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Peyton's "Jean-Georges" Meal

In Appetizer, Asian, Carrot, Chefs, Chili, Cilantro, Cookbooks, Edamame, Fish and Seafood, Garlic, Ginger, Herbs, Lime, Main Course, Mint, Nam Pla, Recipe, Rice Noodles, Satay, Sauces / Condiments, Shrimp, Sushi, Tuna
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Vong-Blog 188Today I lay down my pen (as it were) and camera, and hand over the reigns to Peyton who offered to write this guest post about an awesome meal she cooked just before heading off to summer camp.  All the words and photos are hers, and she hopes very much that you enjoy them. Cheers - Steve

One of my earliest memories about Asian food was trying to use chopsticks. I struggled, and ended up using my fingers instead. Another I have is about going to a wonderful Japanese restaurant and eating at a hibachi table. The chef cooked with huge flames, made onion volcanoes, and tossed eggs into his hat.  But what I remember most was his smile. He was enjoying the show as much as we were. Up until cooking with Steve, I hadn’t even dreamt of cooking Asian food. The techniques seemed so complicated and took years to master. 

Not long ago I was looking through his many, many cookbooks for a recipe for lamb. I went into Jean-Georges Vongerichten's cookbook, Jean-Georges: Cooking At Home with a Four-Star Chef, and it jumped out at me. No, not the lamb dish that I was looking for, but rather a picture like what you see above. It was of a whole plate of his signature appetizers, and it looked delicious.  Of course, it also looked like an intimidating challenge.  If you knew me personally, then you'd know why I couldn't just turn another page. I had to make it!

Tuna Roll-Blog 192
Collecting the eight recipes we needed was easy enough, and shopping for ingredients wasn’t that much different. Ha! We went to The Market and waited about half an hour for the people running the sushi bar to run down to the underbelly of the store to get us frozen, sushi grade tuna. Yum. We also had to buy rice paper from them, which they normally don't sell, but the nice lady at the sushi counter sold us some of hers. So, as you can see, the difficulty of cooking Asian doesn’t start with your capability; it starts with your ability to find the ingredients that you need. Then comes your cooking talent. Then comes your ability to choose the right crowd to serve it to.

If you're going to put in the time to make four appetizers, each with its own dipping sauce, be sure to pick an audience that will appreciate your many hours of work, not one that won’t.  Even though there are eight separate recipes to make this dish none of them are hard to do, they just take a little time.  There are Shrimp Rice Paper Rolls served with "5 Minute Dipping Sauce", Crab Spring Rolls served with "Vong's Peanut Sauce", Shrimp Satay served with "Sweet and Sour Sauce", and Tuna Rolls served with "Edamame Coulis".  

We served it to Muppet, who is not known for adventuresome eating and guess what – she liked it! Jalapeno-Blog 191  Also, my mom and Steve liked it, and so did I.  I had waited until Steve’s parents were coming to do my special dinner. Nonni loves Asian food, thank goodness. My real worries, aside from Muppet, lied with Papa. With the exception of crab, he does not eat seafood; without any exceptions, he does not like raw food. I had to make some changes to develop it into something he would like. 

Despite my worries, it was a hit with everyone! It was a great meal for us and I hope that you all enjoy it!

Have a great summer! - Peyton





Rice Paper Rolls of Shrimp and Herbs

All From: "Jean-Georges" by Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Mark Bittman

(Print Friendly Recipe)



  • About 1 cup rice vermicelli
  • 8 to 10 medium-to-large shrimp
  • 4 sheets rice paper, 8 to 10 inches in diameter
  • 1 cup grated, shredded, or julienned carrot
  • 2 scallions, white part with a little of the green, trimmed and cut into slivers the long way
  • 1 small (pickling) cucumber, peeled and cut into thin strips or shredded
  • 20 or more mint leaves
  • About 8 cilantro sprigs


