bún riêu – vietnamese seafood noodle soup

bún riêu - vietnamese seafood noodle soup

lately i’ve been thinking a lot about
vietnamese food
specifically the foods i ate growing up.
it’s that weird, icky, emo
feeling,
akin to nostalgia,
an emotion that is so foreign,
and unwelcome,
to me
that i would like to punch it in the face.

instead, i think i will attempt to feed it
because starving is just not our thing.

bún riêu - vietnamese seafood noodle soup

bún riêu – vietnamese seafood noodle soup
loosely adapted from wandering chopsticks

*note: i seem to recall seeing snails in this dish growing up. that’s an ingredient that i cannot locally source and if i’m to be honest, it’s something that i like to consume when prepared by professionals. i’m not there yet to make it myself. instead, i made do with local maryland crab and csa tomatoes – hooray for in-season AND local. alas, the fish cakes were purchased frozen and already prepared. this is when dw will turn a blind eye, conceding that some things just cannot be helped.

this makes a lot. like, an ass clown amount. we’ve have it for leftovers for a week, and we shared this with cousins who recently welcomed a baby boy, leaving them with portions too.

i won’t post the full recipe, because it’s fucking long WC does a great job of writing it all out. below are my short cuts and methods that worked for me.

i used two 32 oz boxes of organic seafood stock. i wasn’t about to make crab stock. i did use shrimp shells though.
i purchased backfin crab meat from whole foods, because lump meat would’ve been a waste of good meat and money.
i did not use canned tomatoes, instead, we’ve been drowning in csa tomatoes and so i diced up 15oz worth of tomatoes and rough chunked 4 big tomatoes.
spare ribs were also purchased at whole foods, and i think may have been dw’s favorite part of the dish.
i added two extra eggs to the rieu, because i like it extra eggy. i did not bother with keeping it whole, i just free formed balls with spoons and dropped into the broth.
if you can’t get your hands on banana blossom, shredded cabbage is fine.

last, this dish was just ok on the first day, in fact, i was a little disappointed. but the following days were so much better.

BAM!

bún riêu - vietnamese seafood noodle soup

1 year ago: quinoa sushi rolls
2 years ago: blueberry breakfast cookies

other vietnamese goodness:
homemade bánh cướn chay
vietnamese bò kho – beef stew
phở gà
tôm rang muối – vietnamese salt & pepper shrimp
vietnamese vermicelli noodle bowl – bun thit ga nuong
chả trứng thịt hấp – vietnamese steamed egg meatloaf

chả trứng thịt hấp – vietnamese steamed egg meatloaf

chả trứng thịt hấp

by all counts we’ve had a good summer:
vacation
nephews!
on a national level: one love
the heat this week has made us turn on the AC uh-gain
and made me secretly relieved for the inevitable return of autumn
which means i will be forced to hit the kitchen
and cook again
taking advantage of the bay’s haul
i grabbed a half pound container of crab
and made something comforting
something so easy
something that’ll ease me back into the comforting rhythms of the kitchen

034045

chả trứng thịt hấp – vietnamese steamed egg meatloaf
*note: the way my dad sent me the recipe it was all a bunch of words with guesses on measurements. i’ve made this a few times and the measurements below are what i generally stick with. i use 5 ramekins (like, individual creme brulee dishes) and 1 double sized ramekin, as shown in the picture, so the steam time is slightly abbreviated and done in batches. using a bamboo steamer is ideal but i use a steamer insert in a regular big pot, which works perfectly for me. alternatively, you can do it bain marie style in the oven, 350F for same amount of time, just make sure you cover with foil.

1 lb lean ground pork
8 oz crab meat, i bought from Whole Foods, but in a typical vietnamese household they use canned with liquid drained & discarded
1-2 cups worth of vermicelli noodles that’s been softened by submerging it in hot water for 15 minutes, rough chopped
2 good sized pieces of black fungi, submerged in hot water and then julienned
3 stalks of scallions/green onions, diced
4 eggs, reserving 2 yolks
3 TBL fish sauce, we use red boat
2 TBL sugar

in a mixing bowl, mix the ground pork, eggs, fungi, vermicelli noodles, fish sauce and sugar. seriously it’s like meatloaf, don’t over do it but make sure everything is well incorporated.
gently fold in the crab meat. don’t break the lumps up tooooooo much, but you want it to be nice mash up.
in a heat proof bowl or dish, smear a smidge of oil along the bottom and along the sides.
put the meat mixture into the prepared bowl or dish and steam for about 20-25 minutes.
top with scattered chili and spread a layer over the surface of the bowl or dish and steam for an additional 2-3 minutes.

