Sunday, March 26, 2017

King Mushroom and Baby Bok Choy with Banana Flower Sauce and Black Jasmine Rice

     A Tasty Vegetarian Entrée!
     Asian food items that may seem exotic in the western world are usually standard fare in the far east.  For example, Banana Blossoms and Banana Flowers are almost never used European or American cuisine, yet these are popular items in Southeast Asia.  King Trumpet Mushrooms are another item that is rarely used in western culture recipes.  Even though Banana Blossoms, Banana Flowers and King Mushrooms are widely available in America, these tasty items never seem to be featured in mainstream recipes.  
     The entire purple color budding banana flower is usually marketed as a Banana Blossom.  The purple color petals are cooked just like cabbage and they have a similar flavor.  The long pistils inside a Banana Blossom are usually marketed as Banana Flowers.  The Banana Flower Pistils have a bitter flavor and they are used extensively in Southeast Asian cuisine.  Bitter Banana Flowers often are used to flavor savory sweet sauces.  Dried Banana Flowers are available in Asian food markets.     
     King Mushrooms are the largest member of the Oyster Mushroom family and they have a very long shelf life.  King Mushrooms are easy to grow and they are very large, so they are modestly priced.  These mushrooms have a mild agreeable flavor, they have anti aging properties and they are very nutritious.
     Black Jasmine Rice is also called Forbidden Rice or Emperor's Rice.  Long ago, it was forbidden for regular people to eat the Black Jasmine Rice, because this special rice was reserved for only Emperors.  Black Jasmine Rice is an ancient super grain that contains about twice as much protein as regular white rice.  This black color rice also looks nice on a plate. 

     Forbidden Rice:  
     This recipe yields about 1 1/2 cups.  (1 large portion)
     Black Jasmine Rice takes a little longer to cook than white rice.  A little bit more water is needed to boil or steam this rice and the cooking time is a few minutes longer.  Black Jasmine Rice never becomes sticky, because the hulls are attached to the grains of rice.  The flavor of Black Jasmine Rice is aromatic!
     Step 1:  Boil 1 1/3 cups of water in a sauce pot over medium high heat.
     Add 1/2 cup of Black Jasmine Rice.
     Bring the liquid back to a boil.
     Step 2:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Cover the pot with a lid.
     Simmer and steam till the rice is tender.  (About 23 minutes)
     Step 3:  Remove the pot from the heat.
     Keep the Black Jasmine Rice warm on a stove top or in a 135ºF bain marie.

     Toasted Sesame Seeds:
     This recipe yields 1 garnish portion.
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds.
     Shake the pan occasionally till the sesame seeds toast to a light golden color.
     Step 2:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Place the toasted sesame seeds in a container and set it aside.
     King Mushroom and Baby Bok Choy with Banana Flower Sauce and Black Jasmine Rice:
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.  
     Be sure to have all the ingredients ready before starting the stir fry!
     Dried Banana Flower Pistils are fairly soft and they do not take much time to reconstitute when making a sauce.  They are usually packed with salt and the salt should be rinsed off.  
     Step 1:  Place 3/4 cup of light vegetable broth in a container.  (The broth should be room temperature.)
     Add 1/4 cup of rice wine (sake).
     Add 2 teaspoons of thin soy sauce.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of granulated sugar.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.  (to taste)
     Add 8 Dried Banana Flower Pistils.
     Add 1 tablespoons of corn starch.
     Stir the ingredients together.
     Set the sauce mixture aside.
     Step 2:  Heat a mini wok (or wide sauté pan) over medium/medium high heat.
     Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
     Add 4 whole garlic cloves.
     Briefly stir fry the garlic till golden highlights appear.
     Step 3:  Add 1 cup of bite size sliced King Trumpet Mushroom.  (About 3/16" thick.)
     Add 1/4 cup of sliced onion strips.  (About 1/4" wide.)
     Add 1/4 cup red bell pepper strips.
     Add 1 small Green Serrano Chile Pepper that is thin sliced.
     Add 6 Baby Bok Choy that are cut in half lengthwise.
     Stir fry till the vegetables start to become tender.  (al dente)
     Step 4:  Add the reserved sauce mixture.  (Stir the mixture first!)
     Bring the sauce to a boil, while stirring the ingredients.
     Step 5:  Reduce the temperature to medium low heat.     
     Briefly simmer till the sauce is translucent and it is thick enough to coat the vegetables with flavor.
     Remove the pan from the heat.
     Step 5:  Place about 1 1/3 cups to 1 1/2 cups of the Black Jasmine Rice on an oval plate.
     Use a spoon to form a ring of Black Jasmine Rice on the border of the plate, to make an empty well in the center.
     Step 6:  Mound the King Mushroom and Baby Bok Choy with Banana Flower Sauce on the center of the plate.  (If there is extra sauce, then place it in a sauce boat and serve it on the side!)
     Sprinkle the reserved Toasted Sesame Seeds over the vegetables.

     This healthy vegetarian entrée has an interesting savory bitter sweet flavor contrast!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Sogogi Kimchi Jjigae