  1. Soak the rice noodles in fairly hot water (about 120F, almost too hot to touch) for 10 to 20 minutes, or until soft. Drain thoroughly.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the other ingredients. Steam or simmer the shrimp over or in boiling water for 3 minutes or until pink. Run them under cold water for a few seconds to stop the cooking, then peel and cut into 2 slices each.
  3. Have all the ingredients in one place; you’ll also need a bowl of hot water (110 to 120F) and a clean kitchen towel. Put a sheet of rice paper into the water for about 20 seconds, just until soft (don’t let it become too soft, it will continue to soften as you work). Lay it on the towel. 
  4. In the middle of the rice paper, lay two or 3 shrimp and about a quarter each of the noodles, carrot, scallions, and cucumber. Do not overfill. Top with mint and cilantro; don’t skimp on the herbs.
  5. Working quickly, rollup the rice paper, keeping it fairly tight. Now roll the rice paper roll in a sheet of plastic wrap, again making it tight. Fold over the last bit of plastic wrap in the opposite direction, forming a tab that will make it easy to unwrap. Twist ends to serve or store, refrigerated, for up to a day.
  6. (Optional) To serve, trim the ends of each roll with a sharp knife, then cut into 1-inch sections, right through the plastic wrap. Unwrap each section and place, cut side up on a plate. Serve with the [5-Minute] dipping sauce.

 Serves 4


Crab Spring Rolls


  • 1 lb. crabmeat, picked over and shredded
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 15 8-inch square spring roll or egg roll wrappers
  • 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • Canola, grapeseed, or other neutral-flavored oil, for deep frying
  • 15 small, tender Boston lettuce leaves
  • Mint and cilantro leaves


  1. Mix the crabmeat with the mayonnaise. Place one of the spring/egg roll wrappers on a counter, with a point facing you. Spoon a heaving tablespoon of the mixture into the center of the wrapper, making a 4-inch log from left to right. Fold over the left and right corners, so that they meet in the middle and one overlaps the other. Brush a bit of egg yolk over the top half of the wrapper. Fold the bottom half up, then roll tightly; the yolk will seal the spring/egg roll. (You may prepare the spring rolls in advance up to this point; refrigerate, well-wrapped or in a covered container, for up to 2 hours.)
  2. Heat the oil to 365F. Deep fry the spring rolls, 3 or 4 at a time, for 2 minutes or less, or until an appealing shade of brown. Drain on paper towels.
  3. To serve, place each spring roll on a lettuce leaf and garnish with a few herb leaves.

Serve with Vong"s Peanut Sauce

makes 15 rolls


Shrimp Satay


  • 24 medium-to-large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tsp curry paste, All-Purpose Curry Powder, or commercial curry powder
  • 2 tsp nam pla or nuoc mam (Asian fish sauce)
  • Salt and Cayenne
  • Coarse, freshly toasted bread crumbs
  • 3 tbsp  canola, grapeseed, or other neutral-flavored oil
  • Sweet-and-Sour Sauce, or lime wedges


  1. Combine half the shrimp, the curry paste or powder and the nam pla in a food processor. Process, stopping the machine and scraping down the sides as necessary, until the mixture is pureed. Refrigerate the mixture until it is stiff, at least 30 minutes.
  2. Place the remaining shrimp on 4 skewers, then season them with salt and cayenne to taste. Spread one side of the shrinp with the chilled puree, then dip into the breadcrumbs. Repeat with the other side and place on wax paper; chill for at least 30 minutes to firm up. Preheat the oven to 500F.
  3. Place the oil in a skillet (preferably nonstick) large enough to hold the skewers and turn the heat to high. When the oil begins to smoke, add the skewers and cook for about 2 minutes, or until the shrimp is light brown. Turn over the shrimp, then place the skillet in the oven for two of three minutes more. Return to the top of the stove and turn the skewers to brown briefly edges of the shrimp.

Serve with Oyster Sauce, Sweet-and-Sour Sauce, or Lime Wedges.

