When Italian home-cooked meal pictures start popping up frequently on my Instagram ; this means my dear old friend James is back in town for a visit; we always cook together wonderful rustic Italian dishes, and share with our group of friends, now aptly named Italian Supper Club.
Two evenings of fun and laughter with our friends; wonderful food and great company, Grazie everyone (OO)
Here are some of our highlights:
Antipasti (Mortadella, Parma di prosciutto, Grilled eggplant all from Cioffi’s),
Piave Mezzano Cheese (from Les Amis Du Fromage on East Hastings, a cow’s milk cheese)
Blood Orange, Fennel and Olive Salad (Slice thinly and layered, extra virgin olive oil and sea salt)
This is honestly the best artichoke dish I’ve ever had, and peeling artichokes is not as difficult as we imagine !!
Lemon and dill Brill sole (Fresh brill sole (bone in), lemon, olive oil, fresh dill – fish from Seafood City in Granville Island)
Groceries for Dinner II:
What is that can? Salted Anchovies (Available at Cioffi’s and Bosa Foods)…ready to be transformed..
Anchovies in Sabina olive oil, garlic and red chili pepper flakes , served with French Butter and crusted bread – heavenly! Thanks to my hubby and buddy James, they did most of the cleaning – salted anchovies cleaned in white wine vinegar, de-boned (removing the tail and dorsal) and layered in sealed glass container with extra virgin olive oil (we used the Sabina DOP from Italy, you need an excellent quality oil), a little red pepper chili flakes and garlic slices)
Roast Pork Belly (Coarse salt, sage, rosemary and five peppercorn): despite the initial mix up with the temperature (Celsius and Fahrenheit Difference LOL), the roast pork belly was very succulent and skin was thin and crispy.
Pasta Ceci (Chickpeas cooked with sofrito (onion, celery and carrots) and Gnocchi Sardi Pasta) – (dried chickpeas were used – soaked overnight)
Here’s what I have been cooking at home in August!
Since I am not professionally trained, I always love to learn and draw inspiration from others (professional or home chefs).
This month I am featuring three of my creations which you may have seen the pictures on Instagram already.
For first hand updates follow me on Instagram: @mygoldenapron
And 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).
Baked Halibut Filets with Homemade Tartar sauce: (Picture shown above)
I have adapted Just One Cookbook(love her cheesecake and other Japanese recipes) Ms. Namiko Chen’s toasted panko (for baked pork chop/chicken katsu) for my baked halibut filets; I actually skipped the flour and dipped the cleaned and skinned fillets in beaten egg and toasted panko only. Once the panko cooled down, add grated lemon zest (1 lemon), 1 teaspoon of sea salt and mix well, set aside.
Baked Halibut fillets: (ingredients: halibut fish fillet, panko, one lemon (for slices and lemon zest), salt and pepper)Pre-cook the panko before baking the fish fillets: For the 4 fillets, I have used 1 cup of panko and 1 Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. 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. Tremendous patience is required for this step. Let the toasted panko cool before you start coating the halibut fillets.
Preheat oven to 400F. Lined the baking sheet with parchment paper. Pre cut some lemon slices (using the same lemon which you used to get the zest) and placed them on the baking sheet.
I bought 4 filets (there were 4 of us) and total weighed approximately 1.5 lbs. Skinned the halibut filets (or you can ask your fish monger to take care of this), pat them dry.
Coat the halibut one at a time: gently dip each piece into the beaten egg mixture, make sure you get rid of excess egg mixture. Using your dry hand, coat the fillet with toasted panko. Lightly brush the flakes to cover the fish, then lightly press the panko flakes, make sure they adhere and the fillet is coated evenly. Place the coated fillet on top of lemon slices on the baking sheet. Baked fish fillets until cooked through (test using a bamboo stick or tooth pick, once it goes through the fillet easily they are done), approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Halfway through I turned the baking sheet around (for even cooking) quickly, and I checked the fillets quickly at the 10 minute mark for doneness.
Serve cooked fillets with homemade tartar sauce: I do not have any specific quantity for this recipe; I used the OJAI lemonaise (or any mayo) and Greek yogurt at 1-1.5 ratio, added some lemon zest, cooked corn niblets and takana (optional – dried radish leaves, rehydrated), sea salt and black pepper (a pinch) to taste. If you want to thin out the sauce a little, you can add a squeeze of lemon juice.
