RECIPE: Giampiero’s Trofie con Cariofi (Trofie Pasta with Artichokes)

 

Italian Supper Club I:  Here’s the very delicious Artichoke and Trofie Pasta Recipe; courtesy of my friend’s James’ Italian friend Giampiero ; Grazie and Mangiamo!

Ingredients: 2 Lemons 4 to 5 Artichokes (firm, tight, green, preferably Romanesco type)2 to 3 cloves of garlic, peeled 1 to 2 tsp Peperoncino (red chili pepper) flakes,  2 to 3 Anchovies (preserved in oil),  1-2 cups Warm Chicken soup stock (homemade or store-bought*),  1 cup dry white wine, 500 gr Trofie dry pasta, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and Pecorino Romano cheese, 3 to 4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, sea salt (for pasta cooking and seasoning).

*Vegetarian stock can replace chicken stock to make this dish vegetarian; chicken or vegetarian stock cubes can be used also.  Anchovies are used to “season” the dish so adjust the salt accordingly (OO).

TIPS: This recipe serves 5 (100g pasta each as an appetizer); the usual size 500 g package of pasta is good for 5 to 6 people, depends on what is being used to go with it.

We used the same recipe, omit the pasta and turn the artichokes into antipasti; we just quartered the artichokes and serve it room temperature.   The lemon water prevents oxidation; it also removed the somewhat “muddy” flavor of artichokes and add brightness to the dish. Trofie pasta is selected as the shape goes with the sliced artichokes.

Artichokes as Antipasti!

Method:

  1. Zest the two lemons and reserve the zest in a small bowl for later use.
  2. Prepare a large bowl with cold water. Cut the two zested lemons in half and carefully squeeze the juice into the water being careful not to include the seeds. Drop in the seedless peels in as well.  The lemon water is to prevent the artichokes to oxidize.

3. Using a paring knife, carefully clean and trim the artichokes, pulling away the dark and hard outer leaves. Cut off the end of the stem, slice away the darker green outer layer of the stem. Carefully pare away any remaining dark green layer between the peeled stem and the edge of the base. Cut off about 1/3 to a half of the pointy leaf ends.  Be careful when paring and not to cut yourself.

4. Slice the trimmed artichoke in half lengthwise and then into quarters and carefully remove the hairy choke, pulling out any pointy interior leaves in the process. Drop the trimmed artichoke (carciofi in Italian)  in the cold lemon water and repeat the process until completed.  When all of the  have been properly trimmed and quartered, take each quarter and slice thinly lengthwise, returning the sliced artichokes into the acidulated water immediately.

5. Put a large pot of salted water (sea salt) on to boil.

6. Warm the chicken / vegetarian stock in the sauce pan; keep it in low simmer (this step will be omitted if you are using chicken /vegetarian stock cube and those can be added directly into the pan for flavoring).

7. Using low heat, add 2 (to 3 TBS) olive oil to a large saute pan or wok (in Italy they have a large rounded pan with a handle called a Salta pasta);  gently saute the garlic and peperoncino (red pepper flakes).

8. Add the drained artichoke slices and raise the heat to medium, Stir constantly (without breaking the artichokes).  After 2 to 3 minutes, add the anchovies to the side of the pan, carefully mashing them so that they completely dissolve in the oil.

9. Add the warm soup stock a little at a time (when cooking always add warm stock to avoid temperature fluctuations)  and stir in the white wine.  The stock will add another level of flavor to the artichokes; let hte mixture simmer in low heat.  The artichokes will absorb the liquid, you don’t want the sauce to be “watery”.

10. While sauce is simmering, throw the trofie pasta in to the boiling water and cook for at least one to two minutes less than indicated on the instructions.  Do not Toss the pasta water!

Trofie pasta purchased at La Grotta Del Frommaggio on Commercial Drive

11. Reduce the heat a bit lower (medium low) for the artichokes,  cover and cook until the artichokes are almost tender. They should be al dente by the time the pasta is ready. Taste the artichokes and see if they need any salt, the anchovies should be enough for flavoring, otherwise add a little salt if needed.

12. Using a strainer or a spider to lift the al dente pasta out of the cooking water and toss into the pan with the artichokes.  Add a ladle or two of the pasta cooking water (acqua di cottura), stir and fold gently to ensure the water mostly evaporates.  The cooking water is what makes the sauce creamy!

13. Add a couple of handfuls of grated parmesan and pecorino cheese to the artichoke /pasta mix. Stir gently to integrate the cheese with pasta, then serve hot in individual bowls. Top each with some of the lemon zest, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and more of the grated cheese if desired.  Mangiamo!

September 2017 Homecooking Snapshots: Tomato Potato and Bean salad, Baked pork chop “rice” and Shiso Lemon Drink

Here are some of the dishes which I have been cooking at home in September!   Autumn is definitely my favourite cooking season (OO)

This month I am featuring three recipes which you may have seen on my Instagram account @mygoldenapron

Follow me for more recent updates; remember always adjust the seasoning and ingredients according to you and your loved ones dietary needs, and the most important ingredient, COOK with LOTS of LOVE and PATIENCE (OO).

Italian style Tomato, Green beans and Potato Salad (Adapted from September 2016 edition of  Food and Wine)

I have adapted this simple and nutritious recipe from last September’s Food and Wine magazine; every six months when my dear friend James return from Italy to Canada for a visit, I always go through an Italian cooking phase!

Ingredients and preparation: You can change the produce according to seasonality; I find the balsamic vinaigrette works very well with savoy cabbage and brussels sprouts, so use your imagination and work with the flavours.

