Category Archives: Asian

David Did It!


Welcome to a new series of posts that feature recipes I’ve tried in the past but this time, we retest for accuracy and awesomeness but my adorable hubs, David. David likes to claim he doesn’t know his way around the kitchen as well as I do, but let me tell you, he most certainly does. I call him the egg, seafood and sandwich whisperer. He makes absolutely hands-down perfect over-easy eggs, knows exactly when to pull fish off the heat just by looking at it and always makes the most perfectly balanced ratio of meat/lettuce/bread/sauce on a sandwich. He’s definitely got the chops in the kitchen and I  know he follows these recipes to letter just like I do. So, let’s see how he did!

Usually while I cook, David and Lila are off climbing Mount Pillow in our bedroom or conquering the downstairs toy chest, but last night, David made this Scallops with Green Tea Cream from Cooking Light while I fed the munchkin. P.S. we just got her a highchair, and the OXO Sprout is an incredible product – we highly recommend it.

David followed this recipe to the letter and once again it turned out perfect (yes, we did the same measurements but just treated it as an entree). That sauce seriously I could smother on anything and it would taste good. Yum, yum, yum. Seeking out  green tea powder is worth it for this dish alone. If you haven’t tried this yet, what are you waiting for?

Hmmmm, what other recipes is David going to try?

Glazy Afternoon

Last Sunday I wanted to make a fun Sunday chicken dinner but with a little oomph. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good roast chicken but I really just wanted to try these Maple-Soy Chicken Thighs and Miso Grilled Vegetables ( as soon as possible. Yumeh ya’ll! If you like applying the brush to your food then these two recipes are for you. I really enjoyed them together on the plate since you have a bit of Asian influence in each to make each other sing. It’s funny, I was talking to another friend who is also pregnant and she mentioned that she is now just cooking to her whims and cravings instead of having any real reason for making her meals each night. I’m trying to hang on to the thinly veiled mask of things making sense together but who wants to place the first bet that stops in a few weeks? I bet you my husband will be first in line. He’ll probably double down on that it will specifically be spaghetti and meatballs with a side of mashed potatoes and red bean mochi to top it off.

Back to the glazing! Gosh, these Maple-Soy Chicken Thighs ( from Cooking Light were insanely good and easy to boot. David liked them because of the maple syrup factor (of course) and I loved them paired with my favorite Asian ingredient miso in the grilled veggies (also from Cooking Light). Plus, you get to sit and glaze the heck out of stuff. I think kids might have a good time doing this in the kitchen with you if you’ve got an avid little cooker at your knee. This was simple, healthy, and filling enough to be a perfect Sunday family dinner. I know David and I both made it one of our favorites!

Spicy Chicken Thighs with Rhubarb-Cucumber Salsa

It’s that time of year again in The Pie Society kitchen when we make tons of Strawberry Rhubarb pie. I love making this pie not only because it’s delicious and a joy to make in the kitchen, but every time I purchase rhubarb at Whole Foods Market someone makes a comment that they grew up with it in their back yard and have such fond memories of this gorgeous bittersweet root. I love helping bring back memories like that through pie!

David’s reaction to this dish from Bon Appétit was hilarious. He insisted that I place a blog post up about it so all three of you would be inspired to make it and kept going “mmmm!” and pointing his finger at his almost empty plate. The spicy marinade on the chicken was a perfect complement to cool, invigorating notes of cucumber and the bitter and sweet flavors of rhubarb in the salsa. It was extremely quick to make and was so deliciously balanced we couldn’t stop talking about it the rest of the night. This is going under Emily and David favorite and I have feeling will be on rotation in our house for as long as rhubarb is in season this year!


Knock Your Socks Off Meatloaf


With a slathering of hoisin sauce and other Asian-inspired flavors such as ginger, Chinese five-spice powder, and rice vinegar stuffed inside, this was one of the most unique and flavorful meatloaf dishes I’ve ever made, and definitely my new favorite. In recent years, I’ve been attached to a meatloaf recipe from my beloved Neiman Marcus cookbook but I believe this Hoisin-Glazed Meatloaf Sandwiches from Bon Appetit has officially taken the top spot.

