All three dishes can be baked in the oven together, staggering the cooking time needed by each dish.
Stuffed Sole Fillets
4 large shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 scallion, minced
1 medium garlic clove, minced
½ celery stalk, finely chopped
1 mini bell pepper, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
1 tablespoon chopped chives
Salt and pepper
½ oz oyster crackers crushed
12 oz sole fillets
Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a baking dish just large enough to hold the fish with olive oil cooking spray.
Roll each fillet, jelly-roll fashion, and skewer it with toothpicks and place in the prepared baking dish.
Dot each roll-up with butter and cover the baking pan loosely with foil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for another 10-15 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily when touched with a fork.
Easy Mac & Cheese
No need to make a white sauce to get creamy mac & cheese.
12 oz whole wheat elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 cup sour cream
Kosher salt and pepper
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup Velveeta cheese cut into small cubes
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
Heat the oven to 400°F. Cook the pasta for half the time recommended on package directions; drain.
In a large bowl, whisk together the mustard, sour cream, and 1⁄2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Fold in the onion and the Velveeta.
Transfer the pasta mixture to a greased 12×8-inch baking dish and bake until beginning to brown, 20 minutes.
Remove the baking dish from the oven and sprinkle the shredded cheddar cheese over the top of the casserole. Return the baking dish to the oven and bake until golden brown, 10 minutes more or until the cheese is melted. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Nut-Crusted Zucchini Sticks
1 medium-large zucchini, trimmed and cut into thin wedges
2 tablespoon olive oil
Pinch each of salt and pepper
1/2 cup finely ground nuts (any kind)
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with foil and coat with cooking spray.
Place the zucchini wedges in a ziplock bag with the oil, salt, and pepper. Shake. Add the Italian seasoning and nuts. Shake until well coated. Place the zucchini on the prepared baking sheet and place in the oven. Roast the zucchini for 25-30 minutes until crispy and tender.
Serves 4 to 6
Chipotle Steak Marinade (Make this one day ahead)
Makes 11/2 cups
14-ounce can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes in juice
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 canned chipotle chile en adobo, diced
½ teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
1 flank steak (1 to 1 1/2 pounds)
Taco Herb Topping
½ cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
3 medium scallions, finely chopped
1 medium jalapeño chile, seeded and finely chopped
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon honey or agave
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Marinated flank steak in the sauce
1 tablespoon oil
Taco Herb Topping, recipe above
8 (6-inch) corn tortillas, soft or crispy, warmed
Grated cheddar cheese
For the Marinade
Combine all the ingredients for the marinade in a small (2-quart) saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer 15 minutes. Cool and refrigerate until cold.
With a sharp knife or kitchen shears, cut the steak into 1 inch by 2-inch pieces.
Pour the sauce into a plastic ziplock bag and add the steak pieces. Seal the bag and refrigerate for several hours before cooking.
For the topping
Combine all the ingredients together in a medium serving bowl and set aside.
For the steak
Heat oil in 12-inch heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Place steak and marinade in the skillet and cook the meat for about 2 minutes. Turn the steak pieces and cook the second side for 2 minutes.
For the tacos
I like to place the tortillas in a holder. They are easy to warm in the oven and then fill. Spoon a small amount of sliced steak into the center of each warm tortilla and add a teaspoon of the prepared herb topping. Add additional topping ingredients as desired.
Have you ever ordered fish cooked in a banana leaf wrap in a restaurant? Delicious; and so I thought I would try making such a dish at home.
Banana leaves are very inexpensive to buy – a few dollars for a large pack. Banana leaves come in large, flat plastic bags at your local Asian market or supermarket (check the freezer if you can’t find them on the shelf or in the produce section).
Banana leaves can be used for baking anything “wrapped”, in the same way, you would use tin foil or parchment paper. However, banana leaves are porous (unlike tin foil), so some of the “sauce” or juices from your food item may seep through. It’s, therefore, a good idea to place your banana leaf “packets” in a glass casserole dish, or a tray that has sides on it, so that the juices don’t drip to the bottom of your oven.
Banana leaves serve many purposes, from adding flavor to foods cooked inside them, to simply being used as a colorful and exotic background for serving plates and party platters.
