Thai Rice Soup (Khao Tom)

Guys! It’s been so long. I know. I’m sorry. But I got so much done in the interim. In fact, making this soup and timing it with Matt’s availability to photograph it on a weekend reminded me of how much effort it takes to bon appétempt. First, you have …

Guys! It's been so long. I know. I'm sorry. But I got so much done in the interim. In fact, making this soup and timing it with Matt's availability to photograph it on a weekend reminded me of how much effort it takes to bon appétempt. First, you have to find a new recipe (you have to make time to browse cookbooks and magazines). You have to seek out ingredients you usually don't buy (lemon grass, white pepper). You have to make the recipe (chop five shallots and slice eight cloves of garlic, ETC.), and then you must enjoy the recipe (someone has to convince Isaac to go watch Shaun the Sheep). But, I'm glad we did it. It was delicious and refreshing, especially for Matt whose been suffering from whatever kind of cold the kids had this past week (or three). I don't know if we'll make this exact soup again, though definitely a variation thereof. The meatballs came together so quickly and would be so good in a simple broth with some rice added to it.  

Speaking of broth, we may not have had the energy/bandwidth to try and document new recipes, but Matt has been making chicken stock on Sundays about twice a month with the carcass of a roasted chicken (plus veggies, herbs, and a bag of fresh chicken backs in a deal he's worked out with the egg guy from the Atwater farmers' market?). It's been quite special and also very Ina Garten of me to always have a freezer full of homemade chicken stock. 
When recipes call for white pepper, I usually use black anyway, but the meatballs in the Milk Street photo of this recipe looked so pale and white that I decided to get some. It was also a good opportunity to use my mortar and pestle. In the words of Patience Gray: “Pounding fragrant things—particularly garlic, basil, parsley—is a tremendous antidote to depression.” TRUTH.

OK, so what have I been up to, apart from chopping all these shallots? So much! 

1. I turned in a revised, respectable 307-page draft of my novel to my agent. I've hardly shared it with anyone. I have no idea what my agent will think/say. It kind of boggles my mind in a way, that I wrote another book without anyone asking me to / sans paycheck, and yet at the same time it makes perfect sense. Whether or not this book gets published, I needed to write it. I did write it. So there.

2. I'm starting a podcast with my friend Edan Lepucki. It's called Mom Rage. I hope you'll listen to it! We're aiming to air the first two episodes in mid-May. To read more about it, please go to our website. OR follow us on Instagram or Twitter

3. Yoga and gymnastics. Yoga and gymnastics are basically the new Bon Appétempt. When I started this blog, it felt so necessary and vital for me. Right now, yoga and gymnastics (i.e. feeling strong in my body) are the vital things. Maybe it's a mid-life crisis? Maybe it's not being pregnant or breastfeeding? Maybe it's just incredibly fun?
Thai Rice Soup (Khao Tom) slightly adapted from Milk Street
serves 4

8 ounces ground pork [next time I'll get closer to a pound b/c those meatballs were goooooood.]
3 tablespoons fish sauce, divided, plus extra to serve
2 tablespoons chili-garlic sauce, divided 
kosher salt and ground white pepper
3 tablespoons lard or coconut oil (or some sort of neutral oil)
5 large shallots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1/2 a head of green cabbage, chopped (optional) [We had leftover cabbage in the fridge.]
8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 lemon grass stalks, trimmed to bottom 6 inches, dry outer leaves removed, lightly bruised
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
2 1/2 quarts chicken broth (homemade, if you have a partner who makes some as his Sunday passion project)
4 cups cooked, chilled jasmine rice [Whenever I make rice now, I make a ton. We always eat it somehow. Usually via kimchi fried rice.] 
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons lime juice plus lime wedges, to serve
soft-boiled eggs, peeled and halved, to serve

In a medium bowl, mix the pork, 1 tablespoon of the fish sauce, 1 tablespoon of the chili-garlic sauce and 3/4 teaspoon white pepper. Form into 20 small meatballs. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.