     Spicy Healthy Korean Kimchi Jjigae with Beef!
     There are many Korean soups and stews that are cooked in a hot earthenware Jjigae Pot and these items are usually called Jjigae on a restaurant menu.  It does not matter whether a Jjigae is called a soup or a stew on a menu, because Jjigae is somewhere between a soup and a stew!
     A spicy Jjigae is a traditional starter for a multi course meal.  In Korea, usually only one large meal is served each day and the big dinner is a social dining event for family members or guests.  The great flavor of a spicy Jjigae stew has a way of getting everybody in a festive mood.
     Korean restaurants usually offer 5 to 10 different kinds of Jjigae on the menu and they are served in individual size earthenware pots that are heated to an extremely high temperature.  In a restaurant, the Jjigae literally is still boiling when it is served and the broth is hot enough to poach a raw egg at the table.  Poached egg is a traditional garnish for Jjigae, but when Jjigae is described as a soup on a menu it may not have an egg garnish.  
     Some of the traditional Jjigae recipes require a specific list of ingredients, like Kimchi Jjigae (usually pork, but sometimes beef), Ge Jjigae (crab), Budae Jiggae (assorted meats) and Haemul Sundubu Jjigae (seafood and soft fresh tofu).  When a traditional broth is made with specific ingredients, the name the broth is usually mentioned in the Jjigae recipe title too.  For example, there is a name for a Jjigae broth that is flavored with pork, roasted pork stomach and tripe, so the name of this broth is mentioned because this kind of Jjigae only appeals to certain guests.    
     Sundubu Jjigae refers to a Jjigae made with soft fresh tofu and Dubu Jjigae refers to a Jjigae made with slices of firm tofu.  When tofu of any kind is featured in the recipe title, there will be plenty of tofu in the Jjigae.  When tofu of any kind is not mentioned in the recipe title, then only a small amount of tofu usually is added to the Jjigae as a garnish, just like with today's Sogogi Kimchi Jjigae.
     Kimchi Jjigae is usually made with pork, so the Korean word for pork (daeji) is not usually mentioned in the recipe title.  When Kimchi Jjigai is made with beef instead of pork, the Korean word for beef (sogogi) is mentioned in the Jjigae recipe title.    
     Just like with any Korean entrée, a Jjigae is usually served with a bowl of Sticky Rice and several small plates of Banchan.  Banchan refers to tiny portions of a wide variety of tasty Korean appetizers.  What kinds of Banchan are offered is up to the chef or a customer request.  Usually 4 to 8 tiny plates of Banchan accompany an entrée.    
     Not everybody has a Jjigae Earthenware Pot and this is okay.  The same cooking techniques that are used to make a recipe with a red hot earthenware pot can be applied to a hot sauce pot or soup pot.  When Jjigae is cooked in a metal pot, it is always transferred to a soup bowl before serving.  When serving Jjigae this way, the poached egg garnish is either cooked in the simmering broth or poached in water in a separate pot.  
     Sogogi Kimchi Jjigae:
     This recipe yields a little bit more than 3 cups.  (1 hearty portion that can be shared by 2 guests)
     The level of spicy heat is about 3 on a scale of 10.  
     Jjigae is cooked quickly at a high temperature, so all of the ingredients must be ready ahead of time.  To start the Jjigae, quick sauté and marination is done at the same time, so be sure to stir often to prevent excess browning.   
     This recipe is written for making Jjigae in a metal sauce pot instead of a red hot earthenware Jjigae Pot.  
     Step 1:  Heat a wide stainless steel sauce pot over medium/medium high heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil.
     Immediately add 1 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced ginger.
     Add 4 ounces of thin sliced strips of lean beef.
     Sauté and stir till the beef is cooked rare.
     Step 2:  Add 1 tablespoon of thin soy sauce.
     Sauté and stir till the soy sauce reduces enough to glaze the beef.
     Step 3:  Add 2 1/2 cups of beef broth.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of Korean Red Chili Powder (or Chinese Hot Red Chile Powder).
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of Spanish Paprika.
     Add 2 tablespoons of Korean style Red Serrano Chile Pepper Paste (sambal).
     Add 1 tablespoon of Korean Red Bean Paste (or Japanese Red Miso Paste) while stirring.
     Add sea salt and white pepper to taste.
     Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Step 4:  Add 5 slices of Daikon Radish that are 1/4" thick.
     Add 2/3 cup of Korean Cabbage Kimchi.
     Boil till the Daikon Radish just starts to become tender.
     Step 5:  Add 1/4 cup of sliced carrot.
     Add 3 trimmed whole small baby bok choy.
     Add 1/4 cup of bite size pieces of mixed yellow squash and zucchini.  (Remove the seed pulp core from the squash first.)
     Add 1/4 cup of mixed green bell pepper and red bell pepper strips.
     Add 1/4 cup of onion strips.
     Add 1/2 of a whole shallot.
     Add 1 thick sliced green jalapeño pepper.
     Add 2 green onions that are cut into bite size pieces.
     Step 6:  Return the broth to a gentle boil.
     Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
     *After boiling the total volume of the Jjigae will be a little bit more than 3 cups.
     Step 7:  Place enough lightly salted water in a small sauté pan to barely cover 1 raw egg.
     Place the pan over medium high heat.
     Bring the water to a boil.
     Poach 1 large egg in the boiling water till the egg white is fully cooked.
     Remove the pan from the heat.
     Step 8:  Pour the Sogogi Kimchi Jjigae into a large soup bowl.  (1 quart capacity)
     Arrange some of the ingredients on top of the Jjigae so it looks nice.
     Step 9:  Cut 1 thick slice of firm tofu.  (About 3/8" x 1 1/2" x 3")
     Place the slice of firm tofu on the surface of the Jjigae and partially submerge the tofu slice into the broth.
     Place the poached egg on the surface of the Jjigae.
     Place 1 small bunch of fresh cilantro sprigs on one side of the bowl.
     Step 10:  Serve with a small bowl of steamed sticky white rice on the side.
     Serve with a variety of Korean Banchan side dishes of your choice.
     The aroma and flavor of Kimchi Jjigae with Beef definitely wakes up the senses!  Kimchi Jjigae also helps to fight the common cold and flu.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Chicken Liver Pâté Bánh Mì

