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Spaghetti & Meatballs

August 19, 2014 1 comment

IMG_0815.jpg

It was my birthday recently and I told my friends I wanted spaghetti & meatballs. I found a recipe from our reliable friend Smitten Kitchen and as usual, the recipe was a keeper! I used 1/2 pork and 1/2 beef because Whole Foods doesn’t carry veal. I didn’t bother making fresh breadcrumbs–just a combination of Italian breadcrumbs I had laying around supplemented with panko. Our sauce (make sure to double the recipe) was thickened up with tomato paste and doctored up with extra spices. What resulted were some super tender delicious meatballs that got even better over the next week. Read more…

Categories: Italian, noodles, pasta

Mien Xao Cua (Glass noodles w/crab & mushrooms)

November 26, 2013 Leave a comment

Mien xao cua

I have been craving this dish for months…impatiently waiting for crab season to start. Since my brother and I wouldn’t be together for Thanksgiving, we celebrated early with Crabsgiving! (exclamation points required).  I purposefully bought a few extra crabs so that I’d have enough left over to make mien xao cua, a dish my mom used to make for special occasions.

Growing up, my mom’s version was loaded with chewy noodles, crunchy wood ear mushrooms, sweet sauteed onions, cilantro and tons of pepper. She probably used white pepper but my black pepper grinder works a lot better so I used black. I don’t have her recipe but a Google search gave me a rough idea of what to do. Read more…

Pasta with chicken liver & porcini sauce

July 16, 2013 Leave a comment

Liver & porcini tagliatelle

I’ve always loved chicken liver. When my mom boiled or roasted a chicken, she would always set aside the heart, liver and lungs for me (gizzards require a lot more manipulation for me to enjoy). My husband (!), on the other hand, didn’t think he liked liver. He’s said that in the past about many things, including coconut, beets, and green beans. It turns out he just doesn’t like certain preparations (generally American/midwestern) of these items. Mounds does not equal all coconut, beets don’t only come from cans, green beans should never be cooked to a mush.

When Claire’s husband posted about this pasta several months ago, I knew it might be a challenge dish for Joel. But I also knew I’d like it. I finally made it earlier this week and he gave it the thumbs up to put into our meal rotation. That said, it is a rich dish that may be better suited for special occasions, but it takes only 30 minutes to pull together. So you can get fancy without spending much time–and your liver-hater might just love it too! Read more…

Categories: Italian, noodles, pasta Tags: , ,

Khao Soi: Northern Thai Curry Chicken Noodles

May 30, 2012 2 comments

Khao Soi

It has been a busy month of travel (both for work and fun) so I have a lot of catching up to do.

One of the most unforgettable dishes I had when I visited Thailand in 2009 was Khao Soi, a specialty from the northern city of Chiang Mai. It is a soup dish that consists of egg noodles with chicken stewed in a coconut curry base topped with crunchy fried noodles, pickled mustard greens, cilantro and lime. Other variations that I saw included bean sprouts and fresh shallots. One of my favorite things about Thai and Vietnamese dishes is the complex and juxtaposed flavors and textures: hot and cold, soft and crunchy, fresh and pickled, spicy, sour and sweet.

Below are pictures of two amazing bowls I had in Chiang Mai: Read more…

Categories: Asian, food, noodles, 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: , ,

Soto Ayam: Indonesian Chicken Noodle Soup

March 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Soto Ayam: Indonesian Chicken Noodle Soup

The first time I went to the Netherlands, back in 2003, I fell in love with Indonesian food. When I worked for a Dutch company, I made sure to eat Indonesian food every time I visited headquarters, south of Amsterdam. Everywhere you turn, there’s an Indonesian restaurant.

Indonesian food seems to be to the Dutch what Chinese food is to Americans (except for the history of colonization). The best thing about Indonesian food in the Netherlands is Rijsttafel–“rice table”. Its the best way for the novice (me) to sample everything that Indonesian cuisine has to offer. You get a little bit of everything in smaller portions: egg rolls, chicken noodle soup (soto ayam), sates, curries, salads… Read more…

Categories: Asian, food, noodles, soup Tags: , ,

Seared Ahi Tuna w/Cold Soba

October 16, 2011 Leave a comment

Seared Ahi & Soba

Summer doesn’t hit San Francisco until September and October. Lately, we’ve had some really hot (for us) days where I don’t want to do much cooking. This is the perfect meal for one of those days. One bundle of soba noodles is plenty for the two of us, boiled according to package directions and rinsed under hot water. For the tuna, I just seasoned with salt and pepper and seared both sides in a cast iron skillet.

In a large bowl, I put some arugula at the bottom of the bowl and a portion of cold soba noodles on top. I sliced up the tuna and gave it a dab of wasabi. Finally, I poured over some soba noodle soup base and we had dinner!

Categories: Asian, Japanese, noodles, seafood Tags: ,