Saturday, May 31, 2014

Paul's Wild Boar Burgers (serves 2)

When it comes to grilling, my husband has his technique down to a science--the exact timing of cooking this burger...unlike me I just use my eyeballs and a stick to give it a few pokes at the meat to judge when the food is done! Try either method you prefer to cook the burgers and they will turn out tasty especially when you have quality meat! You can put anything on your burgers. This time I used ketchup, tomato slices, lettuce, and caramelized onion. I like the sweet taste of the cooked onion.

This morning was a beautiful warm Spring day. My husband and I decided to go for a long morning walk in Boston. We stopped into Savenor's market located in Beacon Hill for a quick look. There were a variety of animal meats to try. We passed on the rattlesnake and alligator meat this time and decided to try the wild boar patties instead. We had purchased wild boar meat from them in the past and it was very good. 

Paul's Wild Boar Burgers


2 wild boar patties (about 1/4 lb each), sprinkle salt and pepper if interested
2 rolls (I used brioche sandwich rolls), cut in half
Add any fixing you prefer 


1) Preheat the grill.
2) Once the grill is heated to 350 degrees, add the patties.
3) Grill with cover on for 2 1/2 minutes. Grill each side of the patties twice (for total of 10 minutes).
4)) After 5 minutes add the halved rolls to grill.
5) On the last flip add the cheese slices to the patties.

Caramelized Onion

Saute thinly sliced onion in olive oil over medium high heat for about 5 minutes or until the onion is wilted.

*Below are a few photos from our morning walk in Boston.

Charles River Espanade (Boston)

Church of the Covenant (Boston)

First Baptist Church (Boston)

Newbury Street

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sauteed Tongue on a Bed of Arugula & Tomato Salad (serves 1)

The process of preparing animal tongues can be a bit time consuming especially using small tongues from young animals. However, it is worth the time.  If you are interested in consuming tongues you may have to visit your local farmers.  I purchased the young goat and lamb tongues from Sherrie, owner of Cracked an Egg Farm in Barrington, NH.  Thank you Sherrie!

For this dish I used a few pieces of the sauteed tongue to add to my salad.  The result?  Well, you have to try this recipe and let me know how it taste!

Arugula & Tomato Salad


A handful of baby arugula
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
A pinch of salt
A pinch of freshly ground black pepper
4 slices of tomato slices, seeds removed


1) Mix the arugula into the next 4 ingredients well.
2) Arrange the arugula salad and the tomato slices however you want on your plate.

Sauteed Young Goat & Lamb Tongue


2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium size onion, sliced thinly
2 scallions, chopped
1 tsp grated ginger
8 young goat and lamb tongues (about 1 lb), cleaned and prepared (instructions follow), cut into 1/2-inch widths
1 tsp grated garlic
1 tsp soy sauce
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
Sate or chili pepper (optional)


1) Heat oil in a small pan over medium high heat.
2) Once the pan is hot, add onion, scallions, and ginger.  Saute about 2 minutes.
3) Add tongue pieces and garlic.  Saute about 2 minutes.
4) Add soy, salt, pepper, sugar, five-spice powder, and sate or chili pepper.  Saute about 1 minute or until the tongue pieces are cooked and remove from heat.

*There are many ways to eat this dish.  I like it in a salad and on toasted bread.

       boiled young animal tongues (need to be peeled)
prepared young goat and lamb tongues
How to Prepare Animal Tongue For Eating


1) Wash the tongue well in water, use salt to rub and scrape the tongue with a knife.  Rinse well.
2) If using young animal tongues, let them boil for about 10 minutes.  For large beef tongues I let it boil for about 30 minutes.
3) Remove and let them cool completely before handling.
4) Once cooled take a sharp knife and peel outer layer of the tongue.  Remove and discard any soft tissue located under the tongue.
5) Once peeled, wash it well under cold water and it is ready to be used in cooking.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Stir-Fried Goat Heart over Kale (serves 1-2)

stir-fried goat heart over kale with
drizzle of hot chili oil
I was at Portsmouth Farmer's Market and came across beautiful and fresh kale from The Hollister Family Farm. I decided to make this dish inspired by a beef dish called "Bo Luc Lac", direct translation in Vietnamese is shaking beef.  Typically this dish entails stir-fried or shaken beef cubes on a bed of fresh watercress and tomato slices.  I made a slightly similar dish using kangaroo called Kangaroo Luc Lac.  However, today I decided to use goat hearts purchased from Cracked an Egg Farm. The goat hearts were quick to cook and came out very tender and tasty.

