Vietnamese caramel shrimp (Rim Tom)
Today I was looking at one of those online food sites that present one beautifully photographed food picture after another, just like a drum roll. I needed inspiration and figured this would be as good a way as any to find something delicious-looking to recreate. I scrolled by the desserts and all of the breads and anything that looked overly-rich.
I spied some lovely shrimp on a bed of rice. A click or two later and I was reviewing a recipe with a name as delectable as the dish itself. And to make matters even more positive, I had everything (almost) required to make it in my possession.
This tasted every bit as good as it looks. The only deviation I made from the recipe was that I did not have the peppers, so to save a trip to the store, I added one teaspoon of chili garlic sauce to the dish. I served this over Jasmine rice.
A recipe adapted from closetcooking.com
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 finely chopped shallot
- 2 cloves finely chopped garlic
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 small chili, chopped
- 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- Ground pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- Green part of one green onion, sliced, for garnish
Heat the sugar and 1/4 cup water in a large pan on medium-high heat until it caramelizes and turns a dark brown. (Watch carefully, as once it begins to turn golden it will brown very quickly.)
Carefully add the remaining 1/4 cup water and heat until the caramel dissolves. The caramel sauce will foam up quite a bit so you need to be careful as you add the water. Remove from heat and set aside.
Heat the oil in a separate pan. Add the shallot, garlic, ginger and chili and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the shrimp, 2 tablespoons of the caramel sauce, fish sauce and pepper and simmer until the shrimp is pink all over and cooked through, about 2 to 4 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in the sesame oil and cilantro. Serve.
This glorious salad was my lunch today.
Over a bed of chopped romaine lettuce I added edamame beans, julienned carrots, an orange cut into supremes, roasted peanuts, water chestnuts, green onions, crispy wonton strips (leftover from the wontons I made the other day) a sprinkling of sesame seeds, and finally, a big handful of shrimp.
Soy and Citrus Salad dressing was spooned over the top.
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoon lime juice
- 2 tablespoons orange juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Whisk all of the ingredients together and serve.
It has been only 24 hours since I started craving wonton soup but I don’t remember what triggered the desire.
I’m lying. I know exactly the reason. I’ve missed being here. I have missed having the time to mix and chop and carefully execute food. I needed something I could pour my heart into. I missed twisting my favorite macro lens onto my camera and shuttling food onto the old crate in our cold garage to photograph. I needed to make something that required labor-intensive energy.
For only a brief part of my day, I was able enjoy making these amazing wontons. Even before cooking them our kitchen smelled of ginger, dark sesame oil and green onions. I worked as fast as I could and the result was more delicious than I could have ever predicted. It felt so good to be back in my element.
If you make these you will love them. Be sure to let the wontons cook for 5 minutes so the noodles have the right texture. (They’re gummy if they are undercooked.) Also, don’t overfill them or they will burst while cooking. Make tons and freeze any you don’t use for other memorable meals. This recipe made 48 wontons.
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 2 ounces finely chopped raw shrimp
- 1 teaspoon minced green onion
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice wine
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/2 of one lightly beaten egg
- Chicken broth
- 1 carrot, juilenned
- Green part of green onion, thinly sliced for garnish
Combine all filling ingredients in a large bowl. Let filling sit for 30 minutes for flavors to infuse.
Put a little bit of water in a shallow dish. Create wontons by spooning slightly less than one teaspoon of filling in the center of a wonton wrapper. With your finger, brush bottom and sides with water. Bring top of wrapper down to meet edge of wrapper, and then fold in half again horizontally to bottom. Bring sides together and secure with a dab of water and a pinch. Continue to make wontons, covering with a slightly damp paper towel so they don’t dry out.
Depending on how many servings you make, bring clear chicken broth to simmer in a sauce pan and add carrots. In the meantime, bring water to boil in a separate sauce pan and add wontons. After 5 minutes of cooking, remove wontons from water with a slotted spoon and gently put them in the chicken broth. Serve with carrots and garnish with onions.
If you feel the soup needs salt, stir a little soy sauce into the broth.
An unsolicited dinner request for crispy fish sandwiches
People around here rarely give me dinner suggestions. I used to have to beg for ideas because I would either run dry or feel stuck in a rut. Therefore, I was delighted to get an unsolicited submission the other day for crispy fish sandwiches. The request even came with what kind of bread it should be on and if lettuce could be included. Ahhh. Something I could really sink my teeth into, literally.
