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Saturday, 31 May 2014

Montreal Night

When in Montreal for one night only, one would make the best out of it. And the best of Montreal these days, it seems, is Dolcetto.

Dolcetto is a place to experiment given all the creative foods on the menu - the sauteed garlic shrimps are probably at the base of creativity.

While you can go to an extreme of creativity with the fois gras and figs focaccia.

In between you have an endless choice of charcuteries beautifully and generously served.

To a unique selection of cheeses to wrap up the night.

151 St. Paul West
Montreal, QC

Dolcetto & Co. on Urbanspoon

Friday, 30 May 2014

Reza Strikes Again

Reza Mahammad, as many regular readers know, is a chef I love cooking from his cookbooks (Read Cooking with Reza Again).

In addition to highly involved recipes, Reza gives his measurements in grams which makes the cooking experience even more fun...

... since I get to use this fancy measuring cup that gives you the volume by grams of different kinds of ingredients.

My cookbook and measuring cup in hand, I went for a simpler-than-usual Reza recipe today - Khichri.
Khichri is, according to Reza, a rice and lentils comfort food.

It is the meal that the British dish kedgeree comes from (which is another dish I am yet to try).

The combination of rice and lentils parallels the Lebanese Moudardara (Click HERE for recipe).

Except the spicing in the Indian Khichri is way more complex than onions, salt and olive oil spicing of Moudardara.

And here's my Khichri.

I have another recipe of Khichri made with split peas which I'd like to try - wondering why the difference in ingredients?

Thursday, 29 May 2014

So Wacky Hot

At 6045 Fraser Street , you find Thurga Mini Mart, a great Sri Lankan food market that is worth a blog article on its own.

But until then, I will tell the story of the so hot food they carry.

If you think you can tolerate hot, I challenge you to eat two of those patties in one sitting.

And then dig into this luncheon box - a selection of curries and Sri Lankan vegetarian dishes, a piece of chicken, all served over rice. Everything is wacky hot, including the rice.

 Give it a try - Thurga Mini Mart, 6045 Fraser Street, Vancouver, BC!

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Happy Birthday WJ

A simple birthday the way you like it.

With some of your regular favourites.

And some experimentation as you'd probably expected (glad you liked them).

Hope you'd celebrate the 100th in a sweet mini house.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

A Work Party

Everyone who has been reading my blog for years knows that I love credit unions.  And all of you readers who pride yourselves on caring about the community and environment, going to farmers markets to eat local and volunteering your time with not-for-profits, you are missing one thing to close the loop of your good deeds - joining a credit union.

No, they are not the same as banks. You are an owner that can decide how your credit union should treat you. You save surcharges left and right, get exceptional service and can deposit your cheques via your smart phone.

And no CEO is making excessive money. On the contrary, most of the profits are going back into the accounts of members or helping the community.

Okay, now that my pitch is over (and no one is paying me for this by the way), let me take you to a credit union marketing awards party.

Now let's get back to food (this is a food blog after all).

The salad with a cheese croquette was very nice (specially the croquette).

Then came dinner - a fish of sorts with one leaf of greens and half a dozen pieces of carrots.

Is this dinner? everyone was wondering as all started making plans for where to go eat after the party.

But then another main showed up (now this is better).

A good one too - steak topped with stuffing with greens and beets.

The chef, specially after the dessert, fully redeemed himself.

Congratulations all winning credit unions (and there were so many of you with so much creativity).

Looking forward to next year!

Monday, 26 May 2014

Who Invented Smashed Potatoes?

Suddenly smashed potatoes are everywhere. 

And recipes for them are in the 100s of thousands, including, I hear, a Martha Stewart version.

Well, here's the simplest and a sure winning recipe I found.

Boil yellow or red potatoes until fully cooked (about 35 minutes).

Arrange a couple of layers of dry cloth and lay the cooked potatoes on them.

With a folded towel, gently press down on each with the palm of your hand to flatten to about 0.5 inch.

Cover a baking sheet with foil paper and a sheet of parchment paper on top of that (no idea why you need both, but it worked, so don't question this).

Transfer the flattened potatoes on baking sheet and let cool to room temperature (if they break while transferring, not a big deal, stick them together).
Sprinkle with salt and a Tbsp of olive oil for each. 

Lift them to make sure oil goes underneath them. Bake in a 450 oven (or 400 convection) for 30 to 40 minutes.

Turn over once half-way through cooking.


Sunday, 25 May 2014

My Dear Lovely Neighbour's Garden Party

My dear lovely neighbour has a beautiful garden.

My dear lovely neighbour loves her garden and spends hours working in it when the sun shines upon Vancouver.

Tonight was one of those sunny nights and my dear lovely neighbour threw a garden party.

somerville kitchen was at the party. 

somerville kitchen faced a dilemma - should the blog article be about the food or the garden?

As wine poured from bottles to glasses and from glasses to blood streams, somerville kitchen thought why not, let the article cover both, the food and the garden.

Starting with a beautiful view of the clematis.

Then again, the food itself is very colourful.

A colourful spread of spicy chicken, spicy shrimps and spiced vegetables.

A matching meal colour to the lively garden flowers.

The egg paella carried over the theme, with the eggs making the platter look like a daisy.

But very quickly the edible daisy had to compete with the voluptuous don't know what it is flower.

A European dessert wrapped up the party.

My dear lovely neighbour, I hate to say it, but no flower in your garden can beat the beautiful look of this red and white (and creamy) dessert.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Cooking with Reza Again

Do a search on the blog for Reza and find at least four articles about cooking from Reza Mahammad cookbooks.

I usually pick up one of his two books on weekends and see what to create.

dak bungalow chicken is a recipe with curry leaves, coconut and star anise (which I did not have).

It all starts with making a spice paste with coconut and a whole other set of spices.

The fun about this dish was mainly the curry leaves.

This is the first time I cook with them and I loved it. They went into the paste and into the sauce.

And when everything was set and done (all in one pan), I was serving a delicious chicken dish garnished with curry leaves, chillies and coriander.

I can't wait for my next Reza adventure. 

Friday, 23 May 2014

The Found Meal's Recipes

A favourite of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Sara Murphy, this meal is one that was had in summer 1925 at Cap d'Antibes on the French Mediterranean.

That summer, stories tell, F. Scott Fitzgerald was too distracted with fun and games to write much. 

Yet, the summer ended up in his fourth and perhaps his greatest novel, Tender Is The Night, which I am yet to read.

So it was fun replicating one of his favourite meals - Maryland Chicken with tomatoes and corn dishes - the latter favourites of Sara.

Here are the recipes - enjoy.

Cut a chicken into pieces. Dip each piece in milk, season with salt/pepper, dredge in flour - let sit for 30 minutes.

Heat 3 Tbsp oil in skillet. Sauté chicken until browned. Add 1 cup hot water, 0.25 tsp cumin, 0.25 tsp sage.

Boil, cover then simmer for 45 minutes.

Cut 4 tomatoes into halves, add salt/pepper. Sauté, cut side down, in 3 Tbsp hot olive oil, for 5 minutes. Turn on other side and sauté for 2 minutes.

Cook 2 garlic cloves, chopped, in 2 Tbsp olive oil, sprinkle over the tomatoes and grill under a broiler for 4 minutes.

Simmer the corn in a bit of water for 2 to 3 minutes. 

Add butter, salt, white pepper and 0.25 cups cream. 

Cook for another minute or so, sprinkle with paprika and serve hot.