Pho - Vietnamese Soup

Pho - Vietnamese Soup
One of our favorite dishes - Pho

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Guiness Beef Stew

This recipe is adapted from one of of my good friend's, Brittany's recipe.  Brit posted this on facebook and she totally inspired me to make this because I love beef stew prepared any which way, especially on a cold winter's day.  This stew was particularly good because of the richness of the Guiness beer.  Also, this turned out more soupy than some of my other recipes, which was something the family all loved about this dish.  Cheers Brittany!  =)

3 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP butter
2 - 3  lbs stew meat
1 whole medium onion, diced or about 1 cup pearl onions
6 cloves garlic, minced plus, I throw in a couple of additional crushed cloves
1 can Guiness beer
4 cups beef stock (or 4 cups water + 4 beef bouillon cubes)
2 cups water
2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
2 TBSP tomato paste
½ tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp Kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 - ½ tsp sugar
4 whole carrots, washed, peeled and roughly sliced, or about 2 cups baby carrots
2 large russet potatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks
3 celery ribs, sliced
1 TBSP herbs de provence (or a touch more)

1/2 cup parsley and basil, minced

Heat oil and butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Brown meat in two batches, setting aside on a plate when brown. Cut pieces in half. Set aside.
Add diced onions to the pot. Stir and cook for two or three minutes until softened, then add garlic for another minute. Pour in beer and beef stock, then add Worcestershire, tomato paste, paprika, salt, pepper, and sugar. Add beef back into the pot. Stir to combine. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Add carrots, potatoes, celery and herbs; cover and cook for an additional 30 minutes.  If stew gets dry, just add a cup of hot water or beef stock at a time to replenish the liquid.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Serve in bowls with some crusty French bread on the side. Sprinkle with minced parsley and basil, if desired.

**The liquid should cook down to a thicker state. If it gets too thick/reduces too much, add additional water as needed.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Truffle Potato Croquettes

This is a side dish that was inspired by some flavorful truffle potato croquettes topped on a beautifully grilled New York Strip steak David and I had at a restaurant in Ft. Worth called Angaluna's. Unfortunately, Angeluna's has since closed but my love for these flavorful croquettes will forever have me on an ongoing quest to get the recipe just like we had at Angeluna's. 

I actually have a funny story about these croquettes.  David and I were eating at Angeluna's before seeing a show at the Bass Performance Hall across the street.  I believe we were going to see Lyle Lovett.  Anyway, I had had this wonderful steak with these truffle potato croquettes before and I was so excited, my mouth was watering as the waitress set my plate in front of me.  I was going on and on to David about how excited I was to eat these potatoes that are out of this world good.  With that, I go to cut into my food and one of the croquettes goes flying off of my plate into the ladies purse that was sitting next to us. I was so bummed, but David and I were hysterically cracking up, because it was like something scripted out of a movie.  I never did tell the lady about the potato ball in her purse, but lucky her for having a tasty snack for later as a surprise.  =)

2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon chopped green onion
2 egg yolks, beaten
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups mashed potatoes
1 TBSP truffle oil (or to taste)
1 egg, beaten
Sifted dried bread crumbs
Peanut oil, enough to fill pan 1/2-inch

Add milk, salt, pepper, chopped onion, beaten egg yolks, flour and truffle oil to mashed potatoes. Chill and then shape using an ice cream scoop. Dip in the beaten egg, then roll through bread crumbs. Fry each croquette in shallow oil until brown on all sides.

Cook's Note: Cook in small batches, giving each croquette at least 2 inches of space around it to not overcrowd the pan. This prevents the croquettes from crumbling while frying.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Here's a classic Austrian/German dish.  Translation of the name: 'Wiener' this word comes from the word 'Wien', which is the Austrian city called Vienna. 'Schnitzel' means basically meat in a crust.  You can substitute pork, chicken or beef....the key is having thinly pounded meat.  It's very similar to veal piccata.  We served this with truffle potato croquettes (recipe to follow).  This is very easy to prepare and is always a hit.

4 veal cutlets (about 4 ounces each), pounded very thin, scallopini style
Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning to taste

freshly ground black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
2 TBSP water
2 cups plain, dry bread crumbs
vegetable oil, for frying
lemon wedges


Pat the veal cutlets dry with paper towels. Season them with creole seasoning and pepper. Set up a standard breading procedure in 3 shallow bowls or pie plates. Put flour in 1, eggs and water in another, and bread crumbs in the last. Beat the eggs and water together. Dredge each of the veal cutlets first in flour, then egg wash and then the bread crumbs. Transfer the coated cutlets to a platter.

Heat a large straight sided skillet, filled half way up with vegetable oil, over medium-high heat. Carefully, transfer the coated cutlets into the hot oil to fry. Since they are so thin, the veal will cook very quickly, about 2 minutes per side. Drain the cutlets on a paper towel lined plate. Serve with lemon and top with capers.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

PF Changs/Pei Wei chicken lettuce wraps are, by far, the best I've ever eaten.  Here's a recipe I found online that is a copycat recipe.  It's worth the effort of hunting down oyster sauce and mushroom soy sauce at an Asian market, because that's what makes this dish so flavorful. 

