Saturday, March 27, 2010

{{ FIVE: coq au vin }}

Late Update!

After watching Julie and Julia, Ryan and I became obsessed with Julia Child. Eventually I will buy her famous book Mastering the Art of French Cooking but in the mean time, we just search for her recipes online.

For our big five year anniversary, we decided to make a French dish: Coq au Vin. Julia Child's Cuq au Vin.

Traditionally a Burgundian dish so we got a Burgundy to drink with it =)

To start, we made some brushetta!

Julia Child's Coq au Vin

2.5 - 3 lb chicken
4 ounces lean thick-cut bacon
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1/4 cup cognac
2 cups red wine ( we used Beaujolais)
2 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 clove garlic, mashed or minced ( minced!)
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp thyme
brown braised onions
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tbsp butter, softened
parsley sprigs

steps will be updated soon...

cut up mushroom
Julia Child says "never crowd the mushrooms. They won't brown!"

all cut up

these potatoes are soooo gooood

final product! Delicious...
Unfortunately I was sick this day and couldn't smell and taste anything. I felt better and less stuffed up the next day and was finally able to savour the taste!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

{{ Big Five O }}

Five years ago on March 19th, Ryan and I were wandering down the streets of Avignon. In that dry sunny day in Provence, our lives together began.

We were going to do a big dinner to celebrate our 5 year anniversary, but since Ryan didn't sleep the night before (he had to write a paper), we decided to postpone our big dinner plan to Saturday (today!)

However, we weren't going to eat junk food either. We made Japanese Katsu Curry! It was my first time making it and it turned out quite well!


3 carrots
1 potato
1 onion
glico curry cube

Cut all ingredients into bite size pieces. In a large skillet, stir fry onions with oil. Add all other ingredients and stir for few minutes. Add 2 cups (500ml) of water to the skillet and bring to boil. We used a little more than it asked for to keep all vegetables submerged. Cook in medium low heat with a lid for 20 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat and add Glico curry sauce (break into several pieces). Adjust amount based on how thick you want the sauce to be. Stir until completely melted. Cover and set aside for 10 minutes.

Deep frying Katsu:
pork tenderloin (it's the only type we had. Fattier meat will probably be better!)
1 egg

We sliced the pork tenderloin and bashed it flat with a knife because we didn't have a hammer... Drizzle the pork slices with oil and season with salt and pepper. Prepare 3 plates: 1 with flour, 1 with an egg, beaten with a bit of water, 1 with panko. Like an assembly line, coat the pork slices with flour, dip in the egg, and coat it with sufficient panko.

Deep frying can be done in a small pot or a frying pan with sufficient oil. We heated a frying pan in med-high heat and placed the pork slices in it. Flip when the edges become golden.

When they are done, place the fried pork slices on a rack or on a plate with paper towel to absorb the excess grease. Cut them into 1 inch strips and serve with rice and curry sauce.


Deep frying got quite messy but it was worth it. I would definitely make this again.

What to do with the leftover katsu? Put them in a sandwich!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Thursday, March 18, 2010

{{ quinoa, south american love }}

from here

So I bought my first pack of organic quinoa from Costco some months ago. I had heard of this grain-like crop, but had never tried it. Originated from South America, it is actually a species of goosefoot (some sort of flowering plant). It is extremely healthy (high in protein) and has very little fat.

I found a quinoa pilaf recipe from the Whole Foods website. This was so easy to make and the flavour of this simple dish was absolutely amazing.

Quinoa pilaf with Cranberries and Almond

Serve 4

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, chopped ( i used white, and it was fine)
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth ( i used vegetable because i had one open)
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup dried cranberries
2/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Heat oil in a medium pot over medium high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until just softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add quinoa and toast, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Stir in broth and salt and bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in cranberries, cover again and continue to cook until liquid is completely absorbed and quinoa is tender, 8 to 10 minutes more. Toss with almonds and serve.

I sliced up some carrots and boiled them in water. I mixed the carrot slices with Japanese shiso dressing. (btw, I love the taste/smell of shiso). Another name for shiso is Perilla and it is a perennial herb in the mint family.

Like I said, this dish was so delicious, so easy. The combination of the broth, the nutty almond chunks and the sweet dried cranberries was not as weird as I had thought. I will definitely make this again.

PS. I want to try to make risotto. Does it work for any short-grain rice or does it have to be a specific kind?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

{{ when do i see you? Canon! }}

My next big purchase is going to be a DSLR and the one I have in mind is the Canon Rebel XSi or Canon 450D. When am I going to buy it?

Hopefully soon.

I've been to Future shop, and lens and shutter. I found out that the body is made in Japan and the 18-55mm lens is made in Taiwan. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but somehow I wish to get the lens that's made in Japan. The guy at Lens and Shutter said that the 18-55mm is inexpensively made and a good lens to begin with for people new to DSLR. It shouldn't matter too much where it is made. Suppose he is right, I still wish to compare prices.

On the same note, once I get my DSLR, I'm going to learn about food photography. I love food and well, I think that's a good enough reason.

PS. Daylight saving. We lost an hour. Boo. I wish my day was 48hrs.

{{ nutella in the morning }}

from here

On Sunday, we made crepes for breakfast. I love crepes and I haven't had one for so long! Not only had I not had crepes for a long time, I hadn't had nutella for a looooong time.

