Pull Apart Coconut Buns

Coconut Buns (Cocktail Buns) - Eat Cho Food
Coconut Buns (Cocktail Buns) - Eat Cho Food
Coconut Buns (Cocktail Buns) - Eat Cho Food
Coconut Buns (Cocktail Buns) - Eat Cho Food
Coconut Buns (Cocktail Buns) - Eat Cho Food
Coconut Buns (Cocktail Buns) - Eat Cho Food
Coconut Buns (Cocktail Buns) - Eat Cho Food
Coconut Buns (Cocktail Buns) - Eat Cho Food
Coconut Buns (Cocktail Buns) - Eat Cho Food
Coconut Buns (Cocktail Buns) - Eat Cho Food
Coconut Buns (Cocktail Buns) - Eat Cho Food
Coconut Buns (Cocktail Buns) - Eat Cho Food
Coconut Buns (Cocktail Buns) - Eat Cho Food

You see that first photo up there? That’s actually a selfie I took this weekend, because I’ve most literally turned into a bun and got a nice tan. Jkkkkk, I just ate a lot of buns the last few days for the sake of “research” and feel very bun-like. I definitely didn’t get a tan because I’ve been mostly indoors since… forever. This weekend has been all sorts of wonderful and all sorts of crazy. My office gave me 2 days to work from home and bake a cake! Like, what?! I’ve been slaving away on this Great British Baking Show Final Showstopper caliber cake that’s inspired by the designs our office created for a recent project. The cake will be part of one of our quarterly publications! I just finished it and I’m actually pretty happy with it! My coworker, Paulina, is an incredible graphic designer and the design of this cake was actually inspired by her work. I made her wedding cake too, which was also inspired by the graphics she created for her invites. So pretty much Paulina and I should start a graphic cake business! Ah, I wish! There was a moment during the decorating process when my buttercream was being weird and kept breaking and I though I was going to melt into one of my crying puddles, but then it somehow worked out! Hooray! If you just push through the butter and tears, things will work out.

(Maybe my tendency to cry all the time is what prevented me from making it on the Great American Baking Show?????? How would the producers know that about me though? Oh, whatever… I’m over it. Stop talking to yourself, there’s still people reading your blog.)

I can’t wait to share the final cake with you! Hopefully that will happen soon.

When I wasn’t working on this crazy cake, Reuben and I got to finally spend some quality time together. It seemed like we barely saw each other for what felt like eons because I was working overtime a bunch and Reuben was gone on his man ski trip. We took advantage of our weekend and got to relax, be lazy, make plans for Italy (we leave in a month!!!!! Holy, meatballs.), eat lots of buns, and squeeze in a little brewery pit stop. There was a cat named Matcha at the brewery we stopped at. I stalked the cat. If you watched my Instagram stories over the weekend you already know it was pretty much the highlight of my whole weekend. Gosh, I loved Matcha. I desperately need a small animal in my life I can name Black Sesame or Noodle.

Should we discuss these buns now? Last week I shared those lovely Chinese Bakery Style Hot Dog Flower Buns and I was overwhelmed by how many people related to them and also considered them a childhood favorite! I would love it if you share with me your Chinese Bakery favorites! I’ll try to make them! This week, I’m sharing another one of my favorites (I have a lot of favorites…)! You might know them as Coconut Buns, Cocktail Buns, or Gai Mei Bao. These buns have a fluffy milk bread base and then filled with a sweet coconut and slightly milky filling. Its made all shiny with a simple syrup glaze, which gives it just a little extra kiss of sweetness. The coconut filling is the best part of the bun! I should eat that stuff straight! Don’t though because there is raw flour in it and it needs to be cooked a bit haha, but you get the point. It’s delicious. The ratio of filling to bun in this recipe is a little higher than what you would find at an actual bakery, but this is my kitchen and I can do what I want! You may notice that the milk bread base is this recipe is different than the Hot Dog Flower Buns, and that is because I’m still experimenting with all the various milk bread techniques. Don’t worry though, they all taste good! Typically you would find Coconut Buns as individual buns, but I wanted to turn them into a shareable/pull apart situation because why the hell not? There is always something about tearing your food apart with your hands that make it taste better. The pull apart nature of this recipe also makes this a great option for your weekend brunch table too! Yay for friends tearing apart buns!


