Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sunday Lunch at An Nhau Vietnamese Restaurant

How lucky are we ?!
We get to visit our baby sister at An Nhau Restaurant, with such charming decor and most importantly, delicious dishes. Talk about a pleasent welcome, she ran to me with open arms , so adorable! ! ( wonder if she greets everyone that way )
We decided to sit in the open garden surrounded by cozy gazebos and bamboo. Oddly the weather worked out for us in the month of November. Here I will share what we ordered:

Shrimp Summer Roll served with peanut * traditional sauce

Salt * Pepper Crispy Calamari

Shaken Beef Cubes with Watercress serve with
side of sliced lime and S*P
( squeeze the lime juice into the S*P dish and dip the beef cube, a nice twist and a first for me )

Caramelized Pork Belly, delicately sliced .served with pickle greens

do i need to say more.... just that i'm getting hungry posting this.

Slow Drip Espresso with Sweet Condense Milk

A little bird told me something lovely is going to happen to the Garden*
Definitely Returning..

For location information and to view the complete An Nhau Menu ,click HERE*

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dried Beancurd Pork Barley Soup - Fu Jook Tong

I think this is the best soup I ever made! This was the first time I made it and I think I nailed it! I wish I can say the same of all my dishes. The results vary a lot especially when working with new ingredients. I love this soup and all its wonderful ingredients. Chinese soup is so enjoyable and simple to make.
Ingredients: A
  • pork neck - parboil first
  • dried shitake mushroom - soak until soft
  • gingko nuts
  • pearl barley
  • garlic
Ingredient: B
  • dried bean curd sticks -break into desire size ( i like it 1-2") break into bits for creamy texture - soak until soft.
In pot of boiling water add ingredients A, bring to boil again then let it simmer for 20 minutes.
Add * B , the softened beancurd sticks (skin, sheets - there so many variations, looks like a stick and I will call it a stick)
Simmer for 30 mins on low flame.

Seasoning : salt , white pepper , and oyster sauce.
First taste..starts with the bold flavors from the pork and mushroom, then you get the great textures of the barley and gingko nuts and finally a creamy finish with the soy bean curd, some of it melted in the soup.
How lovely ..

This is actually also a base for a very popular dessert,
just remove the pork, mushroom, garlic
and add rock sugar!

Top Chef thoughts

I know. There isn't even a new episode and I'm posting and it's only Tuesday. BUT! Checked the Bravo site today and saw this:
Why do they do this? This obviously is a recent party and why is Kevin the only one there. Perhaps because he is the WINNER??? Why do they do this?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

I spoke to baby cookng yesterday and she did not mention the password. I've started to feel bad about calling her out so publicly. To her defense she has posted on the blog in the last 10 days and I love that she asked me for my recipe so here goes...
This is a great cookie base for chocolate but you can add any of your favorite cookie items. My favorites are callebut milk chocolate chips and pecans. A few years ago during the holidays I added peppermint bark which was a big hit! I must warn that if you like cake-y cookies with a dry crumb, you will not like these. These are crispy and chewy, perfect for the Cookngs.

  • 1 1/3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 stick soft room temperature unsalted butter
  • 1/4 stick cold margarine
  • 3/4 cup golden brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • chocolate chips, a few handfuls (I personally do not like a lot of chips)
  • couple handfuls chopped pecans
  1. preheat oven to 350
  2. sift dry ingredients together
  3. cream butter, margarine, sugars with mixer on med until creamy
  4. add vanilla and egg to butter mix
  5. incorporate dry ingredients with mixer on low, add in a third at a time
  6. fold in chocolate chips and nuts
  7. bake for 10 to 13 minutes depending on your oven, start watching them after 10 mins, they are done when edges are brown
My favorite cookies are these and my friend Kristen's oatmeal cranberry cookies. I had to beg to get the recipe from her so you know, its super top secret which means I can't post it. If you're lucky enough to be her friend, you would know about these cookies.

