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New Beginnings Recipe

New Beginnings

05.25.12 by Jackie

2012 has definitely been a life-changing year for me. Yesterday, I underwent the Naturalization Oath Ceremony at the Heritage Theater in Campbell, California, and along with 403 other people from 63 different countries, I became a citizen of the United States of America. As I recited the Pledge of Allegiance for the first time as an American citizen, I felt very emotional. It's been a long journey. Vice Mayor of the city of Campbell, Evan Low, greeted us and made a wonderful speech. He's such a passionate and energetic citizen. He's a fourth-generation American and he talked about the wonderful opportunities this country has given his family, including the ability to contribute and engage in the community and to do his part to shape the country.

I was particularly moved by his comments on the diversity of cultures and backgrounds that we share with each other, especially here in California. It meant all the more for me, given that my baby daughter was in attendance, as I am of French-Vietnamese descent and my husband is Indian-American.

If you had asked me before, I would always have said that 2000 was the best year of my life. I was a young engineering student who found an internship in Silicon Valley for the summer and I met the love of my life. But I have to admit that this year is rising up the charts. I've watched my little girl grow up into a very entertaining six month old, I've become a U.S. citizen, and I have one more exciting announcement: I've been given the opportunity to publish my first cookbook at the end of the year! It's been a dream of mine to write a book, and it was kind of surreal when I was approached about it earlier this year.

I just finished the manuscript so I'm beyond excited to be able to share the news with you! I'm truly living my American Dream. I'd like to say a heartfelt thank you to every single one of you, my readers, for sending your lovely messages of encouragement and for being such faithful followers of my daily cooking adventures. I've been sharing my everyday life with you for the past three years, and it's given me the opportunity to cross paths with many wonderful people along the way. It's been an amazing journey. So merci!

Now back to my favorite subject, which is food! Being a freshly minted American, it just felt right to make an apple pie, though of course, with my own twist. The tart crust is made with cream cheese. The pie is covered with diced apples and pecan crumbs and to make the dessert more visually appealing, I topped it with sliced apples and brushed them with apricot preserves at the end.

And finally, since Memorial Day weekend is upon us, I'd like to take the opportunity to thank our soldiers who have fought and continue to fight for our freedoms. God Bless America!


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Tofu Scramble Recipe with Green Beans Recipe

Tofu is probably the ingredient I cook the most. Since there are five vegetarians in my home, I've learned to deep-fry, stir-fry, sauté, boil and grill tofu. My husband Lulu isn't a strict vegetarian; he eats eggs only if they're blended in desserts and the egg taste isn't detectable. He wouldn't eat eggs in the form of an omelet or scrambled eggs. I came up with this vegan egg substitute by boiling tofu as a first step, then scrambling the tofu, then finally sautéing it with turmeric to replicate the color of real eggs.

I cooked the mock scrambled eggs with French green beans and served it with steamed jasmine rice. This meal is complete while remaining healthy and still very tasty. Bon appétit!


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Apple Cake with Crumb Topping Recipe

Apple Cake with Crumb Topping

09.23.11 by Jackie

This apple cake recipe has become a standard in our house. It's probably one of the first desserts I remember baking as a kid in France. Over the years, the recipe hasn't changed one bit, with the exception of the addition of crumb topping for texture contrast.

The apples in our garden are smallish and a bit tart, which makes them better for cooking than eating. I was able to gather a basketful of the apples and put them to use in this recipe. The flesh was aromatic, crisp and firm, making them perfect for baking. Once cooked, they tasted nutty, sweet and tart. The cake is perfect for brunch as well, and as an added bonus, we ate it again the next day and it was still moist and perfect.


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Granola Parfait Recipe (with Jackfruit and Mangosteen) Recipe

Granola parfaits are usually made of layers of fruit, a dairy product and granola. The key is to balance the different textures of the various elements. As is true of almost any recipe, the quality of the ingredients plays a huge role in the end product. I got a bag of “Plain Jane” granola from Sarah over at Nuts About Granola (www.nutsaboutgranola.com), and it's incredible, so that part of equation was taken care of.

To contrast the peanut and cinnamon flavored granola, I gave the recipe a tropical Asian twist by using fresh mangosteens and jackfruit. They were naturally sweet so no additional sugar was necessary. Canned fruit would also work fine. I also decided to use fromage blanc in place of the more common yogurt. Fromage blanc literally translates to "white cheese". It's widely available in France and I'm lucky to be able to buy it at my local market. The consistency is similar to soft, healthier cream cheese. I sweetened it with a little stevia and honey.

Whether you want to serve it for breakfast or as a snack, this delicious treat will satisfy your sweet tooth! And if you’re curious to try Plain Jane granola for yourself, Sarah and Pham Fatale have put together a giveaway this week. Just click the like button below and you’re entered in the contest! We’ll pick the winner at random Saturday morning.

 


The first Nuts About Granola Giveaway has already ended and I will announce the winner later on today. Now you can participate in the second giveaway, ending Thursday, September 8th. It takes a few seconds and you could win two packs of Granola!

Nuts About Granola Giveaway Entry Form:

Pham Fatale Giveaway Terms and Conditions: No purchase necessary. All prizes are generously donated by the company featured. Winners will be chosen at random, and odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Pham Fatale is not responsible for late, lost, stolen, illegible or incomplete entries which will be disqualified. US Residents only please. Only one entry per person per giveaway. Prizes are not refundable or returnable. Giveaway terms subject to change.


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How to Make an Omelet Recipe

How to Make an Omelet

08.25.11 by Jackie

Whenever my husband's little 7-year-old nephew comes over, he always asks for my special omelet. His mom Sara asked me to teach her because he keeps asking for Auntie Jackie's eggs! My trick is to add very little besan (which is chickpea flour) and cream (or milk), and top it with a little cheese. The omelet can be whipped up in no time and served with salsa on the side.

Whether it's for breakfast or a light meal, omelets are a simple, versatile option. The ingredients can be adapted to suit the time of day and what you have on hand. You could make them plain with a little cheese or add cold cuts, tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach or even fish sauce. What’s not to love?

Omelet Recipe with Picture


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