Archive for May, 2013

Grilled Corn & Sausage Salad w/Parsley-Lime Vinaigrette

May 30, 2013 Leave a comment

Grilled corn and sausage salad with parsley lemon vinaigrette and pickled jalapeños and things.

This is one of those recipes borne from avoiding waste that turned into something we will be eating more often this summer. I had 6 ears of corn, 3 spicy italian sausages and a bunch of parsley that was originally earmarked for a family dinner which was postponed. I didn’t want it to go bad so I pivoted and figured on a grilled corn salad and a parsley vinaigrette based on the more conventional cilantro-lime vinaigrette. I also didn’t have enough lime for the dressing so I supplemented with some lemon from the neighbor’s tree and wine vinegar. I’m sure any herb and any vinegar would do in a pinch. I also had cotija cheese in the drawer and chopped up some Mexican pickles (carrots, jalapenos and radish) for a little something extra. Work with what you have! Read more…

Categories: food, salad, sides, vegetables Tags: , ,

1 more month!

May 29, 2013 Leave a comment

October 2012


In a month, we’ll be getting married!

Categories: food Tags:

4 Years Without Mom: Hawaiian Food (Kalua Pork & Mac Salad)

May 24, 2013 1 comment

1979: Me & mom at the San Diego Zoo

May 14, 2013 marked four years since my mom’s passing. Every year since, my extended family gathers in her memory.  In Vietnamese, we call it a gio. I asked my dad how long we are traditionally obligated to have a gio and he said you can continue to do this as long as you want to honor and remember the person. So I guess this is happening every year. Really, we just say a few prayers, eat and laugh.

Growing up, family gatherings happened every Sunday. As we’ve gotten older, started our own families and, honestly, lost key family members that were our glue, big family gatherings with all of my aunts, uncles and cousins happen significantly less often. I see my cousins that live nearby weekly; I hope that my nieces and nephews remember these gatherings as fondly as I look back on the family meals of my youth. These days, opportunity for the families of all seven of my grandma’s kids to gather is so rare.


Mom and her 5 sisters

I can’t remember whether it was my mom’s 70th or 71st (her last birthday) but she sent me out to pick up tacos because she secretly confessed that she was tired of having Vietnamese food at every gathering. That was a revelation to me!!! We only ordered Vietnamese food because we thought that’s what she preferred! In honor of her request, my cousin, brother and I have hosted a different themed meal every year. The first year I think we ordered a roast pig because I still lived in Chicago and could only fly home for the weekend. The second year, we made Mexican. Last year, I roasted a ridiculous 32 pounds of Korean pork (bo ssam). This year, we did Hawaiian food. I made a more reasonable 9 pounds of kalua pork and cabbage and 3 pounds of macaroni salad. My cousin made cole slaw. We ordered spam musubi, egg rolls, grilled chicken and pork katsu from Phil’s Kitchen in Menlo Park. (Note to self for next year ~3 small trays of meat is good enough. Don’t panic order!)

Kahlua Pork & Cabbage, preshredding

I didn’t shred the pork until right before serving so the meat would retain most of the heat

Mac Salad Read more…

Categories: meat, sides Tags: , ,

Italian Wedding Soup

May 15, 2013 Leave a comment

Italian Wedding Soup

We’re getting married in ~6 weeks! Neither of us are Italian. Do Italians really serve this at weddings? Whatever, the soup is tasty and I wanted meatballs in this week’s soup. I found Ina Garten’s Italian Wedding Soup recipe and made a few adjustments based on what I had, could find at the store, and felt like eating.

On Sundays, I generally make a pot of soup that’s good for ~2 nights of weeknight dinner, 2 portions for the freezer and maybe a lunch or two. The other nights include chopped salad with a grilled protein, family dinners or meals out. This one is definitely going into our weekly soup rotation.

Even better, I’ve found my new meatball recipe. They’re quick and easy (they’re baked in the oven), crispy yet tender inside without being too mushy or too firm. You don’t even have to get your hands dirty–I used a 1 inch cookie scoop. I tested half where I rolled them into round balls and left the other half kind of rough. The unrolled balls had more nooks and crannies to crisp up in the oven for a better texture. Of course, when I threw them into the soup it didn’t make much of a difference at all, so why bother getting your hands dirty?

The surprising thing about this soup for me was the use of fresh dill. As a kid, I remember being mortified that my mom would pull over on the side of the road to pick fresh dill growing out of the concrete. “It’s free!” she would excitedly exclaim while I shrunk down in my seat hoping none of my classmates would pass by. I also remember not liking the taste and begging my mom not to use dill in her soups and fishballs. She told me it wouldn’t taste as good without the dill but always made me a special portion without dill. I might normally skip the dill out of habit but the reviews mentioned that the soup was dull without it. They were right and either I’ve grown up or my taste buds have. Read more…

Categories: food, Italian, soup Tags: ,

Lawang: Afghan braised chicken in turmeric & yogurt sauce

May 8, 2013 7 comments

Chicken Lawang

I really like Middle Eastern food though my experience is quite limited. Sure, hummus, falafel, chicken rice cart, Ali Baba (South SF) and Kabul Afghan Cuisine (San Carlos & Burlingame) are familiar to me but I imagine this is similar to Americans who are familiar with “Chinese” food. You know, chow mien and General Tso’s chicken. I have the Jerusalem cookbook, but I want to learn more, eat more and cook more. At some point, I want to make a field trip to Little Kabul in Fremont, too. Turkey has also been high on the destination list for a while, but the timing hasn’t worked out quite yet.

In search of a recipe for my favorite Afghan eggplant and lamb dish, I found a recipe for lawang, an Afghan dish of braised chicken in a turmeric and yogurt sauce. Joel almost always orders the lawang when we go to Kabul Afghan Cuisine and since we had Greek yogurt (it is now a permanent fixture in our fridge and a permanent substitute for sour cream unless we have guests) and extra chicken legs I didn’t use for the chicken adobo I figured this would be the perfect time to try the recipe. It is so easy and delicious–just takes a bit of patience as the onions and chicken slowly simmer into a velvety sauce. Don’t stir the yogurt in until you are ready to eat it–otherwise the yogurt will curdle. It’ll still taste good but it’ll look a little gross (I learned this when reheating later). Read more…

Categories: food, Greek/Middle Eastern, meat Tags: ,

Catfish Adobo

May 3, 2013 2 comments

Catfish Adobo

Lately, we’ve been having weekly dinners that are hosted on a rotating basis by my cousins and SF family. Last week was our turn to host. I had a few limitations: 1) I had to do most of the cooking ahead of time as I would be coming straight from work. Last minute prep could take no longer than 30 minutes. 2) One person is a celiac so gluten-free (GF) option is a must 3) Another cousin prefers not to eat red meat so a seafood or vegetarian option is not required but nice to have.

Based on the above criteria, I settled on chicken adobo. Because I’m a newbie to GF cooking, I thought adobo would be a great option. I could cook it all the night before and better yet, it would taste even better reheated the next day after the flavors had a day to deepen. All I had to do on the day of was set the timer for rice. Genius! Read more…

Categories: Asian, food, seafood Tags: ,