Posts tagged ‘cooking’

February 22, 2011

Vietnamese Shrimp Spring Rolls

My mom has a fabulous friend named Thuy. Thuy makes really, really good spring rolls. Thuy is also a hairdresser. And she does nails.

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This weekend I went home to spend time with the fam and Thuy taught me how to make Vietnamese Spring Rolls, painted my nails and put highlights in my hair! Thanks Thuy.

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Now my friends. I will teach YOU how to make the best Vietnamese Spring Rolls you will ever lay your mouth on. It just might be impossible for you to order these at restaurants ever again after you make your own.

Mint, basil, cilantro, spicy chives, cucumber, carrot, lettuce, bean sprouts, and shrimp. All these ingredients are so fresh and crispy, it just might make the most perfect lunch ever.

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And the dipping sauce. Oooo that sauce. It was so zesty and flavorful. The perfect pairing for the fresh veggies and shrimp that are all rolled up in rice paper.

I was scared to try it after Thuy told me where fish sauce comes from. Don’t Google it – you will regret it. Don’t smell it either. Just know that it tastes good and use it.

Boil your shrimp and toss them in ice water to stop the cooking and create the crunch factor.

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Slice the shrimp in half.

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We also split the lettuce down the middle so that it laid flat inside the roll.

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Rice noodles are also traditionally added to these rolls. I opted out this time because the noodles are filling and frankly, I needed to to save room so I could eat more of spring rolls.

Shrimp Spring Rolls

makes approximately 12 rolls

Ingredients

24 shrimp, split length-wise

1/2 cucumber, julienned

1 carrot, julienned or grated

2 cups bean sprouts

1 bunch mint

1 bunch cilantro

1 bunch basil

1 bunch spicy chives

6-8 leaves lettuce, split down the middle – romaine or red leaf

10-12 sheets rice paper

Directions

Boil a pot of water. Add the shrimp and boil for 2-3 minutes, until pink. Pour into an ice bath. Remove the tail and halve the shrimp.

Wet your rice paper. Layer on the veggies. Typically, lettuce is first then the herbs – stems and all. Then add the cucumber and carrot. Top it off with your halved shrimp pieces and roll it up.

Dipping Sauce

6 servings

Ingredients

2-3 cloves of garlic

1 small jalapeno

1/4 cup lime juice

2-3 tablespoons sugar

1/4 + tablespoon cup fish sauce

Directions

Mash garlic and jalapeño together with mortar and pestle. Add sugar. Pour in fish sauce and mix.

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From the Little Yellow Kitchen,

Lauren

February 20, 2011

Baked Ham & Egg Cuplet

These just might be the cutest little breakfast cuplets ever. Not to mention how tasty they are. My dad probably would have eaten 5 or 6 if I had made enough of them.

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Adorable, right? And so simple. My friend Carolina sent me a link to this recipe from Yumsugar and I have literally been thinking about them all week.

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You can make these in little ramekins or a muffin tin. I’ve been using ramekins a lot lately…why is everything in a ramekin so adorable? I love mini foods.

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Cheese and green onion were the only toppings my mom had on hand. Next time, I want to add a layer of sautéed mushrooms and maybe a little wilted spinach. They shall be called omelet cuplets. Let me know if you test it out!

 

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INGREDIENTS

1 egg

1 thin slices of deli ham (preferably round- I only had rectangles on hand)

sprinkle of cheese

sprinkle of diced scallions

Salt and Pepper

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 400.  Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray.  Lay a piece of ham in the ramekin of muffin tin.  Crack one egg into the hole and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Bake the egg for 12-14 minutes, cover with foil if the ham begins to burn on the edges- although I found the crispy part to be particularly tasty. Remove the egg and top with grated cheese and scallions.  Add a layer of sautéed mushrooms and/or spinach for an extra little zest.

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From the Little Yellow Kitchen,

Lauren

February 19, 2011

Rosemary Parmesan Kale Chips

While we all know chips aren’t healthy, these green crispy things stand up to the challenge. I guess by the time the olive oil and salt are added, it may not be as healthy as we may wish, but all things in moderation, right?

Kale chips, you will find, are great substitutes for fries or regular chips and can be served with (almost) any meal or be saved in an air-tight container for some midday snackage.

I owe the credit for the idea to my big little sister, Jen; she is my “big little sister” because she is 8 1/2 years older than me, but has been shorter than me for a good majority of our lives. We’re best pals. Every time that I go visit her and her husband, Josh, we end up cruising to TJ’s stocking up on a good bottle of wine (which takes us forever to pick out), a new type of cheese we want to try out, and ingredients for a dinner feast.

Little Yellow Note: TJ’s doesn’t sell kale, so make plans to find it elsewhere. Jen normally has some on hand from the CSA veggie box she gets from the local Ventura farms. If this program is an option near you, you should definitely look into it for great organic produce and the support of local farmers.

Jen’s kale chips are simple and delicious: kale, olive oil or grape seed oil, sea salt and fresh shredded parmesan cheese. We added a little fresh rosemary and garlic to zest it up.

