Friday, February 5, 2016

Piña Coladas

We were actually pretty spoiled this season in terms of weather. There were a few days in December where it was over 70F and unlike the year before, we didn't see any snow until just a few weeks ago. And though we've had just a little snow this morning, I think it's supposed to be warm enough that it'll all melt this afternoon. However, I'm super sick of winter already. The short days are depressing and I hate the way I shiver in my car all the way to work.

When I'm feeling blue, I tend to turn to food for comfort. I don't mean that I sit in my pajamas, shoveling chips in my face, weeping over a bowl of marshmallows and cartons of ice cream. I like to use food to cheer myself up. On this particular occasion, I turned to a favorite tropical drink that reminds me of beach holidays: the piña colada!
Ingredients [for 2]:
1 cup ice
2 cups diced pineapple
3 oz. Malibu
3 oz. Rumchata
3 tablespoons cream of coconut
1 cup coconut water
4 pineapple wedges
2 marachino cherries
2 tablespoons toasted coconut flakes

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Bun Bo Hue

Last spring, I was sent to the Boston metro area for work for a few weeks. While I was there, I had a major craving for Vietnamese food and ended up finding a little banh mi shop called N&H Saigon Subs. I got a banh mi sandwich and at the suggestion of the shop owner, I got a bowl of the bun bo hue.

Bun bo hue is a noodle soup that originated in the city of Hue. It's my new favorite Vietnamese soup (sorry, pho) because it's deep, rich, and as made obvious by its red color, it's spicy.

After I got back from my work assignment up north, I headed to my favorite local Vietnamese shop and realized they also had bun bo hue on the menu. I immediately had pangs of depression that I'd been coming here for years without knowing about this awesome soup.

To pay tribute to my new love, I decided to try making my own version at home. I read a few articles, watched the episode of Parts Unknown where Tony goes to Hue and basically describes it as his favorite place, and researched where I might locally buy the ingredients I needed. I based the flavors of my recipe on the one I've been enjoying at my nearby Vietnamese restaurant and a version I tried whilst visiting Philly, where one of the ingredients listed in the menu description was pineapple. I found the proteins, seasonings, and produce I needed at an Asian market nearby and this post demonstrates the fruits of my labor.

It's definitely a long process (you'll have to dedicate about 4 hours one day and 1 to 2 on the second day) but it's worth it.
Ingredients [serves 4]:
2 lbs. pork neck bones
2 lbs. sliced pork legs
1 lb. beef oxtails
1 lb. beef shank
10 to 12 cups water
6 lemongrass stalks, bruised
8 cloves garlic, smashed
knob ginger, smashed
½ pineapple, quartered
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
salt to taste

½ cup canola oil
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons shrimp paste
2 lemongrass stalks, bruised
6 cloves garlic
8 Thai chili peppers

4 to 6 servings bun rice noodles
1 lb. Vietnamese pork roll, sliced
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
2 cups mung bean sprouts
2 cups shredded lettuce
2 limes, cut into wedges

Monday, February 1, 2016

Korean Rice Cake & Dumpling Soup | Dduk Mandu Guk (떡만두국)

Every year of my life, I've woken up on New Year's Day and eaten a big bowl of dduk guk. The past few years, my sister and I have been making kimchi mandu a few days before the holiday so that we could enjoy a heartier bowl of soup.

I've been a bit lazy about documenting the process of making dduk guk. In fact, my previous dduk guk post is just a singular photo and some vague instructions. So, when 2016 rolled around, I took the time to make a decent photo diary.
Ingredients [serves 4]:
1 lb. beef shanks
8 to 10 cups water
6 cloves garlic, smashed

3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sesame oil
salt to taste
handful glass noodles
4 cups sliced rice cake
12 mandu
2 eggs, separated
1 scallion, chopped
1 sheet laver, cut into strips
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