Bánh Xèo…My Favorite Vietnamese Snack

Roll it up, dip it and enjoy!

Before I even got to Vietnam I was super excited about trying bánh xèo...a sizzling savory fried pancake filled with pork, shrimp, herbs, mung beans and sometimes other fun twists depending on the region.  You know that sounds right up SavoryGirl's alley! Not only did I eat a lot of great bánh xèo while traveling through Vietnam but I was lucky enough to actually learn how to make it during my cooking class in Hội An...so lucky for you I'm sharing the recipe here. This recipe serves 4-8 as an appetizer and for some of the harder to find ingredients I would try your local Asian market...none of the ingredients are too rare. Enjoy...sizzle, sizzle!
SavoryGirl’s October Posts for Omaha Steaks

SteakBytes.com logo

October was my first month as a guest blogger for Omaha Steaks and, of course, I wanted to share my first two posts with all of you! While I'm technically not getting paid to do this, I do get free product of my choosing based on the topic themes of the month.  That being said, I would never write anything I didn't enjoy or believe in and to be honest both my parents and I have enjoyed Omaha Steaks on occasion for years and years.  So when the opportunity presented itself it felt like an authentic way to get SavoryGirl a bit more awareness and visibility.

For my first month, I wrote two posts, which I've shared below. To be 100% candid, I absolutley love their Rapid Roast technology.  Both the teriyaki pork tenderloin and the beef wellington goes straight from the freezer to the oven, stay in a vacuum sealed pack and cook up with making zero mess at all.  Does it get any easier?  And they both cooked perfectly according to the directions.  I really enjoyed the Beef Wellington and would buy these again on my own...steak cooked perfectly and the mushroom pate and flaky crust felt decadent just as Beef Wellington should!  The pork tenderloin cooked up well, but to be honest the teriyaki glaze was a bit too salty for my taste. And you all know how SavoryGirl feels about salt! So next time I make it I would likely pair it with a sweet glaze or dipping sauce to counterbalance the teriyaki marinade. Since my pineapple fried rice that i served along side it is also a pretty salty the overall meal was a bit much, despite the sweetness of the pineapple. So I'd also likely choose a different side dish to balance out the flavors...maybe a sweet potato pineapple bake or something along those lines.

So, here are my very first guest blog posts for Omaha Steaks' SteakBytes Blog...check them out and let me know what you think!

Rapid Roast Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin with Pineapple Fried Rice

Beef Wellington Bites with Red Wine Rosemary Dipping Sauce

I'll continue to share my monthly posts here on SavoryGirl, but if you want to keep an eye on them yourself my page on the Omaha Steaks SteakBytes Blog can be found here.
Tapas Party!

Tortilla Espanola

I'm part of a lovely rotating monthly ladies dinner party and August was my turn to host...so I decided to forego the traditional sit-down dinner and throw a Tapas Party!  This was particularly fun for me because it allowed me to go down memory lane a bit to when I studied abroad in San Sebastián, Spain and pull out some of my old favorite recipes from my time there that I haven't made in years.  It also gave me the opportunity to really cook a lot...which, yes, is a lot of work, but I truly do enjoy and haven't done in a while.  So what did I make?  Here's a quick rundown with recipe links included...

Tortilla Española...truly no tapas party is complete without this (above).  It is a signature Spanish tapa that you will find at every single tapas bar throughout the country.  While it doesn't sound particularly exciting (essentially a potato & onion omelet), trust me on this one...it's always a huge hit.  This one always feels a bit scary for people to make, review the step by step photo recipe attached in the linked recipe...it's really pretty simple and straightforward if you take it one step at a time.  And just be bold with the flip...own it and it will go perfectly! Traditionally it's served on top of a thin slice of bread but you can eat it on it's own as well (which I prefer).

Shrimp, Salmon and Egg Pintxo - this was my favorite of the entire spread!  Not surprising since it's a pintxo which is the Basque version of tapas and I studied abroad in Basque country.  So this was more reminiscent of the tapas that I ate while living abroad. Slightly more complex and often including amazing seafood.  The viniagrette that you make for this pintxo is to die for and I've been putting it on everything else since (it makes a ton though so you could 1/2 it if you want to). KILLS me that I've lost my pictures of my favorite tapa...guess that means I need to make it again ASAP so I can share the photo!

