Vietnamese Crepe, Okra, and Eggs

I wonder if my favorite places to visit have a form of a crepe.  Matt and I will be headed to France soon and I'm hoping I will fall in love with the crepe and France.  I haven't had many crepes I've liked, especially in Oklahoma.  Actually worst crepe I ever had was in Oklahoma.  Kinda traumatized me from wanting any.  Best crepe I ever had was by my friend Eileen Papero in upstate New York.  We had just finished a 2 month journey across the country and she made a crepe filled with blueberries, strawberries, cream cheese, a lil cinnamon, and honey.  It was amazing.  Now she's an incredible baker in Oahu.  

The best Vietnamese crepe I have ever had was in Vietnam.  Of course it was. The market vendor had a big pan that was slightly curved and wide. She poured it without hesitation, ease,  and skill.  She was very entertaining to watch.  The crepe was served on a short little plastic table with tiny little stools that made everyone look like a giants.  It was crispy and perfect.  Filled with pork, shrimp, yellow mung bean, bean sprouts  which was served with a side of lettuce, herbs, and fish sauce.  Amazing.  We made some sizzling crepes and I gotta admit, although very good,there needs to be some tweaking with the batter. recipe for this today.  Gotta hit up my Mom or my Aunt Nhi for this one.    

My parents have a monster okra plant.  The seeds were from Heirloom Seeds.  The okra they grow are amazing.  I feel like if you found a human that didn't like okra, fed them the ones that my parents' grew, and voila!  You'd have an okra lover.  Of course, you can turn anyone into an okra lover from frying it too.  I roasted some okra thanks to an article in the NYTimes.

Its delicious.  It brings out the sweetness in the okra and has a perfect smokiness to it on the browned areas. 

Stewed okra with a roasted okra over rice and sausage.  The okra is stewed with homegrown heirloom tomatoes, onions, and garlic.  Light on the alliums.  A dash of soy sauce and a few sweet peppers from the garden.  Yum!

I'm gonna toss in a couple egg dishes we ate.  I threw together a fried rice t get rid of some meat and veggies.  A great go to in order to rid the fridge of food and its just tasty and hits the spot every time.

I made a make shift bun rieu, which is a Vietnamese tomato soup.  I poached an egg in the broth and put it in the bowl before serving the broth.  Look how perfect that lil guy is.  Might be the acidity in the soup that kept it together so beautifully.

That's it!  Our fridge is almost empty besides the insane amount of pickles and condiments that dominate.  Have a great Labor Day weekend!!!  

Bread Bread Bread and National Dog Day!

First off, I don't know when National Dog Day started, but I'm all for it.  Anything that puts our four legged babies on a pedestal, I'm supportive of.  I don't know how people don't adore and love animals.  You've got to live with one to know what its like.  Its the best feeling ever!  Knowing they will always love you as long as you love them.  Same goes with humans, but they can talk back and say some weird things and it makes you all heady.  

Matt made another pet that he feeds every so often.  Its the live starter you use to make bread.  It gives homemade bread a little more depth and I feel like it gives it a longer shelf life.  He started it all natural.  1 lbs of grapes wrapped up in cheesecloth and beaten.  Toss it in a bucket of equal parts of water and flour, about 4 cups each.  In about a week it should start separating with the liquid on top.  Then it should bubble up and thats when you know its ready to use.

We keep it in the fridge and Matt feeds it every time we make bread, which is once a week.

Matt has also taught me to bake bread with soul.  Don't use a cook book, just go with instance and gut.  We both made a different style of bread.  I love baguette and rustic breads so mine is very simple.  Starter, yeast, flour salt, and water.  Let it rise until doubled.  Shape and let it rise again.  Matt's is a loaf.  It has starter, yeast, flour, water, salt, honey, milk, and olive oil. Both delicious.  Baked at 400 degrees until the interior reads 215 degrees.

Matt's first bread with his starter is this focaccia bread topped with oven dried tomatoes and roasted hatch chillies and also chunks of parmesan .

Delicious!  Served with French butter and also a balsamic and olive oil dip.  Serve it with some bulbs of roasted garlic, butter, and spreadable cheeses.  yum!

This post is dedicated to our pup Debo Seikel for being the best thing and being in our world.  Little super man makes every day funner and funnier.

Homegrown Potatoes, Beef Braised in Red Wine, Vietnamese Lunch, and Pesto Pasta Salad

 I believe it was National Potato Day on Tuesday.  We should have made something with potatoes, but we didn't make much of anything instead.  What we did do was wash off a lovely bucket of potatoes from my parent's garden.  They look beautiful and I know they will be more potatoey and earthy than any potato I've had.  Can't wait to eat them.

We happened to fall upon an episode of Pepin Essentials on PBS and he was cooking with beef.  This is his Braised Beef in Red Wine Sauce.  Matt followed his instructions, so you can just click on the link and just go from there.  Its fantastic! 

Its sat in the wine marinade of red wine, onions, carrots, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, vinegars, soy, and black pepper for about 3 days.

The beef shank was patted dry and seared very well and then stewed.  The veggies were cooked separately which I liked because it was clean and contrasted so you didn't need anything else to go with your stew.

The mushrooms were added at the end so that they don't get lost.  The sauce is drained and it is the silky beautiful sauce.  

The riches and darkest sauce or gravy you'll ever have with a stew.  It really is an amazing pot of food.  Matt really conquered the beef stew! Incredible stuff.  Give it a try!

