All posts tagged: featured

Bánh Tiêu Mật Ong/ Honey Glazed Sesame Hollow Donuts

Bánh tiêu is essentially the Vietnamese version of fried dough or donut. One can find them sold throughout any town from street vendors. These donuts differ from American donuts due to bánh tiêu having a hollow center. This creates a light and fluffy donut with a chewy texture, which also has a light crunch from the sesame seeds. To take this traditional hollow donut up a notch, I incorporated honey into the batter and also applied a light honey glaze. This version of bánh tiêu has just the right amount of sweetness that my family cannot get enough of.  This recipe makes 12 donuts and takes about 2 hours with proofing time. Ingredients: 2 and 3/4 cup of bread flour / 400 gram 1/2 cup of water 1/2 cup of 1% low-fat milk 3 tablespoons of sugar 1 and 1/4 teaspoon of salt 1 packet of vanilla sugar or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract 1 teaspoon of instant yeast 1 teaspoon of baking powder 1/2 cup of sesame seeds 2 tablespoons of honey Honey glaze …

Chè Nhãn Hạt Sen / Longan and Lotus Seed Summer Pudding

Summer in Vietnam can be brutal with the average temperature hitting in the high 80F’s and with the suffocating humidity, it can feel like it’s 100F degrees. I remembered taking two to three showers a day when I was visiting my family in July. As a result, locals turn to refreshing food and drinks such as longan and lotus seed summer pudding served with a generous scoop of ice in order to keep cool. This chè comprises of sweet longan, crunchy lotus seeds, and other ingredients that are also common Chinese herbal medicine known to have cooling properties. Don’t worry…this dessert will not taste like medicine but it does help keep your body from melting during a hot summer day. Ingredients: 1 cup of dried lotus seeds 1/2 cup of dried logan meat (You can substitute with dried lychee.) 8 dried red dates (red jujube) 12 dried black dates (dried Ziziphus jujuba mill) 1 cup of rock sugar. 1/4 teaspoon of salt 5 cups of water Directions: Soak all the dry ingredients for 1 hour …

Honey Milk Bread

Ever since my first trip to Japan years ago, I have been obsessed with fluffy white bread that is drastically tastier than the US version. I could only find this at good Asian bakeries like Tous Le Jour. Due to the pandemic, milk bread was hard to come by. I scoured Youtube and blogs to find the perfect recipe and after a few trials and errors, I finally modified one that works for me. This recipe is based on Aimee’s Cooking’s dinner rolls, where I adjusted the sugar and honey ratio and used a different bread formation. The differences make the honey flavor more pronounced and the bread less sugary tasting. The loaf method compared to the dinner roll method also gives the bread more structure while retaining the fluffiness.  I hope you like this as much as my family. This recipe is for one bread using an 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2” loaf pan. It’s medium in difficulty and takes around 2.5 hours including a lot of waiting time. Ingredients: 3/4 cup of milk …

Viet-Cajun Butter Sauce for Seafood

Like all good recipes, I accidentally created this addicting crack sauce (per my foodie family) when I was experimenting with new toppings to take steamed seafood up a notch. In the summer, our family likes to have a variety of crustacean and shellfish. Viet-Cajun style butter sauce has been popular for seafood boil starting in the southern region of the US for a few years now. This sauce is not for the faint of heart…literally, as it comprises of melted butter and a lot of different seasoning. This sauce will make you the star at your next seafood feast. This sauce serves up to 8. You can always freeze the leftovers. Ingredients: 1 large orange 1 large lemon 4 sticks of salted butter 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon of fish sauce 1/4 cup + 1/2 tablespoon of sugar 6 tablespoons of minced garlic 1/2 tablespoon of cajun boil seasoning like Zatarain’s 1 tablespoon of lemon pepper powder 1 tablespoon of paprika 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper 1 tablespoon of onion powder 4 Thai Kaffir lime …

Refreshing Summer Slaw

I randomly created this refreshing and crunchy slaw during our quarantine when we ran out of everything else. The key ingredients are Asian pear, apple and crab sticks. The family devoured it and kept asking for more.  Furthermore, I also found that it keeps very well in the fridge and tastes better the longer it marinates.  This slaw goes well as salad for a meal or a side dish to your next BBQ. This recipe is rated easy and serves 2 as a main dish. Ingredients: 1/2 ripened avocado (cubed) 1 green apple 1/2 English cucumber 1 Asian pear 2 scallion finely chopped 1/2 tbsp of minced garlic 6 crab sticks shredded 1/3 tsp of sugar 1 and 1/2 tbsp of Kewpie mayo (regular mayo will work, but you will not get the tangy-sweet taste that you will get with Japanese mayo) 1/4 tsp of salt 1/4 tsp of pepper Direction: Julienne the apples, Asian pears, and English cucumbers into matchsticks and place into a large bowl. Finely dice 2 scallions (discard the white ends) …

