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Andrea Nguyen

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Everything posted by Andrea Nguyen

  1. tofu, asian dumplings, vietnamese food and cooking

  2. Hello everyone, It's Andrea Nguyen, author of Asian Tofu. Thanks so much for delving deeply into bean curd goodness. WOW. I knew that TheTinCook made his own press but the DIY nigari impresses extra. I wish I could award you a special tofu star. Really. With regard to soy milk machines, I bought one for $125 and used it just a few times. It's really because I manipulate the soy milk richness and the machines fabricated for a limited ratio of water to beans. The machine now sits in my garage. For a block tofu shortcut, find a tasty fresh soy milk (sold refrigerated in plastic 2-quart containers) and make tofu from that. I look for soy milk made from non-GMO or organic beans. Artisan tofu makers and Asian markets are good sources for excellent soy milk. Once you get the hang of making soy milk from scratch, it's not that time consuming. Seriously. Soaking the beans is passive cooking time. Active cooking is about 1 hour. The deal with going from the bean is that you can control/tinker with the beans, water, coagulant. Freshly made tofu is akin to fabulous bread or cheese that you made yourself. Treat it simply to fully enjoy its deliciousness. On the other hand, many tofu dishes can be prepared with store bought tofu. Love your curiosity and creativity with okara. (I'm going to play around with the egg and okara concept.) In the main, you can use soy milk lees (okara) like wet wheat germ in baked goods to lessen the use of eggs and flour (up your leavening though); you're adding fiber and a little protein via the okara. For okara-based savories, feature it in croquettes (think of it as the bread binder) or an old fashioned Japanese bar snack called unohana. I recently turned okara into a gluten-free soy panko. Keep okara frozen. If I feel like discarding okara, I sprinkle it my garden. Same goes for the whey, which is good as a light stock. Again, thanks for hopping on the tofu train. Ping me if you have questions, etc. Andrea
  3. WOW, thanks for the posting! The food looks beautiful and I'm honored and frankly thrilled that you're having so much fun with the recipes. As for the mi quang -- yes, it's from the central region and it's one of those kind of super fussy noodle dishes -- not quite a noodle soup, not quite an noodle salad. There are numerous garnishes to the bowl (pork, shrimp, a rice cracker shard, among other things) and just a little flavorful broth to serve as the dressing. A strange dish that I've not come across abroad. Even in Vietnam, it's not prepared much at home and outside of the central region, it's not as prevalent as other Viet noodle dishes.
  4. Thank you for the kind words. I love hearing how the book helps people either to discover and/or rediscover Viet flavors. Happy cooking, Andrea
  5. My mother didn't open up that restaurant because (1) her collaborator and assistant, our housekeeper, decided to have her own go at life in America; and (2) there few Viet people who settled in San Clemente, CA, so there wasn't much of a customer base for her venture. She turned to another amazing skill, sewing, to help make ends meet. Along with providing tailoring and alteration services to clients who came to our house, she also took in piece work. For a few years, our after-dinner family activity was making bikinis. I was listening to public radio today and there was a story about the mass exodus of Iraqis from their native country into Syria and Jordan. The Syrians and Jordanians are doing their best to help these displaced people rebuild their lives, at least temporarily. I thought of my family's own refugee experience, and was suddenly flushed by an overwhelming sense of thanks for the generosity of the many people who helped us out. Your experience underscores that point. Warmly, Andrea
  6. Beef Stewed with Tomato, Star Anise, and Lemongrass (Bò Kho/Bo Kho) Serves 4 as Main Dish. This stew is so popular that practically every Viet cook has his or her own version. I have read recipes that call for curry powder, annatto seeds, tomato paste, and beer. But this is how my mother learned to make bò kho decades ago. Although in Vietnam it is traditionally eaten for breakfast, here in the States it has become lunch or dinner fare in the Vietnamese American community. It may be served in shallow bowls with warm French bread for sopping up the flavorful sauce, or it may be spooned over rice or wide rice noodles (bánh phở). The addition of chopped Vietnamese coriander or Thai basil leaves is something that my parents picked up when we lived in Saigon. Also, despite the name, this is not a kho dish. Here, kho means “to simmer” or “to stew.” No caramel sauce is involved. Traditionalists like to use the boneless beef shank sold at Chinese and Viet markets for this dish, which they cook for hours to yield a chewy-tender result. Once in the States, my family switched to beef chuck, which is flavorful, suited to long cooking, and more readily available. This recipe appears in my new cookbook In the Vietnamese Kitchen and an excerpt from this book appears in The Daily Gullet. 