Saturday, January 31, 2009

Saturday, January 31st - prepping for Super Bowl

For breakfast, I had to eggs over medium on a piece of a baguette sliced and toasted. I garnished it with some cilantro. I had a cappuccino but I cheated. I steamed the milk in my mug because I couldn't be bothered to use the milk pitcher.

For lunch, I bought a Spanakopita at my favorite greek grocery on Commercial. I believe it's called the Mediterranian food shop. It has a deli counter and with loads of greek cheeses and olives. It has the best BEST spinach pies in town. I've tried several. I prefer it when there is more spinach than phyllo. I had it with a diet coke and then a glass of cranberry.

Later I'm going to make the biscotti for the party tomorrow. I was going to make regular cookies but since I have time. I make the biscotti.

Cherry and Hazelnut Biscotti
SERIOUSLY I should have done half this. I'll have biscotti forever.

3 cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 large eggs
4 teaspoons grated orange peel
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups hazelnuts, toasted, husked, coarsely chopped
1 3/4 cups dried cherries

Have two baking sheets ready!

Position 1 rack in center and 1 rack in top third of oven and preheat to 325°F. Using handheld electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in very large bowl until well blended. Beat in eggs 1 at a time just until blended. Mix in orange peel, baking soda and salt. Add 3 cups flour, hazelnuts and dried cherries; stir until well blended. Add 3 cups flour, 1 cup at a time, stirring until well incorporated.

I used Dom's Kitchenaid mixer. His is a regular model. I have a stronger motor. You could really tell. His started to smell like it was over worked as I got to the end of the flour. You'll want to consider that and go slow until just incorporated then knead by hand more.

Transfer dough to floured work surface. I didn't have a big enough counter and it was pretty big so I pulled out enough to do the logs one at a time. Divide into 4 equal pieces. Knead each piece until dough holds together well. Do not be alarmed, it is crumbly and VERY VERY stiff dough. mash it and refold it and push it into a log like old playdough. Form each piece into 9-inch-long by 3-inch-wide log. Place 2 logs on each of 2 large ungreased baking sheets, spacing about 3 inches apart (logs will spread during baking). Bake until logs are golden and feel firm when tops are gently pressed, switching and rotating baking sheets halfway through baking, about 55 minutes. Cool logs on baking sheets 15 minutes. Maintain oven temperature.

Using long wide spatula, transfer logs to cutting board. Using serrated knife, cut warm logs crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Arrange slices cut side down on 2 baking sheets. Bake biscotti 10 minutes. Turn biscotti over; bake until light golden, about 10 minutes longer. Transfer to racks and cool completely. You'll have to do this in stages because as you slice them, a log sliced will take more space than the whole log. Slice after the 15 min cooling cuz waiting until you have the oven space may end in disaster and crumbling. You need the loaf slightly supple.

Cool entirely and as you need room on the rack, stand some up on their side.

Friday, January 30 - Naked food

For breakfast I had Natura Meusli and Soy milk. D had the Special K vanilla and almond. Darn it darn it. I just realised I forgot to buy the chocolate almond spread today on Commercial. Darn it darn it! I only get over there on the weekends.

Anyhoo, I had macaroni and cheese with tuna for lunch. Just because I felt like it :-D. It used to be a university staple. I don't know what I was thinking. It was horrible. I didn't have milk so I used soy milk. I didn't have butter or margarine and used olive margarine. I threw most of it out.

For dinner I wanted something simple and naked. A nice fish with brown rice and a veg. But D has this compulsion to need to use dry rub whenever we have fish. And he thinks I have a thing about spicing my food. HaHa! We used this chipoltle Dean and deLuca dry rub on Basa fillets we had in the freezer. We had the magical Brown Basmati that only takes 15 minutes but isn't that horrible parboiled stuff. We steamed the rest of our greenbeans. D rubbed both sides of the fish with the rub and then cooked it in butter in a cast iron skillet to try to blacken some of it. It was good. The fish was so moist. I had wanted just to fry it in some olive oil with toasted garlic. We had a nice Basa Spanish White wine that D made me buy. Well I was going to buy the wine but he tries to make sure I buy wine that they distribute. It's not the most affordable for a spanish white but you gotta be supportive I guess. It was very crisp and fruity. They don't carry many whites and fewer whites that suit my palate. They tend to like acidic.

Thursday, January 29th - Opera Night - Carmen

I had coffee at D's but I wasn't very hungry for breakfast. For lunch I had the leftover risotto while working over my computer.

For dinner, we had to do something quick and simple since we had opera tickets for 7pm. I made Gigli shaped pasta with Red Alfredo sauce from Classico. I added some jarred artichoke hearts and spicy eggplant. D brought a bottle of spanish granache wine. It was a pretty good red sauce for a jar. D took the leftover for lunch. Classico sauces normally need some pumping up like adding vegetables or onions. This one was quite nice on it's own particularly when you're in a rush.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Wednesday, January 28th - Eating in Finally!

Skipped breakfast today. I had a half cup of coffee at D's before walking to work. I had a banana work and really thought I'd be okay. I worked through and I started to drag by the end. When I got home, I did the typical handful of cashews. I think I have a cashew issue. With all that sugary gewurtztraminer and extra food at dinner, I wasn't hungry until the banana but then that wasn't enough.

For dinner, D and I made us all a risotto. Vaugh is still with us until tomorrow morning. I like having guests. It's fun. He spent the day boarding alone at Cypress so he offered to pick up a few things we were short on. He picked up some cheese and bread but forgot the broth. It worked out okay though. Oh and he picked up a few portobello mushrooms and a small bag full of button.
We usually use 1/2 cup arborio rice for the two of us but we used 2 cups as it seemed silly leaving half a cup in the bag and though Vaughn might eat alot.

D had some Sparwood or something wood. Party leftovers. They were all whites and terrible. The sauvignon blanc smelled like a wet sock.

We use 1litre of broth for every cup of rice Or more, depending on how much bite you like to your rice. You can go by taste or time. Or a combo of both.

Chop variety of mushrooms,... we had 3 fresh shitake, 1 portobello and 10 button.
Chop greenbeans in 1 inch lengths. We had them. Otherwise, we would have used frozen peas.

Bring the broth to a simmer. We had one box of Campbells low fat and low sodium. I added some water and later I added an organic vegan sea salt boullion cube. I added water to the cube by deglazing the pan we softened the mushrooms in.

Fry the mushrooms in butter until brown and set a side.
Fry 1-2 shallots in butter and olive oil until soft but not brown.
Add the rice and stir until all the rice is glistening. You may need to add some more oil.
Add a ladel of broth and stir until it is absorbed. Keep the heat on a bare simmer.
Keep adding and stirring. At about 20 minutes. Take a small sample with a teaspoon to see how far along the rice is. I like it a bit softer than D.
We used all the broth but about a ladel away, D added the green beans and the mushrooms. Add pepper. And salt only after tasting. The broth is often salty enough.
We had three large portions and then the guys had half seconds but D added more stock to and it didn't lose any thickness as a result and it still had bite, which it think goes to show you that D under 'waters' his rice and it could go further :-D But at his level, you'll probably stay full longer.

We both had good portions for lunch.

We had a small Panatone, the small dome shaped ones that sort of look like jello molds. They come with a small packed of icing sugar that you toss the cake around in to frost it like a mountain with snow. Panatone (which I know I've spelled wrong) is light and not sweet and great as a light dessert. It's slightly sweeter than a brioche. Vaughn bought Hagen Daaz carmel extras explosion. It was like taking a Cornetto and mincing it and mixing it into a vanilla ice cream. It was okay.

Had a half of D's port.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tuesday, January 27th - DDuhk Guk and VIJ's restaurant

For Korean New Year, which is the same as the Chinese because alot of south east asia followed the Lunar calendar, we eat and do specific things. For food, we have a similar tradition as the Chinese but quite different actual dish. Dumplings are a traditional dish. Now for chinese it is a stuffed something like a wonton or stuffed bun. For Korean's it's rice cake. Now, I don't know why they call DDUHK rice cake since it's more like rice based gnocci or dumplings in like a beef stew. Maybe because before we got the sweet version of 'western' cake, we ate dduhk for a post meal snack.

The Traditional New Years meal is Dhuhk Mandu Guk. Dhuck are the rice dumplings. The kind that is normally used for the soup are cut in a specific way. It's cut from a roll that is like a loonie coin in diameter. The slices are about twice the thickness of a loonie coin cut on a 60 degree bias so that the length is about 1.5-2 inches. Mandu are Korean wonton. Guk is Korean for soup.