For lunch, I couldn't help myself.  We had a frozen chunk of beef eye round, a tray of fresh shiitake mushrooms, and a lovely eggplant.  So I made more stir fry.  Stop with the stir fry already! I know!  Practice makes perfect, and I think I did it perfect this time.  Perfect.  Rang Duong style perfection right there.  For our Vietnamese lunch I made a charred eggplant with scallion oil.  So simple.  Chop about 6 scallions and sauté low with about 1/8 cup olive oil.  It should take about 5-10 minutes to wilt down to perfection.  While that cooks, charr the eggplant on your gas stove top until it feels soft to the touch.    Pull off the skin, cut it open and douse it with soy sauce and top it with the scallion oil.  So good!

Does every woman go through a stir fry phase?  I know everyone's mom went through that phase where at one point you tell your mom "Look lady, you've gotta come up with something new.  Your killin me"  Then she'll laugh and make more stir fry.  Working moms don't care! haha.  Once you got it down its so easy.  Cut your veggies big, slice your meat thin, and stir stir stir with hot hot heat.  This one had shiitake, hatch chillies, onion, scallion, beef, and tons of black pepper.  The sauce is hoisin, oyster, Nhan's chili garlic sauce, soy, and corn starch slurry of about 2 tablespoon and 1/4 cup water.

Here's a tame lunch.  Pasta salad with canned tuna packed in olive oil. 

Pesto Pasta Salad
1 cup casarecci pasta, or whatever you have
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 medium heirloom tomato, chopped
1/4 cup pesto
a handful of kalamata olives, sliced
3 red fresno chillies, or whatever you've got.
1/2 lemon juice

canned olive oil packed tuna
toasted almond slivers

Put the cherry tomatoes on a try, oil them, and roast them in a 450 degree oven until they pop.  Should take about 15 minutes.  After the pasta has boiled toss the roasted tomatoes together with the hot pasta.  Add half of the pesto as well.  Let that cool and then add the rest of your ingredients besides the tuna and almonds.  Toss that together and add salt and pepper.  

Top it with tuna and almonds.  

Its a lovely dish.  Goodness its windy outside.  Kinda scared to go back to the studio.

Beef Stir fry with Okra and Shiitake, Tuna Stuffed Tomato, and Ciabatta Pizza

Yes, we ate this ALL in one day.  This is what happens when it is excruciatingly hot outside, and the thought of getting in the car or working in the studio with the doors closed sounds lame.  Looks like its that time of year to embrace the night owl and let her shine.  I act as though we don't embrace our night owl blood.  We've never fought against it, and treat the night as though it were day.  We don't sit in front of the tv and watch movies or shows once it gets dark.  We create.  I find some of the best times for thinking and creating is at the crack of dawn.  The sun is barely peeking out from the horizon and nature is starting to stir.  The air is still and the roads are drive less.  On a Sunday, it will stay calm and the morning is unscathed until those church goers or breakfast makers get up and at it.  At that point, hop on the bike and get yourself a nice greasy breakfast with a thick lipped coffee mug of coffee that resembles tea.  Yum.  Love it.  

We had some eye round leftover from making pho.  So it got turned into stir fry. Every time I make stir fry I compare myself to my Mom.  Although a dish seemingly so easy, requires skill.  My Mom is able to develop rich flavors with very little and her veggies are cooked perfect without blanching and tons of oil.  Anyhow, mine totally turned out great, but still not as good as Momma Duong would have made it.  
Beef, Okra, and Shiitake Stirfry

1/4 lb thinly sliced beef, eye round, or steak
1 onion, 1/2 thinly sliced and 1/2 thickly sliced
6 okras, sliced about 1/2 inch thick
1 tomato, thick slices
7 shiitake mushrooms, destemmed and sliced
1 carrots, julienned
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy
2 tablespoon soy
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch and 1/8 cup water.
tons of black pepper
garnish with green onion and cilantro, optional

Heat the wok up super smoky hot.  Add oil, and then the thinly sliced onions and half the garlic.  Let that fry up a bit, until a little color on the garlic.  Next add the beef and hoisin sauce. Let that caramelize and then add all the veggies except for the carrots.  Toss that around and then toss in the soy sauces and black pepper.  Let that cook for about 2-3 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and carrots, toss, let it cook for another minute.  Next add the cornstarch mixture.  If its too thick add more water.  If you want it spicy add some garlic chili paste, I did.  Served with rice.  

Matt's dish for the day.  An heirloom tomato from a friend's customer's garden, stuffed with a mixture of olive oil packed high quality tuna, chopped kalamata olives, and a little balsamic vinegar.  It was delicious!  

Lastly, a vision.  We had made French bread pizzas awhile back and decided that we thought they were just the best little pizzas.  So, we came up with the idea of making a large round ciabatta and then slicing it through and hoping it would have the qualities of a French bread pizza.  This is a new ciabatta recipe we are trying out.  Well, Matt made the bread this time, and I'm sad to admit, I think he's much better than me.  

We topped it with a crushed tomato mixture flavored with fresh garlic, dried basil, and oregano.  Then we added provolone cheese and asiago, charred hatch chillies, pickled chanterelle mushrooms, pepperonis, and onion.

Homerun!  It was SOO good.  I LOVE it.  It's perfectly crunchy and it handles all the toppings really well.