Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mien Bap Cai Nam Meo Trung (Vietnamese Bean Thread Vermicelli Noodles with Cabbage, Tree Fungus, and Eggs)


Mien Bap Cai Nam Meo Trung (Vietnamese Bean Thread Vermicelli Noodles with Cabbage, Tree Fungus, and Eggs) 1


On my last day in Baltimore, while Lan of Angry Asian Creations was at work, I toyed with the idea of exploring the city, but really, I was on vacation because I needed a rest. So that's what I did. The Maryland blue crabs and bean pie will just have to wait for my next visit. After walking 7 miles all over Washington, D.C. two days before, and Mount Vernon the day after, being a couch potato and watching the Cooking Channel and the British version of Law and Order seemed just right.

Shortly before Lan came home from work, I figured I should get off the sofa and make something for dinner. I promised her Hainanese chicken rice (although it still never tastes like how my mom does it). I raided her pantry, and remembering the bean thread noodles with tree fungus and dried shrimp that my mom used to make when I was little, decided to make Mien Bap Cai Nam Meo Trung (Vietnamese Bean Thread Vermicelli Noodles with Cabbage, Tree Fungus, and Eggs). The bean thread noodles were cooked in the leftover chicken broth from making the chicken rice. It's not really a soup, but more of a lightly brothed noodle dish. It certainly can be a soup if you wish though. My youngest aunt often uses the leftover chicken broth from making Hainanese chicken rice and adds bean thread noodles and shredded chicken, but I was afraid there wouldn't be enough chicken to go around so I made this instead.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Mi Ga Tay Tiem (Vietnamese Egg Noodle Soup with Chinese 5-Spice Turkey)

Mi Ga Tay Tiem (Vietnamese Egg Noodle Soup with Chinese 5-Spice Turkey) 1

I had saved a turkey drumstick from Thanksgiving dinner to use in my Bun Mang Ga Tay (Vietnamese Rice Vermicelli Noodle Soup with Bamboo Shoots and Turkey) recipe. Then I used the bones again to boil another pot of broth to make Mi Ga Tay Tiem (Vietnamese Egg Noodle Soup with Chinese 5-Spice Turkey). Actually, it's the same turkey drumstick, just flipped to conceal the side that had been eaten. :P

This soup is somewhat similar to the former except with egg instead of rice noodles, and Chinese flavorings of 5-spice powder and soy sauce. I used the matsutake mushrooms my dad had foraged in the Oregon forest that I brought back from my $41.40 roundtrip flight to Portland. My mom likes to add in lotus seeds, wolfberries, and dried dates, but I totally forgot about adding those ingredients in my version. Nonetheless, with Chinese chili oil to round out the flavors, it was still a delicious bowl.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Oh! Nuts $25 Gift Certificate Giveaway



The nice folks at Oh! Nuts are once again sponsoring a giveaway for my readers. A $25 gift certificate to Oh! Nuts will get you any of the Christmas gift baskets above, or the Hanukkah gift baskets below. Or you could apply the gift certificate toward a more expensive gift basket. Or you could just buy several bags of their nuts, candies, and dried fruits. I've been enjoying the pine nuts, cashews, and pistachios they sent me several months ago so I can attest to the quality of Oh! Nuts' products.

There are three chances to win so make sure you read the directions carefully.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Chocolate Ale (Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar) Cake

Chocolate Ale (Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar) Cake 1

I'd been wanting to try Nigella Lawson's recipe for chocolate Guinness cake for a while. Not really because I had any affinity for beer in desserts, but because I had a bottle of Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar that seemed perfect for the recipe and oldest nephew's birthday was just the excuse I needed. I guess anyone else would just drink the beer, but the recipe only calls for one cup, so I saved the rest of the bottle for oldest nephew and lil' sis to finish off.

