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Mad Men Virtual Dinner Party: Shredded Pork and Shrimp Egg Rolls

18 Mar

Welcome friends! Here let me take your coats, hats and pocketbooks. Please go on in, there’s plenty to eat and Don will whip you up a Martini or an Old Fashioned — you know how Mr. Draper is.

Oh, and I brought the tastiest shredded pork and shrimp egg rolls — you just have to give them a try.

You see, this Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook has got me thinking I’m on the set or better yet — back in time. Like I needed another reason to fantasize about being Joan Holloway (Christina Hendricks), in her snug sweaters, fitted dresses and pencil skirts and that gorgeous head of fiery red hair. (A girl can dream, right?) Continue reading


A Tasty and Healthy New Year: Cheesy Asian-inspired Sesame Rolls

4 Jan

California Olive Ranch

By now you’ve seen my “Host Page,” for the Virtual Potluck Tasty and Healthy New Year Challenge sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill and California Olive Ranch. I love doing these promotions, and not just because we get to try out some truly fabulous products (gratis) but because, as a foodie I absolutely adore seeing what everyone else comes up with using the same ingredients.

Same Ingredients, Same Recipes? No Way!

Inevitably, yes, there will be some similar recipes but they are NEVER exactly the same. Cooking, for those who truly love it, is like creating art, or loving someone, or leaving your fingerprint behind — there’s always an inimitable piece of you in there. And knowing that always makes me smile.

Bob's (Actual) Red Mill

So when charged with 12 of us making 4 dishes (one each week for the month of January) and given the same ingredient pairings each week — we didn’t skip a beat and decided to jump in with both feet. (You should all know that we do not discuss what we’re doing prior to posting — so the fact that are recipes differ to such great degree is a testament to the creative cooks I’m working with here and I hope you will go to the host page and visit them all — because if you don’t you’ll be missing out on a KILLER GIVEAWAY!!

That’s right, Bob’s Red Mill and California Olive Ranch are giving away an ingredient prize package each week — on each blog! That’s 48 recipes and 48 chances to win — pretty great chances. (See details below)

So what did I make for the first week? (I’m glad you asked.)

Good Health and Good Fortune for the New Year

Since we’re kicking this promo off in the New Year I tried to think of a dish that had New Year’s connotations but that just made me think of Chinese New Year, which made me think of dim sum and once we get into dim sum, then it’s all over.

But seriously, the idea for these rolls came from my love of dim sum. Oh, how I adore those lovely little chewy sesame balls filled with red bean or lotus paste and topped with crunchy, nutty sesame seeds. No dim sum visit is complete without satiating my yearning for shrimp (loads of it) and for great Hum Bao — both steamed and baked. Not only are the doughy (Hum Bao) or chewy sesame balls delicious and both savory and a little sweet but they are also filled with the most wonderful surprises — it’s like a gift and a dish. What’s not to love?!

But I needed my own twist, because sesame rolls are made with rice flour and I would be using BRM’s Hard White Whole Wheat Flour and COR’s Arbosana extra virgin olive oil. This week’s oil, as assigned, was to be Arbequina (and that’s what you’ll win if you get the prize this week) but I chose to go with the Arbosana because of it’s peppery notes and greater complexity.

The recipe for these rolls is rather basic (some might say bland) which is why I wanted a more flavorful oil to take center stage, without overwhelming it, the way sesame oil would, when coupled with sesame seeds, upon the canvas of hard white whole wheat flour (which you’ll find is surprisingly light and supple when used in baking, as compared to your average whole wheat flour.)

In any case, because of the flour and oil flavors, I decided to fill my light and fluffy, Asian-inspired Sesame Rolls with cheese — yes, I said it — cheese. I know this may not seem a typically Asian choice for these buns but trust me — it works!

As for the cheese, I used shredded Gruyere (I had it on hand) and it was lovely, but I could easily see Mozzerella or cheddar working equally well.

