Winter Recipes

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Gratin de Christophine (Chayote Squash Recipe) Recipe

Gratin de christophine originates from the French island of Guadeloupe and Martinique. Whether it's called chayote in English, christophine in Creole and French or trái su su in Vietnamese, the vegetable is from the same family as squash. I steam them with apples for added sweetness, then mix in creamed pearl onion sauce and finally bake until golden.

If you're looking to spice up your Christmas meal, you should try this Creole dish. It’s familiar and fresh all at the same time.


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Vegetarian Pot Pie with Lentil Pasta Recipe

If you’ve wanted to make comfort food healthy, this recipe is for you. As I've told you in the past, I often try to make vegetarian versions of the meat dishes I cook. One of my favorite dishes is chicken pot pie, and today I decided to make a variation of the dish with lentils and pastina pasta. I placed the mixture in mini soup bowls and covered them with puff pastry baked until golden and flaky.

The dish is fairly healthy, yet very flavorful due to the generous amounts of ginger, soy bacon bits, coriander, parsley and cilantro. The flavors and texture are spot on for a cold evening meal.

Lentil Pot Pie Recipe with Picture


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Chocolate Pear Entremet Recipe

Chocolate Pear Entremet

02.15.10 by Jackie

Un entremet poire chocolat is an ultra-refined dessert made of layers of chocolate cake, pear flavored mascarpone and covered in chocolate cream. The key to this dessert is to use very fragrant and juicy pears. I waited a few days for the pears to reach the peak of ripeness. I baked the mini chocolate cakes in 4-½" diameter pans so we could each have our own serving.

Of course, we ended up sharing one individual cake and feeding each other. Lulu commented that the entremet was almost too pretty to be eaten, but he soon got over his initial reaction. It was the perfect way to end our Valentine's Day dinner, and I'm sure I'll be making more of these in the near future.  There's no reason to wait a whole year to enjoy this decadent treat again!

Entremet Poire Chocolat


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Beef Hot Pot (Bo Nhung Dam, Shabu Shabu) Recipe

If you're a beef and seafood lover, this Vietnamese-style beef hot pot recipe is for you. Bỏ nhúng dấm (literally beef dipped in vinegar) is the Vietnamese equivalent of the Japanese dish called shabu shabu, but with additional seafood ingredients. The broth is made with coconut soda, chopped onions and tomatoes. On a separate platter, gather the raw beef, shrimp, baby squid and octopus, fresh pineapple, cooked rice noodles, bánh tráng (dried rice paper sheets) and various aromatic herbs. The prep work is quite labor-intensive; you have to have a lot of company to make the meal worthwhile. The more, the merrier.

Place an electric hot pot in the middle of the dining table and let everyone dip and cook the beef and seafood in the fragrant broth and assemble their own rolls using the rice paper sheets. Dip the rolls in mắm nêm dipping sauce. It's made of fermented fish paste, which is very strong. If fermented fish paste is too overwhelming, you could ultimately use nước mắm chấm (fish sauce) or soy sauce (nước tương chấm) for a milder flavor.

Vietnamese beef hot pot is a very festive meal because it's fairly expensive and quite time-consuming to prepare. It's what one of my uncles would call "đặc biệt", or "only for special occasions" in English. On my Papa's side of the family in France, all my cousins (including me) married non-Vietnamese spouses but I can guarantee you they all know the meaning of the word "đặc biệt" (which means special). Whenever, we're invited to my uncles' homes, they offer a lot of đặc biệt meals. "Lulu, it's đặc biệt, you should try this, it's delicious!" as one of my uncle always says to my husband. So this recipe is dedicated to my uncle François, whom I call Chu Bay (Uncle #7. He's Papa's 7th brother and that's how you show respect in the Vietnamese tradition).

It's perfect for a winter meal and just in time for the Chinese New Year, which is coming very soon.

Bo Nhunh Giam Recipe with Picture


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Pineapple and Persimmon Compote Recipe

Pineapple and Persimmon Compote

02.05.10 by Jackie

Pineapple persimmon compote is a nice way to end a winter meal. The warmth of the compote contrasts well with ice cream or crème fraîche (although I didn't add it). 

Persimmons are an obvious choice for a winter compote, but I know what you're thinking: pineapples? My sister-in-law Sunny got the pineapple from a friend as a combination birthday present / commemorative gift for the season premiere of "Psych". In case you're not familiar with it, "Psych" is a comedy / mystery show on USA TV. There's a running gag on the TV show where they hide a pineapple somewhere in each episode.


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