2-1/2 lb boneless beef chuck, well trimmed (about 2 pounds after trimming) and cut into 1-1/2-inch chunks 1 hefty stalk lemongrass, loose leaves discarded, cut into 3-inch lengths, and bruised with the broad side of a cleaver or chef's knife 3 T fish sauce 1-1/2 tsp Chinese five spice powder 2-1/2 T peeled and minced fresh ginger 1-1/2 tsp brown sugar 1 bay leaf 3 T canola or other neutral oil 1 yellow onion, finely chopped 2 c peeled, seeded, and chopped fresh tomato or 1 can (14 ounces) crushed tomato 1/2 tsp salt (generous) 2 star anise (16 robust points total) 3 c water 1 lb carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks 1/4 c chopped fresh Vietnamese coriander or Thai basil leaves 1. In a bowl, combine the beef, lemongrass, fish sauce, five-spice powder, ginger, brown sugar, and bay leaf. Mix well with chopsticks to coat the beef evenly. Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes. 2. In a heavy-bottomed 5-quart Dutch oven, heat the oil over high heat until hot but not smoking. Working in batches, add the beef and sear on all sides, then transfer to a plate. Each batch should take about 3 minutes. Reserve the lemongrass and bay leaf from the marinade and discard the rest. 3. Lower the heat to medium-low, add the onion, and cook gently, stirring, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until fragrant and soft. Add the tomato and salt and stir to combine. Cover and cook for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the mixture is fragrant and has reduced to a rough paste. Check occasionally to make sure the tomato mixture is not sticking to the bottom of the pan. If it is, stir well and splash in some water. 4. When the paste has formed, add the beef, lemongrass, bay leaf, and star anise, give the contents of the pot a bit stir, and cook, uncovered, for another 5 minutes to allow the flavors to meld and penetrate the beef. Add the water, bring to a boil, cover, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook for 1-1/4 hours, or until the beef is chewy-tender (a sign that it is close to being done). To test for doneness, press on a piece; it should yield but still feel firm. 5. Add the carrots and return the stew to a simmer, adjusting the heat if needed. Cook, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, or until the carrots and beef are tender. (This stew may be made up to 2 days in advance. Let cool, cover, and refrigerate, then bring to a simmer before continuing.) 6. Just before serving, do a final taste test. Add salt or a shot of fish sauce to intensify the overall flavor. Or, splash in a bit of water to lighten the sauce. Transfer the stew to a serving dish, removing and discarding the lemongrass, bay leaf, and star anise. Garnish with the Vietnamese coriander and serve. Keywords: Main Dish, Beef, Vietnamese, The Daily Gullet ( RG1870 )
  7. Pork Riblets Simmered in Caramel Sauce (Sườn Kho/Suon Kho) Serves 4 as Main Dish. This kho involves a little more work than the pork and eggs kho (see book, page 146). You must first marinate the meat and then sear it before it settles into its long simmer. The extra steps produce a rich, roasty undercurrent of flavor that permeates the dish. These riblets have special meaning for my mom because her family prepared them for their month-long Tet festivities. An entire pig was slaughtered for the celebration, and the ribs were used in this kho. Since it reheats well, it is the perfect make-ahead dish for the Lunar New Year, a time when everyone is supposed to relax, rather than slave in the kitchen. When purchasing the ribs, remember to ask the butcher to cut them into strips for. For the best flavor, sear the riblets on a grill. This recipe appears in my new cookbook In the Vietnamese Kitchen and an excerpt from this book appears in The Daily Gullet. 3 lb meaty pork spareribs, cut crosswise through the bone into long strips 1-1/2 to 2 inches wide 1/2 large yellow onion, minced 1 T sugar 1 tsp black pepper 6 T fish sauce 6 T Caramel Sauce 2 scallions, green part only, chopped 1. Cut each rib strip between the bones or cartilage into individual riblets. In a large bowl, combine the onion, sugar, pepper, and 3 tablespoons of the fish sauce and mix well. Add the riblets and toss to coat evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight. 2. Remove the bowl from the refrigerator about 45 minutes before searing. Prepare a hot charcoal fire (you can hold your hand over the rack for only 2 to 3 seconds) or preheat a gas grill to high. Remove the riblets from the marinade, reserving the marinade, and sear on the grill, turning as needed, for about 10 minutes total. Alternatively, broil the riblets on a foil-lined baking sheet for about 8 minutes on each side, or until lightly charred. 3. Transfer the seared riblets, the reserved marinade, and any cooking juices to a 5-quart Dutch oven and add the remaining 3 tablespoons fish sauce, the caramel sauce, and water almost to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Adjust the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 45 minutes. Uncover and adjust the heat so that the riblets simmer vigorously. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until the riblets are tender when pierced with a knife. The sauce will have reduced, but there will still be plenty. 4. Remove from the heat and let stand for a few minutes so that the fat collects on the surface, then skim it off. Return to a simmer and taste the sauce. Add extra fish sauce to create a deeper savory flavor, or water to lighten it. Transfer the riblets and sauce to a bowl. Sprinkle the scallion on top and serve. ( RG1869 )