The typical broth is a pork broth and anchovy (milchi) broth with pieces of pork in it. Milchi is not the oil preserved type you see in tins or jars in the italian shops. Milchi are about 1.5 inches long and 1 cm wide, dried, silver and salty. They are the typical base for a soup broth similar to the Japanese dashi. My mom only does the Milchi Mul (fish water literally) for the broth. She started adding shrimp for more flavour and because she probably thinks it needs protein. My sister and I went pescotarian in University. Then you add the dduhk and mandu. There should be a lot of dduhk in relation to the broth. Well, that's the way my mom does it. In restaurants, you'd probably see 1 to 4 solids to soup. Then add about 3-4 mandu per person. Swirl in a beaten egg or two depending on how many servings. We serve them in those enormous noodle bowls you see in Korean restaurants and wonder how Koreans can be so thin. I still have portion control issues to this day.

Well, I did not have dduhk mandu guk because I went to Cru last night. So for lunch today (after my Special K breakfast) I had 12 steamed seafood/kimchee mandu with chilli garlic/soy sauce dip. I was going to have lucky 8 but was worried I'd still be hungry. I went with 12 to represent the 12 zodiac signs.

D is back from Whistler today. Tonight we'll probably go for sushi because our out of town guest from Shanghai says that's one of the only cuisines he cannot get in quality there.

For Dinner we went to VIJ's. It and he have been one of the most popular choices for foodies in Vancouver. He does a modern indian, westcoasty type of thing. It's a medium sized place which seats about 50. There is a small bar in the back that seats 10 to WAIT only. The great bit is that they serve fresh nibblies back there. Cassava fries, Onion and Vegetable fritters. The place takes no reservations and they open the doors for first sitting at 5h30. Almost any day of the week, there are people out front for the opening. After first sitting is full up you are looking at a minimum of 45min-1 hr wait. They do not take parties larger than six. Unless you email and beg like I did once. Got Vij himself to say okay but that is rare and was only because my friend was leaving the company and she was going to culinary school and loves Vij's food.

I had a glass of Schloss Gobelsburg Gruner Veltliner and D and Vaughn had pale ale Pilsner. I had several of the cassava fries and a few fritters. And something that looked like a lentil curry on a crispy bread.

We were okay on hunger so shared one starter. Jackfruit in black Cardamom and Cumin Masala sauce with ginger. It was SOOOO gud. I thought it would be fruity or sweet but it wasn't. The cooked jackfruit actually had the texture of skate fish. String like breakdown. Very hearty. Served with Naan. They've changed the naan. It's smaller, flatter and not as buttery.

We started with a very expensive Goo (Gewurztraminer). I want to say Humbrecht but that was the second half of a double barrel name. It is imported at about 100. It was very floral, sweet with essence of rose petals, pear and apricots. Lovely.

We wanted to try another Goo after to compare. Again, unfortunately did not take note but it was the 50 bottle on their menu. It was lighter and crisper. It had the same aroma but less pungent. We asked for an ice bucket that time because the windowsill was not keeping it cool enough.

For main I ordered the Grilled Sable fish, Vaughn the lamb popsicles (their star but not as good last night) and D the Pork tenderloin. They messed up the lamb or gave it away and brought beef shortribs by accident. So they let us have it for free. It had Kale on top so I took it all :-D. D wasn't impressed but it was the only bit I could have. haha!

The meals were all excellent. The fish was proabably the best thought I didn't have high hopes for it because it didn't come in a curry sauce. I tried the lamb popsicle sauce which is AMAZING.... normally it's cream with fenugreek and it wasn't as rich this time or as pungent. Vaughn wasn't impressed. He liked the fish the best. Everything is served with refillable basmati with cardamom and coriander and the naan. The rice was better tonight than the naan which I normally pig out on. We did wait quite a while for our mains so I did eat a few pieces.

The food was described as follows in the menu:

Beef Shortribs in a cinnamon and redwine curry with warm greens.
Wine marinated lambpopsicles in fenugreek cream curry on tumeric spinach potatoes.
Grilled pork tenderloins and backribs in fennel seed, ginger and coconut curry with roasted cashews.
Marinated and grilled sablefish with grilled zuccini in Mango reduction.

(no reservations, first come first serve. doors open at 5h30.)j's

1480 11th Avenue West
Vancouver, BC
V6H 1L1‎
(604) 736-6664‎

(this time)

Dessert we skipped. Went home for some Whisky, Balweinie 12 and Macallans 12 to see of Vaughn could begin to like scotch. And Vaughn had some vanilla icecream with Agave syrup.

mmmm... course I woke up in the middle of the night with a splitting GOO induced headache.

Monday, January 26th - DineOut Cru Restaurant and Happy Lunar New Year!!

I skipped breakfast today. I woke up feeling totally bloated after all the snacking and drinking at Whistler. I went to the office with a mug of coffee. I worked through Lunch and was still not hungry. I had another cup of coffee.

Of course, by the time I got home at 6 I was starving. I had a handful of cashews and goldfish crackers.

For dinner, I went out to another DineOut participating restaurant. Cru at 1459 West Broadway. Coincidentally, one of my friends, Joyce, who was a part of our group, is doing an internship there. She was meant to be at Blue Water but they switched her. It's a tiny restaurant nestled between the Memphis Blue BBQ restaurant and the RBC bank. It seats maybe 35 people. We were sat at a booth at the door and there is no inner door so we got a healthy gust of artic air everytime someone came or went. :-(

The ambience was cozy and the benches were comfortable. They gave us a small space heater for Joyce :-D.

The menu was as follows:

Price per person:
$38 (excludes taxes, gratuity and alcohol)
Cuisine Type: West Coast


Sweet Potato Soupwith sage infused brown butter and toasted almonds
-- or --
Beef Tenderloin Carpacciowith truffle aioli, shaved parmesan and caperberries
-- or --
Cellar Door Caesar Salad (add $3)grilled hearts of romaine, warm croutons and asiago


Crispy Duck Confitgoat cheese spätzle hash with warm bacon vinaigrette
-- or --
Mushroom and Truffle Risotto with pea tendrils and parmesan
-- or --
Rare Seared Local Albacore Tunawith olive oil crushed yukon golds, braised fennel, oven dried tomatoes


“Grand Cru” Chocolate Tortepeanut butter mousse and raspberry coulis

We had Cava Cordoniu to start for the new year and the new LUNAR new year. (I'm not chinese :-P but it's still my new year too)

We all had it all except the soup. I should have had the soup but mine was nice as well. Joyce, Kate and I all had the Caesar salad. It was served as a grilled intact, half romain heart with blue cheese dressing over top with cheese. On the side were five dice sized cubes of crutons.... the most luxurious garlic crutons ever. I don't care for the small hard variety that cut up the roof of your mouth. These were amazing. I normally don't care for Caesar salad either because they never tear the leaves small enough and you're forced to make crazy faces as you try to stuff a slightly too large leaf in creamy sauce into your mouth. Since it was served intact, you could neatly cut slices. It was nice. Vanessa had the tenderloin carpaccio. She really liked it and as did Joyce. It was definitely a decent portion. There were at least ten toonie sized slices arranged on the plate served with fresh shaved parmesan and crostini.

For main, I had the Seared Albacore Tuna, Joyce and Kate the duck and Vanessa the Risotto. I had a taste of the risotto and it was very good. And the portion was very decent without being American sized :-D. The tuna was seared perfectly though a bit cool. The tomatoes were perfect and the mash was delish. The duck eaters picked their plates clean. In fact we all did. We had a Blue Mountain Pino Noir. It was nice. A bit carmelly but it went well with the food. At times I thought it clashed a bit with the tuna if that was all I had in my mouth but I was the only seafood at the table so I didn't want to force everyone to have white. But as it mellowed and I had some my sides, the wine was great.

The desert was great. The peanut butter mousse was cool and I hate it all but I thought it was strange to have both raspberry coulee and peanut butter to compliment the chocolate.

I totally recommend. I definitely appreciated the 1.5-2x mark up on the wine instead of the 3x at blue water.

Cru Restaurant
1459 Broadway W
Vancouver, BC
V6H 1H6
(604) 677-4111

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sunday, January 25th - Whistler

Brekkie was Eggs, Tomates, Mushrooms, Red Onion, wheat toast. I was still hungry so I had some Lucern lowfat Yogurt with Special K. It was one of those single serving cups.
I couldn't stop eating these noshy spicy Pistacios from Safeway.

BBQ Maple and Soy Salmon with Salad and Sweet Potatoes (everyone else had 1inch thick ribeyes)

Saturday, January 24th - Whistler lazy

Today was a lazy Whistler day

-Yogurt and Special K Satisfaction

-Salmon Curry with Veg and Jasmine Rice at the Roundhouse

We seem to have picked up a random dude.  The guys met someone at the Irish Pub and invited him over for a beer.  Why is he staying?  Random strange dude dipping into our fondue is not what I had in mind. 
-Cheese Plate
-Cheese Fondue, cauliflower, peppers, bread, apples and this random guy that my friends brought back from the Irish Pub in the village. Go away!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday, January 23rd - On the Road to Whistler

McGriddle with Extra Cheese
Clif Bar, Teriyaki Rice Bowl (D)
Teriyaki BBQ Salmon with Potatoes on the condo BBQ...

