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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Sườn Ram Trứng (Caramelized Pork Ribs with Hard Boiled Eggs)


The area where I live is surrounded by farm land. You can see the lush vineyards driving along the perimeter of the area. There are fruit stands, cows, horses, fresh-chicken-eggs-for-sale signs all around. To be able to escape, even momentarily, from the fast-paced urban lifestyle and come home to a pastoral surroundings of growing fruits, vegetables, and livestock to me is the simple life I've always wanted. It allows an opportunity for my daughters to be close to nature by spending more time outdoors. 









It's nice to be able to cook meals with our homegrown vegetables and fresh home raised chicken eggs. Whenever we have so many eggs, I like to boil them, peel the shells off and cook them with ribs in caramelized sauce.


cucumber vine

Caramelized pork ribs is one of many classic dishes of Vietnamese home-cooking at its best. The ribs are set to slow cook until the sauce is reduced to a viscous, flavor-packed glaze over the succulent meat.  The wonderful aroma of caramelized shallot, garlic, fish sauce, and ribs while simmering on the stove making you yearn for the meal to come quickly.
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RECIPE: Sườn Ram Trứng
printable recipe

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Ingredients



2.5-3 pounds Pork Spare Ribs or Baby Back Ribs, 
ask the butcher to cut crosswise through the bone into 
long strips 1-1/2 to 2 inches wide
6-8 hard boiled Eggs
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1/4 cup Fish Sauce
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Coco Rico or Coconut Water
2 large Shallots, thinly sliced
1 whole Garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
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Directions

Preparing Ribs


In this recipe, I use baby back ribs, but you could also use pork short rib or riblets, or even pork shoulder.

Par-boiling ribs: fill a pot with water and bring to a boil. Add ribs to boiling water. The water should be enough to just cover top of ribs. Blanch ribs until water is boiling again to remove any impurities. Remove ribs from boiling water. Rinse and drain. You may skip this process if you know your meat is fresh.

Cut ribs into bite sized pieces.

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Caramelized Ribs and Eggs


Place a large skillet over medium heat.  Add oil, sugar, garlic, and shallot over the oil.  Cook until garlic and shallot start to turn brown.


Add the ribs and stir well.  Add fish sauce, coco Rico or coconut water.  Mix it well then add eggs.  Reduce the heat to low, cover the skillet with a lid, let simmer to reduce the juice for about 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.




Caramelized pork ribs and eggs are almost done when the juice has been absorbed, and what left is the fat oil from ribs. Let it cook for another couple minutes until the ribs are browned and eggs are coated with a beautiful amber color and the rib bones become soft enough that you can even chew on it.  Sprinkle black pepper and give it a last stir.

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Presentation


Serve this delicious caramelized pork ribs and eggs with jasmine steamed rice and a side dish of  fresh cold crispy cucumber slices on a hot day or a warm steamed vegetable dish on a chill day.  


Eat well. Stay hungry!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Cánh Gà Nướng Giòn (Crispy Oven Baked Chicken Wings)



The grill is a summertime icon; it's the season that our family spend a lot of time eating barbecue  outdoor. The weather has certainly been heating up to 108 degrees F here in Sacramento, so we’ve been doing a lot of our cooking outside. We basically toss almost everything on the grill and at 108 degrees outside I probably don't even have to fire up the grill. But we grill everything including sticky rice, vegetables, sweet yams to quails, squids, steaks, and off course chicken. But the wings are my favorite. Grilled wings are not just finger-licking delicious but also healthier than red meat as they contain less cholesterol and fat.  But with that said, chicken wings are even healthier if they are baked.

In this post, I am sharing with you a secret for crispy oven baked chicken wings.  If you had tried my  crispy roasted pork belly recipe, the secret to getting the pork skin crackling crispy is brushing the mixture of vinegar and salt or baking powder and salt on the dried surface of pork skin.  I applied the same method to poultry skin by using baking powder and salt. Baking powder usually contains baking soda (sodium bicarbonate, NaHCO3), cream of tartar (potassium bitartrate, C4H5KO6), and cornstarch. The theory is that the baking powder helps draw moisture from the poultry skin. The acid helps break down proteins within the skin, and the alkali accelerates the browning process, making it ready to crisp up in the oven.

What makes these chicken wings healthy is that after baking in the oven for over an hour, all the fat renders out and what's left are the crispy-outside, tender-inside, and there is absolutely no lingering taste of baking powder. So, indulge in your guilty pleasures, sans the guilt, with these crispy and scrumptious chicken wings coated with savory honey garlic sauce. You might want to double this recipe because you're going to wish for more.
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RECIPE: Cánh Gà Nướng Giòn
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Ingredients


for the wings
2-2.5  pounds fresh party Chicken Wings
1 tablespoon Baking Powder 
1 teaspoon Salt

for the honey garlic sauce 
1 1/2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 tablespoons Honey
1 1/2 tablespoons Vinegar
1 tablespoon finely chopped Garlic
1 tablespoon Oil
3 Dried Chili Pepper, cut each into halves 
1 tablespoon Brown Sugar
1 tablespoon Roasted Sesame Seeds 
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Directions


Adjust oven racks to middle position.  Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
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Preparing a Broiler Pan


Cover the bottom tray of broiler pan with aluminum foil to prevent the hot grease that drips down from the wings from staining the tray. Place the rack on top of the tray.  Spray the rack with vegetable oil spray to prevent the wings from sticking to the rack.  Set aside.
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Preparing Wings


Rinse and thoroughly pat dry the wings with paper towels. Combine baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Pour baking powder mixture over the wings and toss well to make sure wings are evenly coated with baking powder mixture.  Set aside.

