Cookbook Review & Matcha Tea Cookies from Secrets from My Vietnamese Kitchen

 
I recently received a free copy of  Secrets from My Vietnamese Kitchen: Simple Recipes from My Many Mothers  from    Appetite by Random House  to review.

I recently received a free copy of Secrets from My Vietnamese Kitchen: Simple Recipes from My Many Mothers from Appetite by Random House to review.

Ask me what I want to eat when I’m not in the mood to cook and I’ll say ‘pho’.

Vietnamese cuisine holds a soft spot in my heart. Some of my closest friends are Vietnamese, and I’ve enjoyed countless evenings at their dinner table eating their family’s dishes.

I’m drawn to the simple, but complex flavours of Vietnamese cuisines. The sweet, the sour, the salty and a dash of love all come together to make a meal that brings people together.

In her cookbook, Kim Thuy, described how their family uses food as a tool for expressing their emotions. I can definitely relate. Since I can remember, food has been the centre of my family’s gatherings. As an adult, I don’t call my parents or siblings all that often. But give it a couple of weeks, and I’ll have the urge to have everyone over for dinner to share a meal and catch up.

I love how each chapter of this cookbook is dedicated to members of Kim’s family. Recipes are laid out a simply and are easy to follow. Starting with the fundamentals and leading into soups, bowls and stir-fries, vegetables, grilled and fried, slow cooking and desserts and snacks. At the end there’s a Vietnamese food and wine pairing recommendation as well as music pairing! I’ve never seen before in a cookbook and was very intrigued.

The book is beautifully photographed and elegant. As a food photographer, I’m drawn to cookbooks with photography that can tell a story. This cookbook hits that one every note. I can’t wait to cook my way through it.

The first recipe I wanted to try was Nathalie’s Matcha Tea Cookies. I think I was craving something sweet at the time. My go-to cookie is white chocolate & macadamia nuts. These matcha tea cookies are made with toasted pine nuts and white chocolate. I instantly knew I was going to be fan. They did not disappoint. I also love that the recipe can be frozen. I already have half a batch waiting for me when the next sweet craving hits!

Secrets from My Vietnamese Kitchen: Simple Recipes from My Many Mothers

Matcha Tea Cookies

NATHALIE’S MATCHA TEA COOKIES

Excerpted from Secrets from My Vietnamese Kitchen: Simple Recipes from My Many Mothers by Kim Thuy. Copyright © 2017 Editions Libre Expression. Translated from the French by Sheila Fischman. Recipes translated by Marie Asselin. Appetite by Random House edition published in 2019. Food Photography by Sarah Scott. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Makes about 48 cookies ~ Prep time 20 minutes + 2 hours resting ~ Cook time 9 to 12 minutes

  • 2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour

  • 1 tsp (5 g) baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp (2 g) baking soda

  • 2 Tbsp (6 g) matcha tea powder

  • 2/3 cup (150 g) salted butter, softened
    1 cup (220 g) brown sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 1/2 cup (70 g) toasted pine nuts

  • 7 oz (200 g) white chocolate, chopped

  • Wax paper or plastic wrap

1—Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and matcha tea powder together. Set aside.

2—Cream the butter using a hand mixer or a stand mixer.

3—Add the brown sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.

4—Add the eggs and beat to combine.

5—Mix in the flour mixture in three batches, beating well after each addition.

6—Add the pine nuts and chocolate and stir just to incorporate.

7—Divide the dough into four portions and set each portion on a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap.

8—Shape the dough into 2-inch (5 cm) diameter rolls. Wrap well in the wax paper or plastic wrap, twisting both ends to seal shut.

9—Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

10—Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C).

11—Slice each roll into 10 to 12 cookies. Place the cookies on parchment paper–lined baking sheets.

Bake for 9 to 12 minutes, depending on whether you like a softer cookie or a crisper one.

Using sushi mats to shape the dough into rolls will enable you to create perfectly round cookies.

 The cookie rolls will keep refrigerated for up to 1 week, or frozen for up to 6 months. Thaw the rolls in the refrigerator for 24 hours before slicing.