Mojitos and Cosmos when Nic and Earl showed up.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thursday, January 22nd - Ackee and Saltfish

We have an out of town guest coming in tonight. I was still feeling sort of full this morning so I skipped breakfast. Of course by, lunch I was starving. I had a spicy Korea Ramen with extra bean thread noodles added with some dehydrated vegetable protein. It is not as bad as it sounds but it's going to get worse before it gets better. While it in its dried form, it is not too disimilar from gravel or dried pet food. But you have to soak it or cook it in about equal parts of water volume-wise. Specifically, it is 7/8ths wet to dry. It bloats up and looks like chicken nuggets. If you have a non-flavoured one, it will have a tofu'ish flavour and have the chewy texture of say, octopus or squid. It's meant to approximate chicken I think, sort of like Quorn in the UK. High in protein, easy to store and 'beefs' up a quick meal.

The extra noodles were a mistake. They always are. I don't know why I do it. EVERY time I think I should add extra noodles cuz one measely packet of ramen can't possible sate me, I AM WRONGO. I couldn't finish it and I realised it about 1/3rd way in so I started to target the protein chunks only.

For dinner Vaughn, D's friend from Paris who lives in Shanghai was in so was took him to the Reef. A great great Jamaican restaurant on Main and 25th. It's fantastic. I wish I took photos cuz Vaughn's dessert, which was yummy looked like a turd.

I had a Banna smoothie, Rum, Malibu, Pineapple and Banana (double). D and Vaughn had some pale ale. Originally, Vaughn orderd a 'Scrumpy' Cider but as D very accurately put it, it smelled like ass. I hated to do it but I asked the waitress if it's meant to smell like that. The replaced it but all the staff tried it to check, of course. They all agreed.

We had their yummy Johnny cakes which is their table bread. It comes with coconut butter (that was new). In jamaica I remember them being called Festival bread. It's slightly sweet and have fine cornmeal. They're deep friend an addictive. We had Fried Plaintain for a starter. They deep fry them cut thin lengthwise so not the soft pucks I used to have for breakfast in Kingston. Soooo goood. It comes with some sort of mayo which I forgot to take note of. I always use (too much) of the scotch bonnet pepper sauce.

For main, I had my favorite, Ackee and Saltfish... (details to come)
D had the Reef's version of Rundown with Shrimp and Snapper (details to come)
Vaughn had some curry/jerk pork.

For dessert we had fried bananas with Chocolate sauce and icecream. So good..... (details to come, must work)

The Reef
4172 Main Street
Vancouver, BC
V5V 3P7
(604) 874-7684

The Reef on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wednesday, January 21st - Dineout Vancouver

It's your typical humpday. Well, even better since I'm taking Friday off to go to Whistler. Wooo. For breakfast, I crawled upstairs, exhausted. I had a bowl of Activia Vanilla Yogurt, I like it but it's a bit runny. I have to admit though, it is as advertised. I do feel like it helps my digestive system more so that run of the mill yogurt. Well the pre/pro biotic stuff in general. Though I don't know that they're low fat version does the same since I'm not convinced that low and no fat yogurts are really yogurts. Look out for yogurts that contain GELATIN to simulate the 'set' consistency of yogurt. I had the yogurt with fresh strawberries and Natures Path Smart Bran. I only had coffee when I got into work. I had the Columbien stuff in the urn.

For lunch, I've brought 8 of my mom's mandu with some soy and chili garlic sauce for dipping. I have some Jasmine Green tea.

Tonight is the first of the restaurants we reserved tables for Dine Out Vancouver. It's an annual thing and Yaletown, a small section of Downtown does something similar on their own as well in the summer. There are three levels of pricing 38, 28, and 18. It's up 3 bucks from last year. Also different is that Dine Out told the restaurants this year what price level they HAD to do. Many restaurants have purposefully declined to participate like Chambard who took out an ad to that effect as well as Chow. Both great restaurants that I am sorry to see not participating. No matter. It is really hard to get a table. You have to book as soon as you see the annoucement of participating restaurants OR just assume and book. Stupid really. I chose the most expensive and therefore probably the best deals. Otherwise, you may as well just go whenever. The menus are at times slightly smaller or mass produced because of the event. Though I don't know why anyone would do that because it wouldn't draw anyone back. Case in point Coast. We went to their Taste of Yaletown last year and it was HORRIBLE. The servings were notably smaller and the mash that D had was so salty was inedible. We sent it back and they came back with admittedly, a hotter portion but no less salty. I mean really did the chef or the sous chef not taste it? We weren't given any sort of concession because of it either. Even though we bought a very expensive bottle of win. I would not go back there.

Tonight we're going to Blue Water Cafe. I chose it, in addition to having $$$$ next to the listing, because J was supposed to be doing her internship for culinary school there but it turns out she's not. No matter, it's booked and I am probably going to cancel or give away the reservation at C Restaurant because the only seafood dish they have has pancetta on it. It's a flipping seafood restaurant!! Can you believe that???

The menu for Blue Water is:

Price per person:
$38 (excludes taxes, gratuity and alcohol)
Note: Price includes one appetizer, entrée and dessert selection only.

Matane Shrimp Salad
romaine heart, fennel, arugula, pink grapefruit, avocado
-- or --
Albacore Tuna Tataki
seared albacore with ponzu sauce and honey-mustard
-- or --
White Bean and Truffle Veloute
shiitake mushrooms, parmesan foam, crispy prosciutto

Arctic Char cooked a la plancha : served with celery, pearl onions and beluga lentils , fennel pollen and vanilla butter
-- or –
Kurobota Pork: twenty four hour braised pork shoulder with bourbon bbq sauce, corn bread, baby spinach, rutabaga
-- or –
Mediterranean Vegetable Tian: zucchini, eggplant, red peppers, onions and tomatoes
with goat cheese, arugula pesto and saffron emulsion

Hazelnut + Almond Meringue
coffee butter cream and chocolate ganache
-- or –
Key Lime Cheesecake
vanilla marshmallow, maple ice cream
-- or –
Apple Raisin Bread Pudding
chocolate sauce and dark rum sabayon

Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar
1095 Hamilton Street
604 688 8078

Review to come. I've eaten there once before and the food was great. Except, EXCEPT, the champagne was flat and I was sat facing the raw bar and I saw the sushi chef scratch his nose. He was standing at attention with this hands behind his back waiting for an order. Then he scratched his nose with his bare finger and then returned to standing at attention. He didn't wash it. Blech...


The yummiest part of Blue Water Cafe is what you don't have to pay for. The foot long herbed breadsticks in pint glasses at the bar are awesome. We arrived on time but the first sitting had run long so I ate a couple. mmmmm

The fresh bread that comes to the table is served with a 1c mound of fresh chickpea and red pepper 'pate'. It's chunkier than hummous and is a tad salty but it is lovely.

We ordered the Joie unOaked Chardonnay. We've had other Joie's and they're quite nice for a local wine. BUT mainly because Blue Water's mark up on wine is 3 THREE times retail. It's pretty obscene. So wine's we've had like Meyers Chardonnay which sell for 25 or so were listed at 85 bucks. Yeah I don't think so. The cocktails are a better value. They do have a very extensive list and I believe that they are virtually all offered by the glass. Though the prices are not listed nor offered.

We both opted for the Tuna starter. It was yummo!! Nice sized portion of five medallions or Toonie sized slices of barely seared tuna in mustard mayo and light ponzu. There was a little frizzee and I had a little bit of a spoiled leaf on mine but I couldn't be bothered to say anything. But the tuna was perfectly done and not at all fishy.

We both also opted for the Arctic Char. It was not as nice. In fact, though the fish was done nicely, perhaps a bit over cooked, the VANILLA BUTTER SAUCE was disgusting. It was too sweet and you inhale the volatile aromatics with every bite even if you pick up one of the small onions or celery served with it. The skin was tough and fatty. The baluga lenils were nice. I'd look to buy those to make at home with the little pickling onions. But that sauce was disappointing and I would not recommend you try it.

I had the key lime cheesecake with toasted marshmallows and persimmon. Once I scraped the marshmallows off, the cheesecake was nice. Portion was a tad small and you get one once scoop of maple ice cream which actually clashed with the cake. The marshmallows really ruin the dish. D had the breadpudding. It was alright but it was stone cold. I've never had stone cold bread pudding before. I expect breadpudding to be warm and luxurious. It was not. Again, I would not recommend either desert.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tuesday, January 20 - Vodka Cream and Sick of Obamania

Today is inauguration day. I was flipping through the morning news this morning over Special K with Vanilla and Almond with Silk Soy Unsweetened and a cup of coffee in a desperate attempt to avoid the 'pre-show'. I don't like it with my football and I could careless about where the fucking Bushes are having coffee. Every channel with inane commentary like it was the Macy's Santa Claus parade.

