Showing posts from 2012

Baked Butternut Squash and Cheese Polenta

I found this recipe through Food and Wine magazine and the other night I had my future parent-in-laws over for dinner and it was a success. Served it with seared sea scallops and roasted Brussels sprouts and it was quite yummy!
I made it again for Thanksgiving and it was just as good. I use 5 minute quick cooking polenta to cut down on the time.

One 2-pound butternut squash—peeled, seeded and sliced 1 inch thick
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the pan
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried sage, crumbled
Salt and freshly ground pepper
6 cups water
2 cups wick cook polenta
Unsalted butter
4 ounces smoked Gouda, shredded (1 cup)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preheat the oven to 375°. Arrange the squash on a large oiled baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, until tender. Transfer the squash to a bowl and mash coarsely. (You should have about 1 1/2 cups.) Spread the pine nuts on a pie plate and t…

Seared Sea Scallops over Shrimp and Truffle Risotto

Scallops are so quick to cook up,I thought this would be a great after work meal to whip up. Turned out great! Recipe from epicurious.

3 8-ounce bottles clam juice
1 cup low-salt chicken broth
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined, diced
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
6 large sea scallops
Truffle oil*
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Bring clam juice and broth to simmer in medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low; cover to keep warm. Heat olive oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shrimp; sauté 1 minute. Using slotted spoon, transfer to bowl. Add onion to pan; sauté until translucent, about 1 minute. Add garlic; sauté 15 seconds. Add rice; stir 1 minute. Add wine; simmer until absorbed, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup clam juice mixture to rice; simmer until liquid is absorbed, stirring often. Continue adding liquid 1 cu…

Vietnamese Shaking Beef

Bo luc lac, or shaking beef, is a yummy and simple Vietnamese dish. Cubes of marinated steak are shaken while cooked, which is where the name comes from. It's served on a bed of watercress, tomatoes, and pickled red onions with a sour vinaigrette. The recipe I used here is adapted from The Ravenous Couple food blog:

Beef Marinade
1.5 lbs beef sirloin cut into 1″ cubes
1 tbs minced garlic
1.5 tbs sugar
2 tbs oyster sauce
1 tbs fish sauce
1 tbs sesame oil
1 tsp soy sauce

1/2 cup rice vinegar
1.5 tbs sugar
1/2 tbs salt

Dipping Sauce
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 ts kosher salt
1/2 ts fresh cracked pepper

1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 bunches of watercress, long stems trimmed
2 tomatoes, thinly sliced

Cooking oil for frying

Prepare marinade by combining garlic, oyster sauce, sugar, fish sauce, thick soy sauce and sesame oil with the beef for at least half an hour, preferably 1-2…

Salami and Pepper Pizzas

This month's Real Simple magazine had a spread on 20 minute dinners and since I'm pretty busy with work, I thought I'd try some of the recipes out. This one was really yummy and super quick and simple!

2 tbs olive oil
4 5-to-7- inch flat breads, naan bread or pocketless pittas (I used naan)
1/2 c marinara sauce
8 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
2 oz sliced salami, cut into bite-size pieces
1 lg bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 cup baby arugula

-Heat oven to 450*F. Brush 2 rimmed baking sheets with oil and place 2 flat breads on each. Dividing evenly, top with marina sauce, mozzarella, salami, and bell pepper. Season with 1/4 tap each salt and pepper
-Bake the pizzas, rotating the sheets halfway through, until the cheese is melted and the flat breads are golden, 8-10 min. Top with arugula.

La Madeline's Tomato Basil Soup

The chain French restaurant La Madeline has a delicious tomato basil soup. It's just pure yummy. I have a recipe that came from a cookbook my friend's parents put together. They got the recipe when it was printed in the Houston newspaper and it is delicious! Plus it's super easy! Made it tonight. It's great with a nice crusty bread.