Each time I took a bite of this I’d go “mmmmmm! MMMMMMMM! Can you believe how good this is?” We loved the perfect crispy crust on the outside, the moist and flavorful interior and the fresh and crisp salad of radishes, carrots, cucumbers and cilantro on top (I’m telling you, don’t skip this part!). It actually reminded us of the Bahn Mi sandwiches we had at Elizabeth Street Cafe a few weeks ago. Even though meatloaf can feel a little heavy, I think this one is light enough with the salad on top that it can be enjoyed year round and is going on rotation in our house fo sho.

Elizabeth Street Cafe

On Saturday, we had a few hours to kill before a friend’s birthday party and finally had the chance to nom, nom, nom some killer Bahn Mi at Austin’s new French Vietnemese restaurant Elizabeth Street Cafe. Founded by Chef Larry McGuire who is slowly taking over Austin’s food scene one restaurant at a time (seriously, the guy has Lambert’s; Perla’s; Jeffrey’s and a new restaurant concept, Fresas opening next year). You can definitely tell this has Larry and Liz Lambert’s, what is now, signature touches to it. The curved seating, clean, bright colors, and a blend of Austin funkiness – mismatched wood chairs, eclectic artwork –  to round it out.

Now let’s get to the food. The French influence on Vietnemese food is evident in one item: the Bahn Mi. A French baguette stuffed with the flavors of Vietnam – cucumber, cilantro, carrots, jalapeño,  daikon, fish sauce and yummy pork or pate. We started with the Niman Ranch Pork Belly Steamed Buns with cucumber, scallion and hoisin sauce. Ohh, delightfully good. The buns were steamed to that just perfect pillow-soft texture and with the delicious juicy, soft pork belly it was an A+ bite of food. Exellent way to start the meal Chef McGuire.


We saw a lot of things we wanted to try on the menu but we knew our first visit to the restaurant would have to be all about the Bahn Mi. David ordered the House Specialty of Chicken Liver Mousse, Pork Pâté, Roasted Pork and I got the marinated pork. I’ve made my own Bahn Mi at home and had some at eateries here and there, but this by far was my favorite. The baguette was crispy outside (without crumbs falling all over the place), chewy on the inside with some super fresh and crunchy daikon, cucumber, carrot, jalapeño and topped with cilantro, sambal and mayonnaise with the perfectly marinated pork. In fact, they were so good, we ordered a third one to split! The housemade spicy pork meatball to be exact and yes, we snorted it. Total fat kids I know, but completely worth it.

To finish out our meal I had to get what’s being deemed as the new cupcake (honestly, I really don’t think anything is going to be the new cupcake), the canelle.  Given the fantastic house made bread (seriously, amazing stuff) I was super excited about the canelle and it had a nice moist interior with a crunchy caramel crust – it was a perfect sweet bite to end our meal. I’m happy that (a) I work down the street from this place (b) that our home is right not too far either since it’s a perfect grab-and-go restaurant for a quick Vietnamese coffee and pastry or a nice little spot to sit down and eat 85 Bahn Mi. :)



Niman Ranch Pork Belly Steamed Buns
Marinated Pork Bahn MI
Marinated Pork Bahn Mi





The Momofuku Challenge

As I’ve mentioned before, the Momofuku cook book has intimidated the heck out of me for quite some time. I’m not sure why, but the recipes can be lengthy and it seems a majority of them require a lot of marinating or sitting to make everything work. For someone with a new business, planning a wedding and remodeling a home with their adorable husband-t0-be – time is of the essence right? So I wasn’t sure if had time to tackle or take on lengthy recipes with a lot of steps. Yeah, wrong as usual.

