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National Banh Mi Day Fusion Food: Sausage Banh Mi Sandwich

October 10th is National Banh Mi Day, celebrating the French-influenced bánh mì sandwich of Vietnam, served on a baguette. Here’s the story of banh mi and a recipe for a classic sandwich.

We’ve also featured a banh mi burger recipe. So today, we’re giving the hot dog equal time, with this Bánh Mì Dog recipe made with Zatarain’s sausage. October National Sausage Month!

Since Vietnamese bánh mì is made with pork, Zatarain’s spicy andouille pork sausage is another take on the recipe.

Vegetarians and vegans, you’re not forgotten. Here’s a recipe for a tofu bánh mì sandwich.

Staying true to Zatarain’s Louisiana roots, Dan Whalen, a.k.a @tfimb [The Food In My Beard], honors the Viet-Cajun culture unique to the region with a Bánh Mì Dog recipe. The Andouille and Cajun sausage dog is topped with rice noodles, mint and spicy mayo.

This recipe was adapted from one by Dan Whalen of Food In My Beard for Zatarain’s.

Dan says, “I was inspired by Viet-Cajun cooking that is so popular in Louisiana and Texas, to make Andouille sausages with rice noodles, mint, and spicy mayo. Vietnamese and Cajun foods go so well [together].”

You can see the process in this video.

The pickled carrots should ideally be made a day or more in advance, but make a double batch. They’ll keep for a few weeks.
Ingredients For 4 Sandwiches

  • Baguette(s) large enough for 4 sausages, halved and toasted (substitute high-quality hot dog rolls)
  • 2 packages (2 sausages per package, 7 ounces per sausage) Zatarain’s Andouille Smoked Sausage or Cajun Sausage
  • Pickled carrots (recipe below)
  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced (optionally pickled)
  • Spicy mayonnaise (recipe below or use wasabi mayonnaise )
  • Small leaves or torn leaves of fresh mint
  • 2 sliced Fresno or red jalapeño chiles, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup peanuts
  • Thin rice noodles, cooked al dente (see *footnote)
  • Optional: radishes. thinly sliced
    For The Pickled Carrots

  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and shredded
    For The Spicy Sauce

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 1/8 cup/2 tablespoons mustard
  • 1½ tablespoons sriracha (or to taste)
  • Kosher salt to taste (if needed)

    1. MAKE the pickled carrots. Combine the first four ingredients in a small bowl; whisk until the sugar and salt are fully dissolved. Place the carrots in a jar and pour the vinegar mixture over the carrots. Cover and refrigerate for ideally 1 day, but a shorter time is possible.

    Optional: You can also pickle the cucumbers or radishes.

    2. MAKE the spicy mayonnaise. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Mix thoroughly, and cover, refrigerated, to allow the flavors to meld. When ready to cook:

    3. PREHEAT the grill to medium-high. Make angle cuts going down the top of each sausage, for better grilling. Grill the sausages for 8 to 10 minutes, until cooked through and charred in spots. Remove from grill. While the sausages are cooking…

    4. OPTIONAL: Toast the rolls lightly. If you’re using baguettes, they don’t need toasting, although you can toast them. But hot dog rolls can benefit from it.

    5. ASSEMBLE: Place the rice noodles in the baguette/roll. Add the sausage. If using hot dog rolls, tamp the sausage into the rolls.

    6. TOP with the [drained] cucumbers and shredded carrots. Garnish with peanuts, chiles, and mint.

    7. GENEROUSLY slather the bánh mì with spicy mayonnaise.


    Zatarain's Andouille Sausage Bánh Mì Recipe
    [1] Zatarain’s Andouille smoked sausage bánh mì. You can also use Cajun sausage. The roll on the left isn’t topped with mint so you can get a better view (photos #1 and #2 © Dan Whelan | The Food In My Beard | Zatarain’s).

    Package Of Zatarain Andouille Sausage
    [2] Zatarain’s Andouille smoked sausage.

