Lemongrass Chicken Banh Mi Sandwich

lemongrass banh mi - trust in kim

A little while ago I posted a recipe for tofu banh mi wraps, which were quite delicious. On Halloween I ate a lemongrass chicken banh mi from a place that my friend John loves in the West End of Vancouver. It was so tasty that I knew I had to feed John’s addiction for these things by making them for him at my house. So I found this recipe on thedilettantechef, and I love the flavour. Marinating the chicken overnight really infuses it with the lemongrass and other flavours. It is topped it off with some homemade pickled daikon & carrots, cilantro, Thai basil, cucumbers and optional jalapeño, and you’ve got the best sandwich ever.

I’m a bit of a sandwich snob – if I’m going to eat bread it has to be fresh and awesome, and if I’m going to eat a sandwich it has to be made on the spot, and have interesting flavours. Plus it has to contain a reasonable amount of fresh vegetables. No pre-made, plastic-wrapped sandwiches for this princess! This one passes my guidelines easily.

Be careful of the jalapeño – sometimes they are hotter than other times, so you might want to go easy on them if you don’t love them really hot. The jalapeños I bought for this one were so hot that our mouths and lips were on fire, and it took away from the flavour and enjoyment a bit.

For a later, gluten-free version, I used rice paper wraps to make up some sandwiches – loved that too!

What you need for the chicken:

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts(~2 lbs)
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 red Thai chili pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon homey
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • a few teaspoons peanut or canola oil for frying

What you need for the pickled carrot and daikon:

  • 1 large julienned carrot
  • 1 cup julienned daikon (optional)
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar or honey
  • a large pinch of salt
  • a large pinch of red chili flakes

What you need for the sandwich:

  • a fresh crusty baguette
  • cilantro
  • Thai basil (if you absolutely can’t find it you can substitute fresh mint)
  • cucumber, thinly sliced
  • soy sauce
  • mayonnaise
  • Sriracha sauce
  • jalapeño slices

What you do:

  1. The day before you want to make these sandwiches, or at the very least 3-4 hours before, prepare the marinade for the chicken. Cut each chicken breast or thigh into about 3 pieces. Place each piece between a sheet of parchment paper and pound it until it is about 2cm thick. Combine all the marinade ingredients in a sealable container and coat the chicken with the sauce. Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.
  2. You can also make the pickled carrot and daikon ahead of time. It needs at least a few hours to pickle the vegetables. Combine all the ingredients in a jar, put the lid on it and shake it up a bit, then refrigerate. If the liquid doesn’t quite cover the vegetables, make up a little more of it.
  3. To prepare to build the sandwiches, get the toppings ready. Chop the cilantro and Thai basil, and slice the cucumbers and jalapeño pepper. Add a little bit of Sriracha sauce to the mayonnaise and stir it up. Have the soy sauce and pickled veg on hand, and slice the baguette open hotdog style. I like to let people make their own sandwich, so I just lay all the ingredients out on a platter.
  4. To prepare the chicken, heat a heavy frying pan on medium high and add a little bit of the peanut or canola oil. When it is hot add some of the chicken, not crowding the pan. Fry until the first side gets some dark colour, just a few minutes, then flip it and fry the other side until cooked through.
  5. To serve, sprinkle a little soy sauce on the inside of the bread (you might remove a little bit of bread from the inside before doing this), and spread on a little bit of Sriracha mayo. Add the chicken and some of each of the toppings as you desire, and enjoy immediately.

Salty Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

roasted pumpkin seeds - trust in kim

Better late than never! I bought a pumpkin for Halloween and never got around to carving it :(  My excuse is that I was working on my costume, but really I was just too busy and never got around to carving it in time for the holiday. A craving for some salty goodness encouraged me to find the time to do this, and I realized it really didn’t take long at all – carving the pumpkin would have taken some time, but making these roasted seeds did not.

The secret to these is boiling them in salty water before cooking. This way there is salt throughout the seeds and evenly distributed, not just sprinkled on top.

You could also add some chill or other spices, but I’m a bit of a purist on this one. I only make them once in a year, and share them, so I only get a little taste once a year.

What you need:

  • seeds from pumpkin (mine contained about 1 cup of seeds)
  • salt

What you do:

  1. Remove the seeds from the pumpkin and get rid of any stringy bits.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400F. Place the seeds in a pot with 1 cup of water and 1 tablespoon of salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  3. Strain the seeds and place on a baking pan. Salt lightly, then place in the oven. Roast for about 10 minutes, removing from the oven once halfway through to move them around a little.
  4. Remove the seeds from the oven when they are lightly browned and let them cool completely before storing in as airtight container.

