Tag Archives: Cooking

New Tastes for Redskins Post-Season Game Day

5 Jan

New things are always bright and shiny. My new kitchen – although not necessarily bright and shiny – just begs to be used. No longer am I crammed in a half-galley apartment kitchen with approximately two and a half feet of counter space for preparation. No longer am I bound to stews and soups that made the most of my inadequate space.

So this Saturday morning was different when I woke at 7am. My suburban paradise allows me to roll out – in my sweats and Uggs –  stop by Le Bledo for a ca phe sua da (Vietnamese Iced Coffee with condensed milk) and head over to Fresh World for my extensive grocery list. This weekend will be the first where we really have nothing to do since moving into our new home. The Redskins hosting the Seahawks this Sunday in the first round of playoffs calls for a special game day menu.

Now that I have room to prep, I’m going all out for beer and football dishes. On the menu – if all goes according to plan – are staples such as Chao Tom (shrimp patties on sugarcane sticks) and Nem Nuong Cuon (Grilled Pork Patty ricepaper rolls). Oh, and don’t forget Banh Pate So (or Chaud Pate – delicious meat and pate pastries – the best of Vietnamese/French snacks) for breakfast. Continue reading

Chào! Hello!

3 Jan

In September 2009 I began a journey of discovering Vietnamese culture and customs, language and food. Dating – and now marrying – a Vietnamese family has been a learning experience coming from a baseball and apple pie American upbringing. The experience has been amazing – I have always loved international foods, culture and perspective. “Always” being a more relative term if you ask my parents – growing up they never knew if I would love or hate pork chops or meatloaf one week to the next.

At my fiance’s family gatherings – which happen often and are always large – his relatives are often shocked that I’m not somehow Vietnamese already. I love nuoc mam, mam ruoc (fermented shrimp paste – the greyish-brown stuff you often see in pots on tables at Vietnamese restaurants) and have even eaten some duck blood concoction, which both shocked and impressed his cousins and uncles.

In fact, I prefer Vietnamese food above nearly all American meals – with the exception of the occasional pasta cravings and Tex Mex. The food is more flavorful, fresh and healthy, and surprisingly easy to prepare.

Nearly all recipes require a mix and match of staples like fish sauce, sugar, soy sauce, lemongrass, cilantro and shallots. If you have those things on hand, you likely only need to pick up fresh veggies and protein. Trust me – it’s far more intimidating before you make a few dishes and develop your own preferences. Hopefully this blog will help you along, while I stash my favorites, tips and must taste lists.

Since we recently purchased our first home together, I can get back to learning Vietnamese. I’ve picked up some words and phrases over the past few years – I can tell you to turn the lights on or off, count to 10 and then some, and importantly order at Vietnamese restaurants. But we both believe it’s important that our future children know where they came from and be able to speak the language and communicate with their elders. My goal is to be conversational – even if broken – by the time we travel to Vietnam with his family in early 2014. Maybe you can help!

Whether you’re a friend, family (Hi Mom and Dad) or just an Interweb browser searching for your next dinner recipe, I hope you enjoy the blog! Cảm ơn!

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