Cheesy Asian-Inspired Sesame Rolls Recipe


  • 3 cups Bob’s Red Mill Hard White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1.5 tsp Bob’s Red Mill dry active yeast (their yeast is the best by far!)
  • 1/4 tsp honey
  • 1 cup warm water (110°F)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup soy milk (or regular milk whatever you drink)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup California Olive Ranch Arbosana Olive Oil


  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere, Mozzerella or Cheddar cheese


  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

Prepare the dough:
Combine the yeast, sugar, and warm water in a small bowl. Stir to dissolve. Set it aside 5 minutes or so, until the mixture gets bubbles.

Mix flour and salt in mixing bowl with dough hook. Add milk,  egg and olive oil, mixing on low. Slowly add the yeast mixture, on medium speed dough is mixed, increasing your speed at the end until a ball forms and pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl about 2 to 3 minutes.

Coat a glass bowl with olive oil, and set the dough to rest in the bowl, rolling it around to coat it in the olive oil. Cover and set to rise in warm place, until it has risen and doubled in size — 1 hour.

Form and bake the rolls:
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Fill a small bowl with the exterior olive oil and pour your sesame seeds on a lipped plate. Coat your hands and a round spring-form pan (like the kind used for cheesecake) with olive oil.

Punch the dough down and pull off a piece about the size of a golf ball. Flatten the dough enough to make a hollow for your cheese to reside. Place a tablespoon of shredded cheese in the center and gather the edges around it, twisting and pinching the dough together like you would to seal off the end of a balloon. Holding the tapered end closed, dip the smooth side down, into the olive oil, then roll into the seed mixture, never letting go of the sealed end. Place the roll, sealed side down, in your pan, working from the outer edges in. Repeat with the remaining dough, filling your pan and nestling the dough balls tightly together (this will keep them from unraveling.

Bake until golden, 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before removing the outer springform ring. The rolls will be pillowy soft, with melted cheese nestled in the center (NOTE: Some cheese may escape from a roll or two but no matter as it won’t go far– a neighboring rolls may be wearing it!)

A Tasty and Healthy New Year Challenge Giveaway

WINNER Announced!

Each week, the VP bloggers will challenge you to find (and use) the secret code word of the week, posted in the contest tab labeled “Virtual Potluck” on the California Olive Ranch Facebook page.

Each blogger will pick a single winner per week to receive a pack of the featured products from Bob’s Red Mill and California Olive Ranch.

That’s right- four weeks, 12 winners each week! That’s like 48 chances to win! The more blogs you visit the more chances you have to win~ so what are you waiting for?! Let’s get cooking (and eating!) A Tasty and Healthy New Year!

For more information on how you can win– visit the host page for links to the other sites!


Emeril’s Sizzling Skillets: A Quiz, A Recipe — A Giveaway!

26 Sep
Emeril Lagasse, American celebrity chef, resta...

Image via Wikipedia

We’re in the final week of the Emeril One-Pot Cooking Party over here, folks and if you haven’t had the chance yet to make it over to some of my fellow bloggers in the party, then you should scoot on over and increase your chances to win Emeril’s new cookbook, Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders , which goes on sale tomorrow! (SEE Contest Rules and “How to Enter” below.)

In this final week, I still have many posts to get to you all. I have been cooking up a storm but behind on posting due to my 40th birthday, which took me on an out-of-town adventure that made me feel 20 again! (Thanks to that hubby of mine!)

As we’ve been cooking our way through Emeril’s dishes some of the other bloggers and I have become rather chummy, because well, what’s not to like about a fellow foodie! There are 20 of us in all and I encourage you to make your way around to all of us but a few of us have really stuck by each other throughout this one-pot journey.

Some of my new favs include:

Wanna test your Emeril knowledge? Check out this quiz:

A Sizzling Quiz with Chef Emeril Lagasse

Here’s another new Emeril recipe that I can share! (Thanks to Morrow for allowing us to pre-release a few of these recipes.)