(this is just for looks) serve with white rice and cukes, or between bread, sandwich style…
BAM!

chả trứng thịt hấp

one year ago: spiced poach pears
two years ago: meyer lemon bars

other vietnamese goodness:
homemade bánh cướn chay
vietnamese bò kho – beef stew
phở gà
tôm rang muối – vietnamese salt & pepper shrimp
vietnamese vermicelli noodle bowl – bun thit ga nuong

thai popsicles

thai pops - blueberry

it’s august,
it’s hot
i’m still obsessed with my
popsicle mold
i’ve made three flavors,
this one being dw’s favorite
and because anything the man loves
i want to recreate for him,
so i’m journaling it here.
for next blueberry season.
hoping your summer’s been loverly.

thai pops - blueberry

thai pops
makes 10

*note: if you can’t get your hands on Kaffir lime leaves, use organic lime rind, using as little of the bitter white pith as possible. it’s not exactly the same but it’ll still give you that bright citrus-y hint.

3 cups blueberries
10 Kaffir lime leaves
2 lemongrass sticks, gently bruised
1 can of full fat coconut milk
generous knob of ginger, peeled
sweetener of choice, like agave, sugar, honey, maple syrup, completely optional

you’ll be using two saucepans:

in first saucepan, gently simmer the blueberries with lemongrass and Kaffir lime leaves. it’ll thicken and bubble, let it hang out and infuse. if you think about it, using a fork squish the berries. simmer for about 15 minutes and allow to cool. i left it rough textured, but if you want it smooth, discard the lemongrass and Kaffir lime leaves and zip in vitamix or blender.

in 2nd saucepan, gently simmer coconut milk with ginger. if you want, you can sweeten with whatever sweetener of choice. the goal is to infuse the milk with just the hint of ginger, should take about 20-30 minutes on low. allow to cool. discard ginger knob.

pour into pop molds, alternating between flavors. there is no science to it, and it should be enough for all molds but as you can see, it’s entirely up to you how strong you want the flavors to be and how full you want the molds to be.

freeze at least 3 hours. to unmold, run under warm water and gently pull out.

BAM!

thai pops - blueberry

1 year ago: blueberry pie smoothie – vegan
2 years ago: vietnamese vermicelli noodle bowl

other blueberry recipes:
blueberry breakfast cookies – vegan
blueberry clafoutis – dairy free
blueberry jam danishes – vegan
blueberry pie smoothie – vegan
blueberry swirl macaroons – gluten free, dairy free
blueberry swirl muffins – dairy free

sương sáo (grass jelly) with chia seeds

Sương Sáo (Grass Jelly) with Chia Seeds

we got new windows installed last week
i can’t tell you how incredibly excited
and grown up i feel saying that.
serendipitously the temps have been pleasant,
as only may should be.
the windows have been flung open,
letting the breeze in,
though, i realize that the windows
could also be enjoyed closed,
especially since the insulation is finally on point.
still.
sitting on our sagging red elephant patterned couch,
with some home improvement show on tv,
after being without
it’s a treat to feel Spring.
it’s also a treat to have a childhood dessert to tuck into,
a cooling dessert that i don’t make often enough.

Sương Sáo (Grass Jelly) with Chia Seeds

sương sáo (grass jelly) with chia seeds

*note: this is canned, which is not something we partake in usually. this isn’t so much a recipe, but more of a “oh hey, lemme put this all together and call it a day”. i will say, dw is not the biggest fan, which basically means more for me, BUT! it doesn’t mean that this sucks.
**note: the chia seeds gives this dessert a pudding-like texture. you can add as much as you want, though the more you add the thicker it is. alternatively, if you add more liquid, it makes the dessert runnier and not so overridden by the seeds.
***note: prior to my current love affair with chia seeds, i made this dessert with basil seeds which has the added crunch and something something that chia seeds have, but minus the thickening texture.
****note: last, dw thinks this tastes kinda medicinal, whereas i don’t. it has an herby-tea flavor to me.