This hazelnut flavoured chocolate spread is probably one of my favourite things in the world. It's great with thick toast (only with Asian bread though because they are sweeter in general. It's okay with regular white bread, but significantly not as good). It's great with banana slices in a sandwich and it's great with banana slices in a crepe. It's great. period.

Unlike a regular white loaf of bread , asian white loaf doesn't have that round top, but is actually a perfect square in cross section. Slices of approximately 1" is most ideal for thick toast. Spread nutella on the bread and make a shallow cross with the knife across the top. Put this in the toaster oven until it's warm and a little crunchy at the top. yum!

Other common spreads for thick toast are: peanut butter, strawberry jam, butter, and, condensed milk.

As I was randomly searching on the internet, I found out that there is actually a World Nutella Day. I should've known. I mean, why wouldn't there be? It's on 5 February and I can't believe I missed it this year! Anyway, now i know for next year.

While we are talking about chocolate, I had a full pack of Ritter sport just now. It's my overeating self acting out again. I feel so sick and it's completely my fault. Where did my self-control go? I seem to be able to control myself better over the weekend. School sucks. Schools stresses me out. School makes me eat. I need to go to Bikram.

Anyway, Ryan and I have found great recipes that we want to try out this weekend. Excited!

{{ jamie oh jamie! }}

Ryan and I enjoy cooking. What to make for the weekend has become an important topic in our weekday conversations.

While I still had some pancetta left from when I bought them for the carbonara, I wanted to make something with it. Last Friday, I brought to Ryan's house some salmon fillets, pancetta slices and asparagus. We decided to make something from Mr. Oliver's cookbook!

So What's for dinner?

Jamie Oliver's Pan Roast Salmon with Green and White Asparagus, Rosemary, Wrapped in Bundles with pancetta and red and yellow cherry tomatoes.

adapted from here

Serves 2
16 spears of asparagus (we used green)
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary (we used dried sage)
6 slices of pancetta (we had 4 thick slices)
2 thin salmon fillets
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
a handful of red and yellow cherry tomatoes ( we didn't have any )
a small handful of Kalamata olives
1/2 a lemon

Preheat your nonstick T-FAL frying pan until the T
ermo-Spot turns solid red
Snap the woody bottoms off the asparagus spears and divide the tops into 2 bunches. Add a sprig of rosemary and wrap each bunch up in 3 slices of pancetta to form a neat bundle. (we ended up slicing the pancetta slices into strips)
Season the salmon steaks with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and drizzle with a splace of olive oil. Place the salmon in the hot pan with the cherry tomatoes, the olives and two bundles of asparagus and fry on each side, turning the asparagus over in the pan from time to time so that the pancetta and salmon brown evenly.
By the time the salmon's cooked, the pancetta should be lo
vely and crisp, the asparagus just cooked and the cheery tomatoes softened and bursting with sweet sticky juices. Squeeze the 1/2 lemon over the whole dish to finish off.

This recipe was extremely fast and absolutely delicious. I love salmon. I seasoned the fillets with a bit too much salt, which didn't balance with the natural saltiness of the pancetta. Overall, the dish was amazing.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

{{ spaghetti carbonara: in the making }}

I just finished my econ homework.

After coming home from school today I tried to read. It is a VERY bad idea to read a book in bed because well, I fell asleep. Who takes a nap at 5pm? Apparently I do...

Anyway, I worked on my portfolio for hours after my nap, trying to put everything together and doing some final editing for my statements. It was very stressful especially because my head has been throbbing these couple of days. My goal was to finish both econ and steel homework today, but obviously that didn't happen. I just finished my econ homework and yay, now I can finally blog about the FAB meal I made today.

Originally I was going to make the spaghetti carbonara for dinner, but Ryan came over around lunch time without a lunch. So we made it for lunch instead!

the bible of authentic italian cooking
over 1200 pages!

spaghetti alla carbonara

serves 4
2 tbsp butter
generous 1/2 cup pancetta, diced
1 garlic clove
12 ounces spaghetti
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1/2 cup romano cheese, freshly grated
salt and pepper

melt the butter in a pan, add the pancetta and garlic and cook until the garlic turns brown. Remove and discard the garlic. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in a large pan of salted, boiling water until al dente, then drain and add to the pancetta. Remove the pan from the heat, pour in the eggs, add hlaf the Parmesan and half the romano and season with pepper. Mix well so that the egg coats the pasta. Add the remaining cheese, mix again and serve.

This recipe is so easy and quick and it's made in my new T-FAL non-stick pan (30cm)! The taste is divine! I really enjoyed using pancetta instead of bacon. The flavour is quite different and is absolutely exquisite. Wonderful lunch!

PS What should I make with the remaining pancetta I got in the fridge...

{{ spaghetti carbonara }}

Many French and Italian dishes have pancetta in their ingredient lists. Since pancetta can be expensive here in North America, people tend to use an alternative, bacon! From what I've read, pancetta is similar to bacon but cured differently, thus giving a more old world flavour to dishes like carbonara.

I've only made carbonara once before and that was before I knew what carbonara was. I followed the recipe from an Italian cookbook that I can't seem to recall the name right now, and I substituted pancetta with bacon. Even though the flavour was delightful, it was very dry. So couple of years have passed since I've craved to have carbonara again. This time, it will be different!

I bought some pancetta from Meinhardt yesterday while I was wondering around South Granville. I plan to make spaghetti carbonara tonight following a recipe from The Silver Spoon.

I await, for the evening to come!