Sunday, July 12, 2009

Greek Day

I am lucky enough to have grown up in Greek neighbourhood here in Vancouver. Once a year, Broadway, the neighbourhood's main artery, is shut down for the appropriately named "Greek Day", a street festival where gustation is where it's at.

I bought some baclava here. A little too honey drenched for my tastes, but still delicious. I wish I had taken a picture of the loukoumades my brother ate, because they were beautiful.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Hoppy Easter!

My family is completely secular, however we'll take any opportunity to celebrate the holidays. For us, Easter is about many things, from the lamb (deriving from the Jewish Passover tradition), to the hot cross buns (deriving from the last residual traces of Anglo Canada) to the chocolatey explosion of eggs and treats which we can thank our pagan ancestors for. My family is ecumenical - if it allows for better eating, than why not celebrate it!

Based on the latter, I have prepared two desserts for tonight's dinner - a chocolate raspberry cake, and a french lemon tart.

The cake is a basic devil's food cake recipe using unsweetened Ghirardelli chocolate. Between the layers is a raspberry filling. To make this filling I cooked frozen raspberries with some sugar and corn starch, then allowed it to cool and thicken. I also put this raspberry filling on top of the cake, then covered it with my take on a quick chocolate ganache. Butter + chocolate + icing suger + warm milk, boiled for a bit, then cooled in ice water (but be careful! I managed to break the glass in my bowl doing this. Make sure you wait a minute or so, or transfer the chocolate to another dish before placing your bowl over ice water!). Then I whipped the ganache over the ice water and poured it in several layers over the cake. For the last layer I added a splash of almond, some icing sugar and some more butter to make a lighter coloured topping that would add some contrast. The final addition was fresh raspberries on top.

The lemon tart is based on a Ramsay recipe for Lemon Meringue Pie. Instead of a cornstarch filling, he suggested a French custard style one, so I used egg yolks as a thickener. I suppose an eggy filling is more appropriate for Easter anyway! The crust is a simple Pâte Brisée.

Red Chili Halibut, Rice Noodles and Red Cabbage Slaw

I love southeast Asian flavours. Coming from the meeting place of so many great food cultures, they give you the rich curries and spice hit of India, the umami explosion of China, and the combination of coconut milk, limes and lemongrass that could exist nowhere else. I hope to go there on day, but until then, I'll just have to be content with restaurant takeout and my own attempts at replication.

This recipe is very simple. I marinated the halibut in some lime, garlic, and chili pepper, and broiled it. Barbeque would be great as well, but it's still too early for that here! The seasoning was nice, adding some flavour, but not masking the wonderful halibut taste.

For the noodles, I fried red curry paste, onion, garlic and mushrooms together. After a few minutes, I added some coconut milk (but not so much that it became a very saucy curry), soy, a taste of brown sugar, and some lime. I reduced the sauce, then threw in some chopped bok choy, making sure not to cook in for so long. Then I threw in some chopped cilantro and served all of this over noodles.

On the side I made a slaw with red cabbage. It's essentially just red cabbage with some onion, carrot, squeeze lime, garlic, mint and basil. Usually I add cilantro, but I had run out, so I used arugula instead. Obviously a very different flavour, but delicious nonetheless! A light and delicious meal!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Happy Barkday!

It was birthday time at the dog park, so I decided to make something to celebrate. Inspired by the "Ace of Cakes", and yet possessing less cake prowess, I decided to create a giant dog cookie!

Needless to say, everyone, including the dogs enjoyed themselves (though they didn't eat any, thankfully!)

Going Dutch

Amsterdam is a city known for its coffee shops, but when I went there, I spent most of my time in cafés. After long wet walks along the canals, there was nothing greater than finding shelter from the rain in coffee, pastry, and lots and lots of Dutch savories. Usually, when I don't know what to order, I pick the strangest looking thing on the menu. In Amsterdam, at Café de Prins, I chose Osseworst, a cold smoked beef sausage long associated with the city's Jewish community. Of course, since the menu was written entirely in Dutch, I had no idea of this when I ordered it! When my Osseworst sandwich arrived, all I could think was: Raw meat.

It was delicious though! My Amsterdam food adventure had begun.

Stop 2. Late night dinner of Steak Frites and Leffe. Ok, French and Belgian, but it still tasted good.

As you can see, vegetables were not a priority on this trip (well, unless you count potato). It's not that I don't like vegetables, but this is northern Europe, come on!

Stop 3. Albert Cuypmarkt. Located in the southern part of the city, in a neighbourhood where Dutch, Indonesian and Surinamese cultures come together.

Last stop. Dessert.

Is there anything more wonderful than drinking hot chocolate and watching the world go by? Especially when you're in a café with Bert and Ernie in it?

The End.

Oh, I forgot to mention. In Amsterdam, food always tastes better when dressed as Sherlock Holmes.

A Tudor feast

Last year, when I was studying in London, I took a day trip to Hampton Court Palace where they have a running Tudor kitchen.