  8. Caramel Sauce (Nước Màu/Nuoc Mau) This is a cornerstone of Vietnamese cooking. The term nước màu was originally coined in southern Vietnam. Northerners know this same ingredient as nước hàng (merchandising water), probably because it was so often used by food hawkers to enhance the appearance of their wares. Its ability to impart incredibly savory-sweet flavors is the key to simmering meats, seafood, eggs, and/or tofu for everyday kho dishes. Some cooks substitute brown sugar, but the results tend to be too sweet. The inky sauce also lends rich brown color to grilled meats, much as molasses does in American barbecue. Traditionally, the sauce is made by pouring boiling water into the caramelized sugar, a somewhat dangerous step that causes the mixture to bubble and spew dramatically. This method immediately arrests the cooking, so that the sugar doesn't burn to a bitter black stage. I find it easier to place the pan in a sink partially filled with water, which cools the caramelized sugar, halting the cooking, and then add the water to dilute the sugar. The result with both approaches is the same bittersweet, inky sauce that is a staple in every Vietnamese kitchen. This recipe appears in my new cookbook In the Vietnamese Kitchen and an excerpt from this book appears in The Daily Gullet. This makes about 1 cup. 3/4 c water 1 c sugar 1. Select a small, heavy saucepan with a long handle. Use one with a light interior (such as stainless steel) to make monitoring the changing color of the caramel easier. Fill the sink with enough water to come halfway up the sides of the saucepan. 2. Put 1/4 cup of the water and all the sugar in the saucepan and place over medium-low heat. To ensure that the sugar melts evenly, stir with a metal spoon. After about 2 minutes, when the sugar is relatively smooth and opaque, stop stirring and let the mixture cook undisturbed. Small bubbles will form at the edge of the pan and gradually grow larger and move toward the center. A good 7 minutes into cooking, bubbles will cover the entire surface and the mixture will be at a vigorous simmer. As the sugar melts, the mixture will go from opaque to clear. If a little sugar crystallizes on the sides of the pan, don’t worry. After about 15 minutes, the sugar will begin to caramelize and deepen in color. You will see a progression from champagne yellow to light tea to dark tea. When smoke starts rising, around the 20-minute mark, remove the pan from the heat and slowly swirl it. Watch the sugar closely as it will turn darker by the second; a reddish cast will set in (think the color of a big, bold red wine) as the bubbles become a lovely burnt orange. Pay attention to the color of the caramel underneath the bubbles. When the caramel is the color of black coffee or molasses, place the pan in the sink to stop the cooking. The hot pan bottom will sizzle on contact. Add the remaining 1/2 cup water; don’t worry, the sugar will seize up but later dissolve. After the dramatic bubble reaction ceases, return the pan to the stove over medium heat. 3. Heat the caramel, stirring until it dissolves into the water. Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes before pouring into a small heatproof glass jar. Set aside to cool completely. The result will seem slightly viscous, while the flavor will be bittersweet. Cover and store the sauce indefinitely in your kitchen cupboard. ( RG1868 )
  9. What a beautiful comment, Andrea. It was not long ago that I made my great-grandmother's Grape Pie. Although the concord grapes no longer have seeds, my son and I slipped the skins and followed the recipe just as I learned at my great-grandmother and grandmother's knees. And, we both found comfort in doing this, and especially me who got to tell the stores, which hopefully this next generation will pass on to their children. And, I was the lucky recipient of my great-grandmother's recipe box. The cards are yellowed and bent around the edges, written in that spidery, fountain-penned cursive, but I count it as one of my most precious posessions. ← What a great recipe. How easy is it to slip the skin off those grapes? I love that concept of cooking the skins. It's wonderful that you cherish that recipe box as a family heirloom. My mom used to make my sisters practice their penmanship by copying recipes into that orange notebook. That's why there's all this fancy script in there, comingled with my mother's regular handwritting. Andrea
  10. You are so lucky to get your hands on such wonderful fat. I live in Santa Cruz, CA, and purchase 1/8 of a grass-fed cow each year from a local rancher. We have one farmer who raises hogs but I've yet to invest in one. Pork fat is difficult to come by these days. There's fat from the neck, back and belly. In old-fashioned Viet cookbooks published in Vietnam, you'll often see a specific type of pork fat used in a recipe. In the States, fatback is the easiest one to find; I've yet to come across the other two kinds of fat. There are certain Viet recipes that definitely require diced fatback, so every once in a while, I get a few pounds from a Mexican butcher counter, cut them into pieces the size of a deck of cards and freeze them. Chicken fat is also great to cook with . . .