I had popcorn for lunch and some cashews. I had to work through and I was fighting a terrible migraine which I can only blame on the super sweet Poire William from last night.

For Dinner D is making Ravioli with fresh Vodka Cream Sauce.

The Ravioli is from our favourite Ravioli shop in Commercial Ave. It's called the 1st Ravioli shop of Vancouver but ironically, it's obvious they do not make the ravioli on site anymore. Though it is an awesome shop for prices and all sorts of great italian fare. Artichoke hearts, anchovie, cheeses, pastas....

The First Ravioli Store
1900 Commercial

The sauce is as follows, and I'm embarrassed to say D is making a version of a Rachel Ray recipie. I cannot stand Rachel Ray. Her shows are incredibly annoying and her cooking so 'frat-boy'. I'm imagining the only reason she has this in her repetoire is that it's an italian staple. Oh and why is she always YELLING??
Vodka Cream Sauce


1 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 T butter
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 cup vodka
1 cup stock
1 can crushed tomatoes large or whole and squashed with your fingers
bunch of fresh basil, whole or torn in half
Coarse salt and pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream

Heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Add oil, butter, garlic and shallots. Gently sauté shallots for 3 to 5 minutes until they just start to go brown on the edges. Add vodka to the pan . Reduce vodka by half, this will take 2 or 3 minutes. Add veggie stock, tomatoes. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. Add basil. You can add later to prevent from over cooking but I like the idea of infusing the flavour. Season with salt and pepper.

While sauce simmers, cook pasta. Stir cream into sauce just before serving. When sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from heat. Since we did ravioli, we lifted the ravioli out of the water with a slotted spoon and put them in the sauce and tossed gently.
Sooo good. Though a bit more cream and some butter wouldn't have hurt.

Monday, January 19th - Foggy work week

-Skipped breakfast, had coffee
-Nature's Path Optimum cereal with Silk Soy Milk for lunch and a handful of Thai Green Curry cashews
-Dinner at Stephane and Gen's:
Lychee Martini (Vodka, Soho Lychee liquor, Basil leaf, Lychee and some Lychee juice) with Gorganzola wrapped in Smoked Salmon on Endive
Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc with steamed baby Yellow and Red beets with Goat Cheese on Arugula (Rocket) and mixed Greens with Balsamic dressing
Sable Fish (Black Cod) marinated in Miso and Sake Broiled. Servied with Bok Choy, Broccoli and shelled Mussels and reduced marinade (added a dash of sugar to intensify flavour)
Pear Tart with Poire William
Chrysanthemum flower tea

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sunday, January 18th - Patio weather

Breakfast - freshly baked Pain au Chocolate from Trader Joe's (real butter!), corn muffins, and grapefruit.

My other sister V has an obsessive love affair with the bay area grocery called Trader Joe's. She doesn't cook at all. I mean at all. She eats everything prepared or ingredients. Trader Joe's is right up the alley. Premade curry paste which she didn't know she was not supposed to eat straight out of the jar, frozen naan, 2 portion pasta packages, prewashed precleaned potatoes. It's funny. In Uni she went through long phases. For a week she'd eat nothing but minestrone soup from a can. For a month she'd eat nothing but fish sticks. For a semester she'd not be separated from her Provigo container of raisins. When the phases were over, she'd call me over and ask if I wanted some fish sticks or minestrone soup. At least with Trader Joe's I know she's eating vegetables. O, who tries to cook by following recipes, thinks lettuce is a vegetable.

So she brought her latest Trader Joe's discovery to try for breakfast. I have to say, I wish we had these in Vancouver. They are frozen Pain au Chocolate. You leave them on tinfoil in the oven, turned off, over night. They rise as they defrost. All you have to do is bake them for about 15-20 minutes and you have beautiful buttery flakey chocolatey croissant. Amazing!

Lunch - Patio at the Ferry Terminal at Taylor's - Garlic Fries and Calamari. We took the Muni downtown. Well we walked around the Mission or rather the yuppy area just north of the Mission called Noe Valley. Very cute. Went into the famous Cheese shop there for a lookyloo but you're not allowed to bring cheese back with you from the States so I couldn't buy any.
The ferry terminal is a posh little set up in an old ferry terminal building with restaurants like the Slanted Door and other food stuffs and shops. Outside on the city side is a little diner called Taylor's. They have great I do meant great calamari and crazy good garlic fries. The photos tell it all. You must try it out when you're there. We had a bout of unexpected sun in January so it was wonderful on the patio.

Dinner - (sad snack in transit) chugged a glass of Pino Gris before running out. Slice of poppy seed bread and two corn muffins, glass of port when I got home

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Saturday, January 17th - sun and natural vitamin D!

Natures Path flax flakes with sliced bananas, a half a grapefruit and a corn muffin and Lactose free milk for me and Flax waffles with sliced bananas, half a grapefruit with real maple syrup all over.
Coffee was fresh ground Kona
Coffee out was Ritual coffee, french press, I think it was their Finca Buena Vista bean. I had it with Soy milk and Splenda.
This is their symbol. You might miss it as it's pretty unassuming store front but this red flag is hanging above their front door.

There are loads of other boutique coffee joints up and down Valencia BUT this is the only one that will have a constant CONSTANT line up out the door. Their scones are melt in your mouth and donuts are very good too. We didn't have them this time. on Valencia just after 23rd st.
Lunch, or rather a snack while go was fresh belgium fries with Chipotle mayo, at


590 Valencia St
(between 16th St & 17th St)
San Francisco

Lunch or rather first dinner was at Tu-Lan on 6th street off market. DINGARIFFIC but cheap and tasty. Legend. Don't let the laminated menus with Julia Child sketched on them fool you. This is good hearty chinese with enormous american sized portions! You walk to fast and you'll walk past. We had #20, Stir fried vegetables with Shrimp and Crispy Noodles. Darn! Didn't take a photo. Loads of veg for a change in a chinese and more than a dozen large shrimp. It was heaped with broccoli, bamboo shoots, straw mushrooms, baby corn, tomatoes, carrots, cabbage and those tiny vermicelli sized crispy wheat or egg type noodle. V was worried it wasn't going to be enough because she'd never been there before and ordered a Shrimp Fried Rice. It was a mountain on a large dinner sized plate. It was slightly curry flavoured but again, loads of shrimp, not too greasy. Very good for local tiny chinese! But it's on the edge of the Tenderloin district and can be a bit dodgy. There was a random looking guy with a tank top and sleeve tats on swearing and throwing stuff out of a plastic bag out front. Had to step around him to get in. It was dusk and might have put is off if I hadn't been there before and if it were darker. I might have walked by like I did the taqueria in Mission the other day.

Neighborhoods: SOMA, Civic Center/Tenderloin
8 6th St
(at Stevenson St)
San Francisco, CA 94103

Fantastic, cheap, authentic, fast... just becareful after dark!!

Dinner was late but since O was waiting for us we ordered again a few hours later when we got home. We ordered pizza from Zante's. Another local favourite famous for offering an odd combination of a wide assortment of pizza's or custom pizza and INDIAN food. Or... the two combined. Last time we were here, we ordered a few curries as we were doubtful about indian pizza. But having heard other people talk about this place on Mission who will deliver anywhere, we tried it. We got a Medium Indian Vegetarian. It had a masala type base sauce, with what I can only assume was a veggie curry with spinach, cauliflour, egg and onion. It was topped with your normal mozza though. IT was good. A bit salty and a bit too much base sauce. I don't normally eat crust on a pizza but this one you have to to balance out the sauce. It's almost like eating naan with your curry. I'd have it again I think. Next time I'm here I'll have the shrimp curry.


Neighborhood: Bernal Heights
3489 Mission St
(between Brook St & Cortland Ave)
San Francisco, CA 94110

It was a bit salty and the crust too bready. Still, cool idea I'll try at home when I can control the toppings and crust. Still, this is apparently an iconic pizza place in the area.

We drank a Fetzer's Cabsav. It was pretty good for a $6 dollar wine. Though I've seen it in the BC Liquor for nearly 15. Smooth, not too acidic. Easy to drink and nice for casual dining.

