Monday, June 27, 2011

Wednesday, May 25th - Korean Mexican Fusion on Wheels - Coma Food Truck

Coma Foodtruck - Korean Fusion
You had me at Kimchee Quesadilla.  The quality and number of foodtrucks in Vancouver is on a welcome rise.  Unlike some other cities, the permits for these little havens is thankfully controlled.  We were chatting with some Portland locals on the train last week.  We were raving about their foodtrucks.  There, many have taken up permanent residence in many of the downtown public parking lots.  Whilst they generally agreed it was a good thing, they said that the quality isn't controlled enough and there are alot of random trucks going up without the same attitude to being a portable yet serious purveyor of good eats. 

I first read about the Coma truck in the freebie newspaper and the minute I read the menu, I was hooked. Korean Mexican fusion.  Awesome.  The first I heard of the idea was in San Francisco last year.  A well known mexican place in the Mission started serving Bulgogi Burritos.  A great idea just waiting for mass exploitation!  I was even more thrilled to find out that they do a once a week visit to Fairview, woohoo!  The chef in residence has been interviewed many times in the Globe, Metro and the Sun so I'll let you read there about their history.  I'll just tell you that the food was awesome and well worth hauling over the Cambie and Broadway with an infant in tow. 

Kimchee Quesadilla - Coma Food Truck
They have about half a dozen menu items and you have four choices of proteins for their Burrito. D had that and has had it twice and tried both the Pork and the Spicy Beef.  The liked both quite alot but preferred the Beef.  A nice mix of spicy Korean flavours and fresh ingredients.  This a double whammy for Vancouver since a good burrito is hard to find.  My favourite place is Budgies on Main. MMMMM, I digress.

I ordered the Kimchee Quesadilla.  It is a nice large Tortilla filled with a mild melting Cheese and heaps of Kimchee, topped with a light spicy sauce.  Wonderful, made to order and piping hot!  I've had it twice in the last month. 
Korean Pork Burrito - Coma Foodtruck
 We then shared the Fried Seaweed Rolls.  It is Bean Thread Noodle, like the ones used in Japchae, wrapped in Kim (aka Nori), battered and fried.  They're served with a sweet, sort of honey like sauce.   So yum.  D didn't care for it but he doesn't care for random deep frying.  I on the other hand could eat just about anything deep fried.  They give you a generous 6 pieces.  Both the quality and portion is heaps better than the equivalent dish I saw at the Richmond Night Market. 

Deep Fried Seaweed Rolls.

Inside of Deep Fried Seaweed Rolls
The one thing I would love to know is what the heck the name means.  I thought it might have something to do with the way you say thank you in Korean but dunno. They also have Bibimbap, a classic and a favourite! 

Regardless of their cryptic and sleepy monacher, they have a regular in me!  

Service: Friendly and fast
Ambiance: It's a truck
Location: Cambie and Broadway on Wednesdays, Financial District on other days

Coma Food Truck
500 Cambie Street
Vancouver, BC V6A
(604) 842-3676

 Coma Food Truck on Urbanspoon


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday, June 19th - Father's Day - Tiramisu Stuffed French Toast and Sweet Potato Corned Beef Hash

Sweet Potato Corned Beef Hash and Stuffed Tiramisu French Toast
I don't like leaving things to chance when it comes to food and particularly food on special days.  D did such a spectacular job on Mother's Day that I wanted him to have an equally nice Dad's Day brunch.  I especially wanted to go out of my way since D has been pulling more than his fair share in the kitchen since the reason we are celebrating Mom's and Dad's day came along a few months ago, that and we've been eating out like mad. 

When I asked him the week before if there were anything in particular he wanted instead of completely surprising him, he said Corned Beef Hash.  Who asks for Corned Beef Hash when asked what special dish they want made for brunch!? Well, I guess it's a bit of a nostalgia thing.  Canned, cured beef mash isn't at the top of my cravings list and you don't see it often on menus in Vancouver.  I have had Corned Beef Hash as a young young child from a can, ready made.  It was a curiosity thing.  I recall liking it because it wasn't Korean food, something different.  We weren't like most Koreans.  Mom made absolutely everything from scratch.  And though some aspects of fusion crept in to her cooking, nothing of 'modern' trends crept in like Spam or Corned Beef.  I have, never tasted Spam, actually.  Curious, though.