Wok-Seared Duck Salad photo courtesy of William Morrow

Wok-Seared Duck Salad

This recipe was inspired by a Thai dish called laap, which is made with minced or ground chicken, fish, pork, or duck and seasoned with the wonderful flavors of chiles, ginger, fish sauce, and citrus. I decided to use the same flavors with a seared duck breast and make it into more of a main-course salad. This is a refreshing take on northern Thai street food.
2 tablespoons uncooked jasmine rice
1 tablespoon minced fresh red Thai bird chile
2 magret duck breasts (about 12 ounces each) or 1 ½ pounds other domestic duck breasts
1/3 cup minced shallot
1 ½ tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
¼ cup fish sauce (see page 213)
¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 ½ teaspoons palm sugar or light brown sugar
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
½ cup fresh mint leaves
½ cup fresh basil leaves
1 medium head of red leaf lettuce, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
2 cups bean sprouts
1 cup julienned red bell pepper
1. Heat a wok over medium-high heat and add the rice. Toast the rice, shaking the wok constantly, until all the grains have turned golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the rice to a mortar and set aside to cool. Once the rice has cooled, grind it using a pestle until it reaches a sandy consistency. Alternatively, grind the toasted rice in a clean spice grinder. Place the rice in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
2. Place the chile in the wok over medium-high heat and cook, shaking the wok, until lightly colored and fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Remove the chile from the pan and add to the bowl with the rice.
3. Using a paring knife, score the fatty side of the duck breasts by making shallow cuts in a diamond pattern; this allows the fat to render more easily. Place the duck breasts in the wok, fatty side down, and cook over medium heat until the skin is golden brown and slightly crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the duck breasts to a cutting board, slice them into thin strips, and return the strips to the wok. Add the shallot and ginger and stir-fry over medium-high heat until the duck is just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer the duck from the wok to the bowl with the rice and chile and set aside.
4. In a small bowl, combine the fish sauce, lime juice, orange juice, and palm sugar and mix well. Pour the mixture over the duck and toss until well coated. Add the cilantro, mint, basil, lettuce, bean sprouts, and julienned red pepper and toss to combine.
5. Serve the salad immediately.
4 servings

SizzlingSkillets & other On-Pot Wonders jacket cover Hi-Res

Emeril’s Cookbook Giveaway!

Here it is, what you’ve all been waiting for — how to get your hands on Emeril’s new book (if you want to guarantee you get it, head on over to pre-order it for yourself). To win your free copy, comment below telling me which of the Emeril recipes GroovyFoody has previewed that you just can’t wait to make! To increase your odds of winning — get a second entry by tweeting the link to this post and posting the link in the comments section below. Wanna stack the deck in your favor? Check out the other 19 Emeril One-Pot Party Bloggers (listed above or to the right) and enter to win on their sites as well.

That’s all there is to it.

Winner will be chosen by random drawing by my precocious 3 year old. Contest is open to US residents only, and will be open from now through midnight, pacific time,  October 1.

Full disclosure: For my commitment to this blogger cooking party, I received a copy of this cookbook, as well as a set of Emeril – by zak! Table Art 7-piece Flame-Shaped Serving Bowls, and Emeril Seasoning; a $50 grocery reimbursement and Emeril cookbooks upon completion of the party. The top performing blogger, as selected by T-Fal, will be awarded an Emeril by T-Fal Slow Cooker. 

Down n’ Dirty Khao Man Gai Recipe

5 Sep

Known as Thai street food, Khao Man Gai is plentiful in Thailand and is based on a Hainanese (Hainan is an island off the coast of China) dish made similarly of boiled chicken, rice and broth. But what sets the Thai version apart is the spicy fermented soybean sauce, which is not too hot but full of vibrant flavor. Served with cooling, sliced cucumber, topped with cilantro and accompanied by a fortifying cup of deeply-stewed chicken stock with floating greens, this comforting dish will have you hooked. The Thai version, by adding the sauce, allows the many layers of flavors reveal themselves in such a way that once you’ve tried it, you will find yourself craving it intermittently for days afterward. As an added bonus, this dish, laden with broth, ginger, garlic and watercress is extremely good for the immune system and  a welcome comfort to an aching body.