Banana leaves contain large amounts of polyphenols that are natural antioxidants. These are found in many plant-based foods and green tea. Food served on the banana leaves absorbs the polyphenols which are said to prevent many lifestyle diseases. They are also said to have anti-bacterial properties that can possibly kill the germs in food. The leaf wrapping protects delicate fillets from harsh, dry heat.
You can also use banana leaves as a kind of “mat” for barbecuing fragile fillets of fish, smaller shrimp, or vegetables that have a danger of falling through the grill. Simply lay a piece of banana leaf on your grill, then cook your food items on top of it (as you would with tin foil). The banana leaf will turn bright green at first, then brown as you cook. It will give your food a hint of flavor that is very pleasant.
To store banana leaves, simply wrap them in plastic and place them in a ziplock plastic bag and keep in the freezer. Banana leaves only require about 30 minutes to thaw, so this is a convenient way to keep them fresh.
Use scissors to cut the banana leaves into the size you need, depending on your recipe. For wrapping and baking food items, you will need a large “sheet” or leaf. Place enough for one serving in the center of the leaf, then fold like a handkerchief to make a square packet.
Banana leaves are also excellent for steaming, as it allows the steam to penetrate the food inside or on top of it. You can use banana leaves to line a steamer or to wrap your food and then steam it.
Secure banana leaf “packets” with kitchen twine. Or simply place the packet “seam-side” down to keep it from opening.
Caribbean Inspired Fish Wrapped in Banana Leaves
Serves 2. Double the ingredients for 4 servings.
6 navel orange slices, rind removed
2 (6-oz.) sustainable skinless white fish fillets (such as snapper, halibut, or sea bass)
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 (12-in.-square) fresh or thawed frozen banana leaf pieces
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
Preheat oven to 400°F. Place the thawed banana leaves in hot water to soak for 10 minutes. Drain and place on a kitchen towel.
Coat fish fillets with oil and place them in the center of each banana leaf. Stir together salt, coriander, cinnamon, red pepper, ginger, and nutmeg; sprinkle evenly over the tops of the fish fillets. Place 3 orange slices on top of each fish fillet.
Fold each banana leaf piece to enclose the fish. Place packets, folded side down, on a baking sheet or in a glass baking dish. Bake at 400°F until fish is done, about 15-20 minutes. Unwrap and transfer fillets and orange slices onto serving plates. Garnish with chopped cilantro, if desired.
Wild Rice, Almond and Mushroom Pilaf
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup Lundberg wild rice blend
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Half a red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 oz mushrooms, trimmed and chopped
1 chopped celery stalk
2 tablespoons toasted almonds, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoon dry sherry
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Bring the broth, rice, oil, and salt to a boil in a large saucepan. When the liquid returns to the boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer 40 -50 minutes until the rice is tender and the liquid has evaporated. Set aside.
Heat the oil over medium heat in a large nonstick skillet, and add the onion, garlic, celery, and mushrooms. Cook, stirring often, until tender, and the mushrooms have softened about 10 minutes. Stir in the cooked rice and the remaining ingredients. Cook, stirring until the sherry has evaporated. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with the fish.
Honey- Baked Squash
1 large acorn squash (1 1/2 pounds), seeds removed cut into 8 lengthwise wedges
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon honey
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Arrange the squash wedges on a foil-lined baking sheet.
Drizzle the olive oil over the squash wedges.
This entire meal may be baked in the oven together at the same temperature. Just stagger placing the dishes in the oven according to their baking times.
Baked Stuffed Shrimp
2-3 servings. This recipe is easily doubled.
12 jumbo raw shrimp, peeled, deveined and tail-on
1 large scallion, minced
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 celery stalk, minced
Half a jalapeno pepper, minced
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
1 slice finely chopped cooked bacon
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Lemon wedges for serving
Preheat to 375 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
Using a paring knife, cut along the outside curve of each shrimp, from the bottom of the neck to tail, almost all the way through. Arrange the shrimp on the prepared pan, laying them open, cut-sides down, pressing gently to flatten.
