Cooking, Food, Vietnamese Food

Steamed Clams – Nghêu Hấp Xả

April 7, 2016

NgheuHap-2

This has got to be the simplest recipe ever! Last year my friends and I had a picnic at an oyster farm in Tomales Bay, where besides great oysters you can also get fresh clams by the bagful. I used this recipe for the clams and it was a hit with everyone. While fellow guests at nearby BBQ tables were wondering how to cook their clams, we were happily slurping them along with the coconut juice that they had been steamed in. This recipe is easily adjustable, just add more coconut water, a pinch more salt, and a handful of lemongrass.

You will need:

  • 3 lbs fresh, juicy clams (3 lbs nghêu tươi)
  • A few stalks of lemongrass (vài cây xả tươi)
  • 1 bottle of coconut water (1 chai nước dừa)
  • A few Thai chilli pepper or jalapenos, optional (vài quả ớt hiểm hoặc ở xanh loại cay)
  • A few kaffir lime leaves, optional (vài cái lá chanh, nếu có)
NgheuHap-1

Ingredients for steamed clams.

Instructions (Cách làm):

  1. Roughly chop 3 – 4 hot chilli peppers. Submerge the clams in a bowl of cold water, add the hot peppers, which will force the clams to release any sand left inside their shelves. Let them soak for about 5 – 10 minutes. I highly recommend wearing gloves when handling these hot peppers, just in case you forget and rub your hands on your eyes afterwards, a painful experience that I have, unfortunately, too much familiarity with.
    Băm nhỏ 3 – 4 quả ớt cay, cho nghêu vào thau to, đổ ngập nước lạnh và cho phần ớt mới băm vào. Ngâm nghêu trong vòng 5 – 10 phút để nhả hết cát. Nhớ dùng bao tay cho chắc ăn, kẻo mất công băm ớt xong dụi dụi vào mắt thì chỉ biết khóc nhé.
  2. Wash the lemongrass stalks, cut in half and lightly smash the stalks to release their flavor.
    Rửa và đập dập thân cây xả để khi hấp mùi xả đậm đà hơn.
  3. Wash the chilli peppers and cut in half. If you do not like the heat, just leave them out or substitute with dried pepper flakes.
    Rửa ớt, cắt làm đôi. Nếu không thích ăn cay, bạn có thể thay thế bằng ớt khô hoặc khỏi cho ớt vào hấp.
  4. Wash and rub the kaffir lime leaves to release the flavor.
    Rửa lá chanh, vò vò trong lòng bàn tay cho ra mùi.
  5. Put in clams, coconut water and all the spices in a pot. Add a pinch of salt, and steam on high heat until the clams open. DO NOT steam any longer because the clams will be tough.
    Cho nghêu, nước dừa cùng các nguyên liệu khác vào nồi. Thêm một tẹo muối rồi hấp cho đến khi nghêu há miệng là chín. Lưu ý không hấp quá lâu vì nghêu sẽ bị dai.
  6. Enjoy the clams along with the sweet coconut-infused clam juice.
    Xì xụp húp húp.

 

Cooking, Dessert, Food

Nama Chocolate

March 26, 2016

NamaChoco-7

If you haven’t tried nama chocolate, you’ve been missing out. It is the Japanese version of chocolate truffles, ever so creamy and slightly chewy. Last time I was in Japan, I bought back 10 packs of Royce Nama Chocolate because it was significantly cheaper in Japan than in the US. When we ran out, I started searching and testing out different recipes until I settled on a good one.

Before you start, make sure that all of your utensils and anything that touches the chocolate are dry. Even a drop of water can cause the melted chocolate to seize, that is, turning it into a grainy, lumpy mess. I learned this the hard way :( Continue Reading…

Dendrobium, Flowers, mini orchids, Orchids, phalaenopsis, tolumnia

Bloom Update – March 2016

March 21, 2016

InBloom Mar16-8

Well, it’s my birthday so I figure I can brag a bit about my orchid collection. The majority of the 70+ orchids I own are “rescues” from my florist friends who cut the flower spikes for flower arrangements. The rest are gifts and rescues from friends and random purchases, most of which have not bloomed in over a year so I don’t even remember what they look like any more. These are what I have in bloom for at the moment. I am particularly proud of this year’s crop, as they are mostly rebloooms under my care. Only a few small ones are recent purchases. Continue Reading…

Flowers, Orchids

The Story of Two Orchids

March 20, 2016

It’s story time.

