For the love of food

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens*Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens*Brown paper packages tied up with strings*These are a few of my favorite things*Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels*Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles*Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings*These are a few of my favorite things*Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes*Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes*Silver white winters that melt into springs*These are a few of my favorite things

Brunch + Vancouver = Happy April 28, 2008

Filed under: Canada,Travel,Vancouver,Vancouver Restaurants — lovemyfood @ 1:24 am

It seems to be warming up and Saturday or Sunday brunch seems to me like one of the best pass times in the city. Lately its been sunny on the weekends, Beach ave., the seawall and the beaches seem to be more crowded than ever; people walking, riding their bikes, roller blading, walking their dogs and their kids – to each his own. And I walked with everybody else enjoying the sun and the occasional cool breeze from the water, narrowing my eyes like a cat while looking at it. So when its warm and sunny and pretty it makes you a bit drowsy and in need of something cold to drink which adds up to the need to savour this beautiful day and stay close to the water. Brunch is the perfect solution.

Two places I have lately visited for brunch were Raincity Grill and Fiddlehead Joe’s – where I’ve been many times before.

Fiddlehead Joe’s is on Beach avenue, under Granville street bridge (almost…as there is nothing under the bridge really) and it has the best outside sitting area where you can watch the people and the boats coming and going so settle down with a Sea-Breeze (vodka, cranberry juice & grapefruit juice), a Mimosa (orange juice with some sparkling wine) or a Crantini (vodka & cranberry juice) and enjoy the refreshing cold drink quenching your thirst while you wait for the food to be served! One of my favorite things to order is the Slaughterhouse (not a very appealing name I must say) which is a big enough portion for two; it has a small steak, a piece of lamb, spicy sausage, bacon, two poached eggs with Hollandaise & some grilled tomato slices. Other things I have tasted at Fiddlehead Joe’s include fritatas and salads (try the green papaya and chicken – its really nice) and they were very nice as well.

This Saturday we went to Raincity Grill and given that we barely had any breakfast we were pleasantly surprised that the Brunch and light Lunch menu were combined into one – increasing the number of options available. The menu included the majority of appetizers available for dinner, some classic brunch choices like eggs and french toast as well as slightly “lunchier” items like sandwiches, Mussels as well as a Steak Frites which I fell for :) and went really well with the very cold Red Ale I just ordered. The steak was prepared just right and the thick fries were a nice change. We also had some fresh croissants and mini scones with jam and butter and those were delicious.

 

Fiddlehead Joe’s:

Address: 1-1012 Beach Avenue  Tel: 604-688 1969 
WWW: http://www.fiddleheadjoeseatery.com/

Raincity Grill

Address: 1193 Denman Street  Tel: 604-685 7337 

WWW: http://www.raincitygrill.com/

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Shrimp with Pineapple Salsa April 27, 2008

Filed under: Recipes — lovemyfood @ 12:44 pm

What you need:

Shrimp – clean, no tails…Unless you choose to skewer and grill them on your BBQ and serve the salsa on the side. I used about 2 large hand fulls for 2 people and the rest of the recipe is based on two people as well.

1/3-1/2 of a pineapple, cut into small cubes

1 very hot pepper (or 2…depends how much heat you can take)

1 small shallot

2 cloves of garlic

Squeeze of lime or lemon juice; lime is better but if you don’t have any its OK to use lemon.

Good hand full of chopped cilantro – if you don’t like Cilantro or don’t have any feel free to use flat leaf (=Italian) parsley. 

1/4 cup alcohol of your choice – Rum, Whiskey or something of that sort.

Lemon Grass (one) thinly sliced – optional.

What you do:

1) Saute the pepper and shallots in butter (can use oil like Canola which doesn’t have a very strong flavor) until translucent.

2) Add garlic, lime juice and pineapple, wait for the liquid to evaporate.

3) Add alcohol and wait until absorbed.

4) Take off the heat and add cilantro.

5) Meanwhile…Boil/BBQ/Pan Fry your shrimp with some salt.

6) If boiling or frying mix with pineapple salsa; if BBQing just serve on the side.

*** You ask where does the Lemon Grass go…? Three options: if pan frying the shrimp add the lemon grass to the pan; if serving the shrimp with tortillas like I did mix it into the sour cream; if neither one of the above just add it to the pineapple salsa.

*** Could be served with tortillas, fresh vegetables, sour cream and beer. Could be served over rice. Or just as is :)

And that’s how it looks when you have one beer too many :)

P.S. The beer is called Sol; its Mexican and very very light and works well with spicy dishes.

 

 

Guu is good – Guu w/garlic April 24, 2008

Filed under: Canada,Travel,Vancouver,Vancouver Restaurants — lovemyfood @ 10:42 pm

We were planning to go to this place many many times and it never seemed to work out and now I know I’ve been missing out. It is small, noisy, always always busy and the food is great!