If you are interested in purchasing or learning more about The Hollister Family Farm, please check them out at 163 Lee Hook Road, Lee (603-659-7189).  They sell an abundance of produce such as tomatoes, cantaloupe, lettuce, squash, cucumbers, greens, potatoes, garlic, honey and more!

Stir-Fried Kale

2-3 Tbsps olive oil
1 bunch (about 10-oz) kale, washed and sliced into 2 inch lengths, keep the stalks separate from the leaves
Salt to taste


1) Add about 1 tablespoon of oil in a large pan over medium high heat.
2) Once the pan is hot add the kale stalks.  Stir occasionally for about 3 minutes.
3) Add the leaves and stir occasionally for about 2 minutes.  Add more oil to the pan as needed.
4) Add salt, stir and remove from heat.

Stir-Fried Goat Heart with Onion


1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp chopped garlic or 1-2 garlic cloves
2 goat hearts (about 5-oz), thinly sliced
A large pinch of salt and pepper or according to your taste

1) Add  about 1 tablespoon of oil into a pan over medium high heat.
2) Add onion.  Stir for about 2 minutes or until the onion is completely wilted.
3) Add garlic and goat hearts.  Stir about 2 minutes or until the heart slices are just cooked.
4) Turn off heat, add salt and pepper to taste and stir.
5) Pour the contents onto the Stir-Fried Kale (see above) and serve.

*Below are a few photos of Portsmouth Farmer's Market (Poutsmouth, NH).

Steve from Hurd Farm
-naturally raised beef, pork, poultry & eggs
farm store open Wednesdays and Fridays 4-7pm!!
NH Community Seafood-eat fresher fish,
support seacoast fishermen
Annette Lee from Throwback Brewery
young Swiss chard,
colorful enough to brighten your meal!
beautiful & fresh kale
(from the Hollister Family Farm)
color hats and headbands
more plants
Bruce Iverson
-Asian brush painting
beautiful strokes of watercolor
on homemade rice papers
-Bruce Iverson
creative zen lights
-Bruce Iverson
*If you are interested to learn more or how to purchase these beautiful painted art from Bruce Iverson, please check out his website at:  I particularly love the small zen lights.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Steamed Maine Steamer Clams with Butter Sauce Dip (serves 1-2)

I came across these beautiful Maine steamer clams (also known as soft-shell clams) at my local market. I kept them in their breathable bag and submerged them in water overnight to help remove some sand. Typically in Maine these whole clams are steamed in water until they open up and are served with butter. Instead of butter sometimes I like these steamers dipped in a salt-pepper-lime juice or lemon juice mixture or a Vietnamese dipping sauce called nuoc cham.  

Once the clams are cooked, remove the skin covering the siphon (the clam foot usually seen protruding from the shell). Reserve some clam juice and dip the clam into this to remove any sand before dipping into the butter. This way you will be eating clean and warm clams! 

if your clams come in this type of bag
then keep them in it and
soak them to remove sand
rinse the clams well and discard any
broken shells or dead ones prior to cooking
Steamed Maine Steamer Clams


Maine steamers (about 1 1/2 pounds), discard any with a broken shell or are dead
About 2-3 cup water
A steaming pot


1) Add water on the bottom of the pot, add clams on the steaming rack and turn heat to high.
2) Once the water boils, reduce heat to medium or medium high and let the clams cook about 6 minutes or until they open up.
3) Remove the clams and serve hot with your favorite dipping.

*Another way is to boil them if you don't have access to steaming equipment.

