Coconut Rice

luluesque-coconut brown riceThis is an amazingly aromatic (& simple) side dish that I think could easily be the main dish!

INGREDIENTS:

*use organic when you can

  • 2 cups brown rice ~ scour and rinse 3x, drain
  • 1 cup  coconut organic milk (I used Thai Kitchen lite)
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 2 tbs organic virgin, unrefined coconut oil

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a stainless steel pot, add all the  ingredients and stir well.
  2. Bring to a boil o medium-high heat, with the lid on. Let boil for about 10 minutes.
  3. Lower heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally so the rice does not stick to the pot.

Fish Congee II

I have vegetables coming out my ears, thanks to a generous microgarden and a biweekly CSA share from a local organic garden. I have stir-fried, baked, boiled, steamed, sizzled, sautéed, julienned, pressed, and pickled — and have enjoyed all of it. 🙂

I was trying to use what I had on hand, and it just so happened a soothing pot of congee was in my culinary stars. 🙂 From this box, I was able to use the carrots, yellow onion, shallot, and green bell pepper. I think maybe this is the BEST congee I’ve made thus far. NOTE: Fish Congee, Recipe #1.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup broken jasmine rice ~ uncooked, rinsed twice, drained
  • 3 large fillets of white fish (I used Vietnamese Swai) ~ washed, cut into large chunks
  • 1 bunch chive flowers ~ washed, cut off about 2″ of the ends, then cut the rest into 1″ sections
  • 1 bunch organic cilantro ~ washed, chopped
  • 3 sprig scallions ~ washed, chopped
  • 4-5 organic carrots ~ washed, chopped
  • 1 large organic yellow onion ~ peeled, washed, sliced
  • 1 organic purple shallot ~ peeled, washed, sliced
  • 1 handful garlic cloves (yes!) ~ prepeeled, smashed
  • 1 handful dried, sliced shallots ~ I get this @ the Asian market
  • 1-2 organic green bell pepper ~ washed, seeds & stems removed, chopped
  • 1/2 cup vegetable soup seasoning
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • organic cane sugar to taste
  • olive oil
  • 10 cups filtered water

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large stainless steel pot, heat the olive oil on medium-high. Sauté the garlic, yellow onion, purple shallot, and carrots until an aromatic, golden brown.
  2. Add the fish and sauté until mostly cooked.
  3. Add the uncooked rice and dried shallots; stir all the ingredients for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add all 10 cups of water and bring to a rolling boil. Once it starts to roll, turn the heat back down to medium-high. (skim the broth as it boils and discard that foamy byproduct)
  5. Stir in the salt, sugar, and veggie seasoning. Turn the heat to low-medium and place the lid on, allowing the soup to simmer for about 15 minutes.
  6. Remove the soup from the stove.
  7. Stir in the green bell peppers, scallions, chive flowers, and cilantro.
  8. Serve garnished with freshly ground black pepper and chopped cilantro.

Banh Mi Sandwich

luluesque_Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches

I recently attended a very fun sunset-watching picnic with some friends. We had a nice spread of Spanish-style tapas along with fruit, cheeses, chilled white wine, desserts, and these delicious Vietnamese “Banh Mi” sandwiches. Each person had their own and was able to “build” it according to their taste buds.

INGREDIENTS:
*Recipe makes 6 sandwiches

  • organic rotisserie chicken ~ skinned, deboned, shredded, and dark & white meat mixed together (my local grocer offers these daily for about $10)
  • ciabatta-style baguettes ~ cut in 1/2 at an angle
  • pickled, julienned daikon and carrots ~ optional (I love this stuff, but it’s not for everyone)
  • 3 pickling cucumbers ~ washed & thinly sliced, lengthwise
  • organic arugula leaves & arugula flowers
  • organic cilantro leaves & cilantro flowers
  • mint leaves
  • spicy sauce
  • low sodium tamari
  • Asian chili paste ~ optional (I just throw these into a blender and pulse: rice vinegar, peeled garlic cloves, hot peppers, dash of sea salt, dash of sugar, and a dash of white distilled vinegar)
  • paté ~ optional (It’s extremely hard to find a pork-free product, but you can make your own with chicken livers and onions.)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Slice the baguette down the side, leaving enough bread for a “hinge.”
  2. Spread a thick layer of paté on one internal side of the baguette. Sprinkle enough tamari to your liking. Spread the chili paste on the other side of the baguette.
  3. Layer the cucumber slices.
  4. Stuff the baguette with as little or much chicken, arugula, cilantro, mint, and pickled daikon & carrots as you please.
  5. Serve with an extra side of arugula, mint, cilantro, and cucumbers. Enjoy! 🙂

