30 March 2010

29 March 2010

Caramelized Ginger Sole with Kecap Manis and Green Beans

I've been looking for a recipe to use with this frozen sole that's been sitting in my freezer forever, and I finally got an idea from the Banana Leaf menu when we were there last week.

Here's the menu description:

Alaskan Black Cod in Caramelized Ginger Sauce with "Kicap Manis"
/ $20: Alaskan black cod steak topped with "Malaysian black sweet sauce" with caramelized ginger, garlic & shallot, enriched by Chinese wine.

If I didn't already own kecap manis because of last summer's cooking class, I might have thought this sounded exotic. But because I knew what it was, instead I thought: I can make this.

My own version:

Caramelized Ginger Sole with Kecap Manis

olive oil
2 shallots, finely diced
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
roughly the same amount of ginger, finely chopped
1/2 cup Bianco Vermouth
1 Tbsp Kecap Manis
1/4 cup water

1 Tbsp butter
3 sole fillets, salted & peppered

Sweat shallots in olive oil until translucent. Add ginger and garlic; slowly let brown, occasionally deglazing the pan with 1 Tbsp or so Vermouth as needed (so ingredients don't burn).

Pour in the remainder of the Vermouth, let the alcohol cook off for a minute, then add the kecap manis and reduce. If more liquid is required, add water; reduce.

In the meantime: cook sole fillets in butter in another pan over low heat (perhaps covering it at some point), until flesh flakes.

Smother fish with sauce and serve on a bed of green beans.

Note: I was afraid to overdo it with the kecap manis, but next time I might double the amount and also add more water, so I have a bit more liquid. Also. I used Bianco Vermouth but any kind of white wine or dry Vermouth is probably good.

28 March 2010

Desserts and Hot Dog Cupcakes

My food highlight of the day was photographing, and occasionally sampling, the annual Quady Winery Dessert Competition. It was like watching a group of artists at work, except that the art was also delicious. Stay tuned to the Food Network blog for photos...

Later I didn't want to leave the house and go out into the rain, so I made some Campbell's Tomato Soup and when it became apparent that that wasn't enough, I whipped up a small batch of hot dog cupcakes.

I used two frozen hot dogs, chopped into bite-size pieces. I greased the pan, distributed the hot dog bites (2–3 per cupcake), and put them in the oven while it preheated to 450°F. In the meantime I whisked together:

- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 egg
- salt & pepper

When the hot dog bites were heated through, I poured in the mixture (makes about eight regular-size cupcakes), and baked for about 10 minutes.

Sushi; Spirits

Last night: all-you-can-eat sushi at a place in Burnaby whose name I forget but I think it has the word 'fish' in it and it's on top of an Earls.
Later last night: Glenlivet; Lambic; Lemon Ale; Shiraz.

27 March 2010

Brie Crostinis; Pizza; Patrón

Last night Bleating Hearts played at Café Montmartre, where I ate a plate of brie & tomato crostinis.

After the show: Uncle Fatih's pizza, Patrón and Gossip Girl.


Thursday night: Leftover squid ink clam fettucine.

24 March 2010

Leftovers on asparagus

I reheated the squid ink clam fettuccine with some dry Vermouth and ate it on a bed of asparagus.

Squid Ink Clam Fettuccine II

I cooked the rest of the squid ink pasta tonight, using the same clam fettuccine recipe again. This time using roma tomatoes, Bianco Vermouth, and more like four pinches of dried chili flakes.

And as you can see I kind of overdid it on the parsley.

22 March 2010

Leftover birthday food

Just some leftover duck and pumpkin curry is all.

Banana Leaf

cRaZy drinks at the Banana Leaf on Denman: a Citrus Caipirinha
(Cachaça, lime, lemon, orange, club soda and sugar) and a coconut full of coconut water: and you can eat the insides! Also: spring rolls and duck & pumpkin curry. Also also: Happy birthday, Jay.

Pizzo Pizza steps it up

Saturday night Pizzo Pizza seemed to be operating as a test kitchen. When I walked in the pizza guy announced that they had two new potato pizza flavours; I tried the Potato Mushroom -- best Pizzo slice yet! He also showed me a spicy concoction of toppings he was testing -- a blend of Chinese spices and chili peppers to sprinkle over their sausage pizza. And then he gave me a slice of "sweet pie" on the house -- which tasted like a cinnamon roll. Pizzo is really stepping it up in the face of the new Uncle Fatih's competition down the street. Keep it up, guys! I'm so proud.

