IMG_5389I received recipe as part of a group e-mail from a fruit and vegetable co op. I only get the fruit from this co op, but as soon as I saw this recipe I was planning when I was going to make it.

Daikon is one vegetable I’m always looking to use in new ways. Some soups I’ve had with it were too overwhelming, but the tastes in this soup balanced it out nicely.

So, I drove all the way out to Hawaii Kai for a $10 box of vegetables. Otsuji Farms, actually. I have a lot of interest in supporting local farms, even if I have to drive an hour and 10 minutes to get there. I picked up a few more vegetables from their tables while I was there. I was stoked to find out that daikon came with the box this week. I figured this soup was meant to be (yes, I know, it’s the middle of summer and no time to be making soup, but this was a serious CRAVING!).

Let me tell you, really quickly, about what I got for $10 in this box. 2 huge bok choy, 1 bunch choi sum, 2 daikon (w/leaves), 2 heads of manoa lettuce, and tons of green onion. There’s no way I paid more than a dollar per pound for all of this. I picked up 3 beets, TONS of kale, tomatoes, and some cilantro for 9 dollars more. Now that is awesome. I already roasted and pureed the beets for chocolate cake (Deceptively Delicious), and marinated half the kale for salad. veggies

I’m a very happy vegetablist this weekend.

The soup came out well. It has just a bit of spicy from red pepper flakes, salty from the fish sauce, and sweet from the daikon. I doubled the meatball mixture from this recipe because I wanted it to be hearty, and it worked out perfectly. I also added bok choy to the original, and I’m including it here. This soup is also super fast. I think it took me 30 minutes from start to finish to make this. Thanks to Audrey Hyde for passing this on!

Vietnamese Meatball Soup

1/2 lb. ground or chopped shrimp, or pork, or chicken, or turkey or any combination thereof (I used pork)
1/2 tsp. white pepper (*I used black)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. fish sauce
1 egg
3 Tbl. finely chopped onion

Put this all in a food processor and pulse until it is a lumpy paste, about 15 seconds.  Or chop it all up little and mix in a bowl.  Set aside.

Soup Broth:
1 Tbl. oil
1/2 onion chopped fine
1 clove garlic chopped fine
1 tsp. chili flakes
3 Tbl. fish sauce
4 ripe tomatoes quartered,

2 daikon (Korean turnip) peeled and sliced thin
5 c. chicken or beef or pork or vegetable stock (I used chicken)
2 c. water
1 tsp. shrimp paste
1/4 tsp. salt

head of bok choy, chopped
1 tsp. lime juice

Heat the oil.  Fry the onion and garlic and fry just until nice and fragrant.  Add the chilies, fish sauce, and tomatoes.  Fry for 1 minute.  Add the daikon, broth, water, shrimp paste, salt and lime juice.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a  nice simmer.  Scoop heaping spoonfuls of the dumpling mixture and slip into the broth.  Use all the dumpling mixture this way.  Add the bok choy and cook until the dumplings rise to the top, about 10 minutes.  Serve over rice or rice noodles.


Koko Rice


IMG_5342We had a drizzley afternoon, so I finally broke out my Koko Samoa and made some koko rice.

Koko Samoa is cocoa beans grown in Samoa, roasted, pounded, and formed (somehow?) into these wedges. They are very hard and have little bits of cocoa beans still in pieces. It’s very strong, and not sweet (think baking chocolate). I live in Hawaii, so it’s not impossible to find, but where you are? Probably at some specialty store tucked into a corner.

You can use baking cocoa powder, but it won’t taste quite the same. The little chunks make it taste so raw, in my opinion. koko

Koko Rice is kind of like rice pudding, but less-puddingy and more cocoa-y. It actually reminds me of porridge. One key here is that you have to use short grain rice (Japanese rice) and none of that Uncle Ben’s stuff. Long grain rice would be completely the wrong thing. In Hawaii the only rice you’ll see is short grain rice, but I know that on the mainland, you’ll be lucky to find small expensive bags of it at your supermarket. Go to a Japanese food store (Uwajimaya is a big one in the Northwest) and buy it more cheaply in a large bag. You’ll never go back to long grain again. If you ever cook Asian food or curry, you have to have short grain, sticky rice.

Serve koko rice hot or cold, depending on the weather. It’s comforting on a rainy afternoon.

Koko Rice (5 servings)IMG_5343

  • 1 C short grain rice
  • 4 C water
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 5 T grated koko Samoa
  • 1 C (or more, to taste) white sugar

Put the rice and water into a pot. Bring to a boil, then cover and put on simmer for 15 minutes, until the rice is tender. It will be soupy. Add coconut milk and grated koko, stir to melt the chocolate. Add sugar. You may need more, depending on your taste. I also added more koko than this.

Bring to a simmer, rice will be tender but not falling apart. Remove from heat and serve.

Bahn Mi


daikonsandwich2I go through long periods of time where I am not eating bahn mi every day, but I wish I were.

The closest bahn mi spot  is about 30 minutes away, so I was so happy to find pickled carrot and daikon at the really FAR farmer’s market. I ate bahn mi for that week, and then the next week I had to battle with myself as to whether I should go to the farmer’s market that is an hour away from me, or 20 minutes. The 20 minutes won out, but left me without my favorite snack.

I finally got myself to make pickled carrot and daikon, and was surprised to find that it wasn’t as hard as I had imagined.