For the stuffing
Combine scallions, mayonnaise, celery, jalapeno, breadcrumbs, bacon, salt and cayenne in a small bowl.
Spoon 1 teaspoon of stuffing onto each shrimp. Fold the tail over the filling and press gently.
Bake until the shrimp turn pink and the stuffing is warmed through, 10-12 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and serve with lemon wedges.
Zucchini Au Gratin
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups. shredded cheddar cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
3 medium zucchini, about 2 lbs, sliced crosswise into 1/4” circles
1 shallot, minced
Bechamel sauce, recipe above
To make the Bechamel sauce
Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over moderately low heat. Whisk in flour and cook the roux, whisking, 2 minutes. Add the milk in a stream, whisking, and bring to a boil over high heat, whisking constantly (sauce will thicken). Reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, 2 minutes, then whisk in the salt and pepper Remove from heat and cover the pan.
For the zucchini
Toss the zucchini slices with 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a large bowl or plastic bag. Pour into a large colander and let sit for at least 30 minutes. This will pull moisture from the zucchini so your casserole will not be watery. Dry the zucchini in a kitchen towel.
Preheat oven to 375°F and butter a medium casserole dish. Add a layer of zucchini to the baking dish, overlapping the zucchini slices. Season with pepper and pour about one-half of the cream mixture over the zucchini. Scatter the minced shallot over the zucchini and sprinkle with half the cheese.
Make another layer with the remaining zucchini slices and top with the sauce and cheese. Bake until bubbly and golden on top, 40 to 45 minutes.
Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
If you don’t have garlic-flavored oil, add two minced garlic cloves.
1 (10 oz) container cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons garlic-flavored olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Oven Roasted French Cut Ribeye Steak
1 large sweet onion, sliced
2 tablespoons butter
1 ½ lb bone-in rib-eye steak, frenched
Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper
5 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs rosemary
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
For the onions: In a medium skillet melt the 2 tablespoons butter and add the sliced onions. Cook until golden brown, about 10-12 minutes. set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Season steaks generously with salt and pepper; let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon. oil in a large heavy ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and add the steak to the skillet. Cook until seared and golden brown, 2 minutes per side. Scatter thyme and rosemary sprigs evenly in the skillet and dot with 2 tablespoons butter.
Roast steak in the oven, turning halfway through cooking and basting frequently with the herb butter in the skillet until an instant-read thermometer inserted into steak registers 125° for medium-rare, 12-15 minutes, or to your desired doneness.
Transfer steak to a cutting board. Drizzle with herb butter from the skillet and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice against the grain and divide among serving dishes. Top each serving with some of the sauteed onions.
1 pound small potatoes, cut in half
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 lemon, sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
Place the sliced potatoes in a skillet cut side down. Top with the garlic, thyme and lemon slices. Add salt to taste. Cover with cold water. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 5 minutes. Drain well and reserve the garlic. Return the potatoes to the pan cut side down, add the garlic and olive and cook the potatoes until brown.
10 pkg, frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat until the spinach is hot and tender about 6-7 minutes.
Adapted from an article by Anthony Bourdain in Gourmet.
4 tablespoons butter, divided
4 ounces small whole mushroom caps
1 chopped shallot
2 minced garlic cloves
1 cup of water
½ cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Bouquet garni (wrap two sprigs of parsley, two bay leaves, and a sprig of fresh thyme in a piece of cheesecloth. Tie into a neat bundle with string)
1 pound fresh sea scallops, dried well
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Bread crumbs for the topping
Grated Gruyère or Fontina cheese
In 2 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan saute the shallots, garlic, and mushroom caps until the mushrooms brown and lose their liquid. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
Add the water, wine, bouquet garni, and lemon juice to the saucepan and bring yo a boil. Add the scallops, cover, and remove the pot from the heat. Let the scallops sit in the liquid for 5 minutes. Remove the scallops with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Strain the liquid and discard the bouquet garni. Set aside
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in the saucepan and whisk in the flour. Do not let it get dark. Add 3 tablespoons of the scallop cooking liquid and mix until blended. Over very low heat, blend the flour mixture into the remaining scallop cooking liquid. Add the cream and simmer and stir until blended and thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the scallops and mushroom mixture, and stir.
