Edamame Elevated

During summer months and especially now with this scorching heat, I’m leaning towards quick ‘n easy recipes that don’t skimp on flavor.

Photo: d. king

Usually a side dish when ordering sushi, edamame is super easy to make at home and to serve as part of a Japanese home style dinner or as a snack or in a salad (with pods removed from shell). 

I borrowed this simple and savory recipe from the unfortunately now defunct Jazz Cellar club in Vancouver.  Along with listening to the best jazz musicians in the city, it was always a staple on their menu.  It was also an elevated taste to what you would normally get in any Japanese restaurant where they serve up plain edamame with salt.

This recipe is a little different because I first steam the pods on their own then sauté them in a mix of toasted sesame oil, fresh chopped garlic  + ginger, chili flakes and *soy sauce. Then mix everything together in a bowl and sprinkle generously with course sea salt.

Photo; d. king

Ok; well I guess that IS the recipe.  Since the bulk of the flavor is on the outside…make sure to lick the pods.

*Unless you have a soy allergy, edamame is likely safe to eat.  There are several health benefits of Edamame:

In addition to being a decent source of soy protein, edamame is rich in healthy fiber, antioxidants and vitamin K. 

It does not raise blood sugar, 

Edamame (RDI) Mature soybeans (RDI)
Folate 78% 14%
Vitamin K1 33% 24%
Thiamine 13% 10%
Riboflavin 9% 17%
Iron 13% 29%
Copper 17% 20%
Manganese 51% 41%

Enjoy!

 

Food Revisited

Everyone Likes Good Food and everyone likes convenience right?

Sun-Dried Tomato & Ricotta Grilled Flatbreads with Fresh Herbs & Balsamic-Dressed Salad –  Good Food Meal Delivery Kit.

No one will disagree that the year 2020 altered us in ways we never saw coming.  Food wise, the flexibility of being able to go to any restaurant was definitely challenged.  It even changed the way we shop for food. We had to do more planning.  Even now people still have to quarantine for two weeks when returning home from another country.  At least here in Vancouver. Which means either having to order groceries or have a friend or family member drop groceries off for you.  Sometimes it’s much simpler to order directly from a store, especially if said friend forgets that one important ingredient that will complete your menu. But we won’t name that friend.  The inconvenient truth.

Which brings me to the booming business of the Meal Delivery Service.  While many have been around for some time now, more and more new ones have been popping up and have become very popular in the past 15 months.  They’re a good solution for busy people or if you want to try something different. Some companies deliver fully cooked meals and other ones deliver only the ingredients.  

A friend recently shared with me a Canadian online grocery subscription service called GOOD FOOD – inspired by the freshest ingredients, their chefs create eighteen unique recipes each and every week. They deliver meal kits, read-to-cook meals, and grocery products to your door each week.  The ingredients for whichever recipe you choose are in the exact amount for dinner for two people.  It might be fun to try something new.  The photos look inspiring for sure.  They target anyone from the novice cook to the seasoned chef.  Makes it easy to follow.  It can help to save time in the kitchen, and reduce unnecessary food waste. They let you know what they’ll be sending, what you need to cook it (like what size pan, if it requires parchment paper, etc.) and info like how many calories, total carbs, sodium, saturated fat, sugars and protein in each recipe.  That’s pretty great.

Vietnamese-Style Pork Chop Bún Bowls with Rice Vermicelli, Asian Greens & Toasted Peanuts

You can pick and choose from an extensive list of awesome looking recipes.  

They say that by cutting out the middlemen, they’re able to offer fresher, higher quality food than traditional retailers at up to 15% lower than super market prices.  I realize this is beginning to sound somewhat like an infomercial…however the prices seem reasonable so might as well share the info.

It sounds great and I might try it although these days I don’t like to plan too much ahead of schedule.  I’m one of those who, except for certain kitchen staples, I shop for what I need when I need it, which many times means on a daily basis, or every other day.

However if you’re very busy or live in an area not so close to shopping it might be an excellent choice.

I’m curious to know how many of you have tried something like this before… and if so, how did it work out?  

You can check them out here:

https://www.makegoodfood.ca/

Introducing Hollywood North and Vine

I’ve taken a little break from blogging on this site to help create another venture with a friend and neighbour.

Tamara and I decided to do a podcast revolving around our love of wine and other local pleasures. We have a few things in common since we live around the corner from one another and our dogs are beasties.  A few months ago over a birthday wine tasting, we came up with a creative idea.  Let’s do a podcast to share our experience visiting local wineries and people & places along the way. 