This being England in November, the menu was dominated by heavy meat and winter vegetables. And yet, as you can see in the following picture, some hints of the exotic have made their way onto the table: rosemary and sage.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Best. Sandwich. Ever.

Rosemary Bread + a layer of sundried tomatoes + a few thin slices of feta + a few thing slices of parmesan. Under the broiler for a couple minutes. Then top it off with some arugula and a few olives, and voila! Wonderful good that I ate it before a photo could be procured!

NEWEST PLAN: Move to Greece and become a shepherd, so I can eat this sandwich everyday.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

This is why you're fat

Pretty much the most frightening website ever. I think the deep fried bacon with gravy takes the cake.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

What's your death row meal?

I have been pondering this question forever (with varying results), but as of now I'd say either:

Roquefort + Crusty Baguette

Photo courtesy of doozle's flickr


Mee Goreng

Photo courtesy of

San Gennaro Cannoli Eating Competition

I cook with wine, sometimes I put it in the food

Nothing says cod to me like Portugal...and nothing says Portugal to me like cured meat. Tonight's dinner wasn't a Portuguese dish, but it did include both of those things.

Lemon-White Wine Cod with Bacon-Potato Fritters and Rapini

Lemon-White Wine Cod

1/2 onion
3/4 cup of white wine
1/2 lemon
Several large pinches of rosemary
Cod fillet
knob of butter
some olive oil

Chop the onion into smallish piece, and cook them for a few minutes on medium-high heat until slightly crisped. Add the white wine and lemon, and reduce (this shouldn't take more than 5 minutes). Add the butter and stir it into the sauce. Pour all the sauce into a bowl, save a few tablespoons, and set aside. Salt and Pepper the cod, then put it in the pan with the leftover sauce. Add Rosemary (and more wine if need be) and cook on relatively high heat, until the liquid completely disappears and the cod is done. Add the rest of the sauce back into the pan, and serve!

Potato-Bacon Fritters: Essentially latkes that violate kosher in more ways than one

1 large potato
1/2 onion
1 egg
A few sprinkles of Parmesan cheese
Enough bacon to pique your fancy
Enough flour to make the mixture malleable
Vegetable oil

Chop the onion finely. Grate the potato. Half cook the bacon to get rid of some of the fat. Cut it up and mix those three ingredients together. Add parmesan. Add egg. At this point you will have a sloppy goopy mess, so add enough flour so that you'll be able to shape the mixture into patties. Heat some oil in a frying pan, and when it's hot put the patties in long enough to crisp up on both sides. Then paper-towel them off and throw them in a super hot (450ish degree) over for 15 minutes (or more if you want them to be super crispy.

Rapini: Broccoli's cool foreign cousin

A bunch of Rapini
Garlic (chopped)
Hot pepper flakes
Olive oil

Steam the rapini very quickly, for about a minute. Heat a small amount of olive oil in a frying pan and add the garlic and hot pepper flakes. Throw in the Rapini, and within minutes you'll have a delicious green concoction!

Forbidden Fruit

When the Spaniards landed in Peru, they discovered that the Inca had a powerful weapon: quinoa. Not only was it highly nutritional, but it was also sacred, and therefore, like so many things that got in the way of world domination, it needed to be suppressed. Well, as many of you are aware, this forbidden fruit is making a comeback...and like so many forbidden things, it tastes damn good.

Wait, what's that you say? Quinoa is bland and boring? Not so! You only think that because it has been tarnished with the brush of health food stores, vegetarians and Whole Foods (just kidding, I love you all!). Like so many forbidden things, it is too often abused! It's not the Quinoa that's boring, it's the way that it has been prepared that's boring. So here's a way to make a mean pot of Quinoa, one that is both healthy and, god forbid, delicious.

Quinoa with Roasted Veggies, Pine Nuts and Feta

2 Peppers (preferably a combination of red, yellow or orange)
1 Red Onion
As much garlic as you want (at least 3 cloves, but come on, there's no such thing as too much garlic)
1/2 cup dry quinoa
Kalamata olives (1/3-1/2 cup, depending on your preference)
1/2 cup Feta (or more or less depending once again on preference)
1/4 cup pine nuts
Olive Oil
Balsamic vinegar

Cut the peppers and onions into bit sized chunks. Dice the garlic and throw it in with the peppers and onions. Add a few dashes of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and pop the whole thing into the oven at 450. Cook until roasted (make sure to check on the pan every once in a while and stir the veggies around so that they don't get burnt.)

In the meantime, boil the quinoa in a covered pot with a cup of water for approximately 15 minutes.

Take out the veggies and add the pine nuts. Put the vegetable-pine nut mixture back into the oven for a few minutes so that the pine nuts toast. Take them out, and put them in a bowl with the quinoa, feta and olives. Stir, and enjoy! Feel free to experiment with this recipe. I often throw some basil in with the veggies. Rosemary would be delicious as well!

This is best served warm, but can be eaten cold as well.