BROCCOLI WITH SPINACH SOUP – SUP SUP-LO XANH VOI CAI BO XOI

BROCCOLI WITH SPINACH SOUPSUP SUP-LO XANH VOI CAI BO XOI
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We bought a big bag of spinach at Costco. My husband puts it in his salad. He said although he stuffed them to his face every day there were still a lot of spinich leaves remaining. I needed to act fast otherwise it would go to waste. My first dish was spinach broccoli soup.
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I still had vegetable stock on hand. It is very convenient that I could use up both stock and spinach. This soup is so flavorful that although your children are picky in eating vegetables, they will chow down a bowl of this goodness in a flash. It is very healthy and easy to digest. The green color is very beautiful. To keep that color, turn off the heat as soon as you add spinach to the soup. It can be served at a party as a shooter or first course.
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I found a big baby in my husband. He told me to add this soup into to his list.
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Ingredients:
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3 oz spinach, washed
1lb broccoli, florests separated and cored
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon lemon and pepper seasoning salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups vegetable stock
Garnish:
2-3 drops herbaceous olive oil
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Instructions:
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Heat a medium saucepan or pot over medium heat. Add oil and wait until hot but not smoking. Add garlic and stir for 30. Add onion and sweat for 3-5’. Add broccoli and cook for 5’. Add 2 cups of vegetable stock, and salt and pepper, bring to a boil and add spinach and stir. Remove from heat.
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Transfer soup into a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth, adding ¼ cup cool water to cool the hot soup down. Alternately you can use immersion handheld blender to puree the soup right in the pot.
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For special order from my husband I did not add any cream to the soup. If you want the soup richer add ¼ to ½ cup of cream to the puree soup, bring back to the boil and adjust seasoning.
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The soup can be served hot or chilled. You can make ahead and serve when you like.
broccoli

broccoli

spinach leaves

spinach leaves

onion and garlic

onion and garlic

seasoning

seasoning

vegetable stock

vegetable stock

prepare broccoli

prepare broccoli

saute garlic, onion and broccoli

saute garlic, onion and broccoli

simmer broccoli mixture

simmer broccoli mixture

broccoli spinach soup is ready

broccoli spinach soup is ready

 

 

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RICE SOUP WITH GROUND PORK AND SHRIMP – CHAO THIT HEO BAM VOI TOM

ground pork for rice soup

ground pork for rice soup

 

I just use 2 shrimps per serving

I just use 2 shrimps per serving

rice soup with ground pork and shrimp

rice soup with ground pork and shrimp

RICE SOUP WITH GROUND PORK AND SHRIMPCHAO THIT HEO BAM VOI TOM

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When I was sick, my mother always gave me rice soup with fresh lean ground pork. In the broth she made sure to add some ginger for me to fight the cold, and sprinkled it with green onion and black pepper for it to look and smell good. The rice soup was cooked a long time on the stove and it held the heat. When I ate a bowl of it I began sweating and that was what my mother wanted to see. She knew the flu soon needed to depart. She then followed by making homemade spa (please read my blog: lemongrass) for me to sit in. No doctor was needed. I defeated the flu and cold my mother’s way.
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I heard my neighbor Dorothy had to undergo surgery. I made the soup for her, the one my mother made me, only I fancied it up a little by adding some shrimps. While I cannot return my appreciation to my mother, as she has passed away, she would be pleased knowing I cooked a bowl of soup for anyone in need.
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Ingredients:
Yields 1 serving
¾ or 1 cup basic rice soup
4 oz ground pork
2 shrimps, cleaned
2 cups chicken or pork stock
1 teaspoon oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
¼ small onion, finely chopped
2 stalks green onion, finely sliced
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon sugar
1-2 teaspoon fish sauce to taste
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Instructions:
Heat a pot or pan over medium heat. Add oil and wait until hot but not smoking. Add garlic, stir for 30”. Add shallot, stir for 30”. Add onion, stir and cook for 3’. Add half of ground pork and stir and cook for 3-5’. Add the rice soup and stock and bring to a boil. Add the remaining pork with a cup of stock and stir to loosen. Add it to the soup with all seasonings, except green onion. Bring back to a boil and add shrimps. Simmer for 5’ more. Remove from heat and sprinkle with green onion. The soup is ready to serve.
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CHASIU BARBECUE PORK – THIT HEO XA-XIU

