Happy Holidays Everybody!

Roasted Acorn Squash stuffed with Ricotta and Freshwater Prawns...spent a little too much time in the oven lol


Ingredients:
-1 large acorn squash
-1 cup ricotta cheese (approx)
-1 egg
-1 stalk celery
-1/4lb fresh prawns
-3-4 mushrooms
-salt, pepper

What to Do:
Cut squash into 1” thick slices, remove seeds. Chop mushrooms, celery and prawns (save a few to garnish later). Mix together cheese, egg, celery, prawns, and mushrooms. Add salt and pepper to taste. Fill the squash slices with cheese mixture. Bake at 375’F until squash is knife-tender. Place reserved prawns on top to garnish and broil for a few mins until golden.



Roast Beef
Same recipe as last year: http://pwmf.blogspot.com/2005/12/christmas-dinner-2005.html


Honey Ham Greens


Ingredients:
-2 large bunches of collard greens
-1 ham bone
-1 tbs honey
-1 tbs butter
-2 cloves garlic
-salt, pepper
-1/4 cup chicken stock (approx.)

What to Do:
Wash and chop greens. Mince garlic and fry in butter until fragrant. Add ham bone and greens, sprinkle on some s&p, add stock and honey. Cover and cook until tender.


Green Beans with Baby Scallops and Hazelnuts


Ingredients:
-1lb green beans
-1/2lb baby scallops
-1 clove garlic
-1 tbs olive oil
-1/3 cup hazel nuts (approx.)
-3 tbs chicken stock, wine or water

What to Do:
Trim and wash beans. Crush hazel nuts and mince garlic. Fry hazel nuts in oil until fragrant, add garlic and scallops, sauté for about a minute. Remove scallops and add beans and chicken stock. Cover and steam beans until tender. Once beans are tender, add the scallops back in and continue to cook for another minute or two before serving. Do not cook the scallops; they’ll become dry and chewy.


Peppermint Marbled Cheesecake


Basic Cheese Cake and Variations:

Crust:
-200g graham crackers
-100g butter
-1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)

*Crush crackers, melt butter and mix everything together. Press into cheese cake pan or a springform pan to form crust.

Filling:
-450g cream cheese
-450g sour cream
-200g sugar
-5 eggs

*Everything should be at room temperature. Cream cream cheese until fluffy; add eggs one at a time. Add sugar once all of the eggs are incorporated. Lastly, fold in sour cream. Pour filling into curst. Bake at 325’f for about 1h to 1h15m with a pan of water underneath the cake. The cake should jiggle like jello when done (it’ll firm up when cooled).

Variations:
Cream cheese and eggs are the “base” of the cake, thus their amount should not be adjusted. Sour cream and sugar are the “helping hands” which means they can be adjusted to accommodate whatever flavors you want the cheese cake to have. For example, if you want mango cheese cake replace ½ or all of the sour cream with mango purée and reduce the sugar to make up for the sweetness that the mangos bring to the cake. You must also remember to match the texture of the mango with the sour cream by adding approx. 1tbs corn starch (mango purée is not as thick as sour cream, if no thickener is added the cake will be too “runny”). With that said…if you want a coffee flavored cheese cake replace part of the sour cream with coffee, add some starch to thicken the coffee, keep the sugar the same since coffee is not sweet.

For peppermint cheese cake (pictured above) reduce the sugar to 100g and fold in 100g crushed peppermint candy….you can also just add peppermint oil.

Marbled Cheese Cake:
After making the batter, save a couple tbs and mix it with some coloring, jam, juice, etc… Pour the rest of the batter into the cake pan, drizzle the colored batter over the top. Use a sharp knife to drag the color batter around to create a marbled appearance. Bake as usual.

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Vanilla Sponge:

-4 eggs
-120g sugar
-120g flour
-1/4 tsp baking powder
-1tbs vanilla extract

*Separate eggs and beat white until foamy, gradually add in the sugar and beat to obtain medium peaks, add in egg yolks one at a time. Mix together flour and baking powder. Sift and fold flour mixture into eggs. Bake in jelly roll pan at 350’F until lightly golden.


Filling and Icing:
-200g raspberries
-100g sugar (approx)
-400g whipping cream
-powdered sugar
-cocoa powder

*Boil together berries and sugar. Whip cream until stiff peaks. Fold in about a quarter of the whipped cream into the cooled berry mixture to raspberry moose filling. Fold powdered sugar (to taste) into the remaining whipped cream. Divide the cream into thirds; 1/3 will be used to make flowers and decorating (add coloring accordingly). Fold cocoa powder into the remaining 2/3 to use as icing.


What to Do:
Spread raspberry moose onto cooled sponge cake and roll into a log. Cut a slice off one end of the log about 1 – 1 ½ inches thick (for decorating purposes, optional). Spread a little icing onto the cake slice and place in somewhere on the log to create a “chopped off branch” on the log. Cover the log and the branch with the chocolate cream. Drag a fork along the log to create a bark like appearance. Decorate the log as you please. The poinsettias are done with red icing and a leaf tip …they’re basically a bunch of red leaves placed in a circle to resemble a flower.


