Blog Widget by LinkWithin

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Venison Bourguignon


confessions ~
  • dw & i did not celebrate xmas. he's not big on the holiday and since i don't have a strong attachment to it myself, we ix-nayed it. instead, we slept in, took goofy visa pictures of each other in preparation for our Vietnam trip next month, and went to see a movie. (Sherlock Holmes. he rules.)
  • my affection for young adult fiction has merged over to young adult tv shows. i finished Life Unexpected and now i'm deeply involved with Roswell.
  • i don't mind mind winter running when my ears are warm. who knew a headband + running skull cap would be the answer to getting me to run in this cold?
  • i like deer meat. i, who wept when bambi's mom was shot & he was orphaned, adore this gamey protein.
  • i don't particularly care for red wine. so when i did a search for this recipe & it called for the use of red wine, i inwardly sighed. i also wasn't all that surprised when i looked at our stash of wine & all the bottles were white. and so i made this with white wine.
  • and. um. damnit. i used a packet of onion soup mix to season the meat before searing it. there. that's it.


Venison Bourguignon
adapted from a spicy perspective

packet of onion soup mix
4 strips of bacon
2 lbs. deer roast meat, chopped into large 2 inch chunks
3 big carrots, chopped into large chunks
2 onions, roughly chopped
6 cloves garlic, smashed
1 container baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
½ cup bourbon
3/4 bottle white wine, i used chardonnay
2 cups water (or stock)
2 TBL tomato paste
thyme, rosemary and a bay leaf, you could get fancy & make a Bouquet Garni
4 TBL butter, i used soy margarine
¼ cup flour

cook up bacon in pan until done & crispy. remove from pan, set aside.

meanwhile, season deer chunks with onion packet, or salt & pepper. Brown the meat on all sides. do in batches, add too much meat in the pan and the mean just steams.

transfer some of the fat or oil into a pot. add in the onions, garlic & carrots. cook for a few minutes until onions are soft & translucent. add the meat to the pot. pour in bourbon, wine, and water. throw in the tomato paste & herbs. cover.

bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer for a few hours. i let it go for 3 hours. in the last hour, added the mushrooms.

in a bowl, mush the butter + flour into a paste. stir into the stew until thick.

i served this with roasted cubed potatoes.


wishing you and yours a delightful 2012.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Beef Rendang ~ take two


it is the day after christmas. the house may still be in disarray. the tree is still merrily lit, the cheerful excitement lingers in the air. it's a magical time. it's a time i've always enjoyed, despite coming down from the holiday high. because now the pressure is gone, the frenzy is over. instead in its place is a peacefulness, and if you're lucky, a quiet joy that warms you to your toes. the new year is looming. there is hope. there is purpose.

i attempted this beef rendang again, this time with all the proper ingredients. this time i waited for the flavors to meld into one another. this time dw or i stirred the pot every 15 minutes accordingly, gently coaxing the colors to develop. this time we ate the meal the next day. because this dish is best as a leftover, a day after thing.


the hints of clover & cinnamon may bring warmth, but the use of thai chilis adds a pleasant layer of heat beneath it all. the use of keffir leaves and lemongrass gives the dish a depth that i did not have previously, one that i don't think i could be without again. it is a dry curry but the bits of dried paste provide extra flavor to the white rice.

Beef Rendang

beef rendang
adapted from Cradle of Flavor: Home Cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore by James Oseland

For the Flavoring Paste:
note: i made this exact recipe and put half the paste in the freezer for later use.

1 whole nutmeg, cracked open with a nutcracker or a heavy, blunt object such as the bottom of a glass measuring cup
8 whole cloves
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
5 thai chilis, stemmed and coarsely chopped
1 TBL ground turmeric
1 piece fresh ginger, 2 inches long, peeled and thinly sliced against the grain
1 piece fresh or thawed, frozen galangal, 2 inches long, peeled and thinly sliced against the grain
10 almonds

For the remainder of the dish:

1 LB organic, grass-fed beef tenderloin
1 can unsweetened coconut milk + 1/2 can of water
3 thick stalks fresh lemongrass, each tied into a knot
1 piece cinnamon stick, 4 inches long
7 whole fresh or thawed, frozen kaffir lime leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt

To make the flavoring paste, place the nutmeg and cloves in a small food processor and pulse until ground to a dusty powder, about 2 minutes.