The menu consists of various small plates including carpaccio and sashimi, noodles, seafood, meat, salads and many other things and there is always a specials menu as well. We had Ebi Mayo recommended by our server, salmon carpaccio which was delicious, a green salad with duck breast in wasabi dressing and fried garlic as well as Yaki-Udon which are thick noodles with beef. For dessert we had a black sesame cheesecake which surprised me by the very subtle taste and sweetness in addition to the very airy and light texture. It was one of the best cheesecakes I had in a while.

Address: 1698 Robson Street

Tel: 604-685 8678

WWW: http://www.guu-izakaya.com/robson.html

 

Izakaya Kingyo

Filed under: Vancouver Restaurants — lovemyfood @ 10:16 pm

Just for the record – izakaya is a type of Japanese drinking establishment which also serves food (to accompany the drinks…).

Decor has a couple of really great ideas for using space; one is the large long table with an empty center filled with bamboo creating a barrier between you and the person sitting opposite so neither one of you can see the other creating a square bar table of sort – very nice and the bamboo has a great quality of making one feeling fresh and soothed. The other great feature in my opinion is the bamboo shades (like the ones you would put on your window to block the sun or the nosy neighbor) dividing large tables for four or six people into segments creating a partition between you and your neighbors as if you have your own table – they could be lifted up for large parties and pulled back down with a pull of a string.

The food was very nice as I expected; we ordered one dish from the regular menu – Ebi Mayo which was good but far from being innovative – deep fried shrimp with spicy mayo and some greens (I had the same one in Guu w/garlic a few weeks ago – review to follow). The other two dishes were from the daily specials – a crab and cheese spring roll and a Tuna cheek, both were good especially the Tuna cheek which was very big by the way…The Lychee drink was very nice as well – I had two :)

The restaurant had two more gimmicks I liked – the straw in the drinks was substituted by a piece of bamboo and I thought it was a nice touch as well as the frozen grapes which were served with the bill – 2 frozen grapes on a skewer served in a small vase with some flowers – simple, delicious and cleans your palette like nothing else.

 

Address: 871 Denman Street

Tel: (604) 608 1677‎

 

Funky Dinner April 17, 2008

Filed under: Recipes — lovemyfood @ 5:31 pm

Why funky? because its colorful and because its fun and healthy – all in one kinda’ deal.

Fun item: Sauteed Halibut cheeks – flour => beaten egg => bread crumbs…Don’t forget to drain the oil well.

Really FUN item (!!!):

 

Belgian endive salad with lots of citrus fruits and yogurt dressing – one of my favorites:

4 heads of red Belgian endive

Various citrus fruits – I used a few small clementines, one orange and one grapefruit – peeled, segments cut out using a sharp knife – just cut the segment out leaving the separating see-through membranes attached to the core. After finishing taking out all the segments, squeeze the leftover juice into a bowl.

1/2-2/3 cup plain yogurt

1 small clove of garlic – minced

A small pinch of salt

Mint leaves

To Make:

1) Separate the leaves of the endives and arrange on a serving plate; arrange all the citrus fruit segments on top.

2) Mix yogurt with juice, salt and garlic (if there is not enough juice to your liking add some of the OJ you have in the fridge).

3) Drizzle over the endive and citrus; sprinkle with mint leaves.

That’s how it looks before the dressing

*** If you’re not comfortable with segmenting the fruit, just peel and cut them into circles and juice an additional grapefruit or orange for the dressing.

 

Israeli food, my Israeli food

Filed under: Recipes — lovemyfood @ 4:59 pm

I’ve lived in Israel for many years and grew to like the flavors and colors of the local food. It happened gradually and took a few years for me to learn and appreciate some of the ingredients. What is Israeli food? To me its the street food, the simple basic things all people love and are accessible to most, the things you find in every single grocery store small or large. To me, Israeli food is the following five:

1) Hummus – a combination of chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and Tahini (sesame seed paste) with some spices.

2) Pita bread, or Pita pockets – a very important feature as it must be stuffed to the fullest with anything that comes to mind whether its Hummus, salads, meat, cheese and everything in between or the combination of all.

3) Spicy condiments eaten on many occasions as an accompaniment to Hummus, things called Matbuha or a Turkish salad which are combinations of sauteed tomatoes, hot and sweet peppers, onions, garlic and spices.

4) Labaneh – a sort of soft yogurt cheese, often served with olive oil and Zaatar which leads me to number 5.

5) Zaatar – is actually a mixture of spices and sesame seeds that share the Arabic name of the herb used as the main ingredient. Latin names for the herb Zaatar include Origanum majorana (sweet marjoram), Origanum syriacum (also known as Bible hyssop, Syrian oregano and wild marjoram), and Thymus capitatus(thyme). Zaatar birri (“wild zaatar”) is identified as Origanum vulgarewhich in English can refer to European oregano, oregano, pot marjoram, wild marjoram, winter majoram, and wintersweet [Wikipedia].