-Tomatoes, 4 cups (8-10), peeled, cored, and chopped [or 4 cups canned whole tomatoes]
-Tomato juice, 4 cups [or a mixture of tomato juice and vegetable or chicken broth]
-basil leaves, 12-14, + additional for garnish
-whipping cream, 1 cup
-unsalted butter, 1/4 cup
-cracked black pepper, 1/4 tsp
-salt and pepper to taste

1. Simmer tomatoes and juice over medium low heat for 30 minutes
2. Cool slightly, then add basil and purée in a food processor or blender
3. Return to sauce pan. Add cream and butter
4. Stir over low heat until they are blended well
5. Add salt and pepper
6. Serve garnished with basil (optional) [bread goes …

Tandoori chicken with turmeric rice

My fiancé and I were hanging out at our friends pool when we walked by a party grilling tandoori chicken. It smelled so good and we instantly had a craving for it. Later that week, I tried a recipe to make some at home. The recipe is from Epicurious. It was very good and pretty easy. Reid loved the spiciness of it (I added a lot of cayenne to the yogurt sauce).
Tandoori chicken is traditionally cooked in a clay oven, a tandoor. In this version the chicken is broiled.

Tandoori chicken
For spice paste:
1 large garlic clove
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 small fresh red or green chile
1/3 cup low fat plain yogurt
1 tbs fresh lemon juice
2 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground clove

4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 tsp vegetable oil

For yogurt sauce
1/2 cup low fat yogurt
1 tsp fresh yogurt
Pinch cayenne

Combine spice paste ingr…

Whole Foods Copy Kale Salad and Petite Lasagnas

The kale salad from the salad bar at Whole Foods is delicious. My fiancé introduced it to me and a few friends and it is amazing! The dressing is sweet and a little citrusy and perfectly compliments the fresh, slightly bitter taste of kale. It's one of those dishes you don't feel guilty about when you eat a giant portion of it. But it, like everything at WH, can be pricey if you're hooked on it. I tried to look up a copy cat recipe online but wasn't very satisfied with the results. So, I did some investigating (IE reading the ingredients label at the salad bar) and came up with something pretty close.

Whole Foods Kale Salad
1 bunch kale, washed, de-stemmed, and torn into bite-sized pieces
1 c. dried cranberries
1 c. sliced blanched almonds
(the Whole Foods version also has dried apples, but the chewy texture kind of throws me off so I keep it out of mine)

1/3 c orange juice
3 tbs white balsamic vinegar
1/4 c olive oil
1 tbs honey
1/2 tsp grou…

Pesto and Portobella Orzo

Years ago, my mother made up this recipe.  I had totally forgotten about it until one of my friends, Tina, was talking about how she loved it so much and wanted to make it now that she'd become vegetarian.  It is a really simple dish and very tasty.  The measurements might be weird.  I usually make the pesto by taste/feel so I'm kinda guestimating the amounts now.

Pesto and Portobello Orzo
2 cups orzo
1 bunch basil
1/4 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
1/8 to 1/4 c. pine nuts (I put about a handful in)
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil
1 carton sliced Baby Bella mushrooms

Boil orzo according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.Combine basil, parmesan, and pine nuts in a food processor.  Mix while drizzling olive in until you get the consistency you want.  I like a thicker consistency for mine.  Add salt and pepper to taste.Saute the mushrooms in a little bit of olive oil over medium high heat until soft. About 5 minutes.Combine orzo, mushroom, and pesto and warm…

Bun Bo Hue

Bun Bo Hue is a vietnamese spicy beef noodle soup.  Kind of like Pho's spicy cousin.  It originates from the central region of Vietnam, where my dad's side of the family is from.  This recipe is my aunt, Co Be's, recipe and it is deeeeeelicious!  My sister really wanted to preserve this recipe so she had my aunt film a tutorial on how to make it.  See below! Hope you enjoy.