I have three words for Chef Chang: God Bless You. I tried his Fried Chicken (with Octo Vinaigrette) and Ginger Scallion Noodles last week and I can’t get the flavors out of my head. No wonder his restaurants are so successful – the food haunts you. So memorable in fact that I’m trying a pork dish of his on top of, wait for it, Ginger Scallion Noodles. Love, love, love. I can’t wait to go to New York and actually visit one or four of his restaurants to try the real thing. Intimidated no more I am! What I also love about this cook book is Chef Chang’s tone, he can be brusque and drop tons of f-bombs (which is too funny in parts) but I also love his passion for cooking and his belief that his recipes will knock your socks off (they do poodles) which in turn makes you want to roll up your sleeves and let ‘er rip.

Give these a try and it will blow your mind. If I like the pork, I’ll share here too…wait, I did and it was AMAZING. Hands down, my favorite slow-roasted pork recipe ever and all you do is cover it in salt and sugar and sugar. Who knew? Recipes below pandas.

Recipes courtesy of Momofuku Cookbook, Published by Clarkson Potter, 2009

Fried Chicken (Serves 2 to 4)

  • 4 cups of lukewarm water
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of kosher salt
  • One 3-t0- 3 1/2 pound chicken, cut into 4 pieces (2 legs, 2 breast halves with wings attached)
  • 4 cups grapeseed or other neutral cooking oil
  • Octo Vinaigrette (below)

1. Combine the water, sugar, and salt in a large container with a lid or a large freezer bag, and stir until the sugar and salt dissolve. Add the chicken to the brine, cover or seal, and refrigerate for at least one hour and no more than six.

2. Set up steamer on the stove. Drain the chicken and discard the brine. Put the chicken in the steamer basket (if you are using a stacking Chinese-style bamboo steamer, put the legs in the bottom level and the breast on the top). Turn the heat to medium and set the lid of the steamer  ever so slightly ajar. Steam the chicken for 40 minutes, then remove it from the steamer and put it on a cooling rack to cool. Chill it in the refrigerator, preferably on the rack, for at least two hours or overnight.

3. Take the chicken out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before you fry it.

4. In a deep skillet, heat enough oil for the chicken to be submerged to 375 degrees. Fry the chicken in batches, turning once, until the skin is deep brown and crisp, six to eight minutes. Remove to a paper-towel lined plate to drain.

5. Cut the chicken into a few pieces: cut the wine from the breast, cut the breast in half, cut through the knee to separate the thigh from the drumstick. Put in a large bowl toss with the vinaigrette, and serve hot.

Octo Vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped Pickled Chiles (page 68 of the cookbook) or 1 fresh Bird’s Eye-Chile, seeded and chopped (I used the Bird’s Eye)
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of usukuchi (light soy sauce)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Combine the garlic, ginger, chile, vinegar, soy, grapeseed oil, sesame oil, sugar, and a few turns of black pepper in a lidded container and shake well. This will keep in the fridge for 4 to 5 days, and is good on everything except ostrich eggs, which is really the ostrich’s fault than the vinaigrette’s. (love him :) ).

Ginger Scallion Noodles (A must make!)

  • 2 1/2 cups thinly sliced scallions (greens and whites; from 1 to 2 large bunches)
  • 1/2  cup finely minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup finely minced peeled fresh garlic
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed or other neutral oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons usukuchi (light soy sauce)
  • 3/4 teaspoon sherry vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste

Mix together scallions, ginger, oil, soy, vinegar, and salt in a bowl. Taste and check for salt, adding more if needed. Though it’s best aftre 15 to 20 minutes of sitting, ginger scallion sauce is good from the minute it’s stirred together up to a day or two in the fridge. Use as directed, apply as needed.


  • 1 whole 8-to-10 pound bone-in Boston Pork Butt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup plus one tablespoon kosher salt
  • 7 tablespoons light brown sugar

1. Put the pork shoulder in a roasting pan, ideally one that hold it snugly. Mix together the granulated sugar and one cup of the salt in a bowl, then rub the mixture into the meat; discard any excess salt-and-sugar mixture.  Cover the pan with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for at least 6 hours, or overnight.