Reference for Vanilla Sponge: Madam Quốc Việt of Gia Chánh Quốc Việt
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Ingredients:
-blue crabs
-kaffir/thai lime leaves
-1 tsp tamarind powder (the kind used to make tamarind soup)
-1 tsp sugar
-thai chilies (optional)
-1/3 tsp black pepper
-3 tbs coconut juice or water

What to Do:
Steam crabs over high heat with lime leaves in the steaming water. Mix together tamarind powder, sugar, chillies, pepper and coconut juice to make dipping sauce. Give the sauce a taste all flavor should be even, adjust accordingly. Serve steamed crabs with tamarind sauce.

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Success to making this snack is when the rice is crumbly yet can hold together when you squeeze it (think of pie or cheese cake crust) thus the name "Xôi Vò" as Xôi means cooked sweet rice and Vò means to squeeze or roll. To make this happen mung beans are used not to just add flavor and color but to coat the rice making it crumbly and less sticky. Be warned this snack is not easy to make, but the taste is so worth the effort.

Ingredients:
-150g sweet rice
-450g mung beans (peeled and split)
-100g sugar
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 can coconut milk (approx)

What to Do:
Wash rice and soak overnight in water with salt. Wash mung beans and soak overnight separately. Next morning boil beans in water, once the water boils drain as much of it as you can, return the pot of beans to the stove, cover it and simmer over medium heat until tender and fluffy (this takes some kitchen experience to do, if you're a beginner it'll be easier to just steam the bean instead). Meanwhile, mix rice with coconut milk and steam over high heat until tender. Once rice is tender, mix it with sugar and rest until cool enough to handle. The beans should be cooked and cool enough to handle by the time the rice is cooling. Mash the beans and form it into logs approx. 3 inches in diameter. Use a knife to slice the logs into thin slices. "Rub" the beans with the rice so that the beans coat the rice kernels. You should get something that looks like the picture above. If everything turns into a stick mess just let it sit and air dry for a bit, the drier it becomes the crumblier it becomes.
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Ingredients:
-1/2 lb manila clams
-1 large sing kwa or zucchini
-1/2 large onion
-1/2 bunch each: basil and cilantro
-1 green onion
-2 cloves garlic
-2 thai chilies (optional)
-1 tbs fish sauce
-salt and sugar to taste
-water

What to Do:
Wash clams, cut onion into wedges. Peel sing kwa and cut into bite size pieces. Crush and mince garlic, chillies and green onion. Roughly chop basil and cilantro. In a large pot heat 1/2 tsp oil. Add garlic, chillies, and onions and stir fry until fragrant, add clams, fish sauce and water (enough water to cover the surface of clams by 3-4 inches). Boil over high heat until clams begin to open up, add sing kwa and onions. Bring mixture to a full boil, skim surface and add salt and sugar to taste. Turn off the heat and add in cilantro and basil. Serve with noodles, or rice.

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This dish is the result of marrying Bún Mọc with Bún Thang, thus the name Bún Mọc Thang. Both Bún Mọc and Bún Thang are noodle soups from Northern Vietnam. Bún Mọc Thang was conceived and given birth to in Seattle, by yours truly :D. So....technically, Bún Mọc Thang is an American dish...after all it's created in America by an American. LOL

Ingredients:
-1 chicken
-3 eggs
-4 shitake mushrooms
-1lb vietnamese ham (chả lụa)
-1lb pork meat paste (uncooked chả lua aka giò sống, mọc)
-5 woodear mushrooms
-1/2 bundle cellophane noodles
-shredded ong choy (rau muống, can replace with celery)
-thai chillies, lime
-salt, sugar, pepper
-onion, green onion, cilantro
-rice vermicelli
-rau răm herb

What to Do:
Hydrate shitake and woodear mushrooms in water, remove their stems and slice thinly. Boil together chicken, shitake mushrooms, and one roasted onion to make broth, add salt and sugar to taste. Remove chicken once it's cooked and shred the chicken meat. While the chicken is cooking.... Cut onions into thin slices, finely chop cilantro, rau răm and green onions (to be used as garnish). Cut chả lụa into matchstick size pieces. Beat eggs and use a nonstick pan to fry thin egg sheets. Roll the sheets into a log and cut into thin slices (so you'll get thins strips of eggs). Cut cellophane noodles into shorter pieces. Mix together pork meat paste, chopped woodear mushrooms and cellophane noodles, divide mixture into 2 portions. Fry on portion cut into thin slices (mọc chiên). Drop tsps of the remaining mixture into the broth to cook (mọc luộc). Cook vermicelli according to package instructions.

To Serve:
Vermicelli goes in the bowl first. Followed by shredded chicken, egg strips, matchstick size pieces of chả lụa, fried meat paste (mọc chiên), boiled meat paste (mọc luộc). Ladle in hot broth and garnish with onion slices, chipped onion, rau răm and cilantro. Serve with shredded ong choy, chillies and lime.

FYI, Difference between Bún Mọc and Bún Thang:
Bún Mọc:
Broth is made with pork bones, "meat choice" is limited to only chả lụa, mọc chiên and mọc luộc.

Bún Thang:
Broth is made with chicken, "meat choice" includes only shredded chicken, eggs strips and chả lụa.

**Both bún mọc and bún thang have the same garnish and are served with rice vermicelli, shredded ong choy, chillies and lime.