Well, if I am going to get up at 6 to start cooking, I am not going to do your traditional hash.  As well, we were going to be out of town for a few days so I had to plan strategically on ingredients so that D would only have an inkling of what I was upto.  We had some Sweet Potatoes kicking around that D had bought for the BBQ.  We always have Sweet Potatoes around the house since I am always big on 'Super Foods!'.  Red Bell Peppers and Orange Sweet Potatoes are considered, nutritionally, to be perfect foods.  MMMMM  Since I was going to use Sweet Potatoes, I thought I'd use the herbs from our balcony, I hoped would complement them well like, Rosemary, Thyme and Sage, since I wasn't too too sure what the Beef itself wanted.  In the end, the herbs were PERFECT blend for this mixture and in fact, enhanced the meat as well.  I and D would recommend this flavour combination. 

I had prepped most of what I needed to do but then I did have to break down and ask D for help.  I didn't know how to open the bloody can of Corned Beef!

Sweet Potato Corned Beef Hash

1 tin Corned Beef, trimmed of icky white stuff
1 med-large Orange Sweet Potato, peeled and diced (2 c)
1/2 medium Onion (Tennis Ball), diced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
3 sprigs Fresh Rosemary
3 sprigs Fresh Thyme
6-7 leaves Fresh Sage, chiffonade.

Peel and dice your Sweet Potato.  Spread out on a dinner plate and sprinkle with water.  Microwave on high for 3-4 minutes.  Soften but not entirely cooked.

In a large skillet, heat some Olive Oil on medium.  Sautee the diced Onion until slightly softened not browned, 3-5 minutes.  Add the Rosemary and Thyme, whole.  Add the Sweet Potato and sautee until cooked. 8-10 minutes. 

Add the Corned Beef and press down with your cooking utensil.  Spread out.  Ensure you brown the Beef.  Add more Olive Oil if your pan looks dry.  Cook for 10 minutes.  Add the Sage.  Season with Pepper.  You do not need to add salt.  The Beef is cured in Salt.

Set aside or serve warm. Very tasty with hints of Thanksgiving.

The stuffed French Toast was what I originally wanted to do but wasn't sure what to cook with it.  I had originally wanted to do it with a Brioche but we had just come back from the sunshine coast and I we didn't pass a bakery that carried them along the way.  So instead, I bought a plain white, farmer's loaf and used alot of Butter for cooking. :^D.  I loved this dish.  I will do it again and again if I want to make someone feel special.

Tiramisu Stuffed French Toast

Serves 2-3

4-5 Slices Bread, cut 3 cm thick

Egg Dip
3 Eggs
1/2 c Milk
1/2 T Vanilla Sugar
1/4 t Nutmeg, freshly grated
1/4 t Cinnamon, ground
1/4 t Salt

Tiramisu Filling
1/2 c Mascarpone (do I have your attention now?)
1 T Kaluha
1 T Vanilla Sugar (or regular White Sugar)
1 t Instant Coffee

1/4 c Butter
Chocolate shavings (optional garnish)

Slice the Bread to about 3cm thick or 1 inch, like two slices of sandwich bread.  If you have time and the bread is very fresh, slice it the night before and let it sit out. 

Take a sharp filet or small knife and cut a pocket in buy holding the Bread slice flat and cut into the bottom from the middle as if you're slicing it in half but start from the middle and do not cut to the edge.   Leave an inch on each side.  Turn your knife around or poke your finger in to expand the pocket but be careful not to puncture the bread.  Set aside.


In a small bowl, mix the Kahlua, Sugar and Instant Coffee.  Mix until the Sugar is dissolved or mostly dissolved.  Add the Mascarpone and mix thoroughly.  Taste the mixture and add more Mascarpone if it is too Coffeey

Place the mixture into a small zip bag or pastry bag.  Place it in the fridge until you need it. 

Egg Mix

In a shallow baking dish like a pyrex lasagna pan, beat the Eggs with the Milk.  Add the Salt, Sugar, Nutmeg and Cinnamon.


Take the zip bag and cut a 1 cm hole in a corner.  Fill a slice of bread with a few T of the filling.  Pinch closed and try to spread out buy massaging the bread.  If some is sticking out, it's not the end of the world.