2. Heat the oven to 300 degrees. Remove the pork from the refrigerator and discard any juices that have accumulated. Put the pork in the oven and cook for 6 hours, basting with rendered fat and pan juices every hour. The pork should be tender and yielding at this point – it should offer almost no resistance to the blade of a knife and you should be able to easily pull meat of the shoulder with a fork. Depending on your schedule, you can serve the pork right away or let is rest and mellow out at room temperature for up to an hour.

3. When ready to serve…turn the oven to 500 degrees.

4. Stir together the remaining one tablespoon salt and brown sugar and rub the mixture all over the pork. Put it in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes, until the sugar has melted into a crisp, sweet crust. (Emily just drooled)

Spicy Pork with Asparagus and Chile

Tuesdays are my late night in the kitchen, but I still find it very important that we get a good meal on the table. Before I left to bake, I mis en placed (yes that’s a word…) all of the ingredients for this Spicy Pork with Asparagus and Chile from Bon Appetit. So, I combined the soy sauce, dry sherry and cornstarch; trimmed the asparagus, minced the red jalapeno chile and garlic; and finally, combined oyster sauce, honey and remaining soy sauce.

I’m so happy I did this prior to leaving because when I got home this was done in about 10 minutes.  I was a little worried that this might too heavy given it’s a little hot outside, but actually it was really light and refreshing. The flavors were delicious and it had a great spicy zing.

If you want a SUPER quick meal that’s delicious, light and spicy make this tonight!

Spicy Pork with Asparagus and Chile (Photo by Nigel Cox)

That’s A Spicy Meatball!

Ah Sriracha sauce, what a fiery little condiment you are. I don’t know how you came to be so popular these days, but I’m certainly happy you did. I’ve enjoyed you mixed in with mayonnaise to make a spicy dip, on Bahn Mi sandwiches and as an added kick in some of my favorite Asian soups. But in meatballs and marinara sauce? Me thinks not. For those of you who enjoy Sriarcha you know this packs a spicy punch that hits your palette and fades away so you are not writhing in pain. Everyday Food has a whole section dedicated to Sriracha in their January/February 2011 issue including recipes such as meatballs and marinara, potstickers and chicken wings. According to the magazine: The sweet and spicy blend of red chiles, garlic, sugar, salt and vinegar is named after the seaside town of Sriracha (SIR-rotch-ah) in Thailand…The California-based company Huy Fong Foods makes most of the Sriracha sauce sold in the U.S. It’s rooster logo earned it the nickname “rooster sauce.”


It was a tough choice, but I decided to make the Sriracha Marinara and Meatballs dish. The only thing I had to substitute was very lean ground beef for pork, otherwise I followed this exactly and it was killer. Killer because it tasted good and because it was SPICY. I think as a young child growing up in Texas I gravitated towards anything spicy and now my tolerance level is starting to fade rapidly. There might have been some perspiration, mouthbreathing and sinus clearing during and after eating this but I still loved it, and yes it faded away as quickly as it came. What a unique take on pasta and marinara sauce! We really loved the flavor of the meatballs and how they held their shape beautifully. I think broiling in the oven really helped. I can’t find the recipe online so here you go. If you like spice you will LOVE this!

Sriracha Marinara and Meatballs, Everyday Food, January/February 2011

For the meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground white-meat turkey
  • 2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1/3 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
  • 2 large egg whites
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • Nonstick cooking spray

For the sauce:

  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced small
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 cans (28 ounces each) crushed tomatoes
  • ¼ cup Sriracha sauce
  • 1 pound spaghetti or other long pasta
  • ½ cup fresh parsley leaves, roughly chopped, for serving
  1. Heat broiler, with rack in top position. Place pork, turkey, spinach, breadcrumbs, egg whites, oregano, 1 ½ teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. With your hands, mix to combine; roll into forty 1-inch meatballs. Arrange meatballs on a rimmed baking sheet. Lightly coat with cooking spray. Broil until golden brown, 10 minutes, rotating halfway through.
  2. In a large heavy pot, heat oil over medium. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, 6 minutes. Add tomatoes and Sriracha and bring to a simmer. Add meatballs and simmer 10 minutes.
  3. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions.  Drain pasta, add to pot with sauce and meatball, and toss to coat. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Miso Happy!