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To make this, you start out off with 2 ripe mangos and make a mango purée. The mango purée is then used in the sweet bread dough and the filling.

Mango Purée:
-2 large ripe mangos
-1/2 tsp lemon/lime juice

*Blend mango flesh and juice in a blender until smooth, run the mixture through a sieve and discard and fibers left in the sieve.

For the Bread Dough:
-50g sugar
-170g warm milk
-170g mango puree
-1 tbs yeast
-130g butter (salted at room temperature)
-390g bread flour
-150g all purpose flour
-egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tbs milk)

* In a large bowl, mix together sugar, yeast and milk, let stand for 15 mins and add in mango puree. Add yeast mixture to flours and knead to form a smooth dough, add butter and knead another 10 mins. Prove until doubled, punch down prove again until dough is 1 3/4 it’s original size.

Mango and Cream Cheese Filling:
-200g cream cheese
-1 egg
-2 tbs corn starch
-mango Purée

*Cream together cream cheese, egg and corn starch until smooth. Gradually add in leftover mango puree until texture of the filling resembles whipped cream.

What to Do:
After the dough has risen a second time. Divide dough into 12 portions. Fill a pastry bag with the mango filling. Take a piece of dough, slightly fatten and wrap it around the tip of the pastry bag. Squeeze the pastry bag to "fill" the dough with about 1 tbs of filling. Gently remove the dough from the pastry tip and pinch the edges to seal in the filling. Allow the buns to rise until doubled. Brush loafs with egg wash and pipe the leftover mango filling (if you still have some) on top of the buns into whatever designs you wish. Bake at 400’F for about 10 mins., reduce heat to 350’F and bake until golden.
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Ingredients:
-1lb seafood (your choice)
-1 jalapeno pepper (as much or as little as you like)
-1 tbs mince crab sauce
-1 large bell pepper
-cilantro, basil (the more the merrier)
-3 cloves garlic
-salt and sugar to taste

What to Do:
Clean and prep seafood. Mince garlic, cut jalapeno into thin strips. Cut bell peppers into bite size pieces. Chop cilantro and basil into 1" pieces. Heat 1 tbs oil in a wok, fry garlic until fragrant. Add seafood and crab sauce, stir fry for approx. a min. and add in peppers. Continue to stir fry over high heat until seafood is cooked. Add salt and sugar to taste. Remove from heat and mix in cilantro and basil.
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This treat definitely represents the touch of French influence in Vietnamese treats. Like any yogurt, to make this you need a starter which is really just plain yogurt. However, unlike most yogurts which are usually made with fresh milk, Vietnamese yogurt differs in the fact that it is made with sweeten condensed milk. Although fresh milk will work just fine in this recipe, the sweetened condensed milk is what gives Vietnamese yogurt its "Vietnameseness". This is a traditional recipe. By that I mean the fermentation process does not require a yogurt maker.

Ingredients:
-1 can sweetened condense milk
-1 can boiling water (measured using the milk can)
-2 cans cooled boiled or filtered water (measured using milk can)
-1/2 cup yogurt (Starter)
-wash and dried baby food jars (or any container you may have)
-boiling water
-large container with a lid

What to Do:
Empty milk into a large bowl and stir in boiling water until milk is dissolved. Stir in the cooled water and the yogurt goes in last. Stir well and fill mixture into baby food jars, and close them with a lid. Arrange yogurt jars into a "container" (container should be large enough so that the yogurt jars can fit in one layer). Pour boiling water over the jars until the water level comes up to right around the lid of the jars but not covering the jars. Place lid on container tightly and leave to ferment overnight...you'll have fresh yogurt in the morning.

Note:
Preferably use Vietnamese yogurt which buy at most Viet delis as your starter. If you don't live by one...just use plain yogurt from the supermarket...but remember to read the label and buy the most natural yogurt you can find. After the yogurt ferments you save a jar to use as a starter for your next batch.

Reference:
Madam Nguyễn Thị Hường (Gia Chánh Hoa Hường/Rose School of Home Economics)

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To make this treat... follow the recipe for spongefon cake, using the jelly roll method (bottom of recipe).

To get the decorative strips on the cake: after making the cake batter, remove about 3 tbs of batter and mix in some food coloring. Pour the rest of the batter into a jelly roll pan. Fill a sandwich bag with the colored batter and cut a small hole in the bag. Pipe the colored batter into long strips on top of the batter already in the ban. Use a knife or toothpick to "drag" the lines together to create the pattern (if the colored batter is piped on horizontally then drag the toothpick vertically). Bake and fill/assemble as you would for any jelly roll.


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"Pastry" Shell:
-1 cup wheat starch
-2/3 cup rice flour
-1 cup boiling water
-2 tbs oil

*Mix flours together and stir in boiling water. Let dough rest until cool enough to handle and knead in oil to make a smooth dough. Divide into 12 portions.

Filling:
-1/2lb ground pork
-1 carrot
-1/2 onion
-2 shitake mushrooms
-cilantro
-1/2 tsp each: salt, pepper
-1 tsp each: soy sauce, sugar
-2 cloves of garlic
-few slices xá xíu (chinese bbq pork "cha siu", optional)

*Dice carrot, onion and bbq pork. Soak mushrooms in water for a few hours to hydrate and cut into thin slices. Mince garlic and cilantro, mix everything together and divide into 12 portions.

