vietnamese spring rolls

Vietnamese Spring RollsVietnamese Spring Rolls are essentially are bundles of salad wrapped in rice paper. They are very versatile and may be made with whatever fresh ingredients you have on hand. It takes a little bit of time to prepare all the ingredients and a little practice to wrap, but the resulting spring rolls are certainly worth the time and effort. Make these for your family or serve them at your next party and they are guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser.

…traditionally filled with shrimp and pork, noodles, and an assortment of vegetables and herbs.  They are eaten dipped in either a spicy peanut sauce or nuoc cham, which is made with fish sauce, garlic, and chilis, or both. What I love about them is that they are fresh, healthy, and a lot of fun to make (and eat!).

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vietnamese coffee ice cream in a cardamom, almond, and orange tuile

Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream

I guess I picked the wrong week to give up ice cream (see my last post).  My intentions were good, having recently acquired chef and cookbook author, David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop, I told myself I would explore the somewhat lighter offerings from his granitas and sorbets sections. Blood Orange Granita…Champagne-Cassis Granita…Nectarine Granita…Tangerine Sorbet…Cherry Sorbet.  So many choices!  I settled on Pink Grapefruit Granita (again, see my last post).  It was light, zingy and refreshing.  I loved it and felt very satisfied with myself for avoiding most of the fat and some of the calories of full blown ice cream.  I was off to a good start.

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bo luc lac, vietnamese shaking beef

Bo Luc Lac or Vietnamese Shaking Beef

Fish sauce, a staple ingredient in many Southeast Asian countries including the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Burma, and Cambodia, is made from fermented fish and sea salt. While it may not sound or smell appetizing, fish sauce adds a complex  flavor to food. It is added to dishes during the cooking process or used straight or as a base for dipping sauce. Continue reading

pork meatball bánh mì sandwich

pork meatball bánh mì sandwich
The result of the French influence on Vietnamese cuisine is very evident in the bánh mì sandwich.  Usually served on a baguette and slathered with spicy aioli that is borrowed from French cuisine, this sandwich is then filled with meat and other ingredients that are decidedly more Vietnamese –  vegetable slaw made with pickled carrots and daikon radishes, sliced jalapeños, and fresh cilantro.  Other typical fillings include barbecue or roast pork, pâté, sliced ham and other deli meats, and even tofu. Continue reading