     A Classic French Vietnamese Fusion Bánh Mi Sandwich!
    Vietnamese Bánh Mì shops offer one of the best dining values in the restaurant industry.  The average price of a Bánh Mì Sandwich usually ranges between $2.50 to $3.75.  When considering that that these specialty sandwiches are made fresh to order, that is a good price.  Better still, most Vietnamese Bánh Mì shops offer a "Buy 5, Get 1 Free" special.  Nowhere else can a customer get 6 tasty sandwiches for less than $17.00! 
     Why are Bánh Mì so cheap?  The answer lies in the portion size.  The name Bánh Mì actually refers to the specialty French Vietnamese fusion bread, which can be made for pennies on the the dollar.  The bread for these sandwiches is a French Baguette that is made with half wheat flour and half rice flour.  The hybrid Baguette is cut about 8" to 10" long for a Bánh Mì Sandwich, so the bread portion size is good.  Traditional Bánh Mì are always garnished with a petite portion of Julienne Daikon Radish, Julienne Carrot, Thing Sliced Cabbage and optional thin sliced Jalapeño Peppers.  The portion size of the featured meat, seafood or vegetable on a Bánh Mì is a petite tasting portion that weighs only 2 to 4 ounces.  Often the sandwich has a small amount of mayonnaise (traditional), sweet vinegar or an Asian style house specialty sauce added to increase flavor.  When it is all added up, each Bánh Mì only has a total of 3 to 5 ounces of ingredients on a good size Bánh Mì Baguette, which means that these flavorful sandwiches are light on the tummy.  
     Because Bánh Mì are light on the tummy, a hungry customer usually will order several Bánh Mì for one meal.  The petite featured ingredient portion size is the beauty of the Bánh Mì dining experience, because a wide variety of different Bánh Mì flavors can be experienced in one sitting.  This is why the "Buy 5, Get 1 Free" deal at a Bánh Mì shop is so popular.  Business customers can feed an entire office full of employees some extra good tasting petite portion sandwiches for a low price.  Sports fans that plan to do nothing more than watch ball games on a day off can munch on a wide variety of cheap sandwiches all afternoon.  Bánh Mì are the ultimate bargain price munch! 
     Bánh Mì shops usually offer more than 25 varieties of Bánh Mì on the menu board.  The traditional House Special #1 Bánh Mì is always made with French style canned lunch meats.  Other traditional Bánh Mì include, Sardines Packed In Tomato Sauce, Select Canned Lunch Meats, Canned Saucy Pork Meatloaf, Char Siu BBQ Pork, Marinated Stir Fry Beef, Canned Asian Style Saucy Pork Meatballs, Fresh Vegetables and Canned Chicken Liver Paté.  
     As one can see, Vietnamese Bánh Mì Sandwich Shops value tradition, because all of the original Bánh Mì were made with French Army Canned Rations during the French occupation of Vietnam.  Refrigeration was scarce back in those days and canned lunch meat food or canned prepared food had a long shelf life in the hot humid tropical climate.  This is why canned meats are stilled used to make Bánh Mì in this modern age.  
     Pâté Bánh Mì is usually made with canned Chicken Liver Pâté.  The canned Pâté can be soft and spreadable or it can be a firm texture that is thin sliced.  Since the cost of canned food products have risen dramatically during the last decade, many Bánh Mì chefs have started making many of the prepared items from scratch.  When considering the very low price of fresh chicken livers, making any style of Chicken Liver Pâté will reduce food cost.  Besides, a good Pâté Foie de Volaille adds a signature touch!    
     Bánh Mì French Baguette Bread:
     This recipe is optional for those who prefer making their own bread.  A standard French Baguette from a bakery can be used to make a Bánh Mì Sandwich.  Authentic Bánh Mì Baguette Bread is made with half wheat flour and half rice flour and this recipe provides this option.      
     Rice flour is a very hard flour and it does require extra time to absorb moisture.  I tried to add rice flour to a baguette dough recipe, then make the bread like a regular baguette.  The result was an extra stiff bread texture and a crust that would not brown.  As can be seen in the photos above, this crude Bánh Mì Bread making method was a failure and the bread was not exactly a pleasure to eat.
     After talking to some bakers and doing some research, I found a better method for making Bánh Mì Bread.  The extra steps described below for a modified French Baguette Recipe will yield a good Bánh Mì Baguette.  
     Follow these steps to make an authentic Bánh Mì Baguette:
     Step 1:  Follow this link to the French Baguette Recipe in my Comfort Food Website:  
     • French Baguette Bread
     Step 2:  Divide the amount of flour needed by 2.  (1/2 the total amount)   
     Use the half portion number to measure the rice flour.
     Place the portion of rice flour in a mixing bowl.
     Step 3:  Measure 1/2 of the water needed for the Baguette Recipe.
     Place the water in a sauce pot over medium high heat.
     Bring the water to a boil.
     Step 4:  Add the hot water to the rice flour while stirring.
     Stir till combined.
     Step 5:  Place the rice flour paste in a container.
     Chill the rice flour paste for 4 hours.
     Step 6:  Start the French Baguette recipe and use 1/2 of the water measurement.
     Measure 1/4 of the total water measurement in the recipe and add this amount to the 1/2 portion of water measurement.
     Follow the steps in the recipe for activating the yeast.
     Step 7:  Add the rice flour paste to the activated yeast and water solution in the mixer bowl.
     Measure 1/2 of the bread flour amount in the recipe.
     Add the 1/2 portion of bread flour.
     Step 8:  Follow the rest of the baguette recipe as normal. 

Chicken Liver Pâté
     Firm Beef Aspic:
     This recipe yields enough firm texture aspic for 3 petite chicken liver pâtés.
     Step 1:  Mix 1 1/2 ounces of rich beef consommé with 1 gram of powdered gelatin in a small sauce pot.  
     Heat the mixture over very low heat till, the gelatin dissolves.
     Step 2:  Remove the pot from the heat.
     Keep the aspic warm on a stove top.
     *If the aspic cools and gels, reheat the aspic so it becomes a liquid state, before adding it to the pâté mixture later in the recipe.
     Chicken Liver Pâté Preparation:
     This recipe yields about 18 ounces of chicken liver påté mixture.  (Enough for 3 petite pâtés.)  
     This is not a smooth spreadable pâté.  It is a firm pâté that can be sliced. 
     Step 1:  Heat a sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Add 1 ounce of unsalted butter.
     Add 1 tablespoon of smoked pork fat lardons.  (thick smoked bacon lardons)
     Add 2 minced garlic cloves.
     Add 2 tablespoons of minced onion.
     Add 3 tablespoons of minced portobello mushrooms.   
     Gently sauté and sweat the vegetables, till they become tender. 
     Step 2:  Raise the temperature to medium heat.
     Add 4 ounces of trimmed chicken livers.
     Briefly sauté till the livers are only halfway cooked.
     Step 3:  Add 3 ounces of brandy.
     Step 4:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Let the ingredients cool to room temperature.
     Step 5:  Remove the partially cooked chicken livers from the pan and place them in a container.
     Chill the half cooked chicken livers till later in the recipe.  
     Step 6:  Place the remaining ingredients of the pan, including the butter and lardon fats, into a food processor.
     Add 11 ounces of raw uncooked trimmed chicken livers.
     Add the reserved firm beef aspic.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 2 ounces of diced cured pork fat.  (Salt pork fat can be used, but it must be soaked in water, so some of the salt content is leached out.)
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of fine ground mace.
     Add 1 pinch of cayenne pepper.
     Add 2 to 3 pinches of white pepper.
     Add about 1/2 teaspoon of Kosher Salt.  (to taste)
     Puree the mixture till it is very smooth.
     Step 7:  Place the pâté puree mixture in a mixing bowl.
     Cut the reserved partially cooked whole chicken livers into small bite size pieces.
     Add the chicken liver pieces to the puree while stirring.
     Chill the pâté mixture till it is needed.

