Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Lemongrass! Oh how I love thee

Recently, I have found myself really into Vietnamese cuisine. There's a restaurant in Downtown Tampa called Bamboozle Cafe. Ordering at Bamboozle is set up a lot like Chipotle but that is where their similarities stop.  The food is amazing - you can build your own salads, Banh mi's, spring rolls, pho, etc. I always order their lemongrass beef or 5-spice BBQ pork. It's out of this world. My favorite thing there is the Bamboozle salad with lemongrass beef, mango, cilantro, carrots, cucumbers and jalapeno's.
Then there's the Lemongrass Pork Lettuce Wrap from Stinky Bunz food truck. The cucumber kimichi and cilantro hides the pork, but this was out of control good.
If I find myself in the Brandon area, I love going to Saigon Cafe. It is in the Home Depot shopping center and the prices are excellent. They have wonderful Pho and really cheap Banh Mi's ($3.50). I love their Banh Mi Thit Nuong (lemongrass pork)
So here is what I am wondering - how is it that I haven't experimented cooking with lemongrass? When I was at Sanwa this weekend, I decided to pick some up. Here was the shocker. It wasn't grass (I envisioned something along the looks of cilantro). I had over 20 sticks of lemongrass in my $2 bundle. My recipe for Tom Yum Soup called for 1 stick.....

What's a girl to do! Pour yourself a large glass of wine, get out your knife, Cuisinart and Foodsaver and have a party in your kitchen. I found a very helpful step by step guide on how to prepare, cut, cook with and store lemongrass.  

This intimidated me. 
Peel away the rough outer leaves to find the fleshy layers. Then cut off the bulb and top of the stick.Cut into smaller pieces. Then put your food processor to work. What on earth am I going to do with all that Lemongrass?!

I learned Lemongrass freezes well. This is great news, as one of my most used and favorite small appliances is my FoodSaver. I split the Lemongrass up in 2 tablespoon increments, used 3 tablespoons for my recipe and voila:
I have 7 remaining pouches of Lemongrass. I think I may cook Lemongrass beef tonight.

This is the recipe I based my soup off of, but I did not follow it at all so it is unfair to relate the two. I ended up making a Tom Yum Chicken Pho and I did not get photos and I could not tell you the steps, as I started throwing stuff in the pot. Bad blogger.

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