CHASIU BARBECUE PORKTHIT HEO XA-XIU
This is a Chinese (Cantonese) very famous barbecued pork dish. The name can be spelled differently: cha siew, cha su. When it came to Vietnam it became Xa Xiu.
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Any time you visit China town or any town or city with Asian inhabitants, when browsing the streets the first thing that attracts your eyes are red strips of pork hanging over the counter together with roast ducks, roast pork and steamed chickens. It is really the feast to the eyes that stimulates the desire to sink your teeth into them. And as soon as you can do so, the taste buds lift you to the satisfaction land and it keeps in your memory and calls you back again and again. I know, I am one of the followers, captured before the temple.
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So what do you do if you do not live near San Francisco China town or somewhere similar? You need to make your own feast. For over the years I have added this spice or other to experiment to perfect the Cha Siu recipe in my kitchen. The last time I did, my son – my critic – said it was better than in the store. Now I can share it with you.
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Although I ate a lot of this Cha siu with red coloring, I am hesitant to add this red food coloring to my own meat. More than that, I have read in the news it brings some harm to human body. To make it red I use the combination of ketchup, red chili sauce, annatto seed (powder), and paprika. Just enough so that it is still Chinese barbecued pork and not Hungarian goulash or something else. The final product looks appetizingly red, but not the kind of red that creates fear. The use of fish sauce makes it complex flavored and truly an adopted Vietnamese dish.
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I use the rack on top of the pan to mimick the Chinese oven, in which the pork is hanging vertically on hooks when roasting.
when done, slice the pork and fan them on a plate, spoon the sauce from the pan over them.
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Cha siu can be eaten with a sauce with soy sauce base with rice, bread, and noodles, or cooked in other dishes like the Cha siu bao bun. I definitely will post the recipe for that bun.
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Ingredients:
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2lb pork butt, cut into strips 1inch thick
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch ginger, minced
¼ medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoon 5 spice powder
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoon spiced vodka (ruou mai que lo)
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon chili sauce (siracha)
2 teaspoon annato powder
1 tablespoon paprika+plus more for dusting
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Instructions:
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Combine the meat and all ingredients and marinate overnight in the fridge. Turn the pork 1 or 2 times to coat the marinade. Remove from the fridge 30’ before cooking. Place a rack over the pan. Lay the meat on the rack on a single layer. Roast in the oven at 400F for 20’. Turn to the other side and roast for 10’ more. Turn off the oven, sprinkle more paprika on top of the meat, close the oven with the meat still inside for 3-5’. Remove the meat from the oven and let rest for 10’ before cutting it. Voila!
cut pork into 1-inch thick pieces (strips)

cut pork into 1-inch thick pieces (strips)

Ingredients for Cha siu pork

Ingredients for Cha siu pork

more Ingredients for Cha siu pork

more Ingredients for Cha siu pork

marinate the meat in the fridge

marinate the meat in the fridge

cha siu is ready

cha siu is ready

sliced cha siu without sauce

sliced cha siu with sauce

sliced cha siu with sauce

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BASIC RICE SOUP – CHAO TRANG

BASIC RICE SOUPCHAO TRANG
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Rice soup is made with uncooked rice, often white, cooked in a large amount of water for a long period of time to make a loose and soft consistency..
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.My parents lived not far from a Chinese family, who owned a small grocery store. The store was also their house. My family did almost all of our grocery shopping there. That was why we could come at their breakfast time. As many times as it was, there was always rice soup (the Chinese call congee, the texture looks like Western porridge) on their table. My father did not miss the chance to teach us a lesson of appreciation: the Chinese had to eat rice soup while my parents could feed us rice. That is because rice soup was considered a food for times of famine and hardship, when rice was not abundant. When the time is not fearful of famine and hardship any more, it becomes particularly suitable food for the sick as a mild, easily digestible food.
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In Vietnam literature, there is a popular novel “Chi Pheo”, in which chi Pheo was the poorest man of society. Sick and down, he could not find the least means of living. But humanity and love found him and did wonders, he was given care by the lovely Thi No. She cooked him a rice soup, the kind that combined two purposes: famine and sickness, the kind of most watery one, sprinkled with thinly sliced green onion. That rice soup called “chao hoa”, where “hoa” means green onion flowers.
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In Vietnam people consume rice soup in its original congee consistency. While the Chinese eat it with fermented radish zhacai, salted duck eggs, century eggs, pickled tofu and condiments like soy sauce the Vietnamese still love eggs and zhacai but step up in some level by eating it with saute fish or meat (ca kho, thit kho), preserved meat like cotton chicken, pork (thit ga or heo cha bong), saute shrimp, coconut sauce. I myself could not stop eating a creamy soft congee with fatty flavorful saute fish.
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The other variation from congee is a kind of red bean rice soup. Although it is popular among the working people with low incomes, it is largely consumed when the examination seasons for students begin. The bean in Vietnam means “pass”. Students believe that they could get some luck when eating this kind of rice bean soup before their exams.
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Over the years rice soup became versatile and even luxurious, thanks to the creations of many chefs and cooks: Chicken rice soup whose broth flavored by cooking a whole chicken in it and then served with chicken salad; duck rice soup whose cooking is similar to chicken rice soup but totally different flavor and served with chopped duck and cabbage and ginger lime fish sauce; clam rice soup whose broth is briny and oceany and the clam meat is meaty and many more. In recent years rice soup is elevated to rice soup hot pot, in which there is huge fish and many kinds of meat and seafood and vegetables for people to dunk at the table.
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I start you up with basic rice soup. Once you master it, you can create many variations. It is only limited by your imagination.
Ingredients:
1 cup white rice
6 cup water
Instructions:
Dry-roast the rice in non-stick pot over medium heat for about 3’ to bring out the aroma. Pour the water in and stir and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to simmer for about 20’. Turn off the heat, cover the lid and let the pot still on the stove. The rice continues to cook by doing so. When cool it is creamy and soft.