1 can of sương sáo (grass jelly), found in the canned fruit aisle of asian markets
4 TBL simple syrup, 1:1 bee free honee and water
juice of one lemon or lime
3 TBL chia seeds
water, amount up to you, i probably had about 1/2 cups worth

so, the canned grass jelly, when taken out of the can will be like canned cranberry sauce that you see during thanksgiving. don’t be turned off. cut into cubes. i normally cut them into 6 horizontal pieces, then with one layer in my left hand, cut strips and then cubes. like this.

add in desired amount of simple syrup and squeeze that citrus over top. sprinkle the chia seeds and gently mix.

leave in fridge for at least 1 hour, to chill the grass jelly and bloom the seeds.

serve chilled.

BAM!

Sương Sáo (Grass Jelly) with Chia Seeds

use real butter made her version too
wandering chopsticks adds hers with fruit and almond jelly – tropical fruit cocktail delight

1 year ago – miso ramen
2 years ago – dutch oven bread

salt & pepper shrimp – tôm rang muối

Tôm Rang Muối - Salt & Pepper Shrimp
Tôm Rang Muối - Salt & Pepper Shrimp

my grandfather appreciated food.
likely, too much.
upon further reflection
i cannot decide what he loved more:
the sweet or the savory.
let’s say he liked both,
and the everything in between.
he enjoyed all the bad things that caused
his cholesterol to spike:
sunny side up eggs
liver, specifically my grandmother’s homemade pâté
seafood, in particular fried and heavily salted

this week marks a year since his passing.
in the last 12 months,
at the most random moments,
i will turn to dw and say:
oh gpa would love this dish!
or
gpa loved him some spice and salt.
more often than not
my memories of him are about food.
in memory of him,
i made one of his favorite dishes,
a dish we grandchildren would sneak to him
as it was something gma would expressly forbid him from having.

Tôm Rang Muối - Salt & Pepper Shrimp

tôm rang muối – vietnamese salt & pepper shrimp
adapted from Luke Nguyen

*note: this is inauthentic, in that i did not deep-fry the shrimp. click on the link if you want to make it the “correct” way. i broiled them super quick in the oven. to keep the shrimp on the side of under-done, i worked quickly, make sure your mise-en-place is done accordingly.
**note: also, this dish is best with head on but the local Whole Foods doesn’t carry it. asian markets will carry head on prawns, but it’s not guaranteed organic and/or sustainably caught.
***note: this is a finger food, meant to be consumed in a group, with ice-cold beers and plenty of napkins. which is why, dw and i ate with a side of carrot+celery salad and brown rice, with chopsticks.

1/2 lb prawns, with head on, or in our case, large shrimp, cleaned/deveined, careful to keep shell on
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp five spice powder
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup give or take corn starch or potato starch
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 jalapeno, sliced
1/4 red onion, diced
2 green scallions, sliced on the diagonal
drizzle of oil
lemon or lime wedges, optional

first, preheat oven to highest it’ll go, broil or in my case, 550F.

next, prep everything and have all the ingredients ready to go. clean/devein the shrimp. there were some shrimps that lost their shell because i was a little indelicate but it was a price i was willing to pay to not eat poop. wandering chopsticks has a pic tutorial you can refer to. pat dry the shrimp.

dry roast the salt, ground pepper and 5 spice powder. (NOTE: you will not be using ALL of the blend in this recipe). set aside to cool. when cool, mix in the sugar.

line a shallow cookie sheet with foil or parchment paper. if using foil, oil it. dust the shrimp with potato or corn starch. or you can do it my lazy way, holding by the tail, dip the shrimp into the starch and shake semi-vigorously to let loose excess powder. lay on the prepared sheet. broil in oven for TWO MINUTES.

meanwhile, in a frying pan, heat up a drizzle of oil on medium high. saute the garlic, onion, green scallions and jalapeno. you’re aiming for fragrance, not so much burning or caramelization. this can be anywhere from 3-5 minutes. which means, in the middle of this sauteing you’re doing, you need to take the shrimp out of the oven. make haste. set aside the shrimp. when the onions and garlic have softened, add in the shrimp. WORK QUICKLY. sprinkle the shrimp with a few teaspoons of the salt/sugar/pepper/five spice mixture. (i ended up using 3 teaspoons, season to your taste). gently mix everything, heating the shrimp through. REMOVE from heat. this step should take 2 minutes, 3 minutes TOPS.

the end result should be on the dry side, unless you’re like me and gpa and got a little generous with the drizzle of oil.

serve with lemon or lime wedges.

BAM!

Tôm Rang Muối - Salt & Pepper Shrimp

last year’s gpa post: citrus curd mille-feuille
1 year ago: spiced coconut pecan ice cream
2 years ago: portuguese chicken curry with chorizo + olives