    Roast Beef Bahn Mi Sandwich
    [e] A roast beef bánh mì. You can substitute your protein of choice (photo © True Aussie Beef & Lamb | Facebook).

    Chicken Meatball Banh Mi Sandwich
    [5] Chicken meatball bánh mì (photo © Good Eggs).


    *Place the dry rice noodles in a shallow baking dish or casserole. Pour boiling water over the noodles and let them sit for 5-6 minutes, or until softened. Drain, rinse, and set aside.




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    Perogies or Pierogi: Check Out Holy Perogy! For National Pierogi Day

    Holy Perogy! Perogies On A Plate
    [1] Fully Loaded perogies with fully loaded toppings: sour cream, bacon, chives (all photos © Holy Perogy!).

    Holy Perogy Snacks
    [2] Fried pierogies on the snack tabled, along with dips and other snacks. It’s to serve them with sour cream, but you can substitute guacamole, Greek yogurt, salsa, or another dip.

    Holy Perogy! Jalapeno Perogies On A Plate
    [3] Mexican-Ukranian fusion: Kickin’ Jalapeño perogies garnished with more jalapeño and shredded cheese.

    Holy Perogy! Jalapeno Perogies Wrapped In Bacon
    [4] Perogies wrapped in bacon.

    Fully Loaded Perogies On A Plate
    [5] You can serve perogi as a side with any main course (here, a roast chicken).

    Oh So Cheezy Holy Perogy! Pierogies Package
    [6] The fun starts with the packaging.

    Holy Perogy! Sweet Potato Pierogi Package
    [7] Finally, sweet potato perogi.

    Perogi with Spinach & Pine Nuts
    [8] Garnish your perogi with anything you like. Here, perogi are topped with bulgur wheat, spinach, chives, pine nuts, and melted butter .


    October 8th is National Pierogi Day, and our Top Pick Of The Week is Holy Perogy!, a line of premium frozen perogies. Why perogy, and not pierogi, you may ask?

    It’s the difference between Polish and Ukrainian spellings.

    The family behind Holy Perogy! immigrated to Canada from Ukraine in 1991 and decided to use the “perogy” for singular and “perogies” for plural.

    Even though this spelling is less used in the U.S., they felt that it better reflected a proper English translation from the Ukrainian word pyrohy. (In Polish, the words are pieróg [singular] and pierógi [plural]. Pierogies with the added “es” on the end is an Americanization.)

    Americans are used to the pierogi spelling because Polish immigrants originally introduced them to the U.S. with that spelling.

    Canadians are accustomed to the spelling perogy because the dumplings were introduced there mainly by Ukrainian immigrants.

    There’s more about this in the History Of Pierogies, below.

    But spell it however you wish: Just treat yourself to the delicious perogy/pieróg experience it is!

    What sets Holy Perogy! apart is both the way the pierogies are made and the premium ingredients that are used.

    Some pierogi brands are pre-cooked, which makes them doughy and rubbery when you heat them. Fillings are made with processed potato flakes and cheese powder rather than whole potatoes and cheese.

    At Holy Perogy! the old family recipe specifies thin dough, packed with freshly-cooked mashed potatoes and other whole food ingredients.

    The perogies are frozen uncooked in a resealable standup pouch (photos #2, #6, and #7) that maintains freshness in the freezer.

    The two step process for preparing them at home takes minutes and results in authentic flavor and texture every time. You can taste the difference.

    Each of the Holy Perogy! flavors is sure to be a crowd pleaser, including:

  • Kickin’ Jalapeño with Potato & Cheddar
  • Fully Loaded Potato with Cheddar & Bacon
  • Oh! So Cheesy with Potato & Cheddar
  • Sizzlin’ Fried Onion with Potato
  • Sweet Potato
  • Wild Mushroom
    For those who want to serve perogies in smaller bites (see the comparison in photo #1), there are:

  • Cheeky Chicken Bites
  • Poppin’ Cheddar Bites
    Whether standard size or bites, these perogies are comfort food for any occasion.