Serves 4


Tuna Rolls


  • 12 ounces sushi grade tuna, cut into 4 equal rectangles, each about 1 x 3 inches
  • 2 tbsp pickled ginger
  • Cracked black pepper
  • 4 spring roll wrappers, each 8 inches square
  • 1 cup grated, shredded, or julienned carrot
  • 2 scallions, white part with a little of the green, trimmed and cut into slivers the long way
  • 1 small (pickling) cucumber, peeled and cut into thin strips or shredded
  • 20 or more mint leaves
  • About 8 cilantro sprigs
  • ½ of an avacado


  1. Prepare a bowl of water at 110-120F and lay a kitchen towel on the counter to work on. Have all of the remaining ingredients nearby. Put a sheet of rice paper into the bowl until it is soft, about 20 seconds. Lay it on the towel.
  2. Lay a rectangle of tuna in the middle of the wrapper. Garnish with a fourth of the ginger, carrot, scallion, cucumber, mint, avacado, and cilantro. Sprinkle with pepper. Fold the top and bottom ends over, covering part of the tuna. Fold the left (or right) side over then roll tightly. If the wrapper tears or seams as if it’s going to tear, soak another spring roll then wrap it the same way. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 5-15 minutes. Repeat for the other three.
  3. Remove from refrigerator and remove plastic wrap. Cut off the ends, and lay the roll down on its side. Cut into pieces depending on desired thickness and the number of people you are serving (about 3-5 is good). 


Soybean Coulis


  • 1 lb edamame, fresh or thawed frozen
  • 1 large bunch of cilantro, thick stems removed, washed and left wet
  • 1 tbsp nam pla (Asian fish sauce)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 2 Thai chiles, stemmed, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice


  1. Shell the soybeans. Cook them in boiling salted water to cover until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain the beans and put them into a blender or food processor with the cilantro, nam pla, garlic, chiles, and lime juice. Puree, adding water as necessary (about ¼ cup) to allow the machine to do its work. Taste and add more nam pla or lime juice as needed. Set aside for later (if prepared in advance, pour it into a covered container and put in the refrigerator). 


 5-Minute Sauce


  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1tbsp nam pla or nuoc mam (Asian fish sauce)
  • 1 rounded tsp peeled and minced giger
  • ¼ tsp fresh minced cile, cayenne, or dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp sugar


  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Add 1 tbsp water and stir to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Taste and adjust the seasonings as necessary. If time allows, let the sauce sit for 15 to 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld. This sauce will retain its flavor, covered and refrigerated, for about a day; let the sauce come to room temperature before using.


Vong Peanut Sauce


  • 1 ¾ c roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 1 tbsp peanut oil
  • 1 tsp curry or vindaloo paste, available at Asian markets; or use All-Purpose Curry Powder or commercial curry powder
  • 1tbsp sugar
  • 1 14-oz can coconut milk (about 2 cups)
  • ¼ c soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp lime juice


  1. Place the peanuts in a food processor and pulse until crushed; be careful not to puree them.
  2. Place the peanut oil ina medium saucepan over medium heat; add the curry paste and whisk for 30 seconds. Whisk in the sugar and coconut milk and cook over medium-low heat, whisking, until smooth and thick, about 5 minutes. Do not boil. Add the crushed peanuts.
  3. Add the soy sauce and lime juice; taste and add more sugar, soy, or lime if necessary. Keep the sauce warm until you’re ready to serve it. If you refrigerate it (it will keep for a couple of days), reheat gently before serving.

 Makes 3 cups


Sweet-and-Sour Sauce


  • ½ lb long hot “finger” chiles
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • Scant 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp nam pla or nuoc mam (Asian fish sauce)
  • ¼ cup honey
  • Juice of 1 lime


  1. Stem the chiles, then chop them roughly. Place them in a blender or food processor with the sugar, vinegar, garlic, and 1 tbsp nam pla. Blend until the ingredients are minced, but not pureed.
  2. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary; the mixture should be quite hot, will all other flavors present but definitely in the background.
  3. Stir in the honey, the rest of the nam pla, and the lime juice.

 Makes 1 cup


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"Oui, Chef" exists as an extension of my efforts to teach my kids a few things about cooking, and how their food choices over time effect not only their own health, but that of our local food communities and our planet at large. By sharing some of our cooking experiences, I hope to inspire other families to start spending more time together in the kitchen, passing on established familial food traditions, and starting some new ones. Read more...
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