Vietnam Diary 4 (Nhat Ky 4)

I’ve been very calm up to now, but leaving tomorrow for VN after eight years away has me in what a nineteenth century novel might call “a state ofnervous excietment.” I can’t say I’m looking forward to the flight, which involves around 18 hours in the air, with a couple of longish layovers that stretch the trip out past 24 hours. I will be able to avail myself of  the restorative effects of an excellent dim sum restaurant in the Hong Kong airport — I hope it hasn’t changed — which I will definately need at that point, just before I make the jump over to Hanoi, where I will arrive in the late afternoon. It’s a fairly long drive in from the airport, so my plan will be to drop my bags at the hotel, take a walk, have a light dinner and see if I am able to go to sleep. The next morning I’m going to go make some reservations at a cooking school and arrange for a language tutor — poetry will have to wait until Monday!

Xmas-Eve Meatball Sandwiches

I had some leftover spaghetti sauce & some left over turkey sausage, so I made meatball sandwiches last night. For the meatballs, take about a cup of mild sausage, mix in three cloves of finely minced garlic, salt & pepper, some oregano, roughly 1/2 to 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs, & one egg yolk. Mix with your hand, then roll in more breadcrumbs & fry until golden brown. Hollow out the halves of some crunchy bread (I had some asiago cheese bread I’d made earlier), rub the outside with butter, place the halves for each sandwich on foil, slather the bread with lots of spaghetti sauce, cram in meatballs, grate cheese over meatballs, put the halves of bread together & roll them up tightly in the foil. Bake in a preheated 300° (F) oven for 30 minutes. To serve, let cool slightly, unroll from foil, serve with a salad.

Note: I had erroneously been thinking of this sandwich as a Stromboli, which is clearly related, but not the same thing at all. I love it that the Stromboli originated, not on the island of the same name off the coast of Sicily, but in Pennsylvania & was named for an Ingrid Bergman movie! Now I can’t wait to make one. Italian, Mexican, & Asian street food is among the best arguments in favor of open immigration policies I can think of. I mean that seriously.