Saturday, November 27, 2010

Easy Vietnamese Won Ton Soup

Easy Vietnamese Won Ton Soup
One of my favorite soups that my mom would make.  My sister, Lynn, and I have adapted her recipe to make it easy.  My family could eat several bowls in one sitting.


1 lb unseasoned ground pork
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon pepper
1 bunch of green onion chopped
2-3 packages of won ton wraps
2 32 oz boxes of chicken broth
1/2-1 teaspoon of fish sauce per bowl of soup

Fill half of a medium sauce pan with water.  Cook at medium-high heat.  In the mean time mix pork with salt, sugar, pepper, and half of green onions.

Take about a teaspoon of pork filling and place into center of won ton wrap. 

Use water as a sealer and fold up to make a ghost shaped won ton.  Set aside.  

In another medium to large sauce pan heat chicken broth on medium-high heat. 

Place won tons in pan with heated water.  Water should be an a low boil.  Cook won tons (about 2 minutes) until won tons float to top then wait 30 seconds.  Drain out water.

Place cooked won tons into bowls serve hot broth over the top, stir in fish sauce, and garnish with green onions.

Photastic Vietnamese Turkey Brine

Photastic Vietnamese Turkey Brine
by Kim Knudsen in Nome, Alaska

6 quarts tap water
1 pound kosher salt
3 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup soy sauce
¼ cup fish sauce
10 star anise
8 inches of ginger root bruised and cut in half*
2 bunch of green onion cut into quarters
5 stalks of lemon grass bruised and cut into quarters*
2 heads of garlic broken into individual cloves, unpeeled, but bruised*
5 pounds of ice cubes
14 to 18 pound turkey, cleaned, innards removed
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 lemons, zested

In a medium pot, bring 3 quarts of the tap water to a boil over medium heat.  Put the kosher salt in a large bowl and slowly pour the boiling water over the salt.  Stir to blend.

Add brown sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce, star anise, ginger, green onion, lemon grass, and garlic.  Stir to blend.  Add the remaining 3 quarts of cool water.  Add the ice to a cooler or bucket lined with a turkey bag large enough to hold the brine and the turkey.  Pour the brine over the ice and use a large whisk to blend all the ingredients.
Submerge the turkey, breast side down, in the brine.  Make sure the cavity of the bird fills with liquid as you are submerging it.  Squeeze all air out of bag, tie off, and weight it down with a heavy plate.  Allow the bird to sit in brine overnight for about 12 hours.

Remove bird from the brine.  Discard brine.  Rinse bird thoroughly inside and out with cold water.  Dry the bird well with paper towels.  Be sure to wipe the inside of cavity as well.  Mix together butter and lemon zest.  Gently lift the skin covering 1 breast of the turkey and spread half of the butter right on the meat under the skin.  Repeat with other breast.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Arrange the turkey in a roasting pan fitted with a rack.  Put on lower rack of the oven and roast until the internal temperature of the turkey taken from the thickest part of the thigh reads 170 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, about 3 ½ hours.  Remove turkey from oven to a cutting board or serving platter and tent with foil.  Allow to rest for at least 30 minutes before carving and serving.

*bruising can be done with a mallet.

Shrimp Cocktail Appetizer

As far as I can remember we seem to have this appetizer at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners at our house.  I've continued the tradition in my own home and it's still an easy crowd pleaser. 

1 box of Ritz crackers
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 a bottle of Heinz shrimp cocktail sauce
1/4 cup of cocktail shrimp or chopped shrimp.

Place cream cheese on a plate.  Top with cocktail shrimp and cocktail sauce.  Serve with Ritz crackers.

For a prettier presentation see picture below.

Awesome Baklava recipe...

This recipe from
I made this for Thanksgiving and it was a huge hit.


  • 1 (16 ounce) package phyllo dough
  • 1 pound chopped nuts
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup honey


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F(175 degrees C). Butter the bottoms and sides of a 9x13 inch pan.
  2. Chop nuts and toss with cinnamon. Set aside. Unroll phyllo dough. Cut whole stack in half to fit pan. Cover phyllo with a dampened cloth to keep from drying out as you work. Place two sheets of dough in pan, butter thoroughly. Repeat until you have 8 sheets layered. Sprinkle 2 - 3 tablespoons of nut mixture on top. Top with two sheets of dough, butter, nuts, layering as you go. The top layer should be about 6 - 8 sheets deep.
  3. Using a sharp knife cut into diamond or square shapes all the way to the bottom of the pan. You may cut into 4 long rows the make diagonal cuts. Bake for about 50 minutes until baklava is golden and crisp.
  4. Make sauce while baklava is baking. Boil sugar and water until sugar is melted. Add vanilla and honey. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
  5. Remove baklava from oven and immediately spoon sauce over it. Let cool. Serve in cupcake papers. This freezes well. Leave it uncovered as it gets soggy if it is wrapped up.  

Mom's Kim Chi

This is my mom's recipe (Thu Lan Munn).  I guessed on the measurements as she says a little of this and some of that.  This is what I came up with...

We added zucchini from my garden.
1 head of Chinese (Napa) cabbage cut up into 11/2 to 2 inch chunks.  Salted with kosher/pickling salt (use about 1-2 cups). Let it sit for about half an hour.  Rinse cabbage well, about 3-4 times.  Taste the cabbage to make sure it's not too salty other wise rise again.

After salting and rinsing add...
3-4 Tablespoons of minced garlic
2-3 Tablespoons of red pepper powder
2 Tablespoons of sugar
1 bunch of green onion.

Mix well and place Kim Chi into clean jars.  Don't try to can/seal... Kim Chi will end up tasting nasty.  Just refrigerate will keep for about 2 weeks.  It's gone bad when it starts to taste sour.  Even then my mom says it's still good and she makes a delicious hot and sour soup out of it. You can also make Kim Chi using other greens such as bok choy, zucchini, or even tundra greens such as tukayuks, sura, and young fireweed shoots.