     Chicken Liver Pâté:
     This recipe yields 3 petite pâtés that weigh about 6 ounces apiece.  
     Step 1:  Select 3 mini terrine molds that have a 6 to 8 ounce capacity.  
     *Petite earthenware or enameled steel terrine molds work best.  Petite baking pans or silicone baking molds can also be used.  The molds can have any kind of shape.  A silicon caramel custard cup baking mold was used for the pâté in the pictures.  I used tiny rectangular mini meat loaf baking pans to make 2 more pates that are not pictured above.  
     Brush 3 petite terrine molds with melted lard or melted unsalted butter.
     Step 2:  Stir the chicken liver pâté mixture.
     Fill each terrine mold so it is almost completely full.  (About 1/4" from the top.)
     Step 3:  Place the terrines in a high sided roasting pan.
     Add enough water to the pan, so the level of water comes halfway up the sides of the terrine molds. (bain marie)
     Step 4:  Place the bain marie in a 275ºF oven.
     Bake till the pâtés are fully cooked.  (Add water to the bain marie if evaporation occurs.)  
     *The center temperature of each pâté should be at least 165ºF for 15 seconds, but no more than 180ºF or the fats will separate.  Different shapes and sizes of petite terrine molds may require separate baking times.
     Step 5:  Remove the bain marie pan from the oven.
     Let the pâtés gradually cool to room temperature in the main marie.
     Step 6:  Remove the pâtés from the bain marie.
     Cover each terrine mold with plastic wrap.
     Refrigerate the the pâtés to 41ºF.
     Step 7:  Place a flat weigh on each molded pâté or stack the terrine pans if they are the same size.  The weigh will press the pâté and cause it to become dense.
     Chill the pâtés for 24 to 48 hours.
     Step 8:  When a pâté is needed, gently warm the terrine mold in a sauté pan that is partially filled with water over very low heat.  After the terrine mold is warmed, the pâté should easily pop out when inverted and tapped on a cutting board.  

     Chicken Liver Pâté Bánh Mì:
     This recipe yields 1 Bánh Mì Sandwich.
     Step 1:  Cut an 8" to 10" long section of Bánh Mì Baguette Bread or French Baguette Bread.
     Cut the bread in half lengthwise.
     Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise or Dijon Mustard on each bread half.
     Step 2:  Garnish the bottom half of the bread with a small amount of each of these items:
     - Julienne Daikon Radish 
     - Thin sliced Napa Cabbage 
     - Julienne Carrot Strips
     - Thin sliced Green Jalapeño (optional)
     - Cilantro Sprigs    
     Step 3:  Cut 3 ounces to 3 1/2 ounces of thin sliced Chicken Liver Pâté.
     Place the thin Chicken Liver Pâté slices side by side on top of the vegetable garnish. 
     Step 4:  Place the top half of the bread on the sandwich.
     Place the Chicken Liver Bánh Mì on a plate.
     Garnish the plate with herb sprigs and a pickle of your choice.
     Traditionally, only a small amount of meat is placed on bánh mi.  The bánh mi in the pictures has a   

     Tasty Chicken Liver Pâté Bánh Mì! 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Lemon Grass Broth Shrimp, Tofu and Wakame with Ribbon Egg Noodles

     Time For A Healthy Noodle Bowl!
     When the body and mind seem out of sync, that is the best time to have a broth meal at a noodle house restaurant.  Cooking a nutritious noodle bowl at home is a good option too.  Broth allows immediate digestive uptake of micronutrients that the body may be lacking.  When the body lacks certain vitamins and minerals, the body and mind feel out of sync.  Certain vitamins and minerals are required for proper nervous system functions and cel production.  Muscular control and healing processes also depend upon micronutrient intake.
     I recently came down with a bad influenza that turned into the worst double pneumonia that my doctor had ever seen.  My doctor said that people died from this kind of pneumonia 50 years ago, but advanced modern medicine will cure this illness.  Fortunately the medicine worked and the two week recovery period after the pneumonia is nearly over.  In a few days, I will start a new job as a sous chef in a country club.
     Part of the problem that led to illness was a working environment that had inadequate ventilation combined with antiquated employee meal policies.  I was working in a so called "gastro pub" that really only served fried junk food and greasy burgers.  Basically, the employees were limited to just eating greasy burgers and hot dogs, because the company charged employees for food and the rest of the menu items were way overpriced.  After a few months of the unhealthy craft beer bar food work lifestyle, I definitely felt out of sync and it was easy for severe illness to enter the picture.
     When the flu was at its worst, I mustered up the will power to drive to a Japanese restaurant that also specialized in Chinese cuisine.  I got a big bowl of Fish Broth Miso Soup that had plenty of Wakame Seaweed garnish and a Buddha Delight Vegetarian lunch special to-go.  After drinking the nutritious broth and eating the Wakame, I immediately started feeling better.  After eating the Tofu Vegetables and Rice, I felt some strength returning that I needed to fight off the illness.  This goes to show how important micronutrients are for bodily functions that include maintaining a strong immune system.
    Broth Noodle Bowls are popular nearly everywhere in Asia and there is a good reason why.  Food like this maintains proper bodily functions that include strengthening immune system capability and healing on a cellular level.  Broth Noodle Bowls have a healthy immediate positive effect!
     Lemon Grass Broth Shrimp, Tofu and Wakame with Ribbon Egg Noodles:
     This recipe yields 1 large broth noodle bowl entrée that can be shared by 2 guests.  (About 3 1/2 cups)
     Salt Packed Dried Wakame actually is soft and it is still alive.  This style of Dried Wakame reconstitutes to full size quickly.  About 1 1/2 tablespoons of chopped Salt Packed Dried Wakame will actually reconstitute to 1/3 cup.  Wakame is loaded with beneficial micronutrients and this savory seaweed tastes good!
     Pre-made Egg Roll Wrapper products are a nice convenience.  The Egg Roll Wrapper Dough is the same as Egg Noodle Dough.  Egg Roll Wrappers can be cut into ribbon noodle shapes and cooked like fresh noodles.  The boiled fresh Ribbon Egg Noodles have to be shocked in ice water after cooking, so they gain a chewy texture and the ice water shocking process prevents the soft noodles from becoming gummy.
     This noodle boil recipe is made quickly with boiling broth, so be sure to have all of the ingredients ready before starting!   
     Step 1:  Select a package of pre-made Egg Roll Wrappers that are about 6" x 6" size.
     Stack 4 sheets of the Egg Roll Wrappers on a cutting board.
     Cut the Egg Roll Wrapper Sheets into wide ribbon noodle shapes.
     Step 2:  Boil a sauce pot of water over medium high heat.
     Add the prepared Fresh Ribbon Egg Noodles.
     Gently stir occasionally, till the noodles are fully cooked and the float to the surface.
     *Fresh Ribbon Egg Noodles take less than 1 minute to cook!
     Step 3:  Use a pasta net to gather the Ribbon Egg Noodles from the pot.
     Immediately place the hot noodles in a container of ice water.
     Gently stir till the noodles gain a firm texture.
     Drain most of the water off of the Ribbon Egg Noodles and set them aside.
     Step 4:  Place 3 1/2 cups of light shrimp broth in wide sauce pot.
     Tie 1 lemon grass stalk into a knot.
     Add the lemon grass knot to the broth.
     Place the pot over medium/medium high heat.
     Gently boil the broth for 10 minutes.  Allow the broth volume to reduce to about 3 cups.
     Step 5:  Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of chopped rinsed Salt Packed Dried Wakame Seaweed.
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced ginger.
     Add 1 minced garlic clove.
     Add 1 pinch of crushed dried Thai Chile Pepper.
     Add sea salt and white pepper to taste.
     Step 6:  Add 1/4 teaspoon of pure sesame oil.
     Add 1 tablespoon of Fish Sauce.  (Thai or Vietnamese)
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of thin soy sauce.
     Step 7:  Add 8 peeled large shrimp.
     Add 1/4 cup of thin sliced onion.
     Add 4 baby bok choy that are cut in half lengthwise.
     Boil till the bok choy start to become tender.  (about 1 minute)
     Step 8:  Add 5 large bite size cube shaped Firm Tofu pieces.  (1"x 1"x 1" cubes)
     Add 6 whole Thai Basil leaves.
     Boil for about 15 seconds, so the tofu warms.
     Step 9:  Remove the pot from the heat.
     Remove the lemon grass knot.
     Step 10:  Mound the reserved prepared Ribbon Egg Noodles in the center of a large deep soup bowl.  (About a 2 quart capacity bowl.)
     Step 11:  Ladle the broth and solid ingredients into the bowl and try to pour some of the broth over the noodles to reheat them.
     Try to arrange some of the tofu, bok choy and shrimp on the surface, so these ingredients can be seen.
     Use chopsticks to fluff up the Ribbon Egg Noodles in the center of the bowl, so they look nice.
     Garnish the noodle bowl with a sprig of Thai Basil.

