Category Archives: cooking


Duck Confit with Kimchee Fried Rice



Vietnamese Crepe (Bánh Xèo)

Bánh xèo is a popular dish during summer when the herb is grown in full in the garden.
The dish is very good with sorrel (lá chua), a sour herb and bitter bokchoi (cải bẹ xanh),
It is much much preferred than lettuce.

The dish should be serverved hot, immediately off the stove while it is crunchy/.

In our neighborhood, where there are many of us who can take turn to make the crêpe in the
kitchen while others eat, this is great fun.



  • Jicama (Củ sn), thinly slice into strips
  • – Yellow Onion, sliced into strips
  • – Green Onion, cut into 2 inches pieces
  • – Slice Pork Shoulder (can be substitute by high quality bacon), cut into 2 inches piece
  • – Fresh Shrimp
  • – Firm Fried Tofu, sliced
  • – Steam yellow bean (peeled green beans)


  • Ready mix crepe mixture at the Asian grocery store (Bột bánh xèo)
  • a can of coconut milk
  • a bottle of beer
  • cold water
  • a bunch of green onion, chopped
  • Olive oil

Dipping sauce:
-any basic Vietnamese fish sauce recipe


1. To make the batter:

Mix the batter according to bag direction, with the following twist:

  • If the bag direction indicated 3 1/2 cups of water, use 2 cups of iced cold water and
    2 cups of cold beer.
  • If the bag direction indicated 750 ml then use 500 ml of iced cold water and
    500 ml of cold beer.

First, mix the 2 types of flour together, shift the coconut milt into the mixed flour to create a thick texture.  Slowly mix in the beer/water mix above.  Stir until dissolved.  Add the green onion. Put this in the fridge until ready to use.

2. Prepare the filling:
– Soak yellow bean in warm water for a few minute.  Put your steam  on, add the bean when the water boiling and steam for a round 10 minutes until the bean is tender. The time is depend on your steamer’s size and how much bean you used. This dish does not required that lots.

– Stir fry pork shoulder briefly with salt & pepper, if using bacon, just fry bacon and pepper. It will be a few minute until the meat is thoroughly cook.

–  If you use large shrimp, then cut the shrimp into half, and fry it until pink.

3.  To make the crepe:

On a medium high heat, use non stick pan, with some olive oil, start a few slices of onion, green onion, tofu and pork.  Fry for 30 seconds, then pour in
a laddle of the batter, enough to cover the bottom of the pan in a thin layer.

Wait for the crepe settle on the pan, about 30 secs, add the slices of jicama,  yellow bean and shrimp. Cover for around 2 mins (depend on your stove).

Fold the crepe into half and serve.

Serve crepe with a variety of herb, folded together inside a large leave of bitter bok choi and dipping sauce.

Grill Endives


The challenging of making pasta,  half of the week is figuring out a new taste so everyone will not get bored.  Plus on top of everything, this week we have an vegetarian in the house.

Grill Endive is cooked follow a recipe I found in Mario Batali cook book.  This yummy vegetable is served as a main course for my vegetarian son.

I made pasta with 2 sauce version: vegetarian and full,  serve also with grill sausages for the rest of the family.  The  pasta is a modified version from a Prawn Linguine from Jamie Oliver Issue 3 Magazine.

And it goes ….

Grill Endives:

– 1/4 cup of grapes oil
– Fresh marjoram
– Juice and peels of one lemon

– 5 endives, cut into 1/2 lengthwise

Mix oil/herb and lemon into a bowl,
marinate the endive in the mixture for about 1/2 hour.

Put a frying pan on hight heat, grill the endive face down for about 20 mins
until well fried like grill texture.

Serve the endives with the marinated oil.   I did not actually grill this outside because of the  104 degree F heat 🙂


Cooked pasta of your choice, cook to your liking 🙂

– Sauce 1:

  • – 1/4 cup of Olive Oil
  • – 4-5 gloves of garlic, mashed and minced
  • – 1 onion, chopped
  • – 1 Tbsp of capers
  • – a can of anchovies
  • – 1 chipotle in adobe sauce
  • – 100ml of white wine

– Sauce 2:

  • – Olive oil
  • – 4-5 cloves of garlic, mashed and minced
  • – Fresh tomatoes of any kind, chopped
  • – Flat leave parsley- chopped


To make the first sauce, fried Garlic/Anchovies/Onion/capers in Olive Oil until anchovies disolved.
Add chipolte, and mix for 1 minute, add white wine.
Cook intil the white wine drop in half.
Remove from heat, let cool.
Then pour the sauce into a food processor and run several rounds.

