Joe’s summer steak sauce

A couple of Tbsps of soy sauce and sesame oil

A few jalapeno peppers (with or without seeds)

A Tbsp of grated ginger

A clove or two of garlic

A Tbsp of fish sauce

About 1/4 cup of cilantro

Juice of a couple of limes

Put everything in the blender until there are no more chunks.

Apple cinnamon gummy candies

6 Tbsp gelatin

1 cup of apple juice

1/4 tsp of cinnamon

2 Tbsp of honey

  • In a small saucepan, whisk the gelatin and cinnamon together until evenly blended.
  • Add the apple juice and turn heat to medium; whisk until there are no lumps.
  • When the mixture starts to warm, add the honey and whisk well.
  • If the mixture thickens up too fast, don’t worry, the heat will liquefy it again.
  • Pour in a glass measuring cup, for easy pouring into a silicone candy mold or a small loaf pan.
  • Pop in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  • Then remove from the freezer, and pop out of the mold or cut the loaf into small squares.

Hoa’s fish sauce

The goi cuon (flexible rice paper rolls) are often served with a peanut sauce in restaurants, but many local Vietnamese enjoy esting it with fish sauce (nuoc mem).

1 empty glass jar


1 Lemon

4-5 pieces of garlic

Chili garlic sauce (plastic jar with a green top, with a rooster / chicken on it)

Concentrated fish sauce (Tiparos brand)


In an empty jar, measure in relation to the size of the jar:

  • Pour in 1/8 of sugar into the jar.
  • Boil some hot water and pour into the jar – just slightly above the sugar content.
  • Dilute the sugar completely with a stirring stick.
  • Add cold water to about a little over half of the jar.
  • Take one lemon and roll it around on the counter, pushing down to make it nice and squishy.
  • Cut open the lemon in half over the jar and squeeze.
  • Crush the garlic into the jar.
  • Add 2 tsp or more of the chili garlic sauce, depending on how spicy you like it.
  • Add the concentrated fish sauce – a third of less to the amount of water content already in the jar … or until the color is golden brown with a tinge of red from the chili garlic sauce.

Add more water or concentrated fish sauce, according to how strong or light you prefer the taste. Stir all contents adn chill in fridge before use.

Apple cider caramels

From the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.

4 cups (945 ml) apple cider

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp flaky sea salt

8 Tbsp (115 grams or 1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks

1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar

1/2 cup (110 grams) packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup (80 ml) heavy cream

Neutral oil for the knife

  • Boil the apple cider in a 3- to 4- quart saucepan over high heat until it is reduced to a dark, thick syrup, between 1/3 and 1/2 cup in volume.
  • This takes about 35 to 40 minutes on my stove.
  • Stir occasionally.
  • Meanwhile, get your other ingredients in order, because you won’t have time to spare once the candy is cooking.
  • Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch straight-sided square metal baking pan with 2 long sheets of criss-crossed parchment. Set it aside.
  • Stir the cinnamon and flaky salt together in a small dish.
  • One you are finished reducing the apple cider, remove it from the heat and stir in the butter, sugars, and heavy cream.
  • Return the pot to medium-high heat with a candy thermometer attached to the side, and let it boil until the thermometer reads 252 degrees, only about 5 minutes. Keep a close eye on it.
  • If you don’t have a candy or deep-fry thermometer? Have a bowl of very cold water ready, and cook the caramel until a tiny spoonful dropped into the water becomes firm, chewy, and able to be plied into a ball.
  • Immediately remove caramel from heat, add the cinnamon-salt mixture, and give the caramel several stirs to distribute it evenly.
  • Pour caramel into the prepared pan.
  • Let it sit until cool and firm – about 2 hours, though it goes faster in the fridge.
  • Once caramel is firm, use your parchment paper sling to transfer the block to a cutting board.
  • Use a well-oiled knife, oiling it after each cut (trust me!), to cut the caramel into 1-by-1 inch squares.
  • Wrap each one in a 4-inch square of waxed paper, twisting the sides to close.
  • Caramels will be somewhat on the soft side at room temperature, and chewy / firm from the fridge.
  • Caramels keep in an airtight container at room temperature for two weeks – but really, good luck with that!

Raspberry coulis

This tart, vibrantly-colored sauce makes a delicious topping for cheesecake, ice cream, and other desserts.  Excess can be put in the freezer and thawed as needed.

