The Wedding Menu

December 13, 2011

I got married on 11.11.11 and it was the most wonderful day of my life. Now, as someone who is food-wise, I had to make sure that food served that day had to be memorable. I wanted to be involved from the very beginning of the menu creation and wanted to know how and what will be served. Thankfully, Chef David was marvelously patient. Every critique and revision of the menu was taken seriously, and then applied.

The menu was crafted based on foods we had liked to eat. We both like simple flavours such as garlic, basil, five spice, star anise, tomatoes, bananas, black pepper, olives, citrus.    I made sure to let the chef know that we don’t have a particular affinity to fine ingredients like truffle, foie gras or even sharks’ fin. We would rather enjoy a ripe tomato seasoned with sea salt and fresh basil or a succulent, braised piece of meat sauced with its own juice – simple but delicious things cooked right. Fine dining is a luxury we both enjoy splurging on sometimes so presentation and quality ingredients was important to us. I should probably also mention that because I am Chinese, the menu must include poultry, seafood and fish as these ingredients all had significant auspiciousness to it. We had to keep everyone happy. read more …

Roasted peppers and vegetable soup

December 8, 2011

Oh bloggy, have some soup because you and I are going to get acquainted again fairly soon. With Christmas so near, I’ve decided to bake-a-present. A naughty but delicious one that is. And, of course there are the crowd-pleasers as well.

I’ve been flaking it out with this blog and for a good reason. Been busy the past few months with life and work. I just got properly married in November. After 13 years of being together, we are married! It feels “legit” now, ya know what I’m saying? But regardless, it still feels the same – and i mean that in a good kind of way.

On the other side of things, I’ve recently ordered a cheese making kit from the New England Cheese Making Supply Company. You can imagine my excitement slowly brewing as I wait for my parcel to arrive. And I can’t wait to make my own squeaky cheese curds to accompany my poutine. And mozzarella and cheddar and ricotta and maybe taking the mozzarella to another level by converting it into a burrata!

Anyway, I thought I’d make amends with this blog (and whatever readership that might be left) with a lovely pot of soup made with my favourite vegetables and seasoned with rosemary and fennel. It’s a strange spice combination but it works!

Peppers are one of my favourite types of vegetables and when they are roasted until their skins are blackened their flesh becomes smokey and juicy. And when you chop them up and add into soups, they add smokiness and a ton of flavour only a roasted pepper can give. If you’re feeling like a little punch in your soup, roast a couple of jalapeno or A habanero and pucker up. This soup celebrates peppers and I like adding a lot of greens to brighten it up and to add some extra good ol’ veggie goodness into the mix. read more …

Roasted Mushrooms and Asparagus Risotto

September 4, 2011

Risotto, risotto. It’s one of those things where it makes you go all mushy inside with a bite. One of the main reasons why restaurants charge for it so dearly is because it takes time to make risotto. It’s not a dish to make in advance, unless your intention is to use it to make arancini or risotto balls. It’s not a dish to make if you’re in a hurry. Risotto is a dish that is all about taking your time and using only the freshest ingredients – and then you reap your reward when you savor a mouthful of silk with a nice-bodied bite in each grain of rice. A properly cooked risotto is a delicacy.

I had a pint of cremini mushrooms and a bunch of young asparagus bought from the farmer’s market. And I knew both these items were locally produced somewhere in Compton, QC. I don’t know about you but I find that vegetables/produce that has the shortest route from farm to market tastes so much better; the asparagus were amazing eaten raw. I swear I could have eaten all of it before I started cooking. But that didn’t happen, so it’s all good. The combination of mushrooms and asparagus is like umami-heaven. When you put them on top of a basil and garlic based white risotto, it’s like they were meant to be and you want to scream – OMG WHERE WERE YOU ALL MY LIFE?!

Try it. read more …

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‘Dress the Board’ Steak

August 21, 2011

Ever had to deal with burnt steak marinade while you’re cooking your steak? I hate that. All the beautiful juices and marinade just dissipates into a bitter char when you sear that piece of meat on very hot cast-iron pan. But I think I’ve found a solution, an elegant one and it’s good eating.

Jamie Oliver’s ‘dress the board’ steak recipe basically dresses the steak right after it’s cooked so the steak is juicy and the dressing/marinade is not burnt. The steak, hot right out of the pan, seals in the juices of the marinade as it rests. It’s quite genius. All you have to do is chop all the herbs on your chopping board (the chopping board is also your serving board), dress it with vinegar or citrus and oil and put hot steak over the dressing and coat evenly. Simple enough.

Here’s how I did it, with a bit of personal twist to the recipe although the method is the same. read more …

Korean-style Cold Noodles with Black Bean Sauce

July 22, 2011

It’s too hot to cook these days. But we still need to eat. I have been craving foods that are cooling like watermelons, iced coffee, orange popsicles, you get the picture. Until recently, I never thought cold noodles would be something I enjoy eating. It’s not native to my palate you see, where I come from, even though it’s 28C out we’d still go out and have a bowl of assam laksa or prawn noodles.

Anyway, my point is that I enjoy cold noodles now. And below is a very good and simple recipe that doesn’t heat your kitchen up too much!

Korean-style Cold Noodles with Black Bean Sauce

150grams Korean Noodles + 150grams soba noodles
a few drops of sesame oil

Sauce
2 tablespoon Korean black bean sauce
1 tablespoon of hoisin sauce
3 cloves of garlic, minced finely
1 red chili, de-seeded and minced finely
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1 stalk of scallions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
salt & pepper to taste

Garnishes

Fried garlic oil (10 cloves of garlic, minced finely and drowned in a bowl of olive oil – microwave 2 minutes on high or until golden brown)
1/2 carrot, finely julienned
1/6 of a daikon radish, finely julienned
1/2 cucumber, finely julienned
1 stalk of scallion, chopped
2 red chillies, de-seeded and finely julienned
1/2 cup of edamame beans, steamed and peeled

Method:

  1. Cook the noodles in heavily salted boiling water until al-dente and wash it in ice cold water. Wash the noodles well, until the water runs clear. Drain the water and toss with sesame seed oil. Set aside in the refrigerator, covered, until ready to use.
  2. Make the sauce by combining all the ingredients together. And at the very end, add 1 heaping teaspoon of garlic oil into the sauce. Stir to combine well.
  3. In a bowl, add noodles and garnish with a bit of carrots, daikon radishes, cucumber, scallions and chilies. Drizzle a tablespoon of the sauce over the top. Serve cold.

Guess what, this is completely vegetarian too.

Cook’s note: If you can bear the heat, boil some eggs to make a nice hard boiled egg to top the noodles with or if you’re feeling decadent crisp up some bacon and crush it on top of the noodles.

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