August 19th, 2015 Radio Show

IMG_8884I 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!

Cool down with “real food” – Hiyashi Chuka (Japanese Chinese Cold Noodle)

Here’s my version of the Dipping sauce: 200 ml dashi stock (or chicken stock), 120 ml organic soy sauce, 100 ml rice vinegar, 1 Tablespoon sesame oil, maple syrup (sugar is normally used, adjust to taste)

Heat dashi, soy sauce and maple syrup in saucepan, bring to a boil and turn off the heat.  Add the rice vinegar while mixture is hot, then finish off with the tablespoon of sesame oil.  Pour mixture into clean glass bottle, refrigerate after it cools down.

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My version of hiyashi chuka: Boiled prawns, fish cake, cherry tomatoes, seaweed, braised shiitake mushrooms, cucumber , kinshi tamago (egg omelet), and Chinese noodles, served with homemade dipping sauce and japanese mustard
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skewer the prawns with bamboo sticks when blanching

Pork Belly Garlic Scape wraps with “shogayaki” sauce:  (full recipe coming soon); I served this with cauliflower “fried” rice and it was a delicious combination.  Thank you PPQ for inspiring this dish!

Ginger apple sauce: mirin, soy sauce, grated onion, grated granny smith apple, grated ginger root (ratio 1-1-1-1-1) and sake or water (1), maple syrup (to sweeten, adjust accordingly)

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Food Finds on East Hastings:

Mr. Red Cafe: Northern Vietnamese cuisine, friendly service, delightful dishes prepared with lots of care and love, great prices

address: 2234 East Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC.

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Traditional Vietnamese sticky rice with mung bean and fried shallots
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Appetizer: Steamed pork and shrimp tapioca dumpling wrapped in banana leaf

Basho Cafe: Quaint and cozy Japanese cafe serving savory lunch sets and the cutest baked goods with In-house Coffee Master 

2007 East Hastings (and Victoria)

http://www.bashocafe.com

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Tiny tasty baked goods on display at Basho: mochi cakes, lemon loaf, matcha brownie., kabocha muffin…just to name a few..and we want to try them all!

Pear Tree: 17 years on East Hastings..it’s great to revisit old favourites in town http://www.peartreerestaurant.net

In April I celebrated my birthday at Pear Tree restaurant and had the most delicious vegetarian carrot risotto ever..I had to ask our server three times to check if indeed it was vegetarian…

Are you sure this is a vegetarian dish?
Are you sure this is a vegetarian dish?

Chau Veggie Express: 5052 Victoria Drive (between 34th and 35th): Serve primarily Vietnamese inspired vegetarian and vegan dishes, casual communal dining.

http://www.chowatchau.ca

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Insanely delicious taro chips with spicy dip (made from tofu)

Must try: To Die For lemon Loaf, made by hand in Vancouver, BC 

http://www.itstodiefor.ca

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Food waste:  What can we do?

The new organics/recycled bylaw and volunteer stints at UGM makes me rethink more about the way we live..

Coincidentally last month I came across this interesting post on Twitter which led to an old article posted through Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s website…

http://www.marcussamuelsson.com/news/165-billion-in-food-waste-what-can-you-do

Lemongrass Pork Meatball with Thai Green Curry

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Fall is in “full swing” here in Vancouver and it’s the season when we crave for scrumptious and hearty meals; I decided to combine two of our favourite foods together: Meatballs and Thai Green Curry with Zucchini and eggplant.

Almost two years ago I took a cooking class at the Blue Elephant Cooking School in Bangkok, the green curry recipe is a combination of what I’ve learnt at Blue Elephant and a partial adaptation from Andy Ricker’s Green curry with fish and eggplant recipe (from POK POK, see also blogger “Lady and Pup”‘s great adaptation (also pork meatball), it’s a great interpretation and I love the photos!).

Instead of jasmine rice, I decided to serve this dish with a cauliflower “fried” rice, a wonderful recipe (see separate posting) from my friend “PPQ”; it is a great way to include more vegetables into your meals and a very good option for “carb” conscious individuals; the flavors all worked wonderfully together. Enjoy (OO)!