For dessert V bought these Cannele's things from Trader Joe's. They remind me of a Catalan dessert but I can't quite place it. Or that's because it's the catalan name for those small cakes you see everywhere in Barcelona. Dunno. But these looked like mini bunt cakes but they were custard based. Not very sweet and really not very good either. V and O both had two. I stopped at one so I could have a grapefruit.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday, January 16th - on the Road

Five grain bread bread from Safeway, mostly poppy seeds with Trader Joe's Almond butter, Kona safeway select coffee

Lunch, mmmm a Vegetarian Burrito from Papalote, Spinach tortilla, black beans and Soyrizo (a soy based, vegetarian chorizo). It of course comes dressed with sauce, and rice as well. They throw a bowl full of fresh chips in the paper bag that you take the burrito away in. I almost went to the more 'authentic' place down the road nearer Mission and 24th, I think it was called Taqueria Guadalajara. I ate there at 1 am once after going out with D and O. Had this enormous 1lb rice and been burrito I couldn't finish. They charge you 50c for chips though. But I didn't go in cuz these three guys were standing out front, right at the door, commenting on all the passing breasts. So I didn't even slow down. I walked past to the corner, crossed the road and walked back up 24th towards Guerrero to go to Papalote. You'll know it from this sign and their purple tiles on the exterior. It sticks out along that beige block.

3409 24th Street
(between Poplar St & Valencia St)

Dinner, cornbread and EatRight chili that O bought. Okay so it turns out that O bought two Meat veg. One had a green label because it was 'Laredo' style which, being the carnivore that she is, she assumed was vegetarian. She thinks lettuce is sufficient for vegetable intake.
I had a chinese mango pop for dessert.

Popped out for groceries and bought a Bolla Pino Grigio which cost 3X what I paid for it here in Vancouver. Bargain! I, being the classy number that I am, am drinking it with whole wheat Goldfish crackers. mmmm

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Thursday, January 15th - too much work to worry


- Nature's Path Muesli with lactose free milk
- Nature's Path Optimum mixed with Natriva low fat muesli and a few flakes from Post blueberry select with Silk soy milk, unsweetened
- Dinner is asian linguine noodles with Korean Mandu and fish cakes
- Cherries which I've discovered I'm allergic to. Yay... no more raw apples, pears, kiwi's, ... basically any fruit where I eat the skin... OH, walnuts....

Wednesday, January 14th - Midweek Green Curry

Too buzy... rapid recap post... sorry!

Probiotic Olympus yogurt with Smart Bran and Strawberries

Microwave popcorn and cashews (D took leftovers for lunch)

Thai Green curry with Butternut squash, eggplant, carrot, longbean and red onion with Shrimp(picture) with Clave Sauvignon Blanc (YUUUUMMMMMMOOOO)

Be sure to cut the squash in small enough pieces to cook through with out over cooking the stew.... about 1cm sized. Or you can nuke them a bit to soften them up.

D likes to put the milk and paste in first then add the veg.
I like to fry the aromatics, fry the paste and hard veg and then add the milk and softer veg.

Surprisingly you can try both and you will notice a different flavour.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tuesday, January 13 - Tired and Lazy


Silk soy milk and Special K Vanilla Almond
Mom's Seafood and Kimchee Mandu (Korean wonton)
Carrot Soup w chicken killing chilis and Pumpernickel Panini with Shitake, Pimentos and Pecorino cheese.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Monday, January 12th - Monday ugh

Back to the grind! And it's still raining.

For breakfast I had some greek organic yogurt. 3.5% fat. Manalive! If it weren't for free, leftover from D's work retreat, I'd have nothing to do with it. Though I have to admit, crazy tasty. Greek yogurt (real stuff) is sooooooo gud. It's like mildly cool ice cream. This one was fruit on the bottom so I scooped out just the yogurt as much as I could so I didn't have to deal with the strawberry jammy stuff. I poured on some Weetabix (squashed) Alpen Muesli and sliced a few strawberries on top.

For Lunch, I took the leftover portion of the curry from last night. I made extra rice after dinner. I only made two portions which still normally yields some leftovers but D was ravenous for carbs after skiing. If I use one of those little glass prep bowls, not the herb one but the ones that Alton Brown uses that are approximately half cup looking. The ones to the left....

One portion of rice is just below the rim. Two portions is flush to the top, maybe a grain or two humped over. I've measured the equality of the two portions of the bowl. I'm an engineer after all. When I used to use the measure cup that comes with my rice cooker, like my mom does, I always used to make and eat two portions! I try and stick to the bowl measure now. I had some Tetley Green Mint Tea with it as well. I swiped it from someone's stash in the kitchen. I'll replace it eventually. People are crazy on this floor of the building. They'll toss a hissy fit if you leave a cup on the counter to dry!!!! Dude in the Blackhawks jersey needs to chillax!!!

I made dinner tonight. I was origally going to open a jar of sauce but I thought I should get to a recipie I've been meaning to try for ages. It's from the River Cafe Two Easy cookbook. It is awesome. All the recipies look awesome and have less than a dozen ingredients.

I, being of true form to my nature, improved a bit. The recipie calls for 1 can chickpeas and 1 can tomatoes. Instead of the can of tomatoes, I used on fresh tomato and 1 red bell pepper. Really made the dish. Though I wonder if it was because it faintly reminded me of my old favourite, Red Pepper Hummous that Marks and Spencers' makes.

1. One large can chick peas (not really fussed on the size. Just play with the water after)

2. One large tomato

3. One medium red bellpepper

4. One small onion

5. 3 cloves garlic

6. Sage and rosemary 1.5 t each

7. Cayenne, as much as you like.

8. Veggie broth and some pasta water.

Chop everything that needs to be chopped. Saute onion until soft, add tomatoes and garlic and herbs. Stir. Add 3/4 of the minced bell pepper. Saute for a few minutes just to get some carmelisation. Add the 3/4 of the chickpeas. Add the veg broth to cover. Simmer for 10 minutes. Blitz with the handblender until porridgey. Add the rest of the pepper and chickpeas and leave to simmer until the pasta is done.

Use chunky short pasta. I didn't have ditalini (small stubby tubes) so I used gemelli cuz that's what I had on hand. Cook for 8 minutes so it still has some bite. If the sauce has gotten too thick, add some of the pasta water to it. If you're going to serve right away just drain and serve. If it will sit while you wait for your boyfriend to get out of his strata meeting, rince with cold water to stop the cooking. Leave the sauce on min or off and reheat.

It was really really gud. D took the leftover for lunch.

Sunday, January 11 - Snow and Curry

We woke up at an ungawdly hour for a dark and dreary sunday in Vancouver. We hit the snooze three times. We were going to Cypress so it was before seven. Cypress gets overly crowded so the lines for tickets is obscene if you're not early.

We had cereal and coffee. I had Weetabix meusli. Either they have changed the formula when they branded it Weetabix or someone sat on the box on the way home from D's retreat where it was a leftover. But it was oat dust. So I added some Nature's path blueberry meusli on top.

For lunch and snacks we packed to instant ramen bowls, Paldo brand. One spicy chicken and one spicy cameron (shrimp, but that's what the pack said). I had some Clif bars and D had Odawalla banana nut. It was gud. The spirulina one he had last week was disgusting. It tasted like grass.

The ramen was pretty good and much better than paying 12 bucks for a wilted veggie burger and greazy fries. Just fill it up at the tea pot and a way you go. When you're paying on average of 60 bucks for a lift ticket on a mid sized local mountain you don't want to waste money. I don't mind as much paying that dough at Whistler cuz their lodge food is very good.

Dinner I cooked Korean Yellow Curry with Chinese Long Beans, Eggplant and Butternut Squash.

D made the organic brown jasmine rice.

1. I use any of the 'tablet' yellow curry's from a Korean or Japanese market. Ie. Glico or Golden are both good. I go for Hot. Hot is not hot, I promise. The mild and medium are too sweet.
2. For a single person meal with a lunch leftover, I use on cube (if a slab is cut in three, they normally are). For the two of us, I used two cubes. My mom will make a family sized stew with a whole pack but she probably uses way more aromatics like onions. Place the cubes in a small dish and soften with boiling water, set aside.
3. Chop a small onion (I used shallots because we have so many)
4. Mince 2-3 cloves of garlic
5. 1inch of ginger, sliced (so if you don't like it you can pick it out) i love it and eat it anyway
6. 1 chinese egg plant chopped in big chunks (so they don't fall apart)
7. 1/2 butternut squash chopped whichever way you like but not too big. (you can use a potato. it's more traditional, as is carrot)
8. 1 big handful (unravelled) chinese long bean. Chopped in half once. These are really long, say a foot. So chop as much as you like but I kept them long because they're so cool.
9. Saute onion until soft in peanut oil.
10. Add Squash and fry for 5 minutes or more
11. Add egg plant and fry for 5 minutes more
12 Add long beans and stir a bit.
13. Mix the soften cube to mash it up. Pour into pot. Add water to the dish to clean out the remaining cube and add enough water to bring barely up to the level of the veg.
14. Stir until you know the cube is mixed in.
15. Bring to boil. It won't thicken until you do.
16. Simmer until squash is soft.
17. Add whatever protein you like. I did 1inch cubes of one small pack of organic tofu. Heat the tofu through. 5-10minutes.

