Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

 If you're a pumpkin lover then you have got to try this recipe.  This sweet treat comes out moist and fluffy and this recipe makes plenty to share with loved ones who will love you all the more for sharing!  The recipe comes from my friend Ali Eisenach's cookbook, When Life Gives You a Garden.

By the by, I have a new found love for cupcake stands.  I found this one at a local shop but you can also find it online at Glitterville.  It has become one of my favorite things that I own and it will probably appear in many more foodie pictures in the future. 

But back to the Pumpkin Bars!

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 2/3 c sugar
  • 1 c oil
  • 16 oz can pumpkin
  • 2 c flour
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t salt

Beat eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin until fluffy.  Add dry ingredients and mix well.  Pour into a greased 15x10x1 inch pan.  Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes.  Cool and frost with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 c butter, softened
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 3 c powdered sugar
Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix until smooth.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Vietnamese Braised Pork and Eggs. Thit Heo Kho Trung.

It's Vietnamese New Years (Tet) in our home.   As a child I remember my mom involved in Vietnamese new years parties at our home.  I'm sure that every Vietnamese person would come to these parties...  I loved receiving the "red envelope" from "aunts and uncles" with money inside.

Now that I have my own family I try to carry on the traditions of my mother's culture.
Started decorating the house last year

 This year I printed out my own banner and found some year of the house signs to print and place in photo frames..

 I found some inexpensive decorations at Oriental Trading such as the red envelopes, chop sticks, paper fans as gifts, Chinese take out boxes, lanterns, and more.

Here's my son Aiden helping me put up the mini lanterns.

I don't know why I didn't think to take a picture of this year with everyone at the table... maybe because I was busy eating... someone even had to remind me to take a picture of my plate of food.

I made a Coconut Curry Seafood Soup which is in the previous post.  We also had Vietnamese Chicken Salad.  Manapua or BBQ pork buns and egg rolls.  The egg rolls and pork buns would have taken too much time to make in my busy schedule so i was fortunate to find some at our local Safeway grocery store.

Now I know BBQ pork bun is not the tradition Vietnamese steamed bun (banh bao) the filling is more  like ground pork with a hard boiled quail egg in the middle.

like this:

but I like the Cha sui bbq pork version better.

And I know the Safeway brand is not the tradition Vietnamese egg roll (cha gio).  If you want to make the traditional stuff here's link our recipe 

Here's a picture of my dinner plate.

So what you're really here for is the Vietnamese Braised Pork and Egg recipe, right?  Sorry it's taken me so long to get to this point.  This is my all time favorite Vietnamese dishes it's tender sweet and salty goodness braised in coconut water.  You're probably thinking why the boiled egg.  The boiled egg compliments this dish especially if you take a a bite with a little rice, pork, and egg with each fork full.  It's a traditional Tet dish.  The downside to this dish is that I have a hard time not overeating.

Vietnamese Braised Pork and Eggs. Thit Heo Kho Trung.

 INGREDIENTS (serves 8)

2 pounds boneless pork shoulder (most of the fat trimmed off)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small onion, diced
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
8 hard-boiled eggs, shelled
3 cups coconut water
2 Tbsp oil for stir frying.
8 cups cooked steamed rice


Cut pork into about 1 inch serving pieces.  Place in a large bowl and season with garlic, onion, fish sauce, and sugar.  Let stand for 10 minutes.

Heat oil in large 5 quart soup pot and brown pork lightly.

Add half the coconut water and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the remaining coconut water and boiled eggs, continue to simmer for about 45 minutes until liquid has thicken and pork is fork tender.

Serve over rice.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do,

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Coconut Curry Seafood Stew

This is a delicious coconut curry seafood stew with a lot of ingredients common in Vietnamese and Thai cooking.

1 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons grated ginger
2 tablespoons pureed lemon grass
2 tablespoons curry powder
6 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 tablespoon tamarind soup base  (or 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice at the very end)
2 (13.5 ounce) cans coconut milk
1 teaspoon chili oil
1 pound medium peeled and deveined shrimp
1 pound hardshell clams
8 ounces mussels
8 ounces halibut (cut into 1x1 inch pieces) or fresh Alaska king crab meat
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
cooked jasmine rice about 4-6 cups
Siracha Chili paste (optional to add heat)

Heat oil in large pot over medium heat.  Cook and stir in ginger, lemongrass, and curry powder in oil for 1 minute.  Pour in chicken broth over mixture and stir continually to incorporate irall ingredients.  Stir in fish sauce and brown sugar; simmer for 15 minutes.  Stir in tamarind soup base and coconut milk.  Add shrimp, clams, mussels and halibut and cook till no longer translucent about 5-8 minutes.  Serve in a bowl with 1/2 cup of rice and garnish with cilantro.