Fill 4 scallop shells or shallow 6-inch ramekins almost to the top with the scallop mixture. (If you’re not ready to serve the scallops, cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate.)
Sprinkle the top lightly with bread crumbs and top with grated cheese.
Preheat the broiler. Broil the scallops until the mixture bubbles and the cheese melts and turns golden brown.
Save the leftover roasted vegetables for a delicious quiche. Recipe after Christmas.
1/2 cup olive oil
4-5 large carrots, peeled, cut on the bias, about 1-inch thick
3-4 parsnips, peeled, cut on the bias, about 1-inch thick
1 bulb fennel, trimmed and quartered
1 medium red onion, peeled and quartered
4 garlic, cloves, peeled and cut in half
4 fresh thyme sprigs
1/2 teaspoon Maldon sea salt
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cover a large baking sheet with sides in foil.
Heat the olive oil in the microwave until hot. Place the carrots, parsnips, fennel, onion, garlic, and thyme on the prepared baking sheet. Pour the hot oil over the vegetables. Sprinkle with the salt. Transfer to the oven and roast until tender and brown, about 45 minutes.
2 servings. Double the recipe for 4 servings.
1/3 cup plain panko (Japanese dried bread flakes)
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons good olive oil
2 (6- to 8-ounce) salmon fillets, skin removed
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Lemon wedges, for serving
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
In a small bowl, mix together the panko, parsley, lemon zest, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Drizzle with the olive oil and stir until the crumbs are evenly coated. Set aside.
Place the salmon fillets, skin side down, on a plate. Generously brush the top of the fillets with mustard. Press the panko mixture thickly on top of the mustard on each salmon fillet. The mustard will help the panko adhere.
Heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or large heavy, ovenproof pan. When the oil is very hot, add the salmon fillets, skin side down, and sear for 3 to 4 minutes, without turning.
Transfer the pan to the hot oven for about 10 minutes until the salmon is cooked and the panko is browned. Remove from the oven, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve the salmon with lemon wedges.
Crispy Baked Potatoes
4 russet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sour Cream and chopped chives for serving
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Scrub potatoes to remove any dirt or debris. Dry with paper towels.
Poke holes over potatoes with a fork in about 5-6 places per potato.
Coat the outside of each potato with olive oil and salt.
Place potatoes on a baking pan.
Place the potatoes in the oven, and roast for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the potatoes, until they offer no resistance when a knife is inserted in their centers.
Remove the potatoes from the oven, slice them open down the middle, add a tablespoon of butter and sour cream with chives to each one and serve immediately.
Sautéed Leafy Greens
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 lb. leafy greens (kale, chard, or collard greens)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste
Chop the garlic and onions, and then set aside. With a knife, remove and discard the stems. then chop the leaves into small pieces and set aside. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the onion, garlic, and black pepper. Heat for 2minutes, stirring occasionally until onions are soft. Add the leaves and cook, covered, for 3-5 minutes until the greens are tender.
Add salt to taste and serve.
Roast Lamb Chops With Potatoes and Broccoli Florets – the Italian Way
4 loin lamb chops
2 unpeeled Yukon Gold potatoes, about 12 oz total
2 large garlic cloves, sliced and divided
1 lemon zested and cut into quarters
1 cup white wine
2 chopped sprigs fresh sage leaves and 2 sprigs fresh oregano, divided
2 chopped fresh rosemary sprigs, divided
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
Coarse Sea Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
10 oz pkg frozen broccoli florets, defrosted
Place the lamb chops in a plastic ziplock bag, add some salt, the lemon zest, 1 sliced garlic clove, 1 sprig of rosemary, 1 sprig of sage, 1 sprig of oregano, a sprinkle of black pepper, the white wine and 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil. Marinate for about 2 hours turning them occasionally.
Cut the potatoes into long wedges and put them in a bowl or bag with cold water and let rest while the lamb marinates. (This helps remove the starch and creates a potato that does not get mushy).