1/2 pound baby potatoes: In medium saucepan, covered with cold water and bring to a boil, add a pinch of sea salt and simmer over medium low heat until potatoes are tender. Drain and let cool, then slice in half.

1/2 pound green beans (or any other colourful beans you can find at your local market) – trim the ends; bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil.  Fill a large bowl with ice water.  Add the beans and a pinch of sea salt and blanch until the beans are crisp yet tender, under 2 minutes.  Drain and transfer beans to ice bath to cool.  Drain again and dry thoroughly.

1 whole shallot – thinly sliced, you can use red onions or add more shallots

1 -2 ears of fresh corn: remove the husk (you can freeze and save it for later use to make vegetable broth) and silk, bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil, add corn , cover the saucepan and return it to a boil.  Cook until corn is tender; drain and let cool. Place the corn on a clean cutting board, trim one end of the corn so it stands flat, use a knife to slice the kernels off the cob.

1 Tablespoon capers, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup chiffonade (thin strips) of fresh basil and 1/4 cup chiffonade (thin strips) of fresh parsley

1 pint mixed cherry tomatoes, halved

In a large mixing bowl, whisk 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 2 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar and a drizzle of honey (optional).  Add the potatoes, beans, tomatoes, corn, shallots and capers and toss gently.  Fold in the basil and parsley, season with salt and pepper.

*To increase our vegetable intake, I added some mixed greens to the dish.  When making a vinaigrette, use a good quality extra virgin olive oil.

A Healthier Baked Pork Chop “Rice” (with cauliflower, carrot, rice) with homemade tomato sauce with onions, red and green pepper:

Baked pork chop rice is one of my favorite childhood dish, I made a version of this Hong Kong style dish using boneless pork loin (from one of my favourite butcher shop Petes Meats crusted in toasted panko (panko precooked before breading the pork, method adapted from Ms. Namiko Chen’s Just One Cookbook method)

Prepare the Panko Crusted Pork:

Preheat the oven to 350 F (place oven rack on top).

I have chosen a good quality pork and pound it evenly, prepare the toasted panko (1 cup panko and 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil  (enough to coat two pork loins) – Combine the oil and panko in a frying pan, and toast the panko over medium heat, stir once in a while to ensure all panko bits are toasted until golden brown and evenly. Set aside and let cool down, keep 1 to 2 teaspoons aside and use as “sprinkle” when ready to bake the dish.

Let the toasted panko cool before you start coating the pork loins.  Coat the pork loin one at a time: dip pork loin into beaten egg mixture, make sure you get rid of the excess egg mixture.

Using your dry hand, coat the loins with toasted panko.  Lightly brush the flakes to cover the pork loin, then lightly press the panko flakes, make sure they adhere and the fillet is coated evenly.  Place the coated pork loins on the baking sheet.  Baked the pork loins until 3/4 ways cooked through (approximately 8 – 9 minutes). Remove from the oven.

Prepare the cauliflower, carrot and rice combination: I do not have specific measurements for this recipe, however for the two of us, I have prepared one cup of cooked rice (I used Japanese Haiga rice), 1 cup of finely chopped cauliflower, 1 small carrot (finely chopped) – First I cooked the rice in the rice cooker, when it is ready, remove from rice cooker and let it cool (you can use “overnight rice”).  In a frying pan, add 1/2 to 1 Tablespoon olive oil (or vegetable oil), sautéed the cauliflower (you will need to add a little water otherwise it will burn, you will need to cover pan for a short time to “steam” and soften the cauliflower), add carrot when cauliflower is half-cooked, add the cooked rice and a pinch of sea salt (season to taste), mix “cauliflower rice” and rice very well, when vegetables are cooked through, remove from heat and set aside.

Prepare the Tomato sauce: You can use canned tomato sauce and add onions,  red and green pepper.  For my sauce, I used 1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil to sautéed three medium size San Marzano tomatoes (I got from the Farmer’s Market, they are so flavorful: chopped and seeded), you can use more tomatoes if you want to make more sauce), 1/2 to 1 cup filtered water and a clove of finely chopped garlic. Using medium low heat,  cook the mixture until tomatoes are soft.  Turn off heat, working in small batches, spoon mixture into blender, remove the centre cap from the lid of the blender.  Cover the lid with a folded clean dishcloth and hold it down when you are blending.  Repeat until you are done.

Using the same sauce pan, add another 1/2 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil to sautéed one chopped (bite size) onion until slightly caramelized. Add one chopped red pepper (thin sliced) and one chopped green pepper (thin sliced), cook for 1 minute, return puree tomato sauce to pan, mix well and using low heat, simmer until sauce is thickened  (20 to 25 minutes), season with sea salt to taste.

Preheat the oven to 300 F. Using an oven proof casserole or baking dish, spoon the “rice” in the bottom, then add a layer of the tomato and pepper sauce, place the panko crusted pork loin, then spoon more sauce and cover the pork loin, make sure you have some onions on top, and sprinkle the remaining toasted panko.  Baked in the oven for 8 to 12 minutes, or longer if you want the sauce to brown nicely, remember the pork loin must cook through.

***You can use the “broil” feature to really brown the sauce, cheese can be added to achieve a “bubbling” effect.

***The Extra Virgin Olive oil which I use for sauteed or stir fry dishes is suitable for everyday cooking usage.

Shiso Lemon Water: Recipe from YouTube “Food Video”

Pretty in Pink: Shiso Lemon Water

Since last year I started watching the “Food Video” channel on YouTube; this channel is based in Shanghai, China and feature some professional and home chefs.This channel is so much fun to watch: the videos are short and stylish; the cooking demonstrations and instructions are simple to understand.