Ingredients for the Lemongrass Meatball:

500 grams organic lean ground pork, 2 garlic cloves (finely minced), 1 stalk finely chopped lemongrass, 1 Tablespoon fresh galangal (or ginger, peeled and finely grated), 3 green scallions (white and green part finely chopped), 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (roughly chopped), 1/4 (up to 1/2 cup) of Japanese panko (as required), unsweetened almond or coconut milk (as required, approximately 1/4 cup), 1 large egg, 2 Tablespoon fish sauce, 1 Tablespoon coconut nectar (optional), 1 teaspoon sea salt and 1 teaspoon white ground pepper (seasoning can be adjusted own taste).

Ingredients for the Green Curry: 

1 Tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 cup Thai green curry paste (store-bought or you can prepare your own), 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds (roasted and grounded), 1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds (ground roasted), 1 1/2 cup coconut milk, 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk** , 1 medium Japanese eggplant (cut into 1 inch pieces), 2 medium zucchini (cut into 1 inch pieces), 1 (or 2) fresh Thai red chillies (sliced, seeds removed), 6 kaffir lime leaves (slightly torn by hand), sweet Thai basil leaves (1/4 – 1/2 cup for garnish), 1 Tablespoon fish sauce (more to adjust taste and seasoning) and 1 – 2 teaspoon grated palm sugar (for seasoning), coconut cream (for garnish), lime juice, chopped cilantro (for garnish).

**Almond milk is my own preference as I do not want the curry to be overly creamy. Andy Ricker’s recipe calls for 1/2 cup coconut cream and the preparation method is different.

To prepare the meatballs:

– In a large mixing bowl, using your hand, combine and gently mix ingredients (except panko and almond milk). Cover with wrap, marinade and refrigerate for at least one hour.

– Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.

– When ready to cook meatballs, add panko and almond milk (adjust the quantity pending the

– Lightly oil your hands, shape into 1 inch balls

– (**This step is optional – I “soaked” the meatballs in coconut milk for 20 minutes first, pat them dry then bake in the oven – see picture below).

– Lined your baking tray with foil and space them so they are not touching. Bake for approximately 20 to 25 minutes; then change to “broil” and “brown” for approximately 5 minutes, remove from the oven and set aside.

– Proceed to prepare the green curry once you place the meatballs in the oven.

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To prepare the zucchini and eggplant green curry:

– In large 6 quart pan, heat olive oil over medium. Add the green curry paste, ground roasted coriander and cumin seeds, stir-fry until an aroma develops and ingredients are slightly browned.

– Add 1/2 cup of the coconut milk, cook and stir occasionally, allow it to simmer until oil is extracted

– Add the rest of coconut milk and almond milk.  Bring to a boil, add eggplant then reduce the heat to medium low.  Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add zucchini and pork meatballs, cook until all vegetables are tender. Adjust the thickness of curry with water if necessary.

– Stir in fish sauce, palm sugar, kaffir lime leaves and chillies.  Taste the curry and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

– Remove from heat, stir in the basil leaves and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

– Garnish with a drizzle of coconut cream, fresh sliced chillies (add more if you want more “heat”) and chopped cilantro. Serve immediately with rice on the side.

Additional notes:

– Omit the pork meatball and this becomes a great vegetarian dish.

***Here’s the recipe for Green Curry Paste from Blue Elephant Cooking School; the class was fun and informative, it’s worthwhile to attend if you happen to visit Bangkok.

10 pieces green birds eye chillies, 1 big green Serrano chilli, 1 coriander (or cilantro) root (omit if you are unable to find, use chopped coriander stems/leaf instead, approximately 1-2 tablespoon), 1/2 tablespoon kaffir lime zest (can use regular lime), 1/2 tablespoon finely sliced galangal (use ginger if you are unable to find), 1 Tablespoon lemon grass (finely sliced), 4 cloves of garlic (peeled), 3 shallots (peeled), 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon ground roasted cumin seed, 1/2 teaspoon ground roasted coriander seeds, 1/2 teaspoon white ground pepper, 1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste, 10 sweet Thai basil leaves.