What to Do
:
Flatten the wrappers and wrap the filling. Use a rose dumpling tweezer to pinch the dough to form petals (can use you fingers if you don't have the tool). Steam dumplings over high heat for about 15-20 mins, lifting the lid of the steamer every 5 mins to release excess steam. Serve with fish sauce.

Rose Dumpling "Tweezer"
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Ingredients:
-3 plantains
-water (about 3-4 cups)
-1/2 can coconut milk (approx., to taste)
-1/2 cup tapioca sticks
-1/3 cup tapioca pearls
-pinch of salt
-sugar to taste

What to Do:
Wash and soak tapioca sticks in hot water to soften. Peel and cut plantains into small 1/4 inch slices, boil in water until almost tender. Add tapioca pearls and tapioca sticks bring mixture back to a boil, add salt and sugar and coconut milk to taste. Serve hot as a sweet desert soup, or let it cool overnight and it's texture will be thick like pudding...either way it's all good!
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Ingredients:
-2 large cassava
-1/2 cup sugar (approx., to taste)
-pinch of salt
-grated coconut

What to Do:
Peel cassava and cut into 1 inch pieces. Soak cassava in water for at least 1 hour, before steaming over high heat for about 30 mins or until knife tender. Break cassava into small bite size pieces and toss with sugar, salt and coconut.

Note:
Cassava contains a natural poison (hydrocyanic acid) and thus cannot be consumed raw cassava. Make sure the cassava is fully cooked before consuming.
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Ingredients:
-2 large bell peppers
-3 large tomatoes
-1 medium onion
-cilantro
-lime
-jalapeno peppers
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp sugar (+/- depending on sweetness of tomatoes)
-2 cloves garlic

What to Do:
Wash, dry and dice peppers, tomatoes and onion. Mince garlic and jalapeno peppers. Chop cilantro and mix everything together, add lime juice to taste. Let salsa sit for at least 1/2 hour before serving (tastes better when flavors have time to marry).

>>For corn salsa add corn, for bean salsa add cooked beans, for southwest salsa add beans, corn and grill the peppers

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Aka banana rolls because of the default banana flavoring always added to flavor these cakes. But...there is no law that says these rolls has to taste like bananas right? So, time to get creative and make them in any flavor you like.



You'll Need:
-1/2 recipe of Bánh Dẻo (skin only).
-whatever flavoring you like.

For the basic rolls:
Follow the recipe, and divide dough into 3 equal parts. Dust hands and work surface. Roll each portion into a thin logs. Cut each log into approx. 3 inch long pieces. Done!

Have a little Fun:
Too easy? Try this. Divide the recipe in half (remember we're using 1/2 the original recipe...so 1/2 of 1/2 = 1/4 original recipe). Make each portion a different color (so you'll get 2 portions with 2 different colors). Roll each portion into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Stack one portion on top of the other and roll as you would a swiss roll. Cut into 1/4 inch pieces and should get something like in picture above.
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A taste of Northern Vietnam... traditionally made with sweet potatoes or regular potatoes. I discovered the addition of taro gives the dish a more savory unique flavor. See what happens when you play with your food? You discover yummy things. ;D


Ingredients:
-6 tbs rice flour
-1 tbs tapioca starch
-1 egg
-1/3 tsp turmeric powder
-4 tbs water
-1/2 fresh prawns
-taro and sweet potato
-cooking oil
-1/2 tsp salt

What to Do:
Mix together rice flour, salt, tapioca starch and turmeric powder. Beat egg with water and add to flour mixture mix well. Peel and grate taro and sweet potato (you'll need approx. 1 cup taro and 1/2 cup sweet potatoes). Mix together grated taro and potatoes with batter. Heat oil over high heat to about 350'F. Dip a metal spatula into the oil and heat it for about 30 seconds. Remove heated spatula from oil and about a 2 tbs "batter"; top off with a shrimp in the center and dip the whole thing back in the hot oil. In about 30 seconds the cakes should float off of the spatula to the surface of the oil (if it doesn't give it a little "help" using a knife). Continue to fry until the cakes are golden, flipping them once to ensure both sides are nice and cooked. Serve with as a snack or make a meal out of it by serving with fresh herbs and rice "ribbon" cakes dipped in fish sauce.

