Archive for April, 2012

Thai Sausage & Coconut Mussels

April 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Thai Sausage & Coconut Mussels

I go through intense food phases where I just can’t get enough of something. The duration is unpredictable and sometimes I get so sick of what I was just obsessed with, I won’t eat it again for a while (my scallop phase scarred me for 3 years). When I was a kid, my mom would eventually catch on to my pattern and try to get ahead of the curve by getting the items in bulk or on sale. If she was lucky, I’d plow through her supply. If she caught me at the tail end of a phase, she’d be stuck with large amounts whatever it might be. A few weeks ago, I was going through several boxes of sumo citrus a week. The season abruptly ended…and now all I can think about is mussels.

I love moules frites at restaurants. I stopped eating them for a bit after Bourdain wrote in Kitchen Confidential that they often sit in their own urine. However, my abstinence was short-lived. I realized that I’ve always enjoyed mussels and never gotten sick…thus, urine or not, I still enjoy mussels.

In any case, my favorites usually include coconut or chorizo in the broth. I’ve never had it with both and was strongly considering it until I remembered I had some Thai sausage in the freezer. After looking up a few recipes on how to clean and cook mussels, I ran out to the farmer’s market for 2 lbs of mussels and some crusty bread to sop up the broth. Read more…

Categories: Asian, seafood, soup, Thai Tags: ,

Bun Rieu (with recipe this time)

April 24, 2012 Leave a comment

Bun Rieu

I’ve already told you about my fondness for bun rieu in a previous entry. I made it once with my mom but never wrote down her recipe. At the time, learning the recipe wasn’t my goal–I just wanted to spend time together. This time, I made the bun rieu myself. Now that she’s not around, I always think about her when I cook.

Bun rieu is very flexible and everyone makes it a little differently. I’ve had it with or without shrimp, pork blood cubes, pork…one time I even had a bowl with a ketchup-based soup base (not recommended! I never ate there again). When I cooked with my mom, we didn’t use any ground pork or crab–just dried shrimp–and we started off by sauteeing the tomatoes and green onions. I cut my onions large because I like the color but don’t prefer to eat them. Years ago, my cousin put quail eggs in which I love but have never seen done anywhere else. I based my personal recipe on what I like and what I grew up with. This recipe is easily adjustable to what you have around and your own personal preferences.

Bun Rieu

I added an extra egg to the recipe below because I want my rieu to hold together a little better than in the picture above. In my sleep, I must have been subconsciously thinking about the loose state of my rieu because I woke up with the memory of my mom instructing me not to stir the rieu so much that it becomes crumbly but to stir it a little so that it doesn’t become a huge raft. Read more…

Categories: Asian, noodles, soup, Vietnamese Tags: , ,

Birthday Feast #4: Peanut Butter Pie #apieformikey

April 14, 2012 3 comments
Pb pie

2014’s pie used chocolate wafer cookies, salted peanuts and sliced bananas

And finally, his birthday dessert.

Joel loves peanut butter. He also loves ice cream. I asked him which one he loved more and after some thought, he answered peanut butter. With that, I knew I’d finally make the peanut butter pie–the one that moved so many people to make pies for their loved ones.

This pie was so simple, didn’t require any baking and wasn’t too sweet for my tastes. I really enjoyed putting it together. The morning after his birthday party, I topped a piece of pie with sliced bananas. He looked at me and said I have to make this again next year. I’d say that’s a success! Read more…

Categories: sweets Tags: ,

Birthday Feast #3: Roli Roti Porchetta & Roast Pork Loin Sliders w/caramelized onions

April 13, 2012 3 comments

Porchetta & Pork Loin Sliders w/Caramelized Onions

This is where the pictures get even more incomplete! Above are some sliders I made with a mix of leftover porchetta, roast pork and caramelized onions the next day for hangover lunch. If I had arugula, I would have added that too.

If you’ve never had a Roli Roti sandwich before, get yourself to San Francisco’s Ferry Building on a Saturday for one–yummy roast pork belly wrapped around pork tenderloin and spices with arugula and caramelized onions on a crusty roll. They published their recipe for porchetta a few months ago, but at 7 lbs of meat, it was definitely something I needed guests to help me finish. Through some miscommunication with the butcher at the Asian market who didn’t speak the same language as me, my 5 lb piece of pork belly came in two pieces and my 2 lbs of pork tenderloin also came in two pieces, which resulted in a bit of a franken-pork roast. Compounded by the fact that I’ve never tied meat before, it was a bit messy (but it was fine): Read more…

Birthday Feast #2: Baked Potato Casserole

April 10, 2012 3 comments

Baked Potato Casserole

The only picture I have of the baked potato casserole…right before I popped it into the oven.

I discovered baked potato casserole at an airport in Texas (either Dallas or Austin) earlier this year. I was hungry and knew I wouldn’t get to eat for another 2-3 hours. I didn’t want fast food and had had my fill of BBQ’d meats. I really just needed a snack and saw “baked potato casserole” listed as a side at one of the BBQ places…intriguing! I got an ice cream scoop-sized serving and the hunger monster was sated for a few hours.

I knew Joel would love this. As I mentioned, in the last post, we don’t eat a lot of potatoes at home. If I didn’t make it for his birthday, we’d have to wait until Thanksgiving before this would have another opportunity to make it on the table. Its decadent, a little over the top, and stick to your ribs delicious. Read more…

Categories: sides, Southern, vegetables Tags: ,

Birthday Feast #1: Jalapeno Popper Dip

April 9, 2012 2 comments

Jalapeno Popper Dip

Last weekend was my boyfriend’s birthday. To celebrate, I thought he’d enjoy some comfort foods  that he doesn’t often get living with a Vietnamese Californian. Our standard weekday meals are kitchen sink salads, soups or noodles. Creamy dips are usually relegated to the Super Bowl or other milestone sporting events where I know other people will help us enjoy the gluttony. Potatoes almost never make it into the rotation unless I am thickening a soup in lieu of cream. Dessert? I definitely make bake but dessert around here is usually whatever fruit is in season.

In forthcoming posts, you will see a baked potato casserole, roast pork loin, a Roli Roti-style porchetta, caramelized onions, and a peanut butter pie. The food isn’t very well documented as we had friends and family over while I was finishing up. Much like I don’t like to spend too much time documenting food when I eat out, I would much rather spend time chatting with friends than taking the perfect photo (or any at all, in some cases). Read more…

Categories: appetizers, bacon, dip, food Tags: ,

Lion’s Head Meatball Soup

April 8, 2012 Leave a comment

Lion's Head Casserole w/vermicelli noodles

My first three years out of college, I lived in the East Bay. The dot-com boom had yet to bust and living in San Francisco was an unaffordable dream. During that time, I ate out a lot and fell in love with a little Shanghainese restaurant that is sadly now closed–Claypot Seafood House. Until I started eating here, my exposure to Chinese food was limited to dim sum (which I love) and your American Chinese staples (which I really dislike).

At this restaurant, I discovered xiao long bao–juicy, broth-filled dumplings that are so good I can easily inhale an entire serving on my own (and believe me, I have). I discovered that I liked Chinese food–I just didn’t like the greasy, fried, brown-gravy sort that I ate growing up. And I discovered Lion’s Head Meatball Soup–tender braised meatballs with sweet, melt-in-your-mouth napa cabbage in a meaty, mushroomy broth.

It had been years since I’d had this lovely soup. I’ve had this recipe bookmarked for a long time but never got around to making it. After a friend posted a picture of her lion’s heads, I knew I had to make it for myself. Read more…

Categories: Asian, meat Tags: , , ,