Category Archives: This may contain fish sauce or anchovies

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





Girl Power!

You might be saying to yourself, “self, doth my eyes deceive me or is this really a new Cooking Inside the Lines post?” Yes it is, and I also made you sound like a Shakespearean actor, ha! I know, I know. I’ve been really bad about posting but I have managed to try some fantastic recipes recently, even in the midst of planning a wedding and running my own pie business. I still can’t believe I get to marry the man of my dreams next month. I am just dripping with happiness that I get to be Mrs. Emily Kealey!  Sorry, I digress.

Food and Wine magazine has this excellent little slideshow featuring recipes from top female chefs, and I have the pleasure of telling you that the three I tried were all rock stars. Go ladies, do your thang! I liked these so much, that I’m trying three more from this round-up this week to see how they turn out. Scout’s honor, I will keep you posted. In the meantime, give these three beauties a try. Here they are with my thoughts:

Spicy Chicken Cacciatore – Deep , rich, spicy flavors. A beautiful dish from Chef Barbara Lynch. We loved this “deconstructed” version of a chicken cacciatore, and I love me some chicken cacciatore so I’ve tried many at home. See, you don’t have to pick from the litter, just make this one!

Spicy Chicken Cacciatore (Photo by Marcus Nilsson)

Seared Scallops with Basil, Anchovy and Sweet Corn Pudding – When I saw the pairing of these two dishes I thought, “hmm not sure if they fit together, but they both sound so delicious, let’s just see.” Well, they don’t pair really. I would like to serve the Sweet Corn Pudding with some kind of ham smothered in some kind of gravy. The scallops were just delicious with the basil and anchovies, and I think I would have liked it better if they were nestled on top of a turnip or parsnip puree. They are just so elegant that the pudding kind of threw us off. Either way, both were delicious, and quick to boot.

Seared Scallops with Basil, Anchovy and Sweet Corn Pudding (Photo by Anna Williams)

Hanger Steak with Herb-Nut Salsa – Hands down our favorite of the group. They had us at herb-nut salsa and Chef Naomi Pomeroy is one of my favorites. This was quick, delicious, crunchy, savory, herbalicious and packed a super flavor punch. if I’m in a pinch and want something I know is going to be the bomb, this is it.

Hangar Steak with Herb-Nut Salsa (Photo by Petrina Tinslay)







That is one hot salad….

Here’s my pretend conversation with Gwyneth Paltrow about her dish, Hot Niçoise Salad.

Emily: So, let me get this straight. You are smart, funny, a great actress, gorgeous, married to Chris Martin from Coldplay, have two beautiful kids, an Oscar, a blogtravelled Spain with Mario Batali and Mark Bittman and now the most amazing thing you’ve accomplished (I kid, I kid) was the creation of this Hot Niçoise Salad. You’re an alien aren’t you?

Gwyneth: You’ll have to speak to my publicist.

Emily: Well, regardless this was absolutely incredible, something I’m going to add to my weekly diet, full of delicious flavors, simple to make, David and I might have snorted it in five seconds and it turned out to be a staff favorite at Food & Wine. I mean really, only an alien could create this amongst EVERYTHING ELSE you do. Hugs, sparkles and unicorn horns. XOXO.

Hot Niçoise Salad
P.S. I loved you in Sliding Doors.

No Hurry Curry

I, well, I have no words really to describe this Malaysian Beef Curry from Bon Appétit. It was so rich in flavor and the beef was so fork tender, I kind of whimpered after I ate it. If you are into a kind of lengthy prep and ingredients that may send you on a wee bit of scavenger hunt, then this is for you. With lemongrass, tamarind paste, dried New Mexico chiles, more lemongrass, coconut milk, fish sauce (YAY!), and star anise, it is definitely out of my usual comfort zone for cooking at home but WORTH IT. Ha, just check out the ingredient info from the magazine to see what I mean: New Mexico chiles can be found at some supermarkets and at Latin markets. Fish sauce and coconut milk are sold at supermarkets and Asian markets. Look for star anise, star-shaped seedpods, in the spice section of the supermarket. Tamarind is available in Asian and Indian markets.

Although the spice paste takes a little time the worst part is waiting for this to cook while it fills your house with such a lovely aroma it makes your mouth water. I served this over basmati rice with fresh cilantro and lime wedges. I took a first bite and was like “meh it’s pretty good”. Then I realized I clearly didn’t include enough of the delicious sauce/paste it had cooked in. After topping with a boatload of sauce I gave it a second bite, whimpered and kept saying mmmmmmmmm over and over again.

For those adventurous cooks out there this is a great dish to serve to family and friends. Even if this a wee bit our of your usual dinner plans I urge you to try, it’s an amazingly flavorful dish. Trust me, I’m not an expert.