As for my bean, asparagus and prawn salad withponzu vinaigrette, 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). I blanched the asparagus, sautéed the beans and boiled the small prawns (with lemon) quickly, then shocked them in ice and shelled them. When you are ready to eat, toss the ingredients together and lightly dress the salad (do not drench!!).
Note: Be creative with your vegetable selection, and remember always adjust your seasoning according to your dietary needs and taste !
Pork and Yamaimo (Mountain Potato) patties with apple ginger sauce, sautéed cauliflower, enoki mushroom and okra
I still cook a lot of Japanese food at home.
I adapted the patty and sauce recipe from the popular Japanese chef Masa (Masa’s ABC Cooking @masa.abc on Facebook) who resides in Taiwan. If you check his Facebook page, there are regular uploads of cooking videos with wonderful and clear instructions (for readers who can understand Chinese, it is in mandarin, Chinese subtitles on-screen). I love his idea of using yamaimo (mountain potato) with ground meats; the addition keeps the patties very moist! Chef Masa’s original is actually a chicken patty donburi recipe (with okra and eggplant), I created a dinner set and served with cauliflower, enoki mushroom and a dairy free chilled potato leek and watercress soup.
Pork Patties: organic /hormone free ground pork 250 g, 1/4 of yamaimo (mountain potato, grated), grated ginger, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, 1 egg, 1 stalk green onion (chopped), grated ginger (1 teaspoons), 1 Tablespoon tamari****, 1 teaspoon maple syrup***, pinch of white pepper for season, 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil ***tamari and maple syrup are my choices, I prefer also not to use too much oil. The original recipe
Thank you Chef Masa for such a great recipe and inspiration!
Using your clean or spatula, mix ground pork and sea salt until you achieve a “smooth and sticky” texture. Then add the egg, chopped green onion, grated ginger, maple syrup (or sugar), tamari and grated yamaimo to the meat, use the spatula in a “cutting” motion (easier to work with the mountain potato), fold and blend well. Set aside.
Apple dipping sauce: Add Tamari, mirin and sake (1-1-1), 1/4 apple, 1 clove of garlic, 1 teaspoon maple syrup and 1 small knob of ginger to blender, puree and blend. Taste and adjust your seasoning (I tend to use less soy). ***When using maple syrup you may need a little more to cut down the sharpness of the ginger.
As for the vegetables, basically anything goes. I just sautéed and lightly season them with sea salt, cover up with aluminium (another great tip from Chef Masa) to keep them warm.
Using medium heat, heat frying pan and add the extra virgin olive oil, using a Tablespoon (or small scoop), spoon the meat mixture onto the frying pan, forming small “pancake” size patties (you can always adjust). Do not crowd the pan with too many patties at once, medium size pan should fit 3 to 4 small size patties. Let it cook for a few minutes before gently “lifting” the patty to check if it is set, once they turn golden brown, it is time to flip the patties and let them cook through. When patties are almost cooked, spoon some sauce over the patties and let the flavor melt together. (**With pork it is better to cook a little longer, the yamaimo actually keeps the patties moist). I heated the remaining sauce and served it on the side.
For the original recipe and video, please check his site on Facebook or English website.
Homemade Heirloom Tomato and Kabocha Fish Soup with Rice Noodles and vegetables
Recently I am on a “chinese food mode” and I decided to make my own “Fish soup rice noodle at home”.
I go through phases from time to time; recently I have been watching a lot of Chinese cooking shows.
I must admit as I am getting older, and having lived overseas for such a long time, I have a stronger desire to get back to my “roots”.
Soup Base: 2 small size yellow croaker fish (cleaned – or any white whole fish which is great for soup making, don’t splurge on anything too expensive), 1 medium size kabocha (Japanese pumpkin seeds removed and chopped into pieces), 2 big heirloom tomatoes and 3 medium tomatoes on the vine (seeds removed and loosely chopped), 9 cups of cold filtered water, 2 croaker fish (cleaned), knob of ginger, green onion, cilantro, 1 large yellow onion, 2 to 3 stalks of celery (optional), a small knob of ginger (sliced), sea salt and white pepper for seasoning.
