Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Vietnamese Eggrolls

Growing up, we always made egg rolls for special most if not all of our special occasions.  My mom would always make the meat mixture and us kids would sit and help roll hundreds of miniature eggrolls.  These were always such a hit!  I loved eating them right off the fryer and I couldn't get enough since they were so bite sized.  I finally decided to make them myself with a rough guide from mom.  They turned out just as good and I couldn't be any more proud!


Makes ~ 80 eggrolls

2 packages of egg roll wrappers - Can be found in refrigerated section at Asian market.  I like these ones because it is just the right size for my mini eggrolls.  They come in packs of 50.  You can get the larger ones and cut them into quarters though.














1 bag of Chinese dried fungus - this is basically dried mushrooms.  Any brand will do.  You will only use about 1/4 of the bag.  Soak dried mushrooms in water for about 10 min and finely chop. If you don't like mushrooms like me, you can't even taste it but it does add a significant amount of good flavor.   I wouldn't skip on this but you can.   Trust me, I do not like mushrooms but these are essential.



















1 pound of ground pork 
1 pound of shrimp finely chopped 
7-8 carrots shredded - just discovered the wonders of my food processor.  no more hand shredding!
1//4 cup of finely chopped white onion or desired amount
1 bundle of bean thread noodle- (not cooked) The package comes in multiple bundles.  I use one and roughly cut them so they are shorter













1 tablespoon of sugar
1 tablespoon of fish sauce
3 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons pepper 
(or you can eyeball and salt and pepper like I do)
1 beaten egg for sealing the eggroll

1.  Mix all ingredients together by hand - get messy!
2.  Fill your eggrolls!

Start by positioning the wrapper in a diamond shape.
Place about a tablespoon of meat in the middle bottom of the wrapper.
Rub some egg on all 4 corners of wrapper.
Fold bottom corner up and tuck under a bit.
Fold in each of the sides one at a time.
Roll up and place eggroll seam side down to let the weight secure the seam

3.  Fry the eggrolls!  I use about 2 inches of vegetable oil in a deep skillet or pot.  Fry until golden brown or when they float up to the top.

4.  Enjoy!!!!!  You can enjoy wrapped with lettuce and Vietnamese Nuoc Mam sauce.


Nuoc Mam sauce recipe

1/2 cup of water
1/2 juice from lime
1 thai chili pepper minced (optional)
3 garlic cloves minced
2 tablespoons of sugar
4 tablespoons of fish sauce 

1.  Boil water
2.  Dissolve sugar and lime in water - taste to see if you like the limemade flavor and adjust accordingly
3.  Add in chili peppers, garlic and fish sauce.  Mix and adjust to taste.

I usually ad a tablespoon of this Chili Paste if I don't have the chili peppers.  It is not that spicy and adds a great flavor.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Creamy Mac and Cheese

I love how this mac and cheese recipe is super creamy and just the right amount of cheese; which is a lot!  Warning:  This is not for a person trying to count calories.


Ingredients


  • 1 - 16 oz bag/box of macaroni elbow pasta 
  • 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar (Or any type of shredded cheese like colby jack, moneterrey, etc)
  • 16 oz heavy cream
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream
  • 1/2 cup of bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons of butter 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
1.  Preheat oven to 350F
2.  Boil noodles according to package instructions and strain
3.  In a large bowl mix together the hot noodles, cheeses, and sour cream
4.  Spread noodles in a 9x13 baking pan
5.  Pour milk and heavy cream evenly over the noodles
6.  Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat and brown bread crumbs
6.  Top macaroni with bread crumbs 
7.  Bake for 30 min and serve! 


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Super Moist Carrot Cake Cupcakes

One of my fave desserts of all!  Carrot cake.  I decided to make cupcakes this time after a failed attempt of the actual cake this weekend.  Trust me, these will be sooooo freakin delicious if you are a carrot cake lover.  One trick I learned from a friend of mine who is an avid cupcake baker is to freeze the cupcakes overnight and then frost the next day.  It supposedly locks in the moisture.  These beauties are super moist and delicious; just the way I like them!




















Preheat oven to 350 F

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1- 8 oz can of crushed pineapple (drained)
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 7-8 carrots grated
1. Beat all of the above ingredients until smooth
2. In a separate large mixing bowl, mix together:
  • 2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 cup of pecan chips (you can sub for walnuts or skip nuts)

    3. Mix flour mixture with your wet mixture

    4. Fold or stir in pecans
    5. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 20 min or until toothpick comes out dry

    Freeze overnight and frost when you are ready!  

    Cream cheese frosting 

    Ingredients:
    • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter (1 stick)
    • 1 - 8 oz package of cream cheese
    • 2 cups of powdered sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1.  Beat butter and cream cheese until smooth
    2.  Beat in vanilla extract
    3.  Slowly add in powdered sugar and mix until smoth

    Wednesday, June 15, 2016

    Puff Pastry Tarts

    I recently made these for a baby shower and they were quite the hit! One of the guests commented that she preferred it over the cake! This recipe is super easy too.