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!

Thai Beef Salad

A flavorful salad that’s done in about 20 minutes max? Sold to the Thai Beef Salad from Cooking Light! In a section all about shortcuts and fast recipes this one stood out to me. One, I heart fish sauce. Lambs, I know that’s a crazy thing to swoon over but I love the salty bite and unique flavor it lends to dishes. Maybe I should produce an “I Heart Fish Sauce” t-shirt? Anyone with me?

Thai Beef Salad (Photo by John Autry)

Two, the flavor combinations looked to die for with cilantro, cabbage, soy sauce, lime juice, honey, orange zest, serrano chile and mandarin oranges. Three, it’s a simple, hardly no-cook recipe that worked around our current kitchen status. We simply broiled the steaks in our Wolf microwave/convection oven to medium rare and made the rest of the salad while it cooked. The one thing that really stood out to me was the dressing. After making it in the food processor I gave it a taste and then did a little jig in our kitchen. Emily jig = really, really good.

Give this one a try for a super fast, delicious and healthy salad, and don’t skimp on the fish sauce.

Thai Me Over

As a part of the ongoing no-cook meal week I chose Cooking Light’s Thai Beef Rolls and Chef Jamie Oliver’s Thai Mango Salad for a little Tuesday Thai night.

The Thai Beef Rolls were extremely simple to put together and the sauce is what made this dish. First of all, I love fish sauce. Similar to the saltiness that anchovies provide, fish sauce lends a perfect bite and balance to the sugar, lime juice, sesame oil, garlic and ginger. Plus we heart roast beef so this was a winner for sure.

On to the Thai Mango Salad. Um, this rocked. We didn’t make the prawns since we had the roast beef in the rolls but I can see how they would be an awesome addition. This salad was so fresh, colorful and delicious I made enough for leftovers the next day, but once I started picking the unripe mango out of the rest of the bowl we heaped the rest onto our plates and nom, nom, nomed. Plus you can’t feel too guilty about eating an extra helping of bell peppers, mango and cucumbers can you? I didn’t have fresh coriander (or cilantro, thank you Nicole!) but used ground instead and it worked perfectly.

This meal was fast, full of fresh Thai-inspired flavors and that salad is going to be a go-to staple from now. Thanks Chef Oliver, you are such a poodle!

My Super Slow-Roasted Sunday

Austin’s weather today was soupy, cold and gray or the perfect weather to slow-roast the heck out of my entire dinner! Cooking Light did a whole slow-roasting recipe smorgasbord and you can just tell the test kitchen staff had fun with these recipes. It makes me wonder if they slow-roasted a lot of things and if so what didn’t make it to the magazine pages? I have to say whatever fun they were having translated into some amazingly delicious recipes. Let’s go through this slowly shall we lambs?

Now it has been written on Cooking Inside the Lines before that I hate salmon. Not dislike or despise, hate, so what compelled me to try this Slow-Roasted Brown Sugar and Dill Cured Salmon recipe? Well, it is in an instant favorite amongst Cooking Light staff, which I always trust, and the flavors of dill and brown sugar made me think it would cover up the salmony flavor that I’m not a fan of. Also, it mentioned that slow-roasting the fish gives it a velvety texture which is definitely what I need if I’m going to try salmon. The result? We have a winner! Now I’m not going to join the salmon cha-cha line but I might be intrigued to shake my hips with this recipe. The brown sugar and dill lended a beautiful flavor to the salmon and they were right, the texture was velvety and made it so much more enjoyable.

To accompany the salmon, I also made the Aromatic Slow-Roasted Tomatoes which, as they mention, brings out the natural sweetness of the plum tomatoes. As I was eating these on top of fresh watercress I thought these would be amazing on top of a pizza or food processed and used for a tomato sauce on top of pasta with Parmesan. I ate them on top of salad and they were delicious, delicious, delicous.

Finally, for dessert, I made the Slow-Roasted Grape and Yogurt Parfaits. Through roasting, the grapes still retained their burst-y (yes that’s a word) texture and it does sweeten them overall. With this recipe they had me at Greek yogurt and honey which is one of my favorite combinations. With the crunchy, toasted walnuts in the layers of parfait you’ve got a perfect, crunchy, creamy, sweet, good-for-you dessert.