Serve in a bowl on top of rice.

I had a bloody caesar and D had Vinho Verde, a light, young portugese wine. Slightly effervescant.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Saturday, January 10th - Building an Arc

It is raining. I mean you don't know rain until you've seen this rain. It is coming down in sheets. Normally the rain on the sunroof will pitter patter at about a slow waltz count. Last night, the rain was hitting it like someone throwing buckets of water on it, incessantly. My throat hurt this morning so I had a glass of Cranberry and Orange Juice hoping the natural antibacterial agents in the cran and the vitamin C in the oj would help. I normally don't have juice first thing because I like to avoid the fruit carb to start with. Food combining generally tell you to avoid having Fruit closer than 20 minutes before a meal and 3 hours after. I don't buy into all of it but this is true. Your stomach produces different acids for carbs than proteins so the fruit will sit and ferment if eaten at the wrong time. The result for me is uncomfortable gas.

We're trapped. Now my cold is ramped up a bit. I'm not getting a heck of alot of sympathy from D. I asked him to get me some Vitamin C from downstairs and instead, he told me where it was. Though, at least he braved the rain and went to Apple Hill to get milk.... probably more for his cappuccino than for my need for white coffee. :-I.

So while he was out, I poached eggs. I lurve poached eggs. Without the oil or butter, they just feel healthier. I've been doing them the same fool proof way for ages and they turn out great. Though it's a bit tricky to get them medium. So it's easier if you eat as you make so the first ones don't over cook.

1. Pull out a medium sauce pan and a shallow dish or fry pan.
2. Fill both with water. Put the sauce pan on high heat and the fry pan on low....or melt
3. Put 2-3 tablepoons of white vinegar in the pot.
4. Pull out all the eggs you want to use. Room temperature eggs ensure the water temp doesn't cool off when you put them in. But then you risk varying your cooking time. So I pull them out a few minutes before starting (just be sure to do it the same way everytime so your results don't vary)
5. Crack one egg in a small glass bowl. It's easier to put the egg in the water that way.
6. When the water is on gentle simmer, just before rolling boil, take a whisk or spoon and rapidly stir in a clockwise motion along the outside, starting a tornado. Keep stirring until you feel the water isn't fighting you. You'll know.
7. Quickly,gently place the egg into the centre of the tornado. The egg will close in on itself in a few seconds, ideally will look something like a hershey's kiss because of the tornado. (No need for all that double spoon collecting of the white that never works)
8. Three minutes maybe three and a half for a runny to medium egg. Pick up with a slotted spoon and place in the fry pan or dish with water. Don't worry if it looks wobbly. While it waits, in the warm water, it will cook a bit more. If you're just doing two egs for yourself. Cook for four minutes and don't fuss with the warmer dish.
9. When serving, pick up with a slotten spoon and a paper towel underneath to sop up the water.

We fried some fresh Pumpernickel D picked up at Apple Hill. It looks like Pumpernickel. It faintly smells like Pumpernickel. It doesn't taste like Pumpernickel. I've not found decent Rye or Pumpernickel bread in Vancouver. They only thing that's good is those square appetiser type 'bread'/'cracker' that comes in foil packs in the deli or cracker sections of the super market. Of course, they are not made in Vancouver. But that's not a good fresh loaf though. I don't know why they can't do a flavourful rye here. I even bought this one in a fresh paper bag with caraway seeds on top called 'real rye' that was white bread with caraway seeds on top. And the white bread was bland and flavourless.

We fried the bread in a little olive oil with one plum tomato cut in half. We served the eggs with one piece of bread each, half the tomato and some avocado slices. The avocado was perfect. It was on the cusp of being too young so it had that really nice nutty flavour. We topped the dish with Truffle oil and fresh ground pepper.

D had a cappuccino and I brewed a pot of coffee. It's like noon so I guess it was more like brunch.

We skipped lunch but truth be told, we were snacking throughout the day on cashews and pistacios.

For dinner we had Carrot and Leek soup to start:

1lb carrots, chopped
2 large leeks, washed and sliced, don't keep the tough green parts.
2T of grated ginger
1 large potato, peeled and chopped
1 l stock, veg or chicken
1 c orange juice
1 T orange zest
salt and pepper

1. sautee the leeks until soft
2. add the carrots and potato and sautee for 5-10 minutes more.
3. add the stock. We used Campbells chicken, low sodium this time. Normally I don't mind chicken broth though I'm vegetarian (by taste, not morals) but this particular variety was very VERY chickeny. I didn't care for it. There is an organic local variety that's okay when just opened and Knorr is okay. Chicken broth adds a silkiness and depth you might not get from a vegetable broth. Also the base for alot of veg broth is carrot and that can interfere with some dishes like risotto. But for this carrot soup, it probably would have been fine.
4. let simmer for 20 minutes.
5. add salt and pepper to taste
6. blitz with a hand blender until porridgey or you can run in batches in a blender or moulee.
7. add orange juice and zest, season to taste.

Ymmm though I didn't care for the Campbells chicken broth.

While we had the ginger out, D made Madhattans, bourbon and sweet vermouth and a lemon peel. (I'll have to look up the porportions.) shaken with crushed ice. I added some slices of fresh ginger cuz i had a craving. It did nothing.

For the main, we had
Salmon and Shitake mushrooms in phyllo and
Steamed Cauliflower in creams sauce.

1. sautee 5-6 sliced fresh shitake mushrooms
2. sear the skin of a piece of salmon approximately the size of 1.5 portions (i'll have to check what size we used) you could use two if you're really hungry.
3. cut into pieces. not too small. don't want cat food.
4. 1c cream with 1T dijon mustard, 1.5t herbes de provence (or whichever you like) until slightly thickened (5-10 minutes) don't over reduce.
5. salt and pepper to taste
6. spread one sheet of thawed phyllo out on a cookie sheet and brush liberally with melted butter and sprinkle breadcrumbs inbetween sheets.
7. repeat with 4-6 sheets.
8. spread mushrooms and salmon out in a log down the middle.
9. pour over cream mixture.
10. bring short ends up like wrapping a package and lay down on salmon mix
11. bring long sides up and butter seal
12. roll over so that the seal is on the bottom.
13. bush with egg white and butter.
14. sprinkle with breadcrumbs
15. bake at 375 for 20minutes.

Steam cauliflour as tender as you like. I like it al dente or still crunchy. So 5-10 minutes.
Place in a small baking dish and pour over the same cream sauce as above. Grate fresh parmesan or pecorrino (very salty so don't salt). Bake under broiler when the salmon is done for 5 minutes or until cheese begins to brown.

We had a Catena Malbec. This time there was quite a bit of residue on the bottom.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Friday, January 9th - TGIWFHF

Thank goodness it's Work From Home Friday.

I had my puss-flavoured Silhouette Vanilla yogurt with Smart Bran. I almost want to eat more of it so it's out of my house sooner.

For lunch, it's hard to be very hungry when even with the pacing around the apartment doing normal day stuff, I haven't travelled more than 50 m. I had one steamed bun. The typical ones you'll see everywhere are filled with sweet redbean paste. Pale white, glossy balls that at steamed. You'll often see them in dim sums. My mom grew up making them. Simple white bread dough rolled with a bit of sweet bean paste, left to rise then steamed in a double boiler. The next most popular one is lotus root. Not my favourite because it doesn't taste like anything, it's slightly snot coloured and is always a disappointment when you think you got a redbean one. I had one of the more 'modern' versions, Kimchee flavoured. It was stuffed with chopped kimchee. mmm it's really tasty (pics to come).

While winding down the day, I've been snacking on my Thai lime green chili cashews. Then I started to get quite snacky so I broke open my dried fish/squid snack. Historically a street snack. You'd get a dried squid and buy it from a street bbq vendor. Now a days you can buy it prepressed and sort of manufactured looking but still tasty. (picture to come). it's not as cringy as it sounds. It's basically like fish jerky.

I may skip dinner after all this fish.... off to yoga soon though.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Thursday, January 8th - Sushi everywhere and not a drop to drink

I had Silouette 0% yogurt this morning. Vanilla flavoured. It tasted like puss. If, in fact, I knew what puss tasted like, I am certain it would taste like Silouette fat free yogurt. I certainly looked liked it and moved liked it. The one thing it did not taste, feel or look like was yogurt. Blech. I had it with meusli and that helped a bit. But since I'm still working on that lowfat meusli with the rice puffs in it, it didn't help much.