    Ingredients:

    1 box of frozen puff pastry (thawed)
    1/2 pound of strawberries thinly sliced or 1 container (about 1 cup of blueberries)
    1 packages of cream cheese softened
     6 tablespoons of sugar 
    2 tablespoons of vanilla
    1 beaten egg for brushing
     Powdered sugar for dusting

     Recipe: Make the cream cheese spread
    1. Cream together the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla (electric stand mixer is best)
     Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

    1. Unwrap the frozen puff pastry and cut into rectangles. When you open it up, they will already be sectioned into long rectangles. Just cut them in half crosswise.
    2. Lay the puff pastry onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
    3. Using a fork, poke holes in the pastry so it can soak in the cream cheese spread.
    4. Using a pastry brush (or spoon if you don't have one), brush the outer rims of the pastry with egg (about 1/2 inch)
    5. Spread the cream cheese mixture inside the rim of the pastries.
    6. Place sliced strawberries or blueberries on top of the cream cheese spread.
    7. Bake in oven for 15 -17 minutes.
    8. Sprinkle some powdered sugar over the pastries and serve!

    Monday, September 22, 2014

    Melissa's Homemade Granola with Dried Cherries

    My wonderful coworker Melissa made this delicious homemade granola for me postpartum to enjoy with some Greek yogurt.  She brought over the granola and yogurt along with some exceptional scones to enjoy the next day for breakfast.  I became obsessed with the granola and begged her to share the recipe.  I've been eating granola and yogurt for breakfast nearly every day for the past three weeks now.  Never gets old.  This recipe is so easy and smells so yummy baking in the oven.  You can definitely experiment with different nuts and dried fruit/raisins too.  I have used dried cherries and dried cranberries so far.  Also, feel free to also up the cinnamon; I love cinnamon so I use a little more than recommended and I also add a pinch of nutmeg.   The first time I did not have coconut so don't worry if you skip it.  Enjoy!

    Ingredients:

    4 cups of old fashioned oats
    1 cup of almonds (sliced or whole depending on your preference)
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1 tsp cinnamon
    3/4 cup of coconut
    1/4 cup of honey
    1/4 cup of oil
    1/2 cup of dried cherries (I used 2, 5oz packages)

    1. Preheat oven to 350
    2. Combine first 5 ingredients
    3. Heat oil and honey in a small saucepan
    4. Pour oil/honey over the dry mix and stir
    5.  Spread granola over a large baking pan sprayed with some Pam
    6. Bake for 20 minutes
    7. Let cool for at least 1 hr 
    8. Break up and finally add your fruit.  Enjoy and store in an air tight container! 

    Fried Rice

    Fried rice is just so easy to make and the ingredients are fairly simple.  Just choose your protein or go plain with just veggies.  This recipe is sure to satisfy your hunger and cravings. If you want to a do a veggie fried rice, feel free to add in other veggies like broccoli, snap peas, green beans, etc.  Add some fried tofu if you have the time!  (see my chow mein recipe for instructions on how to fry tofu)  The picture shown is my fried rice with Chinese Sausage (Lap Xuong)

    Ingredients:

    2 cups of cooked white rice (I use Jasmine rice)
    1 tablespoon of sesame oil
    Vegetable oil
    1/2 bag of frozen carrots and peas thawed
    1 bunch of green onions chopped
    1 medium white onion chopped
    2 cloves of garlic minced
    Soy sauce (I probably end up using about 1/4 cup if that)
    Salt and Pepper to taste
    6 eggs

    Step 1 - Prepare the eggs
    Some people like to cook the egg right into the rice but I prefer it this way.  You are more than welcome to just scramble the eggs when you are almost done with frying the rice.

    1. Whisk eggs in a large mixing bowl
    2. Heat a medium skillet medium high and coat with oil.
    3. Using a ladle, pour enough egg to just coat the pan to form a thin layer.  Swirl the egg around to cover the area of the skillet.  Flip using a wide spatula if necessary.  
    4.  Place cooked egg layer on a plate.
    5.  Repeat ladle process.
    6. Once you have all your thin egg layers piled on top of one another, use a knife to roughly cut strips.  This is easier said than done.  I usually just use the side of the spatula to cut down.  Kind of like cutting into cake layers.  You want to end up with 1 to 2 inch egg ribbons.  Set aside.
    Step 2 - Cook your protein.  You may skip this if you just want veggie fried rice.