Add the onions, garlic, chiles, turmeric, ginger, galangal, and almonds to the ground spices. Pulse until you have a chunky-smooth paste the consistency of cooked oatmeal.

In a 12-inch skillet (nonstick works best), mix the beef and the flavoring paste until well combined. Add the coconut milk, lemongrass, cinnamon, whole lime leaves, and salt. Stir well to combine and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Immediately reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered at a slow, steady bubble, stirring every 10 to 20 minutes with a spatula to prevent the meat and coconut milk from sticking and scorching. You'll probably need to adjust the heat periodically to maintain an even simmer.

The meat, coconut milk, and flavoring paste will now go on a fascinating journey. At first, the broth will be thin and gorgeously bright orange. As it cooks, the coconut milk will reduce, its fats (as well as the fat the meat renders) separating from the solids. It will become progressively thicker and darker, eventually turning brown. Continue to simmer gently until the liquid has reduced by about 95 percent, stirring every 15 minutes or so to prevent sticking. Only the meat, oils, and a bit of very thick sauce will remain in the pot. This will take anywhere from 2 to 3 hours, depending on the skillet that you use, how hot the fire is, and the richness of the coconut milk. Test the meat; it should be tender enough to poke easily with a fork. Taste some of the liquid for salt, and add a pinch more if needed.

When all the liquid has evaporated, reduce the heat to low (the meat and the remaining sauce are prone to burning) and allow the beef to brown slowly in the rendered fat. (The fat may be foamy at this point, but it will settle down when the cooking stops.) Stir every 5 minutes or so to prevent sticking and scorching, being careful not to break the beef apart. Continue sautéing the beef until it's the color of roasted coffee beans, 5 to 10 minutes longer. The surface of the beef should be barely moist and have an appetizing oily sheen. (If there is too much oil in the pan for your liking, skim some of it off with a spoon and set aside for later use; it's wonderful for sautéing potatoes.)

Remove and discard the cinnamon, lemongrass, lime leaves, and then transfer the beef to a serving dish. (Alternatively, serve this dish with all the aromatics, for a more rustic presentation.) Allow the beef to rest for at least 30 minutes before serving. Slightly warm room temperature will best show off its intensely aromatic flavors. This dish will taste even better the next day.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

homemade dairy free hazelnut spread


it's a hectic time. it is the holidays after all. but these darker, colder, longer nights call for a slower pace, time to savor the moments with loved ones. my days are spent in the bustle of life, i would rather spend my evenings cozy, going about my home living calmly.

over dinner last night, dw & i got to talking. we talked about the time he & i spend together. as sweet as always, he said that tho he would rather spend all the minutes in a day with me, he is glad for the 8 hours we have to spend at work, for the remainder of the 16 hours with me would be all the more blessed.


in celebration of the holiday cheer, whatever holiday you celebrate, i present you homemade, dairy free hazelnut spread, aka Nutella. it's a lovely treat, easily spreadable on warm toast to be enjoyed with tea in the morning light, or with some fruit & a glass of almond milk while you enjoy a flick on the television. a whimsical dream to whip up, it's also a great gift to give to someone who loves chocolate, who can't consume the dairy variety, or a gift to yourself, because you're finally slowing down, returning to your heart during this season.

happy christmas.


homemade hazelnut spread ~ dairy free

1/2 lb organic raw hazelnuts, preferably without skins
5 TBL good quality cocoa powder, more or less to taste
1 TBL grapeseed oil (or whatever neutral oil)
8 TBL powdered sugar, more or less to taste
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp vanilla

roast hazelnuts in 350F oven for about 15 minutes, keep an eye on them. you don't want to burn them, you just want the oils to gets all nice & warm & do it's thing. if the nuts have skin on them, dump them in towel and rub on them, the skins should flake off.

in a food processor, pulse the nuts until smooth. think peanut butter consistency. add in the cocoa powder and sugar, pulse thru. to loosen the mixture add in the oil.

this recipe is super easy, and all dependent on your taste. if you want it to be sweet, add more powdered sugar, by 1/8 cup first. same with the cocoa powder.

if you're expecting the consistency to be like nutella, it's not. store in the fridge and i usually zap it in the microwave for 15-20 seconds to loosen up before spreading. so far it has lasted about 3 weeks in the fridge.