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Time flies eh? Seems like it was only yesterday but it's been a year since my first post. First off I would like to thank my visitors for stopping by and leaving a comment or two. You're the reason why I keep the recipes coming. When I started this blog I came up with the name "Playing with My Food" because that is what I do and would like to encourage my readers to do the same. Believe me...experimenting and not being afraid of messing up is the best way to learn. However, I've notice through the comments posted that about 95% of everyone is afraid to tackle a recipe simply because there is something unclear. Practice makes perfect; don't ever be afraid to practice. I believe besides being a form of art, cooking and baking is also a science experiment. For that reason, there is a lot of logic and common sense involve. There is a reason why things happen; cakes come out flat and dry for a reason. If you would just experiment and try new things you will discover why the cake turned out flat and dry and thus, be able to fix that problem via the knowledge you learned from the failures. On that note, please play with your food before asking me any questions. Just do it! Believe me you'll learn a lot more from your mistakes than from me explaining. My recipes are only meant to encourage not to teach. I'm on the same page you are, I'm learning too... Also, If you have a recipe request please post the request at one of the food forums I visit (http://diendan.datviet.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=29 , http://jodeli.proboards22.com/index.cgi , http://nurkochen.cheeli.de/ , http://homecookingclub.aceboard.com/), not here. Everyone in those forums is extremely friendly and helpful, and because there are so many knowledgeable members in those forums you'll get more answers to your request... so don't be afraid to jump in and ask... ;)

So what's in the future of PWMF? Honestly, I don't know. Let me know what I should change, add, toss away and keep. Cheers and remember to Play with Your Food!

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It's been a while since i've post a recipe or anything at all. Those of you wondering what happened... don't worry nothing happened at all I've just been very busy with the floral competition, mooncake orders, and school. Anyways, what's official? My major....I officially declared Drama as my major as of yesterday. Those of you closest to me know I've be seriously lost when it comes to pinpointing where I want to go in life. I've decided to pick Drama to be my major. Why? It's fun! You get to design costumes, lights, act and read lots of juicy plays. My passion for cooking is still there and I plan to continue onto culinary school after I get my BA from UW. However, at this point I'm also considering staying at UW a bit longer to get a master's degree so I could teach. *thinking* *thinking* Should I? I'm just going to take life one step at a time.... hehheeh

p.s. if you're waiting for a new recipes...hang tight they're ready to go I just have to post them...soon
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First off I would like to thank everyone for your support. Your encouragement and kind words became the fuel that powered me to decide upon entering the contest. So what are the results? I entered six classes and won ribbons in all six. That translates to four second places, one third place and one honorable mention. No first place…but for a first timer entering a contest with arrangements put together in a hurry (6 in about 3 hours), second place is pretty good… at least that’s what I’m telling myself. Lol! Anyways, thanks for all of your support and encouragement everybody couldn’t have done it without you. Cheers!

Class 1860: Design of Chrysanthemum; 2nd place

Class 1863: Design of Mixed Flowers Valued Under $30; 2nd place


Class 1864: Design of Mixed Flowers Valued Over $30.00; 2nd place


Class 1868: Novelty Design Using a Container other than a Vase or Basket; honorable mention


Class 1871: Fresh Wedding Bouquet; 2nd place


Class 1874: Corsage; 3rd place


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My dearest friends and visitors…….I need your honest opinion. I'm getting cold feet. I’m pondering if I should or should not enter a floral design contest coming up really soon. I don’t consider myself to be a competitive person and…I just don’t think I have what it takes (I’ll be competing with professionals). To everyone who have seen my work…and “know” me what do you think? Should I or should I not? Do you think I can do it? I’m seriously considering not entering… The contest is this Tuesday... should I?
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Ingredients:
-1 recipe basic agar agar jelly
-1 tsp pomelo/mali flower flavoring
-5 pandan leaves
-1 can jackfruit with toddy palm seed
-phổ tai (dried seaweed)

What to Do:
Open and drain the fruit. Rinse and soak seaweed in water to hydrated; cut into thin strips. Boil pandan leaves with agar agar and water (follow recipe for basic agar agar jelly). Arrange the fruits and seaweed into mini tart moulds, add pomelo flower flavoring to agar agar and ladle the liquid into the moulds over the fruits and seaweed. Allow to set and serve cold.

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Imagine a cross between sticky rice and brown rice, this is what the texture of black sticky rice is like. It's chewy but is not mussy fully of body in every bite.

Ingredients:
-1 1/2 cup black sticky rice
-1/2 cup mung beans (peeled and split)
-1/2 cup sugar
-grated coconut (as much as you like)
-4 tbs sesame seeds
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 tbs sugar

What to Do:
Rinse rice and soak in water overnight. Do the same with the mung beans. Next morning, cook rice in a rice cooker as you would cook normal rice. While rice is cooking, steam the mung beans (or boil) until tender. Mash the beans and add sugar, stir fry over medium heat until thickened. Toast the sesame seeds and mix with salt and 1 tbs sugar. Serve rice as a snack with the mung bean paste, grated coconut and toasted sesame seeds.

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East meets West...in this dish I married the american porkchop with chinese sour plum to give it a tangy twist. The addition of ginger gives it a kick at every corner.

Ingredients:
-4 pork chops (approx 1 1/2 lbs)
-3 chinese sour plums (xí muội aka preserved plums)
-1 thumb size piece of ginger
-2 tbs sugar (more or less depending on plums)
-1 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
-1 clove garlic
-pinch 5 spice powder
-1/3 cup cooking wine or orange juice

What to Do:
Mince ginger, plum and garlic mix with sugar, salt, pepper and 5 spice. Rub seasonings on the chops and rest for at least 1/2 hour. Pan fry the chops until golden and remove onto a serving plate. Deglaze the frying pan with a little wine and reduce to make ginger plum sauce. Drizzle the sauce on the chops before serving. Serve with steamed veggies.