Our very first podcast (at the very first winery in the Fraser Valley area – Chaberton Estate Winery) came out last Wednesday.  Our second one comes out today.  We’re talking about Country Vines – the closest winery to where we live and the perfect place to spend an enjoyable afternoon if you live in Vancouver, B.C. or if you plan to visit.  

You can find us on Apple, Google and Spotify by typing in Hollywood North and Vine Podcast.

We’re in the process of putting together exclusively elite gift bags that will be available on our website next month.  Everything is made local right here in British Columbia and will be of the utmost quality.  We’re very satisfied with the selections and we hope our customers feel the same.

Our website:

https://www.hollywoodnorthandvine.com/

Café Portrait

Here is where the specific categories I’ve created for this website keep getting blurred.

Where do you put coffee and eye candy?

Photo: d. king

Unique, unexpected, creative, inspiring…Art with a side of Coffee.

An establishment like Café Portrait in Vancouver’s West End is so much more than just a place to grab a coffee or croissant. Sidenote: the pistachio croissant is the best I’ve tried.  It’s also a breakfast/brunch spot and an art gallery unlike any other.  The entire café is filled with original portraits on the walls, tables…even in a corner with hoodies and coffee cups available for purchase.

Photo: d. king

Photo: d. king

Photo: d. king

Photo: d. king

Told you so!

https://www.cafeportrait.com/

1120 Denman Street (close to Davie)

 

 

 

FIORE

This Italian restaurant in the heart of South Granville has it all.

and wine be thy joy

As their website points out, FIORE is part casual trattoria, part Italian wine shop and part charming market You can grab a bottle from an extensive collection of Italian varieties and go, or make a reservation to eat there (when indoor dining is allowed again).

I took my sister for her birthday to their sister (ha, ha – no pun intended) restaurant FIORE FAMIGLIA at their Kits location so we could enjoy a nice heated patio.  Although at first we went to get a bottle of beautiful organic Northern Italian wine from the S Granville location to bring with us. Wine that you cannot buy in a regular wine shop or liquor store.  It was excellent.  Smooooth!

tasty bowl of warm olives to start

We shared pappardelle with braised short rib, sundried tomatoes, arugula, garlic cream, parmesan +fried shallots.  AND; roasted butternut squash ravioli with tomato beurre blanc, toasted pine nuts, friend sage + pickled apples.

The food was truly outstanding.  Service and presentation too – I’m talking about you, Jacob!

Finished with moist Olive Oil Cake with fresh berries, whipped cream + sprig of mint.

We’ll be back!

Photos: d. king

Wining & Dining at Chaberton

We’re pretty spoiled living here in British Columbia.  We’re blessed with a.bun.dance…a very large quantity of something. We live sandwiched between ocean and mountains with no shortage of sports. It doesn’t get much better.

Photo: Paul Lemay

But speaking of sandwiches…Vancouver is a foodie city.  Condé Nast Traveler named it one of the best food cities in the world. And for a lot more than just a sandwich.  More on this some other time.

We’re also known for wine. Of course it’s better to be here to enjoy the full experience as many wineries (and there are a plenty) do not ship outside B.C.  And the few that do, do not ship all their supply as for the most part they’re smaller batch lots. Which in turn makes the tasting experience that much more personal.

For those of you familiar with wines of British Columbia you probably know about the Okanagan wine region – located in southern British Columbia, and one of the warmest regions in all of Canada.

Having said this, we have several local wineries closer to our home in Vancouver.  And bit by bit we’re exploring all of them.  For this post I’ll focus on Chaberton Estate Winery in Langley, B.C. – about 45 minutes outside Vancouver.

Catherine, our knowledgeable wine server
Tribute Fortified Wine

Langley is a part of the Fraser Valley wine region, which produces high-quality and hand-crafted wines with different styles and varieties. The fertile farmland around the city, especially in the Fraser Valley, is home to many historic orchards and fruit fields that grow berries.

The terroir in South Langley is similar to that of some of the best wineries in Northern France, making it the ideal place to grow a range of different cool weather grapes.  The history of the winery dates back to 1975 when the founders, Claude and Inge Violet sold their winery and vineyard in France and decided to start their next chapter in the “New World”.  So I suppose this means we are considered “New World Wine” with still a way to go.  But if you weren’t already aware of this, you might not even be able to tell. 

If wining were a sport we would win the gold medal.  Actually, we kind of treat it like a sport.

Tamara and Me

Tamara (my partner in wine and crime) and I enjoyed a deluxe private tasting last week before a delicious lunch at their award winning French inspired bistro.  Rated by the Vancouver Sun as one of the top 3 al Fresco dining restaurants in Vancouver, the Bacchus Bistro with a vineyard view, serves authentic French cuisine prepared with local ingredients and a West Coast flair. Coupled with a glass of wine, it was superb.  Tamara had Gamay Noir and I had late harvest Chardonnay.