    Serve them as an appetizer, main course, or snack. They’re great with a beer or a glass of wine.

    Holy Perogy! can be found in the freezer aisle of a food market near you.

    For more information, visit

    For this history, we’re going to use the Polish spelling that’s more common in the U.S.

    The history of pierogi can be traced all around China and Europe.

    Food historians usually accept the fact that Marco Polo encountered stuffed dumplings while in China (think of Chinese potstickers), and brought the concept back to Italy when he returned from his 17-year voyage in 1295.

    The concept he shared became ravioli, tortellini, and other stuffed pasta. (The history of pasta.)

    A prototype of pierogi could have easily have come from China over another route, too.

    One theory is that the Tatars brought the recipe from Russia to the rest of Eastern Europe.

    There doesn’t have to be a single solution. But food historians do conclude that pierogies are descendants of the Asian dumplings.

    The half-moon pierogi are made from unleavened dough that is stuffed with different fillings:

  • Cabbage, cheese, ground meat, mashed potatoes, mushrooms, sauerkraut, spinach, and grains or legumes (like lentils) are classics.
  • More modern fillings include blueberries and other fruits (how about smoked cheese and cranberries for Thanksgiving?), bison, duck confit, pulled pork, and sweet potatoes, among others.
  • Beyond dessert pierogi, fusion food pierogi are fun food. Think chili con carne pierogies and jerk chicken pierogies.
  • They are usually boiled, then fried in butter and served with sour cream or more butter. Caramelized onions are also classic, and in modern times, crumbled bacon, Greek yogurt, jalapeño, and shredded Cheddar cheese.
  • Look in the fridge. Do you have capers? Fresh herbs? Olives? Anything goes as a garnish for your pierogi (photo #8)!
    Although identified as Polish cuisine in the U.S., claims of pierogi origins have also been made by Lithuanians, Romanians, Russians, Slovaks, and Ukrainians.

    With the borders of the region shifting regularly over the centuries, it is possible that there may be multiple claims of “ownership” [source].

    While it is believed that pierogi have been made in Poland since the 13th century, the word “pierogi” first appeared in Polish cookbooks and literature in the late 17th century. Pierogi is Poland’s national dish [source].

    The first written pierogi recipe comes from the Compendium Ferculorum, a book published in 1682 by the renowned cook Stanisław Czerniecki. These pierogi were not filled with potatoes (which were not common in 17th-century Poland), but with chopped kidneys, veal fat, greens, and nutmeg [source].

    The Polish word pierogi, which is the plural form of pieróg, is a generic term for filled dumplings. It derives from Old East Slavic pirŭ, and before that from Proto-Slavic *pirъ, meaning a feast.

    In most of the Slavic languages, the word means “pie” [source].
    Pierogi Legends

    Pierogi has its own patron saint: Hyacinth of Poland, a Polish Dominican priest and missionary.

    Some believe that he brought pierogi to Poland from Kievan Rus’, a state that existed in Eastern and Northern Europe from the late 9th to the mid-13th century [source]. (It is now part of Ukraine.)

    Now for the legends:

    In 1238, when Saint Hyacinth visited Kościelec, in the Gąsienicowa Valley of Poland, a storm came and destroyed all the crops.

    Hyacinth told everyone to pray and the next day the crops had risen back up.

    As a sign of gratitude for Hyacinth, people have been making pierogi from the crops ever since.

    Another legend involving Hyacinth dates to 1241. When the invasion of the Tatars led to famine, Saint Hyacinth fed the people with pierogi. (Who made the pierogi is not specified.)
    Pierogi Come To America

    Pierogies came to America with immigrants and were served at home and in neighborhood restaurants.

    The first documented sale of pierogi in the U.S. was in May 1928.

    In the post-World War II era, pierogi became a staple of fundraisers by ethnic churches.

    By the 1960s pierogi became a common frozen supermarket item in many parts of the U.S. and Canada [source].

    And today: fusion pierogi with jalapeño, fully loaded pierogi with baked potato toppings, and so much more. A feast indeed!