I used my cuisinart to shred the carrots and daikon. This probably would have been way better if I had cut it into matchsticks. I guess that’s what separates me from the real chefs out there. The cuisinart made it a little smaller than I like. I can hardly complain, because one big daikon and some carrots made me enough pickled vegetables to last for a few weeks. I definitely recommend using white vinegar, and not rice vinegar. I read several recipes that seemed to think the two were interchangeable. I made one batch with rice vinegar, and it did not taste right.

Then I set about making myself some bahn mi. I actually did make the french bread. I tried to make it more healthy, so I substituted whole wheat pastry flour. That was my main misstep, beacause whole wheat pastry flour makes the bread a little more wet. It tasted good, but it didn’t have the crispyness I like. I’ve made this recipe before, so I know it’s good with regular white flour.

From what I understand, there are many versions of bahn mi. This is what I made with what I had on hand. I was happy. I’m considering putting an egg on it. For some reason, that sounds good too.

Bahn Mi

  1. Make the meat by frying cubed meat in a little oil. Add fish sauce to taste, and a little soy sauce. I used 2 chicken breasts and about 1/2 tsp fish sauce, and 1/2 t soy sauce, with 6 garlic cloves.
  2. Assemble the sandwich with all the ingredients. While tomato, cucumber, and lettuce may not be necessary, pickled vegetables, cilantro, and hot sauce on french bread ARE ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY.

I have also dipped slices of tofu in a mixture of flour and a sprinkling of salt, then fried it. This makes a very yummy vegan friendly sandwich.

IMG_5029IMG_5028Before I bought Veganomicon, one of my favorite cookbooks, I knew nothing about vital wheat gluten.

Just the name excited me. This stuff really is magic. And the best part? I just pick up a bag at the store (any health food grocery) rather than make it from hand, which is extremely time consuming.

If you tried to make black bean burgers without vital wheat gluten, they would just fall apart. See? Magic.

Black Bean Burgers (from Veganomicon)

  • 1 can black beans, drained (or 2 C black beans from scratch)
  • 1 t chile powder
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1/2 onion grated (big holes on the box grater)
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1/4 C finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 C vital wheat gluten
  • 1/4 C water
  1. Smash the beans in a bowl until you have mostly smashed beans and a few half beans (no whole beans). I just use a fork for this.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir with a fork, eventually kneading the mixture with your hands for about a minute until uniformly mixed.
  3. Form the dough into 6 patties, firmly pressing together to make the patties about 1 1/2 inches thick.
  4. Heat about 2 t olive oil in a heavy pan over medium heat. Cook 3 patties at a time, pressing firmly on the patty with a spatula periodically as it cooks. Spray the tops with olive oil and flip over after about 5 minutes. Cook 5 minutes more on the other side, also pressing.
  5. Serve with buns and any condiments or toppings you like.

Love and Beets


IMG_4957Some of you may not think that beets deserve your love.

I assure you, you are wrong.

Scrub, wrap in foil, and roast. Peel, and eat. What could be easier?

These are sweet and have the most lovely bite I can imagine. The color alone should make you fall in love.

Did I mention beet greens? GORGEOUS.


I am recently obsessed with both creme fraiche and pumpkin lately, and since I had open containers of both in the fridge, I thought, Why not combine them?

Creme Fraiche, if you’re unfamiliar with its luxury, is basically extremely rich sour cream. I quite like it, but I’ve had mixed reviews from friends. It’s something that gets served on the side of a rich dessert, usually. I decided to bake with it, because A) I had TONS (which never happens), and B) scones with heavy cream and buttermilk usually taste especially good. Add some pumpkin and how could I go wrong?

I think of scones as bready cookies, but for some reason I like to think they’re healthier (which is totally not true, but I like to wallow in self-deception). These turned out pretty moist, which is good because one problem with scones is that they can be very dry. I don’t drink coffee, so there’s no reason for me to want something dry to dunk with.

When you incorporate the butter, you can, if you like, use a pastry cutter which has several thin “blades” shaped like a C and a handle on the top. You just press it in, kind of moving back and forth on the bottom of the bowl. The point is to incorporate the butter without smearing it into the flour like a paste, which will hurt how it rises. It makes little balls of butter which melt as it cooks. Trust me, it makes a difference.

I adapted this recipe from epicurious

Pumpkin and Creme Fraiche Scones


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 C packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 C white sugar (I did add a little more to taste)
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 6 T butter, cut into squares, chilled
  • 1 C chocolate chips
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 C creme fraiche or sour cream
  • 1 1/2 t vanilla
  • 3/4 C canned pumpkin
  1. Heat oven to 350. Whisk flour through salt in a large mixing bowl. Rub in butter with fingertips until the mixture resembles fine meal. Mix in chocolate chips.
  2. Separate 1 egg. Put white aside. Put yolk in bowl with other egg, creme fraiche, vanilla, and pumpkin. Whisk together and then mix in with dry ingredients until combined (don’t over mix).
  3. Grease a cookie sheet and form about 1/4 C of batter into little patties (like cookies!). They don’t expand much so don’t worry about putting them too close.
  4. Beat reserved white until foamy. Brush tops of patties with white, and then sprinkle with a little white sugar.
  5. Bake for about 20 minutes (check periodically) until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Makes about 20.


I was a happy woman on Tuesday.

And to celebrate? Michelle Obama’s Apple Cobbler

This was an unusual recipe, I think, but it’s good. Just SOOOOO sweet. Put less sugar.