In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, heat the lard until shimmering. Add the hard-fought sliced shallots and cabbage (if using) and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened or maybe even browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the lemon grass and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the broth and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Reduce to medium and simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove and discard the lemon grass. Add the meatballs, stir gently and simmer until the meatballs are just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the rice and cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Off heat, stir in the remaining two tablespoons fish sauce, remaining 1 tablespoon chili-garlic sauce, 1 teaspoon white pepper, the cilantro and lime juice. Ladle into bowls and serve with egg halves, chili-garlic sauce and lime wedges. 

Pistachio Rosewater Cake with Labneh Frosting from Yogurt and a Fall Paris Workshop

Please excuse the phone photography here. I baked this pistachio rosewater cake for fun (imagine that) but so many folks over on instagram were interested in the recipe so I a…

pistachio rosewater cake from Yogurt

Please excuse the phone photography here. I baked this pistachio rosewater cake for fun (imagine that) but so many folks over on instagram were interested in the recipe so I am sharing it - along with a very exciting announcement!

Olaiya and I had such a long waitlist for our Paris workshop this Spring (thank you!) that we added another workshop this September 20-24. The format will be pretty much the same as the Spring version - think lots of pastry, delicious wine and cheese, market visits, prop shopping, and some solid photo, styling, and editing lessons in the city of light. This trip is for anyone looking to build their photography and styling skills (all levels welcome) and enjoy lots of beautiful food in one of the most amazing cities in the world. I am so excited to explore Paris in the fall, I am dreaming of the markets already! 


Click Here to Reserve Your Spot!

Now for the cake! This comes from Molly's Shortstack all about Yogurt. It is full of sweet and savory recipes using her (and my) favorite dairy product. I grew up eating yogurt as a mostly savory food, but it is awesome in all sorts of sweet preparations too - like cake. Molly uses Labneh, a very thick and tangy type of yogurt as frosting for this pleasantly rustic, but also kinda fancy pistachio cake. If you aren't a fan of rosewater, the cake would be just as good without it too.

Pistachio Rosewater Cake with Labneh Frosting

from Yogurt by Molly Yeh

makes one 9-inch cake

This cake is so simple and tasty, and super beautiful too! I reduced the sugar in the cake and frosting by about 1/3 to suit my personal tastes, and added some strawberries on top because strawberries, pistachio, and rose are a natural paring. Did you know strawberries and roses are in the same botanical family?! The recipe below is as it is printed in the book and when I made it I used 1 cup of sugar in the cake and 2/3 cup sugar in the frosting. 

Cake

1 1/2 cups roasted unsalted shelled pistachios

3/4 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup almond meal

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

4 large eggs

zest of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon almond extract

2 tablespoons rosewater

Labneh Frosting

1 1/2 cups labneh

1 cup confectioners sugar

1 tablespoon rosewater

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch kosher salt

Make the cake: Preheat the oven 350º. Grease the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan with butter and line the bottom with parchment paper, set aside. Place the pistachios in a food processor and pulse until they’re coarsely chopped. Scoop out 2 tablespoons and set them aside for the topping. Blend the remaining pistachios until they’re finely ground. add the flour, almond meal and salt and pulse a few times to combine.

In a stand mixer fixed with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each, then add the lemon zest, almond extract and rosewater. Add the dry mixture ad mix until just combined. Pour the batter into the pan and use a spatula to smooth the top. Bake the cake until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (begin checking for doneness at 50 minutes). Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it onto a wire rack to cool completely. 

Make the labneh frosting: In a medium bowl, stir together the labneh, sugar, rosewater, vanilla, and salt until the mixture is smooth. Cover the top of the cooled cake with the frosting. Top with the reserved pistachios and a few sprinkles of dried rose petals.

Lemon Bundt Cake

The sun is shining, the snow is melting quickly, and it finally, finally, feels like spring. I began to despair this moment wouldn’t arrive when a blizzard dumped nearly two f…

The sun is shining, the snow is melting quickly, and it finally, finally, feels like spring. I began to despair this moment wouldn't arrive when a blizzard dumped nearly two feet of snow last weekend . After months spent indoors, the appearance of warmer weather feels like releasing a breath I didn't realize I was holding. 

Lemons remind me of spring. The bright color and pucker-worthy flavor are a seasonal wake-up call. With this Lemon Bundt Cake, I wanted to keep the qualities I love about lemons (with an added touch of sweetness).

