Turkey chili with cheddar biscuits

Hi everyone,

I don’t think I have professed my love yet, but I love my cast iron skillet. I picked up my handy heavy duty skillet from Crate and Barrel during Boxing Week and never looked back. I effectively use this pan for everything now. I love that the pan can withstand and handle a high heat point making it easy pan fry and sauté. Because I have flat electric elements on my stove, there is no point of getting a wok because the sides won’t heat up sufficiently. Since the cast iron skillet can withstand a high heat temperature, I just wait until the pan is screaming hot (use an oven mitt) and quickly throw my ingredients and make my stir fries that way.

Orion loves chili and freshly baked goods. There may have been certain instances where I have made banana loaf and before I know it, the whole loaf has been devoured. With the weather steadily dropping (Vancouver’s warm spell has come to an end), I decided to make a lazy one skillet chili dish and top them off with Pillsbury biscuits… wait wait…I mean homemade cheddar biscuits! How hard can it be right? I mean I learned how to make scones in Foods 12….10 years ago…..

The biscuits were surprisingly easy to make and turned out light and flakey! I will definitely be making different variations of these in the future! I used a 10 inch cast iron skillet and it was big enough to make the whole chili in it without any spillage. This one pan recipe was a hit with Orion and Gail and clean up was a breeze – one pan recipe remember? One note of advice: have everything ready to go for the chili, the pan is hot so the food cooks fast. There isn’t much time in between steps to prep the ingredients.  Continue reading

Marutama Ra-men

Hi everyone,

Typical to Vancouver weather, this past Saturday was dark and rainy. I had plans to meet up with Michelle downtown for a brunch and catch up. Initially we had planned to go to either Twisted Fork or Cafe Medina but with the downpour of rain, standing in line outside was not an option. Due to the dreariness of the weather, we decide to hit up one of the many ramen shops in Vancouver.

We ended up visiting Marutama! I have been eager to try Marutama’s signature chicken broth since they opened up shop back in 2013. From what I have gathered, Marutama is the only ramen shop that offers a pure chicken broth. Most of other ramen shops serve up pork bone based soup or a mix between pork and chicken. I was both excited and hesistant Marutama’s chicken broth wondering if it could hold its own against the traditional pork based ramen soup that Vancouver has gotten to know and love.

Tamago Ra-men
Tamago Ra-men

I am happy to report, the chicken broth ramen was delicious! It had all the qualities of a good soup that I was looking for – full of depth and had a silky, creamy consistency that is a result of many hours of boiling chicken bones and chicken feet.

Soft-boiled tamago
Soft-boiled tamago

The highlight of this bowl of noodles was the soft boiled egg it came with. Marutama has their egg cooking skills down to a science. Look at the consistency of that yolk – firm enough that it held it’s shape and didn’t leak into the broth but still creamy and melt in your mouth.

Last thoughts: Overall, I felt that Marutama put out a very competitive bowl of ramen. The handmade noodles were toothsome. If I had to critique, I would prefer thicker noodles like the ones they make at Taishoken but I would happily eat this bowl of ramen over and over again without complaints. This bowl of ramen did not satisfy my ramen cravings, instead it made me want more ramen. So much so, I went to visit Taishoken the next day. And as I sit here typing up this review, I am wishing that Marutama was still open so I can get my hands on another bowl of chicken ramen as my after dessert dessert.

Marutama Ra-men on Urbanspoon

Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

Hi everyone,

Today I would like share with you a simple 20 minutes dinner recipe that is not only delicious but good for you! After a long week of work, I lightly toyed with the idea of going out for a meal with Orion but opted to enjoy a meal together within the confines of our home (ie: in front of the TV) with a nice bottle of wine. Given the simplicity of the meal that we had, I initially had not planned on blogging on this but the chimichurri sauce that I whipped up was too good not to share.

The bright, spicy, and garlic-y chimichurri was definitely the star of the show. This sauce really helped lighten an otherwise very meaty and fatty piece of meat. In the quest to be more cognizant of portion sizes and red meat intake, Orion and I shared one steak and served a large salad (sweet kale salad from Costco) and boiled broccoli on the side.

Continue reading

Chicken Pho (pressure cooker)

Hi everyone,

Right before Christmas, I treated myself to a “pressure cooker”. I “quote” because in the effort to save counter space, I purchased a 5 in 1 Fast Slow Cooker  from Breville which features slow cooker, saute, steam, pressure cooker and warm functions. I have never owned a pressure cooker before and while critics may say that this is not a legit pressure cooker, I have nothing to compare it with but I am super happy with the pressure function of this product!

Breville Fast Slow Cooker!
Breville Fast Slow Cooker!

Recently I came across an article on Serious Eats for pressure cooker chicken pho. I love pho otherwise known as Vietnamese noodle soup. This is comfort food for me, a large bowl of carby goodness (rice noodles) topped with meat and steaming hot broth. I have always toyed with the idea of making my own pho broth but the thought of standing over the pot for 12 hours skimming off layers of foam was not appealing to me. When I came across this recipe, I was stoked, pho after 20 minutes in the pressure cooker? Sign me up!

Chicken Pho!
Chicken Pho!

I was pleasantly surprised with how tasty the broth was after only 20 minutes in the pressure cooker! It had a nice clean flavour, but found that it lacked a bit of depth. However, when I had the leftovers the next day, the flavours had settled in more and the soup tasted richer. Next time I make this, I will prepare the soup the day before and let it sit overnight in the fridge to give the flavours more time to meld together. I will also add some chicken wing tips which is fatty and contains collagen to create a silkier, and richer broth.  Continue reading

Edible Canada

On most weekends, Orion and I take my mom out for lunch. Normally we do the Asian thing – dim sum. While I love dim sum, I figured it would be good idea to take my mom to eat something other than Chinese food. Orion suggest Edible Canada in Granville Island and I agreed. When I was a little girl, my mom use to always take my sister and I to Granville Island to visit the kids centre where she would give us quarters to play in the mini arcade they have upstairs to win tickets to trade for things like erasers, action figures and whatnot. We loved it! And if we were good, she would buy us banana loaves to snack on. Fast forward 20 years, I still love visiting Granville Island and Orion and I often go to pick up our groceries or just to walk around and sit by the water.

