Friday, March 25, 2011

Mexican-Style Hot Dogs

I bought some ingredients this week to make some of these hot dogs that I recently discovered. Didn't know the name for them, but they're either called Tijuana hot dogs or Sonoran hot dogs. They were originally grilled when I first had them, but they taste just as good from the oven or pan. I had the ingredients for almost a week, but procrastinated to make these. By the time today arrived, most of the hot dogs were almost gone. I only had about four left, so I decided to make these today before they were all gone! My husband kept asking me when I was going to make these since I told him how great they were and he hasn't tried them yet. Today, I finally made them and he tried it for the first time. He loved them. At first he grabbed two, but I told him that one would be enough because these are pretty hearty.

Hot dogs or weiners (I used all beef)
Bacon slices for each hot dog
Hot dog buns
Fresh salsa (recipe follows)
4 Avocados
1 tsp lime juice
1 white onion
Jalapenos (for side) optional
Ketchup, mustard and mayo as needed

4 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1/4 white onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, minced (remove some or all seeds if you don't like it hot)
8 cilantro sprigs, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon salt (add more/less for per taste)

1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees broil.
2. Make the salsa: In a mixing bowl, combine all salsa ingredients together. Toss thoroughly. Let stand 15 minutes before serving. Set it aside.
3. Wrap each hot dog with a slice of bacon and lay it on a foil covered baking sheet. Broil in oven at 500 degrees until the bacon is browned. Turn over to the other side until both sides are browned. Remove from oven and set aside.
4. While hot dogs are cooking, slice the avocados into small chunks and squeeze a small amount of lime juice into the mix as well as some pieces of cilantro leaves.
5. Cut onion in half and slice onion. Sauteed the sliced onions in some vegetable oil over medium high heat until browned and fragrant. Set aside.
6. Using the same pan, pan fry the jalapenos (one per each serving or per person) until brown on most sides. Jalapeno should come out tender tasting.
7. Simply top bun with bacon-wrapped hot dog, then condiments (choice of ketchup, mustard and/or mayo), onions, salsa and then avocado mixture. The cooked jalapeno can be eaten separate or also put into the hot dog as well.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Waiting for spring!

Haven't been to a Lund's or Byerly's in a long time. I use to go there just because their desserts looked so good and I like to look. Was in the neighborhood, so I decided to stop in one. A few things I love to just look at: nice clothes, dessert displays and beautiful homes. I used to go to the Parade of Homes every season when they had them before we bought the house. I also went to the Luxury Home Tour twice now just to dream... Wow, so beautiful. There was this one neighborhood called Locust Hills in Wayzata, MN that I just fell in love with. If I was a billionaire, then that's what I would want. My own neighborhood with all my friends and families living in the same neighborhood, so we can see each other more often. My husband doesn't think that's a good idea. :p I've also been attending the ASID home tour every year for the past six years, except I skipped the past two since I was prego and then just got busy.

Anyway, decided to buy myself some treats. Actually, I've been treating myself everyday since the pregnant days. This super sweet tooth hasn't gone away since then. I need to stop, but probably not this week since I just bought like four packs of strawberries (since they were on sale) and stuff to make sweet treats with them.

Waiting for all the snow to melt, so I can go walking outside. I love that. I think this year has the most snow ever that I've experienced. I love March BTW. It's my favorite month. For some reason when March arrives, I am a new person all over again just like spring.

All photos taken with my iPhone. :p

Friday, March 18, 2011

Best Hot Dog I've Had So Far

Photos from here.

I saw these on FoodNetwork once and always wanted to try one. I had the opportunity to finally eat one the other day when a friend of mine invited me over to a family gathering. They were freshly grilled with bacon wrapped around the hot dog along with toppings of grilled onions, fresh salsa, avocados and topped with a grilled jalapeno. Gosh, just typing that makes me so hungry and craving for another one already. My mouth was watering when I watched them cooked the stuff. I should go to sleep before I head to the kitchen instead of the bedroom. I think I'm going to go shopping tomorrow and get some ingredients to make one of these. I don't know what these are called exactly, but I guess they're Mexican-style hot dogs. Just yummy. I had everything on it except mayo. Ok, not a good idea to think/blog about food when I am hungry and should be sleeping. It's the only time I get any work done with a little one!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mardi Gras King Cake

Have you ever had a bite of this? I had it once at work. It was actually good. I think it's just basically a sweet bread with colored sugar on top.

Pictures from here and here.

Best Hmong Pepper Sauce Ever

Well, one of them that I've tasted, and I've tasted many pepper sauces. I eat pepper with just about anything. Basically, if you don't eat pepper, then you're probably not Hmong or your parents fed you too many McDonald's hamburgers growing up. The second part happened to me too, but I still eat peppers. :p Seriously, the Hmong pepper sauce is a staple on many Hmong dinner tables. Whether it's just the simple pepper and salt or tomatoes mixed with it, Hmong people usually don't eat Hmong food without pepper on the side. If it's not there, then trust me, someone will ask for pepper.

My pepper sauce has the usual ingredients, but there is one secret ingredient in there that makes a difference. Can you guess what it is? It's also about the right quantity of all the ingredients. I originally made this pepper for egg rolls and received many compliments. Nobody cared about the egg rolls, they just wanted to know what was in the sauce. It could've been that my egg rolls weren't that good, but that's the thing! This sauce will make any bad tasting egg roll or meal taste good. I once served this sauce at meal time and someone said that they could just very well eat the sauce despite the other delicious meals that were served.

