I mean, on the surface, it seems to be mostly heaps of vegetables and rice or noodles or whatever (please, stand back quietly while I make sweeping assumptions, kay), but there's always at least a little meat sneaked in there for good measure.
I like that!
I don't especially like how there tends to be an egg cracked over every damn thing, but thankfully I don't have to do that when I cook in my own house. Bubba and I don't so much *do* the Crack An Egg Over My Dinner thing and always have to do an especially elaborate interpretive NO EGG PLEASE dance when we go to our favorite Korean BBQ place because if you look away for one second, I swear it, they will crack an egg over even your beer.
You Koreans - you're awesome! Your food is incredible! You're fabulous! Just, easy with the fucking eggs already, kay? We're soft Americans. We can't handle your acceptance of eggs as your lord and savior just yet.
This week I tried out a few new Asian inspired dishes. I wouldn't necessarily call them "traditional" or necessarily derived straight from any particular genre of Asian cuisine, but I just have to say that so I don't get a bunch of lip about, "OH THAT'S NOT REAL VIETNAMESE FOOD, YOU WHORE." and whatever.
I know it's not.
I've been instructed by my Vietnamese friends on the proper pronunciation for pho and have been advised that not every dish is wrapped in lettuce, so shhhhhhhhh.
The first dish on the test drive list this week was a recipe from Sunset for Sizzling Saigon Crêpes: Bánh xèo. If you can pronounce the Vietnamese name for this then whoopee for you. I can not. I will require further instruction. Though you shouldn't necessarily provide it. I'm happy in my ignorance for now.
I had Tuesday off from work and decided this would give me some time to try out this new and unknown dish. Which it would have had I not decided to piss away half the day drinking tea out in the garden staring at the first ripening tomato.
So, instead of making this at an extremely leisurely pace, I started it late and I think we ate around 9pm. Oh well, it happens.
Good thing was that this was GREAT. I mean, ruuuuuuuuuuuully good. And it uses a shit ton of vegetables, so I got to clear out the last of the lettuce in the garden, prune back the basil to normal heights, use up some of the onions and chives from the farmshare and pick the 5th, 6th and 7th jalapenos. Plus, I got to use a good bit of the rice flour that's been taking up valuable space in my baking cabinet since I discovered those chocolate beet cake things.
The all-knowing Sunset magazine says that this, in its homeland, is known as a table salad, but I'll just say that we ate it like one might eat tacos. Which is something with which we're a more bit more experienced, living in NorCal and all.
Basically, take a piece of lettuce, add a bit of crepe, pile on some herbs, wrap and dip in the sauce. *SMACK* That's good.
And the sauce? I could drink this sauce.
And nothing like a taco, but that's OK.
Beauty is that these aren't fruity crepes like you get at those crepe type places where they just wrap a crepe around whatever filling (which is also good, but still), but instead like an egg-less (YAY) omelet that's got pork, onions, chives, mushrooms and bean sprouts all in the batter and therefore INSIDE the crepe.
Hell yes, people.
And, since I didn't make any changes to the recipe since this was its first time out of the gates (therefore, all recipe instructions must be followed), you can just see what Sunset has to say on the subject.
The other thing I made that had, as its main motivating factor, the ability to kill massive quantities of farmshariness, was a Thai-type wrap (in that it had a spicy peanut sauce spread in it) with a French-inspired Provencal (insert the funny C in there, my keyboard doesn't have it) vegetable soup.
I realize France is not in Asia - you don't have to clear that up in the comments, but thanks.
I would have done my favorite Tom Kha Gai (thai chicken coconut soup) with the wraps, but I used all the mushrooms for the crepes, so sorry, instead we get a French-ish soup. Happens.
With this menu I managed to kill 4 kohlrabi bulbs, a bunch of carrots, purple beans from the garden, a bag of snap peas from my mom's garden and a good bit of pesto from last year's harvest. YAY!
Also, we're nearly to the bottom of the chili garlic sauce that we affectionately call chicken sauce, which is an accomplishment in itself for two very not-Asian whiteys like we are.
The recipe for the wraps is also from Sunset, but since I totally jacked with the Provencal Vegetable Soup recipe, I'll write that one out for you all longhand and what not.
Finny's French-ish Vegetable Soup
Recipe by moi. Obvi.
4 small kohlrabi bulbs, peeled and cut into 1" chunks
1 cup of string beans, trimmed and halved
1 medium carrot, coined
1 chicken breast, cut into 1" chunks
15 oz cannellini beans, drained and rinsed well
2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup of water
2 T pesto
2 T shredded Parmesan
Salt, pepper - you know what to do
Bring the broth(s) to a boil over medium-high heat, dump in the chicken and let it simmer for about 5-7 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Add the beans, string beans, carrot, kohlrabi and water and let it simmer for another 10 minutes. Serve with a tablespoon of pesto stirred into the warm soup with some Parmesan, salt and pepper on top.
Alright, that's as many people as I'm prepared to offend for the day.