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August, 2012

  1. An unexplained rash

    August 18, 2012 by Dan

    Every Trip has a Beginning

    Our trip in Allergy Land began when Sprout was just a few weeks old. His face was a constant red with some little raised bumps that would come and go. The first signs of real trouble came when I’d pick him up and he’d immediately bury his face in my shoulder and begin rubbing. The first few times, I thought maybe his nose was a bit stuffy, that I’d disturbed his sleep, or that he did not like the feel of my shirt. To compensate, I’d wear my softest shirt or put a clean pre-fold on my shoulder. Nothing I did worked. And, as we learned later, his nose was not stuffy.


    Cas sitting down with mouth gaping open. A red rash covers the left side of his face and body

    This photo showing a red and splotchy rash is representative of the first couple months.

    So we talked with the pediatrician. At first, she told us all babies have that rash. According to her, it is the same stuff as cradle cap. It just shows up everywhere on some kids. She gave a few suggestions to clear the cradle cap. But none of her suggestions worked. Then she suggested that it might be some form of yeast. So to combat it, we mixed a probiotic with breast milk and fed it to him.


  2. Cha Gio / Nem Ran / Vietnamese Fried Rolls

    August 1, 2012 by brett

    Cha Gio
    Of all the various Asian fried rolls I’ve ever eaten, cha gio is the best in terms of taste and texture, hands down. There is just something serendipitous about the interplay between the flavors of the filling ingredients: the taro, the freshly ground pepper, the fish sauce, and of course, the pork and shrimp. Texture-wise, the wood-ear mushrooms, bean thread, and rice paper wrappers enhance the roll greatly, making each bite stimulating and fun.

    The chewy-crisp exterior of these rolls pairs well with the fresh green, raw lettuce leaf and herbs commonly used to wrap these rolls. Typically, folks will dip the raw veggie/herb enveloped roll into a small bowl of nuoc cham, a Vietnamese fish sauce-based dipping sauce, just before taking a bite. The contrasts between hot fried and cool/crisp raw, between hearty and refreshingly light, cannot help but delight the senses and inspire second (eh, why stop at second?) helpings. (more…)

  3. Nuoc Cham (Vietnamese Basic Dipping Sauce)

    August 1, 2012 by brett

    Nuoc Cham (Vietnamese Basic Dipping Sauce)
    This ubiquitous, must-have sauce unifies the different flavors in many a Vietnamese dish and makes the entire composition come together and “pop.” Nuoc cham can effortlessly pull together a dish, making it a godsend for anyone looking to get breakfast/lunch/dinner on the table ASAP. I have a small airtight container of this stuff in my fridge at all times.

    I generally serve this alongside cha gio (Vietnamese fried rolls) and drizzled over a haphazardly put together bun bowl – cooked rice vermicelli, raw, shredded lettuce, raw, julienned cucumbers, slices of pan-seared tofu or any cooked chicken/pork/beef/shrimp/fish, plus a sprinkling of fresh mint and Thai/Asian basil leaves.

    Nuoc cham is also a wonderful accompaniment to non-Viet-style dishes as well. I’ve drizzled it on corn tortillas filled with grilled fish, Viet-style pickles, julienned cucumbers, and a few springs of cilantro, and the result was tasty. Nation borders are but lines on a map; in the mouth and stomach, they don’t exist. (more…)