Monday, December 19, 2011

bun bo hue ~ home

Bun Bo Hue

thus far, i have lived in 5 countries, 3 states, and quite honestly, more towns & cities than i care to recall. in the here & now, i have lived in baltimore for just over 9 years. i have owned my home paid my mortgage for 6 years. due to all the moves growing up, this setting down deep roots in one place is intoxicating.

my grandparents' first home in america was a small one bedroom apartment. the one bedroom housed mattresses on the floor for my two youngest uncles, one of them only just 15, and sometimes my father peter. in the living room, i had a small cot, while my grandparents and an assortment of aunts and cousins slept on the ground. we upgraded to another apartment down the street, this one a 2 bedroom.

bun bo hue

i never once thought we'd be there forever. i was right. when i was 11 i moved overseas with peter and his new job and his new family. i didn't come back home until i was 18, in college and eager to get out. after school, like clockwork i moved whenever leases ran its course. the packing. the unpacking. i fear i have never outgrown the nomadic lifestyle. i don't know how to properly unpack a box, not throw away said box or even let go of the ability to live out of a suitcase.

i have been on my own for a very long time. i can't remember the last time i was home visited my parents. this beef noodle dish (not to be confused with pho. and please don't confuse it, Wandering Chopsticks will kick your ass, and i got her back) reminds me of my stepmother. her mother is from Hue and this dish made an appearance regularly at the dinner table. it was not my favorite. in fact, i would usually make a sandwich to eat while the rest of the family slurped their way thru their bowls. like all the recipes in the cookbook i will refer to, food is used to show love, to show forgiveness, to bring home a lost child, and for me, it is home.

i initially wanted to attempt the recipe from Pauline Nguyen's memoir cookbook Secrets of the Red Lantern (with recipes by Luke Nguyen & Mark Jensen) but ended up meshing it with WC's version. i will not be posting the cookbook recipe, as there are so many other dishes in the book i want to create & post properly about, and i can't very well post every recipe in the book! just know that WC's version is, in my opinion, much more authentic and easier to follow.


This is my entry for Delicious Vietnam, a monthly blogging event to celebrate Vietnamese cuisine created by Anh of Food Lovers Journey and Hong & Kim of the Ravenous Couple. This is the last month of this wonderful event, as a result, Anh will be the final hostess.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Boston Cream Pie Cake - 12.12.

boston cream pie cake

exactly one year ago today it was grey, a rather tired day. in the beginning i thought it was a sign of a dreary year. i was wrong. because, oh, it has been a year. a most perfect year, personally.

and to celebrate it, i have cake that dw made with me. because anybody's first day of a yearlong journey around the sun should always begin with a delicious cake.

Boston Cream Pie Cake ~ dairy free
adapted from Everyday Baking

original recipe calls for the use of a 9" pan. i wanted something smaller, i used 2 6"x2" pans.

cake -
2 TB soy margarine, plus more for pan
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
3/4 cup almond milk
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

chocolate glaze -
7 TBL soy creamer
3 oz best quality semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Pastry Cream Filling -
2 cups mimiccream
1/2 cup sugar
4 large egg yolks
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 salt
6 TBL cornstarch

Boston cream pie cake

preheat oven to 350F.
grease 2 6" pans

in mixer bowl, whisk eggs and egg yolks for a minute. gradually add in the sugar, beating the mixture until light & fluffy.

meanwhile, sift the dry ingredients in a bowl. also, heat up the almond milk gently with the soy margarine. seriously, allow to get hot but not boiling. remove from heat, add in vanilla. with mixer still on, very slowly add the hot liquid to the eggs. this is called tempering, you don't want the eggs to scramble. alternate with the dry ingredients until fully mixed. transfer to prepared pans.

bake 30-35 minutes, keeping an eye on the pans, until golden brown. use a tester. allow to cool for a bit, then remove from pans to cool completely.