Butter Sauce Dip


2 Tbsp of salted or unsalted butter (double the amount if serving 2 people)


1) Heat butter in a small pan over medium low heat until butter is completely melted.
2) Remove from heat and serve immediately.

*May also put the butter in the microwave for 15-20 seconds to melt.

pot with steamer basket insert
the steamer insert lifted out of the pot after cooking and placed on a dish
Addendum (5/27/16):
I learn to cook from experimenting with my ingredients. The more I cook I would like to believe that the better I get. It makes me happy when I can improve on any of my dishes from making them multiple times. Here is an improvement on these steamers. I use a small pot with a steamer basket insert that my mother gave me to steam these clams. I put only 1 cup of water in the pot (1 cup of water makes more flavorful clam broth especially if I want to reserve some for cooking later). Add the insert basket inside. Line the inside with the cleaned steamers (I clean them by letting them soak in cold water for about an hour and rinse them in cold water several times to remove the sand and grit) and cover the pot. The pot does not have to be tightly covered. Turn the heat to high. Once the water starts to boil turn the heat down slightly to medium high. Let the water boil for 5 minutes. Once the 5 minutes are up turn off the heat and let the pot sit on the stove and make your Butter Sauce Dip (recipe above). When the dipping sauce is ready you can eat the clams while they are still hot. I use some of the liquid in the pot to dip my clams in prior to eating. The clam liquid has lots of flavor and dipping them help to remove the extra sand and grit. I save the rest of the clam liquid to cook. Store this liquid (or clam broth) in a container in the refrigerator for a few days or keep it in the freezer for several months. Once you use your own clam liquid for cooking you will never want to buy it again.

Tomato Sauce Drizzle over Lightly Fried Trout (serves 2-3)

My mother has made this tomato sauce drizzle over fish dish many times (known as cá sốt cà chua in Vietnamese).  My family fished quite often when my brothers and I were growing up.  In Vietnam Dân (one of my brothers) and I would fish from our land and bring anything we caught back to my mother to cook.  In Maine my family would fish together whenever possible. After returning from a successful fishing outing sometimes my mother would make this dish using the freshly caught fish and fresh home-grown tomatoes (if it is summertime).  We would all sit down and eat this dish with piping hot rice.  In the past I had time to fish for trout with some success. Unfortunately this year I am just too busy with my job to do any fishing except for the occasional catch in my local market fishing department.  Depending on your grocery, some do carry exceptionally fresh fish.  I like to ask my fish monger where the fish came from and how long ago they arrived.  I prefer to buy whole fish where I can easily judge how fresh they are by observing the eyes and gills.  Sometimes I like to take a closer look at the fish and smell it.  Most good business people are happy to oblige this request.  After having said that however, I think the best tasting fish are the ones that my family, friends or I have caught.

Trout is a fresh water fish and there is a variety of species.  Trout meat is mild in smell and taste.  It is quick to cook and can be used in many types of fish dishes. They are also quite easy to clean. The scales take little effort to remove.  If you are going to clean fish for the first time this is a fish to start with. I use a knife to scale my fish.  Growing up everyone I know does it this way including the fish mongers in Vietnam.  There are fancy scaling gadgets you can purchase but they are not necessary.  I use a sharp knife to make a horizontal incision in the belly to remove the abdominal contents.   If there are eggs then I remove everything except for the eggs.  If I have kitchen shears then I used it to cut off the fins. However, you can also use a knife to remove them. 

beautiful vine ripened tomatoes from Maine

diced tomatoes, chopped scallions,
chopped garlic, chopped onion


2 large whole trout, lightly pan-fried (see Red Snapper with Tomato Shiitake Mushrooms for a similar dish)
2-3 Tbsps olive (or any oil you prefer or have)
1/2 onion or shallots (about 1/4 C), diced and roughly chopped
4 scallions, chopped (about 1/2 C), reserve a little for garnish later
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1-2 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
4 tomatoes, de-seeded, diced
1/4 C water
2 Tbsps oyster sauce
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chicken powder