From “Nong’s Khao Man Gai”

Here in Portland, I was first introduced to this cleansing dish by the downtown food cart “Nong’s Khao Man Gai” (featured in my Top Ten Food Carts series.) Nong’s makes only one dish, no variations (unless extra chicken counts) – just one divinely delish dish called Khao Man Gai. It takes a lot of guts or confidence to open a cart that makes just one dish but Nong’s pulls it off brilliantly.

The only problem – that one dish is SO good that people line up at 10am to get their hands on this comforting fare and often, Nong’s is sold-out by 11:30am (just as the lunch bug is starting to bite.) As a fan (and nearly an addict of this dish), and after missing my chance several times in a row, I finally became desperate enough to explore the origins and variations of this dish.

While the city I live in offers me a wide array of purveyors (from local Asian grocers like Thanh Thao Market to larger chains like Uwajimaya) where I can pick up authentic Thai ingredients, I like this dish enough to want to play around with a quicker and easier version. A version that anyone could make with ingredients found at any commercial grocer.

This is not to say that I don’t notice the difference when the dish is made from freshly stewed chicken stock, or Thai red chilis or yellow bean paste but as a busy full-time, working mom, I don’t always have the time to run to specialty markets or to cook broth for hours. Thus, “Quick n’ Dirty Khao Man Gai” was born. Faithful followers of this dish, may too, be able to pick out the subtle differences but it’s a close enough approximation that it’s satiates my longing and has my hubby happily asking for more, even after eating it three times in the last two weeks. The sauce itself is so freshly flavored and taste bud stimulating, that I plan to top salmon and bok choy with it tonight.

Enjoy! And send me your variations.

Down n’ Dirty Khao Man Gai

Makes 4 hearty servings

Pairs well with Hitachino Nest White Ale: Citrus notes compliment the ginger in this dish.

All ingredients readily available in meat, produce and Chinese/ethnic aisle at most grocers.


  • 1 package of two bone-in chicken breasts (remove skin and reserve)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 qt water
  • 4 chunks (about 3 inches total) sliced, peeled fresh ginger, smashed

Remove fat and set aside for rice. (See Rice section below.)

Timing with this dish is crucial. I recommend actually starting the cooking of the chicken, simultaneously with the cooking (not prep) portion of the rice. Bring water, salt and ginger to a boil.  Add chicken, breast down, bone up in water and return to a boil, covered. Reduce heat and simmer chicken,  covered, 10 minutes turn of heat and let chicken stand in hot broth, covered cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Time this to be ready as your rice is complete. Remove chicken from pot and let cool to warm for ease of handling. (See Assembling below)

Skim 1 cup of top layer of broth broth and add to soup pot. (See Soup section below)


  • 2 (3 to 4 inch-long) fresh jalapeno or serrano chiles
  • 1 large shallot
  • 2 inches of peeled fresh ginger
  • 3 medium garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp Sun Luck black bean garlic sauce
Depending on the heat you want in your dish, remove all or some of the seeds from your peppers (and stems, of course.) I remove all seeds and cut into four pieces each and add to the food processor. Smash garlic with mallet or butcher knife to remove skin and release flavor — add to processor. Remove skin from shallot, add to processor. squeeze 1/3 cup lime juice and add to processor, along with salt. Pulse until all ingredients are minced. Add fish sauce, vinegar, black bean and garlic sauce to processor and pulse until mixed. Taste and adjust seasoning (spicier, more stringent or salty) to your taste. Remember the sauce’s flavor, like salsa will develop even more as it sits. Since the sauce’s ingredients, should be your first prep (though you can wait to pulse them til closer to completion) you’ll need to watch timing if you prefer a milder flavor (or reduce ginger, garlic and chile ingredients). If you would like to keep the sauce from getting too spicy, refrigerate until serving.