 

cereal box character halloween costume - trust in kim

 

Cauliflower Leek Soup

cauliflower leek soup

Because of my ongoing quest for soup recipes, and because of my newly acquired blender I have been searching for more puréed soup recipes. The ingredients are really simple, so in my opinion the success of this recipe depends largely on using a quality broth. I used my homemade chicken stock, but you could use a flavourful vegetable one to make it a vegan recipe. I make up a big batch of stock, then freeze it in portions to use in future soup recipes. A bit of work to do ahead of time, but it’s really handy and makes better soups.

I found this recipe on freshtart.com, and I made two changes: I cut the amount of oil in half (1 tablespoon per portion is too much for me), and I didn’t serve it with the fried shrimp on top, although this sounds yummy.

Serves 4

What you need:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large leek, washed and thinly sliced
  • 2 heaping cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 cups chicken broth (homemade is always best)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 generous handfuls of spinach
  • 2 tablespoons chives, minced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • sea salt to taste

What you do:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, add the leek to it and sauté for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the cauliflower and garlic and sauté for 5 more minutes.
  3. Add the chicken broth and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the cauliflower is very soft. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Remove the bay leaf.
  4. Place the spinach and chives in the blender, then add the cauliflower and broth and purée until smooth. If the liquid is hot it will make a bit of an explosion, se be careful. You could purée on very low to start, then allow some steam to escape, and then continue until it is smooth.
  5. Add the lemon juice and salt to taste. Drizzle with a little olive oil to serve, and add some minced chives for garnish if you like.

Lovely Lemon Loaf

easy lemon loaf

 

Mmmm, I love a good lemon loaf! I’ve made a few before: lemon olive oil cake, and a few that I am just now discovering I haven’t actually posted before… more to come! But this is definitely the first cake I’ve ever made in a blender! Okay, so you need bowls and stuff too, but I liked how quick it was to blend up the liquid ingredients.

Anyways, this one wins points because of the lemon drizzle that adds a nice lemony kick to balance the sweetness of the cake.

The original name, in the Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook, is Easy Lemon Pound Cake. And it is easy, and lemony, but there’s only 1/2 pound of butter in there!

What you need for the cake: 

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 & 1/2 cups cake flour OR see instruction #2 below if you don’t have cake flour, as I did not
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 & 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

What you need for the lemon glaze:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and place the rack in the centre of the oven. Grease and flour an 8 & 1/2 by 4 & 1/2 inch loaf pan. I use the wrapper for the butter to grease the pan, then shake some flour around in it.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. (If you don’t have cake flour: measure 1.5 cups of flour, then remove 3 tablespoons. Add 3 tablespoons of cornstarch. Now sift 5 times; yes, you have to do this to get the right consistency.)
  3. Melt the butter, then whisk it to combine any separation.
  4. Place the sugar and lemon zest in the blender (or food processor) and pulse about 5 times. Add the lemon juice, eggs and vanilla, then blend until combined. With the blender running, add the butter. Pour the mixture into a large bowl.
  5. Sift the flour mixture into the batter in 3 steps, whisking gently each time until just combined.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 325F. Bake, rotating the pan halfway through, until the loaf is a deep golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. This should take about 35 minutes, although mine took much longer.
  8. Let the loaf cool for 10 minutes then turn it onto a wire cooling rack. Poke the top and sides all over with a toothpick. I used a chopstick, which is why the holes are so visible. Cool the loaf for at least one hour.
  9. While the loaf is cooling begin making the glaze. Bring the lemon juice and sugar to a boil and stir occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat and simmer until it has thickened slightly, about 2 minutes.
  10. Brush the top and sides of the loaf with the glaze.

This loaf will keep at room temperature for about 5 days. It will probably be gone before that, but it won’t go bad if you hang on to it.

 

Caesar Salad Light

light caesar salad - trust in kim

Last weekend I was fortunate enough to be able to cook in my friends’ kitchen with a beautiful view. As we had all been overindulging throughout the weekend I decided to make us this healthier version of a Caesar Salad alongside tomato soup. It was delicious with the croutons, but it would be good without them too.

I found this recipe on Jamie Oliver’s website.

What you need for the salad and dressing:

  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt 
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) grated Parmesan cheese, plus some for the top
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 chopped anchovy fillets (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste

What you need for optional croutons:

  • a few slices of bread cut into cubes (I used sourdough)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
  • salt and pepper, to taste

What you do:

  1. To make the croutons, drizzle a little olive oil in a frying pan and let it heat on medium-high. Add the bread cubes and toss until they are lightly coated in olive oil. Add the garlic, sage, salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Toss from time to time, until the cubes are browned and crispy.
  2. Combine all the ingredients for the salad dressing.
  3. Chop the romaine, then toss with the dressing just before serving. Don’t use all the dressing to start with, as it might be too much; just add more if needed. I like to add an extra sprinkle of lemon juice to mine.
  4. Top with the croutons and serve.

caesar salad light - trust in kim

 

caesar salad light - trust in kim

jamie oliver caesar salad - trust in kim

 

Roasted Vegetable Salad with Roasted Garlic Dressing

roasted vegetable salad - trust in kim

Please trust me on this one – this is the perfect fall and winter salad. It is so flavourful because of the combination of roasted vegetables, and the roasted garlic dressing is to die for. I could eat this every day. It makes a great starter, but throw the optional nuts on and it can work as a main course.