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Baking Wings


Place wings, skin side up, on a single layer on the rack.

she's always so focus and serious when comes to cooking
Bake wings for 30 minutes. This baking stage is to melt the fat before turning the oven temperature up to crisp up the skin.  You will notice these wings shrink as the fat renders out.  

Move wings up to the upper middle rack. Turn up the heat to 425 degrees and bake for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.  Don't leave them in the oven too long as the meat will dry out though the skin will be dark golden brown and crispy.  Make sure to flip the wings half way through the baking.


Remove the wings from the oven and let them sit for a few minutes to cool down.

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Making Honey Garlic Sauce



In a sauce pan, cook oil, garlic, and dried chili peppers in medium heat until garlic slightly turns brown.


Add soy sauce, honey, vinegar, sugar, and roasted sesame seeds. Stir until simmering. Turn off the heat. The sauce will be thickened as it cool down.

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Presentation


Place wings in a large bowl and pour your favorite sauce over the wings. Toss to coat.
Another way to serve is by plating the wings on the plate with the sauce in a small side bowl for dipping.


Eat Well. Stay Hungry!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Bánh Canh Nhật Xào Tôm (Musolino Pasta)


Musolino pasta from the local Mikuni Japanese restaurant is my older daughter's favorite dish of all time. Whenever we go here, she must have this dish to satisfy her palate. I just couldn't justify spending $15 for a plate of musolino pasta every time we were there so I promised my daughter that I would come up with the recipe so that she can enjoy this pasta in the comfort of our kitchen anytime she wants. I once asked the server at Mikuni to ask the chef what spices go into this dish and of course the server came back with the answer, "The chef said, 'It's a secret recipe.'   I am sorry."

It's what I expected so I wasn't disappointed.  Instead I decided to challenge myself to make this musolino pasta. In the process I think I came up with a family favorite. My daughters and husband couldn't rave enough about it.

Musolino pasta is udon noodle sauteed in olive oil, garlic, and other spices with jumbo tiger prawns, asparagus, mushrooms, and onions. Udon is a thick Japanese noodle made of wheat flour. It can be found in the refrigerated aisle of your local Asian grocery store.  I like to stock frozen udon in my freezer.  Whenever my girls ask for this dish, I have it available to toss it with any vegetables, seafood, or meat  that I can find in my fridge.

It's a must-try udon recipe; you won't be disappointed!
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RECIPE:  Bánh Canh Nhật Xào Tôm
yield 6-8 servings
printable recipe

musolino pasta without asparagus and mushroom 
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Ingredients


5 pieces (2.75 lb bag) frozen Udon
1 cup cooked sliced Asparagus
1 cup chopped Mushroom
1 1/2 pounds (16/20 per lb) Shrimps
Olive Oil or Garlic Oilve Oil
1 tablespoon, finely minced Garlic 
2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 tablespoon Sugar
1 teaspoon Salt
1/4 cup finely minced Cilantro
1/2  Purple or Sweet Onion, sliced, optional
1 Red Chili Pepper, seeds removed, finely minced, optional
1 tbsp finely minced Green Onion, optional
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Directions

Cooking Udon



Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add udon and cook for about 8-10 minutes or until soft. Drain. Do not rinse. Set aside.

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Preparing Asparagus


Wash and trim off the bottom ends of the stalks. Find the area where the green color begins to fade. This is where the tough woody end begins and is where the stalk should be trimmed off and discarded.


Add water in a frying pan and bring to a boil. I like to use the frying pan to cook asparagus as the spears fit better and they cook more evenly in a frying pan. Add about 1 teaspoon of salt. Add the asparagus to the pan and cook for about 1-2 minutes depending on the thickness of your asparagus. Remove before they are tender, and cool immediately in an ice bath to stop the cooking process and set the color. Avoid over cooking asparagus as the spears will become mushy, dull, and gross color. 
Cut asparagus on the diagonal into thin slices.  Measure one cup and set aside.

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Preparing Mushroom


Slice mushroom.  Measure one cup and set aside.
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Preparing Sauce


In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, sugar, and salt. Mix until dissolved. Set aside. 
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Searing Shrimps


Bring a large frying pan over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add shrimps and onion if used, and cook, turning once, until browned and crispy on both sides, about a minute per side. Transfer shrimps and onion to a plate. Set aside.
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Cooking Musolino Pasta


In the same frying pan, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil, garlic, mushroom, and red chili pepper if used and cook over medium heat, stir occasionally, until all the moisture has evaporated and the mushrooms start to turn dark reddish-brown with golden spots.


Add asparagus and the sauce. Give it a quick stir. Add in udon, cilantro, green onion if used, shrimps. Turn of the heat and stir until well combined.


musolino pasta without asparagus and mushroom
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Presentation


Plate musolino pasta on a plate. Top with shrimps and you're ready to pig out. Eat well. Stay hungry.



My daughters and I enjoy eating straight from pan.  Yummy!
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