Pull Apart Coconut Buns

makes 11 buns in a 8” round pan

dough materials:

1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup warm milk
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup bread flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp instant yeast
1/2 tsp salt

coconut filling materials:

6 tbsp softened butter
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tsp cornstarch
1/4 cup dried milk powder
1/2 cup finely shredded coconut

1 egg + 1 tbsp water - egg wash
sesame seeds - for topping (optional)
1/4 cup water + 1/4 cup white sugar - syrup glaze (optional)

steps:

  1. Combine heavy cream, milk, egg, sugar, cornstarch, flours, yeast, and salt in the bowl of your standmixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix at medium speed (speed setting 4 for KitchenAid) for 15 minutes until a smooth and slightly sticky dough is formed. Stop to scrape down the sides every few minutes. If the dough sticks to the sides, sprinkle a little bit of flour after scraping to help it not stick. Once dough is formed, place in a large bowl lightly greased with oil. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rest in a warm place for 90 minutes. The dough will grow 1.5x from its original size.

  2. While is resting, make the coconut filling. Combine all the filling ingredients in a bowl and mix with a spoon or rubber spatula until just combined. Set aside.

  3. Scrape out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2 minutes. Divide the dough into 11 equal pieces. Roll out the dough into a roughly 3” circle. Add a tablespoon of filling in the center of the dough round. Fold the dough around the filling and pinch the dough together to close. Quickly roll again to form a smooth ball. Place dough in a greased 8” springform pan. Repeat with remaining dough and fill the springform pan. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rest for another 45 minutes.

  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush the tops of the buns with egg wash (1 egg mixed with 1 tbsp water) and sprinkle each bun with a few sesame seeds if using. Bake for 28-30 minutes on the center rack until golden brown and cooked through.

  5. A few minutes before taking the buns out of the oven, combine 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup sugar in a small sauce pan and cook on medium heat until sugar has dissolved. Remove buns from the oven and immediately brush the syrup glaze over the buns. Allow buns to cool in the springform pan for 10 minutes. Remove buns from the springform pan and cool on a wire rack until ready to eat!

notes :

  1. Buns are best fresh out of the oven. After a few hours or days the bread will feel a little hard. You can just microwave the buns for 15-25 seconds and they will be fluffy again!

  2. If you only have active yeast, you can add it to the warm milk with a pinch of sugar and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes. It should be have a few bubbles on the surface.

Coconut Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream

Coconut Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream
Coconut Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream
Coconut Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream
Coconut Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream
Coconut Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream
Coconut Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream
Coconut Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream
Coconut Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream
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Coconut Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream
Coconut Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream
Coconut Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream

Hi, hi! What's happening??! You ate a bunch of tomatoes and stone fruit over the week? It was actually warm enough where you are to go to the beach??! Wow. That sounds like the dream : ) Reuben and I had a pretty chill weekend. We watched a whole season of Weeds, stocked up on our asian sauce collection, picked up our Japanese knives from the knife sharpening store, and went grocery shopping. Pretty boring, pretty chill, but just wanted I wanted. Oh, and I washed a mountain of dishes that I accumulated from cooking lunch for my entire office. Gosh. It was super fun but it was so exhausting. My tiny kitchen isn't quite fully equip to handle catering lunches for parties of 30 people. Thankfully, Reuben let me store some veggies in his secret beer fridge! I mean, we've had parties at our apartment before where we've fed 30 people, but being able to transport all the food across town in an Uber is quite a technical challenge. But somehow I got all the food to the office and everyone was happy and full! Chicken wings, soba noodle salad, and onigiri are crowd pleasers if you're also planning on making lunch for your entire office. I'm going to have to look into where in our 800 sf apartment we can fit an extra refrigerator and deep freeze before I volunteer to make lunch again!

Shall we talk cupcakes?

Okay. Before you say anything... I know what you're going to say. These cupcakes have a striking resemblance to the poop emoji. BUT. That probably wasn't the best word choice... but, they taste like the absolute opposite of poop! I wasn't planning on making them look like poop. I was having some buttercream and piping tip issues with my original decoration plan and had to resort to something a little more simple. My buttercream piping skills are a little poopy... sorry, this isn't the most appetizing language... I'll stop using that word. For real though, these coconut cupcakes are so tasty. They are light as air, perfectly slightly sweet, and the texture is so soft and tender. I think this is the best cake batter I've ever made. EVER. The buttercream is also super light and fluffy. It's full of mango flavor. When you take a bite out of the whole cupcake it makes you feel like you're at a baby shower in Hawaii or Thailand. I've never been to a baby shower in Hawaii or Thailand but I imagine that these cupcakes would be there and that I would hang around the dessert table the whole time so I could keep eating these.