In a large nonstick skillet, melt 1-2 T of Butter on Med High heat. 

Gently place two pieces of Stuffed Bread into the Egg mix. Let sit for 30 seconds.  Flip and let stand for 30 seconds.  Lift out and shake off excess Egg mix and place in the pan.

Cook on each side for 3-5 minutes until browned. 

Dust with Chocolate.  Serve with Maple Syrup or Agave Syrup.  AMMMMMAAAAAAZING!!!!

Tiramisu Stuffed French Toast


Monday, June 13, 2011

Monday, May 30th - Spot Prawn Grill Fest

Spot Prawn Grill Fest
Spot Prawns are peculiar specialty for this area.  The first time I had them was at work, oddly enough.  A lovely girl on my team, shrimps (as in the verb) as a hobby on the weekend from their speedboat.  They catch nearly a thousand and freeze them.  We, non-shrimpers, were facinated with the whole deal.  So as a treat and to demistify the Spot Prawn for us new to the area, she brought in a large container of lightly poached with some cocktail sauce.  They were spectacular.  They were big, bigger than most shrimp of that size in girth.  The meat was quite sweet and didn't need the sauce at all to show it off.  Very cool. 

I was very surprised to find out that they are also pink when they are uncooked.  They are an extremely sustainable seafood.  In fact, when I was down on the Pier at the Granville Fisherman's Wharf  buying some from a boat, the purveyor dared me to eat one raw like David Suzuki had the other day when he went out catching with him.  They are only available for a few months a year and sell for a premium in Vancouver.  And like alot of rarer and specialty foods, alot of the catch is sold to Japan.   So our philosophy is, try to find them as often as we can and we must have them at least once a year.

I made a Paella a couple weeks ago that I have not yet posted but was fab!  It is similar to this Spot Prawn Paella I posted last summer.  Today, though, with my sister visiting, we just cleanly grilled them. 

Spot Prawn Grill Fest
Serves 3-4
2 lbs Live Spot Prawn (Not for the squeemish. Hence, D did this grilling.)
2-3 T Olive Oil
Coarse Salt and Pepper
Fresh Parsley (optional)

Rinse the Live Prawn under water to wash any tank water off and drain.  Drizzle with Olive Oil. 

Place directly on a hot grill.  Turning once, cook for 6 minutes total. 

Remove from grill on to a serving platter or cutting board.  Squeeze the Lemon on top and sprinkle with Coarse Sea Salt and Pepper.  Add some fresh Parsley if you have it.  Remember to get the goodness in the head.

We served this with BBQ'd Baked Potatoes, Corn on the Cob and a simple Spinach Salad.  Wonderful!


Saturday, May 28th - Beard Papas - Robson - Odd Flaky Indulgence not my Cuppa

Mango Cream Beard Papa
I like a good trend.  I find the mass facination with a particular food stuff intriguing and often in the social networking, blog world leads to fabulous discoveries.  Particular, to this tendancy for flash mob loyalty is the Asian community.  So at work a couple of years ago, a new recruit I hired from a Californian business school, told me about Beard Papas, a Japanese pastry that was extremely popular in L.A.  He described it and I thought, well, it sounds like a French Cream Puff.  Thus, it fell into a long line of European specialties that the Japanese adopted and perfected or morphed  like Tempura and Baumkuchen.  It came up in convo because a Beard Papa's had just opened in Richmond, south of Vancouver, then in Tinseltown in Chinatown and on it went.  Wherever it went, a fierce following went too. The daily specials often sold out by mid day.

I finally went in when I was passing by on Denman in the West End.  I looked at it and thought, it's a Cream Puff.  I tasted it and I thought, it's a Cream Puff.  I didn't and don't get it.  Then subsequently, I went to San Francisco to visit my sister and she dragged me all over downtown to the food court beneath Nordstrom's because there was something she wanted me to try.  We get down there and there it was, a Beard Papas!  For crying out loud.

Beard Papa's Vancouver's Robson store
Then recently, Beard Papa's opened up it's first downtown central store front.  It has a wide variety of flavours and sizes.  In the summer they even started to offer Sorbet filled Puffs.  My other sister was visiting from the Bay Area last month and she fanced one.  So she and D ordered the larger Mango Cream and Earl Grey.

