The Seasoned Franciscan - Cooking Joyfully

Pacific Rim Salad By Lisa Ahier, chef at SoBo restaurant

By Lisa Ahier, chef at SoBo restaurant on Monday, May 22nd 2023

Ginger Soy Vinaigrette

¼ C soy sauce
2T mushroom soy sauce (may substitute regular, dark or double fermented soy sauce, tamari sauce, Worchestershire sauce, red miso paste, fish sauce, 
2 T mirin (may substitute rice vinegar, sweet Marsala wine or dry sherry)
1 T rice vinegar
1 T lime juice
1 T honey
1 T minced garlic
1” piece fresh ginger, minced
1 green onion, chopped
½ C canola oil
1 T sesame oil

2 C fresh lettuce mix (such an Asian greens mix)
sliced baby bok choy (Chinese cabbage) (optional)
½ medium beet, peeled and julienned (See Note below)
1/2 small jicama, peeled and julienned
¼ medium red bell pepper, julienned
10 snow peas, string removed and julienned
½ C sunflower, alfalfa or mung bean sprouts (optional)

Note:  The term "julienne" refers to cutting an ingredient such as carrots or zucchini into thin strips sometimes called “matchsticks:  that are roughly 1/8-inch thick and 2 to 2 ½ inches long.
Three ways to peel beets: 1. If parts of the beet skin are tough to peel off with your hands, use a small paring knife.  2. Cover your hands. To prevent the beets from staining your hands red, use a paper towel to peel off the beet skin.  3. Fill up a bowl with cold water after boiling the beets and peel them under the water to prevent staining your hands.
Ask about unfamiliar ingredients wherever you shop or explore an Asian Market.  There is so much to enjoy!

In a medium bowl, combine soy sauces, mirin, vinegar, lime juice, honey, garlic, ginger and green onion.
Add canola and sesame oils.  Whisk to combine (dressing can be made and refrigerated up to 1 week ahead.)
On a plate, stack salad ingredients on top of each other in order listed. Drizzle vinaigrette over top and serve.  It tastes as good as the photo above from House and Home.
The dressing can also be used as a marinade or sauce for grilled fish, chicken or pork.

May is Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. A very broad term, this recognition encompasses all of the Asian continent and 1000s of Pacific islands.
The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the US on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid those tracks were Chinese immigrants.
One way to experience different cultures is through their food.  Pacific Rim Cuisine is a combination (or fusion) of foods and cooking styles from countries and islands all around the Pacific Ocean. The cooking styles are often based in classic French cooking with influences of Asian and Island cuisine. This includes influences from California, Hawaii, Japan, and eastern Asia.
The ingredients that drive the recipes include tropical fruits (including fruit salsas) such as coconut, guava, dragon fruit and passion fruit; fresh vegetables (like arugula, avocados, red onions, tomatoes, cucumbers), just-caught seafood, sesame seeds, nuts, and flavorful, often-tangy sauces.
Pacific Rim flavors often blend the tropical flavors of the Philippines with the spicy flavors of neighboring Asian countries such as Vietnam.  This “fusion” can be seen in Filipino food which often includes the hot, but somewhat more savory influence of Spanish foods like dried shrimp, tomato and garlic.
This month provides an opportunity for all of us to learn more about Asian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Rim people, culture and accomplishments, and to highlight their voices,  and leadership.  We don’t know until we ask about the challenges faced by this growing immigrant community in our country.
Read, listen and watch pop culture by creators or about fictional characters and communities.  We can also buy from local and international businesses.”  You can google Asian American businesses in your town.  You will be surprised!
For example:  In La Crosse, there is a great farmer’s market on Thursdays, May 4 – October 12, 8 am -3:30 pm on the grounds of the Hmong Cultural and Community Agency at 1815 Ward Avenue. 


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