Pancetta Fig Crisps - ok, I took some liberties with the word "tapa".  This technically isn't Spanish but it is an appetizer that I've made several times and is always a huge hit so I decided to include it. Delish as always.

Pancetta Fig Crisps

Next up a a few "DIY" tapas:
Nectarine & Blue Cheese Salad with Plum Vinaigrette

This is a super simple recipe...one that you may have even come up with on your own in the past, but it's so yummy that I wanted to share it just to ensure it makes it into your summer repertoire.  The original recipe is from this month's Bon Appétit and can be found here but I've revised it slightly based on our preferences and ingredients.  I found that the vinaigrette as specified in the original recipe wasn't quite "plum-y" enough for me so most of my slight adjustments are focused there.  Otherwise this is a super flavorful and satisfying salad to serve alongside just about anything or enjoy on it's own.  Perfect way to enjoy the amazing nectarines in season right now!
Mini Spicy Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Our Pat's are in the SuperBowl this weekend, so we need some yummy treats to sustain us through all of our shouting at the T.V. screen!  Enter one of my guilty pleasures when working from home...having The Martha Stewart Show on in the background.  I was lucky enough to have it on recently when Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow of The Meatball Shop were on with this recipe for Mini Spicy Buffalo Chicken Meatballs.  Now to be clear, I LOVE buffalo chicken wings.  Love them. But, I almost never eat them since they're not exactly healthy...which is why I love these, now I can get that buffalo chicken wing experience I love more often!  They're certainly a healthier take on buffalo chicken wings but still just as delicious and easier to eat.  Don't get me wrong...they still have butter in the sauce and you want a good blue cheese dressing to dip them in but it's certainly an improvement! And most importantly, boy are they tasty!  These will likely be my go to spicy buffalo dish for a while, which makes Christian happy since he loves them as well!
Pancetta Crisps with Goat Cheese & Figs

I made these delicious & easy little suckers from the November 2010 Bon Appétit for Thanksgiving last year and they've been a go-to appetizer in our house ever since...well at least when we can find fresh figs (although I've also used fresh dates...if you do that you can skip the jam/preserves though). They are so super easy to make...mostly assembly and since you can crisp up the pancetta in advance.
Foodie Valentine’s Day Celebrations

Christian and I celebrated V Day on Sunday with a trip to the SF Ballet to see Giselle (fabulous!) and dinner at Paul K (a bit underwhelming).  But we also celebrated on V Day proper by cooking a nice meal at home and popping a bottle of bubbly so I thought I would review both celebrations.

I’ll start with the dinner we made ourselves on Valentine’s Day itself...a nice bottle of 2006 Mumm Blanc de Blanc, Mussels Steamed in a Spicy Tomato-Cilantro Broth with a DIY salad of Arugula, Beets, Fresh Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese drizzled with truffle honey, balsamic, olive oil, salt & pepper.  Dessert was homemade chocolate dipped strawberries.
Cheese Fondue

We are fondue lovers in our household...so much so that we even had our rehearsal dinner for our wedding at a fondue restaurant!  I love anything that slows down a meal and let's you play with your food while you have good conversation and fun.  Christian loves it for those reasons too...but I think he also has a lot of fond family memories of fondue since he grew up having fondue with family and friends every Christmas Eve, a tradition we've continued together.  So Christmas Eve is really our one time of year when we make fondue...and when we do it it's a full meal so this cheese fondue is followed by a meat/seafood fondue and a chocolate fondue.  But to be honest, the appetizer cheese course has always been my favorite!

When it comes to cheese fondue, I'm a traditionalist.  There are lots of recipes out there for Mexican cheese fondue or other versions but I absolutley love the traditional European style fondue which is what the recipe is for below.  This is another one of those recipes that I'm sure I got from somewhere, but I've been making it for so long that I'm not sure what the original source was and I think I've modified it a bit over the years.  Enjoy!