[A blast from the past! This was from April 4, 2006.]
CSC & I have a special love towards cabbage rolls, for some reason. So, I decided to make them!
I used tyler florence's recipe from food 911, more or less (with some slight changes)
Note: if someone makes you cabbage rolls from SCRATCH, they love you!
It was soooooo labor-intensive, the rolling!
should've wilted/cooked the cabbage leaves more
used only ground pork (since that's what we had) instead of ground pork & beef
could've added more rice in the filling
the "sweet & sour" tomato sauce is actually "sour" (very tangy)
the "sweetness" comes from the cabbage
the components of the dish *HAVE* to be eaten TOGETHER: meat filling + cabbage + sauce
Next time, perhaps I'll do mock cabbage rolls... So that's why there are such recipes! I saw recipes for "mock cabbage rolls", "fake cabbage rolls", and "cabbage 'roll' casseroles" while I was doing the research. Now I know why!
There were actually more cabbage rolls made than appear in the pictures. That larger dish (pictured) had the rolls, but there's a smaller dish where I've already given up and put a bed of cabbage, put the filling, and topped with more cabbage: a "mock" cabbage roll dish.
We froze the rolls so we can have cabbage rolls anytime!
It's been a while since those cabbage rolls. Hmm, maybe it's time to make them again. So good. But, the labor, the labor!
Again, the pictures suck! Sorry. =)
Friday, February 29, 2008
[A blast from the past! This was from April 4, 2006.]
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Two reviewers: js and ts
Tuna Hamachi Niçoise, Oven Dried Tomato Charred Green Beans, Six-Minute Egg
Black Angus Beef Tartare, Fresh Wasabi, Kusshi Oyster Dressing
Parsnip and Coconut Soup, Dungeness Crab, Coconut Crisps
Calamari, Pan Fried, Oregano and Lime
I had the black angus beef tartare for my starter. It was flawlessly executed, but I can't say it was particularly memorable. I liked the beef, didn't particularly parse out the fresh wasabi in the mix, and didn't care much for the oyster dressing on the side.
I tried my mother's calamari, and again, it was another dish that is flawlessly executed. The squid strips were very tender and hit all of the right notes of herbiness and acidity.
I had the nicoise. I don't really have any complaints. It was good! I love tuna niçoise!
I tried the calamari as well. Again, this was good. The squid was *VERY* tender and the flavors were spot-on.
Grilled Black Angus Striploin, Seared Bone Marrow, Spinach, Horseradish Potato Puree
Roasted Chop and Crispy Belly of Berkshire Pork, Rosemary Glaze, Pumpkin and Cabbage
Black Cod, Wilted Arugula, Sungold Totatoes, Roasted Shallots, Aged Sherry Vinegar
Seared Japanese Red Snapper, Braised Chard, Sweet Potato and Smoked Clam Chowder
Caramelised Scallops, Maitake Mushrooms, Roasted Cauliflower and Chorizo Oil
I'm really curious about the beef dish because of the marrow! Maybe next time.
Oh, my father ordered the scallops dish, but I didn't get to taste it.
For my main, I was undecided for a long time and waited for the rest of the group to order theirs. I was debating between the fish entrees (there were 3: black cod, snapper, and salmon) and the meat (beef or pork). For sure, I did not want to go with the scallops. I finally went with the Berkshire pork.
The entree consisted of a chop of pork and some shredded meat which I presume is the belly part of the dish. I found the glaze to be too sweet and stick-to-the-throat. I didn't taste really get the rosemary-ness of the glaze.
I had high expectations of the pork, given that it was advertised as Berkshire pork, a heritage breed of pigs that are supposedly more flavourful than the lean cardboard pigs they've been breeding commercially.
I was disappointed to find it quite flavourless as well. It just tasted blandly, with the merest shadow of pig. The belly was much better, as it tasted more porcine, as bellies are wont to taste. I was looking for a piece of crispy skin as an accompaniment to the belly but it was nowhere to be found.
I didn't care too much for the sides they served with it. The cabbage was too wilted for my taste and sat on the pool of the sauce, which I didn't particularly care for. The pumpkin was too sweet and didn't really provide a foil for the pig.
I can see the execution of the dishes were, again, quite flawless. I do not doubt their skills and techniques. This dish, however, fell short of my expectations. Perhaps it was the ghost of the pigs past ruining the dish for me. I can remember when pigs tasted like pigs, not like pinkish-grayish cardboard.
I also tasted the pork. I agree with JS; it was just blah. That pig is tasteless! This is true of pretty much all pigs here, so it's not the restaurant's fault. The "crispy belly" was a bit weird, though. I was expecting a thicker "meat-fat-meat-fat" block/piece of meat, but it was a very thin piece of something. Yeah, even though executed well, this dish was just so-so.
I also tasted some of TS's snapper dish and that was better. At least the fish tasted like fish! I didn't care for the accompaniments as much: again, I thought they were just too sweet and did not add anything to my enjoyment of the fish.
I tasted the black cod. I'm glad I ordered the snapper, because I don't really like the taste of black cod. But, everything on that plate was done really nicely.
I was pretty satisfied with my snapper. The fish was nice. I liked the chard and the sweet potato puree. The clam chowder "sauce" was nice and flavorful as well. The clams were nice and tender. All in all, very nice dish! My only complaint was that it had 2 smallish pieces of fish (whereas the black cod dish -- and the pork dish, for that matter -- was considerably HUGER).
