How’s your New Year so far? After “MIA” for almost two months I finally have time to catch up a little…I have been busy at work and spent most of January fighting the flu bug…and I have spent some wonderful time with my lovely sister…
Catch me on Wednesday February 22nd, 2017 1030 am sharp, Ms. Deborah Moore’s show on AM 1470 (OO)
A different kind of cooking: My new favorite stores on Main (Soap Dispensary and Welk’s)
My lovely sister is a beauty guru; she lives for beauty products and fittingly she’s in the business. During her recent visit while “snowed in” and confined to home, she decided to try something new and turned my kitchen into an experimental beauty lab. Our DIY’s are based on recipes my sister found online through many sources, we whipped up different batches of creams and balms, giving them away as precious Valentine’s gifts.
I find the process much simpler than soap making; as there are no chemicals involved, so it is much easier to handle. There are lots of videos available on-line you can use as reference; the best part is spending quality time with my sis…
My latest favorite shops on Main: the wonderful Soap Dispensary (soap refills, “low impact” living and fine products) and Welk’s (General store where we purchased the mason jars, they have almost everything at reasonable prices).
Simple lip balm recipe:Sterilized the little containers. Melt 100 g mixture of different oils (50 g coconut oil and 50 g sweet almond oil) and 18 g of bee wax in a double boiler or small glass bowl over a small pot of boiling water, keep stirring until melted. Add 1 to 2 spoonful of honey, stir and mix well. Remove pan from heat but keep mixture over the still hot water to keep mixture melted. Add your favorite essential oils: we used orange and frankincense). Pour into container and let it set.
(Frankincense (sap burnt in incense) is a common essential oil use in aromatherapy, can help to reduce stress, pain and inflammation, boost immunity etc).
Van Koji Foods, Benkei Ramen and Japanese Crepe Sasuke at Nikkei Center Flea Market:
Two years ago I’ve talked about using shio koji (see old short blog post), a natural seasoning made with salt, water and rice koji (typical mold -Asperiguillus Oryzae used for fermentation) and I’ve read about making this natural seasoning (from Just One Cookbook) at home.
Recently when I checked out the Book and Flea Market at the Nikkei Center, I made a wonderful discovery: meeting Ms. Tonami who makes and sell koji products from her company, Van Koji Foods. I have used the shoyu koji as a marinade for a mushroom rice dish and it has a very nice subtle flavor. I had a lovely chat with her and later signed up to attend the miso making class in early March.
I also had some delicious foods at the market: Japanese Crepe Sasuke (Richmond Market – currently no permanent physical location): nice thin crepe with strawberries and matcha ice-cream, check out their page on Facebook.
And a mini bowl of shio ramen from Benkei Ramen: remember Taka-san, Japanese sushi chef who teaches sushi making class at the Nikkei Center during the winter season? He is also the creator behind Benkei Ramen. I stopped by the stall to make the purchase and he remembered me! Taka-san, great seeing you! Check out his Facebook page (Taka’s Sushi Class) and look for updates for his classes.
Interesting Read: The Ultimate Grocery Storage Guide from food connections (Thanks to fellow Dinner Party YVR hobby chef Ms. Elaine Cheng for sharing on the homepage)
Reflections in Deep Frosty December… Words to Live By: Heart, Passion, Patience and Gratitude….
Wish you all a wonderful, healthy and prosperous 2017!
Catch me on December 28th Wednesday morning 1030 am Sharp on Fairchild Radio 1470 Deborah Moore’s program; we will be chatting about food and much more!
It’s all about Heart…..
From Instagram to Kitslano : MaknMing (1629 Yew Street, Vancouver, BC )
This is perhaps one of the highly anticipated restaurant openings in 2016: Chefs Makoto Ono and Amanda Cheng (previously from Gastown’s Pidgin) has opened their new restaurant “MaknMing”, a Japanese French fusion restaurant earlier this month. I must admit I was a fan already (because of a creative kohlrabi dan dan noodle dish at Pidgin), and I had the pleasure to meet them earlier because of Instagram and Seafood City (that is another lovely story)! We dined at their cosy eatery two weeks ago, enjoyed some delicious foods which they have cooked their hearts out and their crew provided us with impeccable service. I simply love their tagline “#smallteambighearts! Congratulations again Chefs for your opening, look forward to my next visit!
