Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bánh mì inspired Tacos/Lettuce Wraps

A while back the Food Network had this show called The Great Foodtruck Race. Different food trucks (think taco truck, but these trucks served gourmet food like crepes and Vietnamese fusion) competed against each other to become the best foodtruck in America. One of the competitors was called The Nom Nom truck and they served fusion Vietnamese food. One dish that I saw them make was a sandwich called Bánh mì.

Another thing they serve from the Nom Nom truck are Vietnamese tacos yummmm yumm. They looked so good that I had to try and make my own version! A Bánh mì has multiple parts including marinated pork, veggies, special bread and a diakon and carrot pickle. So, though I spent a good amount of time prepping, it ended up being totally worth it! I decided to make a chicken Vietnamese tacos for Brian, instead of pork (I happened to have chicken on hand) and lettuce wraps for me! Cutting carbs is a good way to get back on track after those.... heavy holidays. :]

Bánh mì inspired Tacos

You'll need:
Daikon/carrot pickles (Do Chua)
Recipe from Viet World Kitchen
2 medium carrots
1 diakon (about 1 pound)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp and 1/2c sugar
1 1/4 c distilled white vinegar
1 c warm water

Marinated Chicken
roughly 2 boneless chicken breasts (I used chicken tenders) 
3 tbs hoisen sauce
2 tbs oyster sauce
2 tbs honey
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice

Tacos/lettuce wraps
flour tortillas (Brian ate three!)
Large lettuce leaves
1 cucumber
1/2 red onion
one small bunch cilantro
1/4 c sour cream
1/2 tsp siracha
1/2 tsp hoisen sauce
1/2 tsp lemon juice

I strongly recommend making the daikon/carrot pickles the night before, or at least one hour before serving this fabulous meal. The longer the daikon and carrots sit in the brine, the yummier they become. First, peel the carrots and daikon so that there is no skin left. Rinse, and chop into small matchsticks.

Next, place the matchsticks into a bowl and sprinkle the salt and 2 tsp of sugar. "Knead" (stir and squish around with your hands) them until they loose a good amount of water, for about three minutes. I know, I know... three minutes!?! Get over it- SO worth it.  After that, stick everything into a colander and let the excess liquid drain out. You can even press it down a little to get the excess out. Set this aside, and grab another bowl. Mix together the remaining 1/2 c sugar, vinegar, and warm water.

Put the drained matchsticks into a jar, and fill it to the top with the brine. The brine should cover the veggies all the way. Stick it into the fridge for at least one hour. The recipe I used said that these will keep for up to four weeks, but I seriously doubt that they'll last that long.

Now, let's move on to the chicken. Combine the hoisen sauce, oyster sauce, honey, vinegar, and lemon juice into a large ziptop bag. Place the chicken into the bag, seal it, and squish it around until all of the chicken is thoroughly covered. Place this in the fridge and let it marinate for at least 30 minutes.

While the chicken was marinating, I took the opportunity to do the rest of the prep work. First, I made the sauce for the tacos. Take the sour cream and put it into a bowl with the siracha, hoisen sauce, and lemon juice. Mix it all together and set aside.

Next, prep the rest of the veggies. Chop the cucumbers into small slices, chop the red onion paper thin, roll about three lettuce leaves together and chop into thin strips, and wash off the cilantro.

Ultimately, the spread should end up looking something like this:

Okay, now: once the chicken is done marinating, put a nonstick pan onto medium heat. Add a little vegetable oil, and add the chicken. Cook over medium heat and make sure to turn the chicken over to get the yummy crusty effect on both sides. Cook them until totally cooked through. Then, transfer to a cutting board and cut the chicken into thin slices.

Get ready for a bunch of pics!!!
Now, all you have to do is assemble the tacos. Spread some of the sour cream sauce onto a warmed tortilla. Then, add the chicken, lettuce, cucumber, onion, and pickles. Finally, add the cilantro and fold the tacos over- like so:

ohmygosh yuuuuuuuum!!!

For the lettuce wraps, follow a similar approach. I spread a little hoisen sauce onto the lettuce leaf along with the chicken, cucumber, onion, pickles, and cilantro. Fold it over and enjoooooy!!!!!!!

Daaannnngg. This is by far one of my favorite recipes thusfar. I am a huge fan of cilantro.... so adding this at the end was amaaazzing! Yes, it took a good amount of time to prep for this recipe, but I thought it was MORE than worth the time I spent. SO GOOOOD! I actually ended up serving this two nights in a row I liked it so much! Noomm nooomm!