Do you like shiso (perilla leaves)?  It is commonly used in Taiwanese and Japanese cooking, particularly used to flavor and pickled plums, and often it will appear on your sashimi order. If you have read my other posting (August 2017: Cheesecake and Salad Rolls with Cooking Buddies), my friend Phung has shown us to add shiso leaves to homemade salad rolls; I have also used shiso in my duck breast dish (September 2014 posting).

Shiso has its medicinal benefits and two recipes are featured on this video: the one I have tried is a very refreshing drink, a great digestive aid and helps to reduce the “dampness” (Chinese medicine term) in your body.  The flavor is very subtle and drizzle of honey is used to sweeten the drink.  When the lemon juice is added to the purple shiso water, it changes into a very pretty pink colour.

I have made this drink a few times and I really enjoyed it!  You only need three ingredients: fresh purple shiso leaves, lemon juice and a little honey (I used a drizzle of manuka honey).

Below is a translation of the recipe: 

In a large sauce pan, add 80 grams of chopped purple shiso leaves to 1 litre of filtered cold water, bring to a boil and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.

Set aside and let it cool.

Add 50 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice, the shiso water will start to turn “pink”.

Add a drizzle of honey as sweetener.

You can drink as is or add ice / ice water if you prefer the drink to be slightly diluted.  Enjoy (OO)

 

 

 

July 2017 : Home Cooking SnapShots: Okra, Fish, Miso, Tomatoes and Udon

Oven Roasted Okra: sliced each okra lengthwise into halves and toss in sea salt and extra virgin olive oil, preheat oven to 400 degrees and roast for 15 minutes – Thanks Jo!

Here’s a snapshot of what I have been cooking the past two months..For updates follow me on Instagram (@mygoldenapron) and you will know first hand what I have been cooking and where I have been dining!

Roasting OKRA: I never thought of roasting okra until my dear sweet friend Jo showed me, sometimes we are just caught in our usual habits and don’t think about the most obvious options!  Since then I have been adding okras to our salads or enjoyed with our cooked fish, like the kasu-shio marinated halibut in shiitake, edamame, daikon and mustard leaves dashi broth… As for garnish, I have prepared some roasted kale (in place of seaweed) and pancetta bits.

Experiment at home: Shio Kasu Halibut, shiitake dashi with edamame, mustard green leaves, roasted okra and green onion, finished with roasted kale and pancetta bits

Remember sake kasu?   It’s the remaining lees from sake making and they have been available for sale at Japanese grocery stores (Fujiya in Vancouver) or Artisan Sake (at Granville Island, this is the one I use all the time).  For this dish, I added some salt and a little water to approximately 2 Tablespoons of kasu (water for slight thinning of mixture),  pat dry (really dry) the halibut filets and submerge them in the marinade for at least a day.  Before cooking, wipe the fish clean with paper towel to ensure there’s no kasu left (otherwise it will burn).  I baked my fish at 400F and finished with broiling the final two minutes (the cooking time varies pending on thickness of fish fillet).

Dashi broth: prepared with bonito flakes and kelp as base (search my archives for recipe), I added the shiitake mushroom stems, a couple of celery leaves (I kept them frozen and add to broth/stock making), a spoonful of sake kasu and a small chunk of daikon and let it cook for half an hour.  I strain the broth then add shiitake mushrooms, mustard green leaves, edamame beans (parboiled already) and season with sodium reduced soy, mirin and a little maple syrup (sugar for most of you), adjust accordingly to your taste and dietary needs always!  I prepared the pancetta and kale bits while broth is cooking, okra also roasted before and add-on together with green onion as garnish.   The cooked fish is lightly finished with fleur de sel.

The broth can be prepared ahead of time, when fish is about ready, reheat the broth and to serve, plate vegetables and fish in a regular or soup bowl, pour the broth, add the okra and green onions, kale and pancetta garnish last.  Enjoy!

Sakuraya: Last month I mentioned there is a Japanese grocery located on East Broadway (close to Fraser), they carry the organic dried mustard leaves and daikon leaves from a small village in Japan.  I re-hydrated the leaves and add to my dashi broth and they added so much flavor!  It has some glucose so remember to adjust your seasoning.

http://www.seafoodcitygi.com

Soy Dijon Mustard glaze chinook salmon with potato salad, green bean snow peas micro greens sea asparagus in ponzu vinaigrette:

Prepare glaze : sodium reduced soy sauce (2 Tablespoons), Dijon mustard (1 Tablespoon), olive oil (1-2 Tablespoons) and a little maple syrup.  Clean and pat dry the salmon filet and let it marinade for at least 30 minutes.  Remove the fish from marinade, scrape lightly so not much marinade will cling to the fillets (unless you like real browning action), and bake salmon in oven preheated in 350 F until desired doneness.  When you see any white spot appearing on the seams of the salmon filet, that means it should be done and well on its way to being very cooked.  While salmon is cooking, use a sauce pan and sautéed chopped shallots, add the marinade and cook until sauce boils and slightly thicken.

I used a store-bought ponzu and add good quality extra virgin olive oil, a little rice vinegar and ground pepper for the vinaigrette (2:1 ratio oil/soy, most vinaigrettes 3:1 ratio oil/acid, I prefer less oily).

As for the salad, basically anything goes!  I added the most delicious microgreens (West End Blend from Grown here farms purchased at August Market on Main Street in Vancouver), sea asparagus (In season for a short time in Vancouver, soaked overnight to get rid of the salt then blanched and shocked in ice, green beans and snow peas (also blanched and shocked in ice) .  I choose to use mostly organic products, use your imagination and add your favourite in season salad greens and vegetables to load more nutritious greens into your dish.