I felt creative the other day and decided to make some of those things at home and here is how its done:

Hummus recipe:

I never measure exact quantities so those are approximations and should be adjusted to your personal taste and preferences.

3 cups cooked chickpeas

6 cloves of garlic – minced.

Juice of one lemon.

4-5 Tbs quality Tahini (good Tahini would have a layer of oil on top, don’t forget to stir before using), since its liquid and gooey its a bit difficult to be exact.

1/2 to 1 tsp ground Cumin

Salt to taste 

Instruction for making Hummus:

1) Soak chickpeas over night (or just 2-3 hours), cook in water until very soft, soft enough to mush with two fingers, drain reserving a cup of the water.

2) In a blender or using an immersion blender puree chickpeas with lemon juice and garlic; start adding Tahini and taste after 4 Tbsp add more if you wish, add salt and Cumin to taste.

3) Taste again, adjust all flavors the way you like. If too thick add some of the reserved water to loosen it up. Remember it will thicken a bit when cooled. 

My version of the traditional spicy condiments I love having with Hummus:

1 Shallot

4 cloves of garlic – minces

1 hot red pepper

1/2 red bell pepper

1 tomato

1 carrot

Handful of chopped parsley or cilantro – whichever you have or whichever you like best.

Pinch of Paprika

Large pinch of ground Cumin

To Make:

1) Chop all vegetables very fine so they are all the same size; I like doing it using the chopping function of my blender (the one with the rotating blade).

2) On a low heat, put the veggies (except for the parsley) in a pan with a bit of olive oil. Add salt, Paprika and Cumin. When heated through add 1/4 cup of water and let absorb, add more water and let simmer until evaporated again…repeat another 3 times or so until all veggies are soft and just a bit of the liquid remains.

3) Mix in chopped Parsley/Cilantro.

Labaneh

1 large plastic container (650ml) of good quality plain yogurt (I used cow’s milk this time but could be dome with goat or sheep’s milk as well).

2/3 Tbsp salt

Cheese cloth

To make:

1) Mix yogurt with the salt

2) Transfer to the center of a multi layered (I used about 6-8 layers) cheese cloth and close with a kitchen twine or a rubber band so it looks like a ball. Why so many layers? Yogurt is fairly liquid and cheese cloth has large gaps between the threads so if you ised one or two layers your yogurt would just drip out in 2 minutes; many layers reduce the gaps and only the water drips out.

3) Hang over a bowl (into which the water will drip) overnight.

4) Eat plain or drizzle some olive oil and sprinkle with Zaatar.

*** I used 2% fat yogurt because this was what I had at home and it turned out great but the lower the fat content the more water the yogurt contains and you will be left with less cheese in the morning (volume-wise I had probably a 1/3 left) so keep it in mind :)

One last recipe, it was not included in the top five foods which remind me of Israel but it is out there and I made it as well… Eggplant is also very popular in Israel and it is the main component of various salads and spreads. This recipe was given to me by a lady I know only by her virtual nickname – thank you Shapirit :) and it turned out delicious! Me being me, of course I had to monkey around with quantities so I am gonna write it the way I did it – to my taste:

Roasted Eggplant Mousse

1 eggplant

1 shallot – chopped

2 cloves of garlic – chopped

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp butter (a little less even)

1/4 cup white wine

1/3-1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream

30-50gr Feta cheese (depending how salty and pungent it is)

Salt and Pepper to taste

To make:

1) Grill or roast the eggplant (400F in the oven for around an hour until soft); cool until you are able to handle it and take off the skin. Chop very coarsely (into 6-8 pieces).

2) Over medium heat saute shallot and garlic in olive oil and butter; add eggplant and wine and let it absorb.

3) Add 1/4 cup of cream and allow it to be absorbed.

4) Puree with an immersion blender, return to the heat and add 25gr of the feta cheese; mix well. Season with salt and pepper.

5) Add more of the cheese and cream to your personal taste and preferred consistency.

6) Let cool and eat. I sprinkled some black sesame seeds on top as well.

NO MORE PHOTOS THIS TIME -ALL WAS EATEN BEFORE I HAD THE CHANCE… 

 

Poor man’s pasta April 16, 2008

Filed under: Recipes — lovemyfood @ 8:46 pm

I love pasta in all its shapes, sizes, forms and colors.

The simplest way to serve it is as delicious as when it is accompanied by the most elaborate sauce.

Tonight it was as simple as it gets with a bit of pasta water, minced garlic, fresh basil, parmigiano reggiano, good olive oil (ilove from one of the previous posts) and some freshly ground black pepper.

It was to die for…