There is no English language edition yet of Vietnam Exquis, une cuisine entre Ciel et Terre" (Editions de la Martinière- April 3, 2014) by Linh Le with photographs by Isabelle Rozenbaum, yet I could not resist asking Linh to share a couple of recipes from the book.
A drink first, with my English adaptation of French recipe:
After sharing recipes for a few years, I thought it was time to find a way to allow visitors to the site to narrow their search.
We started today with 15 categories listed with their respective links in right column of 'Serge the Concierge' after mother category Recipes.
The 15 categories (listed in alphabetical order using model Recipes: Appetizers) are Appetizers, Baking, Chicken, Chocolate, Cocktails, Fish and Seafood, Gluten Free, Ice Cream and Sorbet, Lamb, Non Alcoholic Drinks, Pork, Salads, Soups, Vegan and last Vegetarian.
So far about 40 to 50 recipes have been updated to reflect this friendlier way.
We will add the rest as quickly as we can and hope to be done by September 1st, 2013.
Let us know how you like the change.
(* Illustration is photo from Panelle, Sicilian Fritters, Gluten Free recipe from The Country Cooking of Italy by Colman Andrews- Chronicle Books, Fall 2011- reproduced with permission of the publisher- all rights reserved- Photography by Hirsheimer and Hamilton)
Not just sandwiches, drinks too in Banh Mi75 Banh Mi Recipes for Authentic & Delicious Vietnamese Sandwiches (Adams Media, July 2013) by Phamfatale Jacqueline Pham.
Thai Basil Seed Drink
Nước Hột É
Yields 12 servings
This odd-looking drink is, despite its appearance, very refreshing. Once soaked in warm water, the seeds form a kind of gooey-textured shell. In addition to the Thai basil seeds, soaked malva nut tree seeds are usually included in this unusual drink.
¹⁄³ (2-ounce) package dried malva nut tree seeds (đười ươi) ¼ cup Thai basil seeds 2 quarts water ½ cup superfine sugar, to taste 4 tablespoons honey 3 cups ice cubes, or more 2 limes, freshly squeezed
1. Preparing the malva nut tree seeds: Cover the malva nut seeds completely in warm water and soak for 30 minutes. Separate the cotton-like texture from the skin and seeds, discard the skin, and rinse the cotton-like texture in cold water. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible using paper towels. Set the seeds aside.
2. Preparing the Thai basil seeds: Place the basil seeds in a large strainer and rinse them under running water. Place the rinsed seeds in a large heatproof pitcher.
3. Assembly time: In a saucepan, bring 2 cups of the water to a near boil. Pour into the pitcher. Let the basil seeds gain in volume, which will take about 5 minutes. In the same saucepan, dissolve the superfine sugar with 1 cup of the water. Bring to a near boil, then add the honey. Pour the resulting syrup into the pitcher. Add the remaining 5 cups of cold water and complete with lots of ice cubes. Add the lime juice and the malva nut tree seeds. Stir well. Adjust sweetness if necessary.
I was dying to share 'Roasted Stuffed Artichokes with Mint Oil' from The New Persian Kitchen (Ten Speed Press, Spring 2013) by Louisa Shafia instead here's a drink recipe to fill your summer party pitchers.
Watermelon, mint, and cider vinegar tonic Sekanjabin
This refreshing mixture of nourishing cider vinegar and juicy watermelon is restorative and hydrating on a hot day. The mixture of vinegar and sugar is a time-honored Persian sharbat, or fruit essence drink, that’s also used for dipping crisp romaine lettuce leaves in warm weather, another distinctly Persian way to hydrate. Just put a bowl of this beverage alongside a plate of romaine leaves and that’s it: your salad is complete! Use raw, unfiltered cider vinegar to complement the taste of the watermelon.
makes 5 cups concentrate,
enough for twenty 1-cup servings of tonic
3 cups water, plus more to serve 1/4 teaspoon sea salt 1 cup good-quality honey 6 cups coarsely chopped watermelon 1 cup tightly packed fresh spearmint 1 cup cider vinegar Ice cubes Sliced watermelon, sliced unwaxed cucumber, and spearmint, for garnish
Bring the 3 cups water and the salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the honey, stir to dissolve, and remove from the heat.
Combine the watermelon and mint in a large bowl. Stir in the honey-water and let cool to room temperature, then add the vinegar. Steep the mixture in the refrigerator for several hours or up to overnight.