Lemon makes an appearance three times in this lemon cake. For the first, the zest of two lemons is rubbed into the sugar until fragrant before mixing up the cake batter. The lemon-scented sugar imbues the cake with a delicate flavor.

To bring a stronger lemon flavor to the cake, I like to add lemon oil. Lemon oil is created by simmering lemon zest in oil until the oil is infused with flavor. It can usually be found in stores with a cake decorating section, or online. Lemon oil is more concentrated than lemon extract, which means that less is needed to bring a bold flavor.

However, when it comes to lemon, I believe more is more so I prefer to add a good teaspoon of lemon oil (though you can certaintly add less to suit your own preferences). Though lemon oil is not a necessary ingredient, it does reinforce the lemon flavor in the cake.

Lastly, but certainly not least, once the baked cake is unmolded (and still warm), it is brushed with a lemon glaze. The glaze is made by dissolving sugar into the juice of two lemons. I prefer a tart, punchy glaze, but you could add up to a 1/4 cup more sugar to sweeten it.

The glaze serves two purposes for the cake and should not be skipped. The first purpose is to soak the exterior with intense, vibrant flavor. Use your bundt pan that provides the greatest exterior surface area so the glaze can reach a more substantial portion of the cake. Secondly, the glaze seals the cake, which prevents it from drying out so it can stay fresh longer.

 This lemon-infused cake is best served with the ones you love on a bright, sunny day.

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This Lemon Bundt Cake heavily features the flavor of its namesake. The batter is infused with both lemon zest and lemon oil to give it a bright lemon flavor. Once baked, the cake is brushed with a lemon glaze on the outer edges to give the cake additional flavor and to seal in the cake's moisture. Serve plain or with a spoonful of coconut whipped cream.

One Year Ago: Basic Sandwich Bread 
Two Years Ago: Hazelnut Cherry Granola
Three Years Ago: Cinnamon Sugar Swirl Loaf 
Four Years Ago: Honey Almond Quinoa Granola & Coconut Tapioca Pudding
Five Years Ago:  Almond Joy Candy Bars, Mango Lassi, PB & J Muffins, & Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (GF)
Six Years Ago: Irene's Orange Rolls, S'mores Cupcakes, Mai Tai, Homemade Mascarpone, & Ladyfingers
Seven Years Ago: Roasted Pineapple, Lemon Thins, & Vanilla Pear Muffins

Lemon Bundt Cake

Yields 12-16 servings

Lemon Cake
1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated sugar
Zest of 2 lemons
3/4 cup (180 mL) vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon oil (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 cups (300 grams) all-purpose flour
1 cup (250 mL) milk

Lemon Glaze
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
Juice of 2 lemons

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Heavily grease and flour a 10-cup Bundt pan. Set aside.

For the lemon cake, place the granulated sugar and lemon zest in a large mixing bowl. Rub the sugar and zest together until fragrant. Whisk in the vegetable oil, eggs, vanilla, lemon oil, salt, and baking powder. Alternate adding the flour and milk, stirring after each addition, until the batter is smooth and uniform in appearance. 

Pour batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool in pan for 15 minutes before unmolding.

While the cake is baking, prepare the glaze by heating the granulated sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Set aside. 

Place the cake on a cooling rack and brush the glaze over the cake, giving time for the glaze to absorb between layers. Allow the cake to cool completely and the glaze to set before cutting and serving.

Food and Cooking in Thai TV Dramas, Love Destiny, 17th Century Siam, and Crispy Noodle-Wrapped Pork Dumplings

For a country that takes such great pride in its cuisine, Thailand, surprisingly, hasn’t seemed very enthusiastic about spotlighting its food in its cinematic endeavors. If it’s true that art imitates life, then it’s quite perplexing how th…

For a country that takes such great pride in its cuisine, Thailand, surprisingly, hasn’t seemed very enthusiastic about spotlighting its food in its cinematic endeavors. If it’s true that art imitates life, then it’s quite perplexing how the magnitude of the love the Thai people have for their food and the enormity of the role […] The post Food and Cooking in Thai TV Dramas, Love Destiny, 17th Century Siam, and Crispy Noodle-Wrapped Pork Dumplings appeared first on SheSimmers.

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