Friday Night Leeeeeeeftovers

Friday night: veggie & beef tortelloni with 2+ month-old leftover frozen Vermouth Rosé sauce.

18 March 2010

Helps you cope in balancing life's ups and downs.

Leftover cream of celery soup with walnuts and blue cheese for dinner; four drops of Rescue Remedy on my tongue for dessert: "To Comfort & Reassure."

Panago; Lemon Ale

I was sick Wednesday and just ordered pizza: Panago Veggie Pepperoni. Paired with Russell Lemon Wheat Ale to soothe a sore throat.

17 March 2010

Leftovers +

Leftovers; Heinekens; Characters Baclava and an Italian Boot coffee. My cell phone camera is broken and the leftovers were pretty ugly, so here's a photo of my weekend kitchen helpers.

16 March 2010

Weekend Cooking leftovers

Pork and raspberries, together again.

15 March 2010


Sunday night I went to a box-themed potluck where the only requirement was that the food came in a box.

There were four kinds of Kraft Dinner, scalloped potatoes, frozen pizza, perogies, crackers and cheeses, boxed wine, chocolate and pistachio pudding, cherry pie and lime jello.

My own contribution was a bottle of Fuller's Vintage Ale (that came in a box) with Neopolitan ice cream on mini-strawberry waffles -- which turned out to be pretty good! After a couple glasses of boxed wine and vintage ale however, the waffles also tasted good topped with goat cheese and cranberry blue cheese.

Boxed board games were played, and we listened to music that came out of a box (aka "computer").

14 March 2010

Cookbookyssey #7: Weekend Cooking

Weekend Cooking
by Ricardo
© 2006 Whitecap Books

What is weekend cooking? I assumed it was the kind of cooking that takes a long time, since you have more time on the weekend, but produces something extra special and extra delicious. In fact, I tried two recipes on the same night from Ricardo's Weekend Cooking and was surprised how quick and easy both of them were. Maybe I am just getting better at this. In any case, I did not need to eat two whole dinners that evening but was on such a roll that I created a large collection of delicious leftovers in the fridge.

Recipe #1
Cream of Celery Soup with Walnuts and Blue Cheese

This was my first time ever cooking with leeks. In fact I had to ask the cashier at the market if what I was holding was indeed a leek. Leeks! Tasty. As was the apple and vermouth and spinach and rice -- all the ingredients that don't make it into the title of Celery Soup. Why does celery get all the glory?

1 leek, white part only, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 apple (I used Ambrosia), peeled, cored and chopped
1/4 cup white wine (I used vermouth, as per my cooking instructor's recommendation)
4 cups chicken stock (I used veggie stock, in case of a hungry vegetarian visitor)
1/4 cup long grain rice (I used Basmati)
1 cup spinach
1/2 cup sour cream
salt & pepper
blue cheese, crumbled

Brown leeks in oil over medium heat for about 2 minutes.

Add celery and apple. Let cook a little while longer? (Recipe didn't really say...) Deglaze with wine/vermouth and reduce for 1 minute. Add stock and rice.

Cook uncovered for about 15 minutes; add spinach and cook for another 5 minutes.

At this point the recipe says to transfer to a blender for processing, but I just turned down the heat and used an immersion blender. It's so handy! Then I stirred in the sour cream.

Season with salt and pepper, and then garnish each serving with walnuts and blue cheese. DO NOT LEAVE THESE OUT! They are the best part. If you want to see more, check out this other food blogger's attempt at this recipe. She used buttermilk and pecans.

I was pretty happy with this soup, and pretty full. But still had some Saturday left to kill, so went ahead and started on recipe #2, which promised only 10 minutes prep time and 15 minutes cooking time. And it didn't disappoint! In no time I had a whole second meal:

Recipe #2
Pork Medallions with Raspberries

The German lady in line behind me at the supermarket was very excited about my pork tenderloin purchase; she said that it's her favourite cut, informed me I was getting a great deal and then gave me her recipe for Weiner Schnitzel.

