Some of you might be wondering where I've been, or maybe you're not ... either way, I'm really glad to be back and blogging.
I currently have a crush on Vietnamese cuisine. I say crush because I normally go through phases with different cuisines and then get tired of them and move on to the next, but, I am still in love. My sister and I go to this little hole in the wall restaurant at least twice a month. We even have a song we sing every time we go (actually, we just repeat the name of the restaurant over and over to a weird beat we made up.)
It's very calming and quiet inside. We always start off with the Chrysanthemum tea. It's one or two large Chrysanthemum flowers (just the heads) which are steeped in hot water to produce a mild flavored tea. You even see the flower petals on the bottom of the mug which are delicious as well. Next up is the "Fresh Signature Salad." Kind of mysterious, right? Let me tell you, it is the most delicious salad you'll ever have. Its a heaping pile of shredded crunchy fruits (Jacima, Mango, papaya, and apple) served with a fish vinaigrette sauce, which you will want to drink all on its own. Topped with crushed peanuts and crispy fried scallions. While my sister has tried the Pho, curry chicken, and several other dishes on the menu, I have only tried the flounder. I can't get passed it!
This is a dish I made up with all the ingredients I got at the asian farmers market. I explored every aisle up and down, every bottle, can and package. I came home with fish sauce (more on this later) soba noodles and thai basil (I prefer this over regular basil). The soba noodles were actually precooked, I really liked the nutty flavor but the texture was slightly off so next time I will probably buy dried soba and boil them myself. I also found "vegetable pasta" thats made with spinach, broccoli and celery which was homemade, you can even see the residual flour that was used on the noodles. I started by taking some thai basil leaves and steeping them in light coconut milk (Trader Joe's is the only place I know that carries light). I also threw in some minced garlic and a splash of lime and let the flavors marry. Then comes the spinach leaves which wilt down and become tender. This is my base for my creamy pasta sauce. Then comes the crunchy topping of shredded coconut and almond slices. Don't use sweetened shredded coconut, instead use unsweetened thick shreds which are healthy and pretty too, from Whole Foods. Combine the coconut/spinach mixture with the soba noodles and top with the crunch. I licked the plate.
1 package soba noodles
1 can light coconut milk
4-5 Thai basil leaves
1 lime, juiced
10 oz baby spinach leaves
3 garlic cloves, minced
Salt to taste
1 handful of sliced almonds
1 handful of coconut shreds
1 Heat coconut milk in saucepan until steamy with thai basil leaves, garlic and lime juice.
2 Place spinach inside milk and stir occasionally until wilted and soft. Salt to taste.
3 Meanwhile toast the almonds and coconut in a dry pan until fragrant
4 Combine the milk mixture with the noodles and toss until evenly combined. Top with crunchy topping and grated parmesan cheese.