Admittedly, they are light and flaky, though when they're not fresh fresh, they can be a bit chewy on the corners.  As well, the puff itself lacks any real flavour.  The filling is flavourful and creamy without being to heavy as some custards can be.  The Mango one was quite tasty though not big on Mango flavour. The Tea one had an interesting perfume to it.  On the whole, they're good but am puzzled by their popularity above other French bakeries and pastries.  I find the sell out of flavours annoying.  I don't go in on my own and rarely get one for myself. 

Cost: $$$ (for a puff)

Beard Papa's - Robson
548 Robson St
Vancouver, BC V6B
(604) 568-0058
Beard Papa's (Robson Street) on Urbanspoon
Mainly cuz I don't get the appeal.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunday, June 12th - Perfect Poached Eggs with Balsamic Grape Tomatoes on 'cheater' Rösti

Perfect Poached Egg on Rösti with Balsamic Grape Tomatoes
I really wish it would rain on Sundays then the lazy brunch routine wouldn't seem like such a waste of a rare sunny Vancouver day.  Alas, it is blue skies and gentle breezes outside and we plodded our way through brunch.  Well, we actually had good cause to take our time since we had a scheduled video Skype with our family in Montreal.  The chatting between family members, nieces and grandparents, running to and from the camera gave me a good chance to stage brunch, Poached Eggs! 

MMMMM my favourite egg preparation.  When you're going to do them for more than just yourself, there is some advance prepping necessary to arrive at the table together.  I like to have a shallow pan of water on the 'melt' setting to the side to place the finished Eggs since I poach one Egg at a time in my swirling method.  And then I add them all back for 30 s to heat through.  Bear that in mind when doing the timing.  If you like them oozing, only Poach them for 3 minutes rather than 4 because of the sitting and reheating.

We served the Eggs today with some very tasty, savory Grape Tomatoes sauteed in Balsamic and IKEA's ready madeRösti.  Yes, IKEA.  You can buy them in their marketplace for a few dollars and they are very tasty.  It's basically potatoes that simply need frying or baking from the freezer.  They're quite good as far as ready made Potatoes go.  Nothing like the McCain variety that have a fast-food look and feel to them.  These actually feel like you made yourself.

My Perfected Poached Egg method.   The basic tricks are good dollop of Vinegar in the Water and swirling the water Counter Clockwise!

Balsamic Grape Tomatoes for Brunch

1 c Grape Tomatoes, washed and halved
1 t fresh Thyme
1 t fresh Oregano
1 T good Balsamic Vinegar
1 T Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

In a large sautee pan, heat the Oil on medium high.  Add the Tomatoes.  Toss until they start to shrivel and carmelise, 5 minutes.  Turn the heat down slightly and add the Herbs.  Heat through.  Sprinkle the Vinegar over and season to taste.  Serve warm.

We assembled the dish with 2 Rösti per plate.  A Perfect Poached Egg on each Rösti topped with fresh Chives and Arugula from the balcony.  On the side, we served the Balsamic Grape Tomatoes and my Lemon Olive Tapenade Fougasse for dipping in the Yolks.

Perfect Poached Eggs on cheater Rösti with Tapenade Fougasse

Soooooo Goooood!


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Saturday, June 10th - "Quicker" Lemon Olive Tapenade Fougasse

Lemon Olive Tapenade Fougasse
I love love to bake bread.  I say it everytime I do a bread post.  I love the long process and the extended manipulation.  I feel more involved in the food.  Bread is truly at the heart of 'slow-food' for me.  Lately though, because of a very recent new arrival in our house, bread is almost impossible to spare time for, because there is no such thing as spare time.  So to allay my craving to bake, I needed to be sure that I had the activities lined up and planned.  I went for a single rise so as not to fuss in the kitchen away from louder demands.  I will try the double rise if I ever see spare time again but I didn't miss it. It turned out fantastic!

Lemon Olive Tapenade Fougasse Bread

1 2/3 c warm Water
1 t Honey
2 t Dry Active Yeast
1 t Salt
3 T Olive Oil (or Anchovy Oil)
2 c Whole Wheat Flour
2-3 c Bread Flour (All Purpose Flour)

1 T fresh Rosemary, minced
1 t fresh Sage (totally optional, just had some on the balcony)
12-14 Salt Cured Olives, pitted and diced
1 Lemon's Zest
2 Oil Cured Anchovy Filets, diced

1/4 c Cornmeal
1 T Olive Oil

In a mixing bowl with the kneading hook on, add the Warm Water and dissolve the Honey.  Sprinkle the Yeast over and let stand for 5-10 minutes until frothy.

