River Ego or River Entertaining?

Ah. Memorial Day weekend.  Sadly, this lovely 4 day weekend is over.  We went camping on the Russian River with some friends and had an amazing time. It’s been a while since I’ve slept in a sleeping bag in a tent, in fact, I can’t remember the last time BUT it was awesome.  We campfire’d, we smore’d and best of all, we canoed all day on Saturday.  On the river in a canoe, coasting and paddling. It was so fun.  Rory and I had a blast. 

Rory went on the trip last year without me, unfortunately, but I heard about all this amazing food everyone had eaten and I was bound and determined to make something that was amazing on a camping trip.  As I was frantically, yes it was frantic…did we not read “bound and determined”…looking for what to make on the river I hopped over to a blog I love, Cuisinerd, she always has great LA insights and is always working on fun projects. Anyway, her most recent post was about Bánh mì’s…the sandwich of the summer and I knew that was it.  Contained yet fun and fresh and, lest we forget, impressive.  WHAT if I could bust out Bánh mì’s ON THE RIVER when we stopped to eat?  What if?  How amazing would that be.  And let me tell you…it was awesome.  I was even asked, while I was constructing this little guys for everyone, “Was this for the group or your ego?” and, if I answered honestly…it was both.  I had set out to do a ‘blow your mind’ kind of meal and I thoroughly enjoyed making sandwiches for everyone.  I love this sh!t. So much.  I wish I could show you a picture but on the river, electronics get ruined.  Just know, I had 16 happy canoers on beach happily eating my fresh little sandwiches.

These are pretty tasty sandwiches, and they are pretty customizable.  You can make ’em as hot or mild as you want. I tried Cuisinerd’s quick pickle recipe but used black radishes first and left them out overnight and they smelled and tasted funky…so I started over with a different recipe and they were awesome.

River Bánh Mì’s
adapted from Cuisinerd’s recipe here

Ingredients
French baguette
Sliced roasted Ham
Pâté of choice (we use chicken with black mushrooms and a vegan terrine)
Mayo
Quick-pickled julienne carrots & daikon radish (recipe below)
Sliced jalapeños
Julienne cucumber
Cilantro
Sriracha

Directions
1. Slice baguette leaving a hinge on one side.
2. Coat one side with mayo and the other with pâté.

3. Begin to layer – we went ham, pickles, cucumbers, jalapenos, cilantro then sriracha…you can put as little or as much on these guys.

Quick Pickled Carrots & Diakon’s 
I used a modification of this recipe, we all know how I like to modify pickles! (I can’t help it…I can, but don’t want to)

 
Ingredients
1 medium daikon radish, julienned…which is hard, so get as thin as you can
3 carrots julienned, see above
2 whole garlic cloves

For the brine
1 tablespoon
mustard seeds

1 teaspoon
whole black peppercorns

1 1/4 cups
cider vinegar

3/4 cup
water

1/4 cup
granulated sugar

2 tablespoons
kosher salt

1
bay leaf
 
Directions
1. Layer your veggies tightly in a 1-quart glass jar, leaving about 1/2 inch of room at the top. We went carrots, radishes, carrots, radishes and so on.  I could have/should have used more veggies. Set aside.
2. Make the brine – I forgot to toast the mustard and the peppercorns, this would have added more flavor so I’d suggest you remember but if you don’t, don’t stress…pickles were still good. In a small saucepan add all of the ingredients and stir until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Bring to a boil.
3. Immediately pour into the jar, covering all the vegetables completely. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Seal the jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake or rotate it to really mix it all up. Store in the refrigerator for at least 1 day…then move to a cooler you hope will remain cold and hope for the best! (OR preferably leave them for 1 week before using. The pickles can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 month)
 
I can’t forget to mention that we did pickle-backs with my leftover pickle juice. NOM. Do you know what a pickle-back is?  It’s a shot of whiskey followed by a shot of pickle juice and it’s AWESOME.  We used Bullet Rye.  Sheesh.  Adults on a camping trip!
 
What did you do for Memorial Day? 

the persistent drip

Life does amazing things.  It’s oftentimes serendipitous.

ser·en·dip·i·ty (sĕr’Ən-dĭp’ĭ-tē) n. pl. ser·en·dip·i·ties
1. The faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident.
2. The fact or occurrence of such discoveries.
3. An instance of making such a discovery.
 
Or it’s just chance.  I’m a believer I think in former rather than the latter but sometimes we have to just raise our hands and go with it.  I think things happen for reasons, I embrace the hard or bad as much as I revel in the amazing and great.  Lessons are not always easy to understand or see or even digest but they are always there.  There is always something to gain from experience. 
 
I just read an article on backstage.com, for those of you who don’t know, this is an online (and print!) publication for actors.  There’s advice coloumns, there’s audition notices, there’s class reviews/suggestions/ideas, op-ed pieces…. it’s one of those entertainment professionals trade publications.  I get emails ona regular basis some I enjoy, some are eye-roll worthy – it happens to the best of the best.  ANYWAY, Jordan.  This article was about gaining success like Edie Falco (here if you want to read).  It was talking about how this woman worked her but off doing showcase after showcase and off-off Broadway productions, loving her craft and working the multitude of jobs actors tend to do to make ends meet.  Then, she got to read a new play, then she got cast in said play, then the play went to Broadway and now she is the Edie Falco we know and who has this great acting career with constant work.  The author speaks of actors too green and impatient, reminds us that this career takes a lot of hard work, a lot of persistence and a whole sh!tload of patience.  
“Time. Give it generously to yourself. Embrace the journey—ruts and rolls included.
Patience. Determination. More patience. A dash more of determination. That’s how success is achieved – however you define your success.
It’s the persistent drip that cracks the stone.”
It’s hard not to compare yourself to those around you.  To see their successes and wonder what you did wrong to not have that same opportunity.  Each and everyone of us is different, we have different paths, there’s different reasons different things happen to each of us.  And, quite frankly, if it was so easy…everyone would act. You get to play pretend for a living. This article reminded me that it takes work, that it takes time, that it takes a strong spine to keep doing and trying.  I say to people all the time, you have to keep moving forward.  What am I doing to move forward?  How do I make the most of what I’ve got, what time allows and what I want?  I know I have these little “life realization” moments over and over again. I think they’re good for me.  I just have to keep moving and make it work. 
 
On these theme, I also read an interview yesterday with Kris, the woman behind Young Married Chic.  And the thing that popped out at me and resonated was when she was talking about blogging: 
 
“Biggest obstacle you’ve overcome since starting YMC?
I think most bloggers would say the same thing- you reach a point where you question giving up blogging because (you think) no one is reading your site and you are wondering why you are doing it. If you push past that moment, I think you will find that amazing things can happen.”
 
 
Speak to my soul world!! “Push past that moment…” I want to, it may take me a little time but, I’ll get there. Thanks for sticking with me. 
 
xo