BUN BO HUE FROM CO BE. 20 lemongrass stalks (3 bunches), depending on the size 1 package pork baby back ribs (3 lbs). Co Be only buys pork and beef at the American groceries. 3 packages beef shanks (3 lbs each) 6 beef tendons (bought at the VN store) 2 sweet onions, peeled 1.5 cup of canola oil 4 tablespoons sugar 4 tablespoons garlic powder 1 tablespoons black pepper and about 3 tablespoons of salt, to taste 30 cloves garlic, finely minced About 6 tablespoons nước mắm (fish sauce), to taste. 8 tablespoons red chili powder (buy these at the American grocery store), to taste. Cayenne pepper is fine, but then you shou…

Roasted Vegetable and Beef Moussaka

Moussaka is a Mediterranean dish that is traditionally made with eggplants and ground beef.  I found a vegetarian recipe for roasted vegetable moussaka that I thought looked so pretty with all the different colors, but I also wanted some protein in it so I could eat it as a main dish so I combined it with a more traditional type of moussaka.  The end result turned out very nicely and I'll definitely be making it again.
Roasted Vegetable and Beef Moussaka
serves 6
1 small eggplant, sliced
1 medium zucchini, sliced thickly
1 onion, cut into small wedges
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped coarsely
2 garlic cloves, chopped coarsely, divided
1 lb fresh lean ground beef
5 tbs olive oil
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
salt and pepper
14 oz canned chopped tomatoes in juice
10 fluid oz strained plain yogurt
2 eggs
2 oz feta cheese

Put eggplant, zucchini, wedged onion, bell pepper, and half the garlic in a roasting pan.  drizzle over the oil, toss together, then s…

Pink Lemonade cupcakes

I found this recipe, of all places, in the magazine my utilities company sent me.  I've tried several recipes form their recipe collection of all have been pretty good.  This turned out really good but soooooooo tart! I'm posting the adjusted recipe with cut backs on pink lemonade mix.

Pink Lemondae Cupcakes (24 cupcakes)
1 cup butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/8 cup powdered pink lemonade mix
4 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
cooking spray
Pink Lemonade Frosting

Preheat oven to 340 degrees.Cream butter, sugar and lemonade mix at medium speed with electric mixer until creamyAdd eggs, one at a time, beating until blended after each additionIn small bowl, combine flour, baking pwoder and salt; add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.Beat at low speed until blended after each addition.Place cupcake paper sin two 12-cup muffin pans and coat with cooking sprayBake 12-15 minutes or until …

Spinach and Feta Swirls

This appetizer or side dish is yummy and pretty.  I combined two different recipes in order to come up with this one.  Made this two times now and always very satisfied with the result.

1 lb fresh baby spinach, chopped or 1 10 oz package frozen spinach
1 small onion, chopped finely
4 oz feta
1 egg, beaten
1 tbs. fresh dill, chopped
2 tbs. fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
salt and pepper
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, defrosted

1) Preheat oven to 400F and lightly grease one baking pan.
2) Sautee onion in about 1 tbs olive oil in a large skillet.  Add fresh spinach with just water from leaves and cook for about 2-3 minutes or until wilted.  If using frozen spinach, cook until no longer in chunks.  I've done it with fresh spinach or frozen spinach and I personally think the fresh spinach is easier.
3)Allow to cool.  Drain spinach and onion mixture in a kitchen towel.  Combine spinach, onion, dill, parsley, egg, feta, and salt and pepper.
4)Unfold puff pastry and…

Another food blog?!

I come from a culture where recipes aren't really written down. In Vietnam, girls learn how to cook from watching and helping their mothers, aunts, and grandmothers in the kitchen. Unfortunately, that tradition is hard to maintain when your parents immigrated to the US as war refuges and your grandparents live in France.

But I'm lucky to be able to enjoy food from several different cultures. Vietnamese food we ate at home, American (and also Italian, Tex-Mex, Greek) from eating out and growing up in America, and French food from my grandparents and mother's side of the family who live in Paris.

I wanted to have a place where I can share and keep the recipes I've learned from my mother, family, recipe books, or online recipe sites that I want to remember.  The name of my blog comes from a very special type of Vietnamese salt and pepper called Muoi Tieu Hue.  It's from the central region of Vietnam that my father is from.  It is salt and pepper that is smoked for …