In the mean time, fri the galic for the 2nd sauce in a pan until golden brown.
Add the tomatoes, some salt and pepper.  Cook about 5 minutes in medium heat
to get it to a sauce texture.

I mixed a portion of the cooked pasta with the 2nd sauce for our oldest son, who is a vegeterian
and the rest with both sauces for the family.

Note: Our family do not like cheese or sauce that overwheme with tomatoe tatse,
therefore I removed both ingideients out of the original recipes.


Lamb with Chimichurri sauce

I used shoulder lamb chops for this dish, marinated in Greek yogurt/lemon juice/fresh mint  for about 30 minutes then grill.

The Chimichurri sauce is made with instruction from NORECIPE as follow:

1/2 C packed mint
1 clove garlic pressed or finely minced
1/4 C olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 lime juiced

I put the whole things into a food processor and puree.

The whole dish is then served with pasta and spring vegetable that I got from my garden 🙂

Clam and Squid Rice Pilaf

After a market research study, I came home late.  This meal was cooked up in a hurry but very tasty.

I ran across the original recipe from a FoodandWine newsletter, which proved to me it is never bad

to receive food emails from different sources.

I modified the above version by:
– Substitute Mussel by clam (we have no mussel available at home at that time)


– Cook Rice
– 1 can of clam with juice, strain, reserve the juice
– 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
–  6 garlic cloves, halved
– 1 medium onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
–  Large pinch of saffron threads
– 1 tablespoon dried currants
– One 1 1/2-inch cinnamon stick
– 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice (I freshly ground this spice)

– 3/4 pound cleaned squid, bodies sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch rings
– 4 scallions, white and green parts, finely chopped


Pre-cook the rice in the rice cooker (my kids did this while I was at a Focus group)
In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the diced onion and garlic, cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes.
Crumble in the saffron threads and stir in the dried currants, cinnamon stick and allspice. Add the clam and cook until all mix (about 1-2 minutes)
Add the squid and cook, stirring, until it begins to curl, about 1 minute.
Add the rice,and the clam juice,  mix and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the rice starts to stick together, about 2 minutes.
Stir in the chopped scallions.

This was serve with Grill Flank Steak (Because one of my twin sons loves steak, the other loves seafood.
It however worked out great.


Gumbo has always fascinated me in a way no other soup can.
First, there are a variety of local authentic version.
Second, lots of restaurants in the country have gumbo on their menu,
but mostly tasted like tomatoes soup, the real gumbo is hard to find outside Louisiana.

In Dallas, Copeland’s used to make good gumbo until they close, then there is only one restaurant in Galveston
actually make gumbo that does tasted like gumbo.
Cajun Kitchen in Richardson, Razoos both make it like tomato soup.
In the company cafeteria, it tasted even worse, tomato soup may actually tastes better here.
Maybe, I would need to try even more restaurant here to see.
This is where I would welcome any recommendation 🙂

When we were in Hawaii, we met a friend from NO, who told me, gumbo only tastes like home make
when you use mushroom soup. Ha, learn something new-
One day, we stop by NO, visit another friend.  He treated us with a gumbo that really blow us away.
I asked for the recipe and got something like “Everything you saw in the kitchen” 😦

Now, my sis saw has a gumbo one in his blog.
It was really good-
As usual, I twisted it a bit follow, it came out great:

– To get a smokey flavor, I use smoke bacon end pieces to make the fat instead of duck fat or using very hot oil
This fat is then use to cook the vegetable, meat and roux all
– I do not like the tomatoes flavor so I drop the tomatoes paste from the original recipe
– I use fresh thyme instead of dry
– I used organic mushroom stock instead of chicken stock.  Organic line make a different with me because I like it with less salt.

