…tasty bites to stimulate your taste buds..

Archive for the ‘Breakfast’ Category

Pho Bo Vietnamese Beef Noodle

Today, I am going back to my roots and sharing with you one of my all time favorite dishes, pho bo, or Vietnamese beef noodle.  Pho is a northern Vietnamese dish that has become well known worldwide.  Whether you are traveling in Asia, Australia, Europe, Canada, or America, you will likely find a restaurant with this wonderful soup.  If you can find a Vietnamese community, you can find a pho restaurant.  I grew up on pho, eating it for breakfast and lunch from the street vendors near my house.  And during the cold, rainy nights, it was the perfect soup for dinner.  My dad, a northerner, passed on his family recipe to my mom who came from south Vietnam.  Pho has a wonderful broth, flavored with star anise, Saigon cinnamon, charred onion, ginger, and many other spices.  The original recipe does not call for chicken stock, but my mom, who has more than 50 years of cooking experience under her belt, passed on her secret that one can of chicken stock adds even more flavor to the soup.  The daikon also adds a hint of sweetness lessening the amount of sugar needed.  Similar to many other Vietnamese noodle dishes, pho is served with lots of greens, mainly hung que (Thai basil) and ngo gai (which I do not know the English translation).  I also like the texture of bean sprouts in mine.  It adds a bit of crunch.  And of course, a bowl of pho is incomplete without the hoisin sauce and Sriracha!  People like to add brisket, tendon, tripe, and flank to their pho, but I enjoy mine with round steak and bo vien.  I am happy to share with you my mom’s recipe and hope it will send you in the right direction on your pho adventure.

Ingredients

A handful of spices (fennel, clove, coriander seeds, star anise, cinnamon)
1 large white onion
2 pieces of ginger, halved lengthwise
1 lb of daikon
1 tbsp of salt
2 lbs of beef bone
6 cups of water
1 can of chicken stock
¼ cup of fish sauce
3-4  tbsps of sugar
Rice noodles
1 lb of round steak cut in thin slices (ask your local butcher to prepare for you)
1 lb of meat balls  (bo vien from Kim Son)
Green onions and cilantro (cut in small pieces)
Bean sprouts
Hung que (basil leaves)
Ngo gai
Lime wedges
Hoisin and Sriracha sauces

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Place the ginger, onion, and spices in the oven and broil for 10 minutes.

Clean the beef bones with warm water and place them in a large stockpot.  Add the daikon, ginger, onion, spices, salt, and water to the pot.  Cook on medium heat for  three to four hours.  Remove any scum.  Strain the broth and transfer to a clean stockpot.  Add the chicken stock, fish sauce, sugar to the new pot and adjust the seasoning to your liking.  Let it simmer for another hour.

To cook the rice noodle, in a clean pot, bring water to a boil.  Immerse the rice noodle in the boiling water for a few seconds so you do not overcook the noodle.

When ready to serve, place the bean sprouts and noodle in the bowl.  Place the steak and meat balls on top.  Add the hot broth to the bowl, and garnish with cilantro and green onion.

Serve with hung que, ngo gai, lime wedges, and condiments.

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“Banh Canh Cua” Vietnamese Rice Noodle with Crab Soup

I am so happy that crab season lasts longer this year.  I plan on making “banh canh cua” or Vietnamese fat rice noodle with crab soup.  Banh canh cua is one of my favorite soups.  There are two versions, pork soup and crab soup.  I grew up with both but being a seafood fanatic, I enjoy the crab version much more.  The noodles look fat like udon, but are made with rice or tapioca, not wheat.  The tapioca noodles are clear after boiling and taste more chewy compared to the rice noodles.  This dish brings back fond memories of my pharmacy rotation in Vietnam.  My classmates and I would go to Ben Thanh market in Saigon for lunch or dinner and order banh canh from the various food stands.  The atmosphere was always lively, great for eating and people watching.  I hope you find this soup tasty and comforting!

Ingredients

2 Dungeness crabs
10 cups of water
2 lbs of pork neck bones
¼ cup of fish sauce
¼ cup of sugar
2 pkg (15 oz) fat rice noodles (they look like udon)
1 lb of deveined shrimps
chili pepper and pepper to taste (optional)
cilantro and green onions for garnish

Directions

Fill a large stockpot with 3 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Place the crabs in the water and steam for 15 minutes.  Save the crab stock.  Remove the meat from the body and claws, and save the juice from the body.  In a separate stockpot, fill 10 cups of water and cook the pork neck bones for 2 hours.  Pour the strained the pork stock, 2 cups of crab stock, and juice from the crabs into a separate stockpot.  Add fish sauce.  Let simmer for 30 minutes and remove any scum at the surface.  Add sugar to taste.

