Before I explain why it is absolutely essential that I give away the review copy of The Ethnic Paris Cookbook even though I so very boldly declared my absolute love and adoration for the book, let me first force myself a woman of my words by announcing the winner.
Because, you know, once you blog something, you've made it official. It's formal. It's real. Once you say something out blog, you're basically making an almost legally binding contract that you have to uphold. You can't take it back, and even if you try to deny be deletion, Google is faster than you. Your ass has been cached.
So here goes. I am obligated to part with the beloved The Ethnic Paris Cookbook once I say I'm giving the book to...
Do I have to?
Can't I just send photocopies of the important pages to TerryB of BlueKitchen?!?!
TerryB, aren't you just so excited you almost swallowed your balloon whisk!? I know I did! Drop me an email with your mailing address so I can send you the book, and don't forget your promise. You have to make something. You promised. We all saw and read your comment (#34), and commenting, as you know, is the blog equivalent of a handshake.
Everyone else, I know how so very disappointed you must be, but despair not. There will be more, oh yes, there will be many more giveaways because, well, because that's just how living The Delicious Life has transformed me - I'm caring and giving and generous and I can't help but love*love*love you all!
Let's just ignore the fact that really, all of this generosity comes at no true financial burden to me other than shipping expense of a few dollars -- wait a budgetary second here -- which is about 86% of my monthly allowable spending limit because -- hold on -- I don't have a job, so now that I think about it-- smacks enormous Mongoloid forehead -- I am being pretty f**king nice.
Really though, I have an entire shelf about to snap under the weight of complimentary copies of cookbooks for me to "review." Publishers and PR agencies seem to believe that sending "review copies" and product samples to little delicious moi will give their clients all kinds of positive online exposure because I will read and cook and bake and blog praises of their book/energy drink/salad spinner/USB-powered vibrator (oops, wrong blog), sending readers to the store in droves to buy! buy! buy!
Little do they know.
Little do they know that 1) I don't cook, 2) I can't bake to save my loaf and C) The Delicious Life has exactly 14 readers a day (11 on the weekends), so the maximum possible number of people who will actually spend money to purchase a cookbook is...zero. No one is going to buy the books or energy drinks or salad spinners (but maybe the USB vibrator) because I give mine to the one person who actually wants it and would potentially shell out the $36.95 msrp, and everyone else will get the recipe for Red Velvet Cake and Vietnamese Rice Noodles online for free when I post them.
But giving away cookbooks is Too. Much. Fun. Really, it is, and to be quite honest, it makes me feel less stupid for stomping around the kitchen in my 4" stilettos and frilly little apron, because I wouldn't dare give away something that I didn't test myself first, now would I? So let's just keep all of this our filthy little secret, and as long as everyone plays along in this grand PR charade, I'll keep getting cookbooks to give away to you.
Bo Bun (Vietnamese Rice Noodle "Salad") Recipe
from The Ethnic Paris Cookbook
Beef and Noodles
- 1 pound boneless steak, sliced into 2-inch strips
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 scallion, sliced
- 1 teaspoon finely minced lemongrass
- 2 tablespoons nuoc mam
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 8 ounces rice vermicelli
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 onion, sliced into thin rings
Salad and Garnishes
- 2 cups fresh mung bean sprouts
- 2 cups shredded red or green lettuce leaves
- 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into julienne strips
- 1 carrot, peeled and shredded
- handful each of fresh mint, coriander, and Asian basil
- 2 tablespoons roasted peanuts, crushed
- 1 recipe Nuoc Cham (see below)
1. Combine the sliced beef, minced garlic, lemongrass, nuoc mam, and sugar in a bowl and marinate 30 minutes.
2. To cook the rice vermicelli, bring a large of water to a rolling boil. Add the noodles and cook 3 to 5 minutes, giving the pot a stire from time to time. The noodles are done when soft and white but still firm. Drain and rinse in cold water until cool. (The vermicelli can be cooked in advance and kept at room temperature for several hours.)
3. Right before serving, heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet or a wok and saute the sliced onion until translucent. Add the marinated beef and quickly stir-fry to brown, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
4. To serve, the different elements of the dish can be arranged on a platter and guests can create their individual portions: To assemble, first plac
e some of the bean sprouts, lettuce, cucumber, and carrots in the bottom of each bowl, then add a handful of herbs and cool vermicelli noodles. Top the whole thing off with slices of the caramelized beef and garnish with a sprinkle of crushed peanuts before drizzling over the Nuoc Cham sauce.
- 1 bird's eye chili
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- ¼ cup lime juice
- ¼ cup nuoc mam
- ¼ cup warm water
- 1 tablespoon thinly shredded carrot (optional)
Roughly slice the chili and garlic and then put in a mortar, along with the sugar. Pound into a paste and transfer to a bowl. If you do not have a mortar, finely mince the chili and garlic before adding to the sugar. Add the other ingredients (except the carrots) and stir well until the sugar dissolves. Add the shredded carrots, if using. Let the sauce stand for at least 10 minutes for the flavors to fully develop.