There were two surprises for me in this recipe: I’ve never really enjoyed turnips before, and I never imagined roasting apples with other vegetables, but I enjoyed every bite.

I made 1/4 recipe of the dressing since this was the first time I was making it, just in case I didn’t like it. I will definitely make more next time, as I imagine it would be good on top of many other foods. If you come up with other ways to use this dressing, please leave a comment so I can try it too. It will keep in the fridge for about a week.

This recipe  comes from Candle 79 restaurant in Manhattan, as printed in Brendan Brazier’s Whole Foods to Thrive. Thanks for sharing!

Serves 4

What you need for the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons water (or more)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon white miso
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • tiny pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

What you need for the salad:

  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cups new potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup baby turnips, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 medium-sized beets, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 medium apples, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • arugula
  • toasted walnuts or pecans (optional)

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Place the peeled garlic cloves in a baking dish and add olive oil until they are covered. Cover the dish with foil and roast for about 25 minutes. When they have cooled slightly, remove the garlic and put it in a blender (I used an immersion blender). Keep the olive oil to use at another time, like for a stir fry or tomato sauce.
  3. Add all the other ingredients for the dressing to the blender, and blend until smooth. Add a little more water if necessary.
  4. When the garlic is roasted turn the oven up to 400F.
  5. Place all the cut vegetables and apples in a large bowl and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  6. Spread the vegetables in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for about 35-40 minutes, until tender. Mine were slightly browned, which I really enjoyed.
  7. Toss the vegetables in about 2 tablespoons of the roasted garlic dressing.
  8. Arrange the arugula on plates and top with the roasted vegetables. Sprinkle with some nuts if you are using them, and add a little more dressing if you wish.
  9. Serve immediately!

Enjoy!

roasted vegetables - trust in kim

Tarte Tatin-French Caramelized Apple Upside-Down Pie

tarte tatin - trust in kim

Tarte tatin is a traditional French dessert. It is like an upside-down apple pie with the apples coated in buttery caramel. It isn’t too difficult to make this dessert that will be a crowd-pleaser.

I had never eaten a tart tatin before, but loving French food I took it upon myself to make one for a Thanksgiving dinner dessert last weekend.  I found many recipes that used puff pastry, but I really wanted to make my own buttery pastry – and this one is awesome.

The tartness of the granny smith apples works well to balance the sweetness of the caramel. I took a little bit of the caramel out of the pan before adding the apples because I was worried that it would be too sweet, but in the end we agreed that even though it was really delicious, it would have been also been good if I had left all of the caramel in.

I found this recipe in the Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook – it is so easy to follow, and they even have diagrams to help you figure out how to lay out the apples.  And best of all – this was delicious! I will absolutely be making it again one day. Soon, maybe.

By the way, it does taste way better than it looks in this photo.  I forgot my camera at home the day I made this, so I hope to make it again one day and take a more appetizing photo.

What you need for the dough:

  • 1 & 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar (confectioner’s)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1 cm pieces and chilled
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

What you need for the apples:

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 pounds granny smith apples – peeled, cored and quartered

What you do: 

  1. Combine the flour, icing sugar and salt in a large bowl, or the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and process, or use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse cornmeal.  Add the egg and mix until it just comes together. Pull the dough into a ball, then place it on plastic wrap.  Flatten it into a disk, then wrap tightly and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Melt the butter in a 12-inch nonstick or cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. With a wooden spoon stir in the sugar and cook until light golden, about 2-4 minutes.
  3. Take the pan off the heat, then add the apple quarters cut-side down, filling the skillet tightly. You may need to cut the apple pieces in half again to fill the centre. Cook the apples over medium heat for about 3 minutes, then flip them cut-side up and cook for another 3 minutes – the apples should be lightly golden, and the caramel should be darkly coloured.
  4. While this is cooking, lightly flour your countertop, then roll the dough into a 35cm/14 inch circle. Place the dough on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate if you will not be using it immediately.
  5. When the apples are ready slide the dough circle over the top. Work carefully, making sure you don’t burn your fingers on the pan or hot caramel. Fold the edge of the dough back so it fits snugly into the pan. Place the pan in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes; rotate the pan halfway through baking.
  6. Remove the hot pan from the oven and let it cool for about 30 minutes before attempting to release from the pan.
  7. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, then place an inverted serving plate over the top of the pan. Using oven mitts, carefully flip it to release the tarte onto the serving plate. Some apples may stay in the pan; you can just place these carefully on top to make it look intact.
  8. Serve with vanilla ice cream, creme fraiche, or whipping cream.

 

apples in caramelized sugar - trust in kim

upside down tarte tatin  -trust in kim

 

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