My potato salad is made of red potatoes, green onions, homemade relish mixed with half mayo (Lemon Ojai mayonnaise) and half greek yogurt, if you want to make it very Japanese, add kewpie mayonnaise.

http://www.thefishcounter.com

http://www.visaltco.com

http://www.eatlocal.org

http://www.augustmarket.ca

Tomato and Egg Udon: simple eats and tomatoes are in season!

One of my favourite all time Chinese family dish is converted into a soup base for udon; apparently tomato and egg noodle soup is a very popular dish in parts of China.  Taiwanese Chef James, well-known for his interpretation of Japanese cuisine, is now featured in cooking show filmed in China, I found on YouTube accidentally.  I modified his recipe and method by changing a couple of ingredients: The ingredient are simple : heirloom tomatoes, shallots, grated ginger (lots), green onion, filtered water, white pepper and a little maple syrup (you can use sugar) I used Japanese udon, omit cornstarch and tomato paste (it was used for thickening, instead I let the soup cook down to thicken).  The beaten egg is added in the end; if you have time, follow Chef James and make the eggs two ways.   Usually the noodles are eaten as “late night snack”, I had it for dinner and I find it perfect as a summer light supper.

 

Tomato Miso Nduja Bolognese with Udon

Remember a few months ago I talked about Nduja, the Italian spreadable spicy sausage? I changed things up a little – I mixed a little nduja and red miso into my own pork/turkey Bolognese sauce and had it with udon, garnish with roasted kale (salted and crushed to mimic seaweed) and it was a winner at my recent dinner gathering with my cooking buddies Jo, Phung and Rita.   The dish is a perfect marriage of Japanese and Italian ingredients; remember nduja and miso are both a little salty, you do not need to use much for seasoning.  The miso makes the sauce very hearty and meaty; if you have a good tomato sauce base, you can add the miso and serve it as a vegetarian dish with grilled eggplant. The nduja sausage spread adds a little spiciness, it is completely optional.  Experiment with your favourite meat sauce recipe and add these flavor profiles to your repertoire.

For both tomato udon dishes, the really thin udon noodles will not work as well.  I found this perfectly wonderful hand-cut dry udon at our local Fujiya Japanese food store.

Love the texture and thickness is perfect! It has a very good “bite”

 

 

 

 

May 2017: Home cooking Snapshots

 

Miso and Sake Kasu Sable fish, mixed vegetables (lotus root, burdock, broccoli and turnip leave) rice

Here are the snapshots of what I have been cooking at home this past month!  Recipes coming very soon.

For the time being you can find my other updates and pictures with description posted on Instagram (@mygoldenapron).

I would also love to hear your feedback so feel free to send me an email (goldenapron@gmail.com) or drop me a line through Instagram (OO).

Picture above: Sake Kasu Miso Sable Fish with Mixed vegetable (burdock, turnip leaves, lotus root and broccoli) rice:  the dried burdock, turnip and lotus root are from Japan, I found them at a local Japanese store).

Nduja spaghetti Bolognese (with basil sausage from Oyama sausage and Co) : Remember Nduja, the spicy sausage spread ? I added to my Bolognese recipe to spice things up a bit !

When Japanese meets Italian: Roast shio koji organic chicken, cauliflower broccoli penne pasta in lemon parsley herb drizzle, garnish with crispy kale bits and lemon zest.  It is very easy to make the herb drizzle: chives, parsley, lemon juice, grated lemon zest, extra virgin olive oil, drizzle of honey and pinch of sea salt.

Pan fried spot prawn with Thai red curry (store-bought paste, added fish sauce, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves)  served with lentil quinoa turmeric rice: since spot prawn season is over, you can substitute with other prawns/shrimp available for this dish).

Faux Unagi Donburi (Rice bowl): Orange roughy turned into unagi;  baked and glazed with homemade unagi sauce, scrambled dashi egg with green onions, on a bed of turmeric (just a touch) fresh peas and carrot rice, garnish with crispy kale bits (my current favourite garnish in place of seaweed)

 

Disclaimer: All ingredients are non-sponsored purchased at some of my preferred vendors in Vancouver, BC.  Pictures are my own and dishes are my creations based on what I have learned through cooking classes, reading cookbooks and research.

http://www.seafoodcitygi.com

http://www.petes-meat.com

http://www.artisansakemaker.com

http://www.visaltco.com

http://www.vankoji.com

http://www.oyamasauage.ca

http://www.cioffisgroup.com

Sakuraya Japanese Market (517 East Broadway, Vancouver, BC)

Bianca Maria Italian Foods (Nduja! – 2469 East Hastings, Vancouver, BC)

 

 

 

 

 

March 2017 : Baci Baci Italia e Giappone (Kiss Kiss Italy and Japan)

Udon in Tomato Nduja Miso Broth with pea shoots, napa cabbage, spinach and pickled Shallots Homemade!
Deconstructed Afternoon Tea at Wild Sweets: “an affair to remember”

I revisited Wild Sweets with my dear foodie friends one Sunday afternoon for their “Cocoa Bean to Chocolate Afternoon Tea”, their 13-course afternoon tea is a very unique and “hands on” affair. All courses came “deconstructed” with detailed explanation presented by Mr. Dominique, each item includes a cocoa bean to chocolate element, all served with a chocolate tea infusion.  Their take on this old tradition is very refreshing and modern filled with wonderful surprises, I felt I was taken “back in time” to secondary school days experimenting in the science lab.     We had the most wonderful 2 hours assembling and styling the delicate treats, it is definitely an “affair” to remember.