Truth be told, I’ve been to Edible Canada many a times but I’ve never been truly impressed. However, the concept of their menu which utilises ingredients sourced from Canada and the store they have at the side of their restaurants that sell sauces, preserves, sweets all made/from Canada has kept me coming back. Today was no exception and when I pulled their menu online and saw features of root vegetables, I was excited to try what they had to offer.

What we ordered:

Pacific fish and chips – $18:

Fish and Chips
Fish and Chips

My mom ordered the fish and chips which arrived with two large pieces of fish, duck fat frites, and a side salad. I like that this dish comes with a small salad to balance out the richness of the fish and chips. The fish taste fresh and was perfectly cooked. The batter was a touch too thick but nothing to really gripe about. The frites as always were delicious, hot, crispy and salted. These are my go to, duck fat frites are always good on my books. The condiments served however were disappointing – ketchup and mayonnaise. Given that the goal of the restaurant is to use local produce and that the adjoining store sells homemade/small batch ketchup, I would expect the restaurant to serve some sort of homemade ketchup rather than the regular stuff. Also, I would preferred if the fish and chips were served with tartar sauce rather than mayonnaise but that may just be personal preference.

House smoked salmon benny – $18:

Smoked salmon benny
Smoked salmon benny

This was Orion’s order and he seemed indifferent about it claiming that the overall dish was too salty. The salmon used appeared to be the farmed variety but for the price we paid, I would expect sockeye salmon to be served. The eggs were poached nicely, no complaints there. This dish was served with a small salad, no hash browns which makes for a lighter meal.

Hazelmere Hash – $15 ($1 to add hollandaise):

Hazelmere Hash
Hazelmere Hash

This was my order and also the reason why I agreed to visit this place. On the menu, it boasts “roasted root vegetables, crispy potatoes, kale, boar bacon, farm fresh poached eggs”. I was excited to try a veggie focused breakfast item for a change which was neither tomato based or spinach based. I pictured a hearty hash with yams/sweet potatoes, parsnips, rutabaga, and carrots with some potatoes and eggs. What I received instead was a large pile of potatoes, probably 75% to 80% of my dish and a few carrots, onions, and one piece of broccoli topped with some sad oily kale and eggs. I am honestly not too sure how this constituted as roasted root vegetable hash and for the price, I expected more veggies in the dish and a bigger variety of veggies used in the dish. Needless to say, I was extremely disappointed with this dish.

Final thoughts: Edible Canada has a good thing going for them – location. Located right next to the Granville Island market, it is sure to attract locals and tourists alike. Service wise, I’ve never had a big issue with the servers before but the one we had for this particular meal was abrupt and seemed to be rushing us through our meal. The restaurant was not particularly busy that day and throughout our meal, there was never a line up at the door. However, he felt that it was appropriate to ask if we were done with the fries and grab the plate of fries from the fish and chips while we were all mid chewing on the leftover french fries. In total, we were in the restaurant for a total of 40 minutes from sitting down to leaving, I do not feel we were outstaying our welcome by any stretch of the word.

This experience at Edible Canada will likely be our last. I no longer feel the need to give this restaurant any more business despite how strongly I believe in their concept.

Edible Canada at the Market on Urbanspoon

Lavender lemon bars

Hi everyone,

Busy season is right around the corner and things at work are picking up. I’m finding it harder to make time to blog especially during the weekdays. I am still cooking away but more for nourishment (ie: feed my tummy) rather than for fun. On the weekends, I am still aiming to create one pretty/elaborative/photograph’s well dish so I can at least post one yummy item a week and maybe one of my quick meals on the go!

Lemon Bars
Lavender Lemon Bars

Today I decided to make lavender lemon bars. The lavender part because I wanted to spice or sweeten? them up from the normal lemon bars. I’m normally not a big fan of lavender in my food preferring it in my lotions and body washes but decided to put some lavender in to change up the otherwise classic recipe. Throughout the process, I kept thinking the lavender scent was extremely overpowering and was regretting my decision to blend the lavender into the sugar. The taste was surprisingly delicate, giving off a light floral flavour. If I wasn’t looking for it or know that lavender was in the bars, I may not have guessed the lavender was in the bars. So I will call this experiment a success!  Continue reading

Root vegetable chips + spicy carrot dip

Hi everyone,

Recently I was contacted by Gastropost via Instagram to participate in weekly food missions! Each week, there is a different food mission to accomplish and this week, also my first week, the mission was to create something with winter vegetables including carrots, beets and squash! To be completely honest, I was at a complete lost as to what to do short of making a carrot ginger soup or sticking all the vegetables into the pressure cooker with the lamb shanks I had planned on making but I wanted to do something to really show cased just the vegetables.

At the grocery store, I picked up a variety of colourful root vegetables. To be honest, I never fully noticed the different varietal of vegetables that are available during the winter often opting to pick up the usual broccoli, mushrooms, kale, green beans etc. I was floored by the bright hues and different shapes of the veggies and picked up a bunch to experiment with!

Assorted vegetables!
My veggie loot!

As I was leaving the store, I was humming and ahhing over what to make; thinking about maybe a carrot ginger soup when it hit me (I don’t know why it took so long) that carrot and spice go really well together, why don’t I make a spicy carrot dip with Greek yogurt and some root veggie chips?! Continue reading