Saturday, September 12, 2015

Bo Bia Spring Roll Recipe

When it comes to Vietnamese food, I usually let Nhan do the cooking. Although I have tried to make a few classic Vietnamese dishes, they never turn out quite as good as Mom's cooking despite all those years spent as her "sous chef" in Mom's kitchen.  And like many hand-me-down recipes, Mom's instructions usually consist of "a pinch" of this, or "a spoon" of that.  I really need to start convincing her to measure everything and write it all down so these recipes can truly be preserved. Nevertheless, I was able to pick up a thing or two. 
Spring rolls are one of my favorite Vietnamese appetizers. There are so many different types of spring rolls. What's so great about them is how light and refreshing they usually are and that you can eat a ton of them without feeling bloated and heavy afterwards. One of my favorite spring rolls is bo bia: stir fried jicama root with fresh mint leaves, eggs, and Chinese sausage wrapped in rice paper and accompanied by a peanut dipping sauce.

Friday, September 11, 2015

It's Enchilada Time

Vegetarian Enchilada Shells

I picked up this recipe from my dear college friends Avni and Jinali. They graciously had me over for dinner one day and I fell in love with this dish. It is the perfect recipe for sharing, especially at potlucks, since the shells make for great individualized servings and you don't even need a knife! On busy call months, I like using this recipe since we end up with leftovers for days which means less cooking, more sleep. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Sights of Seville

Sevilla: The Heart of Andalusia

While Barcelona impressed me with its gothic architecture and the spiritedness of its people; while Madrid dazzled me with its majestic buildings and never-ending nightlife; while Cordoba drew me into its deep history of Moorish Spain, it was Sevilla that took my breath away and made me fall in love with its food, culture, and traditions.

Plaza de Espana

Plaza de Espana, Sevilla

One of our favorite areas in Sevilla was the Plaza de Espana, a beautiful art-deco designed semi-circular plaza, bordered by a moat at its front. If it wasn't so hot out the day we were there, we would have loved to rent one of the row boats available to paddle down the moat. The great thing about this plaza besides the beauty of its architecture is the culture and nationality it stands for. Outside the front of the plaza, flamenco dancers and musicians line the streets, children play soccer across the expanse of the plaza, and just inside there is a free flag exhibit of all the flags of Andalusia across the years. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

One Night in Cordoba

Exploring Andalusia: Cordoba

On our way to Sevilla, we stopped in the historic city of Cordoba, the home of La Mezquita, a magnificent mosque and cathedral that draws myriads of tourists to its walls daily. The religious structure was initially a catholic church that was bought over by a Muslim leader in the early 700AD and converted into a mosque three times its initial size. During the Reconquista, Cordoba was conquered by King Ferdinand III who commissioned the building of a Renaissance cathedral in the center of the mosque. To this day, La Mezquita is a unique structure that represents Spanish history and the divide between two religions. Much like its famous cathedral, Cordoba also stands as a city of three religions: Catholicism, Islam, and Judaism. 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Wanderers in Madrid

The Metropolis of Madrid

Leaving the gothic streets of Barcelona, we hopped onto the AVE, a high speed train, to Madrid and arrived in just two and a half hours. Now that's the kind of transportation we need here in the US. Madrid is the beautiful capital of Spain and the third largest city in the European Union (after London and Berlin). Its buildings and plazas stand the test of time in both majesty and power. Aside from the now populated streets of cars, the architecture looks like pictures out of my old history textbooks.