dry roast the rice

simmer rice soup

simmer rice soup

basic rice soup (congee)

basic rice soup (congee)

Enjoy a bowl of congee and saute pork

Enjoy a bowl of congee and saute pork

 

 

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BLACK PEPPER PORK – THIT KHO TIEU

BLACK PEPPER PORKTHIT KHO TIEU
My mother is very fond of this dish. This was the food that she ate on a daily basis, especially after she delivered a new born. She actually did it 9 times. She explained that when her body was weak after losing a lot of blood and energy, this food to her was soft and tasty to chew, easy to digest, and full of nutrients. I had some co-workers who did not eat pork. They said pigs were nasty. My mother would have been offended. I, on the other hand, feel sorry for them as they did not know what they missed. For instance, the entire nation of China takes pork as their national meat.
Pork loin and tenderloin are high quality cut of meats and considered white meat for the culinary world.
Ingredients:
½ lb/250g pork loin or tenderloin, cleaned and sliced
½ roast sea salt
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 shallot, minced
2 stalks green onions, white part, minced, green part, sliced
1teaspoon oil
2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Instructions:
Heat a pan or skillet over high heat. Add oil and wait for the oil to be hot but not smoking. Add shallot and white part of green onion, stir until fragrant. Add the meat, stir for 2-3’. Season the meat with salt, fish sauce and sugar. Stir for 5’ more until the meat is just cooked. Sprinkle with green onion and black pepper.
Serve with hot steam rice!
thinly slice pork loin (fillet)

thinly slice pork loin (fillet)

cook aromatic ingredients in the skillet

cook aromatic ingredients in the skillet

 

 

 

saute pork loin in the skillet

spinkle-black-pepper-and-green-onion-to-finish

spinkle-black-pepper-and-green-onion-to-finish

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GROWING HYDRANGEAS – TRONG HOA CAM TU CAU