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Ingredients:
-1/2 lb fresh tender greenbeans
-1 tsp oil
-2 tsp soy sauce
-1 thai chili
-3 tbs mince lemongrass
-sugar and salt to taste
-toasted sesame seeds

What to Do:
Heat oil in a pan, add soy sauce, lemongrass and mince chili, add beans and about 3 tbs water. Stir fry over high heat until water evaporates, add sugar and salt to taste. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds.

Note:
Can replace beans with fried tofu to make spicy leamongrass tofu.

***Because my vegetarian dishes are prepared with “Buddhist Laws” in mind; besides not using meats and animal products, I do not use garlic, onions, leeks, chives, or any type of alcohol. However, if your main goal is to just avoid meats, feel free to add the any of the ingredients mentioned above to spice up you dishes.***

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There are two ways to make this dish, Vietnamese style and authentic Thai style.

Ingredients:
-1 can longan
-1 can jackfruit with toddy palm seed
-1 jar of coconut jelly (nata de coco)
-1/4 cup phổ tai (dried seaweed, optional)
-1/2 cup corn (if making Thai style)
-1 tsp pomelo/mali flower flavor (if making Thai style)
-1 tsp powdered agar agar
-1 cup water or pandan juice
-pandan flavoring (if using water)
-fresh milk or cream

What to Do:
Boil together agar agar with water and pandan flavoring or pandan juice. Pour mixture into a shallow pan and allow to set before cutting into small pieces. Nuke corn in the microwave for 3 mins and cool. Rinse and soak seaweed in water, cut into thin strips. Open longan, jackfruit and toddy palmseed, can coconut jelly cans and drain 1/2 the water in each can. Finally, mix everything together and add milk or cream to taste, serve cold.

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Ingredients:
-1/2 head cauliflower
-1 carrot
-2 pieces gluten or fried tofu
-1 apple
-salt and sugar to taste

What to Do:
Cut cauliflower and carrots into bite size pieces. Boil together apple and carrots to make broth for about 15 mins. Remove apples and add cauliflower and sliced gluten or tofu boil until cauliflower is tender add salt and sugar to taste.

***Because my vegetarian dishes are prepared with “Buddhist Laws” in mind; besides not using meats and animal products, I do not use garlic, onions, leeks, chives, or any type of alcohol. However, if your main goal is to just avoid meats, feel free to add the any of the ingredients mentioned above to spice up you dishes.***



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Ingredients:
-1lb dried raw peanuts
-water
-1/2 cup sugar
-3 tbs salt

What to Do:
Wash peanuts and soak in water overnight. Next morning rinse the peanuts and boil with salt until tender (about 1/2 - 1 hour). Once tender, add the sugar and simmer for another 15-20 mins.

Note:
Only add sugar when the peanuts are tender.

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Ingredients:
-1 loaf old baguette (the older the better)
-1/2 lb ground beef
-1 large onion
-4 cloves garlic
-1 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp sugar
-1 tsp oil
-lettuce leaves and assorted fresh herbs
-basic fish sauce
-fresh bean sprouts and cucumber slices
-sour stuff
-onion oil (optional)
-toasted peanuts (crushed)

What to Do:
Cut baguette in half lengthwise. Give the bread a quick dip in water and steam over high heat for 10mins. Meanwhile, dice onions and mince garlic. Fry garlic in oil until fragrant, add beef and brown over high heat, drain the fat and add the onions, salt, and sugar to taste. Stir fry until onions are cooked.

To Serve:
Use scissors to cut steamed baguette into thin strips and arrange on a plate, top with stir fried beef, onion oil, and peanuts. Use a lettuce leaf as your “wrapper” to wrap together a slice of bread, beef filling, herbs, bean sprouts, sour stuff and cucumber slices. Give the roll a dip in fish sauce before taking a bite. This dish is served as seen in the picture, the diner wraps as they eat. Another serving option is to mix together everything in a bowl much like a salad.
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Ingredients:
-15g agar agar
-850g/ml water
-sugar to taste
-coconut juice
-100g mung beans
-1 tsp mali or pomelo flower flavoring
-3 pandan leaves (optional)

What to Do:
Boil agar agar in water until dissolved, add sugar to taste and pour into a cake pan to set; cut jelly into thin strips. Wash and cook beans until they’re tender but still able hold its shape. Boil together coconut juice, pandan leaves and sugar to taste for 10 mins, cool and remove pandan leaves. Mix together beans, with agar agar, coconut juice syrup and mali/pomelo flavoring. Serve cold.

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For the Rice:
-300g sweet rice (aka glutinous rice)
-200g sugar
-300g coconut milk
-10 star anises
-1/2 tsp salt
-water
-pandan paste

**Wash rice and soak in water for at least 4 hours before steaming. While rice is steaming, simmer together sugar, coconut milk, salt and anises for 15 mins. Cool syrup and remove anise seeds. Divide steamed rice into 2 portions. Mix 1 portion of rice with ½ of the coconut syrup. Add panda paste about ½ tsp pandan paste to the remaining syrup and mix it with the other portion of rice.

