Category: Condiment

Spring Roll Party

A great way to spend an afternoon with friends and family is to invite them over for a culinary adventure!  I asked two of my friends, Gene and Hong, to walk me through Vietnamese spring roll making, and they both agreed to educate and share their experience with me.      

 To save money and time, Gene, Hong and I decided to share the task and cost of preparing some things at home the day before doing the spring rolls.  I boiled two pounds of shrimp, Gene BBQ’d a pork loin, and Hong brought some fried tofu from a local vendor.  Here’s how Gene and I prepared our stuff…     

 Gene’s BBQ’d Pork Loin     

  1. In a ziploc bag add ground black pepper, garlic powder and a squirt of Sriracha hot chili sauce.
  2. Add loin to mix and shake it up
  3. Marinade for1 hour
  4. Grill, sear and smoke the loin
  5. Add BBQ sauce at the end

Yvette’s Shrimp Boil      

  1. Thaw a 2 lb bag of frozen shrimp, devained and shelled
  2. Boil water and add shrimp with shell on
  3. Scoop the shrimp out when they float to the top (small strainer helps)
  4. Let them cool and then peel off the shell

(I could have put some Cajun spices to the boil but I didn’t think of it)     

On the day we planned to make these spring rolls, we first went to an Asian supermarket, and for me this was the intimidating part!  Most staff are willing to help but the easiest way is if you have an Asian friend to take you on a small tour. (Thanks, Hong!)  This author was surprised to discover fresh and inexpensive herbs there!   Compare prices at your local Asian market vs. regular grocery store and be amazed!  

Here’s how we did all the prep work the day of of spring rolling…     

 Peanut Sauce Prep     

  1. Saute 4-5 shallot cloves, chopped
  2. Once the shallots are caramelized, throw in 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  3. 1 cup of hoison
  4. 1/3 of a jar of peanut butter
  5. 1 cup of water (or as much as desired in thickness)
  6. Dash of rooster sauce or Tabasco sauce to taste

Rice Noodle Prep      

  1.  Boil the rice noodles or bun (pronounced like boon) for about 5-8 minutes for a softer noodle
  2. Separate the noodles in small clumps in a large strainer for easier pickin’s
  3. Rinse the bun two times in cold water

Herb Prep      

  1. Wash the curly lettuce twice
  2.  Soak and wash twice the cilantro (Ngo), Thai basil (Que), mint (Kanh Gioi), lemon herb (Rau ram). thin leeks (He).  For a spicier mix add spearmint (Hung Cay) or peppermint (Hung Hui).

 Okay!  Let’s put all these things together!!!  

 
For a recipe on crispy spring rolls, check out my article on Associated Content.  
 
 

           Introduction to Asian Cuisine with Dorothy Huang
If you were ever frustrated about how your attempts at Asian cooking turn out, it’s possible you might be tempted to give up and just order in.

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2972480/introduction_to_asian_cuisine_with.html?cat=22     

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Pesto Falso

Pesto is a sauce originating in Genoa in of northern Italy (pesto alla genovese). Pesto in its basic form is basil, garlic, salt, pine nuts and olive oil — that’s it! Making fresh pesto can be a little expensive, so I developed this recipe to help reduce cost, but still retain that great pesto flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Cilantro, chopped
  • 4 cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 2 ounces sliced almonds
  • 1 tablespoon dried Basil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper
  • 1 cup olive oil

Directions:

Add cilantro, garlic, basil, salt and pepper to a blender. Blend until well mixed and all ingredients are finely chopped. Next add the almonds and again blend until well mixed and finely chopped. Now drizzle in the olive oil until the pesto reaches the desired consistency. That’s it — enjoy.

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Basic Marinara

This is a basic marinara sauce, and is a great starting point for creating your own recipe or just experimenting with new flavors. You can use this sauce in a variety of dishes from basic pasta to a chicken or veal Parmesan.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (26 oz.) can peeled whole tomatoes
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup flat chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil (1/2 cup fresh chopped)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion

Directions:

Heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until golden being careful not to burn. Add onions, basil, parsley and pepper flakes. Stir and cook for 1 minute. Add tomatoes with liquid. Break up tomatoes with fork. Cook over medium heat for 1 hour stirring occasionally. The sauce can keep up to a week in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

For variations you can add 1/2 to 1 pound of fine ground meat such as Italian sausage, chuck, sirloin, chorizo, chopped pancetta or even chopped pepperoni.

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White Fish Butter Sauce

Butter Sauce with Talapia

Butter Sauce with Talapia

A nice little butter sauce that pairs very well with fish.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup shallot, diced
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons cream or milk
  • 2 teaspoons green peppercorn
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • Dash of salt
  • Dash of ground pepper

Directions:

Melt butter in a small sauce pan with wine. Add shallot, peppercorn, salt and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes stirring in a little cream every minute. Add garlic in the last minute. Serve over the fish of your choice, but white fish such a Talapia, Halibut and even Catfish are all great candidates. Sauce can be strained for a more refined version.

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Stacy’s Guacamole

Guacamole isn’t my favorite dish, but people ask me to make them a batch from time to time and it is always a hit. It has a bit of a kick to it. Try it out and let me know what you think.

Ingredients:

  • 4 large Haas avocados
  • 1/2 large red onion, chopped (a white onion works well too)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, deseeded and diced
  • 4 Serrano chili peppers, chopped
  • 2 Jalapeno chili peppers, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Cayenne pepper
  • 8 drops Tabasco sauce
  • zest and juice of 2 limes
  • 2 shots tequila
  • 1 lime wedge

Directions:

Stacy's Gaucamole

Stacy's Gaucamole

Ah, the easy part. Add peppers, bell peppers, onion, garlic in food processor. Mix until well blended. Add rest of ingredients reserving 1 shot of tequila, lime wedge and 1 teaspoon of salt. Lick the skin between your thumb and forefinger, then sprinkle salt onto the area. Using the same hand that contains the salt, hold the lime with thumb and index finger. Lick the salt, down the tequila, and bite the lime. Swish it around in your mouth for a couple of seconds and then swallow. Now mix rest of ingredients in the food processor until well blended and creamy. Serve with tortilla chips.

If there are more than one person in the kitchen, this recipe may require more tequila, salt and lime wedges.

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