     This nutritious broth noodle bowl has an inviting aromatic lemon grass flavor!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Ramen Noodle Bowl ~ Crab Roe Stuffed Fish Balls, Surimi, Wakame and Wood Ear Mushrooms

     A Gourmet Ramen Noodle Bowl!
     A package of Ramen Noodles does not have to be a boring meal.  Gourmet Ramen Noodle creations are still a popular trend.  There are several noodle house restaurants in Las Vegas that specialize traditional Ramen entrées and cutting edge Ramen creations.  Some of the Ramen creations simply make use of new combinations of traditional ingredients and this suits customers that have conservative tastes.   
     There really are no rules to obey when creating a gourmet Ramen Noodle recipe.  Just like any creation, it is best to stick with a theme.  The theme for today's gourmet ramen creation is health oriented and the noodle bowl features some popular Surimi fish meal products. 
     Surimi is made with dried fish meal.  The fish meal paste can be shaped in endless ways.  Surimi is known as Imitation Crab Meat in mainstream America, because it is shaped like Snow Crab Legs or Flaked Alaskan Crab Meat.  From a marketing standpoint, the word "imitation" has negative connotations.  Grocers that realize that traditional Asian style Surimi product shapes are in demand now stock a few of these products in the specialty food section of the store.  The round cylinder shaped Surimi that has decorative colors appeals to home cooks that like making Asian style noodle bowls and soups.  
     To find a wider variety of Surimi products, one simply has to go shopping at an Asian food market.  There are thousands of Surimi products that can be found in an Asian market.  Pre-made Surimi Fish Balls are a popular choice and some of the Fish Ball products can be quite fancy.  Crab Roe Stuffed Fish Balls are a gourmet style Surimi product that can add pizzaz to recipe creation.  Often the Crab Roe Fish Balls are a dumpling shape that adds eye appeal.  When the Surimi Fish Ball is cut open, the orange color Crab Roe appears.  The mild flavor of Crab Roe appeals to those that do not like strong tasting fish egg flavors.
     Traditional Surimi cylinder shaped rolls that have colorful designs can be purchased at Asian food markets too.  The Pink Swirl Surimi roll that I used for today's recipe is also used as a garnish in noodle house restaurants.  Saimin Soup is a good example of a traditional recipe that is nearly always garnished with slices of Pink Swirl Surimi.  
     Even though today's recipe looks like a soup, it is usually called a Noodle Bowl.  Broth noodle bowls are popular, because the high proportion of broth helps to quickly revitalize nutrients that the body is lacking.
     Today's Gourmet Ramen Noodle recipe is easy to make and there are no special cooking techniques, other than separating the yolk and white of one egg.  The egg garnish does have to be fried in a separate pan.  The Dried Wood Ear Mushrooms can be soaked in a refrigerator ahead of time, so this recipe can be finished in less than 15 minutes.  A nutritious noodle bowl is great for those who are on the go!   

