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Showing posts from September, 2014

Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream

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Lately I've been on an ice cream making kick.  It was pretty hot in August and ice cream was a perfect dessert.  Now that I've got some ice cream making skills under my belt, I've started trying to tinker and create my own recipes.  Ice cream is one of those great things to mess with, because most ice creams start with a normal base and then you can make whatever creative concoction you can dream up.

I've been tossing around the idea of making a cafe sau da, or Vietnamese ice coffee, flavor but I wasn't sure how well condensed milk would freeze.  Awesomely enough, my cousin chi Khanh brought these concentrated base of it to a family gathering.  It's made by Lee's Sandwich, a chain of banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich) fast-food restaurants.  I used the triple shot formula for this recipe.  All in all, it turned out really good but it wasn't quite as sweet and strong as cafe sua da.  I think it's just the inevitableness of having cream and sugar as part …

Smoothies

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Smoothies, breakfast of champs!  It's hard for me to get Reid to eat breakfast. He likes something on-the-go that won't cut into snooze time. I like getting fruits and veggies into our day somehow.  I was made aware of how bad we were at getting at least 3 servings of fruit/veggies a day when my friend, Dalia, headed up a Facebook get healthy in 30 days challenge. We were given points for healthy choices and it made me aware that the days I didn't drink a smoothie, I wasn't getting enough fruits or veggies. 

We have a really nice blender, a Blendtec, which makes smoothies a breeze in the morning. I can drink one before (or if I'm running late, carry to) work and leave one for Reid by the door to drink on his way to work. The Blender Bottle really helps break up that weird crust that forms if you don't drink a smoothie right away, so it's my choice for on-the-go smoothies. I even tried the Dr. Oz 3 day smoothie cleanse (because you can do anything for just 3 …

Cheese 101

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A few weeks ago, Reid and I went to a Cheese 101 course at Antonelli's Cheese Shop.  Antonelli's is an awesome cheese shop that is about 5 blocks away from our house.  Obviously, we eat a lot of cheese from there.  Sometimes we just visit and talk to the cheese mongers, who are really knowledgeable and friendly.  It's much smaller in selection than the typical fromageries I'm used to in Paris, but that's a benefit because it doesn't stink!

Any way, I dragged Reid to one of their cheese courses for a date night.  We ate a lot of cheese.  And learned a lot about cheese.  Maybe got too much info about cheese regulations going on right now.  Reid thought 2 hours about cheese was way too extensive.  I was happy, though, because, come on, eating cheese!

Tamara's Chicken Fried Steak

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Reid and I spent the weekend in Abilene, visiting his parents, sister's family, and grandma.  I snatched up the opportunity to learn how to make a good chicken fry and to buy an awesome couch off of Abilene Craigslist.  Yay!  The kitties, Cleo and Alex, were recovering from their recent spays so I couldn't pester them too much.  Did get to check out the Paramount theater for a showing of Indiana Jones and drive around town.  It was a great weekend hanging out with Reid's family.

I really wanted to learn how to make a good chicken fry(ied steak), because it's one of my favorite things to order at southern comfort food restaurant.  Reid has let me know there is good chicken fried steak, and there is bad chicken fried steak.  I really had no reference point because my mom never made chicken fried steak.  Surprise!  I think Luby's has a good chicken fried steak.  Pretty much any place with chicken fried steak on the menu is good to me.   Boy was I wrong!  I learned the…

Macarons

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A few months ago I decided to try my hand at French macarons.  I used a recipe from Martha Stewart and made chocolate mint macarons and chocolate hazelnut macarons.  It was pretty dark in my kitchen the night I made them, so sorry for the poor quality photos!

These were a lot of work, especially with grinding my own almond flour, and soaking/peeling filberts.  Why are hazelnuts (aka filberts) so flipping hard to work with!  Luckily, I used a simple technique I learned thanks to the internets and blanched the 1 c. filberts in 1 c. water and 1 tbs baking soda.  The skins came off much easier.

These macarons would have totally been worth the usual $3 price. Even at the best Austin macaron store, Cinnamons Bakery.  We miss you Cinnamons Bakery! Oh Chef Loic from Cinnamons Bakery, why did you have to have a heart attack and die?!   He was our favorite Texas transplant from France.

Now I have to spend 8 hrs of my own day trying to whip some up...

Basic Recipe for French Macarons
Ingredients

Vietnamese Pork Chops

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There's a broken rice specialty restaurant in Houston that we go to almost every time I'm home.  Thuan Kieu Giang Com Tam has delicious broken rice and meat (or tofu, or egg rolls, or fried egg, or Vietnamese pork roll/cha lua...) dishes.  It inspired me to try a Vietnamese-style pork chop.
Most com tam dishes are served with lettuce, pickled shredded carrots, and tomatoes.  I did not have any com tam, or broken rice bits, so I just used Jasmine rice.  I bought some beautiful 1" pork chops from the SFC Triangle Farmer's Market to grill.  Marinating the pork chop in a fish sauce marinade really imparts a Vietnamese flavor and caramelizes the pork chop once it hits the grill.  Veterinary school has perpetually freaked me out about under cooked pork (no tritrich for me!), so I like to finish the chops in the oven until an instant read thermometer hits 145*F.
Recipe adapted from Epicurious
Vietnamese Pork Chops Ingredients 1/3 c. brown sugar1/4 c. fish sauce2 tbs rice vine…