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Smoked Whitefish Dip

October 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Smoked Trout Dip

I lived in NYC for a summer on the Upper West Side. At that time, I didn’t cook because I had ten short weeks to take in all that the city had to offer. I knew I wouldn’t be moving there long-term, so I had to take advantage of the time I had. One of my favorite snacks in my neighborhood was the whitefish dip from Zabar’s. I could finish the container with some pita chips in one sitting. Costco also sells a 1 lb tub that is a bit much, so when I got the craving today, I figured it out for myself.

You can use any smoked fish for this recipe, but I used trout. I was home alone for the weekend and ended up finishing the entire batch in about 24 hours. Read more…

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Categories: appetizers, dip, food, seafood, snacks Tags: ,

Peach Salsa

September 9, 2012 Leave a comment

Peach Salsa

A few weeks ago, we had friends over for taco night. I made a batch of carnitas, tacos al pastor (which I’ll share with you in another post), pickled carrots & jalapenos, crunchy tomatillo-avocado salsa and peach salsa.

Peach salsa may sound a little weird but I wanted something different. I thought a fruity salsa would go well with the tacos al pastor (I was totally right) and it was prime peach season. Sadly, peach season is almost over but there’s always next year… Read more…

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: ,

Spicy Parsley Hummus (from dried chickpeas)

July 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Spicy Cilantro Hummus

I read somewhere that the best hummus is made from dried chickpeas (not canned) and I now have to agree. We’ve made hummus before from canned chickpeas and though it was good, it was never great.

This batch originated from dried chickpeas (from Berkeley Bowl) and I have to admit it isn’t much harder…you just have to remember to soak the chickpeas overnight. Or maybe my new 9-cup processor just makes it easier to make a big batch of hummus than in my mini food processor, when everything would inevitably overflow. Whatever it is, we’ve found our hummus mojo.

Since Joel likes spicy hummus, we threw in a serrano pepper which wasn’t spicy enough…so we added chili pepper powder and chili pepper flakes to bring up the heat. I also had parsley leftover from the pasta puttanesca and added two fistfuls of that to the food processor. Read more…

Whiskey Chicken Liver Pate

February 16, 2011 Leave a comment

Whiskey Chicken Liver Pate

For my family’s Tet celebration last weekend, I brought pate, cheese and sliced baguettes. I grew up eating a lot of pate and several years ago, my parents sent me a recipe for Vietnamese pate that I never got around to making…until now. I pulled out the recipe but one of the ingredients was indecipherable (the only translation was fog…I asked my aunt who originally sent the recipe and she had no idea either!) So I found a simple recipe online.

Adjustments: I don’t drink bourbon but I do drink whiskey so used that instead. Next time, I would at least double (maybe even triple) the black pepper and add a pinch more salt. Vietnamese pate is very peppery and I missed that flavor in this version.

It makes quite a bit of pate…we had about 40 people over and a little over half of that container was eaten. I also had a small container at home.

p.s. It kind of made my dishwasher smell like wet dog but the taste is worth it! Read more…

Categories: appetizers, Asian, dip, meat, snacks, Vietnamese Tags: ,

Fish Tacos w/Crunchy Tomatillo-Avocado Salsa

June 7, 2010 6 comments

Fish Tacos w/crunchy tomatillo-avocado salsa

We’ve been watching a lot of Rick Bayless’ Mexico One Plate At A Time. Joel was looking through Bayless’ online recipes and found his recipe for crunchy tomatillo-avocado salsa and that was the base for our dinner. We didn’t really know what we wanted for dinner but the prospect of working with tomatillos (a new product that my mom once grew but that I had never worked with myself) got us excited. We had three tilapia fillets in the freezer and just had to run to the Mexican grocery for fresh corn tortillas and ingredients for the salsa.

The salsa was great! Spicy, tangy and creamy. The only modifications we made for the salsa were:

  1. Only using one serrano chile (it would have been crazy spicy otherwise)
  2. Omitted the onions (I hate onion breath)

The fish was seasoned with chili powder, salt, pepper and cumin and grilled on the stovetop. I would recommend 1 fillet per person (we had a full fillet left over for breakfast tacos, which you’ll see next).

Crunchy Tomatillo-Avocado Salsa

Crunchy Tomatillo-Avocado Salsa

Grilled Tilapia

Fish Tacos w/crunchy tomatillo-avocado salsa

Finally, this isn’t the first Bayless recipe we’ve made…take a look at the halibut ceviche from April!

Categories: dip, Latin American, seafood Tags: , ,

Eggplant & Portabella Caponata

May 30, 2010 1 comment

Roasted Eggplant & Portabella Caponata

The other night, I had dinner at Union Pizzeria (Evanston, IL) with a friend. He has self-imposed diet restrictions that I can’t keep straight so I just err towards vegetarian options when we eat together. I really like Union’s pizzas as they are light and fresh. They also have a great beer and wine list and the open space reminds me of San Francisco restaurants.

One of the things we ordered was eggplant caponata. I had no idea what to expect (and no idea what a caponata was) but we ordered it anyway since we both like eggplant. Obviously I really loved it because I made a HUGE batch the next evening! I based my version on these two recipes from New York Times and epicurious.

At Union, I liked the caponata so much, I put it on top of our mushroom pizza. Thus, I figured adding portabellas to the caponata would probably taste good. Ultimately, I ended up using:

  • 2 roasted eggplants
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1.5 white onions (because I found a half in the fridge)
  • 3 portabellas
  • 1 bunch basil (chiffonade)
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp capers
  • a handful of kalamata olives
  • 14 oz. can of chopped tomatoes (including the juice)
  • red wine vinegar
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • sugar

It makes a GIGANTIC batch, but I’m so happy eating it, I really don’t care. Also, it just so happens to be vegan (at least I can’t think of anything that would make it not vegan). For dinner, I warmed sliced baguettes in the oven, made bruschettas and enjoyed them with a few glasses of wine. For breakfast the following morning, I mixed the caponata with some leftover whole wheat shells I found in the fridge. Sprinkled some cheese on top…yum!

Roasted Eggplant & Portabella CaponataRoasted eggplant

Roasted Eggplant & Portabella CaponataSauteeing everything together

Roasted Eggplant & Portabella CaponataAdding the roasted eggplant binds the whole thing together

Roasted Eggplant & Portabella CaponataYUM!!