Check out their restaurant (open for dinner only, reservations accepted, check their website and follow their Instagram account (same name) for updates..
Last Saturday I literally had chocolate for breakfast when I visited Dominique and Cindy Duby’s Wild Sweets Atelier Store in Richmond (by Steveston Hwy)! The chocolates were so delicious and Mr. Duby was providing us with information on their products, I was blown away by their professional knowledge and certainly can feel their passion…We bought their “tea cake’ (a modern version of a fruit cake) for Christmas Dinner Dessert and everyone enjoyed it so much! I was thrilled to know they also have tastings and afternoon events available for booking online and I am already coordinating with my food pals to pay a visit in the New Year. Great to meet you both Dominique and Cindy, look forward to learning much more about chocolates and cocoa!
And a little Patience goes a long way in anything we do….and always cook with Love
Last month (See my November posting) I made a very traditional Japanese dish “Tai meshi (snapper rice); earlier this month I decided to tackle ramen and a different fish dish..Another challenge working on my focus and dedication to my craft, honing skills and building my patience..
A long time ago an old Japanese friend taught me how to make the Japanese braised chashu (pork) using pork shoulder butt (less fattening), ginger, leek, green onion, soy, mirin and sake. I marinade (soy/ginger/leek/green onion/sake) the pork shoulder over night; next day sauteed more leeks and ginger, add marinade to katsuobushi dashi (bonito flakes/kombu) to create the braising liquid, seared the pork shoulder and slowly “braised” (lading braising liquid over meat and flipping sides)
And for Christmas…I made a sockeye salmon pate (steamed salmon in lemon and a little sake, flaked and mixed with combination of Greek yogurt and Ojai lemonaise (1:1), grated lemon zest, chopped dill (don’t over do it as it can be overpowering), lemon juice, season to taste with black pepper and orange and lime sea salt as seasoning (Vancouver Island Salt Co – non-flavoured sea salt works also, I just happened to have this in my pantry!). I also made fresh cranberry sauce (fresh cranberries (1 bag) with blood orange juice and zest (1 big or 3 small blood orange), Cointreau (orange liquer) and brandy, lemon juice and zest, cinnamon stick, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar (a drizzle) and sea salt (I also used the orange and lime flavoured salt, regular works) – remember to fold in the zest almost towards the end of cooking process, and always adjust the seasoning accordingly.
And Gratitude Always ….Thank you to everyone… from my heart to yours..
That’s a wrap for 2016 – see you in the New Year (OO)
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 email@example.com, or better yet, pay them a visit (129 East Pender Street, Vancouver, BC).
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).
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!
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.
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.
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.
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).
Summer Time: Chillin’ and Cooking….A snapshot of my July in Vancouver..
On Wednesday July 27 I will be on Ms. Deborah Moore’s radio show on Fairchild Radio 1470 at 10:30am sharp! ‘If you have any feedback or recommendations, I would love to hear from you! Drop me a line anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org
Keep Chilin’ and Cooking (OO)
Modern Chinese Cooking Class @ Nourish Cafe (3742 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver, BC)
Last week my “cooking buddy” Jo and I took a ‘Modern Chinese Cooking Class” at the newly opened Nourish Cafe; owner and instructor Dan taught us how to make a simple version of “baos” (steamed buns) and “Dan Dan Noodles” – it was a fun and refreshing take on some old Chinese classics! I went with no expectation and left with great ideas; in fact Dan has solved one of my recent cooking dilemmas! Nourish’s food philosophy and practices are actually very close to what I’ve been learning over the past few years since we made some significant lifestyle changes; Thank you Dan and Lisa, it was great pleasure meeting you both and I shall return sometime! Check their website for class schedules.
French cooking is always very close my heart; Jo and I attended two demo-cooking (French cooking and later Brioche) classes learning from the lovely Valentine at Uncommon Cafe, she definitely made everything so easy! Check her website for class schedule!
Below is the picture of the asparagus and cheese tart which I created at home, following her recipe (from her other french cooking class); I think I may have conquered my fear in working puff pastry…one step at a time!