Meanwhile, on a cutting board, mince the Rosemary and the Sage.  Lump the pitted Olives and the Anchovy Filets on top and continue chopping until roughly cut up.  Add the Zest to the heap.   Set aside.

Add the Salt and Olive Oil to the Yeast mixture and stir.  Add 1 cup of the Wholewheat Flour and Stir until moistened.  Add the Olive Mixture.  Mix on Low.  Add the rest of the Wholewheat Flour.  On a Kitchenaid mixture, turn up to "2" that is the second to lowest setting.
Add the Bread Flour in 1/2 c increments until you have a dough that is sticky but pulls away from the bowl.  Typically, it will be 2-2 1/2 c but it depends on your local humidity.  Turn up to "4" when most of the flour is in and let knead for 5-8 minutes.

When the dough is at the texture you like, remove from the bowl and form into a ball on a dusted cutting board.  Cut in half.  Form each half into a flat oval about 10-12 inches long.  Cut slits like a rib cage on the bias going both ways on each oval.  You will need a very sharp knife and maneouvre your fingers through sometimes.

Dust two baking sheets with Cornmeal. Not too much because the loose stuff will scorch.  Place the Fougasse on each baking sheet stretching it out to open up the slits.  Lightly brush with Olive Oil and cover loosely with Plastic Wrap and let sit in a warm place for 1 1/2 - 2 hours.

If you have more time.  Let the dough ball rise, whole, in an oiled bowl for 1-2 hours before making the loaves.

Preheat the Oven to 450F with two racks at the 1/3 and 2/3 positions. Oil the loaves with a brush or with your fingers.

Just before placing the bread in, throw a 1/4 c water into the oven.  This will help form a good crust.

Bake for 12 minutes.  Then switch positions and turn the loaves back to front.  Bake for another 10 minutes. 

Now the holes may close up because of the single rise but it tastes spectacular!  Serve warm with Butter or Olive Oil.  We have some Oil Cured White Anchovies in the fridge and they were awesome on the bread!!  The lemon comes in on the end and adds character.

Yummo!  Will make again and again!

Saturday, May 14th - Dragon Foodtruck - Asian Adventure on Wheels

Roaming Dragon Vancouver Foodtruck
I have an oddly romantic view of food trucks.  Not some cheesy Anne Hathaway movie type of romantic.  I like the idea of people so passionate about food and cooking that they're literally and figuratively taking it to the streets.  These are the lunch trucks of my childhood that park by the construction sites with their greasy sausage rolls and questionable egg salad sandwiches.  Thankfully.  Food trucks have evolved to a level I would never have anticipated.  Scratch cooking, organic ingredients, trained chefs and foodies behind the glass is what you can expect now.  Well, at least in Vancouver this is what you can anticipate.  The coming of the food trucks to the streets of Vancouver was years in the making.  The applications for licenses were numerous.  Yet the citizens did not relent in clamouring for them.  Last year they slowly started to appear all over town.  One of those is so popular and serves such quality food that it was featured on Food TV's Eat St, the Dragon Food Truck.

A well seasoned chef was asked to design the menu for this pan Asian truck and he did not skimp on the number of ingredients or complexity just because it was going to be prepared on a rolling restaurant.  This isn't your typical pre-made steamer trays dim-sum fare you can get in the freezer aisle at TnT.  You can have fresh made Pork Belly Sliders, Bulgogi Tacos, Veggie Bahn Mi sandwiches and Soba Noodles Salad.

D and I followed them to the Trout Lake Farmer's Market on Saturday since we don't work near their work week parking spot on Burrard.  They only have two Vegetarian menu items, the Vietnamese Sub (Bahn Mi) and the Soba Noodle Salad.  I ordered the Vegetarian Bahn Mi and D ordered the Bulgogi Taco and a Pork Belly Slider.

