The recipe for Vietnamese Po'Boys (p117) was one of the first recipes I came across while first flipping through the book, and I knew this would be soon on my list. She had me at mayonnaise and Sriracha.
The first step in crafting this sandwich is to make the Soy-tan Dream Cutlets (p294). This is a cutlet recipe using both tofu and vital wheat gluten (VWG). It's one of the simpler cutlet recipes I've encountered, and now that I've got the hang of it, I think I could have a fresh batch in 20-30 minutes. The "hang" is getting the right consistency for the dough. I followed recipe instructions, eyeballed the dry seasonings, and used drained (not pressed) firm tofu. The first time out of the food processor the dough was definitely too wet to form the "cylinder" needed to slice into six equal parts. I returned it to the food processor and added more VWG, 1/8c at a time until the consistency seemed to lend itself to a "dough." All told, I added an additional 3/4c of VWG, double that called for in the recipe as written. It was still a tad sticky, so I added a dusting of flour to the cutting board and all was well. USER ERROR UPDATE: As I assumed, the stickiness was no fault of the recipe's, it was completely user error in my lack of noticing that it's 6 oz of tofu, not the full package. So, I wound up doubling the recipe, just not knowing I was doing that at the time.
I cut into six equal parts and rolled each out between wax paper using a rolling pin. If you don't have a rolling pin, don't worry about it! You can definitely get away with using a drinking glass or even your hands if you're not going for a "perfect" shape. As you can see, I wasn't going for that myself since I planned to slice the cutlets into strips. I sauteed in a cast iron skillet, because, well, everything is better in a cast iron skillet.
While those were working, I cut the veggies for the po'boys and Asian Slaw (p74). Since I mentioned it, a few notes about the slaw. The instructions read to marinate the slaw for two hours. This will definitely enhance the bold and delicious flavors of the dressing, but mine was in the fridge for about an hour. Other changes: I used red radishes rather than daikon; minced jarred ginger rather than fresh grated; canola oil rather than grapeseed; and subbed bagged slaw mix for the napa cabbage as suggested. I also doubled the recipe as a whole, which resulted in just the right balance of dressing to slaw.
With the slaw ingredients getting acquainted in the fridge, I finished off the cutlets and made the dressing for the po'boys using Vegenaise, the ONLY mayo worth having, in my not so humble opinion. Here I will note that my grandmother cannot tolerate the least amount of heat, so I did not add the Sriracha to two of the cutlets nor to the first round of sandwich dressing. I did, however, add the fresh lime juice and used that on the sandwich I made for her. Her review is that "it's THE number one sandwich [I've] ever had!" And I would suppose a woman of 93 years has had many a sandwich in her day. So, you can definitely modify the heat in the po'boy recipe to suit those with more delicate palates.
I went on to add the Sriracha to the mayo/lime juice mixture and the optional jalapenos to the other two sandwiches, which were served on whole wheat sub rolls, in place of the baguettes listed in the recipe. After being this verbose, I can honestly say I was left virtually speechless. What resulted was truly one of THE best sandwiches either of us has ever tasted. It's a bit of a fog at this point, but I believe there was a lot of "wow," and "oh my god," and "damn this is GOOD." Or something like that. In fact, with Mr. V's plate served, I told him to go ahead and get started while I put mine together. By the time I returned, his entire plate was EMPTY. The slaw was absolutely the perfect accompaniment to the sandwich. This was a restaurant quality meal--straight from the home kitchen.
Bottom line, MAKE THEM. Make the slaw. In all the book's glory, and even this soon into the game, I can firmly avow this entree is worth the book, all by itself. I cannot WAIT to have these again. Thankfully, there's enough left over for another two sandwiches and servings of slaw. First one to the fridge WINS.
--The Divine Miss V