For lunch, since I was downtown, I met up with my friend Jenn. She works down the street at an engineering firm. She's five or six months pregnant. She's noticably bigger everytime I see her. It's pretty amazing. Anyhoo, since I don't work downtown and eat out for lunch that often, I'm at a loss to recommend anywhere. There are some places I've eaten but they tend to be a stone's throw from the office and not worth recommending. There are in Vancouver, a sushi restaurant for every phone booth. In fact, now a days, I'd wager 2 x the number of sushi restaurants to the number of public phones. Does that mean we sushi lovers are in luck? No, that means there are alot of mediocre to crappy sushi restaurants out there. Today's mediocre pick was Urban Sushi on Granville and Dunsmuir. For 6.50 I had a BC Roll and a California Roll. Though to start, the weren't BC rolls and California rolls. The crab in the California was chopped so it was a better approximation of an Alaska Roll but with less mayo and no Salmon. The BC Roll is meant to have crispy salmon skin. This did not. This had, what I can only assume, canned salmon chunks. The rice had no flavour and the trademark of good sushi is the rice. It didn't hold it's shape and fell apart immediately after picking it up. The pieces were tiny and easily 75% the size of a reasonable maki roll. The gave me a measely few strips of ginger and very mild wasabi. The do not have low sodium soy on the tables. They do have an urn of green tea which you can serve yourself with. I like that. I hate having to ask for more tea or having someone hover by me with those enormous pots. It's not that hard to stand up and refill.

After all that salt and rice though, I'm at a loss to what to have for dinner. I may just have soup or a steamed vegetable bun.

I ended up having brown rice and a steamed crown of fresh broccoli. I added sesame oil and some chilli garlic paste. mmmmm. I'm also working through a Christmas present from my sister. I wish we had Trader Joe's up here. They have the best snacks, fresh meals and really amazing prices. She gave me a bag of Green Thai and Lime cashews. I mixed them into the jar of unsalted cashews I already had. Most of those mixes tend to over spice. But it really hasn't helped. The spice blend is quite well stuck on there.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Comfort Food

It's raining buckets out here and has been since Monday. On top of the foot and a half of snow, unploughed everywhere, we add nearly a m of water. Nice. And when is this set to stop? oooh about April.

I had a bowl of Organic lowfat Meusli. Blech. All that means is that they've added rice puffs to fill out the volume. It's just not right. Well, I'm still sticking to my smaller bowls though. I really love cereal. At one point I was eating it out of a small mixing bowl. You know the glass or ceramic sets you get in the kitchen shops? They normally have a small one that's slightly bigger than a large soup bowl. Well, I used to eat my meusli in bowls like that! That was until, I red the nutritional detail. I realised, to my horror, I was eating nearly a thousand calories at breakfast!! Madness. I use a japanese miso bowl now. A small one the size of a medium coffee mug. At first, I was aching for more. I think I'm used to it now. Though admittedly, I fill it to the brim on some days. Even at D's, I've downgraded from the soup bowls to the smaller yogurt bowls he has. Big strong mug off hawiian coffee with, of course.

At work, I ate at my desk. This is more normal that our all eating the cafeteria. Mostly because, the days that our whole team is here is rare. In my last team, we almost always ate at the caf, but we were a tight group and our VP required we all work from the same office unless the one day we're able to work from home. I had the last three of my spanakopita with some green tea.

Truth be told. I ended up finding a plastic knife yesterday and had the soufflee at lunch instead with one spinach puff.

For dinner, true comfort, I'll have brown rice with brussel sprouts. I luuuuuuve brussel sprouts. If I'm lazy or in a rush, I'll just nuke the brussel sprouts while the rice is cooking. When I was a student, I just put the brussel sprouts right into the rice cooker. If I have more time, I'll braise them on the stove top. mmmmm D hates brussel sprouts. Hates.. and he never uses that word. I went out of my way to tell mom to make them for breakfast like she likes to when he was visiting over Christmas :-D. She only uses fresh though. I did that for a while too but frigging cleaning them is a pain!

We also booked a bunch of Dineout Vancouver dinners too over the next month. Well, I booked one with the girls too. We had to squat on a bunch of days really fast or they fill up before you can decide. So I'm set for Bluewater Cafe on the 21st, C on the 28th (was the 29th but forgot we're seeing Carmen at the QueenE, I prefer eating out adjacent to weekends though.) and Cru with the girls on the 26th. mmmm

Here's their site. They don't seem to have their own though, just a section in OpenTable.
Dine Out Vancouver

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Tuesday, January 6th - when Martha's away

There will be days like this, during the normal course of a work week when our weekend cooking frenzy catches up with me. Not D, me. I cannot abide wasting food. Having a vermicomposter has helped me deal with this. Though those wormy's are not to be fed cooked food. Strange how fussy they can be. D thought for a while that they were anorexic. They were not plumping up and eating as fast as the guide said.

But D is gone for a few days so during those days, I eat leftovers or comfort food. D doesn't mind tossing leftovers or keeping them much longer in the fridge. You'll hear about my comfort food in due course.

For breakfast, we brewed a pot of coffee. We were out of milk and I had to drink it black. Blech. I don't know why I bother. The aromatics escape immediately and it's so jagged. I like the velvety taste of white coffee. mmm. I had Organic Vanilla yogurt with Smart Bran cereal. It prefer it to All Bran because it's lighter. Though amoung their ilk, I prefer AllBran Buds and Grape Nuts for their crunchiness. I didn't used to like Vanilla yogurt. There was something not quite right about all those 'sweet' yogurts like coffee or chocolate. I still don't like those but Vanilla's not bad. Still has some of the tartness of regular fruit yogurts.

I also took a 'mega-dose' of Vitamin C. I'm trying to stave off his cold. The WebMD says to take 8 tablets. So far, I've take 2. I'm easing into it.

Lunch, I'm going to have the spanakopita in a toaster oven here in the building. I love toaster ovens. I feel all energy efficient when I use them. But of course at home it's a huge waste of counterspace. I was going to have the noodles from dinner since I made a poor showing of finishing them off last night. But I don't have a fork. We've tried to eliminate unnecessary waste in alot of our buildings so you have to have your own coffee mug and cutlery. So I can't very well have the soufflee or noodles. That's okay. I'll have them tonight or tomorrow.

I'll probably have the noodles tonight because I'm craving them but really I feel I should have the souflee cuz it's older by two days. I'll probably have the noodles.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Monday, January 5th, 2009 - Take out

Back at work and the normal morning routine. If we're at mine, I'll brew a mug of coffee. Right now I'm using beans that a co-worker brought back from Hawaii. D, prefers to wait to use the expresso machine at work, a few blocks away. If we're at his, then we'll time brew a pot.

We just had a bowl of Nature's Path Optimum cereal with low fat Silk Soy Milk. The Optimum is a bit sweeter than I care for. You can see the bran threads have that light frosted look. It has dried blueberries which is nice but next time I think I'll stick to their simpler cereals. I've gone on and off the Soy stuff. Lactose free is better but more expensive with a shorter shelf life. Oh and it tasts like crap heated up. I guess that's because it's already been treated once.

I'm down in Burnaby today so I'll probably hit the cafeteria and eat the salad bar. The cafeteria here is abysmal. I normally resort to the Tuna Wrap which is okay but a bit heavy post holiday. At least at the other office in Burnaby there is a stir fry station which is fresh. Though overall the Sodexco guys over charge.

For dinner, we're having my favourite gem of the fairview if not downtown granville area. Sha Lin Noodle. It's on Broadway near Cambie. It is a hole in the wall you can easily walk by and accidentally go to the other noodle place a couple of doors down. The one a couple of doors down is more decorated and 'cleaner' but noticably more empty. Why? Because the noodle at Sha Lin rock! They are fresh cut to order, three ways:

1. Pulled from a ball over and over again, folded and pulled until as thin as can be.
2. Cut from a sheet rolled out, chunky and yummy
3. Shaved (My favorite) from a big block of down with a sharp knife directly into the water.

I always get the cumin noodles. They have curry but the cumin ones are curryier... if that makes sense. D normally get's the Pork. Whenever we eat out, he tries to get his fill of red meat. :-D pictures to come.

We watched Restaurant Makeover tonight. I love that show.... most of the time. Igor is truly the best thing about it. When I say most of the time, it's because I can't stand the episodes with Corbin Tomaszeski. Now, I don't know if some producer tried to coach him to have more personality for the TV but he's hit it in all the wrong places and all the wrong ways. He comes off snarky, rude and pompous in a pathetic unearned sort of way. Boooo Corbin. Yay Igor!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Sunday, January 4th, 2009 - Leftovers

D is still sick. We were tempted to go to Cypress to ride but he then started to cough again and we stayed in.

An hour later he went to check out WebMD for cold remedies. Like my mother, he defers to the voice of experts than second hand. So when I told him he should steep some fresh ginger in boiling water, he agreed because WebMD concurred :0).