Happy holidays!!!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Chocolate chip cookies

Baby cookng has requested my beloved chocolate chip cookie recipe. It has been a few days and I haven't given it to her yet. She hasn't told me what the secret password is. She doesn't even know that she has to give me a password for it. In truth, this is a test to see how grossly negligent she has been to this blog because if she reads this, she will know she needs to give me the password. Will she know what the password is? Maybe she can ask the other cookng that has been living at a retail store on Madison Ave. This blog misses the triple shift workaholic cookngs.

Hey, don't you guys love Molly? Because if you do, you would read and contribute to this blog. In fact, Molly's new word is "mamawhydoesn'tyeeyeethreeandfivewriteontheblog"

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pasta tossed with Marmite & Butter and Chinese Greens

A good friend shared one of his favorite marmite recipes, pasta with butter and marmite! Nice and simple. Sounds good to me! Here is a quick simple healthy lunch I whipped up one day. It was very good, the flavors were great together with the freshness from the greens, the deep flavors from the sausage, marmite sauce and a nice kick from the white pepper.
Why don't you give it try..
  • pasta of choice ( here i used macaroni)
  • butter
  • marmite
  • snow peas
  • baby bok choi
  • chinese sausage ( lop churn)
  • salt and white pepper
Start with the pasta.
While the pasta is cooking, steam the greens and sausage together until done ( sausage a little longer then the greens)
In sauce pan , heat the butter and marmite together
When pasta is done, drain, return to pot and toss with desire amount of marmite & butter mixture.
Add the cooked greens and sausage.
Season with salt and pepper.
All Done .....Molly would say...
and a thank you to D.Corio for the birth of marmite and pasta for me.
Such a versatile dish ....what to do next...hmmmm.....

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The freezer

I've been giddy all day. Partly because I had a nice lunch date with the hubby on a rare day off with the munchkin at day care. But really because I salted 2 whole chickens and a rack of baby back ribs and threw it all in the freezer. I went to Trader Joe's and bought 2 packs of Empire kosher chicken, you know the one that's a whole chicken cut into 8 pieces and some ribs. The ribs were in place of pork neck bones. I can only find those at the Asian market and figured the ribs would work for soup just as well. I got home and broke open the chicken, took off the skin, trimmed the fat rinsed and dried. Then I poured kosher salt into a bowl and got to work. I salted, wrapped and bagged the chicken into portions for chicken rice. Then I did the same with the ribs. Then I spent the rest of the day thinking about what soup I was going to make with the ribs. Maybe I'll make sae mae tong? Maybe I'll make Lisa's soup again. I also thought a lot about the salted chicken and how it was going to be so easy to make chicken rice on one of those work nights that I'm exhausted. I'm so giddy. Think I'm going to go to 99 Ranch and get some more bones to salt next week. Should I salt a fish while I'm at it?

Top Chef thoughts

Now that was an episode!! Finally some good all around excitement and cooking! I liked all the dishes and the elimination challenge. I thought using the Bocuse d'or platform was really exciting and of course the all star panel added to the overall buzz! Like all foodies, I just LOVE Thomas Keller. He just opened a Bouchon here in LA and I can't wait to go. Its not French Laundry or Per Se but it'll do. The man himself is so gracious and commands respect in such a warm and fuzzy way. He was a great guest panelist! This is also the first episode where I'm compelled to talk about the food. Everything looked so delicious and thoughtful. I was even impressed by Eli who unfortunately had to go home. You know it is getting towards the finale when Tom starts praising everyone instead of throwing confused looks. It seems that Michael V. got put in his place after being overconfident. Loved how Kevin won cooking food Michael cooks on his day off. Just love that Kevin, always sincere with his cooking. Jen finally got her mojo back and it was cool when Padma said "Welcome back" at the quickfire. When she is at her best, her food really is the most interesting and sophisticated. Hopefully she will continue on this upswing and maybe even win as I predicted??? Brian's food was exciting even though it wasn't executed so well. Its a good thing his food is not like his personality. I often wonder if he is capable of showing any more emotion than a member of the queen's guard. Hey Brian! Boo! snoooze.
I'm starting to feel the sadness that comes on towards the end of the season of a show I love. Although not as profoundly sad as for the finale of BSG, btw Ellen is going to join the cast of Heroes!! Ok, I'll stop before the tangent goes too far. I just hope top chef masters airs right after the Vegas finale!! We know that Marcus Samelsson (sp?) will be one of the cheftestants!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Shanghai Nice Green Bo - #2

