November 2016: Comfort at Home

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Stanley Park – Late October….I Love Vancouver

As the holiday season is quickly approaching, we all tend to shift our already busy schedules into complete overdrive.

I yearn for slower pace to rest, and crave comfort foods and quiet times to reflect.

This November I stay put at home in Vancouver, taking my time to try new recipes, going around my favourite city to see what it has to offer.

Follow me on Instagram (@mygoldenapron) for updates (OO) ;  tune in on November 30th 1030am sharp on Fairchild 1470 Ms. Deborah Moore’s program, we will be chatting about food and much more…

Official store opening: Ai and Om: Thank you very much!

At the end of October I was invited to the official grand opening of “Ai and Om”, the amazing artisan knife store located in Vancouver Chinatown, a big thank you to Chef and owner Douglas Chan and Ms. Katharine Manson for the invite!  After I talked about my “beloved” nakiri knife on the radio show, I have received emails inquiring about their products and sharpening services/classes,  please contact them directly at info@aiandomknives.com or better yet, pay them a visit (129 East Pender Street, Vancouver, BC).

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http://www.aiandomknives.ca

Shop Local:

I’ve always been a big supporter of local businesses in Vancouver BC; here’s the link to what I’ve talked about this morning on the radio show:

http://bcbuylocal.com/

 

Old School Ramen: Larmen!  @ Shibuyatei 

Chef Sato’s humble restaurant has been operating in Richmond for 5 years, hidden at the corner of Sexmith Road and Bridgeport (very close to Costco).  It is a very small operation (limited seating and the two times I went he’s the only one working) so the wait could be long but worthwhile to try this delicate, clean and flavorful broth, which is very different from all other choices available in Vancouver.  I had the spicy clam ramen (he calls it “larmen”) which came in the right hot temperature, perfect for a cold winter day. There is also a limited supply: 20 bowls for lunch and dinner every day.   Save room for the gyoza; my hubby had the katsu curry (fried pork chop with Japanese curry) and it was very tasty also.   Chef Sato is very serious about his craft, he talked about it so passionately and it clearly shows in his food.  Bravo for his dedication, as a home cook, I am inspired to work harder to hone my skills.

Shibuyatei: 2971 Sexsmith Road, Richmond, BC (corner of Sexsmith and Bridgeport Road, parking on the street).

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Spicy Clam Ramen (Larmen – Chef Sato calls it on menu) – Clean tasting shoyu based broth, no msg…perfect “hot” temperature…perfect for a cold winter day

Japanese inspired Vegetarian cafe: Workshop Vegetarian

Pictures of this quaint cafe are popping up on Instagram constantly, I had to drive out to North Vancouver (296 Pemberton Avenue (at Marine Drive) to see what it is all about !  Their motto is serving healthy vegetarian dishes, with vegan options available.  We shared three things from their menu: the smashed avocado toast on their house baked organic natural yeast bread, organic “nama” shoyu ramen and the Kyoto style udon:  My favourite is the toast, the noodle soups are very clean tasting and flavorful,  I didn’t have room to try their baked goods so we will go back for another visit sometime!

http://theworkshopvegetariancafe.com/

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Smashed Avocado on organic natural yeast bread: the texture of the bread reminded me of foccacia, the smash has a hint of tartness which I enjoyed a lot!
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Nama Ramen: Mushroom broth with hint of truffle shallot oil
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Kyoto style udon with tofu, mushroom and egg – light and clean tasting broth

Pizzette Lunch at Famoso Neopolitan Pizzeria on Commercial Drive

Once in a while I do love to have pizza our favourite is Zachary’s at Oak and 16th); we have walked by Famoso (1380 Commercial Drive (at Kitchener))many times and it is always very busy! Finally last Saturday we got in for lunch.  I had absolutely no idea this is actually a chain across Canada (I always root for the independents) and I was pleasantly surprised!  My hubby and I both ordered our own pizzette (7 inch small pizza) lunch which comes with either soup or salad, and I added a tomato bisque, cold rainy day calls for soup!  I love thin crusted pizzas which is not too heavily loaded, theirs is just perfect to my liking; and the tomato soup, served with a spoonful of ricotta cheese was rustic and hearty.  Service was upbeat and friendly, we now know another good place in one of our favourite neighbourhoods.

http://www.famoso.ca

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Mushroom pizzette!
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Tomato bisque – Hearty and Satisfying!

Comfort Foods at Home: Old recipes and new experiment (recipes coming soon: vegetarian friendly)

Cooking and Resting Lots at home…

My sources in Vancouver: Seafood City (Granville Island), Artisan Sake Maker at Granville Island (Osake), Vancouver Farmers Market (now Winter Market at Nat bailey is on), Fujiya Japanese food store (Clark Drive),  Vancouver Island Salt Company (sea salt available at various locations), Bread Affair (bakery at Granville Island, also available at grocery stores).

Japanese Corn Potage: this no dairy recipe is still one of my favourites (recipe published March 2014 – check the archives) to make once in a while.

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Roasted Butternut squash red miso shimeji napa cabbage udon – a keeper for winter!

 

 

 

New experiment: Roasted Butternut squash miso soup with shimeji mushroom and napa cabbage udon (new recipe coming) – it takes a little time but worthwhile!  I used the turkey carcass to make the base stock (bonito flake/kombu dashi or just kombu dashi (for vegetarians) work just as well), roasted the butternut squash, sauteed the onions, added to stock and pureed to make the soup. Add little olive oil and the red miso paste to soup pot, add and sauteed shimeji mushrooms and cabbage, then add soup to pot.   Udon cooked separately and put in bowls, ladle soup to serve, garnish with green onions.