     Ramen Noodle Bowl ~ Crab Roe Stuffed Fish Balls, Surimi, Wakame and Wood Ear Mushrooms:
     This recipe yields 1 large noodle bowl entrée.
     Crab Roe Stuffed Fish Balls available as a pre-made frozen product at Asian food markets.
     Step 1:  Soak 4 or 5 dried Wood Ear Mushrooms in a container with 2 cups of water overnight in a refrigerator, so they fully reconstitute.  (These dried mushrooms will become quite large after they are soaked!)
     Drain off the water.
     Cut the mushrooms into thin slices.
     Step 2:  Separate the white and yolk of 1 large egg into two separate bowls.
     Whisk the white and yolk in the separate bowls.
     Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable oil.
     Add the white to the hot pan and cook it on both sides, till it is fully cooked but not browned.
     Set the cooked egg white on a cutting board.
     Cook the egg yolk the same way and set it on a cutting board.
     Cut the cooked egg yolk and egg white into thin ribbons and keep them separated from each other.
     Step 3:  Boil 3 1/4 cups of light fish broth in a large sauce pot over medium high heat.
     Add 1 clove of minced garlic.
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced ginger.
     Add 1 tablespoon of tiny dried shrimp.
     Add 2 tablespoons of chopped rinsed Salt Packed Dried Wakame Seaweed.
     Add the prepared sliced Wood Ear Mushrooms.
     Add 3 Crab Roe Stuffed Surimi Fish Balls.  (The stuffed fish balls can be thawed or added frozen.) 
     Boil till the Wakame Seaweed reconstitutes.  (About 5 minutes.)
     Step 3:  Add 1/4 cup of rice wine (Sake).
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of thin soy sauce.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon drops of pure sesame oil.
     Add about 1/6 cup of thin carrot sticks.
     Add 1 pinch of five spice powder.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric.
     Add sea salt and white pepper to taste.
     Step 4:  Add 1 portion of Ramen Noodles to the broth.
     Boil till the noodles are tender.
     *Check the amount of broth, because it will reduce while boiling.  There should be about 2 1/3 cups of broth in the pot after the noodles cook.  Add a spash of hot water if the level of broth is too low.
     Step 5:  Cut 5 or 6 slices of fancy Pink Swirl Surimi Roll that are about 3/16" thick.
     Add the Surimi slices to the broth.
     Wait about 30 seconds, so the Surimi warms up. 
     Step 6:  Remove the pot from the heat.
     Pour the broth, noodles and ingredients into a large wide soup bowl.
     Use tongs or kitchen chopsticks to gather the Ramen Noodles in the center of the bowl.
     Try to expose the Crab Roe Stuffed Fish Balls on top of the noodles.
     Try to expose a few slices of the fancy Surimi slices on the surface of the broth.
     Step 7:  Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of very thin sliced onion strips on the surface of the broth.
     Place the fried egg yolk ribbons and fried egg white ribbons on opposite sides of the bowl.
     Garnish with a sprig of cilantro or parsley.
     *Serve with chopsticks and an Asian style soup spoon!

     Ramen Noodles do not just have to just be college student survival food!  Ramen Noodles can be turned into a very appealing healthy meal!         

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Miso Hawaiian Chops

     Miso Hawaiian!      
     Pacific rim fusion cuisine has been popular since the 1990's.  Many great cooking ideas came from the creative fusion trend.  The western world chefs that took the time to learn how the Asian ingredients and cooking techniques were traditionally applied, seemed to fare better than those who did not.  A formal cross-cultural cuisine education enables chefs to design fusion food items that appeal to a wider marketing sector.     
     French Asian fusion cuisine can be sophisticated or very simple.  Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwiches are a good example of simple fusion cuisine at its best.  Another simple style that is still successful is fusion comfort food.  The Fat Choy Restaurant in Las Vegas is a prime example of how Asian cuisine flavors and cooking styles can be incorporated with classic American diner food to create comfortable new food items that appeal to a wide range of guests.         
     The theme for today's Miso Hawaiian Chops is a fusion of American diner style Hawaiian comfort food combined with Japanese ingredients.  In a classic American diner, Hawaiian style comfort food is usually pork chops with some kind of a sweet pineapple sauce that is thickened with corn starch and garnished with Maraschino Cherries.  This Hawaiian Pork Chops entrée was popular shortly after WWII and it is still offered as a "Blue Plate Special" at some diners to this day.
     Now that the dining public has become more sophisticated, more Asian ingredients can be incorporated into American diner style comfort food to create fusion comfort cuisine.  Most people are now familiar with Miso Paste, so this easy to recognize item is a good choice for flavoring pork chops.  Since the old diner style cornstarch thickened pineapple glaze for pork or ham is thoroughly worn out, creating something more appealing to take its place fits in with the modern fusion comfort food theme.  Even so, the main ingredient must be pineapple because of the association of this tropical fruit with Hawaii meets customer expectations.  
     Thinking up a flashy name for an entrée is part of the modern fusion comfort food game.  The word "Miso" has endless possibilities when applied in a fun entertaining way.  Fusion comfort food is meant to be fun and entertaining, especially when served in a modern noodle house restaurant atmosphere.  An entrée name like "Miso Hawaiian Chops" definitely sounds funny enough to capture the attention of guests!  

     Miso Marinated Pork Chops Preparation:
     This recipe yields 1 hearty portion.  (2 pork chops)
     Step 1:  Place 3 tablespoons of Red Miso Paste in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1/2 cup of warm water while whisking.  
     Whisk till blended and smooth.
     Step 2:  Add 1 teaspoon of ginger paste.
     Add 1 teaspoon of blended sesame oil.
     Stir the ingredients together.
     Step 3:  Select 2 pork chops with the bone attached that weigh about 6 to 8 ounces apiece.  
     Place the pork chops in the marinade.
     Toss the pork chops with the marinade, so they are evenly coated.
     Place the pork chops and marinade in a container.  
     Marinate in a refrigerator for 1 hour.
     Cumin Spiced Potatoes:  
     This recipe yields 1 portion.  
     I chose Cumin Potatoes instead of rice for an accompaniment in the photo examples.  If you prefer rice, then by all means, skip this recipe and cook 1 portion of rice!   
     Step 1:  Cut 1 small 5 ounce peeled russet potato into thick slices.  
     Place the potato in a sauce pot with enough water to cover the potatoes.
     Place the pot over medium high heat and bring the water to a gentle boil.
     Blanch the potato till it is halfway cooked.
     Remove the pot from the heat.
     Drain the water off of the potato.
     Step 2:  Heat a sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
     Add 1 teaspoon of unsalted butter.
     Add the blanched potato slices.
     Sauté till a few golden highlights appear on the potatoes.
     Step 3:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of cumin.
     Gently sauté till the potatoes are fully cooked.
     Keep the Cumin Potatoes warm over very low heat.