    Chicken:
    1. Cut about a pound of chicken into 1 inch strips.  Season with salt and pepper. 
    2. Coat with about 1 tablespoon of corn starch.
    3. Heat oil in a skillet medium high heat and cook your chicken.  Set aside and add to cooked fried rice.  
    Shrimp:
    1. Peel and devein about a pound of shrimp.  Season with salt and pepper.
    2. Heat oil in a skillet medium high heat and cook shrimp until opaque.  Set aside and add to cooked fried rice
    Chinese sausage:
    1. Cook according to package directions.  If you cannot read the directions b/c it's in Chinese...
      1. Boil sausage for about 5 minutes.
      2. Heat a little oil in skillet over medium high heat and continually roll sausage around for about 5 minutes with some soy sauce.  Cut into small pieces and set aside to add to cooked fried rice. 
    Step 3 - Fry the rice

    1. Heat about 1/8 cup of vegetable oil  and sesame oil in a wok on medium high heat.  You'll want enough oil to cover the rice so you might want to add more as you go.  Better safe than sorry to be on the low side.  
    2. Carefully add in your onions and garlic and saute for a few minutes. I like to use a heavy wooden spoon throughout this frying process.
    3. Spoon in your rice and keep tossing; coating rice with the oil.  You may add more if you see that the rice is sticking to the bottom of the wok.  Be careful not to over oil. 
    4. Douse rice with soy sauce until and continue stirring; add enough soy sauce to get the "color" of fried rice.  Keep stirring!  Make sure you continuously bring the bottom to the top so that the rice keeps from sticking to the wok.  Trust me your arm will get tired.  
    5. Add in your peas and carrots.  Salt and pepper to taste.  I probably use about 1 tablespoon of salt but I just eyeball it and keep tasting to get it just right.  
    6. Add in your egg and serve! 


    Thursday, July 31, 2014

    Dad's Chicken Chow Mein and Stir Fry

    One of my favorite dishes my Dad makes is his chicken chow mein stir fry.  We serve it at every party and it's a hit.  It's one of those dishes that I can't get enough of, filling my belly beyond its capacity.  I've made it a few times before and each time was just not as good as Dad's, but this time, I did it right.  I think it was the result of putting the right ingredients together.  Prep and cook time was about an hour and a half.  Well worth it!

    *UPDATE* - A friend of mine, Katherine did this recipe and sent me a picture.  It looked amazing and she reported that it turned out delicious.  She substituted the Chinese broccoli for broccolini, which can be found at any grocery store.  

    Ingredients:
    1 package of egg noodles (pictured right...you can pick any brand)
    1 can of bamboo shoot (pictured right) - slice the bamboo into 1 inch pieces
    1 small onion diced
    2 bunches of Chinese Brocoli (gai lan) - leaves chopped into 1 inch pieces, and stems sliced thin
    3 medium carrots peeled and shaved with a peeler
    1 block of fresh tofu - medium firmness (you can buy this at an Asian supermarket)
    2-3 chicken breasts sliced into ~ 1 inch pieces
    Soy sauce
    3 cloves of garlic minced
    Salt
    Pepper
    Garlic Powder
    Corn starch

    Fry the tofu
    1. Cut your tofu block into 1/4 inch slices.  Then cut halfwise to make little squares.
    2.  Heat a pan on high with enough oil to submerge tofu slices (about 1/2 inch deep)
    3.  Fry the tofu and drain excess oil on a paper towel lined plate.
    4.  Cut the tofu lengthwise to make 1 inch skinny strips.  Set aside. 

    Prepare the noodles
    1.  Boil the noodles according to package directions.  My entire bag only took about 5-7 minutes.  You can test it by taking a noodle out and eating it.
    2.  Drain noodles.
    3.  Heat a large pot with some oil.  Saute the onions and garlic.  Add in the noodles and continuously stir, shaking in some soy sauce periodically.  Get it to the consistency you want with the soy sauce.   Stir around occasionally about every 2 minutes to get a good sear.  When you are satisfied with the noodles, transfer to a bowl and cover with foil.  Note:  the noodles are not intended to be crispy

    Prepare the chicken
    1. Place chicken in a bowl, and add in a generous amount of salt and pepper for taste.
    2. Coat with corn starch. 
    3. In a wok, heat a good amount of oil (about 5 tablespoons).  You don't want the chicken to stick to the wok, so don't be scared to use more oil.
    4.  Add in the chicken and stir fry, only stirring every 20 seconds or so.  You want the chicken to get a slight browning on the edges.
    5.  Remove the chicken and keep oil in wok.  Set aside in a bowl and cover with foil to keep warm.

    Prepare the Veggies
    1. Add your Chinese Brocoli, carrots, tofu, and bamboo into the wok.
    2.  Pour about 1 cup of water into the wok.  Cover with a lid for 10 min on med heat. 
    3.  Stir the veggies in wok for about a minute.  Push veggies off towards the middle to expose a well of liquid on the side of the wok.  Add in about 2 tablespoons of corn starch to liquid to make a thick gravy.  Stir all the veggies to distribute "gravy".
    4.  Keep adding corn starch in this manner to get the desired consistency you want.
    5. Finally, add in the chicken and stir to mix everything evenly.  Add in salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste.  Don't be scared of the salt but beware of over salting.  Keep tasting til you get the flavor you want.  I added in a tablespoon of oyster sauce and a splash of rice wine vinegar and sesame oil.  Don't worry if you don't have these.  It will be delish either way.  

    Enjoy
    1.  Prepare a bowl with the desired amount of noodles.  Top it off with the stir fry mix and enjoy!