These days, we are all so connected. Social networking has brought us closer together in so many ways. I meet people I never would have met, I get back in touch with people that I have truly missed, and sometimes I get incredible offers.. like last week when I posted a photo of a Vietnamese roll with spicy peanut sauce that I was eating for lunch.  My friend Coco, (Chau-Giang Nguyen), a Vietnamese concert pianist, saw my picture and said she wanted to cook with me. How cool is that?! So the night of Nemo, the blizzard, I put on my snow boots and trooped down to SOHO to hang out with my friend and make some fantastic, authentic, Vietnamese food.

My talented friend, Coco!

The snow was coming down in buckets, but there is very little that can keep me from a good meal.

I arrived in Soho and was greeted by Coco’s adorable mini Dachshund Noodle who was very excited to see me! Then Coco and I got down to business.
 Coco taught me how to make rice paper rolls the way her grandmother taught her so many years ago. (Scroll down for the full recipe and video). Such a simple, elegant and healthy dish. While we cooked, she told me about her 95 year old grandmother, who was still in great shape and rode her bike every day. This is typical of life in Vietnam…. buying fresh food at the market everyday while exercising on your bike….  a winning combination for staying healthy.
summr rolls

Shrimp filled summer rolls

Coco finished the evening by playing me a piece she’s been working on by Bach. (Click HERE for a small taste of Coco’s phenomenal musical talent!) What an incredible evening. Thank you so much Coco, for keeping me warm during the storm, and for generously sharing your talent and your home with me!

Coco's incredible paintings

Coco is a brilliant painter as well! What can’t she do?!


Vietnamese Summer Rolls

(Click on the link at the bottom for a summer roll video tutorial!!)


1/2 cup fish sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons water
2 Thai chiles, very thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced or smashed


Ten 8″ rice paper wrappers
30  peeled and cooked shrimp (boiled just until they turn pink), halved lengthwise
Rice noodles, cook according to package instructions
Shredded iceberg lettuce
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 cup fresh basil
1/2 cup fresh mint

To make the sauce; combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.