Using a slotted spoon, drain the potatoes, transfer them to a roasting pan, large enough to also hold the lamb and broccoli; add salt to taste, 1 sliced garlic clove, the remaining chopped rosemary, sage, and oregano sprigs, a pinch of black pepper and 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil. Toss well and roast for 20 minutes at 400 F.
Remove the pan from the oven, tuck the chops in among the potatoes reserving the marinade, and scatter the broccoli florets around the outside of the potato/lamb mixture.
Sprinkle with the lamb marinade and roast another 15-20 minutes, depending on how you like lamb cooked. Serve with lemon wedges.
Vietnamese Americans are the fourth-largest Asian American ethnic group after Chinese Americans, Filipino Americans, and Indian Americans, and have developed distinctive characteristics in the United States.
South Vietnamese immigration to the United States began after the Vietnam War ended in 1975. Early immigrants were refugee boat people, fleeing persecution or seeking economic opportunities. More than half of Vietnamese Americans reside in the states of California and Texas. Other states with concentrations of Vietnamese Americans were Washington, Florida (four percent each) and Virginia (three percent). According.to the 2012 American Community Survey (ACS), 76 percent of foreign-born Vietnamese are naturalized U.S. citizens.
The April 30, 1975 fall of Saigon, which ended the Vietnam War, prompted the first large-scale wave of immigration; many with close ties to America or the South Vietnam government feared communist reprisals. Most of the first-wave immigrants were well-educated, financially comfortable, and proficient in English. Although Vietnamese immigration has continued at a fairly steady pace since the 1980s, the pathway to immigration for Vietnamese today has shifted entirely. As opposed to the earlier history of Vietnamese migration that stemmed predominantly from refugees, an overwhelming majority of Vietnamese are now granted lawful permanent residence (LPR) on the basis of family-sponsored preferences or by way of relatives who are U.S. citizens, at 53% and 44% respectively.
Many Vietnamese Americans are small business owners. According to a 2002 Census Bureau survey of Vietnamese-owned firms, more than 50 percent of the businesses are personal services or repair and maintenance. The period from 1997 to 2002 saw substantial growth in the number of Vietnamese-owned business. Throughout the country, many Vietnamese (especially first or second-generation immigrants) have opened supermarkets, restaurants, bánh mì bakeries, beauty salons, barbershops, and auto-repair businesses. Restaurants owned by Vietnamese Americans tend to serve Vietnamese cuisine, Vietnamized Chinese cuisine or both and have popularized phở and chả giò in the U.S.
While adapting to a new country, Vietnamese Americans have tried to preserve their traditional culture by teaching their children the Vietnamese language, wearing traditional dress (áo dài) for special occasions and showcasing their cuisine in restaurants throughout the country. Family loyalty is the most important Vietnamese cultural characteristic, and more than two generations traditionally lived under one roof. The Vietnamese view family as including maternal and paternal grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins. In adapting to American culture, most Vietnamese American families have adopted the nuclear pattern while trying to maintain close ties with their extended families.
Erica J. Peters, director of the Culinary Historians of Northern California and author of “Appetites and Aspirations in Vietnam: Food and Drink in the Long Nineteenth Century,” says, “The immigrant story is that you miss the foods from your home country when they’re not available and you talk to each other a lot about, ‘Well, how can we make do? How can we recreate some of the flavors of what we had there?’
So, Houston, Orange County, CA and New Orleans became huge hubs for Vietnamese families. The matriarchs were all great cooks and their children had high standards when it came to Vietnamese food. So when they went out to eat in a restaurant, they wanted to have that similar taste or better; otherwise, they wouldn’t eat there.
Common ingredients in Vietnamese cuisine include fish sauce, shrimp paste, soy sauce, bean sauce, rice, fresh herbs, fruit, and vegetables. French cuisine has also had a major influence due to the French colonization of Vietnam. Vietnamese recipes use lemongrass, ginger, mint, Vietnamese mint, long coriander, Saigon cinnamon, bird’s eye chili, lime, and Thai basil leaves. Traditional Vietnamese cooking is greatly admired for its fresh ingredients, minimal use of dairy and oil, complementary textures, and reliance on herbs and vegetables. Vietnamese food is considered one of the healthiest cuisines worldwide
So what dishes did Vietnamese restaurant owners bring to the U.S. with them?