  11. Thank you for the kind words. I'm delighted to hear that my "baby" arrived at your doorstep. There are lots of good things to make from the book. And I'm not just saying that because I'm the author! Yep, you hit it right on the head. Vietnamese people don't make bahn mi at home -- neither here nor in the motherland. They are so readily available and reasonably priced too. Plus, most cooks in Vietnam lack ovens, and as you're probably well aware, it's darn tough to make a good baguette. The introduction to the banh chapter tells you how that category of food is considered the hardest to master. "Banh" isn't just about the sandwich. Though there are over 175 recipes in the cookbook, it was tough to select which ones to include. The Viet repertoire is huge. But in the end, the collection reflects classic homey preparations as well as some more complex special preparations. They're all dishes that I know are doable. Enjoy the book and feel free to send me comments or questions! Andrea
  12. Hi Kelly, Thanks for picking up on the Merc and Saveur pieces. For the fat, try some old-fashioned home-rendered pork fat. For fatback, I often ask the guys at a Mexican butcher counter. That's the most common type of cooking fat. For those who could, they made their own peanut oil, but that depended on the availability of peanuts in your area. When the Americans arrived in the 1960s, they brought cooking oil to Vietnam. But pork fat is readily availability and more commonly used. Best, Andrea
  13. You're very welcome. Yes, the gastro-cultural ties that bind us as humans feed our bellies and our souls. At the end of the day, the simple things in life keep us going. My family was among the fortunate ones to escape by plane. We're what's considered the 'first wave' of Viet refugees to this country. The people who left by boat and those who endured reeducation camps suffered tremendously. People of my parents' generation (my folks are in their 70s) endured social upheavals such as famine, colonization, family separation, and civil war -- on top of immigrating to this country and starting over. They're toughies, and over the years, whenever they've reunited with family and friends, there's plenty of food involved to comfort and heal. Like all cuisines that are transported away from their native countries, Viet cooking in the U.S. has been transformed to reflect the ingredients, taste preferences, and equipment available here. With regard to my family, we try to preserve old-fashioned culinary traditions in a modern context. That's why we often enjoyed homemade noodle soups or sticky rice dishes for Sunday breakfasts. That process of bridging old and new happens constantly in our family kitchen. For example, every year, my mother spends several days assembling and boiling Tet sticky rice cakes (banh chung, p. 261). She makes about 20 of them (they're the size of small adobe bricks) and then freezes what doesn't get eaten up; the cakes pop up at the table throughout the year. When she was growing up in Hai Duong, a town outside of Hanoi, there was no refrigeration. Her family stuck their cakes down a well to keep them cool. Now, the freezer is Mom's well. I make banh chung for Tet too, as well as moon cakes (banh nuong, p. 300) for the annual mid-autumn moon festival. These are time-consuming foods to prepare, but the results are fabulous (much better than store-bought) and the processes keep me in touch with ancient foodways. They're experiences that allow me to plug into the culinary genius of people who took their meager resources to create amazingly tasty food. But you don't have to prepare super complicated foods to realize that. The ones posted above are terrific examples of Vietnamese culinary ingenuity.
