Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday, September 27th - Miso Glazed Salmon

Back from Kayak camping and D bought a whole salmon on sale at TnT, 3.99/lb. Really the best place for fresh seafood in town. Let's hope that Loblaws doesn't mess it up. I'm worried it'll be a very mother-ship type of acquisition like the borg. They will be assimilated. I read a few recipes and I adapted this one. I saw one from Bobby Flay that, tho it seemed simple had a shocking amount of soy. Blech.

Miso Glaze Salmon

1/2 c Miso paste
1T low sodium soy
1T honey/brown sugar
1/4c soju (Korean rice whisky/wine)
1/4T ground ginger
1-2T sesame oil
1 scallion

(I chopped half a habenero but didn't put it in the glaze cuz D can't handle the heat and get's a bit fussed when I throw stuff like that in.)

D is scalling and filleting the fish right now. We don't have a BBQ due to construction on the balcony so this will be under the grill. Baste your filets with the paste and place under the broiler for 10-12 minutes. If you like, you can baste well ahead. We won't have time. It's getting sorta late.

We also have some green beans that have been sitting in the fridge and getting old for a week. It's been bugging the excrement out of me. I hate to waste food. So half the bag has gone off. We'll flash boil the ones that survived.

Back later!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Wednesday, September 2nd - Bridges Wine Wednesday

We went to Bridges on Granville Island for wine Wednesday. All summer, they're offering a 40% discount on bottles of wine! I had bought a gift certificate a Breast Cancer Fundraiser a few months ago. I'd wanted to use it on a Wednesday so I could go on a wine Wednesday so we could take advantage of the discount but I have Ultimate Frisbee on Wednesdays all summer. This was the first free Wednesday I've had all summer. I booked to be sure we'd be seated. I didn't know that they only take reservatoins upstairs. I wasn't all that interested in sitting upstairs as it's all dark wood and enclosed whereas their downstairs is all windows and white. It was a sunny summer evening and I wanted light. I didn't actually know there was a difference between the upstairs and downstairs. Downstairs doesn't take reservations. It's more bistro food. Pretty swanky for bistro food, I must say. Decent menu but nothing too exciting for a nice dinner out. I've eaten in the bistro before a show and it is very good, a step up from most 'bar food'. The warm seafood ceasar is great!

Upstairs has a better menu but it's a prix fixe with three courses. We don't normally go for that if I don't plan ahead since I can't normally eat everything. Remember the big todo with the couple of times we went to DB bistro. Anyhoo, I took a look and the only course I was doubtful was the starter. It was a cryptic chef's selection of antipasti. As it turned out, there was no meat and it was very nice. It is made to the table to share.

Up top: Watermelon and Edamame salad with Feta dressing. Shrimp Salad on toast. The Watermelon salad was great. I will definitely do a version of this soon. The shrimp salad was good but pretty generic. Too much mayo.

Just above here were the:
Pan fried smelt with Miso vinagrette w black sesame and Madras shrimp skewer. I love smelt. You don't see it often here. I don't know why. I used to eat it all the time in Spain and the UK. I guess gained popularity as a 'necessity fish' culturally and it stuck. The dressing was light and didn't interfere with the delicate smelts. The skewers were good but could have been spicier and used larger shrimp.

White bean and roasted garlic hummous w pita was amazing. Really rich and well perfumed w the roasted garlic. It wasn't too salty as it can often been when not homemade. The only change I might have made is a touch more acid or citrus. We did clean the bowl out so we really didn't have complaints about it.

Cherry Tomato and Cucumber salad with Sherry dressing was next to the shrimp toast. Fairly simple and refreshing (no photo). Green salad with market berries with lemon dressing was nice.

For main D and I had the same thing. He was tempted to get something that had meat on it but he knew that I wasn't going to share my char and he was interested in both. :0D. He asked the server which was better and she suggested we share. At which time, he outed me and said that I don't share my food. Well, duh, of course I don't especially when it's not SHARING. If you order lamb, what is there to share? wooo a green bean side doused in lamb jus. Sharing is sharing not eating my food :-P

The char was baked perfectly and the mussles were yum and plump. The potatoes were well cooked and the Articokes, why I ordered the dish to begin with, were FAB! The tomato coulee was not that nice. It was sort of ketchupy.

Chocolate tart with caramel and candied pecans
New York Cheesecake with Strawberries and Raspberry coulis.

