Monday, June 1, 2009

Martin Yan


I remember watching Martin Yan on TV while growing up. I never really paid attention to what he was cooking because my mom would be the one intently watching while I shuffled my Pokemon cards. When I started cooking though, I came to appreciate the awesome-ness of Martin Yan. Forget Rachael Ray, Martin Yan can have his own show on Food Network titled 10 Minute Meals because that's how fast he cooks! Thank you Martin Yan for inspiring people like me to cook. "If Yan can cook, so can you!!"

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


So we celebrated Vietnamese New Years this past weekend and of course our parties never disappoint. Even though guys can't get pregnant, I get a food baby from eating so much. I also made all my aunts fortune cookies with a little wish for the new year, and man my fingers were on fire. In the bad way! I have a low tolerance for heat so I was juggling the fortune cookie trying to fold it. Not cool. But they did turn out nicely! Let me know if you want the recipe. Anyhow, I didn't really know what to make for this year's party but I knew there wasn't going to be a lot of dessert so I originally intended to make a pastry of some sort...maybe even a cake. Buuuut I got super lazy and then I had a craving for mousse so I decided to make mousse! tada!
Alright alright I cheated with the chocolate shells. I was going to make them from scratch but a pack of 18 was on sale at Ralph's for get this....$0.49!!! FREAKIN AMAZING!!!!!!!!! But if I really wanted to I could've made them from scratch. I promise! I have a tempering machine at my disposal so now I can play guitar hero while my chocolate's like that roasting oven infomercial I used to watch where every other line is, "SET IT AND FORGET IT!" kinda like that... Anyhow this is the tempering machine that
I used to make chocolate. This is what I made for Christmas. Pretty neato! Everyone thought I bought them because the chocolates were so glossy and they had a nice design on them. You can buy the transfers online too they're pretty cheap at about $6 for a roll.

Sooo back to making mousse. The recipe I used was pretty simple and the result was almost like how I imagined it. If I were going to remake it, I would have probably whipped the cream more, but that's about it. Here's the basic ingredients you'll need:

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup bar chocolate
2 drops coffee extract

First you want to break up your chocolate into small pieces about the size of pennies. They don't have to be perfect; I just chopped mine up quickly and left them in a medium sized bowl. After you do this, boil 1/2 cup of whipped cream, and then pour this onto your chocolate mixture. Add 2 drops of coffee extract to the mixture. Let this stand for a couple minutes and then slowly stir to make sure the chocolate is melted and the coffee gets incorporated. This works with white chocolate, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, it's just preference. In another medium sized bowl, start whipping the remaining 1 1/2 cups of whipping cream until soft peaks form.
Now just fold this into your chocolate mixture and you're pretty much done! I decided to pipe the mousse into the chocolate cups because it would've looked really ugly/sloppy if I just spooned it.

Since there was extra whipping cream in the fridge, I decided to make a little bit of white chocolate mousse and green tea mousse using matcha powder. You can decorate these however you want, but I piped the chocolate mousse on the bottom layer, and then piped some white chocolate mousse on top, some toffee bits, a slivered almond, and finishing it off with a nice chocolate drizzle. So how'd I do?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Let the Games Begin!

Alright so now that my brother and I both have our blogs started... we're going to let everyone decide how we should have our first face off. You can suggest a specific ingredient that we both have to showcase, you can ask us to recreate a dish, anything! Let the games begin!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Spring Rolls

Here's something that I never get tired of...Spring Rolls! They're so easy to make and you can eat them without feeling fat. How awesome is that?! I'd say that's pretty darn amazing. I made two types of spring rolls, one is called Goi Cuon, and the other is called Bo Bia. For some reason I hated eating these until I was about...18. WHAT A SHAME!!! I KNOW!!! Don't feel bad for me though, my brother can even eat one of these yet because all the veggies aren't cooked. Now go harass him on his blog and tell him what he's missing out on!