Boil the rice noodles until semi-clear.  Strain and leave the noodles in cold water so they do not expand.

When ready to serve, transfer the noodle to a serving bowl, top with crab meat and shrimps and then add soup.  Garnish with green onions, cilantro, pepper, and chili pepper.  Enjoy!

Crepes with Mascarpone and Rhubarb Raspberry Filling

Crepe is one of my all time favorite desserts.  Crepes are very thin pancakes originating from Brittany, France.  Back in the old days, crepes are made with buckwheat flour.  Today, there are many adaptations making the possibilities endless.  You can prepare a savory variation by adding fresh vegetables and herbs, cheese, seafood, or meat as breakfast or even a main entrée. To satisfy your sweet tooth, you can prepare different fillings with seasonal fruits and sauces, and pair with ice cream, or not.  When we were in Paris, crepe stands were at every corner and we ended up having crepes daily, a much cheaper alternative to expensive bistros.  This is my first time making crepes so bear with me.

Crepes

2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 cup flour
3 tbsps melted butter
1 tbsp of vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
butter for coating the pan

Filling

4 oz of mascarpone cheese
4 oz of rhubarb raspberry jam (or your favorite jam)
fresh raspberries, whip cream, and powdered sugar for garnish

Directions

Using a mixer, blend all the ingredients together.  Press the batter through a sieve to remove any lump.  Refrigerate for 1 hour to reduce the bubbles which prevents the crepes from tearing during cooking.

Heat a small non-stick pan on low heat with butter to coat.  Pour 1/4 cup of batter into the center of the pan and swirl to spread evenly.

Cook for 30 seconds or until golden and flip.  These crepes are paper thin so be careful not to tear them.  Lay them out flat on paperlined plate to remove any excess butter.

Spread mascarpone cheese and jam on half of crepe.  Fold the crepe into a quarter.

Serve with fresh raspberries and whip cream.  Sprinkle powdered sugar on top.  Bon appetit!

No Fuss Banana Nut Bread

I am so excited the weekend is finally here! And I have time to cook!  When I came home from work, the fragrance of our week old bananas hit my nose, and I decided to make banana nut bread.  To me, banana nut bread is comfort food.  You can have a slice for breakfast, with vanilla ice cream as dessert, or a midnight snack.  Banana nut bread tastes most delicious right out of the oven.  If baked correctly, it should be moist with a hint of sweetness.  Many years ago, I discovered the secret to retaining moisture in the banana bread is cream cheese.  Who would have thought?!  Well, whatever way you like your banana nut bread, enjoy!

Banana Nut Bread Ingredients

1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups of mashed bananas (about 3-4 medium bananas)
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsps Calumet baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsps vanilla extract
1/2 cup crushed walnuts

Instructions

Preheat your over to 350ºF. Beat cream cheese, butter, and sugar in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer until well blended.

Add banana and eggs, and mix well.

Sift in combined dry ingredients and blend well.

Stir in vanilla extract and walnuts.

Pour into greased 9×5 inch loaf pan and sprinkle some crushed walnut pieces on top.

Bake for 1 hour or until wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool 5 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!


I

am so excited the weekend is finally here! And I have time to cook!  When I came home from work, the fragrance of our week old bananas hit my nose, and I decided to make banana nut bread.  To me, banana nut bread is comfort food.  You can have a slice for breakfast, with vanilla ice cream as dessert, or a midnight snack.  Banana nut bread tastes most delicious right out of the oven.  If baked correctly, it should be moist with a hint of sweetness.  Many years ago, I discovered the secret to retaining moisture in the banana bread is cream cheese.  Who would have thought?!  Well, whatever way you like your banana nut bread, enjoy!

Banana nut bread Ingredients

1 pkg (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup of mashed banana ( about 3 medium bananas)

2 eggs

1 3/4 cups  all purpose flour

2 tsp CALUMET Baking Powder

1/2 tsp  baking soda

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup crushed walnut pieces

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Beat cream cheese, butter and sugar and butter in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended.

Add bananas and eggs; mix well.

Shift in combined dry ingredients; mix just until moistened.

Stir in vanilla extract and walnuts.

Pour into greased 9×5-inch loaf pan.

Bake for 1 hour or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool 5 min before serving.  Store any leftover bread in refrigerator.

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