Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Caprese panini

I love caprese salad! I also like to eat vegetarian every now and then. When I have fresh juicy tomatoes and aromatic basil, there's nothing stopping me from whipping up a caprese panini for lunch.

Yield: one sandwich 

2 slices of French bread or any white bread
3 slices of tomato
2 thick slices of mozzarella cheese
1/2 Tbsp Sundried tomato pesto(Classico has a great one)
1/2 Tbsp mayo(optional)
1-2 Tbsp of freshly chopped basil
A few splashes of balsamic vinegar


1. Preheat panini press to medium/high.

2. Butter the slices of bread on one side. Place butter side face down.

3. Spread mayonnaise on to one slice of bread and sun-dried tomato pesto on the other. 

4. Place slice mozzarella on top of mayonnaise. Pile the sliced tomatoes above mozzarella and top off with basil. Season with salt & pepper and balsamic vinegar.   

5. Sandwich the last piece of bread on top. And place onto panini grill and allow to cook for 2-6 minutes. Cook time depends on a golden crust and if the cheese is melted. Enjoy!

If you don't have a panini press, you can easily make this on your stove with a skillet pan. Once sandwich is assembled, place sandwich onto a medium/high heat skillet. Cook until golden and flip to begin cooking the other side. Once again, cook time depends on how long it takes to turn the crust golden and the cheese to melt.

Canh Chua Tom (Sour shrimp soup)

Canh chua, A classic Vietnamese soup made of tamarind, pineapples, and veggies. Whenever I miss the comfort of my grandma's cooking, I make myself a pot of canh chua. She use to make it for me all the time just because she knew it was my favorite. This recipe is for my favorite kind of canh chua, canh chua tom(shrimp).

Yield: 2 Qt. soup, 4 servings

1/2-1 lb of cleaned shrimp with heads.
1 quart of water
2 cups of chicken broth or water
8 oz can of pineapple chunks
1 Tbsp of tamarind paste
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup of brown sugar or granulated sugar
2 Tbsp of fish sauce
1 Tbsp salt
1 large stalk of bac ha (taro stem)
12 okra pods
2 tomatoes 
2 cups of bean sprouts
Ngo om(rice paddy herb)


1. Heat garlic in a medium/large stockpot with olive oil to release aromas. Add sugar and fish sauce. Stir until sugar dissolves. Add tamarind. Continue to season to achieve desired taste. Use salt instead of fish sauce to avoid fishiness. 

2. Fill stockpot with water and broth. Bring to boil. Add okra, bac ha, and tomatoes. Cover and cook until vegetables soften up a bit.

3. Add cleaned shrimps with head intact. Cover and cook for about 6-8 minutes. Add bean sprouts and cook for another 2 minutes.

4. Transfer into serving bowl. Garnish with chopped ngo om and chili peppers. Enjoy.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Fried Egg and Toasted French Bread

When I was a little girl, my grandpa always made me breakfast before school. One of my favorite dishes he'd make me was a simple fried egg with a little bit of soy sauce and a piece of taste. Every since I got older, this has been my quick go to breakfast when my pantry stock runs low.

  • Sliced french baguette or french bread
  • One or two Eggs
  • Soy sauce (Golden Mountain Soy Sauce)
Step by step
  1. Butter your bread and toast them.
  2. Fry egg on medium heat on a greased frying pan. Cook sunny side up.
  3. Place the egg on a plate and pour a little bit of soy sauce over the yolk.
  4. Enjoy your runny yolky egg with your toast. 

Fried Tofu in Green Onion Sauce

This is one of my favorite dishes to make that has only four ingredients: tofu, green onions, fish sauce, and sugar. I learned this recipe from my aunt that lives in Orange County; so I begged her to teach me how to make it when she's not around.


  • 1 block of tofu (12-16 oz)
  • 5 stalks of green onion
  • 3 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 2/3 cup of water

Step by Step.

  1. Cut your tofu into 1-2" cubes, depending on your preference for size. Just make sure you keep them consistent. Place tofu on top a bed of paper towels and place a paper towel above it. This well help absorb any water on the surface of your tofu. Water and hot oil is very dangerous because the oil will begin to splatter when frying.
  2. Slice green onions very thinly. Set aside.
  3. Mix fish sauce, sugar, and water until sugar crystals dissolve inside of a large plate or bowl. Then add in green onions. Adjust seasoning to taste. Be cautious not to make your sauce too salty or too bland because your tofu will be absorbing all of the sauce.
  4. Fry the tofu until golden brown over medium heat. Remember to constantly turn the tofu in order to get an even brown.
  5. Once tofu is golden brown place them into the sauce and mix them briefly so they can soak in the sauce. Then place the tofu onto a serving dish. Then scoop out the onions and place them on top of the tofu. ENJOY immediately. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Martha Stewart's French Macaron Recipe

