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

Duck Breast Lettuce Wrap

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My lettuce wrap platter – “Pinkish” tone achieved!

The idea for this recipe spawned from three years ago when my friend “VG” brought back a bag of really delicious perilla flavored tea plums from her hometown (Kaohsiung); the moment I tasted the plums I immediately thought of using them for cooking and pair with duck, green tea and lychee to create an entree.

This was a work in progress and went through a few different versions, the idea of serving as lettuce wrap came this summer when I had a “Asian Food Fest ” gathering with some of my friends! I think by far it’s the best way to serve this duck breast and let it be the star with the perfect “supporting casts”. As I am  only an amateur home chef, the measurements are approximate and cooking methods are based on the knowledge I acquired through my home cooking experiments and the few cooking classes which I’ve attended.  Feel free to “tweak” it any way you think works best, and let me know if you have other suggestions.  Enjoy (OO)!

Ingredients: (Serves two as main course)

2 duck breast (small to medium size), 1 English cucumber, Bunch of green scallions, Head of butter lettuce 

Ingredients for the brine (which will be used to braise the duck breast and create the dipping sauce): 8 cups of cold water, 8 Tablespoons Organic Soy Sauce, 1 small knob of ginger (grated), 2 green scallions (roughly chopped), 1 green tea bag, 1 Tablespoon brown sugar (I’ve used rock sugar),I  8-10 lychee (fresh or canned, roughly chopped), 10-12 Taiwanese tea plums (remove seed, roughly chopped), 1-2 Tablespoons whole black peppercorn, juice and zest (grated) of 1 lemon,1-2 Tablespoons Japanese rice wine (sake), sea salt (for seasoning as required), 1-2 Tablespoons Taiwanese plum juice (optional)

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Left: Taiwanese Tea Plums (I found this at the Taiwanese supermarket in Richmond BC); Right: Taiwanese Tea Plum Concentrate (optional as it is difficult to find)

Preparation:

The day before: 

– Prepare the brine: With the exception of the green tea bag, put all brining ingredients into a 6 quart sauce pan. Using medium high heat, bring mixture to a boil.  Reduce to medium low heat, let the mixture simmer and reduce for at least 45 minutes to an hour, it will become more concentrated.

– Turn off the heat, add the green tea bag and let it steep for 10 to 15 minutes.  Remove from heat, remove tea bag, stir the mixture and let it cool down completely.

– Prepare the duck breast for brining: Place the duck breast on the chopping board skin side up, using a sharp knife, score the skin in a diagonal direction (45 degree angle), be careful not to cut into the flesh. Turn the duck breast around and score in the opposite direction.  Pat skin and flesh side dry and set aside.

This is a very important step as scoring the duck breast for cooking helps to render out the fat from the skin more effectively. It is best to score the skin of the duck breast when cold, as it becomes more difficult once the skin warms up.

– Pour cooled down liquid (including all ingredients) into a non-reactive container (BPA free plastic or glass with lid). Submerge the duck breasts into brining liquid, cover with lid and refrigerate overnight.

 Cooking Day:

In the morning:

– Remove the duck breasts from brining liquid, pat dry thoroughly (It must be completely dry) with paper towel, cover and refrigerate.

– Strain the liquid through a fine strainer, press hard on the solids to ensure you get every bit of the liquid.  Run it through a few times to remove any small bits.

– Sauce preparation: Pour liquid into 4 quart sauce pan, using medium high heat, bring liquid to a boil, reduce to medium low heat, and let it simmer and further reduce to approximately 2 cups, the consistency should only be a little “syrupy”.

When ready to cook and serve:

– Take the duck breasts from the refrigerator and let them come towards room temperature prior to searing.

– Wash all vegetables thoroughly: Pull of pieces of butter lettuce gently, wash thoroughly and pat dry with paper towel. Julienne the cucumbers (cut in thin slices) and shred the green scallions.

– Reheat the sauce, keep in low simmer (don’t let it burn).

– On different stove top, place duck breasts skin side down on cold dry skillet, do not add any cooking oil. Place the pan over medium to medium low heat, and slowly render down the fat, it will take approximately 6 to 8 minutes, using a spatula (be careful not to burn yourself), gently flip over and check if skin is browned evenly. Using a spoon, remove the duck fat.

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Duck breast skin side down on cold dry pan

– When duck breast is ready, flip over (skin side up) and remove from skillet, finish cooking by “braising” in the sauce (as shown in picture below), skin side up.  Adjust to medium low heat, Using a spoon, “spoon” the sauce constantly over the breast (this will help to cook the breast evenly), the liquid should be gently boiling (you can see bubbles).

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– Let them cook for approximately 5 to 6 minutes (depends on the thickness of the duck breasts), flip them over skin side down and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. To test its doneness, the breasts should feel firm but tender, or you can should a

– Remove from heat, set aside and let them “rest” for at least 10 minutes prior to slicing.

– To finish the sauce, add a little duck fat (which you rendered earlier when browning the skin), Japanese sake and lemon juice, stir and mix well, taste and adjust the seasoning if required, finish off with a few grinds of black pepper. Strain the sauce one more time for a smoother texture.

– Slice the duck breasts thinly, it should be “pinkish” in colour.

– Assemble the platter and serve immediately.

Notes:

– I purchased the duck breasts from Armando’s at Granville Island.  The smaller ones are not as thick and easier to cook.

– This website has lots of good duck recipes and references:

http://www.greatbritishchefs.com/