To mention just a few classics:
Pho is a simple staple consisting of a salty broth, fresh rice noodles, a sprinkling of herbs and chicken or beef.
Banh xeo is a crispy crepe bulging with pork, shrimp, and bean sprouts, plus the garnish of fresh herbs that are characteristic of most authentic Vietnamese dishes.
Cao lau is a pork noodle dish from Hoi An that is a bit like the various cultures that visited the trading port at its prime. The thicker noodles are similar to Japanese udon, the crispy won-ton crackers and pork are a Chinese touch, while the broth and herbs are clearly Vietnamese.
Nem ran/cha gio
Vietnam’s bite-sized crunchy spring rolls might not enjoy the same popularity as their healthier fresh equivalent, but they deserve a special mention. The crispy shell with a soft veggie and meat filling dunked in a tangy sauce.
Most Vietnamese dishes are actually really easy to make at home.
Nem ran/cha gio are crunchy spring rolls with a soft veggie and meat filling dunked in a tangy sauce.
Bun bo nam bo is a bowl of noodles without broth, tender slices of beef mingle, crunchy peanuts, bean sprouts that are flavored with fresh herbs, crisp dried shallots, a splash of fish sauce and fiery chili pepper.
Xoi is a bowl of savory sticky rice. Rice is less of an accompaniment to meals in Vietnam and more of a meal itself. The dish comes with any number of mix-ins (from slithers of chicken, or pork to fried or preserved eggs), and always with a scattering of dried shallots on top.
Banh mi Sandwich. The French may have brought with them the baguette, but Vietnam takes it to a different level by adding a combination of cheese, cold cuts, pickled vegetables, sausage, fried egg, fresh cilantro, and chili sauce.
Bbánh flan – a coconut and galangal crème caramel flan
Make this Vietnamese Dinner at home.
Vietnamese Spring Rolls
1 cup shredded cooked pork
1/2 cup dried Asian mushrooms (rehydrate in water for 30 minutes or until softened then finely mince)
1/2 cup cellophane rice noodles rehydrated in water for 30 minutes or until softened then into 2-inch lengths)
1 green onion (trim off ends and slice thinly)
1/2 small white/yellow onion, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon granulated white sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
6 Spring Roll Rice Wrappers
Warm water to rehydrate the wrappers
Vegetable oil for frying
Vietnamese Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Mam Cham), recipe below
In a medium-size bowl, mix together the pork, mushrooms, cellophane noodles, green onions, white/yellow onion, sugar, black pepper, salt and oyster sauce. Set aside.
The dried rice paper wrapper needs to be softened before wrapping. To do this, fill a shallow bowl with warm tap water Take one rice paper wrapper and immerse it completely in the water. Make sure that the wrapper is completely wet. Wait about 30 seconds for the wrapper to soften. It will turn malleable and start to feel sticky and that’s ok.
Put the wet wrapper on a kitchen towel or large empty plate or cutting board. Place 2 tablespoons of filling about 1 inch from the edge of the wrapper, on the side closest to you. Press the filling together.
First, fold the edge of the wrapper closest to you so that it covers the filling. Make sure that this first fold completely covers the filling, and pull the edge of the fold slightly under the filling making a taut, small parcel.
Using both your hands, fold the right side of the wrapper toward the center, stopping where the filling is. Do the same with the other side–fold the left side of the wrapper toward the center, stopping where the filling is.
Continue folding the wrapper by grabbing the enclosed filling and turning it over until it reaches the end of the wrapper. Check all sides to make sure there are no loose ends on the wrapper. This ensures the filling won’t escape when frying.
If you’re not going to fry the spring rolls right away, line them all up on a plate and cover with plastic wrap so that they do not dry up. Make sure that the spring rolls do not touch each other, as they can be a bit sticky and may tear if you need to pull them apart. If not frying right away cover the rolls with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Alternatively, you may freeze the wrapped spring rolls to be cooked at another time.
To bake the rolls
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Make the spring rolls: Pierce each roll with a skewer in a few places to prevent bursting.