French Macarons are taking over the web! Everyone is taking photos of these colorful cookies and sharing it through all sorts of social networks. Most people know what they are, but they have yet to try them. They're readily available at specialized bakeries or french cafes or tea houses. After I had my first french macaron, I loved the texture and flavor but found it to be too sweet. Why does it have to be so sweet? Another important question is, why are they so expensive for such a little cookie? I decided to make homemade macaroons, I then understood. These cookies are pretty difficult to make and perfect. The ingredients are kind of pricey. Also, it's kind of hard to manipulate the recipe without having to mess with science of it all. After learning how to make these cookies, I have a deeper appreciation and love for these sophisticated cookies. They go great with with unsweetened hot teas. It's my favorite way to enjoy them.

Martha Stewart's French Macaron Recipe
Yields 35 macarons
(This recipe was the easiest for me to make, but Martha's instructions are really difficult to follow and aren't accurate. I edited her instructions to match the proper french macaron method.)

Macaron Shells 
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 2 large egg whites, room temperature
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • 1/4 cup superfine sugar
Swiss Merigunge Buttercream Filling (Chocolate)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup of butter (1 1/2 sticks sliced)
  • 1/4 cup of cocoa powder
One by One. Macaron Shells.
  1. Pulse confectioners' sugar and almond flour in a food processor until combined. Sift mixture 2 times.
  2. Preheat oven to 300-325 degrees. Depending on your oven, you should experiment by baking small batches in order to get the accurate temperature.
  3. Whisk egg whites with a mixer on medium speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and whisk until soft peaks form. Add superfine sugar. Increase speed to high, and whisk until stiff peaks form. 
  4. Sift 1/3 of the almond mixture over the meringue (whipped egg whites), add food coloring at this point.  Fold mixture until well incorporated. Repeat until almond mixture and meringue is well combined. The mixture should be smooth and shiny, be careful to not over mix by stopping once you achieve this appearance. If your mixture looks clumpy and doesn't smoothen out after piping, you undermined it.
  5. Transfer batter to a pastry bag or ziplock bag. Pipe the mixture into 1 inch diameter circles. Be patient during this process to ensure you get the same sized cookies. Tap bottom of each sheet on work surface to release trapped air. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. This allows for the shells to rest and stabilize it's shape for baking. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Allow your oven 5 minutes to re-heat before baking another batch. After the first batch, it is the best time to test out the texture of your cookies to make any adjustment to oven heat or cook time. 
  6. Once the macaroons have cooled, pipe the filling onto bottoms of the cookies and sandwich. Refrigerate in a tightly sealed container for a day to allow the cookies and filling to mature. Bring to room temperature before enjoying. 
One by One. Swiss Merigingue Buttercream Filling.
  1. Over a double boiler in a large mixing bowl, whisk together egg whites and sugar for about 3 minutes or until sugar crystals are dissolved into mixture.
  2. Remove mixture from heat and allow to cool.
  3. Beat the egg whites with a mixer on high medium until foamy, increase speed to high. Continue beating until you form stiff peaks.
  4. On low speed incorporate butter slices into the mixture. Once well incorporated mix in the cocoa powder. You could use other flavoring agents to make the filling if you want. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

Growing up, I was always fond of $0.10 boxes of Kraft's Mac N Cheese and I always wondered what the homemade one tasted like. Baked macaroni and cheese is good and all, but it doesn't deliver that gooey cheesiness like the box version. I found Alton Brown's Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese recipe and it's everything I imagined it to be. Cheesy GOODNESS!

  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 ounces evaporated milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 10 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded (I used 3 oz. Velveeta and 7 oz. sharp cheddar)
One by One
  1. In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente and drain. Return to the pot and melt in the butter. Toss to coat.
  2. Whisk together the eggs, milk, hot sauce, salt, pepper, and mustard. Stir into the pasta and add the cheese. Over low heat continue to stir for 3 minutes or until creamy.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Prosciutto and Swiss Panini

If you grew up loving your sac lunches of wonder bread ham & cheese sandwiches for lunch, you'll love this panini recipe. It's a bit healthier and great for everyone to enjoy anytime of the day.

Prosciutto and Swiss Panini Recipe

  • Sliced french bread
  • Prosciutto
  • Sliced Swiss Cheese
  • Mayonnaise
  • Oregano
  • Butter
One by one.

  1. Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread. Place butter side face down.
  2. Spread mayonnaise on both slices of bread. Season with oregano.
  3. Place cheese on each slice of bread.
  4. Place a single slice of prosciutto on top of cheese of one slice of bread, then sandwich in the two slices of bread.
  5. Place sandwich inside of a medium-high heat panini maker until bread is golden brown. If you don't have a panini maker, place the sandwich on a medium heat fry pan and cook each side till golden brown. Enjoy.