I’ve had these two white phalaenopsis orchids for about a year. Neither has an ID tag, but they look very similar with long thin leaves and large white blooms. So I assume that they are the same hybrid. By the way, if anyone knows the ID for these girls, please let me know.

Here they are in all their glory:

Stories Of Two Orchids-2

My two pretty white phalaenopsis orchids

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Orchids

Growing Orchids in Water

March 16, 2016
Phal In Water-11

Let it swim, let it swim, let it swim.

I started growing orchids, particularly phalaenopsis orchids, in water about a year ago after seeing the awesome root tips that grew in water on Sam Som’s youtube channel (Orchids & Puppies). Not all adapted well to this method, but overall, I’d say it is an amazing way to grow orchids, especially if you love being able to see all the lush, green, sexy root nubs like me.  Plus, without media, you don’t have to worry about having creepy crawlies hiding in the media and eating those tender roots. This method is called Water Culture.

So what is water culture? Basically it means flopping your orchid into a vase of water with nothing on the roots. Nothing. No bark chips. No moss. Nada. Butt naked! You can do semi water culture, meaning soaking the roots for a couple of days a week then letting them dry for a few days. Or you can do full water culture, that is, letting the roots soak in some water all the time. Easy enough, right?

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Flowers, Orchids

Phalaenopsis Orchid 101

March 8, 2016
Orchid101 White Spread

My very humble orchid brag. The white phalaenopsis orchids were taken from my friend\s floral studio after the spike were removed for arrangements. They all rebloomed under my care.

After I posted the above picture on my Facebook and Instagram page, I kept getting questions about how to care for, and how to rebloom, orchids. Many of my friends think that orchids are fussy, but the truth is they, or at least the common phalaenopsis sold everywhere, are quite easy to care for.

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Cooking, Food, Vietnamese Food

Chả cá Lã Vọng

March 3, 2016

Chaca-13

Cuối tuần vừa rồi mình thèm chả cá nên phải nhắn tin hỏi bà Thảo cách làm, đồng thời tham khảo thêm công thức của em Khoa béo. Nghe nói công thức gia truyền đúng kiểu phố cổ Hà Nội mấy đời nên yên tâm là ngon. Túm lại là cách làm không quá khó mà chỉ hơi lách cách tí.

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Food, Vietnamese Food

How to Make Phở in 30 Minutes

February 24, 2016

Phoga_finished

Today was one of those days when I craved a good bowl of steaming phở, but the Turtle Tower on Geary is closed because it is a Wednesday. So I had to resort to making a quickie phở in 30 minutes. Ok, it was more like an hour because I was watching the Warriors – Heat game (Go Dubs!!!)

Here are what you need: Continue Reading…

Travel

Anh Đào – Mùa Xuân Gọi

February 20, 2016

Mua_xuan_ve_00

Mấy hôm nay trời San Francisco nắng nóng bất ngờ, hoa hoét đang ủ rũ ngủ đông như bừng tỉnh, nở toe toét khắp nơi làm mình nhớ mấy mùa xuân ở Châu Âu. Post lại bài này hồi xưa viết cho Padma de Fleur blog, ngắm ảnh xuân về trên trời Âu cho đỡ nhớ vậy. Mọi người đọc xong đừng chửi mình sến nhé, vì hồi đấy sến thật ý ^_^

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Cooking, Food, Vietnamese Food

Cách Làm Chả Bò Thì Là

February 10, 2016

Chabo_finish

Đợt còn ở Việt Nam, hai vợ chồng béo nhà mình rất khoái món chả bò thì là ở Giò Chả Minh Châu trên đường Lý Tự Trọng. Cửa hàng ngay mặt phố trung tâm, lúc nào cũng đông khách nên lúc nào cũng có hàng mới nóng hổi. Mỗi lần ghé qua là phải mua ít nhất 3 lạng, thái ngay, rồi vừa ngồi trên xe vừa chấm mút vài miếng (bạn chồng béo ngồi trước cầm lái nên phụ thuộc vào lòng hảo tâm của bạn vợ ngồi sau, rất ấm ức vì lâu lâu mới được miếng chả). Qua đây hàng giò chả nhiều nhưng chưa thấy chỗ nào bán món này (hoặc có mà mình chưa biết mà thử) nên đành tự thân vận động.

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