I went to the store that evening and found perfect, hand-cut, sandwich-size pieces of halibut in the freezer. They measured about 3 by 4-inches and were almost 1/2-inch thick. I had intended to buy fresh, but the lady at the fish counter directed me to these after she asked what I was up to. (They know me there.) After I left the store I headed to a nearby Vietnamese French bakery and swooped in to buy a soft baguette.
The directions below made three, mind blowing sandwiches.
To make these, I decided to use a bound breading for the crust. I arranged three plates on my counter. The first had about 1/3 cup of flour to which I mixed in a little salt, some pepper and 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning. The second plate held one beaten egg. I poured about 1/2 cup of panko crumbs into the third plate.
About one half cup (possibly more? I didn’t measure) of canola oil heated in my sauté pan as I breaded the fish. Fish pieces were dredged in the seasoned flour and excess flour was shaken off. They got dipped in the egg and then rolled around in the panko crumbs. Into the hot oil they went and fried until brown and crispy on one side and then turned and cooked on the other. I carefully removed them from the oil and let them drain on paper towels.
The baguette was sliced, homemade, lemony Russian dressing was spread and crispy romaine leaves were added.
Good Lord. What a sandwich.
Individual white chicken pizzas
I was spending a lengthy commute the other day flipping through my newest (March, 2014) Cooking Light magazine. A recipe for little pizzas topped with ricotta cheese and shredded rotisserie chicken caught my eye. Other than making the ricotta cheese from scratch (which they promised was key), the recipe sounded fairly quick. It called for fresh, store-bought pizza dough and shredded chicken, which was already in my possession.
Have you ever made ricotta cheese? This was my second attempt, with similar, dismal results. And yes, the end product was creamy, but because I had a million things going on, waiting another 30 minutes for it to continue to drain through the sieve was no longer an option. Therefore the quantity was lacking and it was a bit on the thin side. Note to self - obviously the one half cup herb-infused olive oil called for would be waaay too much to stir into this cheese.
Ricotta cheese debacle aside, after lots of rework, these mini pizzas were outstanding. I’ve modified the recipe to use store-bought ricotta (I love it right out of the container) and I because the recipe already called for fresh mozzarella as well, I left out the pre-shredded Italian blend cheese that was a listed ingredient.
A recipe inspired from Cooking Light magazine.
- 1 pound refrigerated fresh pizza dough, divided
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 8 garlic cloves, crushed
- 4 thyme sprigs
- 1 generous cup ricotta cheese
- 12 ounces shredded cooked chicken breast
- 3 ounces fresh part-skim mozzarella cheese, torn into small pieces
- 1 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup small fresh basil leaves
Place a pizza stone or heavy baking sheet in oven. Preheat oven to 450° (keep pizza stone or baking sheet in oven as it preheats).
Let pizza dough rest, covered, at room temperature as oven preheats.
Combine oil and next 4 ingredients (through thyme sprigs) in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook 4 minutes or until garlic begins to brown, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Strain mixture through a fine sieve over a small bowl; discard solids.
Combine 2 tablespoons of the oil with ricotta cheese and salt. (You’ll have extra olive oil which you can use for another recipe.)
Divide dough into 6 equal pieces (about 2.5 ounces each). Roll each piece into a 6-inch circle on a lightly floured surface (keep dough covered with a damp towel to prevent drying). Spread about 1 1/2 tablespoons ricotta cheese mixture over each pizza, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Divide chicken and mozzarella cheese evenly among pizzas; sprinkle evenly with thyme leaves and black pepper. Carefully remove pizza stone from oven. Arrange 3 to 4 pizzas on pizza stone. Bake at 450° F. for 8 minutes or until dough is golden and cheese browns. Repeat procedure with remaining pizzas, or follow freezing instructions.
Brush baked pizzas with a little bit of the oil and sprinkle evenly with fresh basil leaves.
TO FREEZE: Bake pizzas on preheated stone for only 5 minutes. Cool; wrap individually in heavy-duty foil, stack, and freeze up to 2 months.
TO REHEAT: No thawing: Place frozen pizzas on a baking sheet that’s not preheated; bake at 450° for 13 minutes or until cheese browns.
Sleepy Monk Organic Coffee Roasters
Another beautiful weekend at the Oregon beach. Visiting this spot restores my soul.