To prepare the green curry paste: Dry roast the cumin seed and coriander seed in skillet until seeds begin to pop, let cool slightly and place them in spice grinder and grind finely. Using the mortar, apply a “pushing” motion and pound kaffir lime zest, coriander root, lemongrass, galangal (1/2 and all chillies together. Add the remaining ingredients (add basil leaves last) and continue to pound until everything is blended into a smooth paste. **If you find this too labour intensive, ready-made Thai green curry paste are available almost everywhere. Unused paste can be kept in an airtight container for two weeks in the refrigerator or last up to 1 month in the freezer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Father’s Day Dinner

IMG_8853 - Version 2I have always enjoyed cooking for my extended family; whether it’s New Year’s, Thanksgiving or birthdays,  there are many fond memories of good times and delicious meals prepared together at Andy’s parents’ house.

This year Barb and Nick hosted Father’s Day dinner at their place and we had a “seafood and vegetable” extravaganza:

I spent the Saturday shopping and prepping most the ingredients at my home; the next day  “Golden Apron mobile kitchen” (my nickname)  transferred everything to the hosts’ kitchen and cooked three dishes for dinner: My own version of salmon carpaccio (inspired by a dish I’ve had at Suika (Japanese Izakaya on West Broadway and Fir in Vancouver ( http://www.suika-snackbar.com/)); salmon sashimi thinly sliced (easier to sliced when slightly frozen, sharp knife required!), drizzled lemon juice and wasabi mayo,  then garnished with arugula, kaiware (sprouted daikon radish seeds) lightly tossed in yuzu dressing (grape seed oil/soy/yuzu juice/minced shallot/salt and pepper to taste) mixed with prepared seaweed (purchased from local Japanese deli)and flying fish roe (tobiko).

Salmon carpaccio with arugula and kaiware in yuzu dressing, seaweed, flying fish roe with wasabi mayo.
Salmon carpaccio with arugula and kaiware in yuzu dressing, seaweed, flying fish roe with wasabi mayo.

Steamed clams and prawns in sake (butter, garlic, mirin, dashi stock) with dipping sauce (light soy, lemon juice, shichimi (japanese spice mixture), mirin and green onions)

Steamed clams and prawns in sake and butter, with soy dipping sauce.
Steamed clams and prawns: From stove to table as is!
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Ready for the oven; pacific halibut purchased at Granville Island market; I skinned and portioned the fish myself at home the night before, then marinade two hours prior to cooking..

Roasted halibut fillet with seasonal vegetables purée , an improvised dish based on a recipe which I’ve learnt not too long ago from the halibut cooking class at Northwest Culinary Academy (http://www.nwcav.com/): Instead of halibut cheeks, I used halibut fillet and served family style; fish portioned and marinaded in olive oil blend (2 parts olive oil, 1 part canola oil), salt, white pepper, thyme, lemon zest), roasted in oven at 375 degrees until opaque; finished with mushroom purée  and seasonal vegetables (see original halibut cheek recipe).

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Marcia’s heavenly chocolate meringue!

What about dessert?  That’s not really my department; Marcia made these absolutely delicious Chocolate Meringue; Barb and Nick served vanilla ice-cream with freshly picked strawberries from a local farm in Ladner, BC.

It was fun evening filled with lots of interesting stories and laughter; I have always told Andy he’s very fortunate his parents and siblings all live here in Vancouver!  I miss my own family dearly, especially my Dad, who had a stroke in March 2012 and fortunately recovered. Although I just went to see him recently; somewhere between tossing the vegetables and roasting the fish, my mind drifted back to last year’s Fathers Day, when I made a special trip back home just to celebrate with my Dad, the first time in many years. Can’t wait until the end of this year when I will see my family again..(OO)