The Beginner Gardener Series: May 2020 Experience

Gardening is all about trials and errors. You will likely make mistakes, but also gain insights into being a better gardener.  Here is my list of successes and failures so far this year: 1- I was over-eager to acclimate my indoor seedlings in late April… and half of them died.   Luckily, I overseeded, so I had backups. For one, my cucumbers struggled to thrive in temperatures ranging from 30 to 50F, resulting in only two out of ten indoor seedlings looking well enough to be put in the ground.  I had to direct seed the rest and hope for the best. 2- I was ill early this spring and my husband did not pay close attention to the indoor seedlings. Consequently, they suffered from a lack of water and not enough time under the grow lights. We had to discard a large portion of them and so all of our efforts were for naught. 3- I discovered that I can utilize SOLO cups, takeout containers, empty clear jars, etc. as a cheap cloche to …

Nước Sâm / Vietnamese Herbal Ice Tea

Vietnamese herbal tea is usually served with ice, which makes it a refreshing drink in the middle of a hot and humid summer day. This drink is inspired by Chinese medicine with a focus on ingredients that have “cooling” properties. There are many variations and the one that we are sharing includes artichokes. Don’t be put off by the scary ingredient list as they are easy to find at any Asian grocery store or online. Ingredients: 1 gallon or 3.75 litres of water 2 artichokes cut into quarters 1 pack (6 oz.) of dried longan 1 cup of dried dates 1 cup of dried chrysanthemum flowers 2 pieces of sanh dia (dried Rehmannia glutinosa) 1 tablespoon of rock sugar or regular sugar (adjust to taste). Rock sugar is less sweet and has a clearer taste than regular sugar so it doesn’t overwhelm the light drink.   Directions: Soak the artichoke in cold water and rinse thoroughly to remove any sediment. Quickly rinse the dried ingredients to remove any impurities. Boil all the ingredients in a …

The Beginner Gardener Series: The 3 essential tools for gardening

When I was a beginner gardener, I made the  rookie mistake of buying multiple gardening tools that one would use in a traditional garden, including a trowel, transplanter, cultivator, weeding fork, and weeder.  Over the last three years, I found that I could replace them all with 3 tools: a trowel, a weeder, and a Korean traditional garden ho called “a homi”.  If I could only purchase one tool, then a “homi” would be the Swiss army knife. The homi:  This was a “do it all” hand tool since the Bronze Age for Koreans.  I started to see them used in Korean YouTube horticulture videos and decided to purchase one last year on Amazon.  It was the best gardening decision that I have ever made!  It made my life so much easier.  It has a curved handle and a blade with a unique shape that allows you to dig, weed, mound, etc… all encompassed in one tool.  You can find a homi at multiple price points on Amazon by searching for a “Korean homi garden …

Airline Review: Air France Business Class Paris to NY

*I had written this post before Covid-19 upended the travel and airline industry. I hope we can go back to our wanderlust days safely soon. It is unclear how Air France’s offerings will be impacted by the pandemic. On my recent flight from Paris to NY, I was able to try out Air France’s business class on an Airbus A380-800. This model will eventually be replaced by a newer and more efficient version later in 2020. I was very sick returning from a holiday in France, so a comfortable journey was a necessity. This was my experience on Air France in comparison with other business class flights that I have taken over the years. Value: Average Generally, AF’s Paris to NYC flight costs a few thousand dollars each way. Some discounted business class flight upgrades may be available on the day of departure at the check-in counter. Seat: Average For a business class seat on a 7+ hour flight, I was disappointed to find out that it was not a fully lie flat bed even …

The Beginner Gardener Series: Mistakes that I made in Year 1-3 of gardening

As I reflect on my last 3 years of gardening, I realize that I made a fair amount of beginner mistakes.  Here are some takeaways that I learned to help you prevent the novice pitfalls. Putting seeds into the ground too late.  I decided to save money by germinating seeds instead of purchasing nursery plants in my second and third year of gardening. However, I started my seeding too late, which resulted in my vegetables maturing deeper into the summer and yielding less crop.  If you are not able to sow seeds into the ground two or three weeks after your area’s last frost date, then I highly recommend utilizing nursery plants instead. It is okay to get some help. Germinating seeds indoor without proper equipment.  I decided to start seeding a variety of tomatoes, cucumbers, and other vegetables indoors to get a leg up last year.  It sounded like a great idea, but I ended up with a lot of headaches instead.  I had only purchased one small grow light and assumed that the …