cleaned and prepared trout
ready for frying
Lightly Fried Trout


1) Clean the trout well.  Scale the entire fish, remove the fins with either shears or knife, remove the stomach contents but set aside any egg casings, rub the fish with salt or vinegar and wash everything off well, pat the fish dry with a clean towel, score (or cut) about four 1/4-inch deep diagonally into the sides of the fish, sprinkle salt/black pepper inside the belly and both sides of each fish.
2) Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil in a large non-stick pan over medium high heat.
3) Once the pan is hot add the 2 fish, use a splatter guard to cover the pan.  Let it cook about 4 minutes. Adjust the heat as needed.
4) Gently flip the fish over to the other side, add more oil if needed and cook another 4 minutes or until the fish is cooked.  Set aside.

*You can also use fish fillets for this recipe but I prefer to cook whole fish if it's available.

Tomato Sauce


1) Add about 1 tablespoon of oil in a medium pan over medium high heat.
2) Once the pan is hot, add onion, scallions, ginger, and garlic.  Saute about 2 minutes.
3) Add tomato and water, saute about 5 minutes.
4) Add oyster sauce, salt, and chicken powder.  Saute about 1.
5) Pour the contents over the fried trout, garnish with extra scallion bits if interested and serve.

*It is best not to cook this sauce too long in order to keep the tomato pieces recognizable and somewhat whole.  I find it to be more tasty this way.  This is a basic sauce.  You can just make this sauce using salt or fish sauce instead of oyster sauce and/or chicken powder.  Of course adjust the salty ingredients according to your taste and health.  

Sauteed Fiddlehead Ferns, Dandelion Flowers, and Tomato (serves 2)

I like flowers but more so when I can eat them!  : D With the recent warm weather the dandelion flowers are popping up everywhere.  I gathered some flowers with a few young leaves and decided to saute these with the fiddlehead ferns that my mother gave me.   Her friends in Maine harvested bags of fiddleheads growing in the wild.  She would boil them either in water or broth, drain them, then keeps them in a freezer for later use, or save some for me.  If you are on a limited budget think free wild food!!  Don't forget to harvest far away from pesticides or chemicals!  Also, keep in mind that not every flower on earth is edible.  I found this is wonderful link on edible flowers written by Linda Stradley.  She has some etiquette, dos and don'ts on ingesting flowers.  Thank you Linda for sharing your link!

bee and dandelion flowers

more dandelion flowers



1 Tbsp butter (optional)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
1/3 C chopped scallions
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tomato, halved, de-seeded, and sliced
3 C fiddleheads (either previously cooked or fresh), washed well if fresh and drained
2 C dandelion flowers and buds, washed well and drained
1 tsp chicken powder
1 Tbsp black bean garlic sauce
1/4 tsp sugar
A drizzle of sesame oil
A large pinch of black pepper


1) Heat oil in a large pan or wok over medium high heat.
2) Once the pan or wok is hot, add butter, olive oil, garlic, scallions, ginger and tomato.  Saute about 1 minute.
3) Add fiddlehead and dandelion and saute about 5 minutes.
4) Add chicken powder, black bean garlic sauce and sugar.  Saute about 1 minute and turn off heat.
5) Drizzle sesame oil and sprinkle some black pepper.

*If you want to give this dish a good kick you can add chili pepper to it.  My friend Chinh gave me some very spicy sate her family makes for their family-owned restaurant in Bangor, Maine.  I added about 1/4 teaspoon of this amazing sauce to my food and my lips are still tingling after 10 minutes! Thank you Chinh and family!!  If you want to eat excellent and inexpensive Chinese food (Cantonese and Polynesian) in Bangor, Maine you can visit China Harbor Restaurant located at 547 Main Street. They are by the casino.   You can visit their restaurant and try this tasty house-made spicy sate.  Remember a little goes a long long way!!  Growing up my family and I almost never went out to eat in a restaurant partly because of our limited budget but also because my mother cooked a lot of great food.  When we go out to eat these days in Bangor, which is still rare, we prefer China Harbor Restaurant mainly because it's clean and the food and service are excellent.

China Harbor Restaurant
547 Main Street, Bangor, Maine
serving Cantonese and Polynesian food