We don't normally have dessert. Another reason we don't normally get a prix fix. I'd rather have a digestif like a scotch or port. But there it was calling me, all included in the meal. D had the cheesecake and I had the chocolate tart. The cheesecake was nice and fluffy. The tart was crazy crazy rich and the caramel sauce and candied pecans served with it, was a great combination.

Bridge Restaurant Granville Island

1696 Duranleau
Vancouver, BC V6H 3S4
(604) 687-7351

Bridges on Urbanspoon

The prix fix was only 40$. Looking at it it now, that's an AMAZING price. We sat on the patio at sunset and had a great big, bold Chardonnay.

Shaw and Smith. Buy it in store though. It's 95$ at Bridges (half price on Wednesday) but only like 40 in store.

Tuesday, August 4th - Spicy Fish Cake, Zuccini Dengjang Guk and Banchan

This is a very typical home meal in a Korean household. The little dishes are 'banchan' or like the whiteys say, side dishes. But really they're not and that isn't accurate at all. You have rice. That's defacto. You eat your rice, which was very valuable and rare with all the other pickles and vegetables mom makes with your valuable rice. On the top left above the soup is the fish cake. It comes in sheets and is cut up. You eat it in many ways but our favourite is stir fried with fresh green chilis and chili paste. Mom's homemade Dengjang Guk is the soup to your left. It's Korean fermented soybean soup, aka miso. Dengjang is soybean paste and guk is soup. Unlike it's weak watery Japanese counterpart, it is spicier and always comes with a veg, potatoes and cabbage, zuccini, spinach, mushrooms. ... all sorts of combos.

The chilis, freshly grown in the backyard are dipped in homemade Gochujang. There is also a fresh Kimchi made from shredded Daikon radish in the photos. Not in the photo is mom's home grown Sanchisang, lettuce. You place some chili paste, Gochujang on a few leaves and a spoon of rice and eat it like a small wrap. YUM

Sunday, August 2nd - Mom's Seafood Sweet & Spicy Bibim Buckwheat Nengmyun

Mom's Seafood Sweet & Spicy Bibim Buckwheat Nengmyun. To your untrained eye, it might seem like typical Korean fare. It's not. As my mom would normally say, it's her creation.

Sweet and Spicy sauce is when you cut you're normal Korean chili paste, Kochujang with sugar and rice wine vinegar and sesame seeds&oil. It gets the consistency of ketchup rather than tomato paste. 'Neng' means cold and 'Myun' is noodle. Bibim is a mixture of a variety of ingredients or banchan. My mom used, big shrimp, squid, cucumber, homegrown lettuce, julienned radish and red onion. Amazing!

Thursday August 6th - Mom's Seafood Duhkbokki

Mom's Duhkbokki at home in Toronto. This not you're typical market, 'tourist' friendly duhkbooki. It is not ketchup. It is Korean chili pepper sauce on there. Wonderful street food gone traditional popular fare.

Friday, September 11th - Rangoli Indian Restaurant

I love indian food. It is one of my preferred cuisines that I could probably eat several days in a row before needing a break. I can't say that for many foods except Korean, obviously. I can't even stand sandwiches more than two days in a row. I never did well for lunches in the UK. Sandwich addicts they are. That said, they have the best curry in the world. I'd even heard that the indian food in London is better than any you'll find in India. I can believe it. I would particularly believe that for Brick Lane on the East End of London and Birmingham for Balti.

Vancouver, on the other hand, is not that accessible for indian food. There are areas, like Main Street south of 45th, in the punjabi area. They have a very particular type with the metal trays w buffets with very soupy curry. It is hit or miss. There is quite a good one 49th that is a Indian Sweet shop, All Indian Sweets, but it too is a buffet so less punchy per curry. Buffet's rarely tastes as well to order. There are one or two indian restaurants on Robson as well. The one on Robson and Seymour, India Gate, is okay. It does the job when you need a quick fix when you're downtown. I find their curry has good flavour but it's rather oily and not spicy enough. As well, they serve it on the plate with the rice insteas of those little metal dishes separate the curry from the rice. I guess that's not a big deal except as an indication of compromises made to the previously, 'occidentally' dominated Vancouver population. At the same time, I do appreciate that they don't charge you for the rice as well. I was particularly annoyed to find that as a trend when I first moved here. Chinese, Korean and Indian places a like. Steamed or Pilau is an extra. WTF? So the first time I had takeaway at India Gate a few years ago and opened the boxes to find each had rice, I was slightly miffed and pleased. I didn't have to order rice. The box was crowding the room for more curry :^0.

