Category: Side Dish

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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Bananas Foster

Bananas Foster

Bananas Foster

Bananas Foster is a traditional New Orleans dessert. Created by Paul Blangé at Brennan’s Restaurant in 1951, it is still served in many fine restaurants around the world. Some recipes call for rum, but there is no “Rum Street” in New Orleans to my knowledge, so use bourbon.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3-4 bananas, peeled and cut into coins
  • 3 teaspoons fresh ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup bourbon (Makers Mark recommended)
  • 1/4 cup banana liqueur (Banana 99 recommended)
  • 1/2 gallon Butter Pecan ice cream

Directions

Bananas Foster being flambéd

Bananas Foster being flambéd

In small pan, mix bourbon and banana liqueur and gently warm it. Melt butter and and then add sugar  sugar in a medium pan. Add bananas and pecans. Saute until bananas become tender (2-3 minutes). Sprinkle with the cinnamon. Pour the bourbon/liqueur over the bananas and flambé. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon cinnamon in to flame. Serve with the ice cream and sprinkle with remaining  cinnamon.

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Sausage Wraps

During college football season, a Saturday afternoon backyard barbeque or grill session is almost a given. One of the dishes I love to cook in these situations is sausage wraps. Sausage wraps are very easy and always a hit.

Julianne bell peppers and onions

Julianne bell peppers and onions

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium to large bell peppers. I prefer to use 1 each of green, red, yellow and orange.
  • 1 medium to large onion. I prefer to use 1/2 of a white and 1/2 of a red.
  • 1 Anaheim pepper
  • 2 tablespoons coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon cajun seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 stick butter
  • Spray butter
  • 10 – 12 Sausages. I prefer to use Italian Hot, Mild or Sweet
  • 10 – 12 Flour Tortillas. I prefer a specialty tortilla made local called a Southwestern Tortilla.
  • Dijon mustard

Directions:

Veggies after being spiced and tossed

Veggies after being spiced and tossed

Julianne the bell peppers and Anaheim pepper; Anaheim julianned slices should be cut in half. Slice onion in to 3/8 inch rounds, cut each round in half, remove any odd shaped pieces. Add bell and Anaheim peppers and onions into a large mixing bowl. Cut butter into small cubes. Add salt, pepper, cajun seasoning, garlic powder, cumin, worcestershire sauce and chopped butter. Mix thoroughly.

Preheat grill to 375 degrees. Add one half of the vegetables each to a sheet of aluminum foil and wrap. To a second piece of aluminum foil, add the first bundle but flip such that the unfolded side is up. Place on grill such that folded side of outer bundle is face down. Grill 20 minutes then flip and grill an additional 20 minutes.

Sausage should be cooked for 30 minutes, flipping sides every 5 minutes.

Spray tortillas with butter and place on grill 1 minute both sides.

Ready to wrap and eat

Ready to wrap and eat

Serve sausage on top of tortilla, adding vegetables to taste. Top with Dijon mustard.

This dish could also be made vegetarian by simply omitting the sausage and piling on the vegetables.

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Grilled Caesar Salad

Hungry 4 More is throwing the 1st Annual H4M Cookout at the end of the week and I needed a grilled vegetarian dish to serve. I decided on Grilled Caesar Salad. Inevitably the first question everyone asked me was, “How do you grill a salad?” This dish can be prepared in both a vegetarian and non-vegetarian style.

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 3 Hearts of Romaine Lettuce
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh ground pepper plus additional for grilling
  • 1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt (optional, see below) plus additional for grilling
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic
  • 3/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil plus additional for grilling
  • One of:
    • 1 1/2 tablespoon of Anchovy paste (Non-vegetarian)
    • 2 tablespoons of Dijon or spicy mustard (Vegetarian)

Directions:

Dressing

In blender, add, 1 Tablespoon of pepper, garlic and 3/4 cup olive oil. If serving vegetarian, add Dijon and 1 tablespoon salt. If serving non-vegetarian add 1 1/2 tablespoon Anchovy paste. Blend until well blended and mixed.

Lettuce

Romaine lettuce prepared for grilling

Romaine lettuce prepared for grilling

Preheat grill to 350-375 degrees. Cut each Romaine heart in half lengthwise. Drizzle olive oil and dust exposed inner sides with salt and pepper. Grill exposed side down for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Turn and cook another 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Remove and with each heart, remove steam, and cut into 1 1/2 to 2 inch segments and plate to a salad bowl. Pour and mix dressing to taste.

Grilled Caesar Salad

Grilled Caesar Salad

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Green Beans with Bacon Gravy

Monterrey Jack White Potatoe Au Gratin with Green Beans and Bacon Gravy

Monterrey Jack White Potato Au Gratin with Green Beans and Bacon Gravy

Bacon, bacon, bacon — one definate way to get a kick out of green beans. The following recipe is a savory side dish that could be served with just about anything.

Ingredients:

12 oz Fresh Green Beans
6 slices bacon
2 eggs, well beaten
1/3 cup vinegar
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Green Beans with Bacon Dressing

Green Beans with Bacon Dressing

Simmer green beans in a saucepan over medium heat for 30-40 minutes. Drain and transfer to a serving dish.

Place bacon in a medium skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Remove crumble and set aside.

In a medium bowl beat together the eggs, vinegar, water, sugar and salt. Cook in the bacon drippings over low heat, stirring constantly until thickened about 10-15 minutes.

Pour hot dressing mixture over beans and sprinkle crumbled bacon on top.

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