I just made it in an instant today, so I didn't have time to measure it and take photos, so unfortunately, I won't be posting the recipe until another time. This among other Hmong foods is still on my list to add to the blog to share with others so that we don't forget how to make our own foods.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Homemade Vietnamese Pho Broth

I regret that I didn't put more broth into my bowl above just for the photo. Perhaps the reason why I didn't was because the recipe I tried produced such small quantity for so much work involved and I didn't want to use all the broth in one eating. :p I started with six quarts of water and only got three quarts when I was done. The broth tasted good, but I was disappointed that it took so much work for such small results. I probably will not make pho broth from scratch again. I know I mentioned in my earlier posts the obvious reasons, but it's been at least ten years since I last made pho broth from scratch and wanted to see if I could improve. Just not worth the time or money. This recipe I tried was good, but it had too much salt to it (including the fish sauce). When I ate the pho, I didn't need to add any extra condiments except for the hot sauce. No fish sauce or hoisin. Nada. I wasn't used to that. It really didn't need it. I suppose that's a good thing, right? I guess not if someone doesn't like their pho to be on the salty side. Also, I skimmed the fat twice and it was still pretty greasy. I got tired of skimming it, so I quit at the second time. My broth came out darker than what I'm used to seeeing. I left the bag of spices in the whole time. I read from another recipe to take it out after 30 minutes. This recipe I tried did have a more intense flavor because the dried spices was simmered for at least four hours. Would I recommend this recipe? Yes. It was good. A lot better than some home made pho I have had before. I just wouldn't make this again because it was just too much work and ingredients. You can find the recipe from Andrea Nguyen. I also referenced Wandering Chopsticks and here.

Yellow rock sugar, star anise, whole cloves and cinnamon stick:

Charbroiling the onions and ginger in the oven under broil since I don't have open flame. Flavors are still there doing it this way:

Putting all the ingredients together in the pot. I used 2.5 lbs oxtails and the rest bones with marrow and tendon. I also put my spices in a pouch. You can use cheesecloth as well or use none at all. It's just easier to get them out later especially if you want the spices out earlier:

Make sure you submerge everything under water:

I skimmed the foam and and other impurities with this handy dandy tool that I found at the local Asian store. It works very good since the mesh is very fine:

After boiling for four hours and letting it cool, I put the pot in the fridge overnight and took out the fat that submerged to the top. I did this twice and it was still greasy. Seeing all this fat scared my husband, so he didn't even bother eating the pho I made for us. I told him this is how it's made and he doesn't believe me. He thinks pho broth just magically comes out clear.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Salmon with Whole-Wheat Spaghetti

I was hesitant on trying this recipe because the thought of salmon with pasta didn't sound appealing to me. I'm glad I gave it a try anyway because it tasted great! The salmon itself is pretty oily, but overall, this dish not only tastes good, but it's also good for you. The fish and olive oils are great for you as long as you don't consume too much of it.

Original recipe from Food Network:

Ingredients1/2 pound whole-wheat spaghetti pasta
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 (4-ounce) pieces salmon
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons capers
1 lemon, zested
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves

DirectionsBring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta and transfer to a large bowl. Add the garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine.

Meanwhile, warm the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Add the fish to the pan and cook until medium-rare, about 2 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the fish. Remove the salmon from the pan.

Add the basil, capers, lemon zest, and lemon juice to the spaghetti mixture and toss to combine. Set out 4 serving plates or shallow bowls. Place 1/2 cup spinach in each bowl. Top with 1/4 of the pasta. Top each mound of pasta with a piece of salmon. Serve immediately.

Salmon in Lemon Brodetto with Pea Puree

Here's another salmon recipe I tried many weeks ago. I used to just bake my salmon in the oven, but I like it so much pan-fried. I like the crispiness of the fried filet portion. I like my salmon well done, so this may appear overcooked to some. I remember this recipe had a lot of steps, but it was quite good. It tastes similar to the one with the pasta I just made today. If you must have some rice with it like me, then you can make it with the herbed rice pasta featured below. Both went well together.

Original recipe from Food Network:

Lemon Brodetto:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, diced
2 lemons, juiced
1 lemon, zested
2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves

Pea Puree:
2 cups frozen peas, thawed (about 10 ounces)
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1/4 cup olive oil
4 (4 to 6-ounce) pieces salmon
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

To make the Lemon Brodetto, warm the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute until tender, about 7 minutes. Add the lemon juice, zest, and broth. Bring to a simmer, and keep warm, covered, over low heat.

To make the Pea Puree, combine the peas, mint, garlic, salt, and pepper in a food processor and puree. With the machine running, add the olive oil in a steady drizzle. Transfer the pea puree to a small bowl and stir in the Parmesan. Set aside.

To make the Salmon, warm the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over high heat. Season the salmon pieces with salt and pepper. Sear the salmon until a golden crust forms, about 4 to 5 minutes on the first side. Flip the fish and continue cooking until medium-rare, about 2 minutes more depending on the thickness of the fish.

To assemble the dish, add the tablespoon chopped mint to the Lemon Brodetto and divide between 4 shallow dishes. Place a large spoonful of Pea Puree into the center of each bowl. Place a salmon piece atop each mound of Pea Puree. Serve immediately.

Herbed Basmati Rice:
Original recipe from Foodnetwork

1 cup uncooked long-grain (white) basmati rice (recommended: Texmati)
1 3/4 cups water
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons minced fresh curly parsley leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh scallions, white and green parts
Pinch freshly ground black pepper

Combine the rice, 1 3/4 cups water, the salt, and butter in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce the heat to low, stir once, and simmer, covered tightly, for 15 minutes. (I need to pull the pot half off the burner to keep it from boiling over.) Turn off the heat and allow the rice to sit covered for 5 minutes. Add the parsley, dill, scallions, and pepper. Fluff with a fork, and serve warm.