I hope you make them sometime and I hope you make them look less like poop!


Coconut Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream

makes 18 cupcakes

Cupcake Materials:

1 3/4 cup AP flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup sugar + 2 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup full fat canned coconut milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut shreds
2 egg yolks
2 egg whites
1/3 cup toasted coconut shreds

Mango Buttercream Materials:

1 cup softened unsalted butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 mango - you need about 3/4 cup of puree
pinch of salt
orange + yellow food coloring

Steps:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking powder, 3/4 cup suagr, and salt in a large bowl. 

2. Whisk together coconut milk, vanilla, canola oil, and egg yolks in a separate medium bowl. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in shredded coconut and set aside.

3. Add egg whites into the bowl of your standmixer with the the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium high until soft peaks form, about 4 minutes. Add in 2 tbsp sugar and whisk for another 3-4 minutes, until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the egg whites into the batter until incorporated.

4. Line the cupcake tins with wrappers and scoop batter into each tin until they are 3/4 of the way filled. Bake for 13-14 minutes until done. These bake really fast so keep a close eye on them. You don't want them to brown that much, if at all.

5. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the tin for 5 minutes and then remove to completely cool on a wire rack.

6. While the cupcakes cool, make your buttercream. Score and scoop out the flesh of one mango. Puree in a food processor or immersion blender until smooth. Place softened butter in the bowl of your standmixer with the paddle attachment on. Mix butter on medium speed for 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the mango puree and salt. Mix on low speed while also gradually adding in the powdered sugar. Once all the sugar has been added, increase the speed to medium and mix until the butter cream is light and smooth. If it looks like it's curdled, it's okay! Just keep mixing! After mixing for 4-5 minutes it should be smooth. Add in food color and mix again until color is evenly incorporated. Fill a piping bag with butter cream and decorated as you wish.

7. Top with toasted coconut shreds.

Green Coconut Curry Clams

Coconut Curry Clams
Coconut Curry Clams
Coconut Curry Clams
Coconut Curry Clams
Coconut Curry Clams
Coconut Curry Clams

Can we talk about how freaking easy it is to make clams??? Why haven't you told me?! Reuben and I recently realized that the seafood market by our house is actually really incredible, clean, and fresh. We've been missing out on all this great seafood for the last 2.5 years! Shame on us. I feel like Asian seafood markets can easily swing into 2 extremes. It could easily be a little scary with questionable food handling techniques and with less than stellar smells floating around. I'm too much of a food germ wimp to step into those places. BUT Seafood Center on Clement is awesome and smells clean like the ocean. They have sushi grade tuna (um... poke recipe, anyone?!!), sweet and tasty shrimp, the meatiest clams, and so many other delicious sea creatures that I want to bathe in thai curry and coconut milk. Sorry, sea creatures.

The beauty of this recipe is that it takes like no time to have a super impressive and fancy looking meal on the table. And by no time I mean like 30 minutes or less! The clams are nestled in a warm and bubbly bath of green thai curry paste, creamy coconut milk, funky fish sauce, aromatics, brown sugar, and beer! If you're having friends over for dinner and want to welcome them with the greatest food smell ever, this is what you should make! The clams steam for about 5 minutes, depending on what type of clams you have, and then you just need to painfully wait a few more minutes for it to cool down so you don't burn your face off as you try to inhale everything in the bowl. Please please please PLEASE don't forget to slice up some crusty bread to sop up all that blissful broth. I guess if you're going carb or gluten free you can just drink that magic straight up. Just don't waste it, I beg of you!

This recipe makes me want to buy 10 pounds of clams and invite all of my friends over for dinner! I'm dying to have a dinner party soon. Whenever I have a dinner party I need to have a theme. Not like, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle birthday party themed. But like, maybe Moroccan Night or a Fall Harvest dinner. Okay, I guess those are equally as cheesy as a TMNT theme. I'm thinking of a color themed dinner party. Green Coconut Curry Clams. Turmeric (Yellow) Goat Cheese Toasts. Pinky Beet Pasta. Blueberry Pie with Blueberry Pie Crust! I'm just spit-balling here.

Anyways... ramble over. Go get yourself some clams!


