hot pot + condiments

Randoms

a few things have shifted
in the last few years:
i don’t wear make up much anymore,
like my cakes,
my face is naked,
and it’s all the better for it.
i’ve also leaned twds repeat recipes,
meals that stand the test of time,
but mainly,
dishes that i know are pleasing
and full-filling.
hot pot makes an appearance
when the weather turns
for the cold,
and then to the ebbing winter,
bookends in autumn and spring,
it is best shared with friends,
though it’s just as lovely for two.

Randoms

there are plenty of versions,
though i am partial to the viet style
(surprise surprise).
differences are in the dipping sauces
and the broth.
the recipe i’ve featured is the most commonly
found in my family home,
though one of the sauces is japanese in origin.
there was the one time i made a stinky anchovy-pineapple sauce
that i absolutely adore,
but would hesitate to serve to friends.
these pictures are from past hot pot gatherings,
as the most recent shared meal did not
garner any publishable pix.
we’ve been hit with a wave of freezing temps,
and this has kept us afloat until spring makes her appearance.

Randoms

hot pot dinner + condiments
serves 2 – 8 people

*note: when i make this, i don’t really measure anything. it is all based on what is available in the pantry, and how things taste that day. but these are the general list of ingredients, but i recommend tasting as you go. like, i’m freaking out right now trying to think up how i made the sauces because i do not have exact amounts, and it never comes out the same every time. it still tastes good though…

the meal itself:
mushrooms – any variety
tofu – cubed to bite size
variety of sliced meats – wegmans and asian markets now have them available, already cut and packaged
meat and fish balls – can be found in frozen section of asian markets, i gravitate twds the shrimp, fish, beef and pork balls
glass noodles
baby bok choy, and whatever else greens you fancy to eat

hot pot stock:
1-2 bottles of beer, usually Heineken
2-4 cups of bland chicken stock, no sodium or as little as possible
2-3 bruised lemongrass stocks
2″ knob of ginger, smashed
2-3 cloves of garlic, smashed

add all together in pot, bring to a boil and simmer, with lid on, for about 30 minutes.

dipping sauce #1 – spicy soy sauce:
1 cup soy sauce or tamari
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 TBL maple syrup or honey
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2″ knob of ginger, grated
1/2 cup of water, give or take
juice of half a lime
1 tsp sesame oil
garlic-chili sambal, optional, to taste

in a jar with lid, mix everything together. taste it. add more of something if needed. you’re aiming for hits of sweet, sour, and salty.

dipping sauce #2 – goma dare/tahini miso sauce
3 TBL rice vinegar
1 TBL mirin
1 heaping TBL miso
1/3 cup tahini
1 TBL soy sauce or tamari
2 TBL maple syrup or honey
1 garlic clove, minced
2″ knob of ginger, grated
1 tsp sesame oil
water to thin

in a jar with lid, mix everything together. add water to thin, you’re aiming for almost a dressing-like consistency, season to taste.

to assemble the entire thing:
put the electric hot plate in the middle of the table. simmer the hot pot stock. remove the lemongrass stalks, ginger pieces and garlic cloves.

while that is doing its thing, display the plates of sliced meats and veggies around.

assemble all your friends and go to town with the cooking of everything.

when i’m hosting, i usually play facilitator… i leave it to each person to cook their meats according to preference. i usually throw in the glass noodles, handful of bok choy/greens, meatballs, tofu and mushroom… then everyone else can choose sliced meats to cook at their leisure.

as the meal goes on, the broth gets deeply flavored from all the added meats, seafood, and vegs. you can sip the soup if you want. add more stock or beer as needed.

BAM!

hot pot

3 years ago: quinoa chocolate cake (gluten free)
2 years ago: seaweed sushi bites
1 year ago: ginger tumeric latte

meringue roulade with shaved chocolate and salty-sweet peanuts

Meringue Roulade + Chocolate Shavings + Salty Sweet Peanuts

dear sweet dw:
today we celebrate 1,095 days of married life.
we don’t count days to boast,
but to be held accountable for
the Love Story we are writing together.
you know i was a shitty student
unless something was captivating to me,
and you, kind sir, are a being
i am most interested in.
i want to learn everything about you,
as you grow and evolve.
i remain ever curious about you,
and in our life together.
i commit to being your bestest student.
you are the gift that i never expected,
and i accept you with all my heart.

happy anniversary, sweet love,
let’s always have cake.

photo courtesy of luke eshleman & used with permission
photo courtesy of luke eshleman & used with permission

meringue roulade with shaved chocolate and salty-sweet peanuts
inspired and loosely adapted from yotam ottolenghi, also found in plenty more
serves 8, or in our case, just the two of us

*note: it was a dreary/wet day when this dessert was made, which made the meringue sticky. still very delicious.
humidity  cannot be fought.