Another Sunday visit to Green Bo. We can't help it everything on the menu sound so delicious we must try them all. Can't wait to try their Rice Cakes.
Here we started with an cold dish of aromatic beef (chilled sliced five spice marinated beef tendon ), side with roasted sesame oil jelly fish ( crunchy and slippery with hints of sesame oil and vinegar).
Gave Soup dumplings a rest ordered Wonton soup instead ( the wrap just melts in your mouth)
Dry stir fry string beans with pickle greens.
Fish Belly in brown sauce.
All good except the fish was a bit on the sweet side.

Nice Green Bo Shanghai Restaurant - Click for the full MENU *

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Top Chef thoughts

I really enjoyed last night's episode for a few reasons. There was a week's hiatus with last week's boring reunion dinner so there was more anticipation than usual. I'm also a big fan of Nigella Lawson, even though I think she would be more beautiful without all that botox. The biggest reason of all? ROBIN FINALLY GETS BOOTED!! I mean, she was just horrible and really did not belong in the competition.
I think I've given up on Jen, sigh. She was my favorite but has totally let me down. She has totally lost her mojo and is totally sabotaging herself to get sent home. The only thing worse than sucking is giving up.
Even though the challenges have been entertaining, I've yet to see them really take advantage of being in Vegas. Where's the glitz?
Next week's goner? A no-brainer, Eli. Well, unless Jen continues to be a debbie downer.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

the march...

I love the penguins on the bottom of the page!!! We;re marching to food!!! Let me I the little gray fuzzy one?!

running back with open arms...

So I'm back! I've been away at the world of fashion, but alas! I came running back to the food and restaurant world! I realize that I love talking about food way more than fashion.
So what's new?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The List for the Curious

Ever wonder what the ingredients are in your favorite chinese dish?  The range of chinese cooking ingredients is daunting even to me who grew up eating chinese food.
I've stumbled upon this very useful list and hopefully it will be helpful with your cooking or just eating out
Sunflower Recipes is the Blog's name and I very much enjoyed it!
Here is a list of Chinese Ingredients which you will find in authentic Chinese cooking.

 Hopefully I will find more list like this for all types of cooking!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Flu flu go away!

I'm so sick. This flu has kicked my behind since Sunday!! I'm so miserable but much better after having some homemade congee with salted pork bones, dried scallops and preserved duck egg. Congee/jook is a constant topic with the Ngs and today is no exception. Lisa has been keeping me company virtually and insisted I post the recipe, even as simple as it is. It made me feel so much better and I am having a second serving as I type this entry. I heart jook!
  • 1 cup rice
  • 13 cups water
  • salted pork bones
  • dried scallops (soaked and re-hydrated) a handful
  • salt to taste
  • 3 preserved duck eggs (available at most Asian markets)
Bring to boil in large pot, rice, water, bones and re-hydrated scallops. Simmer on low until desired consistency (you have to watch the pot; stir often so the rice doesn't settle on the bottom). Add sliced preserved duck eggs right before serving. Serve with chopped scallions and thin slivers of fresh ginger.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Bitter Melon ( Gourd ) Carrot Pork Soup

Flu Season is here ...eck! What do we have in the tool bag to fight this nasty ailment ?
Visit the Doc for the Flu Shot , excercise , daily vitamins , Purell, ignore it button , Mothers, don't touch anything or anyone..( I personally need to work on this list )I do know a delicious and very beneficial way!
Mama's Bitter Melon Soup!
This is another soup with healing powers, packed with vitamins and rich in nutrients.
The star of this soup is the Bitter Melon. To learn more click here*