Roaming Dragon Foodtruck - Vegetarian Bahn Mi Sandwich
D's first take was that for their price, they were exceptionally small.  You only get 1 taco and one small slider per order.  Second take was that the amount of meat on the Pork Belly Slider was on the 'chintzy' side.  It was very tasty but the bread to meat ratio was definitely not Atkins friendly.  The Taco had a decent amount of meat on it though and it was well seasoned.  Though again, it was on the small side.

The Bahn Mi was very tasty and bright flavours.  However, for a Vegetarian who dislikes being told that they can have a salad when they find themselves in a very carnivorous establishment, I did find it lacked 'Oomph'.  It had not depth or substance.  Though alot of vegetarians and certainly vegans would not have issue with it.  I just tend to believe that being a vegetarian does not mean I have to eat salad, particularly with such wonderful vegetarian asian options out there like Seitan.

Roaming Dragon Foodtruck - Bulgogi Taco and Pork Belly Slider
Now as far as the quality of the food and the flavours, I enjoyed it.  But I don't believe I would chase it down again..... now the second truck on my Food Truck adventure (next post Coma Food Truck) is a different story, I plan to find it every Wednesday it's in my neighborhood....but that's another post for another day. 

Cost: $$-$$$ (for Food Truck and quantity of food)
Ambiance: It's a truck
Payment: Cash and Credit Cards

Roaming Dragon Food Truck
Location Various
Vancouver, BC
Roaming Dragon Food Truck on Urbanspoon


Saturday, June 04, 2011

Sunday, May 8th - Spicy Lemon Crab Cake Benny - My 1st Mom's Day Brunch

Spicy Lemon Crab Cake Eggs Benedict
There's not alot about the Hallmark holidays that I subscribe to unless they entail the obligatory indulgent meal.  It was a few weeks ago and I am catching up on a post that well deserves recognition.  D spent a good couple of hours assembling my extravagant brunch and it was well worth the wait.  Each part of the meal is something you could have separately.  We have made the Crab Cakes on their own for appetisers. And I love making Poached Eggs and have perfected it.  It was interesting to see D tackle something that is my regular domain.

I had something similar to this a while back at a Jamaican Restaurant called the Reef.  Surprisingly, the Reef serves breakfast.  Even more suprisingly, they serve breakfast on theme.  They have an amazing Eggs Benedict called Jamaican Me Crabby.  You guessed it.  Poached Eggs on a Jamaican Crab Cake.  I have mentioned it to D more than once.  I'm glad he was listening :^D

You'll need two Perfect Poached Eggs per Person (recipe posted here)
You'll need two Spicy Lemon Crab Cakes (recipe posted here) per Person.  You can buy fresh picked crab at most fish counters.  Our local Choices Market always has some.  DO NOT USE Krab Stick.  Blech! 

On the side are classic Sauteed Herbed Potatoes finished in the oven with the...
Oven Roasted Tomatoes

12 small Tomatoes, the ping pong sized on the vine type or 8 Roma
4 sprigs fresh Thyme, roughly chopped
Course Salt
Olive Oil

Preheat the oven to 250F

Wash and dry the Tomatoes.  Slice the Tomatoes in half.  Toss in 2 T Olive Oil quickly.

Spread the Tomatoes out cut side up on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle with the fresh Thyme and Salt.

Bake for 2 hours (ideally 4-6).  They keep well in the fridge.  You can bake longer and they taste like Sun Blushed.

Easy Béarnaise Sauce

1 Stick Butter (1/4 c) cut into 8 pieces
3 Egg Yolks
1 Shallot, finely minced
1/2 T fresh Tarragon, minced, plus a pinch for garnish
1 T Lemon, juiced
1/4 c White Wine Vinegar
2 T dry White Wine
White Pepper (optional)

In small sauce, add the Shallot, Wine, Vinegar and Lemon Juice bring to a strong simmer/near boil for 5 minutes until it reduces by half.  Pour into a blender.  Place the lid on.  Run on low.  Remove the little cup thing at the top and drop in 1 yolk at a time.  You want to cook the Yolks but not scramble them by over heating. Turn up the blender one notch.

Add the Butter one pat at a time.  Blend until the mixture looks smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasoning with Salt and White Pepper.  Replace the little cup on the lid.  Turn up high for 1 minute.  Stir in the Tarragon and set aside.

If it separates, you can whisk another Yolk with a T of Lemon Juice and add it too the blender.  What does separated Béarnaise look like? It looks like cream swimming in oil. This can happen if you tried to add too much Butter or Butter too fast.