There are other one offs, like on Robson near Thurlow. Your typical bland india buffets full of frozen mixed veg curries. I've been to two down there and been disappointed. I'm not a fuss pot. Even your diviest, greasy spoon 'looking' places on Brick Lane used to serve the most authentic, deep flavoured foods on plastic trays. YUM.

So for your good stuff, in Vancouver, you're going to have to pay and likely get in a car. My favourites are Mauyra's, Vij's and Rangoli.

Vij and Rangoli are owned and run by the same man, Vikram Vij and the fare is more fusion and modern than pure Indian but the flavours are authentic and the quality unbelievable.

I won a gift certificate to Rangoli a few months ago to Rangoli. Woohoo. It was for four but since we couldn't coordinate a good time to do much all summer, I was able to get the restaurant to allow us to have two dinners for two. Woohoo.

Vijs Rangoli
1488 11th Avenue West
Vancouver, BC V6H 1L1
(604) 736-5711

(4.5 really)

Rangoli on Urbanspoon

As, a starter D had Lamb, Beef and Lentil Kebabs. I had Paneer layered with Tomatoes and Red sauteed onions (the onions were not red but I think they used sweet because thankfully, the did not have the harsh bite of yellow you sometimes get on top of cheap indian buffet salads). The portions are slighly larger than a typical appetiser. They're actually called 'Snacks' to share. D felt like meat and so we did not share :-). They were both very good and nicely seasoned. They warned us and offered to bring out Raita (Yogurt) if it were too spicy. I didn't need it.

As a main, D had Goat and Jackfruit curry with Coconut Cabbage Salad and Rice w some Naan. I had Spiced and Marinated Tilapia in Yogurt Curry with Vegetable Rice and some naan. Mine was a tad salty but over all the dish was great. The fish was delicately cooked and naan was wonderful. The last time we came to Vij a few months ago, the naan was disappointing. It is back where I had remembered it earlier. Bigger, fluffy and hot! That is one thing I need to call out. The temperature of the food was spectacular. It was piping and was piping all throughout eating it, even though we were out on a patio. They came in their own little dishes as they should. Indian food served this way is deceptively small seeming. Perhaps that's why some decide not to do it. But it fills you up. I had to take some of D's rice to soak up all my yummy yogurt sauce.

For dessert, D had Coconut pudding with fresh fruit. Very light, cool and perfect for an end to a spicy meal. I had the Meeti Roti. It is Chapati (light indian flat bread, delicate and the size of a tea cup saucer) stuffed with cashews, demerera sugar on custard. It was unbelievable. The most interesting dessert I've had in indian. Yet, full of typical ingredients. Wonderful!

We had a carafe of Blue Mountain Gamay Noir.

I highly recommend you go. It is right next door to Vij. It normally looks crowded. More often than not, the crowd is for Vij. No reservations at either but Vij's is very popular. They let you order drinks and sit outside. If you don't like lines, Rangoli has a 'market' or fridges in their open cafe with takehome packages of all the currys at Vij's and Rangoli's.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wednesday, September 9th - Herbed Wild Salmon and Roasted Veg

Recipe to follow: Simple Roasted Eggplant, Zuccini, & Broccoli w Sweet Onion. Wild Salmon Filet with a Herb rub.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Tuesday, September 8th - Angel Hair pasta w Vegan Bolognese

I don't often crave pasta, even less often I don't crave spaghetti type noodles. I couldn't shake my craving for Angel Hair pasta. We were watching this episode of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives on Food Network where Guy went to this place called Bizarro in Seattle. We were in Seattle this past weekend but we didn't get a chance to visit. It make insanely good looking pasta. It's all homemade and autentico! Not your typical red sauces. Anyhoo, all the home made stuff looked so chewy and fresh I was half tempted to make it. I decided with all the reno dust around the house, I didn't want to roll any dough out on the counter.

So I just pulled out my Barilla Capellini pasta. Mmmmm. The finer the better. I love angel hair but only in really clingy sauce. The sauce is actually from the previous Friday but I've not updated the blog on that night. On that night we had the sauce with some squid ink fusilli.

