Author: Helen Nguyen

Beed Salad

Thai Beef Salad

Let’s talk a light lunch. Let’s make it simple but delectable. My easy Thai beef salad recipe is a balance of juicy and savory. We begin with a good cut of steak. I used 2 cuts of NY strip steak. Season it with some black pepper and soy sauce, about 2 tbs. Let it marinade for about 30 minutes. In a large salad mixing bowl, mix together 2 tbs of fish sauce, the juice of 2 to 3 limes, 1 tsp of sugar, 1 tsp of pepper flakes. Also add in 2 to 3 tbs of roasted rice powder. This is optional but highly recommended. The roasted rice powder adds extra texture and crunch to your salad. You can find this at the seasoning aisle at any Asian market. You’re done with the dressing. Taste and add more lime juice or sugar to your preference. I like mine extra sour. For the steak, pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees. Turn your stove on the highest temp and warm an oven proof pan. You want your pan …

Easy coconut cake

Very Easy Thai Coconut Cake

Let me tell you about my love story with a Thai Coconut Cake. There is a little hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant in Atlanta called Little Bangkok. My husband David and I have dined there for years. The owner happens to be one of my friends’ aunt. David and I love their chicken coconut soup, the curry duck, the pad thai, etc. The food is delicious so we rarely save room for dessert. One afternoon, I took my friend Rachelle there for her birthday. We ordered the Thai Coconut c=Cake to celebrate the occasion. She and I were planning to share a piece, but I think I ate it all before birthday girl could get to it. The cake was so moist that it basically dissolves in your mouth. The whipped topping was light and airy. The cake itself felt velvety and fluffy, with just a light hint of sweetness. It was truly addicting. In fact, I went back and ordered the entire cake. I’ve been back a few more times to order this little piece of heaven. …

Where have you been, Jelly Bean?

Hey guys! I hope everyone is doing well. So, I have not posted any new blog post for the past 3 weeks, except for my recent interview with Chef Andew Miller. I actually have not been cooking. David has been working a lot on a new project (which I cannot wait to share, in due time) and he also has been managing the kitchen at NP#2. With my sister in school as well, I have no one to cook for. One of my very good friends had asked me to officiate her wedding in two weeks. I am so excited that she had asked me. I’ve been trying to lose some pork belly weight before the wedding. Lately, my diet has been mostly kale and almond butter shakes, steamed salmon summer rolls, and quinoa salads. All delicious and healthy! No weight loss yet though. 😦 I am currently working on a project of my own, but I will keep that hush hush until the official reveal day. There’s so much to look forward to and I am …

Chef Andrew Miller on Today’s Culinary Industry

I am very fortunate to have known Chef Andrew Miller. Being a Chef for well over 30 years, Chef Miller is a wealth of knowledge in the cooking and hospitality world. I visited Chef at his current office at Gwinnett Technical College, where he is a Chef Instructor to aspiring culinary students. Chef’s office is a small museum of cooking manuals, kitchen tools, trophies, graduation certificates, and photographs of past employment places. Stood against a busy wall is a framed certificate of Guinness World Record for the largest pastry ever made, which Chef and seven other teammates still hold the title today. About six years ago, Chef Miller was my husband’s, David, culinary instructor at Le Cordon Bleu. The two kept in touch and once in a while, we would get to have dinner with Chef. Up until today, Chef continues to mentor his alumni such as David and the successful Jiyeon Lee of Heirloom BBQ and Sobban Restaurant. It is rare to see someone so passionate about his art and his students. David said Chef was …

Baby Octopus with Green Zhoug

Baby Octopus with Green Zhoug

To me, the sauce of this dish is the star attraction. Zhoug is a spicy chili sauce originated from the Yemen. It includes red or green chilis, a lot of fresh cilantro, coriander seeds, and cumin seeds. The Zhoug itself is great as a salad dressing, spread, or in this case, a marinade. I recommend using fresh octopus for this recipe and avoid frozen, as the outcome just won’t be the same. You can get fresh baby octopus from the fish market, or any Asian farmer’s market. Alternaticely, you can also use fresh squids, cut into large pieces. I hope you will try this dish, because I am absolutely in love with it. 1/2 tsp cumin seeds 1/2 tsp coriander seeds 1/2 small onion, chopped 2 garlic cloves, chopped 1 tsp sugar 1 small bunch of fresh cilantro 3 chiles, red or green (if you don’t like the heat, remove the seeds to make it milder) 1/2 tbsp salt (plus more to taste) 1 cup extra virgin olive oil 18oz baby octopus, cleaned 1 lemon …

Caprese Tulips

Cherry Tomato Caprese Lollipops / Caprese Tulips

This is a fun take on the classic caprese salad. These neat little “tulips” are fun to make, fun to eat, and beautiful for parties. One of the ingredients is tapenade, which is a mixture of olives and anchovy. You can find this at the European aisle at the market. You can also make them at home. Alton Brown has an easy recipe on the Food Network website. I can’t take credit for this recipe because this is my sister did all the work. I did most of the eating. Enjoy! 1 package of cherry tomatoes 1 small jar of tapenade Bocconcini (baby mozzarella), cut into 1/2 inch cubes good olive oil basil leaves toothpicks 1. With a sharp knife, remove the top 1/2 inch of each tomato. Using a lemon baller or a small metal spoon, scoop out the inside of the tomato, careful not to tear the “shell.” 2. Place the bocconcini inside the tomato, with the top portion of it sticking out. Drizzle a tiny bit of olive oil on top. Scoop …