GROWING HYDRANGEASTRONG HOA CAM TU CAU
In many Asian cultures, (I know in China and Vietnam) the flowers have their own special meaning.
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When you are making introductions with Westerners, you say your name then formally follow with “how do you do?” It is not the case with Chinese. Have you ever read a Chinese book? When talking about names, they explain what their names mean and what signs and strokes lay on the drawing – the drawing of their names. To satisfy your curiosity, my name (Ngoc Du) means a precious pearl that takes a long time to form and comes from the depths of the ocean. My mother wanted to emphasize that among pearls, I am an especially valuable one.
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So what has that got to do with hydrangeas? Sorry about being carried away. My intention is talking about hydrangeas. I always place roses high on my list. I guess most people agree with me, that is why the man would send a rose to a woman to say I love you. But time and time again I am deeply touched by hydrangeas, a single hydrangea alone at our local supermarket Harris Teeter sells for $4, it fills a vase and makes statement. On a walking trip made around our neighborhood, we ran into many hydrangea bushes, so full of flowers from top to bottom; the multi-colors and the delicate petals captured me.
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Talking about colors, I recently read the book: “Hydrangeas A gardeners’ Guide” by Toni Lawson-Hall and Brian Rothera. They wrote that a hydrangea can change its color from green to pink to white to blue. It is all depends on the soil. That is interesting. Fortunately, if you most desire the blue drama, you can add sulphur to the soil.
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So I decided we must have hydrangeas in our garden. We first picked the “Blue Danube” from Lowes, the home and lawn garden. When we first started our garden last year, I put the garden palate in purple and yellow. Did I choose the right complimentary colors on the color wheel? Yes, I did but it is hard to keep. I must surrender to nature’s beautiful variations. Now we have a mix of colors. Adding blue hydrangeas is one of breaking the rules. Many times later I passed by the “Midnight Salsa” hydrangea. It was calling my name. its glorious pink is truly me. I am a born happy person. I feel cheers and joy. If I picked blue before that was because I tried to be styled, but pink is happy. Thanks to my husband, now I have both style and joy in the garden. He did not only buy them for me, he also dug the holes and carried dirt and humus to plant them.
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Hydrangeas do well in morning sun and afternoon shade so bear this in mind when you choose the location. They prefer well-drained soil but they like moisture. The best time to plant them is early summer or late fall. Do not plant in a hot summer day or too deep. Fertilize once or twice a year in summer.
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Now to answer the question posed in your mind: What do hydrangeas mean? According to hoangtube_11 from dalathoa.com they mean careless and heartless. When you receive a hydrangea from someone, you receive the message; thank you for understanding. I do not know the level of accuracy, but it does not make me like my hydrangeas less. No wonder noble lady from the ancient days in our cultural folklore threw a hydrangea to a man she would like to wed from her balcony. If I were her, I would have practiced throwing darts in my backyard before I do that as I worry my hydrangea would land on the wrong man.
Blue Danube Hydrangea

Blue Danube Hydrangea

Blue Danube close-up

Blue Danube close-up

Mignight Salsa

Midnight Salsa

Mignight Salsa close-up

Midnight Salsa close-up

 

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GINGER CARROT SOUP – SUP CA ROT HUONG GUNG

 

GINGER CARROT SOUPSUP CA ROT HUONG GUNG
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In summer, carrots are plentiful and cheap. Carrots are healthy and nutritious, especially to keep good eyesight. What’s not to love?
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We always buy a 2-pound bag any time we go to the market. I make sure we have on hand carrot and radish pickles. I add carrots to rolls. I cook them in soup. The possibility is endless.
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Today I am making vegetable stock. It is very convenient that I can make carrots soup as well. This soup is so flavorful that although your children may be picky in eating vegetables, they will chow down a bowl of this goodness in a flash. I know my husband does like it. He told me to add this soup into his diet, especially for colder months. It looks elegant enough for your next party.
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Ingredients:
1lb carrots, peeled and chopped
1 onion, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 1-inch ginger root, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
½ teaspoon soy sauce (or fish sauce)
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
4 cups vegetable stock
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Garnish:
2 tablespoon mint leaves and Thai basil leaves, chopped.
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Instructions:
Heat a large saucepan or pot over medium heat. Add oil and wait until hot but not smoking. Add garlic and stir for 30”. Add ginger and stir for 30”, then add onion and sweat for 3-5’. Add carrots and cook for 5’. Add 4 cups of vegetable stock and salt and pepper and soy sauce, bring to a boil and then simmer for 10’ until carrots are tender.
Transfer carrots soup into a blender or food processor. Puree in 2 batches until smooth, adding ¼ cup cool water to each batch to cool the hot soup down. Alternately you can use immersion handheld blender to puree the soup right in the pot.
For special order from my husband I did not add any cream to the soup. If you want the soup richer add ¼ to ½ cup of cream to the puree soup, bring back to the boil and adjust seasoning.
The soup can be served hot or chilled. You can make ahead and serve when you like.
Ingredients for carrots soup

Ingredients for carrots soup

puree the soup in batches

puree the soup in batches

would you like a bowl like this

would you like a bowl like this

 

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VEGETABLES STOCK – NUOC LEO CHAY

VEGETABLES STOCKNUOC LEO CHAY
Stock is so important in cooking for any cuisine. It is the base for a good soup. It is harder for vegetarian soup without help of animal protein. That is why in order to have a good stock it needs to have fresh and plentiful vegetables, plus clever technique.
Ingredients:
5 carrots
3 radishes
1 mustard green
5 button mushroom
5 dried shitake mushroom,
5 dried prunes
5 Chinese dates
2 fresh corns
1 onion, half chopped, half wedged
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 inch ginger root
1½ teaspoon salt
6 whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoon oil
Instructions:
Wash all vegetables. Chop the vegetables into small pieces. That helps cooking faster.
Heat a large saucepan or pot over medium heat. Add oil and wait until hot but not smoking. Add garlic and stir for 30’. Add onion and sweat for 3-5’. Add all ingredients and 8 cups of water, making sure the water covers the vegetables. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 1 hour. Strain the stock to cool and store in the fridge for 3 days or freezer for 3 months.
Ingredients for vegies stock

Ingredients for vegies stock

cook aromatic ingredients

cook aromatic ingredients

simmer vegies stock

simmer vegies stock

 

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FRESH HOMMADE YOGURT – TU LAM YA-UA TAI NHA

FRESH HOMMADE YOGURTTU LAM YA-UA TAI NHA
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I never like store bought yogurt. It tastes very dull and I personally do not like frozen fruit.
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I always made yogurt at home when I was growing up in Vietnam. Many Vietnamese cooks do that because it is cheap and they can control the quality of the ingredients. Mostly we use condensed milk. The big changes in ingredients and climate made a big challenge for me. Condensed milk is rare and more expensive in America. In addition, I came to the point that we need to use as little sugar as possible. Condensed milk tastes good but it packs a lot of sugar. I was trying to make yogurt at home with fresh milk. I failed many times but succeeded finally. The reason of my failure was that the northern American region is cold in winter, and in summer, the house air conditioner is not good for the culture to develop. I found out that a cooler and a hot water bottle (the one my husband bought me to use when I caught a cold) were the perfect solutions.
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Ingredients:
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4 cups whole milk
2 tablespoon of Greek yogurt, sat in the fridge for at least 2 days
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Instructions:
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To make a yogurt starter, mix yogurt with 1 tablespoon of milk, leaving out of the fridge for half a day or so. Pour milk into a pot and bring to a boil. The temperature is about 180-190oF. Remove from heat and let cool to 100-115oF. Stir the yogurt starter into the milk. I use a big bowl to hold all the mixture (to simplify I do not need to use individual containers). Place the bowl in the cooler with a heated pad filled with hot water inside. In the next day or the following day the yogurt is ready to eat or store in the fridge. You can judge by the sight of yogurt thickening.
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There are many recipes that call for yogurt like dip, humus, tandoori chicken or just add fresh chop fruits to have a refreshing breakfast. I believe yogurt helps digestion and makes skin brighter.

cook milk to reach 180-190oF

mix yogurt starter with milk

mix yogurt starter with milk

prepare the cooler and hot heated pad

prepare the cooler and hot heated pad

yogurt is ready to eat

yogurt is ready to eat

 

 

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FRESH HOME-MADE RICOTTA CHEESE – TU LAM PHO MAI RICOTTA TAI NHA

FRESH HOME-MADE RICOTTA CHEESETU LAM PHO MAI RICOTTA TAI NHA
We normally buy a gallon of milk every time. My husband does not drink it. He is a weight watcher. I am the only one to handle that gallon of milk. Why do I buy a gallon? If you know methen you know the answer. For just a little more money I can get that one gallon instead of smaller size. There, I am guilty every time. When it is almost the time of expiration I need make something out of it. That is when I make fresh homemade ricotta cheese, homemade yogurt and pastry cream and so on.
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This ricotta cheese is easy to make and it becomes handy when you want to fill a crepe or some pastry goods, even spread on a toast. I do not use salt. I like the neutral taste like a canvas. Some people use lemon juice but vinegar works just fine.
Ingredients:
4 quart whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoon vinegar
Instructions:
Stir to mix cream and milk in a 6-quart heavy bottom pot (I use Analon pot). Bring to a rolling boil, stirring regularly to avoid scorching. Add vinegar, stir to mix. Lower the heat and let simmer for 5’. Turn off the heat and let it hang out on the stove. When it is cool a little but still warm, strain on a sieve or colander lined with a cheese cloth (or cloth is ok, I used cloth when I did not have cheese cloth). When it is drained, cover and put in the fridge with the strainer as it continues to drain more. If you store that way, the ricotta can keep for 3 days.
The ricotta now is ready to use. Now you can season it according to your recipe or your liking.
milk and cream

milk and cream

cook cream and milk

cook cream and milk

strain ricotta on a sieve

strain ricotta on a sieve

 

Posted in Dairy | Tagged | 4 Comments