Place a rack in a baking dish and brush with vegetable oil. Mix 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil and 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil; lightly brush on rolls. Place the rolls on the rack; bake until golden on top, about 15 minutes. Turn the rolls; bake until golden and crisp, 8 to 10 more minutes.
Serve with Nuoc Cham dipping sauce.
Nuoc Cham Vietnamese Dipping Sauce
Nuoc Cham is a must at every Vietnamese table, no matter what is served. You can use this condiment for dipping meat, seafood and vegetables, and for drizzling on rice. Although it will keep for up to two weeks in the refrigerator, Nuoc Cham is best when freshly made.
3 Thai bird chiles, or 1 serrano chile
1 garlic clove, sliced
3 tablespoons sugar
2/3 cup warm water
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
5 tablespoons fish sauce, such as Red Boat
2 tablespoons finely shredded carrots for garnish
Cut the chiles into thin rings and cut each in half. Place all the ingredients except the carrots in a small serving bowl. Stir well and set aside for at least10 minutes before using. Sprinkle carrots on top before serving.
Yield 1 cup.
Lemongrass Beef And Shrimp Skewers
1 pound top sirloin, strip or ribeye steak
1 lb large shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails intact
Skewers – metal or wooden soaked in warm water
1/3 cup minced fresh lemongrass, white part only
1/4 cup minced shallot
1 red chili pepper, diced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons sweet soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
Finely chopped scallions
Vietnamese Dipping Sauce
Rice Noodles with herbs, recipe below
Directions for the skewers
Slice the steak into small thin pieces approximately 3/4″ square and 1/4″ thick.
Combine all the ingredients for the Marinade. Add the marinade to the meat and mix well. Marinate for at least 1 hour. Insert the meat through the skewers.
Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels and add to the Marinade with the beef cubes. Stir to combine well and marinate for 15 minutes. Thread shrimp onto the skewers.
Heat a stovetop grill. Grill the meat for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until desired tenderness. Grill the shrimp on both sides until they are charred and cooked through.
Place the skewers on a lettuce-lined serving platter. Place the noodle mixture in the center, the skewers on the one side of the plate and spring rolls on the other side.. Garnish the Skewers with bits of scallion and serve with the dipping sauce.
Rice Noodles With Fresh Herbs
3 oz dried rice noodles
3//4 cup fresh bean sprouts
1/3 cucumber, cut in matchstick strips
1/3 cup mint leaves, cut into thirds
1/3 cup Asian basil leaves, cut into thirds
Pour boiling water over the noodles to cover. and stir gently to loosen. Set aside for 30 minutes.. Drain and let noodles sit until dry and sticky about 30 minutes
Gently toss together the bean sprouts, cucumbers, mint, and basil leaves in a mixing bowl. Add the sticky noodles and toss. Add a little salt and pepper.
Place the noodles in the center of the lettuce-lined serving platter and serve with the skewers and spring rolls. Serve the dipping sauce on the side.
For 2 servings
2 whole broccoli stalks
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese grated
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Peel the broccoli stalks and trim off the bottom of the stalks. Spray a baking dish with olive oil spray. Add the broccoli stalks. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil.
Roast until the stalks are fork-tender, 25-30 minutes. Pour cheese sauce over roasted broccoli and serve.
To make the cheese sauce
Combine the ingredients in a glass dish and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Whisk. Heat again for 30 seconds more until all the cheese melts. Let sit a few minutes to thicken.
Sauteed Cabbage And Franks
For a heartier meal, add a side of mashed potatoes.
For 2 Servings
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 cup sliced onions
1 clove garlic, grated
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
8 oz all-beef hot dogs, knockwurst or kielbasa, cut into 3-inch lengths
8 oz or ¼ head of green cabbage, cored and sliced
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons Italian flat-leaf parsley, rough chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the onion and garlic to the pan. Sauté until the onion is tender.
Add red wine vinegar to the pan and mix.
Add the hot dogs and saute for a minute or two.
Add remaining butter, cabbage, paprika, salt, and pepper. Toss to mix all the ingredients together and coat the cabbage with butter and seasonings.
Saute on low heat until cabbage is wilted and very tender.
Top with fresh parsley and crushed red pepper flakes before serving.