     Spicy Pineapple Sauté Topping: 
     This recipe yields about 1 1/4 cups.  (1 generous portion)
     The Spicy Pineapple Topping should be made just before the pork chops are served. 
     Step 1:  Heat a sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
     Add 1 minced garlic clove.
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced ginger.
     Briefly sauté till the garlic and ginger is fragrant, but not browned.
     Step 2:  Add about 1/6 cup of julienne sliced Bermuda Onion.
     Add 1 julienne sliced red jalapeño pepper.  (Remove the seeds and pulp.)
     Sauté till the onions start to turn clear in color.
     Step 3:  Add 1 1/4 cups of large diced pineapple chunks.  (1/2" cubes)
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Sauté till a few light brown highlights appear. 
     Step 4:  Add 1/2 teaspoon of thin soy sauce.
     Add 1 ounce of dry rice wine. 
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.
     Add 1 teaspoon of lime juice.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of granulated sugar.
     Stir the ingredients as the liquid comes to a boil.
     Step 5:  Rapidly simmer and reduce till the excess liquid evaporates and the thin sauce glazes the pineapple chunks.
     Remove the pan from the heat.
     Keep the Spicy Pineapple Topping warm on a stove top. 
     Miso Hawaiian Chops:
     This recipe yields 1 hearty entrée.
     Modern fusion comfort food tends to be served as big hearty portions, just like old fashioned American diner food.  Today's Miso Hawaiian Chops entrée is big enough for 2 guests to share, if petite portions are preferred.  Sharing an entrée is an Asian social dining tradition.
     Step 1:  Heat a cast iron ribbed griddle or a chargrill to a medium/medium hot temperature.
     Brush the grill with oil.
     Step 2:  Remove the 2 pork chops from the Red Miso Paste Marinade and brush off any excess marinade.
     Place the pork chops on the chargrill.
     Grill the miso marinated pork chops till they are marked with a cross-check pattern on both sides.
     *Only mark the pork chops with grill marks at this time.    
     Step 3:  Place the marked grilled pork chops on a roasting pan.
     Place the pan in a 325ºF oven.
     Roast till the pork chops are fully cooked.
     Remove the pan from the oven and keep it warm on a stove top.   
     Step 4:  Mound the Cumin Potatoes (or steamed rice) on the center of an oval serving plate.
     Place the Miso Pork Chops on opposite sides of the plate, so the bones lean against the potatoes.
     Mound a generous portion of the Spicy Pineapple Sauté Topping over the pork chop bones and potatoes on the center of the plate.
     Garnish with a sprig of Italian Parsley or cilantro.

     Fusion comfort food makes miso hungry!      

Friday, January 27, 2017

Lap Cheong and Vegetable Egg Foo Young with Shiitake Sauce

     Tasty Savory Egg Foo Young!
     Chinese Lap Cheong is a sweet dry cure sausage.  The traditional dry curing process involves hanging the sausages where they will be dried by the wind.  The flavor of Lap Cheong is unique and it can be added to a wide variety of recipes.  Lap Cheong tastes nice with Egg Foo Young.
     Egg Foo Young is a Chinese recipe that is popular worldwide.  There are many regional variations of the Egg Foo Young recipe.  Most often the eggs are flavored with Mung Bean Sprouts and ham, but nearly any vegetable, meat or seafood can be added.  When Egg Foo Young is served with a sauce, the sauce tends to be savory.  The simple Shiitake Mushroom Sauce in today's recipe goes well with the Lap Cheong and vegetable flavored Egg Foo Young.
     Egg Foo Young can also be made in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.  Today's recipe uses stainless steel ring molds to give the Egg Foo Young a uniform shape.

     Shiitake Sauce:
     This recipe yields about 1 cup.   
     Step 1:  Heat a sauce pot over medium/medium high heat.
     Add 1 cup of light chicken broth.
     Add 2 ounces of sweet rice wine or sherry.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of soy sauce.
     Add 2 pinches of Chinese Five Spice Powder.
     Add 1 minced garlic clove.
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced ginger.
     Add 2 pinches of sea salt and white pepper.
     Step 2:  Bring the sauce to a boil.
     Add 1/4 cup of very thin sliced shiitake mushrooms.
     Step 3:  Mix 1 tablespoon of cold water with 1 tablespoon of corn starch in a cup to make a slurry.
     Add just enough of the corn starch slurry to the boiling sauce while stirring, to thicken the sauce to a thin sauce consistency.
     Step 4:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer the sauce for 5 minutes.
     Step 5:  Keep the sauce warm over very low heat.
     Add 1 thin bias sliced green onion just before serving.

     Lap Cheong and Vegetable Egg Foo Young:
     This recipe yields 2 large Egg Foo Young. 
     Lap Cheong is available in Asian food markets.  This dry cure sausage is very dense and hard.  Poaching helps to soften this sausage.  
     Step 1:  Place a 3 ounce piece of Lap Cheong in a small sauce pot.
     Cover the sausage with water.
     Simmer the sausage over medium low for about 10 minutes, to soften the a little bit.
     Remove the sausage from the water and let it cool.
     Bias cut the sausage into 12 very thin slices.  (About 1/8" thick.)
     Set the sausage aside.
     Step 2:  Place 1/3 cup of very thin sliced bok choy in a container.
     Add 2 tablespoons of very thin sliced small onion strips.
     Add 2 tablespoons of very thin sliced small green bell pepper strips.
     Mix the vegetables together.
     Set the vegetables aside.
     Step 3:  Place 4 large eggs in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 tablespoon of flour.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Whisk the egg mixture till it is thoroughly combined.
     Step 4:  Heat a wide non-stick sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
     Step 5:  Select 2 ring molds that are 3 1/2" to 4" wide.
     Brush the inside of each ring mold with vegetable oil.
     Place the 2 stainless steel ring molds in the sauté pan.
     Place a small amount of the vegetable mixture in each ring mold.
     Place 3 slices of the Lap Cheong in each ring mold.
     Place equal amounts of the remaining vegetable mixture in each ring mold.
     Step 6:  Cover the pan with a dome shaped lid.
     Let the vegetables grill and steam for 2 minutes.
     Step 7:  Remove the lid.
     Slowly pour 2 to 3 tablespoons of the whisked egg mixture over the vegetables in each ring mold.
     *The small amount of egg will seal the bottom of each ring mold, so the rest of the eggs do not leak out of the bottom of the ring mold.  Add a little more egg if necessary.  If any egg mixture leaks out, scoop up the excess egg and set it on top of the vegetables in the ring mold.  
     Wait till the small amount of egg cooks firm, so it seals the bottom of each ring mold.  (This only takes about 15 to 20 seconds.)
     Step 8:  Slowly pour an equal amount of the remaining whisked egg mixture into each ring mold.
     *If any egg leaks out, gather it up and place it back in the ring mold.
     Step 9:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Cover the pan with a dome shaped lid.
     Place the pan in a 325ºF oven.
     Bake till the eggs are firm and fully cooked.
     Step 10:  Remove the pan from the oven.
     Remove the lid.
     Use a large spatula to set each Egg Foo Young and ring mold on a cutting board.
     Step 11:  Use a spatula to flip each Egg Foo Young ring mold over, so the golden brown side faces up.
     Remove each ring mold by gently pressing the Egg Foo Young down, while lifting the ring mold up.  (If necessary, run a thin small knife around the inside if the ring mold, to free the Egg Foo Young.)