Thank you very much to Dominique and Cindy and their staff for this wonderful learning experience!

Booking for this event is available online through their website:

http://dcduby.com/

chocolate cream…chocolate dream..

Epic Italian Cooking Night : Nduja!!!

My dear friend James now resides in Casperia, Italy and  comes back to Canada to visit his family twice a year. Whenever he is in town,  we always get together to cook an Epic Italian Dinner at my home.  We always have the best time preparing all the dishes together for our friends, I hope in the near future someday I will be cooking with James, a truly wonderful teacher, in Italy..

James always introduce a tasty and authentic Italian element to our dinners: I rarely use already processed sauce or paste, however I am willing to make an exception for James!  And here comes “Nduja”: a spicy cured pork salumi spread originally from Calabria, Italy.

This is the bottled version found at Bianca Maria on East Hastings…You can purchase the sausage form from Oyama Sausage at Granville Island
When using nduja, a little goes a long way, the smell and taste reminded me a little of chorizo sausage (without the distinctive smell). We used it as the base for the sauce, cooked together with a little olive oil, white wine and minced garlic; then we steamed the clams in the sauce, finished off with grated lemon zest.  Toss in “al dente” spaghetti (nduja is already salty so be light handed with salt when boiling pasta) and Voila!   The flavors melted together and lifted the pasta dish to a different level, and the sauce tasted even better on the next day.

James was such a sweetie and got rid of all the clam shells!

The bottled version is available at Bianca Maria, a quaint Italian food store on East Hastings; the sausage version is available at Oyama Sausage in Granville Island; give it a try and tell me which version do you like better?

Always cook with love and thoughtfulness, and eat with your love ones (quote Peter Ciuffa “pastaboy”)

Spaghetti with Fresh clams cooked in Nduja, white wine, lemon zest, and garlic !

Baked sea bass with romano beans cooked in San Marzano tomatoes and nduja; with pea sprouts salsa verde (modified recipe from Great British Chefs)
Beautiful sea bass from Brian’s wonderful Seafood City at Granville Island, nduja sausage from Oyama Sauage and Co., romano beans from Granville Island Market.

http://www.seafoodcitygi.com/

http://oyamasausage.ca/

“Little Happiness Starts Here” : Baker and Table (6414 Fraser Street, Vancouver, BC) 

I checked out the sweet and rustic Baker and Table bakery cafe at East 48th Avenue and Fraser, it was wonderful to meet the owner Ms. Hitomi who provided really wonderful and friendly service.

I really enjoyed the organic chicken with cashew pesto sandwich and the cheesecake for dessert; I also purchased the tasty white bread (whipping cream incorporated) which was “pillowy” soft, I used to make thick toast at home for breakfast.   She does accept special cake orders,  I returned the next day and purchased a delicious strawberry shortcake and enjoyed it with my friends on our Epic Italian Dinner Gathering. Follow them on Instagram and Facebook for menu information and updates.

http://www.bakerandtablecafe.com/

Herbal tea and organic chicken cashew pesto sandwich; it was their one month anniversary and they were giving away thank you treats to customers (OO)

Half Loaf from Baker and Table on Fraser: Thick Toast!!

I can have this cheesecake anytime
Baci Baci Kissa Tanto in Chinatown: Memorable Dinner and Superb Service

One rainy Thursday night after a long and hectic day at work, we decided to head to Chinatown and got in to Kissa Tanto (it was around 8 pm) without any reservations!

The experience left us speechless:  the dishes (our favorite was the lasagna of the day (picture shown) were filled with interesting elements of Japanese and Italian flavors, a combination which I personally enjoyed a lot.

The service (I believe our server’s name name is Celina) was very attentive and superb.  Love their retro decor and ambiance: Kissa Tanto, thank you for a memorable dining experience.

Reservations recommended or walk in early.

http://www.kissatanto.com/

Mocktail on a “school” night

Lasagne del Giorno: Sake Kasu Pork Ragu….Packed with interesting layers of flavor, never had a light “sake-flavored” lasagna and it works..I actually created a similar sauce served with penne pasta at home…
 

Hello…Every day is a Good Journey

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Hello and how are you doing?  After a two month hiatus,  back to my regular schedule!!

Want to know what have I been up to the past two months?  On Wednesday June 22nd, 2016  I will be on Ms. Deborah Moore’s radio show on Fairchild Radio 1470 at 10:30am sharp!  Here’s an outline for the program (subject to change and not in particular order)!

If you have any feedback or recommendations, I would love to hear from you!  Drop me a line anytime at goldenapron@gmail.com (OO)

WE LOVE FISH AND PORK: Father’s Day

Father’s Day menu: Oven roasted sablefish with mushroom “jus”, sea asparagus, nori and green onion, steamed broccoli and roasted brussel sprouts, sister in law’s potato salad, deep fried pork cutlet “cubes” with spicy sweet and sour tomato sauce (think outside of the box), Fresh shrimp and garlic stem ‘scramble”, and a side of healthy wild rice blend.

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Happy Father’s Day!

Recipe: Sake Kasu and Miso  Sablefish (black cod):  (See other posting for recipe)

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Homemade: Oven roasted Sable fish with shiitake/shimeji “jus” , bok choy, sea asparagus, nori and green onion

My sources: Seafood City (Granville Island), Fujiya (Clark Drive, Vancouver), Vancouver Island Salt Company…

Check out Betty King Sauce (www.bettykingsauce.com) if you want a spicy kick for any dishes!

