Happy Holidays Everybody!

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

-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

-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

-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:

-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.

-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).

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.

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
-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.

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.

-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.

-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

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.

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

-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.

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.