     Lap Cheong and Vegetable Egg Foo Young with Shiitake Sauce:
     This recipe yields 1 large entrée that can be shared by 2 guests.
     Step 1:  Use a spatula to place the 2 Egg Foo Young on a plate.
     Spoon a generous portion of the Shiitake Sauce on the plate around the 2 Egg Foo Young.  (Serve any extra sauce on the side.)
     Step 2:  Garnish the top of each Egg Foo Young 3 thin slices of Lap Cheong.
     Garnish each Egg Foo Young with bias sliced green onion.

     This style of Egg Foo Young entrée takes a little bit of effort to make, but the flavor is well worth the wait!

Friday, January 20, 2017

House Special Soup! ~ Pork Tenderloin, Surimi, Wakame and Lotus Root

     A Hearty Southeast Asian Style Soup!
     I decided to make a soup to start my day today, instead of settling for an average bacon and egg breakfast at a local diner.  Sometimes a decision like this is subconscious, because the body craves something to maintain good health.  A soup with high proteins, vegetables and wakame seaweed sounded like a good choice.  Quickly made Asian style soups like this have good nutritional value and there are some intangible effects.  A broth soup with high proteins, vegetables and seaweed actually does help to maintain balance, especially during the winter cold and flu season.  
     Cooked food nearly always offers more efficient uptake of nutrients than most raw food.  The exception is fruit.  Those who believe raw food is healthy are really only benefiting from a portion of the available nutrients that could be digested if the raw food was cooked.
     Ancient food history does provide evidence of how lifespans nearly doubled after mankind harnessed fire and began cooking food.  Part of the reason for extended lifespans is cooking eliminated most food borne illness.  The other reason is that cooked food offered more available nutrients that are easy to digest.  A loss of potential nutrients can potentially occur with many raw foods.  Raw food nutrients can exit the body along with fibrous carbohydrates, because the food never had a chance to break down into readily available components within the digestive tract.
     A pot of soup always has a broth or liquid medium of some kind.  Nutrients from the solid ingredients are broken down and they become part of the broth.  Soup broth offers nutrients that are easily absorbed by the digestive tract.  Soup broth provides nutrition quickly and efficiently, especially when the immune system is compromised.      
     I had a piece of pork tenderloin and a roll of surimi in my refrigerator after recently doing some shopping in Chinatown.  Those items made it into the list of ingredients for today's soup.  On an Asian restaurant menu, soups that combine various meats, seafood and vegetables are often given the name "House Special."  Often the name of the restaurant is part of the menu item title and this designates the item as being a house special.  For example, a Thai Pho Tom Soup that combines pork, fish, vegetables and chicken may read on a menu as "Pho Tom + The Name Of The Restaurant" on a menu.  Usually a house special soup offers pretty good value from a nutritional standpoint.  When considering that the Asian restaurant industry has been around for a few thousand years longer than the restaurant industry in western society, it is easy to see that using the words "House Special" is an effective soup marketing tool!
     Lotus Root is starchy like a potato and it adds some eye appeal to today's soup.  Lotus Root takes a bit of simmering time to become tender and it is best when it still has a slightly crisp texture.  Thai Basil and lime juice are added last, so the flavors remain crisp and bright.

     Wakame Seaweed Preparation:  
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     Salt Packed Dried Wakame is dried, but the seaweed is still moist and it is actually alive.  Salt Packed Dried Wakame reconstitutes quickly and it looks like fresh harvested seaweed in a short time.
     Rinse the salt off of a few strands of salt packed dried wakame seaweed.  (About 1/6 cup)
     Soak the seaweed in water till it reconstitutes.
     Cut the seaweed into large bite size pieces and set them aside.
     Pork Tenderloin:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     Step 1:  Lightly season a 5 ounce piece of pork tenderloin with sea salt and white pepper.
     Step 2:  Heat a sauté pan or mini wok over medium heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
     Add the pork tenderloin.
     Sear the pork tenderloin on all sides, till it is lightly browned.
     Step 3:  Add 1/2 tablespoon of thin soy sauce.
     Add 1 cup of water.
     Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Step 4:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer and reduce till the pork tenderloin is fully cooked.  Simmer till the excess liquid evaporates sauce clings to the pork.
     Keep the pork tenderloin warm on a stove top.

     House Special Soup! ~ Pork Tenderloin, Surimi, Wakame and Lotus Root:
     This recipe yields 3 1/4 cups.  (1 large hearty portion of soup)
     Surimi is available in a wide variety of shapes and colors.  A round cylinder shaped Surimi with a pink spiral design is a common garnish for soups.  
     Step 1:  Heat a wide sauce pot over medium high heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
     Add 3 minced garlic cloves.
     Add 1 teaspoon of ginger paste.
     Saute till the garlic and ginger become aromatic.  (About 5 to 10 seconds is all it takes!)
     Step 2:  Add 3 1/2 cups of light pork broth.
     Add 1 cup of water.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of thin soy sauce.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of Korean style Coarse Red Serrano Chile Pepper Paste.  (sambal)
     Bring the broth to a boil.
     Step 3:  Add the reserved sliced wakame seaweed.
     Add 5 or 6 thin slices of peeled lotus root.
     Boil till the lotus root starts to become tender.
     *Allow the broth to reduce to about 3 1/2 cups.  Only add water if the broth reduces too much.
     Step 4:  Add 1/3 cup of thin bias sliced carrot.
     Add 1/3 cup of thin sliced onion.
     Add 1/3 cup of thin sliced mushrooms.
     Add sea salt and white pepper to taste.
     Boil the soup till the vegetables start to become tender.  (About 4 to 5 minutes.)
     *Allow the volume of the soup to reduce to about 3 1/4 cups.  Only add water if necessary.
     Step 5:  Add 5 or 6 slices of Fancy Surimi that are 3/16" thick.  (About 3 ounces.)
     Boil the soup for about 30 seconds, so the Surimi becomes hot.
     Step 6:  Remove the pot from the heat.
     Add 1 teaspoon of lime juice.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of pure sesame oil.
     Stir the soup.
     Step 7:  Ladle the soup into a large soup bowl.
     Try to place a few pieces of the lotus root and surimi on the surface of the soup, so they can be seen.
     Step 8:  Cut the pork tenderloin into bias slices and place them on top of the soup.
     Step 9:  Sprinkle 2 bias sliced thin green onions on the soup.
     Sprinkle a few small Thai Basil leaves on the surface of the soup.
     Garnish with a large sprig of Thai Basil.

     Soups like today's House Special Soup are served in Las Vegas Thai and Vietnamese restaurants.  With noodles or without noodles, a soup like this is quite appealing to those who live the Las Vegas timeless lifestyle.  Taking vitamin pills is a proven waste of money.  A soup like this provides better vitamin and mineral uptake!