8 ounces of minced chicken mix
(which is a mix of shitake mushrooms, water chestnuts, & minced chicken )
1 TBSP of wok oil or peanut oil
1 tsp of minced garlic
2 TBSP of diced green scallions
2 ounces of our minced chicken sauce (see below)
1 cup of rice sticks (prepared)
1 tsp of sesame oil

iceburg lettuce leaves

Minced Chicken Sauce:
1/4 cup of mushroom soy sauce
1/4 cup of oyster sauce
1/2 tsp of white pepper
1/4 cup of cooking rice wine
1 TBSP of sugar

Combine all the above ingredients.  Heat mixture on medium high heat at low boil for about 6 to 8 minutes (can cool and refrigerate additional sauce).


Cooking Procedure:

Heat wok until white whisk of smoke appears
Add 1 TBSP of wok oil
Add garlic 5-10 seconds
Add minced chicken mix and sear
Add 1/4 ounces of minced chicken sauce, stir and incorporate.
Add 2 TBSP of diced green scallions
Add 1 tsp of sesame oil and plate, serving with lettuce leaves to wrap the chicken filling

This recipe serves 2.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I served the hummus with pita chips and bread.  A tasty, healthy snack that is incredibly easy to make.  

2 garlic cloves
2 cups canned chickpeas, drained, liquid reserved
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)
3 TBSP freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon), or to taste, plus zest
2 TBSP water or liquid from the chickpeas
8 dashes hot sauce

In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, drop the garlic down the feed tube; process until it's minced. Add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor and process until the hummus is coarsely pureed. Taste, for seasoning, and serve chilled or at room temperature.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Shrimp Toast

Another fabulous Dim Sum recipe.  This is our twist on Sara's original recipe.  She usually doesn't add pork, but we did because we had leftover filling from the shrimp and pork dumplings we made.  The leftover filling made the perfect topping for our shrimp toast.  

6 - 8 slices thin white bread, crusts cut off and into 4 triangles
1 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/2 pound ground pork
1 green onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, grated
2 egg whites
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 TBSP low-sodium soy sauce, plus some for dipping

1 TBSP sesame oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp sesame oil
1 egg white
1 tsp water
vegetable oil for frying

Put bread in a warm oven for 2 - 3 minutes to dry bread; set aside.

To make the shrimp filling: Pulse the shrimp, pork, onion, garlic, ginger, egg whites, corn starch, lemon juice, soy sauce and 1 TBSP sesame oil in a food processor until partly smooth but not completely pureed. It should have a little texture. Season with salt and pepper.

Spread shrimp mixture on toast.  In a small bowl combine 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp water and egg white.  Brush top of shrimp toast with egg white mixture. 

Heat an inch of oil in a wok or skillet over high heat until hot.  Reduce heat to medium.  Carefully lower bread triangles shrimp-side down into hot oil with slotted spoon.  Fry 4 - 5 at a time until edges of bread turn golden, about 1 minute.  Turn each triangle square and cook other side 30 seconds.  Remove from oil with slotted spoon; drain on paper towels.  Repeat with remaining bread triangles.  Serve hot.  Sprinkle with sliced green onion, salt and pepper.

Teriyaki Glazed Pork Spare Ribs

Our third Dim Sum recipe.  Tyler Florence's original recipe calls for 1/4 cup of the Chinese five-spice powder which must be a typo, because that is way too much.  Thankfully, I read the comments before preparing this dish because they left a few major steps out.  When this recipe is done right it is absolute perfection and was just like what you get off a dim sum cart in an authentic tea house.

2 TBSP olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 TBSP Chinese five-spice powder
1 rack pork spareribs, trimmed of excess fat, cut in 1/2 through the bone so you have 2" length riblets
2 tablespoons white sesame seeds, for garnish
Cilantro leaves, chopped, for garnish
Green onion, thinly sliced, for garnish
For the Teriyaki Glaze:
1 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 cup fresh grapefruit juice
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 TBSP rice vinegar
1 fresh red chile, split
2 garlic cloves, smashed
2-inch piece fresh ginger, cut into 1-inch coins

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Mix the salt and pepper in a small bowl with the five-spice powder. Rub the ribs with the peanut oil.  Rub the spice mixture all over the lightly oiled ribs and arrange the ribs in a single layer in a roasting pan and slow-roast for 2 hours.

To make Teriyaki Glaze: In a pot, combine the soy sauce, grapefruit juice, hoisin sauce, ketchup, rice wine vinegar, chile, garlic, and ginger over medium heat. Bring to a slow simmer and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 20 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of Teriyaki Glaze in a small bowl and set aside.

