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.

 

June 24th, 2015 Radio Show

IMG_8884 How’s your summer so far? I will be on Ms. Deborah Moore’s radio show on AM 1470 Fairchild Radio this morning at 10:30am Sharp! Below is the outline for today’s segment; content is subject to change according to Ms. Moore and flow of program; I look forward to chatting with her about food and everything else (OO)  Thank you for tuning in!

TKC Gourmet Kitchen: Three weeks ago I had my first formal Japanese cooking lesson (I’ve always learnt  through cookbooks, my Japanese friends or my Mother-in-law)! Our instructor, Mr. Hasegawa taught us how to make a teriyaki sauce which we can use as a base and transform into different dishes:  Chicken Teriyaki, Sukiyaki, Saba Nitsuke, Japanese style Roast Beef.  Have you ever had vanilla ice cream with teriyaki sauce? It was absolutely delish! Hasegawa-sensei, thank you very much, I had the best time!  Look forward to joining another class in the near future! It was a very educational 2 hour demonstration class followed by sampling of the dishes at Guu Otokomae (in Gastown, Vancouver, BC).  English and Japanese classes are available, check their Page on Facebook for schedule.   IMG_7490

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TKC Gourmet Kitchen: Our lunch prepared by Hasegawa-sensei

Here’s the basic recipe for teriyaki sauce, courtesy of Mr. Hasegawa, TKC Gourmet Kitchen:

Soy sauce 400 ml + 100 ml (add in the end as finishing touch)

Sake 500 ml (Drinking sake, for example Gekkeikan)

Mirin 500 ml

Sugar 150 g (you can adjust the amount to adjust the level of sweetness)

Water 200 ml

Garlic 2 cloves (thinly sliced)

Ginger 5 grams (thinly sliced)

Onion (about 200 g, half or one small onion), skin on)

green onion (1 bunch – green part only)

Carrot (about 50 g, half piece)

Kelp (about 5 g)

– In medium size pot,  rehydrate kelp in 200 ml of water at least for 10 minutes

– Add all the ingredients (except 100 ml of soy sauce) into the pot

– Using high heat, bring sauce to a boil

– Reduce heat to low setting (make sure there’s no “bubbling” action) and cook sauce for another 30 minutes

– Add remaining 100 ml soy sauce to finish the sauce, turn off heat

– Strain the sauce, let it cool down completely before storing in refrigerator (*store in clean glass container up to 1 month)

Father’s Day Dinner: Fresh Seafood from Seafood City, Granville Island – Vancouver, BC Last weekend I had the best time shopping at the Trout Lake Farmer’s Market and Granville Island, searching for ingredients and new ideas for Father’s Day Dinner.  I went to Seafood City to buy the mackerel to prepare the “Saba Nitsuke” dish which I learned earlier from Hasegawa-sensei at #TKC Gourmet Kitchen.  While I was standing in front of the counter waiting for my mackerel, these beauties “stared” at me.. I simply could not resist but purchase one of them and got the most helpful cooking tips from one of their staff, William (a million thanks!).  Service is always great as they are all very passionate about food: http://www.seafoodcitygi.com 

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“Itoyori” Threadfin Bream from Japan – I couldn’t help myself and made the purchase.

Using the basic teriyaki sauce, I prepared the “Saba Nitsuke”, a traditional Japanese fish dish, stewed in ginger and sauce;  will be posting the recipe shortly!

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Father’s Day Dinner: My version of Saba Nitsuke

And here’s a picture of our family dinner: I’ve also prepared my duck breast dish; I changed things up a bit with the saucing (check out my recipe published in September 2014); eggplant “pickled” in shiso plum dressing, Asian green salad with simple lemon olive oil dressing, mixed rice (Japanese/brown/Black Gaba) and the beautiful tender broiled bream fish.  Recipes coming soon! IMG_7461 Got room for ice cream? Check out Rain or Shine, new location on Cambie (Original location on West 4th near Burrard) http://www.rainorshineicecream.comIMG_7483 Anytime for good reads? Marie Kondo: The life changing magic of tidying up The enlightened kitchen: Vegetarian dishes Harumi Kurihara’s cookbook: Chinese version

http://www.tidyingup.com

http://www.yutori.co.jp/en/about_harumi/

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Two weeks ago,  my #Ask of Luigi #brunch photo entry won the picture of the week!  I’ve won a $25.00 gift certificate from Ask for Luigi restaurant in Railtown; it’s fun to participate in these interactive contests through Instagram:IMG_7094

 I love Vancouver! Lots of events this summer and I will be back as market host at the Trout Lake market next month.

http://www.foodcartfest.com

http://www.carfreevancouver.org

http://www.italianculturalcentre.ca

http://www.eatlocal.org

http://www.greekday.com