to make the chocolate glaze, make sure the chocolate is chopped accordingly. heat up the soy creamer gently until hot thru and pour on top of chocolate. mix thru.

to make the cream filling, in saucepan heat mimiccreamer & 1/4 cup sugar over medium heat and bring to a simmer. while that is heating up, in a bowl, whisk egg yolks and remaining 1/4 cup sugar until combined. whisk in salt & vanilla. whisk in cornstarch, 1 TBL at a time. again tempering, whisk the egg mixture continuously while slowly adding 1 cup of the heated milk. strain this mixture into the milk that is in the saucepan. continue to cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture comes to a full boil. about 4-5 minutes.

transfer to bowl and cool. then cover with plastic wrap, pressing against filling to prevent skin from forming. refrigerate for minimum 3 hours, or overnight.

to assemble cake:

cut even layers in the cake, i managed 2 layers per cake.

remove cream filling from fridge, beat a stiff whisk until cream is smooth. pipe (or spread) cream between layers, however many layers you want. i'm a fat ass, i wanted 4 layers. pour glaze over top of the cake, starting in the center. it will spread and spill over. chill cake for 20 minutes before serving.

Boston Cream Pie Cake

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Quote Ornament

Pride & Prejudice Ornament

to my dearest darling December,

i don't like that 6:45am rolls in dark and it's when i must rise.
i dislike the blustery wind and damp air (is it rain? is it snow? what is this shit?).
i loathe that it takes socks, a bathrobe layer AND two throws in my lap to warm up.
but of the 31 days you give me, a good majority of them are in celebration of something or other.
like birthdays.
holidays, whichever you may follow.
i spend minutes hours in the day daydreaming about the cookies to bake,
the cakes to decorate,
the savories to make,
the crafts to create.
then i actually do it.
this mollifies me. 

good save, December, you were on thin ice for a second there.

this year i made six ornaments for bigk's birthday. because that's how many came in a pack. i used lyrics from madonna & dave matthews, quotes from Harry Potter, Twilight (don't judge us!), Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, and Pride & Prejudice. this craft project was inspired by this ornament i found on pinterest, tho it is no longer an item on etsy.

previous bigk projects:

Monday, December 5, 2011

the art of wooing: Soy Peanut Butter & Chocolate Pie

shortly after dw and i met, he cooked for me. i know. i swooned too. i may have spent a few minutes in the bathroom texting BigK about it.

Soy Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie

it was our 3rd date. at his apartment. ooh la la. i was nervous. i showed up, in my hands chocolate oatmeal cookies, sans raisins as he is not a fan of the combination of fruit + chocolate. i know. i shake my head about it too. for my one dessert, he had TWO desserts: peanut butter pie AND chocolate sorbet.

in my mind's eye, i remember thinking it was entirely too cold to be consuming sorbet but if it was a reason to sit close to him for body warmth, i was IN. i also recall thinking that the pie looked like it was heavy with Dairy Doom and my stomach was going to revolt, but i was going to choke down the pie like a champ. because i liked him. nay. i was smitten with him and i wanted to get in his pants hold his hand.

Soy Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie

milestones occurred that night, we still talk about it, giggling while we do the dishes, or fold laundry, but that pie. that pie full of peanut buttery goodness, laden with, like i thought, Dairy Doom; it was also full of his good intentions and that is why i ate my slice with a smile. warning: having just one lactaid pill is not enough to combat it. so i had to come up with a non-dairy version. it's just like the chocolate tofu pie i made eons ago, except it's, you know, organic and more posh.