1 package of frozen raspberries
1 lemon
slightly less than 1/2 cup sugar

  • Pull raspberries from the freezer and allow to thaw slowly.
  • Put raspberries in a strainer over a bowl, and use a spatula to force fruit pulp through the strainer.
  • Discard seeds.
  • Repeat as needed until all raspberries have been strained.
  • Squeeze and strain the lemon, combine lemon juice with raspberry pulp.
  • Put raspberry mixture in the food processor and blend.
  • Add sugar to taste.

Drizzle over the dessert of your choice!

Pie filling

Filling – with crème fraîche

This should be prepared in advance, as it takes 6 hours (or overnight) for the crème fraîche to form.

3/4 to 1 cup of crème fraîche
3 egg yolks
1-2 Tbsp of sugar

Crème fraîche

1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream

  • Combine the sour cream and heavy whipping cream, and put in a warm location until it thickens (for example, in the oven with the oven light on).

Pie Filling

  • Combine the crème fraîche gently with the egg yolks and sugar.
  • Put a thin layer in pie crust and cook until set.
  • Fill the crust with the rest of the crème fraîche mixture and lay the fruit in it.
  • Cook at 375°F for 20 to 45 minutes, depending on the fruit.

Filling – a lighter alternative

2 eggs
2 cups of milk
1/4 cup of sugar
1 1/2 tsp of vanilla

  • Because this custard filling is less thick than the one made with crème fraîche, it may not set as thoroughly. 
  • This may cause the pie crust to become soggy when cooking.
  • In order to protect the crust, while it is warm it can be glazed with an apricot or currant jelly. 
  • Certain fruits (like blueberries) can also be lightly coated with flour to absorb some of the excess moisture.
  • Continue this recipe as above.

Pâte sucrée (sablée)

For two galettes – 10-1/2 inch pie pans.

3 cups of all purpose flour
2-1/2 sticks of sweet butter, softened
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1/4 tsp of salt

  • Combine the ingredients in a bowl and work until you can form a ball that holds together.
  • Place on the table and smear the mixture with the palm of your hand a few times.
  • Divide into two pieces.
  • Reserve one piece and refrigerate.
  • Roll the other into a 12-inch round about 1/4 inch thick.
  • It helps to roll the dough on a plastic sheet, which provides good support when the dough is lifted around the rolling pin, then unrolled into the pie shell.  This step can be tricky when the dough is too soft, since it breaks easily.
  • Either refrigerate it for awhile or simply press the dough in the pie pan by hand.
  • Make a border about 1/2 inch high.
  • Make it thicker at the base, to prevent it from collapsing during cooking.
  • Cut off any dough above that, and reserve for another pie, with the other half of the dough in the refrigerator.
  • Refrigerate until firm while preheating the oven at 400°F.
  • Cook for 12 to 15 minutes.

For a different dessert, cook the shell entirely for about 25 minutes.  Fill with crème patissière and top with fresh berries.

Pâte feuilleté

3 cups all‑purpose unbleached flour
1-1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbsp of unsalted butter, room temperature
1-1/8 cups of ice water
1-1/2 cups of unsalted butter (3 sticks)
1/2 cup of flour

  • Place the flour, salt and the 6 Tbsp of butter in a bowl or in the food processor.
  • Blend to the consistency of cornmeal.
  • On a pastry surface make a well 10 inches in diameter with the mixture.
  • Pour 1 cup of water  in the center.
  • Quickly flip the top of the well over the water covering all the surface.
  • Finish blending gently with fingers working all around the outside of the well.
  • Form shreds rather than a ball, this way the dough is not handled too much and does not become elastic.
  • Finish blending by cutting in 4 pieces with pastry cutter, making 1/4 turn counterclockwise and cutting again (about 4‑8 times depending on humidity).
  • Form into a loose, crumbly pastry ball.
  • If there are crumbs of dough that are not adhering to the ball you may add some of the remaining water.
  • Wrap in wax paper and chilled for 40 minutes.
  • About 10 minutes before dough is chilled, remove sticks of butter from the refrigerator and pound with a rolling pin until soft.
  • Knead 1/2 cup of flour into the butter.
  • Work together until it is malleable but cold (same texture as the chilled dough).
  • Form into a 5 inch square.
  • Roll the chilled dough into a large circle.
  • Place block of butter in the center and fold dough over it.
  • Roll into a rectangle 18″x9″.
  • Fold into thirds like a business letter (fold bottom then top over it).
  • Turn the dough counterclockwise 1/4 turn (like a book with binding on left).
  • Roll out again in a rectangle 18″x9″.
  • Fold into thirds, wrap and chill for 1 hour. (this is 2 turns)
  • Two more turns.
  • Chill again for 2 hours.
  • The last two turns should be done no more than 2 hours before the final shaping to obtain the highest rise.
  • Roll out for final shape.