This month’s At the Market section of the January Bon Appetit focuses on Miso. To be honest, I only know miso from the traditional soup you get at Japanese restaurants, so I was very intrigued to learn more about the mysterious miso. First, what the heck is it exactly? According to Bon Appetit: Miso is fermented paste with a bold, salty flavor. Most of the miso sold in the U.S. is made from soybeans and rice or barley, but it can also be made from brown rice, millet, garbanzo beans, and other beans.  It’s also a source of Umami or Savory, aka the fifth flavor, along with Sweet, Salty, Sour and Bitter.  We tried naming the four last night and it was like listing the seven dwarfs, you always manage to forget one no matter how easy it is! If you want an in-depth look at what Umami is, check out the UMAMI Information Center  (UIC).  Hi yeah, UIC? If you ever need a taste-tester call me, mean it!  Also, miso comes in three colors on a range of taste intensity from mellow white, a little bit stronger yellow and the kapow version, red. Naturally, I gravitated towards the red version.

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Apricot-Miso Glaze (Photo by Kenji Toma)

This Roast Pork Tenderloin with Apricot-Miso Glaze was well, just genius. You can find miso here in Austin at Whole Foods Market and I got mine for $8. A little pricey but considering the fact that it lasts up to a year in the fridge and now I would like to dollop it on my cereal, I consider it a good investment. I loved the flavors of the sauce: apricot preserves, red miso, Champagne vinegar, orange peel and garlic clove. You slather it on the tenderloin, roast, roast, roast, slather, slather, roast, roast and then let the tenderloin set. While the juices redistribute, you finish off the sauce with simple chicken broth to give it a silky texture and pour all over your pork. I took one bite and might have let out an expletive. This was heavenly and so simple to make. I served on the side with some garlic and soy sauce wok-seared baby bok choy. See, see, I’m still being healthy!

I realize purchasing miso might steer you clear of this dish but lambs, have I ever led you down the wrong path? Oy, I hope  not. If you are up for something adventurous give this dish the chance it deserves. I for one know I’m going to experiment more with my red miso. Maybe next time, salmon!

Saigon Chicken Salad

Or as I like to call it, the kitchen sink salad. Lambs, this has a SERIOUS ingredient list- 22 to be exact. The only reason why I was even pondering giving it a try is because it comes from the kitchen of one of my chef super poodles, Susan Feniger!This little beaut of a salad graces the January cover of Bon Appetit and is the centerpiece for their healthy eating focus. 

This salad requires a few unique ingredients so spots where you see Sparkled Unicorn Horns OR you can use light brown sugar or Fluffy Clouds from a 78 degree sky OR you can use red radishes, I always went with the latter. I’m being mean I know, but seriously who wants to go find palm sugar and keffir lime leaves? I sometimes don’t mind for a recipe,  but typically  if I’ve got cost-effective but still tasty alternative  that doesn’t make me go all over Austin then I’m down.

Saigon Chicken Salad (Photo by Jose Picayo)

Let’s get to the marinade shall we? AMAZING. Amazing. Amazing. That is all. I will use this for marinating chicken whenever I can. Wow. Granted there is lemongrass in it which can sometimes be hard to find but hey, it’s worth it.

Second, the salad. It was good. The dressing was spicy, sweet and easy to make. And this dish had a flotilla of vegetables. I swear lambs I felt my whole body getting healthier while eating this, just look you’ve got: cabbage, radishes, carrots, tomatoes, green onions, garlic, green beans, cucumbers etc, etc. You know what my inner Emily said when I read this recipe? “I seriously should think about purchasing a Slap Chop before I do this.” To be honest it wasn’t that bad and the chicken didn’t take too long. My goodness, I’m still thinking about how amazing that chicken was.

Overall, I would definitely make the chicken (you are saying “no crap Emily, really?” aren’t you?) and then pile on top of whatever salad vegetable goodies you have floating around the kitchen!