Green Coconut Curry Clams

materials:

3 lbs. clams
1 tbsp olive oil
1" chunk of ginger - minced
3 garlic cloves - thinly sliced
3 green onion stalks chopped - greens and white divided
1 14oz can of full fat coconut milk
1 can of beer - we used a pilsner
1 cup water
3 tbsp green curry paste
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp white pepepr
1 lime

steps:

1. Rinse the clam under cold water to remove any sand or grit. Inspect the clams and discard any that are cracked.

2. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a dutch oven or big pot over medium high heat. Throw in ginger, garlic, and the whites of the green onions. Cook for 1-2 minutes until just browned and fragrant. Add in coconut milk, beer, water, green curry paste, fish sauce, and brown sugar into the pot. Give it a good stir to combine and bring the broth to a boil.

3. Once the broth is at a boil, carefully add in your clams. Cover the pot and allow the clams to steam for 5 minutes, until all the clams have opened up. Remove the lid and squeeze 1 lime over all the clams. Top with the remaining chopped green onions and serve with crusty bread.

 

* Different clams have different cooking times. We used manila clams, but little neck clams take about 10 minutes to open up.

* We used a lighter pilsner beer in our broth, but feel free to experiment with other beer types!

Coconut Cantaloupe Popsicles

Coconut Cantaloupe Popsicles
Coconut Cantaloupe Popsicles
Coconut Cantaloupe Popsicles
Coconut Cantaloupe Popsicles
Coconut Cantaloupe Popsicles
Coconut Cantaloupe Popsicles

Gosh, I've been bad at this whole food blogging thing! Sorry I was absent for a while again. Life has been a little crazy. I feel like I say that once a month. As you probably know, I applied to be on The Great American Baking Show. That happened about 2 weeks ago and a bunch of crazy stuff has happened since then. Once I sent in my application, I took a deep breath and waited like 2 seconds. The next day I got a phone call that lead to another phone call, which then lead to a semi awkward facetime interview, and then all of a sudden I was preparing to do down to Los Angeles to audition in person. Holy cow! My little anxious heart was going to explode. So that's why I've been a little quite on the blog.

For the LA auditions I needed to bring a highly decorated bake, a pastry, and a loaf of bread following their super basic recipe. I had one week to figure out what I was going to make, practice each a few times, and figure out how the hell I was going to be able to bake all these thing at the right time so that they still taste good after a 7 hour drive to LA. Oh, and like still work a real full time job and deal with life all at the same time. I decided to a make a tahini layer cake filled with plum jam, covered in vanilla swiss meringue buttercream, and topped with matcha macarons and baked meringues for my decorated bake. There was a lot going on. For my pastry I made an oolong tea pastel de nata or egg tart if you're more familiar with the egg tarts you find at dim sum. The only component I've ever made before was the plum jam... and the bread sort of. So I was really pushing myself with this challenge.

Last week felt like Hell Week, which is what we would call the last week leading up to final reviews in architecture school. It's as awful as the name alludes to. We would stay up all night, eat a lot of vending machine ice cream sandwiches, occasionally suffer an x-acto knife injury, and design something eventually. I didn't really sleep, at least not peacefully. Did I mention that I'm an anxious person? I burned myself pretty bad on a 450 degree dutch oven while practicing my bread. I was being dumb and had a margarita that night... so don't drink and handle hot metal. But that bread was the best bread I've ever made! So that's something! It was a week of many many failures and a few successes. By the end of the week I was feeling somewhat confident in my bakes.

It had finally struck 6pm on Thursday and I was quietly packing up my things to head home and bake for the rest of the night. But my coworkers noticed and gave me a sweet little send off and cheered me on for the weekend. It was a great little boost that I needed : ) I headed home and baked for what felt like days. I slept for maybe 3 hours, got up at 3am to bake some more. Then all of a sudden it was 9am and I had a pretty cake, some egg tarts, and a b+ loaf of bread to transport down to LA. Thankfully Reuben also took the day off to be my personal driver, so I didn't have to be a zombie baker and a zombie driver at the same time. I thought I could sleep on the driver down there, but nope! I was a little too anxious to allow my mind to shut off. I just had no idea how this judging process was going to go. The unknown makes me nervous sometimes. I imagined that the judging would be like how my architecture critiques would go. I would stand up there, present my process and reasoning behind each bake and discuss their praises and critiques. That I felt comfortable with. But that's not really how it went down.