I did make some minor adjustments to Nigella's recipe. After converting ml to oz, I also increased the amount of sour cream and cocoa, and decreased the amount of sugar per my tastebuds. The result was a very moist, slightly damp cake, with the nutty aroma of hazelnuts. The ale seemed to enhance the flavor of the chocolate. The frosting was just a mixture of whipped cream, cream cheese, and powdered sugar, a light complement to the richness of the cake.

Definitely a winner. I wonder what this cake would taste like if I substituted a non-alcoholic drink such as root beer? Hmmm.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Cafe 21 - San Diego (University Heights)

Cafe 21 - San Diego (University Heights) 1

When I asked oldest nephew where he wanted to go in San Diego for his birthday, he asked what would get him a mention on the blog. I said it had to be a new restaurant. Already blogged places or recipes won't get him another entry.

Luckily, oldest nephew is game for anything so when I asked if he wanted to try Azeri cuisine, he was all for it. Lil' sis, however, is decidedly more picky.

"Azerbaijan? Are you making that up?" asked lil' sis, who said she'd rather stay home than eat "imaginary" food. So we left her to frost oldest nephew's birthday Chocolate Ale (Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar) Cake and his childhood friend was content with the Chao Ga Tay (Vietnamese Turkey Rice Porridge) that I brought down.

It was just me and oldest nephew for dinner then. Yay! A post all about oldest nephew, he crowed as we walked out the door.

There were only a few tables when we arrived around 8:30 p.m. on a weeknight. After they left, we were the only diners in the restaurant.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Chao Ga Tay (Vietnamese Rice Porridge with Turkey)

Chao Ga Tay (Vietnamese Rice Porridge with Turkey) 1

After making enough turkey stock for Bun Mang Ga Tay (Vietnamese Rice Vermicelli Noodle Soup with Bamboo Shoots and Turkey) and Mi Ga Tay Tiem (Vietnamese Egg Noodle Soup with Turkey and Chinese 5-Spice), I boiled the turkey bones for a final round of broth to make Chao Ga Tay (Vietnamese Rice Porridge with Turkey).

Boil the turkey bones, add a few cups of jasmine rice, and you get a pot of turkey rice porridge. So simple and basic, that I can't believe it's taken me so many years to blog this. I guess I just had too many other recipes to use with the broth instead.

While the bone broth was bubbling away on the stove, I made a Chocolate Ale (Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar) Cake to bring down to San Diego for oldest nephew's birthday. The turkey rice porridge was for his childhood friend, whose favorite food is rice porridge if you remember from my Chao/Congee/Jook Thit Heo Bam Hot Vit Bac Thao (Vietnamese/Chinese Rice Porridge with Ground Pork and Preserved Duck Egg) post.

You can doctor up the porridge afterward with ginger slivers or chopped cilantro, but I think the bone broth is so delicious that it's best enjoyed plain.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Bun Mang Ga Tay (Vietnamese Rice Vermicelli Noodle Soup with Bamboo Shoots and Turkey)

Bun Mang Ga Tay (Vietnamese Rice Vermicelli Noodle Soup with Bamboo Shoots and Turkey) 8

The dried bamboo shoots my mom brought back from Vietnam, and which I subsequently brought back from my $41.40 roundtrip flight to Portland, couldn't be used for just any ordinary dish. So, I saved one drumstick from my Thanksgiving turkey to make Bun Mang Ga Tay (Vietnamese Rice Vermicelli Noodle Soup with Bamboo Shoots and Turkey).

Usually, this dish is made with duck, but any type of poultry will do. You may use fresh or dried bamboo shoots. If you're using the latter, depending on how much you like bamboo, you may need to boil and drain it off a few times to remove the pungent "earthiness." Personally, I love bamboo shoots so a quick boil to soften them was all that was needed.

Since the turkey was already well-seasoned, I didn't add anything to the stock, but feel free to add salt and fish sauce as needed. I threw in a few dried shiitake mushrooms as well, the earthiness of the mushrooms and bamboo, complementing each other. Then it was a simple matter of boiling rice vermicelli noodles and making an herb platter before assembling each bowl.