September 2016: Bella September

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Fall is always my favourite season; I am always excited and grateful to welcome the harvest season and get busy in my kitchen!

This September is all about Italian food at our household:

Italian Home cooking with my friends James (househistorian) and Peter (Pastaboy), sharing the joys and love for Italian cuisine:  Whenever my friend James return to Vancouver,  we always have a standing appointment to cook together for our good friends.

Here is the composite photo showing our dinner. Top row left; deep-fried cauliflower, fresh, handmade orecchiette pasta, bruschetta  with Sabina DOP extra virgin olive oil from Casperia.

Second row left to right: Insalata caprese with local heirloom tomatoes and bufala mozzarella. Orecchiette (handmade small ear pasta) with fava beans, peas, Gorgonzola (sweet) and half and half cream pureed and topped with crispy guanciale (smoked pork cheek), baked sockeye salmon (local!) with lemon and capers.

Bottom row Left to Right:  An amazing bottle of Spanish wine, Spaghetti all’Amatriciana (remembering the earthquake in Amatrice),  getting ready to make pasta dough with flour and water!

My trusting go to places for my supplies in Vancouver: Cioffis 4142 East Hastings, Bianca Maria 2469 East Hastings, Gourmet Warehouse 1340 East Hastings)

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Caprese Insalata: Buffala di mozzarella (a must), fresh basil, cherry tomatoes, sea salt and nice olive oil. We toasted some baguette (rustic Italian better), rubbed with garlic and drizzle with olive oil..Bruschetta!

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The most thoughtful gift from my pal James: Sabina DOP Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Casperia from olives grown and harvested from trees James can see from his home in Italy. Thank you again James!

We love pies: Gabi and Jules Handmade pies and baked goods in Port Moody

The newest artisan baked shop and cafe opened weeks ago in Port Moody; we were crazy and drove Port Moody one rainy Saturday morning, and the verdict?  It was well worth the long drive from Vancouver! We had the apple blueberry pie: flaky buttery crust with generous fillings, the sweetness was perfect!  I had the scrumptious cheese scone and my crazy husband had the peach cobbler muffin,

Their website is still under construction, they have great pictures on Instagram (@gabiandjules).

http://www.gabiandjules.com

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Delectable Apple and blueberry pie from Gabi and Jules: We took it home and enjoyed with our friends.

Tasting and Book Signing event at Gourmet Warehouse: Lidia Bastianich

The great Italian born American chef, Ms. Lidia Bastianich visited Vancouver this month… I was absolutely thrilled to meet her in person, she is absolutely lovely…completely starstruck..

I got her autographed cookbook (included in ticket purchase), a picture taken and spoke with her for a few minutes about Italian cooking.  Tremendous thank you to staff and event crew at Gourmet Warehouse for hosting the wonderful event.

I will be very occupied this winter and I look forward to sharing all new cooking tips, techniques and recipes with everyone.
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http://www.gourmetwarehouse.ca

A one stop gourmet store located on East Hastings, filled with great selection of cookware, bakeware, ingredients and sauces from around the world.

Check their calendar for cooking classes and special events

And the Italian theme continues: Ask for Luigi revisited…first time for dinner

Finally made it to Ask for Luigi for dinner!  It was an impromptu decision, we got there early on a Wednesday night (5:45 pm) and got it right away.  It was meant to be (OO)

Ask for Luigi: 2015 Best Restaurant in Vancouver, located at 305 Alexander Street (Railtown), no reservations so get there early!

http://www.askforluigi.com

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Cauliflower polpettes: with romesco sauce and hazelnuts: a very tasty vegetarian “meatball”…

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Radiatore – chilli, anchovy and broccoli….I love their pastas!

Easy Pasta Suppers: 

We all love having pastas for dinner, the sauces are usually easy to make, the ingredients are simple and easy to purchase, my focus is always on using fresh in season and local ingredients.

Broccoli pine nut pesto with gluten-free fusilli (Gogo Quinoa), Spaghetti and Zoodles (Zucchini noodles) all’amatriciana (San Marzano Canned tomatoes, guanciale (smoked pork cheek), garlic and Pecorino romano).  I substituted the half the spaghetti with zoodles (love my spiralizer).

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Easy Sunday supper: Broccoli, pine nuts, dried chilli pepper pesto with gluten-free (GoGo Quinoa) fusilli and parmesan reggiano

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Spaghetti and Zoodles (courgetti/zucchini noodles) all’amatriciana – It’s not entirely vegetarian as the sauce is made of guanciale (smoked Italian pork cheek) and San Marzano tomatoes (variety of plum tomatoes (sweeter, stronger taste and less acidic – available Canned in Italian food stores Cioffis (East Hastings). I’ve used heirloom tomatoes (in season now) and it was so delicious.

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Good reads: The Italian Pasta cookbook is actually an old publication, the Chinese book is translated from a Japanese cookbook written by a popular and famous chef in Tokyo. I’ve been reading a lot more in Chinese lately, trying to learn the terms and cross reference.

Some upcoming Events in Vancouver:

September 29th – Sake Festival (consumer tasting in the evening), check website for information.

http://www.sakebc.ca

Farmers Market schedule and location will change at the end of October, winter market begins!

http://www.eatlocal.org

Eat Vancouver (October 4 to 7) – check out their website for events, there’s no market place this year but plenty of special dinners

http://www.eat-vancouver.com

Remember I took some sushi making classes earlier this year?  Taka-san is back and he will be teaching on October 15th Saturday, please call 778-788-3574 for reservations.

 

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