Bacchus Bistro mussels were the best in the west.  The other stuff was pretty good too (Ling cod in a saffron sauce, seafood crepes, scalloped potatoes au gratin).

After our tasting we both agreed that our favourite white is their estate grown Siegerrebe (a grape grown primarily in Germany) – hand picked right from the Langley Estate.  The flavour is bursting with honeydew melon and mango notes, with fresh grapefruit and velvet feel on the palate.  We bought a few bottles from the wine shop on our way out.

On a nice day you can enjoy a tasting flight at an outdoor picnic table.

As we tend to say upon leaving a place we want to re-visit…We’ll be back.”

Chaberton Estate Winery

 

Find time to wine

Wine is one of the most cultivated things in the world…

A good pinot noir (and gris) is among some of my favourites.  There’s a whole long list of others.

and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.” – Ernest Hemingway

Visiting a vineyard has always been a pleasant past time of mine.  Here in Vancouver we have a few local wineries a little bit off the beaten path.  Last month I re visited Township 7 (in the 7th Township of Langley, off the highway in the Fraser Valley area) with a friend.

I tried to locate a Township 7 Merlot that was part of a Christmas gift basket but everyone that previously had it in stock was sold out.  After exhausting my search I decided to go directly to the source – Township 7 in Langley.  Their other location (Naramata Bench in the beautiful Okanagan Valley) was several more hours away by car.

Once there we ended up doing a tasting.

just a tiny one

Once finished we ended up becoming wine club members.  Which means that every season we’ll be getting drunk several bottles shipped to us.  Which means that by Spring/Summer we’re certain to be in the red.  Other than that, we’re always white and bubbly.

I look forward to soon sharing a new podcast that my neighborhood wino friend and I have decided to create.  We look forward to introducing your senses to BC wine along with the art, culture and culinary experiences brought together by knowledgeable people and others who like to indulge appreciate good wine and good times.  Life is meant to be relished.  

We’re in the process of getting the website up and running.  You’ll be among the first to hear about it.

our kids were so patient

Have a great weekend.

Photos (this page): d. king

 

 

 

The steaks are high

Although I hardly eat meat anymore I’ve always loved a good grilled rib-eye steak.  It’s my favourite cut.  I recently came across this online article from “The Times of Israel” and found it intriguing.  Thought it worth a share.

Have you heard about this?

An Israeli company announced earlier this month that it has made the world’s first laboratory cultivated rib-eye steak complete with all the flavor and texture of regular meat, minus the harm to animals.

A rib-eye steak produced from meat cells cultivated in a laboratory by Israeli start-up Aleph Farms. (Courtesy: Aleph Farms/Technion Institute of Technology)

Aleph Farms claims its printed meat has all the flavor and texture a butcher can offer but *without harming animals, opening the way for sustainable food production.

*Key Words. I really hope this new method becomes the norm.

See link below for full story by Stuart Winer – The Times of Israel (February 10th, 2021)

https://www.timesofisrael.com/higher-steaks-as-israeli-company-makes-first-lab-cultivated-rib-eye-cut/

Dine-Out

Foodies Unite!

DINE OUT VANCOUVER FESTIVAL

I’m looking forward to this…

Dine Out Vancouver Festival is about community, collaboration, and sharing Vancouver’s culinary story.

Along with the Wines of British Columbia, and a host of other Community Partners, Tourism Vancouver is proud to continue to showcase Vancouver’s culinary talent as well as the many different culinary and cultural experiences that only a city like ours can offer.

It all started with an idea. A group of food and wine enthusiasts got together with the team at Tourism Vancouver back in 2002 and pitched the idea of a fixed-price menu deal to get Vancouverites out and into restaurants during a normally slow time of the year. Fifty-seven restaurants jumped on board and from that stellar yet humble beginning, Dine Out Vancouver Festival has grown into Canada’s largest food and drink festival.

Today, the festival is a promotional umbrella that brings together hundreds of chefs, more than 300 restaurants, wineries, craft breweries, suppliers and more for a month of dining, food-forward virtual events and experiences designed to give culinary enthusiasts the opportunity to taste the best flavours of the city. Dine Out Vancouver Festival also includes special hotel offers to help make an overnight Dine Out experience both safe and relaxing.

For 2021, we wish our out-of-Province and International friends could join us, but unfortunately for now, non-essential travel into Canada is not permitted and not recommended into and within British Columbia. BC Residents, let’s do our part by continuing to follow current public health orders.  Stay local and support local, with your immediate household or bubble in accordance with the latest guidelines.