Soy Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie

Soy Peanut Butter & Chocolate Pie

for the crust:
organic graham crackers, 2 sleeves, crumbled in food processor
6 TBL melted soy margarine

combine both ingredients and press into pie dish. bake for about 10-12 minutes in pre-heated 300F oven. set aside to cool.

chocolate ganache:
4 oz semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, rough chopped into small pieces
1/4 cup mimicCreme

warm mimic creamer through very gently, but not boiling. pour in bowl with chocolate and stir until smooth. pour into pie crust. allow to cool and set.

soy peanut butter filling:
1 container of soft tofu
1 cup of smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup of super fine sugar OR 1/4 cup honey OR agave nectar

process all ingredients in processor until smooth and mixed through completely. pour into pie crust, on top of the chocolate ganache. level and smooth top. refrigerate at least 4 hours to set, or ideally, overnight.

soy peanut butter chocolate pie

garnish with crushed peanuts and chocolate shavings.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Pretty in Pink Cake

Pink Ombre Cake

"If you give off signals that you don't want to belong, people will make sure that you don't." ~Pretty in Pink

(this was not my most fave John Hughes movie, 16 Candles was (long live Jake Ryan). in fact, i thought the pink polka dot shoulder-less dress molly ringwald designed was truly ugly.)

i sometimes go thru phases of not wanting this blog. it's hard work. so i disappear for a few weeks, until my journalism deadline oriented quark nags me and i bust out a post. i get tired of the Game ~ coming up with the most original material, taking pictures and then gawd help me, social media-ing it. i pretty much fail in that regard. that is, unless during the chore of said social media-ing, i come across a cake like this and damn being original, damn being better, i just want to make it. never mind that i'm not so big on plain white vanilla cake, or that food coloring freaks me out, that PINK is so NOT ME. because, sometimes it's not about me. it's about others. you know, readers. people who actually have to consume what i make. people, who for whatever reason, come to this space to look at my pictures, read my words. like i said, it's hard work, no one else is going to do it like i do.

Pink Ombre Cake

"This is a really volcanic ensemble you're wearing, it's really marvelous!" ~Pretty in Pink

Pink Swirl Ombre Cake ~ Lactose Free
8" pans ~ 4 layers

Cake: Perfect Vanilla ~ i quadrupled the recipe, 1 layer per recipe, baked at 27 minutes at 350F. i also used Organic Valley Lactose Free Milk

Icing: american buttercream frosting ~ i tripled the recipe, using soy margarine. crumb coat the cake with a thin layer of icing.

Swirls: #31 Wilton tip.

Colors: Rose & Rosa gel colors

i piped with the lightest shade first, then incrementally added a drop or two more for the subsequent darker layers. i didn't want four bowls of icing to play with and eventually wash. the layers were various shades of pink, too, but no photos available. the birthday girl loved it, it was perfect just for her.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Lamb Ragout ~ Comfort

Lamb Ragout

lately i've been under blankets ~ on the couch in front of the television, or in the passenger seat while dw drives and we're treking to a destination or another, or even in bed watching a show on the iPad. it's november after all! don't misunderstand, i am not complaining. i love blankets. in high school, in bangkok, i walked around with a small blanket (i know, i was strange even back then) to keep in my lap during class.

it's a comfort thing ~ snuggling under a warm comforter, with a hot cup of tea on the side table and foodtv on the tube. i might be crocheting, dw beside me reading his reddit feed, his head on my shoulder, in turn my head next to his. i suppose we could turn up the heat, but it wouldn't alter our positions much so why bother?

as of late, i've been stocking up the freezer with stew meat, making chicken stock, daydreaming about hearty, meaty stews to breathe in to, the return air rushing back to flush our cheeks as we taste a tender herby carrot, or sip a fortified broth. last night, under a blanket, with foodtv on, dw & i tucked into a ragout of lamb ~ the soft meat giving way easily as we chewed, the aroma of thyme & rosemary heavy between our nose and the bowl.

for two hours the abode had been heavily blanketed in smells of the lamb stewing in hearty vegetables and herbs, the homemade fortified chicken stock gently simmered and tenderized the contents of the pot. it was heavenly.

this is my contribution to Taste & Create, a monthly blog event that pairs up bloggers who then recreate something from their partner's blogs. my partner this time around is Tasteful Diversions, a blog that showcases both food & crafts.