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    Paktli Puffed Ancient Grains Snacks

    One of the rewards of walking up and down long aisles at food trade shows is that you sometimes come across something totally unexpected. That was the case with Paktli Snacks, made from puffed ancient grains that are gluten-free (photos #1 through #4). Our review is below, but first, some background.

    The Aztec culture revered amaranth, a grain that thrives in hot temperatures and is largely resistant to drought. It was thus both tasty and reliable; crops were less likely to fail. It was a staple food along with beans, corn, and squash [source].

    The Aztec name for amaranth was paktli, which means joy in the Nahuatl language. In prehispanic times, in addition to being a diet staple, amaranth was also used as currency and for ceremonial purposes.

    In the Aztec diet, amaranth, a native Mexican cereal grain, was second only to corn (another native cereal grain) in importance.

    Every part of the plant is edible, but the Aztecs most valued the tiny seeds, which are even smaller than quinoa seeds. Like quinoa, amaranth is packed with essential amino acids. It also has twice the iron content of wheat.

    As with corn, amaranth grains were toasted and eaten whole, boiled into porridge, or ground into flour to make tortillas and tamales.

    During the holy month of Panquetzaliztli (analogous to December), toasted amaranth grains were mixed with honey into a dough called tzoalli, which in turn was shaped into idols of Huitzilopochtli, the sun and war god, and other deities.

    The idols were paraded through the streets and displayed in the temple before being “sacrificed”; priests broke the candy statues into tiny pieces and distributed them among the crowd.

    In Spanish, alegría is the word for joy—i.e., the Spanish word for paktli.

    In Mexico, puffed amaranth is mixed with honey or sugar and served like a Rice Krispie treat. It’s a specialty of the town of Santiago Tulyehualco in the Xochimilco borough of Mexico City. It’s been known as alegría since the 16th century [source].

    In September 2016, the treats from Santiago Tulyehualco were officially declared Patrimonio Cultural Intangible de la Ciudad de México (an intangible part of the cultural heritage of Mexico City).

    Alegrías have become the most popular way of consuming amaranth. The amaranth grains are puffed in a hot pan without oil, then mixed with honey or sugar syrup. Pepitas (pumpkin seeds), nuts, and dried fruits are popular additions.

    Rectangular bars and rounds are typical shapes (photo #5).

    Paktli Foods’ puffed grain snacks are inspired by Mexican alegrías. In addition to amaranth, millet and quinoa are added to the snacks.

    The grains are mixed with high-quality organic ingredients including chocolate, dried fruits, and nuts. The result is an all-natural, tasty, gluten-free, and may we add fun, snack.

    The use of sugar is sparing; i.e., the snacks are not particularly sweet (just sweet enough), with 8g added sugars. They have 4g of protein. They are a delicious, healthier accompaniment to coffee, tea, and cola, instead of that cookie or candy bar.

    Disks of 2-1/2 inches in diameter are made in:

  • Milk Chocolate
  • White Chocolate
  • 55% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate with Dried Blueberries & Cacao Nibs
  • 70% Cacao Extra Dark Chocolate with Dried Cranberries and Cashews
    In addition to the disks, there are bags of smaller, bite-size snacks.

    Are you ready to take a bite of the modern version of an ancient snack?

    Head to
    > Check out the different types of grains.


    Paktli Snacks Puffed Ancient Grains
    [1] Milk chocolate puffed grain snack (photos #1, #2, #3, and #4 © Paktli Foods).

    Paktli Snacks Puffed Ancient Grains
    [2] Dark chocolate snack with dried cranberries and cashews.

    Paktli Snacks Puffed Ancient Grains
    [3] The puffed grain snacks are individually wrapped.

    Paktli Puffed Amaranth Snack
    [4] The 55% cacao snack with dried blueberries and cacao nibs (in our book, 55% cacao is “dark milk chocolate”).

    Mexican Puffed Amaranth Snacks
    [5] Mexican alegrias (photo Alejandro Linares Garcia | Wikipedia).