Wild-Caught Tuna Tartare

luluesque-wild-caught tuna tartareI’ve become increasingly aware of mercury, pesticides, RBGH, etc. in my food. Thus, I’ve made a more concerted attempt at consuming organic, wild-grown or -caught foods. No, it’s not easy on the wallet, but I think my health is worth the investment. If you think about it, the price you pay now for quality food is probably cheaper in the end than the medical treatments that you may have to pay in the future because of some unforeseen ailments. Just my two cents…

If you’re not certain what fish to purchase, check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Buyer’s Guide.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 LB wild-caught tuna (or salmon)~ washed, skin removed, cut into small cubes
  • 3 sprigs organic scallions/chives ~ washed, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup organic cilantro ~ washed, leaves only, chopped
  • 1 TB dulse flakes
  • 5 TB low-sodium tamari
  • 2 TB Asian chili paste (I just throw these into a blender and pulse: rice vinegar, peeled garlic cloves, hot peppers, dash of sea salt, dash of sugar, and a dash of white distilled vinegar)
  • sesame oil
  • Sriracha sauce ~ to taste/optional
  • Old Thompson Garlic Pepper spice grinder

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Easy peasy: mix all of the above ingredients in a bowl. Drizzle in some sesame oil. Grind the garlic pepper about 20 times (more or less, depending on your tastebuds). The spicier you want your dish, the more Sriracha sauce you’ll want.
  2. Refrigerate for 30-45 minutes.
  3. Serve cold. Garnish with parsley or cilantro leaves.

Fish Congee I

We all have some kind of dish that conjures up fond memories of a loved one, our childhood, or of fun some event. For me, it’s a nice bowl of hot congee soup with white fish; it reminds me of my sweet Mother who happens to be an extremely TALENTED cook. I use her techniques; however, now that I feel more comfortable with the recipe, I branch out a bit and  tailor the ingredients to my tastebuds. I love color and the fresh crunch of raw or al dente veggies in my meals.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup broken jasmine rice ~ uncooked, scoured clean
  • 1 large yellow onion ~ thinly sliced
  • 1 bulb garlic ~ peeled, smashed
  • 4 large fillets of white fish ~ I used Swai
  • 1 cup fresh scallions ~ chopped
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro ~ leaves only, chopped
  • 2 cups fresh sugar snap peas
  • 2 bunches of bunashimeji mushrooms

DIRECTIONS:

I’ll have to come back another day to fill out the “directions” part of this recipe. I’m tired. 🙂

Asparagus Crab Soup

Asparagus was introduced to the Vietnamese by the French. It was termed, literally, “Western Bamboo” for its similar growth characteristics. Spring is the perfect season to enjoy this soup, as asparagus and scallions are abundant. For an added crunch, add matchstick-zucchini at the end. I cannot remember where I found this delicious recipe, but I modified it to my liking and it has become my favorite crab soup!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb. asparagus ~ washed, woody end removed, and cut diagonally into 1″ pieces, being sure to leave the tips in tact
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 4 tbsp shallots (or scallions) ~ finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp garlic ~ minced or finely chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 cups chicken broth (I like to make this from scratch)
  • 16 oz. lump crab meat
  • 4 tbsp kuzu root powder (you can find this in Asian markets in the Japanese section, or at health stores such as Whole Foods)
  • 4 tbsp filtered water
  • 2 eggs ~ lightly beaten
  • dash organic cane sugar
  • dash sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper ~ for garnish
  • chopped scallions & cilantro ~ for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat the oil over medium-high heat, in a large stainless steel pot.
  2. Sauté the shallots and garlic until it reaches a lovely aromatic, golden brown.
  3. Add the asparagus, sea salt, and black pepper. Cook the asparagus until it turns a bright, dark green.
  4. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the kuzu root powder and water, stirring to make a thin, smooth paste. Add it to the soup.
  6. Stir the soup well and drizzle in the beaten egg slowly.
  7. Add the crabmeat and stir well.
  8. Garnish with the chopped scallions, cilantro and some freshly ground pepper.