If you're good, you can skip the blender and do this with a whisk over VERY low heat on the stove top.  You need to move the saucepan on and off the heat now and again to keep the mixture hot but not scramble the eggs. If you're going to do it the classic way, you'll be adding Yolks and butter to the reduced Wine/Vinegar
over a double boiler.  Too much fuss on this particular day with the Crab Cakes, Tomatoes and Potatoes on the go.

Spicy Lemon Crab Cake Eggs Benedict


Place 2 Spicy Lemon Crab Cakes on the plate
Place a Perfect Poached Egg on each Crab Cake
Drizzle over the Bearnaise Sauce and sprinkle some additional Tarragon (optional)
Serve with Oven Roasted Tomatoes and Herbed Potatoes.

I definitely felt treated. I'm already worried about what to make D for Father's Day.  Yikes! YUMMO!


Thursday, June 02, 2011

Saturday, April 30th - BBQ Whole Herb Stuffed Wild Sockeye Salmon with Orange Butter

The folks are in town from the East coast so it was a perfect time to break out our last Whole Wild Sockeye from the freezer from last year's run.  I do hope this year's run is as generous as last.  We had bought half a dozen and froze most of them.  We've done this before with a herb butter but the Orange butter this time was awesome.  It's always impressive to serve a whole fish and my parents were well taken aback.  We served it with some BBQ Potatoes and Asparagus.  MMMMM

BBQ Whole Herb Stuffed Wild Sockeye Salmon with Orange Butter

Whole BBQ Herb Stuffed Salmon with Orange Butter

1 large (4-5lbs) Salmon, cleaned
2 Lemons, washed and sliced
1 c Fresh Basil (about half a bunch)
1/2 c or 2 fluffy sprigs of Fresh Dill, whole
1/4 c Fresh Chives, whole 
4-5 sprigs of fresh Thyme (optional - we had it kicking around in the fridge)
Cooking Twine
1 Navel Orange, zested + 2 T juiced
1/2 c Butter, room temperature

In a bowl, mix the slightly softened butter thoroughly with a rubber spatula as you would fold cake batter but perhaps with a bit more gusto as it will be stiffer of course.  Incorporate the Zest of the Orange and the Juice.  Set aside

Cut a few slits down the sides, on both sides of the outside of the Salmon. Stuff a slices of Lemon and Basil in each of the slits with the handle of a butter knife or other dull wide implement.

Whole Herb Stuffed Wild Sockeye Salmon with Orange Butter
Place all the other herbs and remaing Lemon inside of the fish and head. Smear the entire fish with the Herbed Butter. Reserve 1/3 of the Butter for serving. Tie the Salmon closed at four points along the length like you are wrapping a butcher's package. You MUST use cooking twine.  Do not use regular twine or certainly not synthetic!!!! I suggested to D that we buy one of those Grill Baskets in the shape of a fish that hold a whole fish together and allow for easy flipping. He would not hear of it. I am going to buy it anyway. We always make a mess on the flip which costs me crispy BBQ Salmon Skin.  I'm not ashamed to pick it off others' plates who are silly enough to leave it behind. :^D

Carefully place the fish on the grill and grill for 10 to 15 minutes. Do not touch it or move it slightly as tempted as you may be. It will tear the skin if you do. It will be easier to move once it has cooked. Use a large wide Fish spatula or two spatulas to turn the Salmon. Turn over for 15 minutes more. Ours was still quite ruby in the middle but that is the way we like it. You may want to go the full 15 and 15. We also checked with a thermometer before pulling it off. 130F can be acceptable if you are confident in the source. 135-140 is normal by most fish monger standards. Over 150 you are getting close to catfood.

Serve with grilled Veggies and the remaining Orange Butter on the table.


Friday, April 29th - Shore Club - Anniversary Dinner

Key Lime Pie - Shore Club
Let me be clear, I am not a royal watcher.  I selected our day purely based on availability of venues.  I had entirely forgotten or was thankfully oblivious to the fact that it was Prince William's birthday.  When I lived in England, there'd be random fireworks on the day but I ascribed them to nothing in particular, except when he turned 25.  There was a bit of a to-do.  Anyhoo, that was a while ago.

