Tuesday, July 6, 2010

July 4th with Friends and Family

My husband and I spent July 4th Weekend with several of our good friends and their adorable children ranging from 10 months to four years old. Given the great company, it was the perfect time to cook and enjoy meals together.

I made empanadas filled with sauteed beef (seasoned with tomato paste, salt, pepper, parsley, sazon and adobo), grilled corn on the cob, black bean salad, and roasted chicken stuffed with sage, rosemary, and thyme (with all the herbs grown in our garden). I also made a slow roasted pernil (pork shoulder), but too bad there isn't a picture of it. Also missing from the pictures are the burgers my husband made: they were perfectly formed and nicely grilled. Despite the heatwave we are experiencing in NYC right now, I love the summer and its culinary delights.

Weekend Cooking Spree

I love cooking at our home up in the Catskills: Halcottsville, New York, a little Hamlet in a bucolic setting. I spent the weekend making sauteed Chinese Broccoli, pan fried butter fish, charred shishito peppers, and a skirt steak. Everything was pretty simple - - good ingredients and simple flavors. What a weekend.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Lunch Lady in Saigon

My husband and I were on our honeymoon. We were in Saigon for a few days and had heard about the famous "Lunch Lady," who serves steaming bowls of soup filled with odds and ends, but are somehow fabulously delicious. She was not the easiest person to find in Saigon, because she does not have a store front. Instead, she sells her soups from a shady corner underneath a large tree in the Hoang Sa region of Saigon.

We were determined to find her and found her on our last day in Saigon. We were her first customers that day, sitting down on plastic stools that shifted easily under our weight. Nonetheless the decor did not deter us. We watched hypnotized as she stirred the yellow/orange soup filled with chicken, pork and bits of offal.

The first sip of the soup confirmed that the search and wait were well worth it. The soup was rich, full of different herbs and spices and masked the ordinary noodles with extraordinary flavor. Simply put, the Lunch Lady is justifiably famous. If I ever return to Vietnam, a stop at the Lunch Lady's stall will be at the top of my list.