Anyway, a Goi Cuon would be what most people consider a typical spring roll. To me, the only difference between a Goi Cuon and a Bo Bia is the use of shrimp and pork vs chinese sausage, dried shrimp, and jicama. Both are equally delicious!

Here's the ingredient list:
Goi Cuon (typical spring roll)
- Rice Paper (roughly 6-8 inches in diameter)
- 1/2 pack of vermicelli noodles
- 1 head red leaf lettuce
- 1/2 pound pork thighs
- 1/2 pound shrimp
- 1 bundle of mint
- 1 bundle of basil
- 1 bundle of cilantro

Bo Bia
- everything from above (minus shrimp and pork)
- 1 pack of chinese sausage
- 1 jicama
- 1/8 pound dried shrimp

Peanut Sauce
- Chunky peanut butter
- Hoison sauce

So there's nothing to really worry about when making spring rolls besides having everything out in front of you. Just make sure you wash all the veggies and herbs so you don't end up eating a caterpillar. ewww. Check out what I did.

For the shrimp, you just want to cook them in water until they turn orange. I boiled the pork thigh for approximately 20 minutes (might take longer for larger pieces). Once it's cool, just slice thinly like...roast beef!'s pork.

If you're making Bo Bia, you can microwave the chinese sausage for 2 minutes, 1 minute on each side so it doesn't explode in your microwave (LONG STORY!) hahahaha. The dried shrimp you will want to throw in the food processor, and chop finely, not powdery. Quickly sautee the dried shrimp in a shallow pan with a little bit of olive oil and garlic just to bring out the smell/flavor. I can guarantee you that your house will smell so some windows. Also make sure that you wear an ugly shirt that you don't really care about unless you want to smell like dried shrimp for the rest of the day. Now jicama isn't very popular in asian cuisine, but it adds a nice subtle crunch, which I actually enjoy. Shred the jicama, and then also just sautee quickly with some salt and pepper.

Lastly, you'll want to boil some vermicelli noodles. The directions on the back work perfectly fine, or you can do what I do which is boil for about 8 minutes, turn off the fire, close the lid and let it sit for another 8 minutes. Rinse with cold water afterward. In a small sauce pan, combine 4 tbs of hoison sauce, and then add 1 1/2 tbs peanut butter, and 1/4 cup of water. Cook this over low-medium heat and stir until the sauce thickens. This should take less than 5 minutes and voila, you made yourself a tasty dipping sauce. Alright! now you don't have to cook anymore!!!

I was initially making these spring rolls by myself, but my mom hated how I was stealing her kitchen so she decided to make/eat some. Dip the rice paper in hot water, but only for a couple seconds. We actually have these handy little mats that you can put the rice paper on that way it won't stick to your table! Pretty coolio! Anyhow, place your desired amount of shrimpies on the bottom layer. If you're using jumbo shrimp, you can cut them in half. Arrange a little lettuce on top of them, add some herb leaves, a little vermicelli noodles, and lastly some of your sliced pork. The trick to rolling is to apply constant pressure that way when you take a bite out of your spring roll, all the ingredients don't fall out.

I normally fold the left and right hand sides in first by an inch, and then start to roll from the bottom, up. Make sure tightly roll the spring roll and squeeze the ingredients inside the rice paper. Making Bo Bia is no different so enjoy! sounds easy right? Just make sure to use moderation with your ingredients so you don't end up with an ugly, deformed spring roll. YUM!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Ceviche With a Twist!

Ceviche! or as my dad would call it... "Sha-vi-cha!" I don't know why my dad has to pronounce foods, stores, and names incorrectly. I'm not sure if he does it on purpose, but it's extremely embarassing yet hilarious at the same time. Everytime we drive by Chipotle, he yells out "Chi-potol!" but now pretend you have one of those stereotypical Asian accents and try saying it. Admit it, you can't say it without laughing or smiling! My mom finds it more embarassing than I do, but we all laugh about it in the end. It's what keeps us all sane.