Here’s the scoop on the Rosemary Parmesan Kale Chips:

Ingredients:
1 bunch organic green kale, washed
3 Tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1-2 Tbsp parmesan cheese, preferably freshly shredded
sea salt

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Wash kale leaves and pat dry.
2. Strip kale leave from the middle stem part (see video clip), and tear into big pieces.
3. Put leaves in a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil, add minced garlic and mix well with hands. You want to distribute the garlic and oil evenly.
4. Arrange kale in a single layer on a baking sheet covered with foil. (we filled up 3 sheets of kale). Sprinkle with rosemary and sea salt.

5. Pop in the oven for 12 minutes, until nice and crispy. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over kale, and let cook for the remaining 3 minutes (15 minutes total).

From the Little Yellow Kitchen,

Chrissy

February 18, 2011

Chicken & Shrimp Stir Fry

Yesterday we had a surprise visit from our favorite neighbor and ultimate LYK fan, Russell. He waltzed into the Little Yellow Kitchen with a gigantic smile exclaiming that he held in his hand what was soon to be our new favorite evening activity, Julia. No, not the recent film Julie and Julia, but the real Julia — The French Chef with Julia Child: Disc 1. Never have I ever been a fan of black and white films, but Julia my friends, can entertain with the best of them.

“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”
Julia Child

We immediately began watching Julia create her classic Bouillabaisse Marseillaise with the head of a giant cod sitting front and center on the screen the entire time. This woman has no fear. She chops hacks fish in half like it’s an everyday activity – maybe it was? She is so much more real than what we see today on cooking shows. She cooks on a electric stove with switches for goodness sake! Needless to say, if you get the chance watch some of her infamous episodes, do it, and take copious notes.

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Onto the stir fry…

We cheated a little on this recipe because of time constraints but it gives me the chance to tell you about more great products from Trader Joe’s – I promise they don’t pay us to use their name so much, we just basically live there grocery shopping and love it.

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If you want a quick and delicious stir fry then this is the way to do it. Use Trader Joe’s Ginger Soy Marinade and their bag of fresh stir fry vegetables. If you can’t get to a Trader Joes, then use the vegetables listed in the ingredients of our recipe below.

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Stir Fry

(4 servings)

Ingredients:

1 chicken breast

8-10 shrimp

1 bag of Trader Joe’s stir fry vegetables (snow peas, bok choy, cabbage, carrots, celery, broccoli)

1/2 cup ginger soy marinade

1 zucchini, thick slices

1/2 onion, sliced

1/2 cup sliced cremini mushrooms

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon fresh ginger

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Directions

Marinate the chicken and shrimp in the ginger soy marinade for 30 minutes. Pour oil into a fry pan with fresh ginger and add the vegetables, sauté about 15 minutes or until cooked down. Add the chicken and shrimp with the marinade and cook through.

Remove from heat and mix in the soy sauce, red pepper flakes, and sesame seeds.

Serve with brown rice.

Buon Appetit!

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From the Little Yellow Kitchen,

Lauren

February 16, 2011

Mac n’ Cheese n’ Salami

Chris and I celebrated our Valentine’s Day together on Sunday by having a lovely picnic/Element tailgate at Cabrillo National Monument. The afternoon’s menu consisted of vintage cheddar cheese (by far my new fav Trader Joe’s  cheese), Sopressa salami, crackers and a breathtaking view of San Diego and beyond.

Later that evening I used the left over vintage cheddar cheese (I can’t say how good this was enough times) and Sopressa salami to make Mac & Cheese & Salami. Do I know the way to a man’s heart or what? They can never say no to mac n’ cheese — especially if you add meat to it.

The golden crispy top gets me every time. The creamy cheese and salty salami combo was slammin’! Slammin’? I haven’t used that word since 1997 or so…I should bring it back.

Want a bite?? Open up…

This recipe was much easier this time than it has been in the past. I usually complicate things by using 3-4 different cheeses. This was also my fifth or six time doing it so I guess it should be easier now, right?

Oh, and Chris shredded all the cheese for me. Be sure you hand a man the grater. If you let him watch TV at the same time he won’t even know he’s doing all the work for you.

First step is to make your cheese sauce and add the nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Dump your heart shaped pasta into the sauce.

Top with a sprinkle of bread crumbs and bake until the top is golden and crispy.

Ingredients:

1/2 lb elbow macaroni (or heart shaped pasta)

1/2 cup Sopressa salami, diced — I recommend sauteing your salami a little bit before hand so that it can crisp up!

1 1/2 very sharp cheddar, shredded

1 1/2 cups white cheddar (or Gruyere), shredded

2 cups milk

1/2 cup flour

3/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs

1/2 tsp nutmeg

Salt and Pepper, to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cook the macaroni (or heart shaped pasta) according to the directions on the package. Drain well. If they stick together, drizzle some oil into them and toss it around.

Heat the milk in a small saucepan, be careful not to let it boil. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a large pot (you will be adding the pasta to it later on) and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. Continue whisking as you slowly add the hot milk. Cook until it becomes thick and all the clumps are smoothed. Stir in the nutmeg, salt and pepper.Turn off the heat and add the cheeses of your choice and the salami. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a medium sized baking dish or ramekins.

Melt the remaining 1 tablespoons of butter and mix in the bread crumbs. Sprinkle the mixture on top. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes if in a baking dish, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top. Ramekins only need 10 to 15 minutes.

From the Little Yellow Kitchen,

Lauren