2 Bitter Melon - Clean , cut in half , scoop out the cotton like seeds and cut into 1-2" bite size
( to ease the bitterness rub salt on the melon and let it sit for 15 mins, it really works)
Pork Ribs - 1/2 lbs
1 lg Carrot - chop in chunks
Goji berries - hand full
Red dates - hand full
Ginger - 1 knob
Garlic - 1 clove
White pepper
Fish sauce
Oyster Sauce

Start a pot of water, bring to boil and add all ingredients.
( parboil the pork to remove impurities before adding to the pot)

Bring to a boil then let it simmer for 1 hour. I added a dash of fish sauce ,white pepper and oyster sauce.

How good does this look!
Had this with rice and oyster sauce on the side for dipping.
Bowl of goodness with the unusual bitter flavor ( almost like black tea bitterness) it can be strong but the fish sauce mellowed it out. Hints of sweet & tangy flavors from the carrots and herbs and of course there's the ribs..mmmmmmmm

** Soup is tastier the next day**

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Chinese Steamed Minced Pork with Dry Salted Fish

Here is another family favorite an authentic Tai Shan's dish -steamed minced pork with salted dried fish..Some like to use other surprise bits like dried squid, scallop, mushroom, salted duck egg, water chestnut, there's more can't think of now ( fill me in on what I missed).
I was given a bag of goodies on the day I visited mama Ng..thanks mom!
In the bag, she has given me a salted yellow croaker, what to do it! straight to the butcher and got what i needed.

salted fish
ground pork
corn starch
fresh ginger - thick slivers
dried shitake mushroom - chopped
white pepper
sesame oil
soy sauce

Wash the and slice the fish. Lined the bottom of the plate with ginger place the fish and cover with rest of ginger. Drizzle oil and steam until done. something smells fishy.....
While the fish is done remove from steamer and let it cool. Mix together the pork, mushroom, scallion (white part ),cornstarch , sesame oil, white pepper, let it sit until fish is cool.
When fish is cool to touch remove all bones and add in to the mix along with the ginger and oil the fish was steamed in.
Steam until done.

Drizzled light soy on top and serve with rice and steamed chinese broccoli.
This can be fried aswell but I prefer this way with the juice mixed wth the rice ......
mmmmm you know what I'm talking about..remember the tapping sounds of the chopsticks cleaning the last bite of tummy is growling as I'm writing this.. :)
 I believe this is traditionally made with Mui hurn - a salted dried fish with finer taste and texture.
Tastewise .....yup good old fashion Mui Hurn wins!

We can never get bored of this old time favorite.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Top Chef thoughts

I've delayed my thoughts perhaps because of lack of inspiration? The whole episode was just lukewarm for me. The quickfire was okay and predictable. The elimination challenge was a total let down particularly the quality of the dishes put out. How many of us knew that Natalie Portman was going to say that she was a vegetarian? I guess the poor chefs didn't see that coming since they were not privy to a preview of the coming episode. It was clever to set them up in a steakhouse just to give them a vegetarian challenge. So going back to the caliber of the food....everything was so BORING! The dishes were so incomplete. Where were the grains? beans? pasta??? I mean come on! Remember the beautiful vegan (far more challenging conditions) dishes that came out on Top Chef Masters? I have to say that I think Mike V. should have won. The only reason Kevin won was because after having so many wimpy little dishes, his was the most substantial and satisfying, obviously a big deal from the comments at judge's table. Once again we were thrown at judge's table. You all know I'm a Jen C. fan but she really deserved to go home again. What happened to her?? She needs to bring back the side ponytail and some sass! Poor Mike I. I was beginning to like him. Certainly Robin deserved to go home before Mike. Don't you think?? 85% of viewers want to see her gone!