Try it for yourself, and let me know how it went!

Soon to come: I'm brainstorming for a pizza request I received a little while ago, as well as thinking up new and healthy snacks! Stay tuned foodies!!!

Foodie foodie!

Monday, January 24, 2011

17 Bean and Barley Soup

While I was restocking my kitchen to start out the new semester (& btw, MY LAST SEMESTER of college!!! eeek!!!), I stumbled across this package of 17 bean and barley soup at Trader Joes. A friend of mine had made soup from a similar product in the past, so I thought I'd give it a try. I very loosely followed the recipe on the back of the package (I added and substituted a few things), and here's how it turned out!

Trader Joes's 17 Bean and Barley Soup

This product is great because it is inexpensive, (if I recall correctly, the package of beans/barley costs less than $2) healthy, and can very easily be converted to a vegetarian/vegan recipe if the chicken broth is taken out. For the record, the recipe on the package does not feature chicken broth, but I added it because I think the flavor is stronger than vegetable broth.

You'll need:
2 Cups of bean/barley mix
1 medium onion (I used a yellow onion)
4 stalks of celery
2 large carrots
1 red bell pepper
32 oz chicken broth
32 oz vegetable broth
2 cloves of garlic
1 large bay leaf (or two small)
1 can of diced tomatoes
garlic salt
olive oil

The first thing you need to do is soak the beans/barley mix. Measure out two cups, put it into the pot you'll be cooking it in, and cover with water. I soaked them overnight, but there is a quick-soak method outlined on the back of the package if you don't have the time. 

Next, you drain and rinse out the beans and pour the entire 32 oz of chicken broth on top. Set this aside, mince the garlic, and chop the onion, celery, carrots, and pepper. I chopped my veggies into fairly small pieces.. for some reason I wanted them to be "bean-sized" to match the beans in the mix (hah!)

remind me to thank my brother for the AMAZING knife he gave me for xmas

Put some olive oil into a large pan and set it over medium/high heat. When the oil is hot, drop the veggies into the pan and cook them until the onions are translucent and the carrots are softened. Now is a great time to garlic-salt and pepper liberally. When the veggies are about halfway done, add the minced garlic.

When the veggies are soft, scoop them out of the pan and put them into the bean/broth pot and add the canned tomatoes. My pot ended up being too small so I had to split the soup between two pots!

Top the soup with the remaining 32 oz of veggie broth, drop in the bay leaf, and bring to a boil. When the soup comes to a boil, lower the heat to simmer and let it simmer for at least an hour. I let mine simmer for one hour covered, and another 30 minutes uncovered.  

Salt and pepper the soup to taste, and when the beans are tender and the flavor is strong, serve it up!

I loved this recipe because it was hearty and satisfying, but healthy! It also made a lot of soup... I had enough to send some home with a friend and save some for during the week! Horrah!

My rating out of 10?


Because it takes a pretty long time to make, but it tastes SSOOOO good, it deserves a 9! I would recommend you make it on a weekend... if you've got a busy schedule during the week, this might be hard to manage.

try it for yourself- let me know how it goes!

foodie foodie!

Monday, January 17, 2011

The List

As I've been chowing down on tapioca pudding for the past six days, I've got to thinking about all of the things I'd love to do once I can eat regular food again. Then I got to thinking about things in general that I've never done... and I suddenly realized. I, like many other people, made a new years resolution to have a healthy diet... but how boring!

 SO, I've compiled a list of things I'd like to do this year (most of which involve food, of course!)

The List of 2011

1) Eat a bacon donut at Dynamo Donut & Coffee in San Francisco.
(hey! eating healthy is great, but a girl's gotta indulge once in a while...)

2) Explore the world of breads with yeast- specifically, make brioche buns.

3) Have flowers delivered to me.
(okay, not food related.. but I've always wanted someone to send me flowers!)

4) Design the hypothetical menu for my extremely hypothetical dream-restaurant,
named Egg Sandwich.
More on that later...

5) Eat at The Slanted Door in San Francisco.

6) Purchase my own equipment for Turkish coffee.

7) Switch entirely to a sustainable travel coffee mug and water bottle.
(aka no paper cups from coffee shops and no more plastic water bottles)

8) Find a favorite girly-cocktail.
As much as I like the idea of a cosmo, I really don't like the taste. 

9) Saber open a bottle of champagne

10) Acquire a KitchenAid stand mixer.
High priority.

So, there it is. I'll do my best to post about it if/when I achieve these goals on the list :) 

I'd love to hear your goals/lists. Better yet, have any suggestions to add to my list? I'm sure I'll add on my own throughout the year... but I'd love to hear from you! drop a comment @ the bottom of the post

foodie foodie!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Goodbye Wisdom Teeth/12 Healthy Eating Habits

Well hello lovelies.
I seriously hope that you do not resent my absence... but this time I actually have a good excuse!

I have been enjoying absurd amounts of Vicadin due to the fact that I recently had my four pesky wisdom teeth ripped from my skull.

SO, don't let yourselves think I'm off enjoying delicious yum foodie foodie without telling y'all about it-- the truth is that I'm home with an aching jaw and WAY too much jello and apple sauce...

Can't wait to sink my teeth into something crunchy...

I promise I'll post as soon as I am able to!

BUT just because I cannot enjoy all those num nummies in the world, I would LOVE to hear about your recent food adventures! Drop a comment & leave some love <3

On another note, I was browsing the web and found a sweet little article about healthy eating. So often the thought of having a healthy diet and healthy lifestyle seems daunting and intimidating... so I really appreciate it when I find simple tips that don't feel like you're turning your world upside-down to be healthy. This little article came from Cooking Light's website- they assign one simple goal for every month of the year to help combat over-ambitious new years resolutions... take a look! I found it simple and refreshing. 

foodie foodie!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


So, how do you pull a bunch of designers out of those back-to-work-blues :( ?
I'm not sure if there is any universal answer to that question but what I did was make donut muffins. Well, they aren't really just donut muffins... it's more like.. if a muffin and a cake donut got together and had a baby, and then that baby went and fell in love with a churro- and then had another baby.. well that baby would be what I brought into the studio last Monday for Muffin Monday.

While I was quite happy to hear that these little nummy-nuggets NEVER see a deep fryer or anything like that... donot (donut! haha) be mistaken.. these muffins are by no means healthy- and are not for the faint-hearted... SO if your New Years resolution involved losing weight of any amount, you should file this recipe under your 'only once in a while' file.
My sister, Allison, e-mailed me this recipe after trying it for herself, and I made some of my own and some of her suggested changes. So, here we go!

Donut Muffins

You'll need:
(for the muffins)
2 C all purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda 1/2 C melted salted butter
1 C sugar
1 C milk

(for the magic cinnamon-sugar dusting)
1 C sugar
1/2 C melted butter
3 tsp cinnamon

With your oven preheated at 375º, take the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking powder, and baking soda and whisk them together in a bowl. Then, take the butter and stir it together with the sugar until the sugar starts to dissolve a little bit.

Then, add the butter mixture to the dry ingredients and stir together. Then add the milk to loosen up the batter and stir until its smooth and goes from..
to this!

Next, spray a muffin pan with non-stick baking spray (no muffin papers this time, so you want to make sure the muffins won't get stuck in there) fill each muffin-well 3/4 of the way full with the batter, and bake them for 20-25 minutes. 

So, next comes the part that I nearly slapped myself for... but then resolved to only make these muffins once in a blue moon... prepare yourselves... it gets pretty decadent from here...

While the muffins are baking, take the cup of sugar and mix it together with the cinnamon. Place it into a shallow bowl or plate, and then put the melted butter into another shallow bowl/plate. When the muffins are done baking, remove them from the muffin pan, and (suppress the butter-panic-attack) quickly dip the muffin into the melted butter and roll in the cinnamon-sugar. Take a deep breath, resolve not to eat too many, and repeat.
These muffins are by far much yummier when eaten warm, but are still great at room temp. Even though the entire staff wasn't in the studio last week, the muffins still got eaten up! Horray! I'd like to think that our collective good mood was due mostly to the sugar-high from these muffins (haha)

Hope you enjoyed this sugar-high of a blog entry. Remember: if you're trying to eat healthily, eating decadent treats is something to be done in moderation. Now, go put someone into sugar-ecstasy.

Foodie foodie!!!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

donut? muffin? churro?

hello lovelies. I know it's been a while- I've been busy working! But don't worry, I haven't forgotten about you. As soon as I've got a little time to spare I'll post the recipe for these AMAZING donut-muffins I made for Muffin Monday this week. Hang in there!

foodie foodie!