(Note: He has lots of details about technique and ingredient there, you need to read it first to understand the dish)
Spicy andouille sausage sliced
3 pieces of skinless chicken thighs, sliced
Smokey bacon end pieces

for mirepoix
2 medium onions chopped
3 medium stalks celery chopped (about 1 1/2 C)
1 medium green bell pepper chopped
1 medium red bell pepper chopped
6 cloves garlic minced
chili peppers minced (I used the yellow pepper I have in our garden)

for roux
1/4 C  fat (from above meat mixture)
1/4 C flour

for gumbo
Organic mushroom stock
Okra, chopped
Chopped flat leaf parsley leaves and stems
2 bay leaves
2 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp marjoram
1/4 tsp ground mustard
a bunch of fresh thyme

to finish
large shrimp
3 C cooked rice
2 full cooked eggs, chopped
Heat an 8 quart dutch oven or other heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat until very hot.
Add the bacon, wait a few minute until some fat starting to come out.
Add the chicken to the pot. Add the sausage slices and allow to brown.
Flip the sausage slices as they brown. Transfer the sausage to a plate as they finish browning.

Remove the meat fat from the pan and left around 1 tablespoon of fat
To make the mirepoix, add the onions, garlic, pepper (I add them all here for a minute together to get all the flavour out first)

and then celery and saute until soft and translucent.
Add the two bell peppers and continue to saute until the onions are starting to caramelize and the bell peppers are nice and soft.

In the mean time, we’re going to make the roux. What we’re doing here is caramelizing the flour until it’s dark chocolate brown. To avoid burning it, it needs constant supervision and stirring, it only took 15 minutes for me, with heat increase slowly.

I used a large flat pan (Not non-stick) so it leave me more room to stir, and a wooden spoon.

Add 1/4 Cup reserved fat you have  to a medium sized sauce pan and heat over medium low heat until very hot. Add the flour and immediately start stirring, turning the heat up slowly.

As the roux reaches a medium brown color (like beef gravy), turn the heat down a little to slow the process down.

As soon as it’s reached the desired color, remove the pot from the heat and stir in some of the mirepoix to bring the temperature down quickly. Once it’s cool enough to touch, have a taste.  Cool is the keyword here, this mixture is very very hot.

Add the stock into the roux pot, stir until mix.
Then add this mixture  with the rest of the mirepoix. Put the pot over a medium high flame until the mixture begins to boil.

Turn the heat down to maintain a gentle simmer and add the duck, sausage and the rest of the gumbo ingredients.

When you are ready to eat,  turn the heat up and bring the gumbo to a boil then add the shrimp, stirring to submerge.
Cover immediately and remove the pot from the heat. The residual heat will gently cook the shrimp to perfection in about 7 minutes (use less time if your shrimp are small).

To serve, put a small amount of rice in the bottom of a shallow bowl and top with the gumbo. Sprinkle with eggs and serve with hot sauce.

I also served this with Fried Cajun Catfish.

Summer vegetable couscous

Mùa hè, nhiều rau quả, làm mình nghỉ đến món gì nhè nhẹ/.  Trên đường về đọc báo Food Net Work thấy có công thức làm couscous và cà tím,

hai thứ mà ông xã và tụi nhóc thích nhất nên đem ra thử/.

Couscous rất ngon nhưng cà thì báo quá, biết vậy chẳng để ya-out vào/.


<Google Translator- with some twists>

In summer, many vegetables, do you think of what dishes gently /. Read  Food Net Work magazine on the way home, shows recipes aof couscous and eggplant,

which my husband and the kiddo’s  favorite,   should take the test /.

Couscous is delicious but the eggplant  is  too rich, so not to know ya-out on /.


I edit this recipe to what I made (which depends on what is in the fridge 🙂


1. Store bought pesto

2. For the Couscous:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 onion, cut into 8 wedges
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 fresh tomatoes – chopped (from a friend’s garden :=)  )
  • 1 yellow pepper, cut into chunks
  • a bunch of Brussels sprout , chopped
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat couscous


Prepare the vegetables for the couscous:

Heat a wide heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons butter and 1 teaspoon salt; cook until the butter begins to brown.

Add the onion. Tie the reserved parsley stems and cinnamon stick together with twine; add to the pot.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, 1 cup water,and the rest of the vegetable. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 15 minutes.

Remove the parsley and cinnamon.

Meanwhile, cook the couscous as the label directs. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, season with salt and pepper and fluff with a fork.

Top the couscous with the vegetables and pesto.

Serve with jalapeno & cheese sausage from CZECH STOP  in West, Texas:

(hint: Their kolache is really good)


I do not recommnded the egg plant so if you like you can check out the recipe here: