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Vegas Monsoon

We have wormsign the likes of which god has never seen

Do Chua - Quick Pickled Daikon

Continuing with the banh mi fixation - this is the stuff that is on the sandwich that gives it that sweet, sour, salty, crunchy awesomeness.  It is made from daikon, which is a large mild type of radish is very rich in vitamin C (excellent during cold season) and very low in calories.  And it is shockingly easy to make.  This is how I made mine:

1 medium sized daikon (you can use part of a large one but they seem to have a lot less flavor)

1 carrot

1/2c rice wine vinegar

1/2c lukewarm water

2 tbsp raw sugar

2 tsp sea salt, divided

reusable container that can hold 2 cups, anything will work but I used a mason jar

Chop daikon and carrot into matchsticks, they must be small and uniform to pickle quickly.  You should have about 1 1/2 - 2 cups.  Pour one teaspoon of salt over the daikon and carrot, work the salt into them well and then let sit for 10 minutes or until they are noticeably smaller and flexible, this happens fast.  Rinse well, place them into the container you’re going to keep them in.  In a bowl combine your vinegar, water, sugar and salt, mix until well combined then pour over your vegetables.  Put the lid on your container, shake it a bit then sit it in the fridge for an hour.  They’re ready to eat.  For some reason it reminds me a little of coleslaw, but they’re super light, tasty and make a great side dish(or topping on sandwiches, of course).  I’m still surprised at how simple and easy this is considering how amazing the flavor is!  They will keep in the fridge for at least a month … if they last that long :)

Oh my, Banh Mi

Where have you been all my life?  I tried my first banh mi today, and I am ashamed to admit I didn’t even think of taking a photo before devouring it.  We frequent this place and I have never really given the little sandwich menu a second glance as we’re usually there to get pate chaud and croissant for the kids.  Today my dad convinced me to try one while reminiscing about Vietnam and their amazing sandwiches.  How did I never know how amazing these things are?  I am one of those people that usually custom order (probably excessively so) to overload their sandwich with veggies because I crave those differing textures and freshness, ask for vinegar to add tang, beg them not to put an ice cream scoop full of mayonnaise on my sandwich, yeah I’m that customer(sorry!) - this was perfect, no tweaking or custom ordering required.  It was warm, thinly sliced barbeque pork, a generous handful of pickled daikon (oh wow is THAT stuff amazing), carrots, cucumbers, cilantro, peppers, the thinnest layer of mayonnaise and this amazing foot long warm, crusty baguette.  The best part?  It’s $3.  THREE DOLLARS.  Suck on that, Subway.  And if you buy four, you get one free … though come to think of it I can’t imagine many instances where you could deal with that much sandwichage.   This is a serious sandwich, like a bigger than my forearm kind of sandwich.  It is a little on the spicy side with a few pepper slices and a handful of cilantro so if you’re not looking to clear your sinuses or you’re a wuss you may want to leave those off.  

So if you’re in Las Vegas and near Chinatown or feel like a drive, try something a little less ordinary and a whole lot amazing check them out.   If you’re not in Vegas, I am sad for you.  

They’re located inside S F Supermarket on the corner of Spring Mountain and Decatur.  I love their place, everything is super fresh, very inexpensive(yay big, hot loaves of crusty baguette for $1) and always delicious.  And if you see a pink haired girl wrangling a towhead toddler that’s trying to shove an entire pate chaud in his mouth, say hello!

Dear Cupcakery Owners,

Red velvet seems to be a huge craze and everyone is selling it, but I can’t figure out why when it seems no one is bothering to make real red velvet cake.

Am I the only one that can taste red food coloring and thinks almost every ‘red velvet’ cake I’ve tried recently is just gross?  I really love red velvet, it’s one of my favorites … but who decided red velvet was flavorless cake with a ridiculous amount of red food coloring and overly sweet cream cheese gunk?  Every time I see the obscenely red, red color at a bakery I steer clear of their cake.

Red velvet is a chocolate cake.  The chemical reaction between the buttermilk and natural cocoa powder creates a natural, deep red color.  Really, try it.  A cup of buttermilk, 3-4tbs of natural cocoa powder and a teaspoon of white vinegar will change red - it’s like chem class but with tastier results.  Natural cocoa powder has a very reddish tint to begin with and much lighter in color, it is different than dutch processed cocoa powder - if it is dutch processed it has been treated to cut the acidity, this will not work to make a natural red velvet cake.  The acid content that creates the pretty color(and unique flavor) is also why a real red velvet cake should be leavened with beaten egg whites and baking soda, baking powder will not work properly.  

Sure, your cake wont be crazy blood red.  It will have a great, deep, earthy red color.  Which I think is a lot more appealing anyway.  And it definitely won’t taste like bitter, chemical-y sludge either!

Oh yeah, simple white buttercream people! Stop with the cream cheese already. 

Man, now I want cake.

Homemade Hot Pockets with Turkey, Brie and Cranberry

Although that’s sort of an insult to these little pouches of awesome, I really don’t know what else to call them.  They had a wonderful, light crust and my daughter liked them so much she demanded I write down the recipe so we can make them again(I am bad about experimenting, then forgetting what I did).  It was a great way to use up a lot of leftovers!

So disappointed in my photo, not adjusting well to life without my favorite lens :(

The dough is super soft and easy to roll out, I made some breakfast ones with egg for my son’s breakfast tomorrow, broccoli and cheese for my daughter and for myself - turkey, brie and cranberry sauce with a thin layer of creamy horseradish.  I ended up cleaning out the fridge more or less, my roasted portabello leftovers went in a pocket, so did some deli meats … though now the fridge is full of pockets so mission maybe not so accomplished?  The kids loved them, especially Caira who packed away two of her broccoli ones.


2c all purpose flour

1c potato starch

1 egg yolk (keep the egg white to brush on the outsides, makes em shiny!)

1/4c butter or oil

1 tablespoon dry yeast

1 tablespoon sugar

pinch of salt

1/4c warm water plus more to add while mixing(I never know how much I use, probably almost a cup)


Whatever is in your fridge.  Really anything with a moderate moisture content will work, just don’t do anything too wet or your dough will turn to mush.  Don’t use any raw meats either, it wont have time to cook through.  All fillings should be precooked, even veggies since they tend to release a lot of water if you try to do this with fresh ones.  

Combine everything for your dough in a bowl, adding water a tablespoon or two at a time until you have a nice sticky ball of dough.  Turn it out into an oiled bowl then cover with a damp towel and put somewhere nice and warm, I like putting mine on the stovetop while I preheat the oven.  It should double fairly fast, once it does turn it onto a floured surface and knead it a bit with well floured hands.  I cut mine into handful sized balls and left them to rest for another ten minutes before I started rolling them out.  You don’t really want round, more oblong.  Place filling on one side, then use either water or egg was around the edge and pinch to seal.  Bake at 375 for 14 minutes or until browned.  

Best thanksgiving leftovers so far.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll stuff some of the sweet potatoes, dressing and turkey in a pouch … nom.

I found these adorable things at the market yesterday.  They are claimed to be miniature Pink Lady apples.  Whatever they are, they’re wonderfully sweet, crisp and just a little tart.  I’m so glad I didn’t just take them for crab apples and walk on by!

So of course, this called for some spicy cinnamon candy.  I use this for a lot of things, it’s really just water, sugar, cinnamon and food color.  Boiled until it reaches hard crack stage then sat aside for a few moments to settle.

After a thorough washing I put the itty bitty apples on bamboo skewers, dip once, swirl a little and then place on oiled tray.  

Leftover hard candy can be poured onto a silpat or lightly oiled surface, left to cool until you can semi-comfortably handle it with gloved hands.  The gloves are important unless you’ve got some serious hot-pad-hands.  Pulling sugar is what it sounds like, you pull it, fold it back over on itself, pull it some more, give it a twist and then snip it into bite sized pieces with kitchen scissors.  Yummy cinnamon hard candy.