Matcha Tea Cookies
Matcha Tea Cookies
Matcha Tea Cookies
Matcha Tea Cookies
Matchacookies-6.jpg
Matchacookies-7.jpg
Matcha Tea Cookies
Matcha Tea Cookies
 

Cookbook Review & Wine Gums from Joe Beef: Surviving the Apocalypse

 
I recently received a free copy of  Joe Beef: Surviving the Apocalypse: Another Cookbook of Sorts  from    Appetite by Random House  to review.

I recently received a free copy of Joe Beef: Surviving the Apocalypse: Another Cookbook of Sorts from Appetite by Random House to review.

I didn’t think it was possible to top The Art of Living According to Joe Beef, and yet here we are. With more recipes and more off the wall ideas to make you fall madly in love all over again, Joe Beef: Surviving the Apocalypse: Another Cookbook of Sorts nails it. I mean there’s a recipe for soap!

There’s a chapter insert dedicated to the cellar and features recipes for canning and preserving. While the apocalypse is metaphorical, I’m a firm believer in knowing how to cut it on your own sans grocery store (at least for a day or two). The insert had me instantly transported back to my Grandma’s cold room filled with shelves of pickled veg and preserved fruit. Although my Grandma wasn’t making pickled pork butt or deer necks mind you. Other chapters are dedicated to over the top Sunday dinners, PBS cooking shows, Joe Beef and Liverpool House restaurants, as well as the history of Montreal and Quebec’s Christmas in July traditions.

Let’s be clear. The recipes aren’t from your conventional cookbook collection. Some recipes I find more thought provoking than a sense of wanting to run out and cook it tomorrow. While other recipes I want to make ASAP, but it’s not the most practical to attempt financially. I’m probably not going to cook horse, however, I would sell my left foot to be able to make the Gateau Renverse aux Truffes-just once. Yet, there are several I can’t wait to dig into. Chaga ghee has me super curious, and I know I would love to take a stab at making smoked apple cider vinegar for fun. I think that might be the point. Have fun.

This cookbook is so much more than a simple collection of recipes. It’s a humous reflection of our food culture, and nudge to reconnect to the kitchen, our families and things that grow in the backyard. So if you’d like some entertainment and a slap in the face to get off your phone and spend quality time with good people, good food, oh and good wine, this book is for you!

Speaking of wine. I naturally started with the Wine Gums recipe. I was having some issues with my candy molds, and opted to make the recipe into a small wine gum bundt cake. Who wouldn’t love a wine cake?? Promptly served with friends while watching hockey of course.

Wine Gums Joe Beef

Wine Gums

Excerpted from Joe Beef: Surviving the Apocalypse by Frédéric Morin, David McMillan and Meredith Erickson. Copyright © 2018 by Frédéric Morin, David McMillan and Meredith Erickson. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

We grew up on Maynard’s wine gums (favorite flavor: cassis).

Wine gums are on our dessert list, mostly at Vin Papillon but sometimes at Joe Beef: a little plate of six to eight wine gums per table to end the meal. We have experimented with many different wines and all have worked. It seems reducing wine with sugar is fail-proof.

Vanya was once dared by a tedious wine fan to blind taste our wine gums:she nailed three out of five.

You will need: One or more silicone chocolate/jelly/ candy molds

  • 8½ sheets (17 g) leaf gelatin

  • 1 cup (250 ml) wine

  • ⅓ cup (70 g) sugar

  • ⅛ cup (25 ml) liquid pectin

  • Natural food color (optional)

1. Plunge the gelatin sheets into a large bowl of cold water and let sit for 10 minutes until softened.

2. In a small saucepan, combine ½ cup (125 ml) of the wine and the sugar. Warm until the sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes on medium heat. Do not bring to a boil.

3. Pick up the gelatin and gently squeeze it, removing the excess water. Place the gelatin in the pan, whisking until dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the pectin and whisk some more.

4. Pour in the remaining ½ cup (125 ml) wine and stir. Transfer to a small jug or other pouring vessel.

5. Place your wine gum mold(s) on a sheet pan. Carefully pour the wine gum mixture into the individual cavities all the way to the top. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for 6 to 8 hours.

6. When ready to serve, take a toothpick and carve around the top edges of each gum, as you would with a knife to unmold a cake, then push the individual cavity inside out to release the gum. This enables you to get that true wine gum form, perfected. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container. Best eaten fresh.

Note Tasting jokes aside, we suggest these varietals for your gum-making adventures: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Merlot, and Savagnin.

Wine Gums Cake Joe Beef