2 pork tenderloins
1 Tbsp olive oil (I forgot to use this and just used butter)
2 Tbsp butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped (I used 2 just to be cRaZy)
1 tsp honey
1 tsp raspberry vinegar
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 cup fresh raspberries
salt & pepper

Slice each tenderloin into 6 medallions; flour and flatten. Heat butter (and oil if you remember) in an ovenproof skillet.

Brown medallions over high heat, 1 minute per side. Season with salt & pepper and set aside.

Soften onion and garlic in the same skillet over medium heat. Add honey and cook for one minute. Deglaze with vinegar.

Add stock and half of raspberries, and cook for about 2 minutes.

Return medallions to skillet. Cook in oven at 350°F for 8—10 minutes; add remaining raspberries.

Cover medallions in sauce and serve on a bed of asparagus.

Delicious! I believe I exclaimed this several times while my vegetarian guest looked on over his bowl of celery soup. This looks and tastes way too good for the amount of time it took to make.

13 March 2010


Last night found me at a walk-up pizza window in the heart of Kitsilano -- a new place on Broadway called Panoli's. The nice man at the window informed us that they are also opening a new seafood restaurant next door called The Crab Shack. Mauve Pagé photo

11 March 2010

Instant Quinoa; Peanut Butter Cookies

A dinner that required absolutely, gloriously no effort: President's Choice Bulgur and Quinoa with Chick Peas. Just heat and eat.

So little effort was expended on dinner that I decided to bake cookies afterwards. But the easiest cookies in the world: Just 1 1/2 cups peanut butter, 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar and an egg white. Baked for about 8 minutes at 350°F.

10 March 2010

Show & Tell: Kale & Avocado Massage Salad;
Beer Fruit Salad

My friend Amy from Toronto uploaded this photo to her Facebook last week after trying the Kale & Avocado salad recipe made famous by Michelle-Meals. Ok, maybe it's been made a bit more famous by Karen Knowler.

Less than a week later, Jackie sent me these photos of her own kale & avocado salad.

Jackie's notes:
Super lemony and enough to bring to work for lunch for the week. I used a whole lemon instead of half, so it's more citrusy than it probably is usually, and I omitted the green onions. I also used the whole can of chickpeas. Delicious.

Wow, that's a lot of chickpeas! Jackie has been sick, so hopefully this made her feel a bit better. Thanks for sending those to me, friends! And thank you for inspiring my dinner tonight too: I made the same salad.

The bunches of kale at the market were pretty small, so I used two this time, with THREE avocados. I also threw in a bunch of spinach and broccoli slaw to get rid of some leftover veggies in fridge. It seems you can add any raw vegetable and it will still complement the salad, as long as it's finely chopped.

I forgot about green onions, but I didn't miss them. I used one whole lemon, and a handful of strawberry tomatoes.

What really matters in this salad is
• kale (stalks removed! and finely chopped)
• olive oil, salt and lemon juice
• avocado
• that all these ingredients are massaged into the kale

Starting with that base, you can invent any number of variations.

For dessert I made a fruit salad, using a bag of peaches and nectarines bought for a dollar, mixed with brown sugar, cinnamon and Jacobsen Saaz Blonde beer.

Squid Ink Clam Fettuccine

Last night I cooked the squid ink fettuccine that I got from Bosa Foods. Isn't it pretty? I'm not certain there's anything that different about the flavour of squid ink pasta. It tasted not unlike this similarly shaped spinach & chive linguine. Mmmm, flat pigmented pasta.

I used the clam linguine recipe from Had a Glass 2010.


1/2 lb linguine (I used, as you know, squid ink fettuccine)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced (I used 2 shallots instead)
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 cup white wine (I used Gray Monk Latitude 50)
handful cherry tomatoes, halved (I used STRAWBERRY tomatoes)
5 oz (142 g) can baby clams in nectar
pinch of dried chili flakes
grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley


Cook the pasta (al dente of course). Sweat onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat (about 5 minutes).

Add the wine, tomatoes, clams (with their nectar) and chili flakes and boil until the liquid is reduced by one third (about 5 minutes).

Add cooked pasta and cheese to the sauce, turning to coat. At this point, I was feeling a bit dubious. Could a sauce made with only wine and clam juice taste good?

(Serve sprinkled with parsley.) Answer: yes. Really, really good.
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