The return of sushi bars to Vancouver: Sushi Maumi (1226 Bute Street (and Davie)

For nigiri sushi lovers only; a small 10-seat restaurant, reservations required (three sittings 6 , 730 and 9), fresh fish from Japan and I love their anago tempura!

http://www.facebook.com/sushibarmaumi

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Rustic Italian Fare: Osteria Salvio Volpe  (Fraser and Kingsway)

Rustic Italian food focus on family style dining, fresh pasta and meats cooked in wood fire grill, love their roast chicken! Simple rustic tasty foods, friendly service and great atmosphere. Reservations recommended.

http://www.saviovolpe.com 

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Morel mushroom Linguine – Mangia!

 

 

Bingsoo time! We love desserts in Vancouver: Snowy Village (two locations; Robson Street in Vancouver and Alexandra Road in Richmond)

My hubby loves their bingsoos and we have been back four times already…

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Bingsoo!

 

 

RECIPE: WAFU Tomato Orzo Soup


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Post holiday season “cleanse” at home with lots of soup and vegetables….I have used this tomato soup base for different dishes (seafood pot, hot-pot base, just to name a couple); today I add orzo and kale, it turns into a healthy wholesome meal… Enjoy (OO)!

Serves 2-4

Ingredients: 8 medium tomatoes (vine tomatoes for this recipe), 1 clove of garlic (peeled and finely minced), 1 large onion (thinly sliced), 2 Tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil, 4 cups of katsuobushi dashi, 1/2 cup of orzo (or pasta of your choice), 1-2 Tablespoon white miso, 2 Tablespoons of kaeshi (see recipe under “Vegetable Curry Udon), kosher salt (to season tomatoes for roasting), kale (handful, stalks removed and  finely chopped), savoury seaweed flakes (for garnish).

Preparation:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Prepare the tomatoes: wash, core and cut them into halves, toss in 1 Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, lightly seasoned with kosher salt, lay them evenly on baking tray, roast them for 25 to 35 minutes, or until caramelized.  Remove from oven, set aside and let them cool.
  • Prepare the onions (thinly sliced) and garlic (peeled and finely minced).
  • Prepare katsuobushi dashi broth (can be done 1 to 2 days ahead, reheat refrigerated broth and keep it warm for later use, use kombu broth only to make it entirely vegetarian).
  • In large pot, using medium high heat, heat remaining Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, saute onions, stirring constantly, until onions become soft and turn translucent. Add the 1 Tablespoon of miso to the onions, continue to cook, stirring constantly and mix well, do not burn the miso.
  • Add the roasted tomatoes to mixture, stir and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add warm dashi broth and 2 Tablespoons of kaeshi to the pot, scrape the bottom, cook for 2 to 3 minutes and bring to a boil.  Skim off any fat or scum from the mixture, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 25 – 30 minutes.
  • Prepare the kale for garnish.
  • When soup is almost ready, boil water in a different pot to cook the pasta (usually 100 grams of pasta to 1 litre of water), add kosher salt to boiling water,  then add the orzo and cook according to instructions.
  • Taste and adjust the seasoning of the soup (if necessary), put orzo pasta into bowl, ladle the soup, garnish with chopped kale and seaweed flakes, now ready to serve and enjoy!

Note:

I have used the Rustichella d’Abruzzo’s orzo pasta for my recipe (available at Gourmet Warehouse on East Hastings, Vancouver, BC), the savory seaweed flakes is from Cornish Sea Salt Co (also available at Gourmet Warehouse).

See “Vegetable curry udon” for kaeshi recipe – I have used the kaeshi (instead of just soy sauce and mirin) which I made for the curry udon as seasoning; you can even add a dash of sake when cooking the onions and tomatoes, add red chili pepper flakes to make it spicy, be creative!

Katsuobushi dashi broth – made with kelp and dried bonito flakes

I added leftover cauliflower to the soup and use less orzo, it is always a great idea to have more vegetables.

http://www.gourmetwarehouse.ca

http://www.rustichella.it

 

 

 

New York City: “Getting to Know You”..all over again.

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Hello from NYC – gingerbread display at “Lord and Taylor’s”

“Getting to know you…Getting to feel free and easy…When I am with you…Haven’t you noticed suddenly I’m bright and breezy…Because of all the beautiful and new things I learn about you…” – Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The King and I”

Two weeks ago I kick started my holiday season in New York City, and spent the most wonderful time with my dearest sister, niece, my cousins and their better halves.

We talked, we laughed, we cried, we shopped, we drank, we ate….Life is wonderful and filled with precious moments, I am truly thankful.

I am happy and content to be back in “Raincouver” with my hubby; until the next time I see my family again, I miss you all (OO)

Here’s a snapshot of some of my favourite moments and places:

Alone time at ramen-ya in NYC: now that’s a first for me..

http://www.hidechanramen.com

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Vegetarian ramen and a side order of pork “bao” – Will the bao trend ever end?

First night’s dinner at Vaucluse, another first…(first visit to restaurant, first time meeting my cousin’s girlfriend (OO)

http://www.vauclusenyc.com

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My favourite dish: delicata squash with chanterelle, shallots, poached egg and red wine jus..new ideas spinning in my head

After dinner food shopping at Westside Market…my cousin went bonkers..Amy (cousin’s lovely wife) and I just followed..

http://www.wmarketnyc.com

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And the next day we cooked up a storm for Thanksgiving Family Dinner..(childhood memories and flashbacks)….and we had plenty of leftovers the next day

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What’s on the menu: Roast organic turkey, lobster mac and cheese, homemade cranberry sauce, cauliflower and zucchini mash, savoy cabbage and radicchio salad (remember this dish?) and delicious desserts brought over by Amy’s lovely parents..