  14. Rice economics is not a fluff subject in Asia. It's a food security issue. Without a decent rice crop, you're flirting with famine! Yes indeed, the Twin Cities has one of the largest (or the largest?) Hmong populations in the U.S. You're very lucky. Gosh, I have many comfort foods. Yesterday I was beat after traveling and on the way back from the airport, I stopped for a bowl of Viet noodle soup in San Jose, CA. It was revitalizing. Kho dishes (foods simmered with caramel sauce) are definitely comforting. But there's also this wonderful little recipe in the book for caramelized minced pork (thit heo bam, pg. 131) that I just love. It's from my childhood and employs caramel sauce in a different way than the kho dishes. The sauce coats the bits of pork and makes them savory-sweet and crispy, like the leftovers at bottom of the pan when you sear meat. Well, my mom would make that stuff and my dad would whip up a batch of old-fashioned pressed rice logs (com nam, pg. 241), which is like Japanese onigiri. He'd slice the logs and we'd press the rice pieces onto the pork and eat it out of hand. What fun that was. Hee hee...It still is! When my family gets together, we enjoy a lot of my mom's northern Viet specialties, like shrimp and sweet potato fritters (banh tom, pg. 272), which are deep fried and delicious with lettuce and fresh herbs. She also likes to make pho too so there's always some around. One of her our family's favorite southern Viet dishes is banh xeo (sizzling rice crepes, pg. 274) which are crispy chewy and dynamite; we line up to eat them as soon as she gets them out of the skillet. It's a food fest. Remember, my mom is woman who wanted to run a restaurant at one point so making semi-industrial quantities of food for her family is great fun. I'm getting hungry as I write... Andrea
  15. Ludja, Yes, through that link, you get to preview the selection of 175+ recipes in the book! It was difficult (cumbersome) to incorporate the phonetics into the book's design so I posted them online for folks.
  16. Many thanks to all of you for your interest in Viet cooking and this book. It's been a lifelong dream of mine to write such a work and so it's incredibly rewarding to know that it's impacting others. In response to dls' comment Yep, fear was everywhere in Saigon during those last days. I actually remember growing up and being fearful all the time that something awful would happen. It was a terrifying experience. But you know, it also helps you keep things in perspective. I don't know if I have what it takes to do what my parents did -- leave everything and restart in a totally alien country with five kids. However, when you have no other alternative, you do what you have to do and there's no looking back. For Nakji and other who are looking for guidance to Vietnamese ingredients, the book's Glossary of Ingredients has the Viet terms in northern and southern/central Vietnamese. For a pronunciation guide to Viet ingredients, check this page on my website: Phonetics for common Vietnamese ingredients If you'd like to know how to pronounce the Viet namese for all the dishes in the book, visit this page: Viet recipe title phonetics You'll impress old friends and definitely make new ones! Enjoy, Andrea
  17. Thank you for your thoughtful reactions to the piece. Vietnamese history is filled with ups and downs and so Viet people have had to demonstrate a tremendous amount of resilience. I'm blessed to have had the opportunity to use food as the lense to demonstrate that aspect of the Vietnamese spirit.
  18. Can you talk a bit about your recipe writing technique? ← When developing recipes, I do them over and over and over to observe what happens to the ingredients -- how they change in appearance, flavor, etc. I've been a cookbook junkie since I was a kid so in writing the recipes for this book, my goal was to provide readers with enough visual, tactile, and flavor cues without being overbearing. Making recipe instructions culturally relevant is also important to me, especially because some of these cooking techniques can seem strange to people. Here, the sugar nearly burns so you have to take it to a point that makes you slightly fearful. But at that stage, you stop the process and bingo (!), you've arrived at that bittersweet finish. But the process itself is unlike caramelizing sugar in the traditional Western sense. I see each recipe as a roadmap that guides cooks to a destination that they may or may not be familiar with. Along the way, there ought to be plenty of clues as to whether or not you're on the right track. However, there ought to be nice places to pause and take in the view too. I think of that when I write recipes. Indeed, you have to have consistency but a little variation enables readers and cooks to have a very enjoyable journey!
  19. Surfas probably contributes a fair amount of taxes to Culver City so the gov't is probably going to be more sensitive. As for Surfas' prices, there are certain things you can purchase there at reasonable prices and for other stuff (especially Asian ingredients), you ought to head to a specialty grocer. The caviar prices have always been fabulous. And the cooking gadget price are consistently reasonable. I don't enjoy their splashy new digs but shouldn't a business grow?