On a cooking note if you should desire to recreate this entire meal, I started curing the salmon this morning and then cooked the grapes and tomatoes at the same time and then simply removed when they were complete. Once the salmon was ready I cooked per the time instructed and placed the tomatoes and grapes in around 20 minutes or so at the end with the salmon to warm them up.
As a final side note (sorry for the long post but hey at least it’s about food and not calculus right?), I made a delicious Thai Coconut Lime-Soup with Chicken from Bon Appetit. Now I didn’t have kaffir lime leaves (who does?) or sake (gosh, but I should have that on standby always – tee hee hee) but I made this soup anyway to enjoy for lunch today and tomorrow and it was still awesome. I couldn’t find the recipe online so here you go. Enjoy!
Thai Coconut-Lime Soup with Chicken
Bon Appetit, December 2009
8 First-Course Servings
2 stalks fresh lemongrass
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups chopped onion (about 1 large)
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
4 red Thai chilis or 2 red jalapeno chiles, thinly sliced into rings, seeded (I used jalapenos)
3 cups low-salt chicken broth
1/2 cup sake
4 cups canned unsweetened coconut milk (I used the low-fat version)
8 kaffir lime leaves
3 tablespoons fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves plus sprigs for garnish
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons sugar
8 ounces skinless boneless chicken breast halves cut crosswise into thin strips (y’all I used a store-bought rotisserie chicken)
Chopped green onions
Discard all but bottom 4 inches of lemongrass stalks. Peel off tough outer layers. Mince lemongrass. Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and ginger; cook until onion beings to soften, about 3 minutes. Add chilis and lemongrass; stir 1 minute. Add broth and sake; simmer 5 minutes. Add coconut milk, lime leaves, fish sauce, cilantro leaves, lime juice and sugar; simmer 30 minutes. Add chicken and simmer just until cooked through about 4 minutes.

Divide soup among bowls. Garnish with green onions and cilantro sprigs.

I Heart Portland (Maine that is)

Can I share a vision in my mind with you? I envision Portland, Maine as this super duper gentle place full of delicious food and chilly, fall days with beautiful coastlines. I know they have summer but shushie we are in my vision. Maybe something like this…

Now, I have never been to Maine, let alone Portland (someday lambs, someday), but I am still quite happy for the city to receive the honor of America’s Foodiest Small Town 2009 from Bon Appetit. I kind of hate that word foodie or foodiest but that’s another story, because I would go there in a heartbeat after reading about the food.

Wanna hear why? An excerpt from the magazine article to tickle your tastebuds:

First, it’s got great product, from oysters to fiddlehead ferns. Second, the town has attracted stellar chefs who know how to turn these resources into great food. Third, it even has a signature meal, breakfast, that turns the first fare of the day into a celebration of all this bounty. And finally, it has citizens who expect a lot, and get even more.

They had me at breakfast.

The magazine featured this absolutely bonkers recipe from a local restaurant in Maine called Cod with Mussels, Chorizo, Fried Croutons and Saffron Mayonnaise. I say bonkers because wow you guys did I pick a lengthy recipe for the week night or what? What was I thinking? I’ll tell you exactly what I was thinking, I had to try this now and nothing was going to stop me. I also use the word bonkers because the combination of these ingredients was intense, just look at the title of the recipe to paint your own mental picture.

Yes, there was a lot going on here but it all really came together for me to truly love it. From the creamy, saffron mayonnaise and delicious, moist cod that has been roasted in clam juice (hold on it’s not bad) and white wine (see I told you) to the spicy chorizo and succulent mussels with their delicious broth plus the fried sourdough croutons that soaked up said broth to absolute perfection. Wow.


I’ll pack the bags you go start the car.

(Recipe photo from Bon

Flexing My Cooking Mussels!

I love mussels, especially with some warm, toasty bread so you can dip it in the delicious broth once you are done…exquisite. I have never attempted to cook mussels at home and I have to admit this was very similar to my scallop-phobia which I have quickly overcome. Was I as successful with mussels? It is a resounding yes my friends!
I came across this Coconut and Basil Steamed Mussels recipe in Cooking Light and the dialogue in my head was something like:
Emily: “I love mussels but would I dare try to make them at home? I will probably massacre the poor little buggers.”
Emily: “Maybe, but you never know unless you try.”
Yoda: “Do or do not, there is no try.”
I don’t know why Yoda popped in my head but that green, big-eared creature is right, I must just do it!
I was certainly surprised at how super-easy and delicious this turned out. I love the flavor combination of chicken broth, coconut milk, fresh basil, fish sauce, lime juice and Sriracha (spicy!) and it worked beautifully with the mussels. I served this with a side of scallion rice and sauteed spinach as suggested.
I also enjoyed this with a crisp and light Montecillo 2006 Rioja white wine that complemented the flavors really well and is on sale for $10 at Whole Food Market. From the back of the bottle “It is a dry, smooth and fruity wine with notes of pear and wild apple. Suited for drinking as an appertif or with grilled or sauteed fish, seafood, pasta or paella or Emily’s amazing mussels”…ok last part was a stretch.
I will now seek out mussel recipes and see what else can be done, maybe next time with some toasted bread?