Shrimp croquettes @ Raisu in Kitslano
The latest “sister” restaurant to Kingyo (Davie), Rajio (west 10th) and Suika (West Broadway); Raisu opened recently on West 4th Avenue (2340 West 4th Avenue,Vancouver, BC), a big thank you to Brian (Seafood City) who told me about this new venue! There’s no storefront on the street level, look for a small entrance which leads you to an open space with patio on the second floor!
The shrimp croquette was so delicious and resembled the fluffy crab claws at a Chinese banquet; the vegetarian udon was packed with flavor! A cool open space with good vibe, where else would you be listening to Billy Joel and watching old-time Bruce Lee’s movies while enjoying some delicious bites? Reservations recommended (by phone only).
An old favorite revisited: Secret Garden Tea Company
My buddy DP and I paid a visit to this established and timeless favourite in Kerrisdale, they will be moving this summer! We had their High Tea set and I think their lemon tarts is still my favourite…They will be moving to a new location (on West 40th, still in the neighbourhood) sometime this summer.
It’s never too hot to cook: check out my noodle recipes (new and old postings)
I’m making more “mixed” noodle dishes this summer, experimenting with the spiralizer (yes finally new toy!) and new products (kelp noodle); meanwhile check out my old recipes (Type in the keywords in the “search” box (left column) above “RECENT POSTS”. My favourite recent posting is last month’s Sake Kasu sablefish (OO)
Sea Kelp “noodle” – available at Whole Foods – experimenting and recipe coming soon! Check out my instagram!
My Lazy Phnom Penh Noodle (July 2014) – it’s still one of my favourite things to make)
Mushroom Soba Salad (February 2014)
Vegetarian Soba with Lemon Vinaigrette (March 2016)
On February 17th 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): Stay warm with “noodles” and stay cool with “ice-cream”.
The most talked about vegetarian ramen on instagram, it’s really delicious: Ramen Man 841 Bidwell Street, Vancouver, BC
Aosa “sea Lettuce” Ramen and it’s all about chicken broth: On the same street at a different block: Marutama Ramen 780 Bidwell Street, Vancouver, BC
“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..
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
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..
In between we shopped and (window shopped) everywhere (Black Friday Sales!)…
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
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!
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…
Attended our friend’s wedding (congratulations Bryan and Adelphie) on Halloween (that’s a first!!)
Spent time cooking and experimenting at home….
My take on “Fish without Chips”: Baked lemon pepper panko crusted cod : Last month I adapted Just One Cooking’s baked croquettes method and made some fabulous kabocha edamame croquettes at home; using the same stove-top browning method to prepare the panko (a little olive oil and medium low heat on a frying pan), I encrusted the beautiful cod I got from Seafood City (Granville Island Public Market) with lemon rind browned panko mix (flour/egg/panko), baked the fish in 350 degree F oven for approximately 10 minutes..served piping hot on a homemade relish mayo sauce (OJAI lemonaise + greek yogurt + homemade relish)…now I just have to get those “yam fries” in next time (OO)
It has been a while since I made Saba (mackerel) Soboro (Flaked Mackerel with carrots, onions and scrambled egg, check my recipe posting in the archives February 2014)…This one is for you: Shin, Teru and Rinka, we miss you!
Life is always full of wonderful little surprises and always give us something to think about: GROW – COOK – SHARE – ADVOCATE
Two months ago I entered and won the Gastropost Vancouver “Good Food Changes Lives” contest via Instagram with my savoy cabbage salad photo.
Warm Savoy Cabbage and Radicchio Salad with toasted pine nuts, dried cranberries, pancetta bits, parmesan Reggiano and a drizzle of homemade honey balsamic vinaigrette (1 Tablespoon manuka honey, 2 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and black pepper season to taste)
The most meaningful prize gift basket came in early November; thank you thank you thank you Gastropost Vancouver and Community Food Centres Canada for your truly inspirational handwritten message and thoughtful gifts; I’m inspired to share my table and make a difference.
My friend PPQ and I attended a Nutrition Education Seminar hosted by the BC Cancer Agency two weeks ago at their Vancouver Research facility. The presentation by key speaker Ms. Desiree Nielsen RD is informative and delightful (she’s a lovely speaker); Ms. Nielsen provided 10 simple steps to “unjunk our diets”, her insights and guidelines are geared towards preventing inflammation and general overall health improvement for everyone. I’m planning to read her book “Unjunk your diet” and research further..