Meringue:
4 large egg whites, at room temp
1 coconut sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp distilled vinegar
1 tsp cornstarch

Toppings/Filling:
1 cup chocolate bar, whatever your preference, shaved
1/2 cup crushed roasted peanuts
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 TBL coconut sugar
So Delicious’ Coco Whip (alternative if you can’t get this product, skim the fat off of 3 cans of FULL FAT coconut milk and whip with 2 TBL powdered sugar until fluffy)

preheat oven to 325F. prepare a 13X9 rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper.

in a stand mixer & whisk attachment, add your egg whites and whisk until frothy. add the sugar by the tablespoon-ful. you’re aiming for stiff, glossy peaks. add in the vanilla extract, vinegar and cornstarch and whisk until blended.

spread mixture on the parchment paper and with an off-set spatula spread it out until level.

bake for 30 minutes, a crust will form, but the meringue will be cooked. remove from oven and let cool in pan.

flip the meringue onto a fresh piece of parchment paper, and gently peel the lining paper.

spread however much of the coco whip you want on the meringue, it’s your party, you do what you want. i would say i used about a cup, and leave a small border around the edge. sprinkle with the shaved chocolate and salty-sweet peanuts.

from the long edge, and using the parchment paper to help, roll the meringue into a log. transfer to serving plate. chill in fridge for 30 minutes.

top the meringue roulade with even more coco whip and sprinkle with yes, even MORE chocolate shavings and salty-sweet peanuts. slice and serve.

BAM!

Meringue Roulade + Chocolate Shavings + Salty Sweet Peanuts

3 years ago: diy wedding envelopes
2 years ago: chocolate tahini cake + rosemary infused buttercream
1 year ago: 6″ chocolate cake

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

twenty fifteen

me + ele

over the holidays iworked. not very glamorous, i know.

my favorite moment of 2014 wasthailand. walking with the elephants. 

my new year’s resolutions arekiss my husband more. poor guy, his face will be even more lips-mottled. perfect the cinnamon raisin challah. train for 3 half-marathons (!!).

please, let there be peace this coming 2015.
besos.

holidays & birthday | gift guide 2014

Gift Guide 2014

friends:
if you partake,
it’s that time of year
where your wallet takes a big hit.
in case you’re looking for something
for someone:
friend
family
yourself
here’s a list of things
we purchased this year
that i recommend,
or things i really want.
they range from the
super frugal
to the super absurdly expensive.

happy shopping!

reasonable:
|| pocket notebook, $5: i keep this in my purse & i jot down to-do’s. mainly i like to doodle.
||The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm: The Complete First Edition, by Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm, Translated and edited by Jack Zipes, $35: apparently, it’s the true scary stuff, none of the fluff we grew up with.
||jack white’s album “Lazaretto”, $9.99: as the bff says “I’m really enjoying it. It has a good mix of rock, funk and slow jams for baby making.”
||jar funnel, $15: i scoffed when dw got this. now i use it very often.
||kate spade stud earrings, $35: how blingy are these? i don’t even wear earrings much but these are so adorable.
||WOMEN’S MIGHTY LITE™ HOODED JACKET, $140: this is keeping me warm all winter long.
||WOMEN’S MIGHTY LITE™ III VEST, $90: for those in between days, perfect for layering too.

fancy:
||cage ring, $125: again with the accessories!
||Oral-B Precision Black 7000 Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush, $169.99: purchased on sale, and dw says “It buzzes me so clean”.
||vitamix 7500, $529: we have an older version that is getting old, and there was a scare this year…

ridiculous:
||wall table, $1348.86: if we ever lived in one of those tiny houses, i’d want this. how genius.
||birdsnest, $3K – $10K: i don’t even know where i would put this, and the getting in/out process is giving me a headache just thinking about it. but it doesn’t lessen my desire for it.

ultimate wishlist:
nikon d610, $1600
Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX Lens: $196.95: i’d settle for this, if i can’t get the d610.

and of course, other gift lists. as the season progresses, more will be coming up. i just wanted to get this out there during black friday week, in case you partake in such activities:

goop
tasting table
cup of joe

last year’s gift guide