So for breakfast, we both drank copious amounts of ginger tea with a slice of lemon and a stick of cinnamon. Well not cinnamon really. Most of the cinnamon on the market in stick form is not really cinnamon. It's bark from the Cassia tree. Cinnamon bark actually comes in enormous towel sized rolls. Some sticks of real cinnamon can be had but most likely if the source is Vietnam or Cambodia. Read the pack. If it's from Indonesia or otherwise, you're probably getting Cassia.

I had my tea with some dry cereal. Natural Path Heritage O's and Flax Flakes. That way I could eat it as a snack on the couch with my book. D had it the normal way.

Around 11, I heated up a Spanakopita from yesterday. On high for 30 seconds is good for toasty. A litte longer for piping hot for TWO. Obviously reheating in the oven is better because the phyllo is soggy in the micro. But if you have a toaster oven that'd be perfect. I don't like turning on the oven for a reheat.

D busted out some souvenir mexican xocolate pucks we bought in Puerto Vallarta last year. It's called Kekua. I think they have a website. You 1 litre of water or milk... or rather just to the point of boiling. We did milk. Water?? who would do that? Then you bust up a puck and drop it in and whisk until frothy. If you have a molinillo to do it properly then all the better. They're usually made of wood and kind of look like those honey scoopers that are rounded. A whisk is just fine. You don't need to add anything else if it is a sweetened puck. Ours had Chocolat, Azucar (sugar) and Canela (cinnamon) already in it. D mis read the spanish instructions and used half the amount of milk. The resulting beverage was very sweet and pungent but very delicious. I couldn't finish the last bit at the bottom of my mug so D combined it with his and added more water.For lunch, we went for the egg yolks from last night soufflee, kale from a few nights ago and the half bunch of spinach. I love kale. I only discovered it a few years ago in England since it's been a peasant staple for ages, particularly in Ireland where it's often served in mashed potatoes. It's much heartier than spinach and even after a blanching is till chewy and substantial. Great as an easy side dish. You can buy it anywhere.

Oyster Mushroom and Eggplant Frittata with Kale

Frittatas are the italian version of an omelette. It usually contains vegetables, herbs and cheese. Unlike the french equivalent which is tossed rapidly and folded, it is set in the pan and finished off in the oven. The spanish equivalent would be flipped over with the aid of a plate and turned back into the pan to finish.

D braised the kale, one or two leaves chopped with the spinach, washed and chopped. Fry some garlic in a little olive oil add the leaves and toss until slightly wilted. Cover and set aside. They'll continue to cook on the element with the heat off.

In a pan, we fry some oyster mushrooms, perserved jarred eggplant you can buy at any italian grocery..mmmmm, shallot, leftover dill and garlic. Salt and Pepper to taste. Beat three eggs or four for two people but we beat three and then added the two yolks from yesterday. Pour over the veg and stir. Move the egg around gently pulling the cooked egg away with a wide rubber spatula to let the raw egg cook but don't scramble. When it's nearly set, put the broiler on high with a rack in the highest position. Cut on plum tomato in to slices and place strategically around in whatever pattern you like. Place under the broiler for a few minutes until set.

Now some people wouldn't dare put a non-stick pan under the broiler. First, if your handle is wood or plastic, wrap in tinfoil, no worries. As for the teflon, some studies have shown that under intense heat, teflon can be toxic. However, it will not be under the broiler for very long and it has food in it. Now, I would advise preheating an empty teflon pan on extremely high heat for very long.

You can top the frittata with grated parmesan (the real stuff) or guyere. mmm Cut the frittata into fourths and serve with the kale. It's enough for a light lunch for four but we ate the whole thing.

The evening was more tea and leftover souflee. If you have half of it left, reheat in the oven. Otherwise 45 secs on high in the microwave is good.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009 - Hummous and Soufflee

It snowed a storm today. It IS still coming down in flakes the size of golfballs. D is now in full cold mode so he refused to go out. We had planned on going to Commercial to stock up on our favourite veg and pasta goodness but he insisted nothing would be shovelled. It was true.

For breakfast, I had a pot of the cuban coffee and D had more of the Ritual Life Saver Cap. The shop is on Valencia near 24th in the Mission in San Francisco. The beans are roasted on site. The baked goods are amazing too and they have free wifi.

We heated up the leftover scones in the oven rather than the micro...mmmm sorry no photos but they were picture perfect even the next day.

After a couple of hours of watching the snow fall, I had to head out. I walked down to Granville island for stuff to make our Seafood Carribean Soufflee and Spanakopita. While down at the public market, D rings me because he is restless and decided to make hummous. It is yummo, easy as running a blender and adjusted a bit to make it easier for you.

Original recipie included having to boil your own chickpeas from dry. Yeah right.


1 14 oz can of chick peas
3 large garlic cloves or more if you fancy that sort of thing. Raw garlic is said to have rejuvenating powers.
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil plus some for drizzling. if you don't have oil that is tasty enough to use in a dressing then don't sub in cooking oil.
pinch of ground cumin (1/8t)
1/4 C tahini. like I said Apple Hill on 6th has at least 4-5 types including organic.
1/8 C lemon juice

Blend in a food processor until the consistency of lumpy pancake batter, .... do not over process.

Garnish with a sprinkling of paprika and parsley or dill... drizzle with olive oil. Serve with bread or chips..mmm

the Ikea bread from yesterday is depicted behind the hummous

D forgot to defrost the Phyllo, so I'll have to wait a few hours to make


SERVES 15 , 15 spanakopitas

1 cup cooked fresh spinach (leaves only and well packed)
(this will be like 1-2 big bunches. It cooks down tremendously)
1 teaspoon olive oil

3 green onions or shallot
, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh dill
, chopped (I love dill, also like it on top. I am copying that from a place on Commercial)
4 tablespoons feta cheese,
2 eggs
, beaten
salt, to taste
black pepper
1/4 cup butter (melted)
6 sheets phyllo pastry sheets

1 pinch
grated nutmeg. (really adds a kick!)

1. You can either blanch the spinach or chiffonade it and cook it in the saute pan with the onions.
2. I used one enormous shallot. I don't know where TNT buys their Shallots but they're massive and you have buy them by the dozen. So I used one the size of a plum. Fry in a non stick on medium. Add the drained spinach or chiffonade and dill. Turn the heat up now and make sure the pan is dry. Set aside to cool.
3. Add the nutmeg and eggs. I had extra yolks from the macaroons from yesterday so I used one whole egg and two yolks.
4. Crumble the feta and stir in.

Defrost Phyllo and cover with a damp cloth. Work the rest quickly.

5. Take a sheet of fillo and cut in four strips. Butter with brush like you're painting the whole piece and layer two ontop of each other. Put a table spoon of filling at one end. Fold in a triangle to one corner of the strip like (I hate to use this analogy but like folding a flag). Keep folding all the way up the strip. Place on baking sheet and butter a little and then sprinkle paprika and some dill. Continue until all the filling is gone.
6. You can apparently refreeze the phyllo. I doubt this to be true but that's what the package says.
Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown on the edges. It took us 18 minutes.

They turned out amazing.... now onto dinner. Souffleee....

Carribean Seafood Soufflee for Dinner

1/2 cup sweetened, flaked coconut
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup celery tops
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon curry powder (I grabbed the wrong ziplock and used Zanzibar pilau mix which had cardommon and pepper, i'll have to let you know later how it turns out)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
ground black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups milk
4 egg yolks
1/2 pound crabmeat (I used a 230 ml can of salmon because crab is currently $40/kg which is obscene)
6 egg whites, stiffly beaten
1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

D is a bit worried about the lack of guyere cheese. But that's the recipie.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Butter a 8 cup souffle dish.
Toast coconut in a non-stick skillet over low heat. You can use a regular but make sure you don't burn the sugar in the coconut.
In a medium skillet, melt butter over low heat and add the celery, garlic, curry powder, thyme, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper - cook for 3 minutes. Stir in flour until smooth for about 1 minute.
Pour in milk and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Set aside and cool slightly.
Whisk the egg yolks one at a time into the sauce. Stir in coconut and crab meat.
In medium bowl, beat egg whites and lemon juice with a mixer until stiff, but not dry.
Stir 1/4 of the whites into crab mixture. Quickly and gently fold in the remaining whites. Do not deflate the volume.
Transfer mixture to the souffle dish and place it on a rack at the bottom of the oven.
Bake for 35 minutes or until golden, puffed and still moist inside.
I did it until 30 as instructed. The dead centre was the texture of pudding but cooked. The out edge was perfection. So I'd have left it in for a few more minutes. This was SOOOOO good.

We had it with a simple green salad tossed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Ymmmm

It won't rise up as crazy as a typical soufflee but it puffed up.