Strain the mixture and eat the watermelon chunks, if desired. Pour the concentrate into a clean glass jar, and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. To serve, pour 1/4 cup of the concentrate into a glass over ice and dilute with 3/4 cup water. Garnish with the watermelon, cucumber, and mint.
(* Excerpted from 'The New Persian Kitchen' by Louisa Shafia-published by Ten Speed Press, Spring 2013- Photography by Sara Remington)
First pick from 'True Brews' will soothe our bodies on humid and sticky days.
Mango Lassi Kefir Smoothie
The hotter and more sticky-humid the day, the more desirable a mango lassi becomes. I’m pretty sure they’re genetically engineered that way. Not only does it hit the spot for something both sweet and a little sour, it also serves as a meal on those days when heat chases away your appetite.
1 cup milk kefir (page 53) 1 very ripe mango, peeled and coarsely chopped, or 1 cup frozen mango 1 tablespoon honey
Combine all of the ingredients in a blender. Blend on high speed until smooth and creamy.
Craving an escape to sunny shores, here's a teaser from My Key West Kitchen (Kyle Books, October 2012) by father and son team of Norman and Justin Van Aken.
This pretty little word is well known all over Latin America and to many in
South Florida as well.
A sweet and frothy fruit
milkshake, it’s as varied as the currently available fruits in season. Guanabana,
mamey, atemoya, coconut, cherimoya, banana, tamarind and many others—all
contributing their gorgeous colors and enticing fragrances! Put the pulp of any
tropical fruit or fruits in an electric blender with a little ice, a splash of
milk and hit the blend button. Moments later, in a frosty glass, a delicious,
healthy, delectable fruit smoothy is waiting for you. The buttermilk is my own
addition. If you like the tangyness of sour cream ice cream or crème fraîche
you will like this as well. If not, you can omit the buttermilk and go the
standard batido route. It’s all good.
2 to 3, depending on your thirst
cup peeled, pitted and cubed fresh ripe mamey
cup sugar or honey
dash pure vanilla extract (optional)
cup ice cubes
all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.
Ingredient Note: If you don’t
have access to fresh, ripe mameys, frozen mamey pulp can be found in many Latin
American and Caribbean grocery stores. The flavor is nice though not as
exquisite as the ripe, fresh fruit.
(* Recipe from My Key West Kitchen -Kyle Books, October 2012- by Norman and Justin Van Aken, all rights reserved, photography by Penny De Los Santos)
After sharing Snails in Spice-Tea Laden Broth recipe from Marrakech 'Djemaa El Fna' excerpted from Morocco 'A Culinary Journey...' (Chronicle Books, June 2012) by Jeff Koehler I thought this (non-alcoholic) drink recipe would be just right as what to drink on a hot sticky day.
Chilled Cucumber and Orange Juice with Oregano
Moroccans love fresh juices, and the combinations they make are eclectic and highly seasonal. This is one of my favorites. Although it is commonly prepared as a juice, it can also be a drinkable dessert, especially on warm summer days. I once had it as a “salad” served with a spoon in late fall in the eastern High Atlas. Oranges hadn’t yet ripened, and instead the cook used small clementines from down the valley. Served before a communal platter of Berber Barley Couscous with Vegetables, the drink seemed closer to a light, sophisticated, vibrant green gazpacho than a rustic salad.
2 lb/910 g medium cucumbers 21⁄4 cups/530 ml fresh orange or mandarin orange juice, preferably clementine 11⁄2 tsp superfine sugar, plus more as needed 1⁄2 tsp dried oregano or zaâtar, plus more as needed
Trim the ends from the cucumbers and scrub the peels. Remove about half of the peels from each cucumber and remove the seeds if they are large. Cut the cucumber into chunks and put in a food processor or blender. Pour in the orange juice and sprinkle in the sugar and oregano. Blend for at least 1 minute or until very finely puréed. The drink should be a bit thick and slightly foamy. Taste for sweetness and seasoning and adjust as needed.
Pour into a pitcher, cover, and refrigerate until chilled. Serve in tall glasses or in small bowls with spoons.
(* Recipe from 'Morocco' A Culinary Journey with Recipes from the Spice-Scented Markets of Marrakech to the Date-Filled Oasis of Zagora by Jeff Koehler-Chronicle Books, June 2012- All rights reserved)
On a day when the East Coast will be under under another heat spell I picked a Bangkok thirst quencher as a first excerpt.
