Friday, April 04, 2014

Nem Chua from Saigon Market

Spotted something new at Saigon Market over on John R- Nem Chua. They're a little preserved meat cake- "like salami," says owner Dat- and I'd agree the texture is very much like a Genoa salami. The flavor is different, though; it's spicy, with a bit of a vinegary flavor. Nem chua literally means "sour pork," and it's a traditional Tet holiday treat.

In each green plastic package (which is made to resemble a leaf) is a small square piece of this preserved meat wrapped in clear plastic along with a slice of garlic, a piece of hot pepper, and a Vietnamese coriander leaf. It's really yummy, and at $8.00 for a dozen, reasonably priced, too.  Comes to 80 cents per. I found a recipe here, and when I get a chance I'm going to try and make it.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Thai Black Rice

I found this rice on the new products shelf at Trader Joe's, but I suspect you could probably find it at your local Asian grocery, too. It has a good flavor and a chewy texture, and it goes very well with gumbo, too.  It's actually a form of so-called "glutinous rice," also known as "sweet rice," so it's best soaked for a half hour and then steamed (as they would do in Thailand), although you can boil it, too. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Pizza's Progress

Two pizzas I made last week: A traditional Neapolitan (seen before baking), and a cheeseless pizza with anchovies, olives, onion, garlic, and assorted seafood.

The sauce on both is just canned tomatoes, drained and crushed, seasoned with salt and pepper and herbs.

The pan is the same one my father used to make pizzas when I was a small child, making it close to 60 years old. Maybe older.

In case you missed the earlier pizza article, here's my recipe:
2 cups flour
3/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon yeast
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
Knead well, and (ideally) let rise overnight in the fridge. If you're in a hurry, let it rise at room temperature for an hour or until doubled. But it's much better with the slow rise. Stretch it out until it's very thin and bake at the hottest temperature your oven will manage until the crust starts to brown. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Corned Beef Hash

What to do with that leftover corned beef- assuming you have any? This is one solution.

I chop up roughly equal volume of corned beef, bell peppers (a mix of colors is best), onion, and potato- yukon golds, usually- into 3/8-1/2" pieces. Fry in plenty of oil, at high heat, stirring constantly, until everything is cooked and you get a nice brown in the potatoes. Season with salt, freshly ground pepper, and any other seasonings you enjoy. I like to add a pinch of cayenne.

This works best if you don't overload the pan, so everything gets sautéed and not steamed.