  20. Artichokes + berries = Monterey Bay between Monterey and Santa Cruz. All you have to do is visit a farmer's market. We have one practically everyday right now: San Jose Mercury News list of NorCal farmers' markets As for those itty bitty strawberries -- called frais de bois -- they're NOT grown here in the Monterey Bay Region. Among the topnotch berry growers around these parts is Swanton Berry Farm. (U-pick ollalieberry season just ended at Swanton.) For ollalieberry pie, try on of this source... Gizdich Farm in Watsonville. From the 101, cut over at Salinas through Castroville to Highway 1. Cruz up the coast and stop at farmstands or a farmer's market. In Santa Cruz, pop over Highway 17 to Los Gatos, which is about 20 minutes from Santa Cruz. Andrea
  21. How many of you subscribe to Saveur and Gourmet? I do. Knowing that Colman Andrews is going to write for the other publication will allow me to continue to enjoy his work on a regular basis. The fact that Margo True is now at Sunset is big plus for that West Coast periodical (which I also subscribe to). It's good to spread the wealth so more of the masses can benefit from these talented folks. Saveur is in capable hands with James Oseland at the helm. Todd Coleman is an excellent food editor. I've recently worked with both of them and they are smart, funny, and extremely hard working. They know the magazine well and believe in its core values. Sure there are going to be initial bumps in the road such as the type glitch in the satay recipe (sorry James!), but let's see what happens in the future. What other magazine would offer an article like Fuschia Dunlop's current one on the wondrous world of Chinese tofu? I have written several pieces for Saveur over the years and have found that it's the only food publication that has continued to look outside the box in order to convey the relationship between people and their food. There's also little advertising, which makes perusing each issue an extra pleasure. In this day and age when print media is suffering, and readers seem to want less text and more big fantasy photos, it's important to continue supporting a publication like Saveur. Andrea
  22. I live in Northern California and we have farm-fresh beets in summer, fall, and winter. Russ is right -- it depends on the farmer and the farm. You don't want gnarly, mishappened ones that look like they've struggled too much. Red ones generally have a more intense, complex flavor than yellow or Chioggia (stripe pink) ones. White beets are sugary sweet. Choose medium size beets have better flavor than baby or large ones. If you roast beets in a covered pan with a bit of water, the flavors will be much sweeter than if you boil them. Once cooked (pierce a knife in to test), let the beets cool, slip off the skins, cut the beets in wedges (or whatever size pieces you want) and toss them in a touch of vinegar and salt to brighten up their flavor. Store them in the fridge for up to a week. Andrea
  23. While in Pasadena, go to Salandang Song for a modern, only in Southern California Thai experience. Or, head to San Gabriel Valley (Monterey Park, etc.) and try any of the world class Chinese restaurants -- Mission 261 for dim sum, Chung King for fiery Sichuan. Check the LA Times Calendar Live site for dining listings. Venture west of Pasadena to downtown to Phillippe's for a dip sandwich, or go for a luxurious meal at Campanile on La Brea. It's quintessentially LA. Mark Peel is one of the best. Next door is La Brea Bakery. Drive around the area and you'll eventually hit Pinks hot dogs. Go into Koreatown or search out the kimchi burrito! In NorCal, it's artichoke and strawberry season around the Monterey Bay so don't miss out. Go to any farmer's market. My vote is for the Alemany market on Saturday morning. It's multiethnic and fun. The Ferry Plaza is somewhat sterile, but you'll get what many consider the best of the best in NorCal foods and farms. Local dungeness crab season is over. You'll have to come back in the fall! Have fun, Andrea
  24. When made well, banh beo are stupendous. I've made them successfully, and my recipe was recently published in Carolyn Jung's article in the San Jose Mercury News: Banh beo article A couple years ago, when this thread began, I didn't have recipe to point egulleteers to but now I do! Happy cooking, Andrea
  25. Grass-fed beef varies from rancher to rancher, breed to breed. I just picked up my annual 1/4 of a cow raised by Joe and Julie Morris of TO Ranch in San Juan Bautista in California. The meat is amazing, particularly the ground beef, which Joe blends from various cuts and works with the meat locker to produce. This is beefy beef. Even the fat is nice to eat. You don't mind the extra chew from the leaner meat because you want to draw out all the flavors. My experience as a Santa Cruz resident is defintely not urban. I don't have access to great restaurants -- it's sad, I used to live in Los Angeles -- but there are farm-fresh ingredients like this beef!
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