Thai Tea Pudding with Lime Caramel and Caramel Cashews
½ cup whole milk 2 large eggs 1⁄3 cup cornstarch 1 quart half-and-half 1 cup sugar ¼ cup dried Thai tea mix ½ teaspoon kosher salt Lime Caramel (recipe follows) Candied Cashews (recipe follows) Lime Whipped Cream (recipe follows)
1. Whisk the milk, eggs, and cornstarch together in a medium mixing bowl.
2. Combine the half-and-half, sugar, Thai tea mix, and salt in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, 5 to 6 minutes. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl, and then slowly whisk it into the egg mixture until well incorporated.
3. Wash the saucepan and then return it to the stove. Pour the tea-egg mixture back into the pan and cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly and scraping the sides and bottom of the pan so that the ingredients don’t stick and burn, until the mixture is noticeably thicker, 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the pudding into 6 dessert cups. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.
4. Serve topped with the lime caramel, candied cashews, and lime whipped cream.
* Thai tea mix: This is a prepackaged blend of black tea and spices found in Thai markets.
Lime Caramel Makes 1 cup 1 cup packed dark brown sugar ½ cup heavy cream 2 tablespoons light corn syrup ½ teaspoon kosher salt ¼ cup lime juice (from 2 to 3 limes)
1. In a deep saucepan over medium-high heat, cook the brown sugar, cream, corn syrup, and salt for 2 minutes without stirring. The caramel will start to bubble rapidly. Then swirl the pan gently to stir the caramel (instead of using a spoon), continuing to cook until the bubbles get larger and slower, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the lime juice. Stir with a rubber spatula to combine.
2. Transfer the caramel to a small bowl and let it cool to room temperature. Or cover the bowl and store it in the refrigerator for up to 1 week (let it soften to room temperature before using it).
Candied Cashews Makes 2 cups Olive oil spray 2 cups raw unsalted cashews 3 tablespoons sugar 1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter, melted ½ teaspoon kosher salt ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil spray.
2 In a medium bowl, toss together the cashews, sugar, butter, salt, and cayenne. Spread the mixture out on the prepared baking sheet. Bake, stirring the nuts occasionally, until well roasted, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
3 Chop the candied cashews slightly before using them as a topping for the pudding or other desserts. Store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Lime Whipped Cream Makes 2¼ cups 1 ½ cups heavy cream 1 ½ tablespoons confectioners’ sugar Grated zest of 2 limes (1 packed tablespoon)
By hand or with an electric mixer, whisk together the cream, confectioners’ sugar, and lime zest in a bowl until light and fluffy. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
(* Recipe from Susan Feniger's Street Food published by Clarkson Potter-Random House- July 17, 2012- Photographs by Jennifer May- All rights reserved)
On the lookout for something zestier than plain iced tea to quench your thirst on a 90 to 100 degree day, Sip and Savor 'Drinks for Party and Porch' (Gibbs-Smith, April 2012) by James T.Farmer offers many non-alcoholic libations including my selection, today.
Honeydew Green Tea
“Honey, do you care for a drink?” “Honey, I surely do!” This will be the conversation between you and your honey, for the delicate flavors of honeydew melon and green tea meld together for a refreshment so visually enchanting that the taste is nothing short of magical. Combining elegant airs of fresh melon, crisp notes of tea, and a bit of herbal sensation sweetness, this beverage is a treat on the hottest of summer days and the perfect way to relax and unwind from the heat of the day. With its health benefits aside, green tea might also be a wonder drink for our waistlines! Serve some of the blended honeydew melon in the hollowed rind. Gather some of your garden’s freshest mint, thyme or basil for herbal flair, find a perfectly ripe honeydew melon, and then brew and blend a treat for you and your honey!
2 cups water 1 baker’s dozen fresh herb leaves (mint, mild basil, thyme, or your choice) 4 bags green tea 1⁄3 cup Simple Syrup (Basic or Herbal; see pages 5 and 6) or honey 1 small to medium honeydew melon 1 and 1⁄ 2 cups ice cubes
Bring water to a boil. Add about a dozen or so mint leaves and tea bags to the boiling water. Allow to steep for 3–4 minutes then discard the tea bags and herb leaves. Sweeten the tea with simple syrup or honey. Chill tea before serving.
Scrape out the inside of the melon and add to a blender with the ice. Spoon the slushy melon puree into ice-cold green tea and garnish with herbs.