Suffice it to say I was less that thrilled to find that 'the couple' had announced their nuptuals on the same day as ours, April 29th.  Well ours was not this year but 'our day' nonetheless.  I mean, how lame is that, Wills picks his birthday as his wedding day?  Seriously, like he's not going to have a full army of staff to remind him of his wedding anniversary?   So trust me when I say, we did not get up at the crack of dawn to watch the wedding.  To this day, over a month later, I have not seen but clips of the wedding from the news.

I hadn't originally planned on being able to escape to celebrate since my parents were in town and we've been shackled to the house.  They offered to stay home with T so we could go out.  Hoorah!  We started the evening out at home with a toast with a nice bottle of Champagne that D had saved from our Korean Tea Ceremony. MMMMM

Crusty Fresh Bread
D chose the Shore Club after we looked through the menus of a few new and buzzy places in town.  We wanted to make the most of our liberty and this special night.  We were going to try Oru, this new Pan Asian place in the Fairmont but after a week with my parents, I was not in the mood for fancy Asian.  D thought Shore Club was a good compromise for our respective diets.  I'd been for drinks a few times but never for food and had always thought it had a clubby feel, so was rather surprised to find the wonderfully chic decor upstairs in the dining room.

D had called ahead to mention it was our anniversary so I was touched when the hostess offered us her well wishes as did our server. The dining room is on the second floor of a New York style lofty bar/resto.  There was live jazz playing below in view.  It was a cozy yet chic feel.   We felt secluded in such a big room which is rare.

The menu is a 'surf and turf' concept.  They are well known for their steaks which is what D was looking forward to.   I started off with an intriguing starter of Steamed Black Bean Clams.  I didn't want it to be super asiany and the server assured me it was not and I do love fresh clams.  D ordered the Prawn and Scallop Ceviche.  The two dishes couldn't have been more different and both wonderful.

Steamed Black Bean Clams - Shore Club
Prawn and Scallop Citrus Ceviche - Shore Club
I had anticipated a small bowl of steamed clams and instead received a heaping steamer pot of Clams much like you might have when you order Mussels.  They were in a light yet flavourful Black Bean broth.  The Black Beans were subtle and not too salty and definitely did not detract from the Clams.  When I was ordering, I had asked the server which I'd prefer, the Crab Cake or the Clams.  He admitted that though the Crab Cake was delicious, they were small compared to the Clams... as crabcakes are.  I would definitely order those Clams again and try to make them at home. D's Ceviche was a more classic and showy presentation.  That is not to say it wasn't delicious.  The Citrus and Cilantro set off the seafood well.  The Scallops were not at all 'fishy' as Scallop Ceviche can be when done with inferior fish or imbalanced marinade. 

Bone In Rib Steak - Shore Club Vancouver
Macadamia Crusted Halibut - Shore Club
The Mains concept is like a traditional steakhouse where you order your protein and your sides separately in family style.  We ordered the Scalloped Potatoes and Sauteed Baby Beets.  As a protein, I had the Macadamia Crusted Halibut and D ordered the Bone In Rib Steak.  The Scalloped Potatoes were lovely, slightly soft in the middle and the top could have been crustier but delicious and rich.  The Baby Beets were not Baby Beets and that might be my only real complaint.  We were not told in advance that they'd be full sized Beets cut up.  Not quite the same for me.  That said, they were perfectly cooked and we did finish the lot.  My Halibut was perfectly cooked.  Just cooked through without a trace of dry with a lovely Beurre Blanc that didn't overly coat or cloy.  D's steak was generous and tender.  Cooked just as he had ordered. 
Scalloped Potatoes - Shore Club

Sauteed "Baby" Beets - Shore Club
We weren't sure about dessert but decided we were celebrating so I caved in and had the Key Lime Pie and D had the Sorbet.  My pie came with Congratulations written in Ganache on the plate....which we promptly swiped up :^).  The pie was delicious, not too tart nor sweet.

Sorbet - Shore Club
Overall, thoroughly enjoyed my evening. Would return on any evening for their food and SERVICE!

Cost: $$$$
Ambiance: NYC chic (event rooms available)
Service: Thoughtful, attentive and professional
Wine list: Well balanced

Shore Club
688 Dunsmuir St
Vancouver, BC V6B
(604) 899-4400

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