"I was eating in a Chinese restaurant downtown. There was a dish called Mother and Child Reunion. It's chicken and eggs. And I said, I gotta use that one."
I have been owing my wife a date night for a long time. Not a "let's watch a movie on the couch" kind of date night, but an actual dressed up, bottle of wine kind of date night. I have owed her this as she has put a lot of heart and soul into her job, but still manages to come home and take care of me. Heck, I owe her a lot more than just a dinner out. BUT, that's just how the cookie crumbled tonight.
So I told my wife about my plans to take her out and asked where she would like to go (remember this moment). When she got home from work that night, she decided to go to the Firestone Grill.
"Sounds good" I exclaimed, and jumped into a nice shirt. Off we went, excited and fresh. We discovered a long line, lasting an hour and a half. Needless to say, we didn't hang around very long.
So off we went to the Miro Bistro, a little European place that we have never tried before. We step in the doors, it looks empty! Alas... a waitress approaches to inform us that, unless we have a reservation, there is a Christmas party that has booked most of the restaurant. So we mosey down the street to a little wine bar that... unfortunately, doesn't have any food items that interest my wife. BUT they suggested a restaurant down the block that would definitely have room for us.
So off we go to this new Restaurant... Plum. Once again, a wonderfully empty restaurant that still promises a good meal. So the hostess asks for our reservation... and promptly informs us that they are full for the night. I hate empty restaurants promised to other people. It makes my stomach sad.
So as we are driving to head to another restaurant, when we see a little Chinese restaurant that neither of us have eaten at. We walk up a stairway reminiscent of a tiny New York apartment to a little upstairs restaurant. The food was... unspectacular, but at that moment it was all about getting food into my gullet. We had a nice dinner, but nothing that was worthy of fancy clothes.
So... in reflection. I from this point on, will set a personal deadline of calling in a reservation. I'm quite sure that my wife wouldn't mind if I chose a restaurant to take her out to. A learning experience I guess!
This recipe is Vietnamese, not Chinese. But I wanted some tasty Asian flavours and I'm afraid that my ability to cook some tasty traditional Chinese food is somewhat limited. So... Vietnamese. A simple and easy recipe that tastes delicious on a busy night is, as you know, always a good thing in my books. This isn't a traditional recipe by any means, but just a recipe that seems to come as close as possible to a Vietnamese restaurant we frequent. It's the best I've got! Anyway, I'm too tired to continue writing, so I'm going to get straight to the recipe and move on from there. I hope you like it!
Viet Turkey Meatball Bún Tàu
For The Meatballs
Ground Turkey - 1 pound
Bak Choy - 3 stalks, chopped
Ginger - 1 inch piece, grated
Garlic - 2 cloves, minced
Onion - 1/2, minced
Baking Soda - 1 tsp
Salt & Pepper - a few healthy pinches
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and grease a baking sheet.
Combine all the ingredients into a bowl and mix until all the ingredients are incorporated together. Using your hands, take a small portion of the mixture and roll into a small ball, about an inch in diameter. You can also make them smaller if you'd prefer.
Place in the oven and cook for about 10 minutes. Rotate them and cook for another 10 minutes or until they are browned and cooked through.
Nuoc Cham (A dipping sauce)
Lime Juice - 1/4 cup
Rice Wine Vinegar - 1 tbsp
Honey - 1 tbsp
Water - 2/3 cup
Fish Sauce - 1/4 cup
Sambal Oelek (Hot chili paste) - 1 tbsp
Garlic - 3 cloves, minced
Combine all the ingredients and stir until the honey has dissolved. Set aside. You can also keep leftovers for other dishes like stir-fry's or salad rolls.
Carrot - Julienned
Cucumber - Julienned
Green Pepper - Julienned
Radish - sliced
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the rice noodles and cook until softened, about 5-10 minutes.
Take the julienned vegetables and place in a small greased frying pan. Warm them over low heat, not enough so they get hot.
When the rice noodles are done, drain and place into bowls. Add the julienned vegetables and the cooked meatballs. Drizzle some of the Nuoc Cham sauce over top. My wife likes to add a bit of hoisin sauce to hers as well.
Dig in and enjoy!