Lamb Ragout

Ragout of Lamb

fyi: ragu and ragout are different things.

i combined both recipes, nixing the garlic, wine & cheese from the former, but adding the carrots & celery from the latter. from an availability standpoint, the lemon and orange rinds were left out. from a pure laziness & forgetfulness point of view, the parsley flakes and bay leaf were also left out. this was served with couscous.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

caramel apple cake. cheddar cheese apple pie. and days that are beautiful

ginko tree

i am a few days deep back from Kentucky. it is unseasonably warm for November, but what remains the same is that it grows dark at 5pm without fail, it is a month of glutton consumption and i give thanks:

cheddar cheese apple pie

pie. a bounty of nature's sweet apples, picked for the express purpose of baking and sharing. washed down with tea, in the afternoon sunlight, with rowdy nephews underfoot. (cheddar cheese apple pie recipe below)

apple cake

or cake. to share with family, new and old, young and aged. strong spice only for the mature palette. recipe: caramel apple cake. (note: the caramel sauce is runny, i don't know how she managed to keep it on top but kudos to her. i also used roasted cashews in lieu of peanuts.)

i won't lie, it was a whirlwind time, i'd be hard pressed to tell you exactly all the places i visited, all the foods i consumed, but i can show you a few of the beautiful things i saw:

view from 5K run

finally, as promised, the cheddar cheese crust apple pie. a pie that i tasted years ago at a broad's apartment, doing crafts, gossiping and of course, noshing.

Cheddar Cheese Apple Pie
from Jenn C-P.

makes 2 crusts

3 cups AP flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted soy margarine, chilled
1/2 lb shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, i used lactose-free Cabot's sharp cheddar
1/4 cup ice water
1/4 cup white vinegar

2 1/2 lbs apples, peeled, cored & sliced (give or take)
3 TBL lemon juice (i used apple cider...)
1 1/2 cups organic sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 TBL unsalted butter, cubed (actually, i forgot this)
1 egg, beaten
1 TBL organic sugar

In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in the butter until pea size crumbs form. Stir in the cheese. Combine water and vinegar and gradually stir in until the mixture forms a ball. Divide dough in half and shape into balls. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate over night. (note: i used a food processor.)

Preheat oven to 450° F. Roll one ball out to fit pie place. Roll out top crust and set aside.

In a large bowl, toss apples in lemon juice; drain. Stir in sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Arrange in overlapping rows in pie crust. Dot with butter, sprinkle with anise seed. Cover with top pie crust. Seal and crimp the edges.

Bake on a cookie sheet for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° and continue baking for another 30 minutes until golden brown.

Remove from oven, brush lightly with beaten egg, and sprinkle liberally with the sugar. Bake 5-10 minutes more until sugar glazes.

Additional Louisville, KY Information:

Hillbilly Tea 120 s 1st street Louisville, Kentucky 40202
Annie Cafe 308 W. Woodlawn Ave. Louisville, KY 40214
Vietnam Kitchen 5339 Mitscher Ave. Louisville, KY 40214
Nam Nam Cafe 318 Wallace Avenue St. Matthews, KY 40207
basa 2244 Frankfort Ave. Louisville, KY 40206


and now dw & i are home, only to pack back up next week for a trek to NY. oh november. i am thankful for days that are beautiful.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Magic: Homemade Organic Soy Milk


do you remember that story about jack & the beanstalk, how he foolishly traded his cow for some magic beans? his pissed off mother kicked his ass, sent him to bed hungry and threw the beans out the window. when he awoke the next morning a beanstalk had grown, high up into the sky. without preamble, a ladder or a parachute, jack climbed that beanstalk.


he climbed that beanstalk 3 times, the first 2 times narrowly missing the wrath of the Giant who lived up in the sky, his pockets laden with what can only be described as Grand Theft. the 3rd & final time, the Giant was PISSED and chased jack down the beanstalk, but jack was able to cut the stalk and the Giant died. where they buried his body is beyond me.

Moral of the Story: Theiving is only possible if you have a cow and you trade it for magic beans. (disclaimer: don't take my word for it tho.)

Question of the Story: what kind of beverage do you think would've come forth from the magic beans?


the soy milk i made recently was not magic by any means, but it was magical. it reminded me of my eldest uncle Tuu. he used to make fresh homemade soy milk when i was kid and stayed over for long breaks with his family, to play with my cousins buu & kim. it's not as grainy as the asian market brands, or sweet. slightly diluted with water, i sipped it warm from the stove and added it to my bowl of cereal cold the next day. like i said, it was magical.