  • 1 cup of freshly made broth from boiling chicken
  • 3 cups chicken broth (I prefer low sodium, organic versions)
  • 2 cups veggie broth (I prefer low sodium, organic versions)
  • 1 bunch of watercress (remove stems)

Once chicken is done, remove from water and set aside. Since we are trying to cut overall cooking time, I cheat on the soup a bit by skimming the top of the broth from the freshly cooked chicken (it has the most fat and therefore the most flavor) and adding store bought stock, a mix of veggie and chicken broths to add depth of flavor. pour them all into a sauce pan and bring to a boil adding the watercress and allowing to boil just until leaves get bright green. Then shut off the heat and let sit while plating the rest of the dish. Serve in small bowls that you can easily drink from with pieces of watercress floating inside.


  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • 4 medium shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2tbsp rendered chicken fat

Prep: Take fat, removed and reserved from boiling chicken breast, and add to small saucepan with 1/4 cup water and let boil and render until water has evaporated and fat has boiled out of the skin. Remove from heat and lift leftover skin from pan, disposing of it. You should have close to 2 tbsp of chicken fat, if not, augment with canola or vegetable oil. Prepare shallots and garlic (peeling and chopping.) Rinse the rice in cold water until it runs clear (this helps remove some starches and keeps rice from getting too sticky.  All of this prep can be happening beforehand, along with ingredients for sauce. Again, timing with this dish is crucial. I recommend actually starting the cooking portion of the rice, simultaneously with the chicken for perfect timing. Cooking: Add shallots to chicken fat and saute until golden brown, add garlic and stir for another minute, then add rice stirring until coated with fat and flavor. Add broth and let boil until bubbling throughout rice (about 3 minutes), reduce heat to simmer and cover, cooking until water is evaporated (15 minutes.) Remove from heat, let stand covered (5 minutes.) Fluff with fork and begin plating process.


  • 1 cucumber (English or seedless are preferred but all other types work as well)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • Finely chopped, fresh cilantro leaves
While rice and chicken are cooking, combine the soy sauce and sesame oil, set aside. Remove stems from cilantro and finely chop (as much as you like to top your dish — I do about 2 tbsp chopped.) With your vegetable peeler, peel the cucumber and then proceed to make long cucumber ribbons, soaking them in ice water until the dish is ready.
When all components are ready, assemble as follows:
Tear or cut the chicken into chunks in a bowl and toss with soy/sesame dressing. Plate rice and top with the dressed chicken. Arrange the chilled and drained cucumber ribbons around the rice and chicken on the plate. Do not place them on top of the hot dishes — they are meant to remain, cool and crisp to cool down your mouth from the heat of the dish. Top chicken and rice with cilantro garnish and dish up helpings of the sauce in separate ramekins, so that each individual can dole out the amount of spicy flavor they would like topping their dish.  Serve with warm watercress broth concoction — this is both savory and soothing to the heated mouth from spices, adding another complex dimension to the dish.
Though this dish has many components, which make timing a concern, it actually quite an easy dish to make for a weeknight dinner and once it has been mastered, can be put together in about 35- 4o minutes. Try it the first time, on a weekend to get a feel for the timing and prep — you will not be disappointed.
Vegetarian conversion:
Substitute tofu, veggie broth and vegetable oil for chicken ingredients. I recommend freezing firm tofu and then defrosting it the day of ,to give it a more “meaty” consistency, then drain, slice into strips or cubes and let dry on a towel while prepping rice (shallots, garlic and veggie oil with a dash of sesame oil and veggie broth.) Once sauce (sans fish sauce- add soy sauce), rice and soup are ready. Saute prepped tofu in 1 tbsp canola oil, until golden on both sides. Plate rice, toss tofu with soy/sesame dressing and place atop rice, garnish with cilantro and cucumber and serve with sauce and soup.