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In between we shopped and (window shopped) everywhere (Black Friday Sales!)…

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A busy Saturday….Finally I made it to Per Se (Thomas Keller’s second Three Michelin starred property, the first being “French Laundry” in Napa Valley

http://www.thomaskeller.com

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At night we went enjoyed the musical “The King and I : I have a special reason for wanting to see this (you’ll find out in the end)…(I cannot believe my wonderful cousin Cary accompanied four ladies to a “chick musical”, thank you so much for the special treat!

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I was hoping to see Ken Watanabe…Tony Award winner Kelli O’Hara is lovely as “Anna” and Hoon Lee is pretty cool as the “King”….
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Lincoln Centre – outside Vivian Beaumont Theatre

We spent a lot of time in Chelsea, a neighbourhood on the west side of the borough of Manhattan in New York City..

A seafood feast from the Lobster Place at Chelsea Market, where we spent four hours shopping and eating…

http://www.chelseamarket.com

http://www.lobsterplace.com

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King Crab Legs, oysters, clams, toro sashimi, clam chowder – a feast from Lobster Place in Chelsea Market
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Chelsea Market Snapshot: Food Network office and Youtube offices are inside the market! Fresh seafood from Lobster Place, artisan’s market, Fat Witch brownies and Eleni’s cookies..just to name a few..
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Artisan’s Market inside Chelsea Market

A must see: High Line Park

http://www.thehighline.org

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It’s all about Family: another first visit to Carmine’s, an Italian family style restaurant and it was a lot of fun!  Simple food, friendly service…we were all warm and fuzzy..

http://www.carminesnyc.com

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Share plates “Family Style” at Carmine’s – Porterhouse steak, four kinds of pasta platter, caesar salad (not shown in picture) and a “side” order of spinach…Leftovers for the doorman

The visit is never complete without spending any time in Soho…hanging out, shopping and eating (yes more eating)

http://www.balthazarnyc.com

http://www.cecicelanyc.com

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And back to midtown Lady M, another first for me; the original mille crepe cake was divine.

http://www.ladym.com

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Lady M’s Mille Crepe Cake by the slice

And before we left…Soba in NYC at Sobakoh, the homemade soba restaurant: Soba Nabe for me and Uni Soba for my niece, plus two orders of dashi tamagoyaki

http://www.soba-kohnyc.com

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Dessert with cousin and niece at Harbs, a Japanese bakery 

http://www.harbs.co.jp

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Scrumptious King Chocolate Cake with cream puffs and tart raspberries..smooth, sweet and tart – it was heavenly

Alone time again when sister and niece left….a quick visit to Flatiron District and Chelsea before heading to JFK:

http://www.fishseddys.com

http://www.whisknyc.com

http://www.eataly.com

http://www.timeout.com/newyork

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And now the moment of truth… I was named after the old-time Hollywood movie star Deborah Kerr, who played “Anna” in the original “The King and I” movie (OO)

 

 

 

A Sweet and Savoury September

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Peggy’s Point Lighthouse

A Sweet and Savoury September..and a dream came true…”if it has to be, it is up to me”

Sharing: I had the best time learning how to make relish and canning with Jo and friends..

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A humbling and fulfilling experience as Kitchen Help Volunteer at Union Gospel Mission..

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Visiting friends and kids: Homemade kid friendly sushi salad lunch at home…

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Lunch with old friends and kids at home : A homemade kid friendly sushi salad – sushi rice, canned tuna+shredded crab meat+kewpie+Ojai lemonaise, boiled egg (or Japanese egg omelette), braised shiitake mushrooms, Japanese pickled radish (takuan) and seaweed. Broccoli and radish salad with ginger apple dressing, store-bought salt pepper roast chicken.

Had a fabulous dinner with hubby at Kinome Japanese Kitchen (2511 West Broadway, Vancouver, BC), this picture was published in the Province Gastropost Vancouver!

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Japanese pumpkin (kabocha) and edamame Korokke (panko crusted) with side salad at Kinome Japanese Kitchen

Dear friends delivered the Wickedly delicious creme brulee from Crackle Creme (245 Union Street, Vancouver Chinatown) to our home:

http://www.cracklecreme.com

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Take your pick: Yuzu, Salted Caramel, Vanilla Bean or Organic Matcha ?

And a travel dream came true – Snapshot by the Sea: My Maritime memories in Halifax, Nova Scotia (sneak peek of upcoming blog post)

http://www.novascotia.com

2.5 hours of Fun and Tasty Downtown Somo (South of Morris Street) Food Tour with Local Tasting Tours (Thank you Emily!)

http://www.localtastingtours.com

http://www.storiesdining.com

http://www.selwoodgreen.com

http://www.cafechianti.com

http://www.smilinggoat.ca

http://www.theuncommongroup.com

http://www.foxhillcheesehouse.com

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Cherry Yogurt Gelato at Seaport Farmers Market – Foxhill Cheese House
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Smiling Goat Coffee and Pastry (15 ingredients) and Mexican Chiapas Coffee
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Pan Seared Rice paper wrapped scallop at Stories

Delicious seafood risotto at The Bicycle Thief Italian Restaurant…

http://www.bicyclethief.ca

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After dinner stroll along the sea walk….