Mung Bean Filling:
-100g mung beans (peeled and split)
-75g sugar
-1 tsp oil
-water

**Wash beans and cook until tender. Mash beans and mix with sugar and oil. Stir fry over medium heat until thickened.

Assembling the Rice:
Line a square cake pan with foil or plastic wrap. Add a layer of rice, smooth it out and pat it down. Next comes the mung beans, and then other rice portion, remember to smooth out and pat down after each layer addition. Tightly pack down the rice before removing and cutting. Cut the rice “cake” into thin strips, then cut the strips diagonally to make diamond shaped pieces. Arrange the pieces on a plate.

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Ingredients:
-2lb lotus stems (approx)
-1 1/2lb prawns
-coconut juice or water
-4 tbs sugar
-3 tbs vinegar
-1 ½ tbs fish sauce
-2 carrots
-fried shallots
-rau răm
-daikon slices for garnishing (optional)
-fish sauce, lime juice, and sugar to taste (if nessacary)

What to Do:
Cut lotus stems into approx 4 inch long pieces, then shred vertically in half. Julianne carrots and mix with lotus stems, sugar, fish sauce and vinegar. Marinate for at least ½ hour. Meanwhile, boil prawns in coconut juice or water, cool, peel and slice in half. Coarsely chop the fried shallots and rau răm. Squeeze out excess juices from the veggies after they’re done marinating then mix everything together and give the salad a taste test. All flavors should be ever, add fish sauce if saltiness is lacking, and lime juice if sourness is slacking.

To Make the Flower Garnish:
Soak the daikon slices in a solution made from water and vinegar, add coloring if you like. After about 15 mins the daikon slices should be wilted, remove them from the solution and squeeze out excess juices. Take one slice and roll it up this will be the flower’s center. Then wrap around the center 3 more slices this will be the center “layer” of the flower. Afterwards wrap 5 more slices around the 3 slices and center this will be the outer layer of the flower. Arrange the salad on a plate, use a chopstick to create a small hole in the center (not too deep, just enough to hold the flower). Place the flower into the hole; gently pull the petals out to make the flower “bloom”. The flower should have 3 layers consisting of 1 petal tightly wrapped in the center, 3 petals in the center layer that are just beginning to bloom and 5 petals in the outer layer widely open. An average flower requires at 9 daikon slices or “petals” (size of flowers depend on amount of petals used).

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Traditionally this dish was only served to the royal family. Over the years it made its way into menus for formal events such as weddings and new years. There is really nothing special about the ingredients, what make this dish standout from the rest is the food arrangement to creation an image of the mystical phoenix.

For the Phoenix Rolls (Main Part of the Dish):
-1lb shrimp
-4 cloves garlic
-3 tbs fish sauce
-1 tbs tapioca starch
-1/2 tsp pepper
-pinch of salt and sugar
-2 green onions
-3 eggs
-1/2 tsp oil

What to Do:
Pell and clean shrimp. Put everything except the eggs in a food processor and process into a smooth paste. Beat the eggs with the oil. Using a non-stick pan add a few tablespoons (amount depends on size of your pan) of egg mixture, tilt and swirl the pan to create a thin sheet (like making crepes). Cook the eggs completely, remove and repeat the process until all of the eggs are used up. Divide the shrimp paste to equal the number of egg wrappers created. Spread on portion of the shrimp paste onto on of the egg wrappers. Roll as you would a Swiss roll and steam the phoenix rolls for about 15 mins or until done.

For the Phoenix (Garnish):
-1 tomato or apple
-daikon radish, and carrots
-1 tbs vinegar
-3 tbs water
-1 tsp sugar
-1 Thai chili
-2 toothpicks
-creativity ;)

What to Do:
Cut carrots and daikon into thin long strips, mix with sugar, vinegar and water (can add food coloring too). Marinate until the veggies are wilted, then drain and squeeze out excess juices. To create the phoenix, cut the tomato in half then slice into the tomato at an angle, evenly at both sides so the cuts meet at the center and create V shaped layers that stack on top of each other. Lightly push the layers back a little to create the body. Cut a slice off of the other tomato half remove the seeds, this will be the bird’s neck/head. Make a small slice on one of the ends and bend the tomato flesh slightly to create a beak. Using tooth pick ends, pin on eyes (carrots) and a chili on top to give the head some “character”. Pin the “neck” into the center of the body. Cut the remaining tomato into 2 slices, these slices will be the wings of the phoenix, carve whatever designs in them as you please. Arrange the wings to the left and right of the neck to create a bird.

Cut the phoenix rolls diagonally into thin slices. Arrange the slices behind the bird to make its tail. Arrange the daikon and carrot slices marinated earlier in vinegar around the tail and body of the bird to represent the phoenix’s elegant feathers.
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Ingredients:
-1lb pork hock
-3 pieces preserved bean curd, red verity
-2 tbs preserved bean curd liquid
-3 cloves garlic
-fresh coconut juice or water
-1/2lb ong choy (approx)
-salt and sugar to taste
-1 tbs oil

What to Do:
Fry pork hock in oil until golden remove and add mince garlic. Fry garlic until fragrant, add back in the pork hock along with the preserved bean curd. Stir fry for a few mins before adding liquid from preserved bean curd and enough the coconut juice to cover the pork. Simmer until the pork is tender, add salt and sugar to taste. Pick ong choy into small pieces, wash, blanch, drain and arrange on a plate. Arrange pork hock in the center and ladle on some braising liquid before serving.