Anyhow, my parents went to an all-inclusive resort in Cancun last summer and they pretty much loved it. My mom, the REAL chef/foodie (she makes me and my brother look like amateurs), said everything was exceptional and can't wait for the whole family to go next time. The only thing my dad kept talking about though was the "SHAVICHA!" I'm pretty sure that was his first time trying it but whenever a restaurant offers ceviche, we almost always order it. Does anyone know restaurants with tasty ceviche in Orange County? I'll have to take my dad.

So I tried to make my own ceviche with an Asian twist using fresh Thai Basil and Sriracha hot sauce. I'm salivating as I look at this picture because we don't have anymore left. = / Nooo! I really wish that I'd start making recipes, but I'm constantly tasting and seasoning so my initial 1/3 cup of lime juice ends up being more like 1/2 cup of lime juice. As I get better (and less lazy), I hope I can start providing recipes for everyone to follow. It just seems like such a hassle to keep a notepad next to me and write down the exact measurements of every single ingredient. Since I also think that ceviche is something you could "season to taste," I'll go ahead and list out the ingredients I used:

- 1/2 pound Scallops
- 1/2 pound Shrimp
- 5 Roma Tomatoes
- 1 English Cucumber
- 1 Sweet Onion
- Handful of Cilantro
- Handful of Thai Basil
- 1/2 cup of lime juice (maybe more)
- 1 tsp + Sriracha hot sauce
- Ketchup
- Sugar
- Salt/Pepper
- Wonton wrappers

I know that most ceviche recipes use the lime juice to "cook" the seafood but just to be safe (I'm only 20, I'm too young to die!!! hahaha), I quickly boiled the shrimp and scallops (less than a minute!) Remove from the water, and dice the shrimp and scallops into small pieces approximately 1/4" to 1/2" in size. Dice your veggies similarly, mix with seafood, and add lime juice. Finely chop the cilantro and thai basil (I used equal amounts of each), and also mix. Here comes the tricky part because you will want to season this to taste and I wish I could remember exactly how much ketchup, salt, pepper, sugar, and hot sauce I added. Once you figure this all out, you want to "marinate" everything for at least an hour that way 1) you're not eating warm ceviche (gross) and 2) everything will taste like heaven.

In the meantime, preheat your oven to 300 degrees to make cool wonton shells! Not so sure if you can get wonton shells at Ralphs or Albertsons...but if you can, awesome! If not then you might have to go to an Asian supermarket like the 99 Ranch Market. You want to trim the wonton wrappers to 2-inch squares/circles and then bake them in greased, small muffin tins. Bake them for approximately 7 minutes or until they look golden brown. By the time you've finished baking 50 of these shells for your party, your ceviche will be ready! Woohoo! ENJOY!


-Little Bro

Thanks Mom!

My mom says I'm a better cook than my big brother, but he refuses to accept defeat. "His food might look fancy, but he doesn't focus on taste." BURN!!!! So now we'll leave it up to you... Who's the better cook?

So just a brief introduction about me...I'm a 20 year old Southern California kid with no technical training. My only training came from watching my mom in the kitchen during Power Rangers and Pokemon commercials. I can't really say that I started cooking until I went to college, because that was when I really started to crave Mom's cooking. Although she says that I started cooking when I was 4, I don't think throwing shrimp into a seafood hotpot really counts as "cooking." I think that's cheating! It's about equivalent to "cooking" a Lean Cuisine in the microwave.

That's me on the left, my unattractive brother who claims he can cook is on the right. My cousin got those aprons for us last Christmas (it might only be funny if you understand Vietnamese, but "What the Pho" is pretty self explanatory, hahahaha I still crack up everytime I see this picture). This is also what I wear in the kitchen because my sister hates it when I use her Tide Pen. My brother is 24 and lives in Rhode Island so we talk a lot about "what's for dinner" or "where'd you go out to eat today?" We only see each other a couple times a year, so having "food face-offs" keep us close, but not too close because we always butt heads when we're in the same kitchen.

Anyhow, I'll be updating this blog pretty frequently with whatever I decide to make for dinner...or dessert. yum! Be sure to check out my brother's blog at


-Little Bro