The judging took place in the ballroom of the hotel the production company got us a room at, which was super convenient. Reuben and I arrived at the hotel about an hour before my tasting slot. So I had a little bit of time to calm down and make myself look like a presentable adult person. I carefully gripped my bakes and brought them down to the ballroom. The room was filled with who I assumed were producers, one of whom I recognized from facetiming and chatting on the phone with all week. Hi, Matt! They placed my bakes on a big Cheesecake Factory scale platter and carried them into another mysterious room. I guess I wasn't going to be in the room as they were tasting. Reuben and I waited outside for about 10 minutes until they were ready to bring me in. There were 2 people in there- baking experts. They told me that overall my bakes were really beautiful. I had a minimal but impactful style that was refreshing to see. That's a good comment, right?!! I was feeling good. Then they told me that the tahini in the cake was a little too savory and that the oolong tea turned my custard a little grey. Ugh, not good. But overall they said that everything tasted good. Cool. The second half of the session was them asking me if I've made x,y, and z. Have I made a 3 tiered wedding cake? NO. Have you made puff pastry from scratch before? NO. Have you croissants? NO. Have you made a mirror glaze? NO. I did say yes to a few things, but about 75% of the things they asked about I had never made before.

There was a knock on the door and my audition was over. It all happened so fast. I walked out, met up with Reuben, and we were directed to just hang around the hotel a little bit until the judges decided if I was going on to the last and final round of the audition, which would be a technical bake the next day. So we went to the hotel bar. I ordered a white wine and we watching the first 5 minutes of the incredibly disappointing game 4 of the NBA finals. I got a call on my phone from Matt, my producer, and he told me that I was not going through to the next round. I had only been at the hotel for less than 2 hours and already my weird baking journey was over. I teared up just a little bit, but held it together because I was sitting at the bar of a hotel surrounded by strangers. By this point I was mentally and physically exhausted. But my sadness quickly dissipated. I realized that I did it. I put myself into this weird and challenging scenario and followed it through. I felt proud of myself. And I felt a sense of relief honestly. I felt like throughout the entire audition process I was pushing myself into this mold that I didn't really fit into. I'm not really baker. I would never say that I'm a baker. I enjoy baking and love experimenting with my bakes. But I'm really a cook. I love chopping vegetables and eating noodles to much. 

Plus we now had the whole weekend in LA to just hang out! The production company paid for our hotel all weekend, so I pretty much worked really hard all week for a free hotel in LA. It was great! We found some great beer bars and some really really amazing food. The hotel was in Glendale, Ca, which has the largest Armenian community in the US. So we got to experience some top notch Armenian food. If you're in LA, you must try Mini Kabob in Glendale, it's sooooooo good! The Chef also had a taco pop up at Smorgasburg, so we decided to stay a little longer on Sunday and stop by for some free tacos and all the other crazy food you can find there. It was so much fun! I wish San Francisco had one too!

This whole experience ended up being really wonderful, and I have absolutely no regrets doing it. Thanks to all of you who were cheering me on throughout the whole process and sent sweet words to me when I told you I didn't make it through. Thank you to my friends for being there for me and not getting annoyed of me as I was live texting the whole experience. And the biggest thank you to Reuben! Seriously, what a guy. He has to deal with the not so fun side of the experience. Everyone else just gets to say, "You can do it!" and cheer. But Reuben had to handle the many times I broke down from stress and dramatic moments. Like when I burned my hand and cried all night. I get sort of mean when I get grumpy. But thankfully Reuben still loves me after this who experience. He's so kind and patient with me. Really could not have done this whole thing without him by my side.

So this story really has nothing to do with popsicles! But I've been meaning to share this recipe for like a month now... I got a little busy obviously. This recipe is super simple, super fresh, and really visually appealing if you're into geometric color blocks like me : ) I hope you enjoy them and have a great week!


Coconut Cantaloupe Popcicles

makes 10 popsicles

materials:

3 cups cubed cantaloupe
1 cup + 1/3 cup coconut milk
1 1/2 cup coconut yogurt (I used Noosa Yogurt)
1/4 cup honey or agave syrup

steps:

1. Blend together cantaloupe and 1 cup coconut milk until thick and smooth. Taste for sweetness. You can add a bit of honey or agave syrup if you prefer it a little sweeter. 

2. Pour cantaloupe mixture into your popsicle molds so that they are filled 2/3rds of the way up. Place the popsicles in the freezer, propped up at an angle and allow to freeze for 1 hour.

3. Mix together coconut yogurt, 1/3 cup coconut milk and honey or agave syrup until combined. Fill the remainder of the popsicle molds with the yogurt mixture. Insert popsicle sticks and place back into the freezer to completely set up.

4. Enjoy once completely frozen!

Vietnamese Style Pork Chops and Coconut Rice

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Hey! Happy hump day, guys! We are going to make it! 