Homemade Organic Soy Milk

Homemade Organic Soy Milk
Uncle Tuu Style

1/2 cup of dried organic soy beans (not the same as dried MUNG BEANS. i bought mine at Whole Foods, but only after calling a variety of other organic stores in the city. for 2lbs, it cost about $4. bang for your buck dude.)
2 1/2 cups water, + 3 cups water
scant 1/4 cup organic sugar, to taste
pinch of sea salt

do this overnight. wash & rinse dried beans. in a bowl add water & soak. the next morning, dump water, pick out any beans that did not expand in size. in a vitamix add the beans + 2 1/2 cups cold water. blend until creamy smooth, white and foamy. once done, add mixture to stock pot, add the remaining 3 cups of water. bring to a gentle boil, stirring. (i wasn't very dilligent with this, there were a lot of dishes to do.) skim off top foam. simmer for about 30 minutes. add sugar + salt.

strain soy milk thru a fine mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth (again, purchased at Whole Foods). press soy beans. i finally got tired and just grabbed the cheesecloth and squeezed by hand.

serve hot or cold, either way, it's magical.

This is my entry for Delicious Vietnam, a monthly blogging event to celebrate Vietnamese cuisine created by Anh of Food Lovers Journey and Hong & Kim of the Ravenous Couple. Sandy of Ginger & Scotch was this month's host.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Egg + Bread Casserole

Egg + Bread Casserole

i know i've said it plenty of times, i love eggs. lately my love for this food has been ... unhealthy a bit much. i actually asked dw to make me an egg sandwich twice last week, once for dinner. typically, eggs + toast is a weekend thing. he does his scientific boiled eggs, makes the toast and we share this breakfast treat (with soy sauce for me, cracked black pepper for him) in front of the tube watching foodtv. it's a favorite weekend activity for me.

when this particular dish came along on shannalee's blog, i was on board. i had to have it. it was like the stars aligned eggs were all in the same basket the perfect timing because it had been my goal to have another egg sandwich for dinner that night. instead, we had this. and it was perfect. the original calls for the use of cheese & bacon & butter, which i nixed. this is vegetarian and dairy-free.

adapted from Deliciously Organic, as guest-posted on Food Loves Writing

Egg + Bread Casserole

Friday, October 21, 2011

Crock Pot Apple Sauce

Apple Sauce
Apple Sauce

i understand. it's a texture thing. that's why i get it when my western peers (except for dw, who'll eat anything and everything at least twice) don't order the tripe with their pho, or how i cringed when i tried cow brains for the first time. slimy slash creamy slash subtle crunch slash goo. yeah. apple sauce can be like that. especially the way i made it this week, i kept the skins on (fiber is good for you, people!). and every spoonful has been autumn on my tongue, warm, sticky sweet without the cloy, tart without the pucker.

the night i made this, i was also making a haitian stew that turned out too ugly to photograph and pickling beets. i virtually ignored the crock pot while it stewed the apples, coating the abode with an autumn fog of cinnamon & cloves. at the end of the night (about 4 hours), before bedtime, dw caught me cave girl grunting whispering sweet nothings to it, wanting very much to dive into it face first, but the chompers were brushed and retainers in place. instead, the following day, after the entire pot had time to flavor-meld, we rough vitamix-ed it.

that was that.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

:: october twenty eleven ::

Picnik collage

already. it's past the halfway mark of october. it's autumn temps, curtains fluttering from open windows and our bed dressed with flannel sheets. i've busted out my knee high socks, poor dw doesn't know what to do with all the extra colorful articles of clothing in our laundry basket. this is his favorite season and because i love him, i have embraced it without a grimace this year.

we completed our first marathon relay this past weekend, spent 14 hours in slumber recovering (!!) and then spent a late morning wandering thru an apple orchard with a friend. this week will hopefully bring forth TWO apple pie recipes, from myself & dw. an apple pie throw down, if you will. in the meantime, i spent sunday evening making cake pops and as it happened, they turned out looking like little apples. enchante.

the cake came from my failed attempt, defrosted from the freezer. the recipe here, the only modifications were that i used almond milk in lieu of regular milk.