**This is a pretty large pot of soup, we had some for dinner the other night and used the rest for noodles. This can feed a family of 4 to 6 easily.
I actually made the soup two days ahead of time; here is a good tip for preparing the kabocha: I admit I am not strong enough to “chop” through the kabocha and honestly I don’t want to lose my hands along the way, my friend Sofei told me to put the kabocha into a pot of hot water and let it slowly simmer for a while The skin will soften and make it much easier to cut through. Once it is ready, peel the skin (I use a peeler), scoop out the seeds and chop into 1 inch pieces. Seed the tomatoes, loosely chop cilantro, celery stalks, onion and green onion (keep stalks in tact). Set aside.
Clean the fish (remove the blood line), pat dry, lightly seasoned with sea salt and white pepper Heat the frying pan over medium heat, add a little extra virgin olive oil, add and stir fry th ginger slices. Add fish to frying pan, and cooked both sides until slightly golden brown. You can always add a splash of Chinese cooking wine (Shaoxing) to eliminate the “fishy” taste, I find by using ginger and definitely be mindful about removing the bloodline (at the neck between the head and body, you can see a little “clot”), the fish is not bitter or “fishy” at all.
Fill large clay pot with cold filtered water, add tomatoes, onions and celery.
Remove the fish from frying pan and together with the ginger slices, put inside the “fish soup bag” (can be purchased at most Asian supermarkets). Tie a tight knot. Add the fish bag to the soup pot.
Bring it to a boil, skim the “scum” and turn down to medium low heat, let is slowly simmer for 1.5 hours. While the soup is simmering, check and skim the foam from time to time.
Using chopsticks or tongs, remove the celery stalks and the fish bag. Using a spatula or ladle, “squeeze” the fish bag gently , you will find a lot of soup is actually “soaked” into the bag, you don’t want to waste the liquid gold!
Add half of the kabocha chunks into the soup, and let it simmer for another half hour to 45 minutes, let the flavors melt together (I like my kabocha “melted”. Finally add the remaining kabocha chunks, cilantro and napa cabbage, simmer until vegetables are cooked through. Season with sea salt and ready to serve as soup in a regular Chinese family dinner.
To turn this into a noodle soup base:
Noodle and Fixings (be creative): rice noodle, mung bean noodle, shimeji mushroom, napa cabbage, bok choy, swiss chard, microgreens (for garnish), tofu fish cake, green onion, boiled egg. I am not going to list the quantity because it really depends on how many people you are feeding.
Cook all vegetables and fixings separately (all boiled) and create a noodle bar, lay out all ingredients, and chopped up more cilantro and green onions for garnish.
Have fun and be creative with your dinners…now as my friend Peter (Pastaboypeter on Instagram) always say, “now go and eat with the ones you love”.
Sources for my ingredients in Vancouver: Seafood City (Granville Island), Vancouver Farmers Market, Choices Market, the August Market, Sakuraya Japanese food store, T & T Supermarket and H-Mart.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 (email@example.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.
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:
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.
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”)
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.
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.
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.
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)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org (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.
Recipe: Sake Kasu and Miso Sablefish (black cod): (See other posting for recipe)
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!
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.
A simple marinade recipe for sable fish (black cod); sake kasu is the “lees” that remain after the fermented rice mash has been processed during the sake making process. It is a natural flavor enhancer for meats, fish and soups, available at Japanese food stores (see sources below).
Ingredients (enough for 4 servings (almost two pounds) of black cod (each fillet 1 inch in thickness) : 1/2 cup of sake kasu (sake lees – you can find it available at Japanese food store in the refrigerated section*), 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup mirin, 1 to 2 Tablespoons coconut brown sugar (my preference), 2 Table organic white miso paste, sea salt for seasoning
Using paper towel, pat the fish dry completely.
In a large mixing bowl, combine sake kasu, miso, water, mirin and sugar, slowly whisk and blend until the mixture is smooth.
Fill a large zip lock bag with the marinade, carefully place the fish and make sure they are completely covered with marinade. Put the bag and lay it flat on a prep tray (I used stainless prep trays, available at Japanese stores). Seal and refrigerate for 1 (minimum) to 2 days.