Quick Unimportant Updates: Reuben and I watched Ratatouille over the weekend and it was wonderful! Next Food Network Star is back on and my desire to try out/practice has been reignited. I think Giada would be into me. Russell Sage tapped out on Naked and Afraid XL and the the women who watch this show (is it just me?) rejoiced! Ever since Reuben started @beermeatsbread, we've been collecting the beer cans in a nice clean bag and handing them over directly to the sweet old asian ladies/gentlemen that collect cans. You should do it too! It makes them so happy and their happiness will make you so happy!

My Love Hate Relationship with SF Update: Lately, I've been really overwhelmed/overstimulated by downtown San Francisco. My new work commute and new office location is a lot more "active" than it was before. The bus I take now is more cramped with a constant flow of people squeezing on and off. I walk right through the tourist center downtown to get from my bus stop to work and there are so many crazies! There is woman at my bus stop that hisses at everyone. And ugh. The smells. This past week alone (it's only Wednesday) I've see some nasty (I mean real nasty) things doing down on the block my new office is on. I'll spare you the details. I don't know if I'm just being a wimp or if anyone else who works downtown feels this way, but it's just a lot! I cry a little inside when I have to leave the safety of my Inner Richmond apartment... jk... but sort of.

I've talked about this before, but I'm an easily over stimulated person and I have to really work on including daily routines and rituals into my life that calm and center me. SF stresses me out. I juggle a lot of random passions and I don't want to give up any of them. I try to be a good friend/girlfriend/daughter/sister/niece/cousin. I hate disappointing or saying no to anyone. A lot of times, I feel like all these things pull me into every direction, but I just want to stay wrapped up in my blanket... alone. Sometimes, my emotions get the best of me, but I try my best to keep my mind balanced and in check. Although, this overwhelming feeling is the reason why I paint and cook. It's how I focus my thoughts and relax. Chopping vegetables and watching watercolors move on paper is so cathartic. Mental health and wellness is so so so so so important and I wish more people made maintaining their own mental health a priority!

If I told you mental health included making pork chops, would that make you take it seriously? 😜

Just a little perk! These pork chops are juicy and pack a flavor punch after some sweet caramelization in the pan. But, the unexpected star of this plate is the coconut rice. It is incredible! I want to take a nap on a bed of this coconut rice and never take the bus downtown again! For real though, this rice plate is I'mgoingtoinhalethis good. It's just like those giant meat and rice plates you get from your favorite Vietnamese place. I'm sure this will be on my dinner menu rotation if we move out of SF into the rural Ohio countryside. Aaaa the dream.

Make a pork chop, paint some flowers, dance your pants off, run 10 miles, watch Say Yes to the Dress, do what you got to do to keep your mind in tip top shape!


Vietnamese Style Pork Chop and Coconut Rice

serves 4

Step:

1. Start by making your coconut rice. Add rice to the bowl of your rice cooker or pot and rinse under cold water until the water runs clear. Add coconut milk, water, brown sugar and salt to the rice and mix to combine. If cooking in a rice cooker, cover with lid and simply press "cook" and wait until it pops to "warm". If cooking in a pot, bring the pot to a boil and then cover with lid and reduce to a simmer on low heat. Cover and allow to cook for 40-45 mins. In both instances, once the rice is done cooking fluff with a fork of rice paddle and cover again to sit for another 20 minutes. The rice will still seem really wet, but after 20 minutes it will be light and fluffy.

2. While your rice is cooking, mix together shallots, garlic, brown sugar, fish sauce, dark soy, rice vinegar, and black pepper.

3. Season your pork chops on both sides with salt and poke them with a fork to help the marinade soak in. Transfer pork chops to a gallon size ziplock bag and pour your marinade into the bag. Seal bag and allow the pork chops to marinade at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

4.  Heat up oil in your skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium high heat. Once hot, add your pork chops in to the pan. 2 can normally fit. Sear on one side for 3-4 minutes. Flip and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Remove pork chops from heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

5. Serve pork chops with coconut rice and some refreshing thinly sliced cucumbers!

Bonus step : sear some green onions in the skillet with the leftover oil and pork drippings and serve with the meal... so good!

For Pork Chops:

4 - 1/2" Pork Chops

1 finely chopped small shallot

3 finely chopped garlic cloves

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup fish sauce

2 tbsp dark soy sauce

2 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tsp black pepper

salt

2 tbsp olive oil

1 cucumber thinly sliced 

green onions - optional

 

For Coconut Rice:

2 cups Jasmine Rice (my fav)

1 - 13.5 oz can coconut milk

3 cups water

2 tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp salt