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Ingredients:
-1/2 head lettuce (aka iceberg lettuce) or gai lan (Chinese Broccoli)
-10 shitake mushrooms
-1 piece of ginger about 3 inches long
-broth or water to braise mushrooms
-1 can abalone
-1/2 tsp cooking wine
-1 ½ tbs oyster sauce
-6 tbs water from braising mushrooms.
-4 tbs water
-1 ½ tsp tapioca starch
-salt and sugar to taste

What to Do:
Hydrate mushrooms in water, wash and cut off stems. Braise mushrooms for at least ½ hour with sliced ginger and enough broth or water to cover the mushrooms and salt to taste. Meanwhile cut lettuce or gai lan into bite size pieces, blanch, drain and arrange on a plate. Wash abalone then slice and mix with wine. Arrange mushrooms around the lettuce, and abalone in the center. Mix together tapioca starch with water to make a slurry. In a pot boil together, oyster sauce, 6 tbs braising broth, salt and sugar to taste. Add slurry and stir until thickened. Pour “sauce” over the mushrooms and abalone. Garnish a fresh pepper and serve.
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Ingredients:
-1/2 each: prawns, fish balls
-1 tbs fish sauce
-1 tbs sugar
-1/2 tsp pepper
-3 green onions
-3 cloves garlic
-1 tsp sate sauce (or any other spicy pepper sauce of you choice).
-1/4 cup water (approx.)

What to Do:
Wash and drain prawns. Mince garlic and cut onion into 1 inch long pieces. In wok add prawns, fish balls and water. Boil, string occasionally until the water almost completely evaporates. At this point add fish sauce, pepper and sugar. Continue to cook over high heat until all of the liquid has evaporated. Add garlic, onion and pepper sauce. Cook for a few mins more until fragrant.

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Ingredients:
-1 1/2lb rau muống
-1/2 large onion
-1 tbs sugar
-1 tbs vinegar
-rau răm
-1lb tender beef
-2 tsp fish sauce
-juice from 2 limes + sugar
-fried shallots

What to Do:
Pick leaves off ong choy and cut stems into approx. 3 inch long pieces. Wash, drain and shred into thin strips (use a sharp knife or special tool for shredding this veggie…which you by at most Vietnamese grocery stores). Slice onion into thin slice and marinate in sugar and vinegar for 15 mins, then squeeze out excess juice. Chop rau răm and fried shallots. Fry beef in a pan over high heat until golden but still rare in the center (like a steak). Afterwards, slice beef into thin slices and marinate with fish sauce, and lime juice and sugar (all flavors should be even) for 15 mins. Mix together shredded ong choy, marinated onions, marinated beef, rau ram and fried shallots, serve immediately.

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Ingredients:
-200g sweet rice (aka glutinous rice)
-5 large ears of corn
-water
-1/2 tsp salt
-200g sugar
-1 can coconut milk/cream
-3/4 tsp tapioca starch
-4 fresh pandan leaves (optional)

What to Do:
In a large pot of water boil corn with pandan leaves and salt. Once corn is cooked remove and cool, retain water to make the pudding. Meanwhile, wash and soak rice in water. Once corn has cooled enough to handle, use a knife to remove the kernels. In a pot, add rice and enough corn water (reserved from boiling corn) to cover the surface of the rice by approx. 1 ½ -2 inches. Bring the mixture to a boil. Add sugar and immediately after the rice is tender. Simmer for about 15 mins or until mixture thickens but the rice grains are still whole and not broken into a mush (this is why sugar is added immediately after the rice is tender, sugar will help the rice hold its shape). In a different pot mix together tapioca starch and coconut milk, cook over medium heat until starch thickens. Serve pudding with a generous topping of coconut sauce.

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Literally translated this root vegetable means Fat Potato or Fat Yam. There are 2 types, white and purple. Most stores here call it Chinese yam. The flesh is translucent white (or purple) in color and is very soft and slimy. To make the soup the “yam” must first be peeled. Afterwards, a spoon is used to scrape the flesh into a smooth paste. Sound like a lot of work? It’s actually not… the flesh is very soft and easy to scrape… only takes a few mins.

Ingredients:
-1 khoai mở about ½ lb
-1/4 lb each: shrimp prawns, ground pork
-ngò gai, ngò om, lá quế, green onion (sawtooth herb, rice patty herb, thai basil)
-1 green onion
-1 tsp oil
-1 tbs fish sauce
-1 tsp sugar
-salt and pepper to taste
-5-6 cups water

What to Do:
Peel and mince shrimp with pork. Wash and crush onions. Heat oil in a pot, fry onion until fragrant, add shrimp and meat. Add fish sauce and water and wait for the soup base to boil. Meanwhile, wash peel and scrape the khoai mở using a spoon. After most of the yam’s flesh has been scraped, cut whatever is left behind (to small to scrape) into small bite size pieces and add to soup base. Once the soup comes to a boil, skim the surface and stir in the scraped yam flesh. Bring the soup back to a boil, add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with chopped herbs and green onions (mentioned above) before serving.

Note:
Due to the starch from the yam, this soup should have a smooth yet thick texture, somewhat like Chinese style soups or congee.

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