In the last 30 minutes of cooking, baste the ribs with the Teriyaki Glaze. When they are done, the meat will start to pull away from the bone. Just before you're ready to eat, baste the ribs with the Teriyaki Glaze again and stick them under the broiler for 5 to 8 minutes to make the spareribs a nice crusty brown. Separate the ribs with a cleaver or sharp knife, cutting at every second rib so there are 2 bones per piece. Pile them on a platter, and pour on the reserved Glaze. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and chopped cilantro

Shrimp and Egg Fried Rice

Another Dim Sum recipe compliments of Tyler Florence.  This dish was a perfect compliment to the shrimp and pork dumplings we made.  This could be a meal in itself with all kinds of fabulous flavors.

6 tablespoons peanut oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 (2-inch) piece ginger, peeled and grated
1/2 small head napa cabbage, core removed and finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups cooked long-grain white rice
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed in warm water
3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1/4 bunch scallions, sliced, for garnish
1/2 cup chopped peanuts, for garnish

Heat 2 tablespoons of the peanut oil in a wok or a large nonstick skillet over medium-high flame. Give the oil a minute to heat up, then add the shallots, the ginger, and stir-fry for 1 minute until fragrant. Add the cabbage and stir-fry until the cabbage is wilted and soft, about 8 minutes; season with a nice pinch of salt. Remove the vegetables to a side platter and wipe out the wok with dry paper towel.

Put the pan back on the heat and coat with 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the garlic and to the wok and saute gently until fragrant. Add shrimp and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until pink. Set aside on platter with vegetables. Add remaining oil to the wok and when hot, crack the eggs into the center. Scramble the egg lightly, then let it set without stirring so it stays in big pieces. Fold in the rice and toss with the egg until well combined, breaking up the rice clumps with the back of a spatula. Return the sauteed vegetables and shrimp to the pan along with the peas and season with salt and soy sauce. Toss everything together to heat through. Spoon the fried rice out onto a serving platter, and garnish with scallions and peanuts.

Shrimp and Pork Dumplings

David and I decided to make Dim Sum and I remember seeing the Cooking Channel's Tyler Florence show where he featured Dim Sum recipes that all sounded and looked amazing.  This and the next two recipes were recipes featured on Tyler's show.  The smells that were coming out of our kitchen were out of this world.  We had leftover filling that we used for shrimp toast (recipe to follow) that was a wonderful combination of flavors with the shrimp, pork onion garlic and ginger.  I look forward to recreating this meal soon.

1 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/2 pound ground pork
1 green onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, grated
2 egg whites
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce, plus some for dipping
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the Wrappers:
1 (10-ounce) package round wonton wrappers
Canola oil, for brushing the steamer
Savoy cabbage, for lining the steamer, optional
Micro Arugula, for garnish

Special equipment: wok, bamboo steamer

To make the shrimp filling: Pulse all the ingredients in a food processor until partly smooth but not completely pureed. It should have a little texture. Season with salt and pepper.

To assemble dumplings: Hold a wonton wrapper in your hand. Dip a spoon in cold water and then drop 1 tablespoon of the filling onto the center of a wrapper (dipping the spoon in cold water first will make the filling come off easier). Gather the edges of the wrapper up around the filling and squeeze the sides slightly with your fingers. The sides will naturally pleat, leaving the filling slightly exposed. Tap the dumpling on the table so the bottom is flat and it stands upright. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling. (You can freeze the leftover filling for 2 or 3 weeks.)

Lightly oil the bottom of a 10-inch bamboo steamer and line it with the whole cabbage leaves. Stand the dumplings in the steamer in a single layer and don't let them touch. You should be able to get 12 siu mai in the steamer at a time. Bring 1 to 2 inches of water to a boil in a pot. Set the bamboo steamer over the pot, then cover it with the bamboo lid. Steam for 10 to 12 minutes or until the filling feels firm and is cooked through. Serve in the steamer basket and garnish with micro arugula and soy sauce.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bananas Foster

Here's New Orleans Brennan's Restaurant infamous Bananas Foster recipe.  Sherri cooked this scrumptious dessert for our family while vacationing in Sonoma.  She served vanilla ice cream over the warm, caramelized bananas...It truly was to die for! 

¼ cup (½ stick) butter
1 cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup banana liqueur
4 bananas, cut in half
lengthwise, then halved
¼ cup dark rum
4 scoops vanilla ice cream

Combine the butter, sugar, and cinnamon in a flambé pan or skillet. Place the pan over low heat either on an alcohol burner or on top of the stove, and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the banana liqueur, then place the bananas in the pan. When the banana sections soften and begin to brown, carefully add the rum. Continue to cook the sauce until the rum is hot, then tip the pan slightly to ignite the rum. When the flames subside, lift the bananas out of the pan and place four pieces over each portion of ice cream. Generously spoon warm sauce over the top of the ice cream and serve immediately.