When you are ready to cook the fish:
Preheat the broiler.
Remove sable fish from marinade, using paper towel, carefully wipe the fillets dry without breaking them. Do not rinse with water!
Lined a rimmed baking sheet with aluminium foil
Place the fish skin side down, lightly season with sea salt
Broil until the surface is nicely browned and fish begins to flake, about 5 minutes. Keep an eye closely and make sure you don’t burn the fish!
Turn the fish gently to brown the skin, 2 to 3 minutes.
To test if the fish is done, I used Japanese metal chopsticks (thin skewers will do) to poke the fish gently. If it slides in smoothly, it’s done.
Remove the bones before serving.
***Instead of broiling, I baked the sable fish (parchment paper lined rimmed baking tray) at 400 degrees, it took 10- 12 minutes to cook through. Sear the fish first if you want the “browning” effect.
FYI: I served the cod with a shiitake and shimeji mushroom dashi “jus” with sea asparagus and Shanghai bok choy, seaweed flakes and green onion (recipe will be posted at later date).
*Osake Artisan Sake Makersake kasu, available directly from their store in Granville Island (Vancouver) or online, It is also available at Fujiya (912 Clark Drive, Vancouver, BC)
For sea salt: I met the wonderful team from Vancouver Island Salt Company a couple of months ago through Dinner Party YVR; my personal favourite is their smoked sea salt. Their products are available at finer food stores, check out their website, eat and shop local!
For sable fish: My go to place in Granville Island, Seafood City; owner Brian and his crew will take good care of you! They carry condiments also which go well with seafood; I got a bottle of Jonny Hetherington’s Habanero pineapple hot sauce which I used for my spicy sweet and sour sauce, something very tasty to try and “think outside of the box”.
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..
Had the day off on Thanksgiving (Thanks to my brother and sister-in-law’s invite!)…
Then I cooked up a storm for my friends..Broiled Snapper for my friend’s birthday dinner! Cover the snapper in coarse sea salt for 2 to 3 hours; wipe clean afterwards (do not rinse!). I lightly stuffed the fish with lemon slices, green onion and some ginger…Broil the fish in the oven for approximately 6 minutes on one side (it’s a 1.5 pounder), and 5 minutes on the other (thanks William for your great cooking tip)…Serve hot with oroshi (grated daikon) with yuzu ponzu and chopped onion.
For another gathering with three lovely visitors, I made kabocha and edamame croquettes, I tried to replicate the dish I had at Kinome Japanese Kitchen (2511 West Broadway, Vancouver, BC) last month; ideas are everywhere and creative juices are flowing…
Thank you Seafood City : Not only did I get great fish and cooking tips always..
I am happy and thankful I have made new friends, met a chef (star struck and pretended to be cool)… and received an unexpected gift (Thanks Brian!)..King Sauce…found Betty King Sauce on Instagram and we had a few exchanges!
Made myself a tomato-dashi broth udon noodle and had it with King Sauce..it’s wicked good! Going to try it with hotpot very soon!
Because of “Chef”, I found out there’s a new Japanese restaurant on Fraser…Masayoshi Sushi(4376 Fraser Street (at E. 28th), Vancouver, BC)..Remember a few months ago I talked about Fraser Street, this sushi bar is right in my favourite area (around E. King Edward).
We had their nigiri sushi (shima aji, scallop, hamachi, tai (snapper)), loved their kimpira gobo (burdock root, it’s a stroke of genius by adding almonds, hazelnuts), enjoyed their smoked salmon salad (see picture below)…Excellent service by Tomo-san, he was very attentive and informative. Reservations highly recommended (omakase must be booked 3 days in advance as they include seasonal ingredients for their cooked food).
I have yet to see Lang Lang (ha!) in concert, I saw Chris Botti instead
To End in a “high note” (pun intended)…
I know one is a world-renowned pianist and the other a pop/jazz trumpeter…thanks Mavis for your invitation to the Richmond General Hospital Benefit and Gala…it was definitely an eye opening experience.
In life all things and encounters happen for a reason….Grateful and Thankful always…Whatever will be will be.
So What is “Lang Lang”? It’s “Bright/Happy” in Mandarin; “Pretty Pretty” in Cantonese (OO)