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A dream came true: I made it to Peggy’s Cove!

http://www.grayline.com

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Beautiful and quaint…beyond words can describe
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Scotsman and the lobster

Simple and delicious lunch at Mckelvies: Pan seared Local rainbow trout with tarragon sauce 

http://www.mckelvies.com

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One hour harbour cruise on Tall Ship Silva (old pirate ship) around the harbour:

http://www.tallshipsilva.com

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An old pirate ship: the brave and strong can try to pull the sails

A quick visit to the Nova Scotia Art Gallery: do you know who is Maud Lewis? She’s a famous Canadian folk artist, we learn something new every day…

http://www.artgalleryofnovascotia.ca

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Lobster roll (yes more food) at Seaport Farmer’s Market

http://www.halifaxfarmersmarket.com

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Goldwater lobster shack at the Seaport Farmers Market
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Lobster roll: Fresh baked bun and home made mayo with succulent Nova Scotia lobster meat..

And on my way home…quick stopover in Toronto to visit an old friend…and a quick visit to the St. Lawrence Market..yes it’s all about friendship and food..

http://www.stlawrencemarket.com

http://www.upexpress.com

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St Lawrence Market, Toronto
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Lunch at Le Papillon on Front: Love the spinach salad with feta and raspberry vinaigrette, I also enjoyed their Jean Pierre crepe (broccoli, spinach, onion, feta, tomato sauce – picture not shown)

When I returned to Vancouver…we enjoyed an Italian meal with my friends, Peter (@pastaboypeter on twitter) and James (house historian) who now lives in Italy and came back for a visit..

Stringozzi (shoestring fresh handmade pasta at home), bruschetta with concord grape compote/ricotta/pancetta bits and mozzarella di buffala with cherry tomatoes, salt baked sea bass, Avonlea cheese from PEI, warm savoy cabbage salad

http://www.seafoodcitygi.com

http://www.cioffisgroup.com

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Beautiful sea bass from Seafood City, Granville Island, my favourite seafood shop. 400F and 20-25 minutes later..

Warm Savoy Cabbage and radicchio salad, with toasted pine nuts, dried cranberries, fried pancetta bits (optional for non-vegetarians), shavings of Parmesan Reggiano with home made Manuka honey balsamic vinaigrette,  I took the main elements from the salad I had at the Bicycle Thief (Halifax Bishop’s Landing) and added my own touches, recipe coming!

http://www.eatlocal.org

http://www.cranberriesnaturally.com

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Homemade Warm Savoy Cabbage and Radicchio Salad

And today I’m on AM 1470 Fairchild Radio Ms. Deborah Moore’s show sharing my experience with all of you..Thank you Deb M for having me on your show, and thanks everyone for tuning in!

My wish for everyone: La Dolce Vita.

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July 22nd, 2015 Radio Show

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I just cannot believe it’s July already!  My web page redesign is still in the works, it is taking much longer than expected, meanwhile you can find my updates on Instagram (@mygoldenapron) and Twitter (@GoldenApron).

I will be on Ms. Deborah Moore’s radio show on AM1470 this morning 10:30am sharp!  Really look forward to chat with her about food and anything else! Content is subject to change, depends on the flow of the program.  Thank you very much for tuning in!

 Vegetarian “Bolognese”: idea based on Ochikeron’s recipe (my posting coming soon)

http://www.createeathappy.blogspot.ca

Besides “Cooking with Dog“, I’ve been following Ochikeron on Youtube for a while, remember the whole tomato rice? She’s the one who started the craze !  Check my old posting: http://www.mygoldenapron.com/2014/11/18/recipe-wafu-whole-tomato-rice/

Three kinds of mushrooms (shiitake, shimeji, enoki), tomatoes, onion, carrot, tomato paste, garlic, ginger, olive oil and Miso! I had the bolognese with my favourite GOGO quinoa and rice spaghetti (gluten free/vegetarian/organic), served on my dinner plate created in pottery class!

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Serendipity: Nicli’s Next Door 

When is a mistake not a mistake? When you are blessed by serendipity. We were going to try Nicli’s pizzeria, and we went in the “wrong” door..it was the best thing ever happened…sei bellisima. (Great tasting food and service: Actual blog post coming soon) #niclisnextdoor

http://www.niclisnextdoor.com

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Crostino, mushroom ragu, house-made ricotta, aged balsamic..we had two orders..
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Zeppole donuts, local rhubarb glaze, shaved white chocolate, ridiculously delicious

It’s not always about the newest thing in town: I really believe #Hachibei on West 16th serves the best “Gindara Teishoku” in Vancouver! Great flavor, generous portion of black cod, the best taste and value in town. It’s a small home style restaurant, you must get there early as this set is limited in quantity, open Monday to Saturday dinner only.  

http://www.hachibei.caIMG_7797

Deep Cove: Cafe Orso, you never know what you will find on Instagram.

Picture: avocado toast (Nelson the Seagull Bread and curried coconut apple preserve),

European Inspired, Locally sourced Cafe Orso

http://www.cafeorso.ca

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Childhood Hobby a major comeback: Colouring books for Adults

Besides cooking, what else do I like to do at home to relax? Colouring brings back wonderful childhood memories. This maybe the latest trend, I’m colouring because I love it, I’m sure glad an old school hobby is making a comeback.

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http://www.johannabasford.com/book/4

http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/none/paris/9780316265829

Pasta Class with Peter Ciuffa, Pasta Famiglia : Gnocchi Another fun-filled evening with Peter Ciuffa (Thank you!), learning how to prepare gnocchi at a photo studio in East Vancouver; check his website for class updates or follow him on Instagram!

http://www.pastafamiglia.ca

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What’s Happening around town?

http://www.vancitybuzz.com/2015/07/vancouver-food-events-august/