Showing posts from November, 2014

Pho Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup)

I think my immune system is broken.  I usually only get a little snuffle and headache during sick season, but I've been fighting cold after flu after stomach bug for the last few weeks.  So, it's been soup city here in my kitchen.  One really comforting soup I've been craving is pho ga, chicken pho.  Many people are familiar with pho, which is a beef noodle soup.  It's great, I love it, but sometimes I crave something a little lighter.  Pho bo (beef pho) also takes days to make a good broth, whereas I can cook some pho ga even while I'm fighting TheraFlu drug haze.  This is my sister's pho ga recipe, and it is really delicious!  As she has put it, the keys are 1)smashing the marrow 2)using fresh bouillon and 3)using good nuoc mam (fish sauce)

Ingredients 1 yellow onion plus 1/4 more sliced for serving (can also use red onion for serving)4 inches of fresh ginger1 whole chicken2 cubes pho ga seasoning*2 tsp. of 'Better than Bouillon', or 2 cubes chicken b…

La Madeleine Tomato Basil Soup

You know that classic tomato basil soup from La Madeline, the casual French dining chain? Well, it's the perfect meal (with Rustic Rosemary Bread) for when you're fighting the flu or cold, which Reid and I had the joy of doing all last week.  It was also a great way to use up some of by fresh basil, which I'm trying to trim down for the winter.  This a copy-cat recipe that I created by combing two tomato soup recipes I really enjoy.  One was found in a cook book my friend Laura's mom gave me in college, called Survival Cooking for Students.  It was a compilation of easy and tasty recipes that she and Laura's dad had printed.  The recipe for La Madeline's Tomato Basil Soup was from the Houston paper.  The second recipe that inspired this was the Roasted Tomato-Basil Soup from William Sonoma's Soup cookbook.  Both recipes have the option of buying fresh tomatoes, roasting or peeling, coring and chopping tomatoes or using canned.  I use canned because it'…

Rustic Rosemary Bread

Oh man, there is nothing like the smell of fresh baked bread wafting through your house.  So warm, comforting, and delicious!  I've been making a lot of soups lately, so needed to make a few loafs of bread to go with that.  This bread recipe is super simple and there's not much, as in no, kneading involved.  Hurrah!  Don't need a fancy bread machine, just an oven, roasting pan, and if you have one, a baking stone.  If you don't have a baking stone, you can easily just use an upside-down cookie sheet.  Make sure everything is pre-heated.  
I generally add rosemary to one half, and bake the other half as regular white bread.  You can also substitute the bread flour with all purpose flour or whole wheat flour.
Rustic Rosemary Bread Ingredients 6 1/2 c. bread flour3 c. water1 package instant yeast1 tbs. salt2 tbs. chopped fresh rosemary Directions
In large bowl, mix yeast and salt into 3 cups lukewarm water (about 100 degrees).Stir in flour, mixing until dough loose and no …

Banh Xeo: Vietnamese savory crepe

Banh Xeo, which literally translates to sizzling cake, is a savory Vietnamese crepe-like meal.  It's one of my favorite southern Vietnamese dishes.  It's made by using a batter of rice flour, tumeric, and water and stuffed with pretty much anything (shrimp, bean sprouts, pork belly).  There is also a similar dish, called banh khoai, which hails from the central region of Vietnam.  I actually prefer banh khoai, because it's cruchier and smaller but my mom is from the southern region so I'm a little more familiar with banh xeo.  
Like pretty much every Vietnamese dish, it's eaten by wrapping some banh xeo in lettuce and herbs (basil and/or mint) and dipping it in dipping fish sauce, nuac cham.  
This was my first attempt at making it, and I don't think it came out as I'd like.  The batter was way too watery, and I didn't get a good enough fry on it.  I did use a shortcut, and used a pre-made batter mixture from the Asian grocery store.  Live and learn an…