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Monday, April 08, 2013

Italian Clam and Shrimp Fettuccine

Italian Clam and Shrimp Fettuccine 1

I still had a few cups of leftover broth from making Moules Frites (Belgian Mussels with Fries) that I didn't want it to go to waste. The flavor was so tasty that I decided to turn it into a pasta dish, and added shrimp and clams.

Of course, if you didn't make mussels, you can still make this Clam and Shrimp Fettuccine. Just use chicken broth or wine instead. A quick and easy dinner in the time it takes for the noodles to boil.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Moules Frites (Belgian Mussels with Fries)

Moules Frites (Belgian Mussels with Fries) 1

While grocery shopping at 99 Ranch Market in Monterey Park, I saw fresh black mussels on sale for $2.99/lb, or $9.99 for 5 pounds. Remembering how much the niece loved eating mussels at Bistro De La Gare Restaurant & Wine Bar - South Pasadena, and because you know how much I love bivalves myself, I decided to go whole hog and buy the 5-lb bag.

While Googling to make sure I spelled the dish correctly, I found out that moules frites is actually Belgian. Huh! I always thought mussels with fries were French, and while they are quite popular in northern France and I've seen them on the menu in French restaurants, their origins are actually Belgian according to Wikipedia and Saveur. Learn something new every day.

They say to plan on about 1 pound of mussels per person. The 5-lb bag fed three adults and one mussel-loving toddler. Not bad for $10. As for the frites part of the recipe, you can fry your own, or cheat like I did, and stop off at McDonald's. :P

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Banh Pa Te So (Vietnamese Pate Chaud (French Hot Pastry Pie))

Banh Pa Te So (Vietnamese Pate Chaud (French Hot Pastry Pie)) 1

I'm not sure why I haven't posted a recipe for Banh Pa Te So (Vietnamese Pate Chaud (French Hot Pastry Pie)) before. Perhaps I was overthinking it and wanted to wait until I tried my hand at making puff pastry. Or maybe I veered the other direction and thought it was so basic that it didn't need a recipe. I admit, I don't often make a filling specifically for banh pa te so. Rather, if I'm making Cha Gio (Vietnamese Egg Rolls), I use the leftover filling to stuff them or any other leftover filling or meat.

My mom buys frozen puff pastry in bulk and cuts them into squares and brings them down to me. So I almost always have some on hand. They make a great light breakfast or quick snack. But, since one of my readers requested, and in case you wanted to specifically make banh pa te so, here's my recipe.

By the way, I always knew that banh pa te so is the Vietnamese phonetic equivalent of pate chaud (French hot pastry pie), but according to Wikipedia, apparently it's an outdated 19th century term. Blame it on colonialism. Learn something new every day!

With my love for pot pies, well, really, any savory filling in pastry, it's a wonder I haven't posted about this before.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Lavender-Grilled Steak Fettuccine

Lavender-Grilled Steak Fettucine 1

A few days after my Easter barbecue, I wanted to try using my Saber Grill on my own since my brother and cousin had done all the grilling that day. I knew just the recipe I wanted to experiment with for my first time. Tony of SinoSoul dropped off some lettuce, cilantro, and lavender from his garden. I vaguely remembered coming across a recipe long, long ago for lavender-grilled steak. I don't remember any pictures accompanying the article so I don't know what it was supposed to look like, rather the writer focused more on waxing poetic about the aroma of lavender on the grill. Lavender in desserts I was used to, but paired with steak was something that never occurred to me before.

I tend to prefer French lavender for cooking, but I'm not one to turn down any type of free lavender. In the end, I think the muted fragrance of the Spanish lavender that I used nicely complemented the steak without overpowering it. I sliced the lavender-grilled steak and tossed it with some lavender fettuccine from Pappardelle's Pasta that lil' sis brought back for me from a trip to Seattle's Pike Place Market. I kept the pasta simple and just drizzled some olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

If you don't have lavender fettuccine, obviously, just regular pasta will do. And if you don't have fresh lavender on hand, you can add dried lavender to the steak rub, or use herbes de Provence.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Grilled Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus Skewers

Grilled Asparagus Bacon Skewers 1

The last recipe from my Easter barbecue is really more of an update. Or rather, more of an update in technique. I've blogged Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus before, but grabbing bacon-wrapped anything can be a bit greasy. Obviously, with chicken and ribs on the menu, hands were already going to get greasy, but I wanted to wrap the bacon around each asparagus spear and then skewer them like I've seen the chefs do at Shin-Sen-Gumi Yakitori-Shabu Shabu - Monterey Park.

Luckily, the older '88 showed up just in time to help me finish prepping. I tried wrapping bacon around an asparagus spear and scallion, and while tasty, it was more difficult to make it look nice. The bacon didn't go as far as I thought. Despite using a pound of bacon and making a giant platter, these pretty much all disappeared by the end of the evening.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Grilled Coca Cola Fig Jam Ribs

Grilled Coca Cola Fig Jam Ribs 1

No barbecue is complete without ribs. I was planning on making Pork Ribs with Coca Cola and Strawberry Jam, but didn't have any strawberry jam in my refrigerator. No problem, the Coke was the more important part of the recipe anyway. A little digging around my condiment shelf and a jar of fig jam seemed like the most likely substitute. I made a few modifications to the other recipe, adding in fish sauce and Sriracha for more savory and spicy notes.

Can you believe all that was just one rack of ribs? I had the butcher cut it length-wise. I then cut each side in half, and used one quarter to make a soy sauce and spicy free version for the kids.

Again, I also cooked the ribs in the oven for half an hour to tenderize the meat and speed up grilling time. You can either cook these completely in the oven, which I've done plenty of times before, or cook them on the grill.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Ga Nuong Me Cam (Vietnamese Grilled Tamarind Orange Chicken)

Ga Nuong Me Cam (Vietnamese Grilled Tamarind Orange Chicken) 1

I was planning on making Ga Nuong Xa (Vietnamese Grilled Lemongrass Chicken) for my Easter barbecue. But earlier that week, I had stopped off at cousin Q's older brother's house after grabbing some 99-cent fish tacos to-go from Tacos Baja - East Los Angeles. By the time I left, my cousin sent me off with a bag of semolina flour and a small jar of tamarind paste. I haven't figured out what to do with the former yet, but the latter was quickly incorporated into a new marinade.

I originally thought of mango juice since the tropical flavor would pair better with the tamarind, but didn't have any on hand. No orange juice either. So I rooted through my refrigerator and stumbled upon a jar of orange marmalade, which made the chicken skin sticky, crispy and oh so yummy on the grill.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Robin's Egg Nest Easter Cupcakes

Robin's Egg Nest Easter Cupcakes 1

Robin's nest egg cupcakes for Easter. I was inspired to make these cupcakes after spying robin egg Whoppers at the store. Dyed coconut flakes green for the grass. German chocolate cupcakes since I figured the coconut in the frosting was already a present flavor. That's it!

Although, I did vary it a bit by adding Target Market Pantry brand Chickadees crackers to create love bird cupcakes.

So simple. As if you really need a recipe.