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    HOLIDAY GIFT: Tea Advent Calendar From Adagio

    Adagio Tea Advent Calendar
    [1] Tea excitement: 24 different varieties (both photos © Adagio Teas).

    [2] Inside the book-style gift box are windows holding the different teas, one for each day from December 1st through December 24th.


    We typically don’t begin to write about holiday gifts until November 1st, just after Halloween. But this tea advent calendar from Adagio can sell out. So if you know a tea lover who’d like one, you may want to order one now.

    The advent calendars are available with tea bags or loose tea. They are given before December 1st so the recipient can count down the days to Christmas with a treat each day.

    The teas selected for the 2022 calendar are a combination of popular favorites as well as limited-edition holiday blends.

  • The teabag version contains Adagio’s classic and best-selling teas—from single-origin white tea to candy cane-flavored black tea.
  • The loose tea version has single-serve portions of Adagio’s festive teas, including a few exclusive blends not sold elsewhere.
    Each calendar contains 24 individual servings, with enough tea to make an eight-ounce pot each day.

    The teas contain no added sugar and are gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, and vegan-friendly.

    At $34, Adagio Teas’ Advent Calendar is an affordable and festive way to mark the Days of Advent with a delicious daily cup.

    Get your advent calendar(s) at
    > The history of the Advent calendar.

    > The history of tea.

    > The history of tea bags.

    > The different types of tea: a tea glossary.





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    FOOD FUN: Purple Potato Pizza Recipes

    Ready for some food fun? How about purple potato pizza? We have two recipes, one a grandma pizza with bacon and pesto, the second a Sicilian-style pizza with prosciutto.

    September is National Potato Month, August 19th is National Potato Day, and February 22nd is National Cook A Sweet Potato Day.

    There are 11 pizza holidays! Here’s the full list.

    > The history of pizza.

    > Forty different types of pizza.

    If you don’t have garlic oil, it’s easy to make. Since the potatoes need to soak for two hours, use the time to infuse regular olive oil; the instructions are below.

  • 22-24 thinly-sliced purple potatoes
  • 16-18 ounces / 453-510 grams dough ball
  • 9 slices whole milk mozzarella (approx. 1 ounce / 28 grams each)
  • 3 ounces / 85 grams fresh pesto in a squirt bottle
  • 3 ounces / 85 grams sliced partially cooked smoked pancetta or bacon
  • 2 ounces / 57 grams feta cheese
  • 1/8 ounces / 3.5 grams chopped rosemary
  • Garlic olive oil drizzle
  • Grated romano cheese (substitute parmesan)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Equipment: 12″ x 12″ inch pan

    1. SOAK the potatoes in a bowl of cold water for 2 hours.

    2. PREHEAT the oven to 500°-550°F. Lightly coat the pan with olive oil. Push the dough out to the corners of the pan. Carefully dimple the dough using your fingertips.

    3. ALLOW the dough to rise for approximately one hour. Dimple the dough again, degassing it, and place the pan into your oven. Par bake the crust until it’s slightly golden brown, approximately 5-7 minutes.

    4. REMOVE the crust from the oven and carefully spread 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil on the bottom of the crust. Top the pizza with sliced mozzarella leaving a 1/4 inch border.

    5. PLACE the sliced potatoes evenly atop the pizza then add the bacon.

    6. RETURN the pan to the oven. Cook until golden brown; the total bake time ranges between 10-18 minutes.

    7. REMOVE the pizza from the oven and cut it into nine squares. Add the pesto, feta cheese, rosemary, romano cheese, and garlic oil drizzle. Serve and enjoy!

    To Make Garlic-Infused Olive Oil

    Add 1 cup of everyday olive oil to a saucepan, along with two peeled garlic cloves. Simmer for 15 minutes.

    If you like roasted garlic flavor, cook another 5 minutes or until the garlic is gold3en brown.

    Keep the infused oil for up to 2 weeks in the fridge, no longer per food safety guidelines.

