Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Food: Vietnamese Banh Cuon

Saturday, September 26th, 2009 | 2 Comments »
Tags: , , , | Categories: Food |

Nothing’s as good as a dish of banh cuon in the morning.  There’s this one stand in the marketplace, and when I’m in Vietnam I eat their banh cuon pretty much every other day.  Nothing beats fresh banh cuon warm from the pan.

8D Lucky for me, my mom makes it almost every month, and I get to help her!

For those of you who don’t know, banh cuon (literal translation: rolled cake) is a crepe-like roll with ground pork, minced wood ear mushroom, & sweet onions.  The batter is made with a mixture of rice flour, water, and vegetable oil, and it’s a common Vietnamese breakfast dish that’s usually serviced with blanched bean sprouts, fried dried onions, and nuoc cham, a sweet & salty Vietnamese dipping sauce.  The roll, when made well, has a soft, silky-smooth consistency and almost melts in your mouth when you bite into it.  Then there’s a burst of sweet-salty flavor when you reach the filling.  The texture that the minced mushroom adds is nice.  You just have to taste it to believe it.

A quick run-down of the process:

  • Batter: rice flour, water, bit of vegetable oil.  Stir it all together until it is liquidy, like thickened milk.  Let it for an hour, stirring occasionally.
  • Filling: Ground pork & finely chopped garlic, combined with sugar, just a little bit of salt, and pepper.  Marinate for a few hours, then take out and fry in pan with minced onions and wood ear mushrooms until cooked.  Set filling aside.
  • Process: Heat a pan, medium-high heat.  Add a tablespoon of vegetable oil.  Pour batter on to form a thin sheet.  When it looks cooked, bring the pan off the stove quickly and over a big dish.  Plop the pan upside down to get the sheet of rice flour onto the dish.  Spoon some filling into the center, fold in two parallel sides over the filling, then roll it the other way.  Use a spoon to help, because it may be too hot to touch with your hands!  And then slide the roll off your dish into a storage container (possibly lined with paper towels).

Okay.  Pictures

The set-up.

The set-up.

The batter cooking on the pan. Looks better than this irl.

The batter cooking on the pan. Looks better than this irl.

We made a lot.

We made a lot.

Ready to eat~ *__*

Ready to eat~ *__*

Soft chewy raisin cookies

Sunday, September 6th, 2009 | No Comments »
Tags: , , , | Categories: Food |

I’m actually not a big fan of cookies, mostly because aside from The Cookie Corner cookies, I find most store-bought cookies horribly boring, not chewy enough, too sweet, or too chocolatey.  Chocolate chip cookies are so very ubiquitous and I am not a fan of chocolate.  So when my nephew said that he wanted to bake cookies one Sunday afternoon, I wasn’t exactly thrilled.

Easy way out: Pillsbury Doughboy cookies.  But those never turn out the way I want them to.  Too brittle and dry and tastes exactly like what there are: something you bought at the store.   So I ventured out into the internet, and found this recipe  for soft-batch choco chip cookies at


Baking as a coping mechanism?

Sunday, September 6th, 2009 | 2 Comments »
Tags: , | Categories: Food, Personal Posts |
Made from a soft-batch recipe from Perfect.

Made from a soft-batch recipe from Perfect.

Lately I’ve been having a pretty hard and stressful time, for a variety of reasons not appropriate for public consumption.  I’ve noticed that on the days when things really seem crappy, all I want to do is stay home and bake.  Obviously, because I have a job, I can’t just stay home and bake.  So I get up extra early or stay up extra late instead.

I’m a food enthusiast, but for a long time what really got my enthusiasm going was the eating of the food.  Because food = yum.   Over the past month or so, though, I’ve come to realize why there are so many people who buy cookbooks and trade recipes. (more…)

Writing Tools by Roy Peter Clark (and Green Tea Sherbet)

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009 | 2 Comments »
Tags: , , , , , | Categories: Food, reviews, Writing |


Inspired by my DW writing buddies to explore the wealth of inspiration that writing books provide, I bought a book.  It’s by Roy Peter Clark, and it’s called Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer.   I picked it because it received good reviews on Amazon and because its four sections have great headers: Nuts and Bolts, Special Effects, Blueprints, and Useful Habits.

I’m more than 2/3 in, and I agree with the good reviews.  I really do like the overall organization of the book, though, as with any book that attempts as grand a task as teaching people how to write better, there are bound to be some things that one already knows.  Even for the seasoned writer (which I’m not, by the way) this book will probably offer some insight into the craft of writing, or inspire inspiration for starting new projects. (more…)

Cooking Adventures!

Friday, August 14th, 2009 | 3 Comments »
Tags: , , , | Categories: Food, Personal Posts |

Today Julia (a good friend of mine from high school) came over for some sketching fun and lunch (plus dessert).  Here is what we made:
Green tea ice cream *___*
Pecan Pie Cupcakes - Side view
Pecan Pie Cupcakes (more…)

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