Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas 2012

Christmas was unbelievable this year because we were all at one place at one time.  My parents couldn't make it in from Nashville, because my mom didn't feel well, but amazingly, all 4 of the Nguyen siblings were able to get together in Allen, Texas, in my older brother Tien's home just outside of Dallas.  Over the years, it has seemed impossible for everyone to coordinate schedules enough so that we could all see each other while trying to spend time with the spouses' families as well.  We're all Vietnamese, and we all married American, so family holidays always mean that our blended families get together with blended food.  Well, not like food from a blender.  But more like food from mixed cultures.  Like our mixed kids.
My brother Tien and his wife Laura have spent a few summers at Napa and Sonoma Valley, so they have some great wine country parpahernalia.  I love Sonoma wines, and I love Ravenswood!  Our welcome cheese board consisted of Grana Padano cheese, one of my favorites, a close relative of Parmigiano.  Then we also had some Manchego, which my brother always chooses, but I feel is a bit pungent.  Laura suggested pairing the Manchego with fig preserves, and I really enjoyed it.
The Ravenswood board also held some flavored olive oil dipping sauce for the sliced baguette.  I love this long green serving tray.  It's great to be able to celebrate Christmas in a nice home that's all decked out with joyful Christmas decor!  We also loved the cheese crisps.  We've had these before from The Fresh Market, and I've been meaning to make some at home.
Laura made a lovely lasagna for us for our homemade main dish component.  I think that for years, we always judged our significant others by their ability to love Vietnamese food.  While Laura didn't immediately fall in love with it like all of our other spouses, she definitely tried to love it.  Funny story.  On her first visit home with Tien to my parents' home, she forced down a big plate of banh xeo, full of onions, despite the fact that she hated onions.  Then she went right into the bathroom and threw up.  Everybody gets credit for effort!
While in Allen, my sister in law drove me by a huge high school stadium.  I thought she said that it was a 16 million dollar stadium.  She corrected me:  it was a 60 million dollar stadium!  Wow!  Thanks Laura for having us in your beautiful home, for entertaining us, and for loving my brother! 
So I heard that my oldest brother Huy and older sister Nhu went to the big Vietnamese market together to pick up some spring rolls, roast duck, and and roast pork.  I've been there.  It's around Dallas or Arlington, and it's huge.  My husband's been with me.  He lived in Korea for a year with the US Army, so he can hang just about anywhere.  It's definitely an experience!  I think there was some Vietnamese karaoke going on last time I visited.  You can't help but smile...

Traditional Vietnamese Spring Rolls are made with rice paper, so these shrimp and pork springrolls were not the same.  They're wrapped in wonton wrapper.  There was a huge tray of them though, so I found them to be delicious because I didn't have to stand over a pan and make them myself!
When it comes to cooking, my 2 older brothers rank up there with the Deen brothers.  They replicate Mom's homemade dishes REALLY well!  So they made my favorite soup of all:  Vietnamese Bun Rieu.  Filled with sparerib tips, crab and pork dumplings, and savory broth, this was worth gaining 5 pounds!
The roast duck is always phenonemal.  If you visit the Vietnamese market in the Dallas area, they're hanging all around, just like at the entrance of Chi's here in Little Rock.  I love the Roasted Duck from Chi's!  You can order it boneless, and it comes with soft steamed buns, hoisin, and scallions.  YUM!

Well, that was our spread from the first night!  The next day, we had a nice tamale spread for lunch.  Laura's from Hot Springs, Arkansas, and apparently the famous McClards restaurant there does a nice tamale spread!  You may already know about it.  I didn't!  But I'll share soon!

No comments:

Post a Comment