Monthly Archives: January 2012

His/Hers: Week 15

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Happy Vietnamese New Year: Spiced almonds with a kick

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Last year when I was in Vietnam for Tet I got to experience one of the most common Vietnamese New Year’s traditions: visiting family and friends on New Year’s day to wish them joy and luck in the New Year. They will always invite you inside to sit down for tea and snacks. On everyone’s coffee table is a box divided into little compartments filled with different kinds of nuts, dried coconut … little goodies. So, you sip tea, snack on nuts and chat. You don’t have to stay for long, twenty minutes or so is typical. The important thing is that you make it a point to spend some time together. It’s a nice tradition, eh?

Inspired by those coffee table boxes of goodies, here’s a quick and easy recipe for spiced almonds. From our house to yours, Happy New Year!

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Happy Vietnamese New Year: Daikon and carrot pickles plus a mushroom bánh mì

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One of my favorite Vietnamese dishes is the traditional sandwich, also known as bánh mì. They’ve caught on with tremendous popularity in the U.S. and I can understand why, they’re absolutely delicious. I talk about it a little more here >>>

One of the essential ingredients of bánh mì is a condiment: daikon and carrot pickles. So, today I’m going to share how to make this simple, but delicious condiment and then a quick and easy mushroom bánh mì that is so warm and comforting, it’s perfect for winter.

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Happy Vietnamese New Year: Buddha’s Hand tea and vinaigrette dressing

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It’s less than a week to Vietnamese New Year, Tet 2012, the year of the dragon. To get us into the celebratory mood I thought I would share some Vietnamese and New Year-inspired recipes and traditions.

First up, we’re using Buddha’s Hand citron. My mom has a citron tree in her front yard and throughout Fall and Winter it produces prodigiously. Lucky us. They’re crazy looking fruit, aren’t they? I think the biggest question is always: “What in the world do I do with it?” Good question. I wondered the same for many years.

The Buddha’s Hand citron is a really mellow lemon that is all peel and spongy pith. You can actually eat this gem raw, the pith does not have the bitterness that we generally associate with more commonly known lemons. The lemony flavor is quite soft and very aromatic. You can slice up the fingers and body of the fruit into long thin slices, add it to salads or pastries. You can use it with braised meats the same way that you would traditional lemons. (I think it would make an amazing glaze for salmon.) It can work beautifully to infuse vodka or to make limoncello. However, it’s most commonly found candied: cooked in a sugar syrup for long-term preservation amd use in sweets or even over ice cream. David Leibovitz has a great recipe for candied citron.

Today, I’m showing you a quick tea and a beautiful vinaigrette that brings a taste of Spring into the dead of Winter.

To make tea just steep a few slices or chunks of raw citron in hot water to make a gentle, mild lemon tea. Once brewed (~5 minutes) enjoy straight or add a little honey and oh, my—it’s a gentle, aromatic essence—soooo good!

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Now, for the vinaigrette we’re going to make a wonderful base vinaigrette that can sit in your fridge for months. It’s so fresh and Springy, it feels decadent.

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Nutty chocolate bon bons

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Every January people go insane with New Year’s resolutions to be healthier, wealthier and wiser.

Well, here’s my little contribution to the healthier and wiser bit: chocolate bon bons.

WHAT? Bon bons ain’t no health food!

Well, yes … and no. These nutty chocolatey, scrumptious bon bons are packed with antioxidants and good for you ingredients. There’s no dairy, no processed sugar, no unhealthy fats.

AND they’re crazy fast and easy to whip up. So enjoy these babies guilt-free and know that you’re being to kind to your body. Woo hoo! Happy New Year to all of us!

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