Vegan Bolognese w Squash.

1 small/med butternut squash cubed and parcooked (if you're in a rush)
1 tin of italian tomatoes, chopped
1 half onion chopped
1 zuccini chopped
2 fire chilis
7 crimini mushrooms (brown button or white button if you can't get brown. The brown taste better)
2-3 cloves garlic chopped
1 T fresh oregano chopped
1 T fresh rosemary chopped
1/2 T fresh thyme pulled off stem
salt and pepper
pasta water
1 package italian or plain vegan mince.

In a large pan or large pot, heat some olive oil. Sautee the onions, squash, zuccini a few minutes. Add the mushrooms and let brown slightly. Add the mince and break up. Add the herbs and garlic. I add the garlic later to prevent burning. After a few minutes, add the tomatoes. Add a ladle of the pasta water you're boiling the pasta in. It'll loose it up as it cooks. It will enrichen and thicken the sauce. Season as desired. It keeps well in the fridge in a sealed container for a week. I ate it for lunch as a stew. MMMMM

We had a nice Italian Tommasi Romeo Rosso.. MMMMM

Monday, September 07, 2009

Sunday, September 6th - Bumbershoot in Rainy Seattle - Pike Place Piroshki

We spent LabOUR day weekend in Seattle at the Bumbershoot Music festival. It really is much more than that and I'll be more prepared next year. There are loads of comedy, arts, film and other shows. That said, on the gated off Seattle Centre grounds, is your typical Fair Ground foods. We, therefore, did wander off to get food when we could. For breakfast, we went to Pike Place. My favourite portable food in Seattle is the fresh fresh Piroshky across the road to Pike place. They're fabulous. The dough is rolled right there on the spot and filled with a variety of fillings. I was tempted to try something new with a carrot and saurkraut but went to the puffy, mushroom one that came from the onion while I was standing in line! I highly recommend you go there if you're visiting.

Piroshky Piroshky
1908 Pike Pl
Seattle, WA 98101-1013, United States
(206) 441-6068

Piroshky Piroshky on Urbanspoon

For dinner, it was your typical group maylay. For most of the day D and I wandered around on our own. For dinner we met up with our five other friends. Two of us had already eaten and yet for some flipping reason we were following them around the dark cold streets of Belltown. Hello? I had suggested a place near our hotel in Queen Anne, which incidentally was also closer to the place the other three people were staying. But M, who was staying in Belltown, winced when I suggested that. Hello? After arriving at a DIVE across from M and J's hotel, I put my foot down and said I'm not walking any further. When we walked into the Panther Room, across the fucking corner from M and J's hotel, I was pissed off. It was supposed to be our one nice dinner out and here we are. all us far from where we're staying except for the couple who is not eating. Fucked up!

I was not impressed by the divey black walls lined with ceramic tigers and panthers and the sticky menus covered with burgers. I was ready to walk out. D had to calm me down. He offered to buy me dinner.

So the tough, inked bartender comes over to tell us the waiter is leaving so he'd take our order. Despite his intimidating appearance, he was very nice and very professional. Poor D had a really pathetic looking chicken quesadilla. I had a pretty nice dish, surprising! It was a vegetarian ravioli with roasted corn and tomatillo filling topped with Mexican cheese. It was a little too rich but the flavour was very nice. The bar itself was gross. Once side looked like a biker bar and the other side looked like TGIFriday's. It was bizarre. We guessed it was because of a recent combination of two separate businesses that didn't bother to redecorate. Weird.

I had a Sagelands Merlot. Not bad. I don't recommend the place for dinner, perhaps lunch.

D and I sped walked to our hotel in the rain. No cabs! WTF! I should have pushed more for the place near ours or closer to the Seattle Centre. We moved on from the first place because it looked blah and ended up at the Panther Room, WTF?! Can you tell from my cursing that I wasn't happy? I didn't twitter about it since one of my friends with us follows me. It totally wasn't DJ's fault though. He was playing the happy, go with the flow guy since he was the common element in the gang.

Had some Boom Boom Syrah to relax with in the room.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Monday, August 31st - Butternut Squash, Leek and Barley Risotto w Sage

Recipe and write up pending. Highlights, riesling, fresh sage, thyme and a smidge of nutmeg. POKE ME in comments to get on getting the recipe up! I keep delaying.