    A Sicilian pizza is a deep dish pie. This recipe, from Colavita, uses a focaccia recipe for the dough.

    But even though it’s a thick crust, says Colavita, the dough is light and airy—and delicious.

    Colavita also notes: “A digital scale is imperative for bread and pizza making. It’s a small investment, and we highly recommend it.”
    Ingredients For The Dough

  • 1½ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 300 grams warm water (80°F)
  • 450 grams bread flour
  • 50 grams semolina flour or polenta
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 10 grams kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus more for oiling pans
    Ingredients For The Pizza

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound small, purple potatoes, very thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces prosciutto, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • Large flake sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Equipment: a Sicilian pizza pan or an 11″ x 14″ rimmed baking sheet

    1. MAKE the dough. Pour the water into a medium bowl. Add the active dry yeast (and poolish—see the note below or starter, if using) to the water and stir vigorously. Allow it to rest for 5 minutes. The mixture will become foamy.

    2. ADD the flour, semolina, sugar, and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix to blend all the ingredients. Pour in the yeast mixture and the 3 tablespoons of olive oil.

    3. MIX on low speed for 8-10 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary.

    4. OIL a large bowl with a little olive oil. Place the dough into the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature for 1.5-2 hours.

    5. BRUSH the pan with olive oil. After 2 hours, punch the dough down (this is called degassing) and place the dough in the prepared pan, stretching it gently with your fingertips to take the shape of the pan. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the top of the dough, smoothing it over the surface with your hands. Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
    Assemble and bake the pizza

    6. PREHEAT the oven to 450°F. Remove the plastic wrap from the dough. Scatter the potatoes over the top of the dough. It’s best if you place them in a single layer so they cook completely.

    7. PLACE the prosciutto on top of the potatoes, distributing the pieces evenly. Drizzle another tablespoon of olive oil over the top and sprinkle with the rosemary, sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper.

    8. PLACE the pizza in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking process. Remove from the oven, slice, and serve.
    Making A Poolish

    Poolish, also called biga, is a pre-ferment that makes baked goods soft, fragrant and aromatic.


    Purple Potato Pizza Recipe
    [1] Recipe #1: A purple potato pizza, grandma-style (photo © Potato Goodness).

    Purple potatoes on a cutting board
    [2] Purple potatoes, originally from Peru, are now grown in the U.S. There are different varieties, some more purple than others (photo © Mona Makela | iStock Photo).

    Cooked Bacon Strips
    [3] Bacon is always a welcome ingredient (photo © iGourmet).

    A Bowl Of Basil Pesto
    [4] Basil pesto provides a flavorful garnish for purple potato pizzas (photo © Looby | iStock Photo).

    Purple Potato Pizza Recipe
    [5] Recipe #2: Sicilian-style purple potato pizza on a focaccia crust (photo © Colavita Recipes).

    Prosciutto Slices
    [6] Instead of bacon (in recipe #1), recipe #2 uses prosciutto.

    Bunch Of Fresh Rosemary
    [7] Fresh herbs are a delicious layer of flavor. Like the basil on a Margherita pizza, add them when the pizza comes out of the oven (photo © Burpee).

    If you’d like to make this recipe with sourdough or poolish, use 100g of either and remove 50g each of the water and bread flour. Simply add the 100g of starter/poolish to the water along with the active dry yeast in the first step. Poolish adds flavor to the crust.

    To make a poolish: In a medium glass or plastic container, combine 50g warm (80°F) water, 50g flour, and 1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast. Stir until the mixture resembles a batter. Cover loosely and allow to rest for 12 hours. After 12 hours, the mixture should be bubbly and ready to use.

    Food Trivia: “Poolish” comes from the old English “polish.” It’s a type of leavening process that originated in Poland, where it initially was used in pastry production; its first mention dates to 1840. As its use spread throughout Europe it became common in bread and became prevalent in French making. Today it is used worldwide. Here’s more about it and other pre-fermentation techniques.



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