add the coconut milk, lower heat to a simmer, and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure even cooking. As the coconut milk reduces, it will simmer vigorously. The chicken is done when the coconut milk is barely visible; it may have even begun to render some of its oil.
Transfer to a serving plate, sprinkle with the cilantro, and serve immediately.
Seduction Meals is pleased to present the second of a six-part series: Vietnamese Splendor by Tastemaker and Trendsetter, Moshe Aeylon.
"This cousin of the egg roll is my top choice for a light and healthy lunch. The rice paper at times is tricky yet once you have the technique down, I promise, you can not roll them fast enough so you can inhale them. No guilt....just pleasure. Also the perfect hors d'oeuvres."
Vietnamese Spring Rolls Makes 16 rolls, to serve 6 to 8 Photo and recipe by Moshe Aeylon Adapted from a recipe of Andrea Nguyen
1 teaspoon salt
24 small shrimp, peeled
1 boneless, thick pork loin chop or 1/3 pound boneless pork shoulder
1.3 pound dried round rice noodles (bun), cooked in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes, drained, flushed with cold water, and drained again
1 head butter lettuce, leaves separated
12 to 16 sprigs cilantro
12 to 16 sprigs mint
32 to 48 Chinese chives (about ½ small bunch) optional
16 rice paper rounds, 8 ½ inches in diameter
1 /2 cups Spicy Hoisin-Garlic Sauce (I use MAE PLOY Sweet Chili Sauce)
Seduction Meals is pleased to present the first of a six-part series: Vietnamese Splendor by Tastemaker and Trendsetter, Moshe Aeylon.
Moshe fell in love with
Vietnamese food during his first visit to New York City in 1983 when he dined at the
ultra trendy hot spot of the time, Indochine. He was inspired to take cooking classes at ICE with master chef Andrea Nguyen, and quotes his favorite Vietnamese restaurant in NYC is OMAI in Chelsea.
"Every since I was introduced to Thai & Vietnamese cuisines, two of my favorites, I have always loved most of the salads dishes. These tangy but sweet, crispy but wilted, crunchy but hot salads are always perfect starters and an appetite teasers for me. I am happy I finally can prepare them in my kitchen for my friends. Here is one of my all time favorites-- Vietnamese Cucumber & Shrimp Salad."
Cucumber and Shrimp Salad Serves 4 to 6 Recipe and photo by Moshe Aeylon Adapted from a recipe by Andrea Nguyen
Start by making the Dressing
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
3 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons water
1 or 2 Thai or Serrano chilies, finely chopped (optional)