When Japanese meets Italian: Roasted asparagus soup with homemade anchovy croutons and there is no dairy?  A couple spoonful of Japanese rice (other than potato) will do the trick and give the creaminess which we all love. Inspiration came from recipe by Joy Manning on Food and Wine and Basho Cafe (another of my favourite in Vancouver); I made this vegetarian (kombu based dashi) except the croutons which I used anchovies as flavouring (sourdough bread seasoned with seasalt, olive oil), this pureed soup is creamy in texture yet light, perfect for light supper or lunch.

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Last but not least…..Snapper Hot Pot Rice: snapper bones used to make stock (roasted bones, daikon, green onion, sake kasu, bonito flake/kombu dashi, small pork shank – at least 1 1/2 hours) then strained set aside, fish filet (by the fishmonger, my favourite Seafood City) and pin bones removed (I did myself at home),  Japanese Haiga rice used for this dish, cleaned and soaked for 30 minutes prior to cooking. Seasoning (shiro shoyu/mirin/sake 3/2/1 ratio) added to rice in nabe and stir evenly, I added enoki mushroom (one thin layer) then the kombu (from stock making), slices of lemon), medium heat to cook rice stove top.  Around the 9 minute mark, check the liquid (make sure it’s not all dried out) and add the fish filet on top, and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes until it’s done, the fish will remain very moist and tender.  Remove from heat, remove kombu, lemon slices, flake the fish and serve with mitsuba (Japanese parsley), grated lemon zest and a touch of sansho (Japanese ground pepper), and a drizzle of homemade ponzu (dashi/soy/sake/mirin and lemon juice).

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Voila! Snapper Nabe Rice
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Fish flaked and served with chopped Japanese parsley, grated lemon zest and sansho ground pepper

 

 

 

FYI: Good Reads

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These two books were wonderful gifts from a very dear old friend; they are good references and I wish to share with everyone; Happy Reading!

Kitchen Cures – Revolutionize Your Health with Foods That Heal by Peggy Kotsopoulos

Yoshoku Japanese food western style – by Jane Lawson (Australian food writer, http://www.eatlove.com.au/chefs/jane-lawson/28/

PS. A big thank you to the listener (Janice K.) who sent me an email asking for the titles, I didn’t realize I completely forgot to include the information in yesterday’s recap; it was a wonderful reminder, thank you again (OO).

RECIPE: Corn Potage (Japanese Corn Soup)

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Over the weekend I hosted a bridal shower for my dear friend Virginia (Congrats!) and she specifically requested to have corn soup on the menu! I choose to make my favourite recipe, adapted from Jane Lawson’s Yoshoku – Japanese food western style with slight modifications (added chicken stock, omitted sesame oil). This is very easy to make; it’s great as a starter or a meal on its own, Enjoy (OO).

Ingredients: (Serves 2 – 4 (as small starter)

4 cups kombu stock, 1 cup organic low sodium chicken stock (optional), 4 cobs fresh sweet corn (peaches and cream); 1 oz organic unsalted butter, 1 teaspoon grape seed oil, 1 medium leek (white portion only, thinly sliced), 1 celery stalk (finely chopped), 1 to 2 garlic clove (crushed), 1 teaspoon finely grated ginger, 1/4 (60 ml) cup mirin, 1/2 cup (125 ml) cream, salt and pepper to taste, nori flakes and thinly slice green scallions (optional for garnish).

Preparation:

– Cut the kernels from the corn cobs, set kernels and cobs aside.

– Prepare the kombu stock; in a separate saucepan, bring chicken broth to boil, turn off heat and set aside.

Kombu stock: (1 piece of kombu (around 20 g – gently cleaned and wiped with damp cloth), 4 cups of cold water

– Put the kombu and 4 cups of cold water in a large saucepan.  Heat up the water slowly on medium low heat; just before it starts boiling, remove the kombu.

– When kombu stock is ready, add corn cobs and hot chicken stock to the pan and return to the boil. Reduce to simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, remove from the heat, discard the corn cobs and set aside.

– In a separate 8 quart stock pot, add butter and grape seed oil, melt over medium heat.

– Add leek, stirring regularly, cook for approximately 5 minutes or until lightly golden.  Add celery, garlic and ginger, cook until fragrant (approximately 1 minute); stir in corn kernels, mix well with other ingredients and cook another 1 to 2 minutes.

– Add stock and mirin to corn and leek mixture, and bring to boil over high heat, then reduce to simmer and cook for 20 minutes.

– Using an upright blender, process and puree the soup in small batches (be mindful to fill blender jar less than half way).To prevent the liquid from splattering, remember to allow heat to escape; remove the blender’s lid centre insert (cap), hold a kitchen towel over the top when blending.

– Return puree soup to stock pot, stir in the cream and heat gently over low heat, do not bring to boil.

– Season to taste with salt and pepper; to serve, sprinkle with nori flakes and green scallions (optional).

Notes:

– I added the organic chicken broth (optional) for more flavour; the original recipe calls for 4 cups of kombu stock only, because I’ve added the additional cup of chicken broth, the soup is not as thick. If you want a thinner soup, add more cream.

– For a smoother and more refined texture, push the puree soup mixture through a fine sieve before stirring in the cream.

– I opted to use a light cream and seasoned the soup with sea salt from Okinawa (a precious gift from my friend “FanFan”, thank you very much!!).

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Corn Soup in “Pink Striped” Icecream paper bowls for the bridal shower

– For the bridal shower, I served them in little “ice-cream” cups:)