Runs February 5 – March 7, 2021.

Ask For Luigi

Source: “about”

Check out the participating restaurants and hotels:

https://www.dineoutvancouver.com/restaurants/

Veggie Good Pad Thai

This is one of my favorite Vegetarian dishes.  It hits all the taste sensations; sweet, savory, sour and nutty.

One of the things I love best when ordering Thai food is Pad Thai.  One of the things I like least when ordering Thai food is Pad Thai...when it is not up to par. I’ve been disappointed more than once. So I’ve been making my own.

Making Pad Thai is much easier than you think.  You can tweak ingredients to your own liking and add chicken and/or shrimp to make it non vegetarian or omit the egg to make it vegan.  Experimenting with flavors is best. For me personally, I love an excellent homemade vegetarian Pad Thai using rice noodles.  Depending on my mood I might switch up the veggies or make more or less of the sauce.  So this is kind of a non-recipe recipe.

Before we get started a few basics you should know:

TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST PAD THAI

  1. Prep your ingredients. Have all your ingredients prepped and ready before you begin. Cooking Pad Thai is a very fast process and by having your ingredients prepped and within hands reach, this will ensure that everything goes smoothly.
  2. Continuously stir. I use a huge frying pan (you can also use a wok). You will need to continuously stir veggies throughout the cooking process to ensure even distribution of heat and even cooking.
  3. Do not overcook the noodles. I always pre-cook noodles in a separate pot and add them last (they may appear a bit lumped together if you don’t use them right away, however they do separate once you add them to the pan). Cook the noodles according to package directions and drain. Cook veggies until the sauce dries. The noodles should still be firm and not mushy when you add them to the pan. Fully-cooked noodles will change color from transparent to white. If you are new to stir-frying noodles, I would recommend turning down the heat while cooking, as things move fast.
  4. Serve hot. Pad Thai is best served immediately. Once the noodles turn cold, they will start to lose their texture and flavor.
  5.  Toppings are Everything. Serve Pad Thai topped with fresh bean sprouts, green onion (cut on the bias), cilantro, shaved carrot, chopped peanuts and lime wedges.

Ingredients (for two):

1 package Flat Rice Noodles (you can find ones specifically for Pad Thai)

1 Red Bell Pepper cut into strips

1 Onion thinly sliced

2-3 Garlic cloves, chopped

1 inch chopped fresh Ginger

Extra Firm Tofu cut up into cubes

1 Large Egg, slightly beaten (optional and added to hot pan before noodles)

Handful of Snap Peas

1 Carrot (cut into small chunks)

The above is my go-to but you can also add sliced mushrooms and/or broccoli 

Right before serving add the following:

Handful of Peanuts finely chopped

Fresh Bean Sprouts

Chopped Cilantro

Chopped Green onion

Shredded Carrot

Lime wedges

Cook the noodles according to package directions and drain.

You can use a combination of some or all of the below ingredients for the sauce.  My suggestion is to try what I recommend at first and then adjust according to your taste.  Omit any that don’t sit well with you.  For instance, I don’t always use fish sauce.

These are general guidelines as I don’t have a set recipe.

2 Tbsp. Toasted Sesame Oil, 2 Tbsp. Rice vinegar, 1-2 Tbsp. Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce, 1 Tbsp. chili-garlic sauce, 2 Tbsp. Fish Sauce (optional), 2 Tbsp. store bought peanut sauce, 1 Tbsp. Lime Juice, 1 Tbsp. tamarind paste (not difficult to find in the Asian section of almost every grocery store).

TO MAKE *SAUCE:

Pour about 2 Tbsps of toasted sesame oil in a large frypan or wok.  When hot. add the garlic, ginger, onion + pepper.  Stir until fragrant.  Add any other veggies (snap peas, carrot, tofu, mushrooms, etc.) and then add your rice vinegar, soy, fish sauce, chili-garlic sauce, tamarind paste and lime juice.  With wooden spoon, stir veggies and coat with sauce.  When all veggies are just about done, add the slightly beaten egg, then the noodles to the pan or wok. 

TOSS together then:

Add peanut sauce to the pan; to taste.  Divide mixture among two plates and top with bean sprouts, green onion, cilantro, shredded carrot and chopped peanuts.  Serve with lime wedges.  If you like it spicier add a bit more chili sauce.

Let me know how you like it.

*you can buy store-bought pad thai sauce to try if you like, but some of the ingredients are things like ketchup, corn starch and sugar.  Some people making homemade sauce add ketchup and a bit of peanut butter to the sauce.  I omit ketchup all together (really not necessary) but I like adding some spicy peanut sauce. It’s all up to personal taste.