After seeing friends post pictures of their Instant Pot creations on social media, I jumped on the bandwagon and bought an 8 quart, which is a bit larger than I had anticipated. Had I waited a few weeks, I could have been one of the 215k that bought the 6 quart for $70 on Prime Day. So far, I’ve steamed chicken (5 minutes per pound under pressure + 1 cup water), made a beef/eggplant stew, bo kho (just cook under pressure for half the time you’d simmer), chicken tinga and tons of hard boiled eggs.
Yeah, hard boiled eggs aren’t hard to do on the stove top, but have you ever had eggshells that peel off as easily as plastic Easter eggs?
Happy new year! I’m not resolving to post more often. This will continue to be an archive for recipes I want to refer back to. My only resolution this year is to brush my daughter’s teeth every night (because we never seem to remember she even has teeth).
Like croquettas, cauliflower souffle is another classic recipe from a beloved family friend. Lighter than a gratin but similarly satisfying, I thought it would go well with my family’s Christmas Eve prime rib dinner. It was a hit! Better yet, it was quick and easy!
Okay, the hardest part was hand-whipping the egg whites, but if you have a larger kitchen than I do and your KitchenAid isn’t tucked into the back of a hard-to-reach cabinet, you could easily use it to whip the egg whites without tiring out your wimpy arm.
We just got back from our belated honeymoon in Peru: a few days acclimating to the altitude in Cusco, 4 days/3 nights hiking the Inca Trail, a few days relaxing at a resort & spa in the Sacred Valley and then New Year’s Even and another few days eating my weight in ceviche in Lima.
I knew the Inca Trail would be a personal challenge but at no point did I ever hit a wall, as I often do while running. Hiking the Inca Trail was an amazing experience: it allowed me the time to reflect on my own life, learn about the history of the Quechua/Inca, practice my terrible Spanish, and take in some crazy views that I will probably never experience again in this lifetime. When we finally arrived to Machu Picchu, I never wanted to leave…except a beer, shower and clean bed (in that order) sounded pretty good. Read more…
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…
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.
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!)
Growing up, my mom often made chao (rice porridge) with shrimp or, if she was in a hurry, we’d have farina and shrimp. I can’t remember when I first had shrimp & grits but I always have a soft spot for it in my belly. My love of grits is well documented.
On our visit to Charleston, Hominy Grill was on my must eat list. When we arrived for brunch, a huge storm the night before had damaged the kitchen and we were sadly turned away. Fifteen minutes later, they were able to magically reopen and our friend sent us back for the shrimp and grits…boy was I glad that worked out! Read more…
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…