Whipped Morello Cherry Cheesecake, Cherry Crumble, Jubilee Glaze
Passion Fruit Custard, Single Barrel Rum Baba, Seven Exotic Fruits Sorbet
Raspberry and Pomegranate Soup, Orange Blossom, White Chocolate Parfait, Raspberry Sorbet
Chocolate Hazelnut Brownie, Banana Foster, Banana Ice Cream
Warm Doughnuts, Granny Smith Apple Sauce, Hot Apple Cider, Cinnamon Bun Ice Cream
I told JS she should get the raspberry & pomegranate soup! Coz! It's something different! But she didn't....
I was also considering the passionfruit custard, seeing as I like that kind of texture (custard, panna cotta, creme brulee, pot de creme).
But, decided on the doghnuts. They were pretty good, but nothing spectacular. I do like it that the doughnut was actually a doughnut-battered piece of apple!
But now I'm thinking if I should've gotten the soup or the custard instead.
The dessert I had was the cherry cheesecake. It was a sort of deconstructed cheesecake, as the "meat" of the cheesecake was shaped like a big quenelle, at the bottom of which sat the crumbs. I liked the cheesecake and I liked the cherries, but it was too big of a portion of cheesecake and half of it went uneaten.
Overall, the food was flawless, in terms of skill, technique, and execution. But I did find it a tad boring and lacking in something. Soul? To me, it felt like a "standard" menu and perhaps that is the intent of the restaurant. After all, it is a restaurant inside of a hotel and most hotel restaurants are not really expected to be more than standard. The design of the dining room was beautiful, but again, personally, I felt it a little hollow. It just felt like all style to me. It's "hip" and "trendy."
From the writeups in newspapers, I heard that the background of the executive chef is Latino. So perhaps I had a slightly different set of expectations even before setting foot in the restaurant. I had hoped that he would create dishes that are more "exciting" (bear in mind this is a subjective word) and more "authentic" -- that is, something that would connect to me heart-to-heart or soul-to-soul.
Well, I was more satisfied with this meal than JS. Perhaps because I really liked both my appy and main dishes. The execution of the dishes was flawless. Rating, around 8/10, I would think.
Monday, February 25, 2008
Look, a post with actual pictures! Ooooh. Teehee.
Two sides of trout were supposed to be cooked on Saturday, along with the test-run Chicken Pot Pie, for TS's and CSC's impromptu party.
Time and other circumstances conspired to nix the trout for Saturday, so it made an appearance today on our dinner table.
Please recall that I've had a spectacular version of Trout Grenobloise at Pied-a-Terre the last time I've been there. I asked TS if she could make the same dish at home.
Et voila. She can and this is the result.
I've actually cooked this for a regular weekday meal before. Of course, we didn't take any pictures then.
This version is more acidic than the Pied-a-Terre version; theirs was much more buttery.
(brown butter sauce with lemon, capers & croutons)
I made some croutons:
Sliced a baguette and put the slices in the oven (they weren't even single-layer). Almost forgot about them, but took them out of the oven just in time. =)
I zested them, then segmented one and juiced the other.
Capers: stabbed the capers in their narrow jar, hehe. Not necessary, but I thought this would release more caper-y goodness into the sauce.
Trout: I sliced them into fillets and seasoned them. In the pan they go! Their GBD-goodness below:
(GBD = "golden brown & delicious", hehe)
Next, the sauce.
Butter: Look at it foam! Waited until it was brown (not pictured).
Added the lemon zest, segments & juice, the parsley and the capers. Tossed in the croutons.
This is WAY too many croutons for the sauce. It should be more liquid-y than crouton-y. However, we like the croutons. =) Also, we had to use up that whole baguette!
The plated dish (with some mesclun greens):
[eatingclub] vancouver French food:
Provençal Onion Tart
Pork Chops with Grainy Dijon and Capers
Prawns with Tarragon and Orange
Herbes de Provence Sablé
Roast Pork Belly with Puy Lentils
Duck and Orange Crêpes with Orange-White Wine Sauce
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Craving #3: Chicken Pot Pie
I'm infinitely suggestible, so when I saw the steak pie on Jamie Oliver's episode on pastries several weeks ago, I knew I wanted a similar feast.
(For those keeping count, Craving #1 was Baked Manicotti, Craving #2 was the Burger.)
It's been quite a long time since I've had chicken pot pie. The last one I had was probably -- oh, losing count here -- more than ten years ago and in one of those microwaveable frozen incarnations. Most probably what they sell as an "Aussie Pie."
I had no idea how to make Chicken Pot Pie though and this is a dish that is not in our repertoire. I've seen TV chefs make them, and from my own previous experiences of the dish, I can approximate what goes into the pie.
Seems like a very "standard" tasting-dish to me: that is, something with a mirepoix of celery, onions, and carrots, seasoned with thyme, in a white-ish, thick-ish pool, most likely cream. Chicken-y tasting of course.
Whatever made me decide today was the day to make a pot of chicken pie.
I made the executive decision at about 4 o'clock in the afternoon today and had about 2 hours to cook. I had decided not to use a whole chicken, because I did not want to go through the hassle of poaching the chicken and shredding it for the pot pie. I went with boneless, skinless thighs instead.
And -- CHICKEN BROTH! I've been having my own dilemmas -- infinitely uninteresting to everybody else but myself of course -- vis a vis chicken broth, but since laziness took over today, I've decided to cave and just be a user. Oh well, I figure this is going to be a dry run for my "real" chicken pot pie.
We tried to find puff pastry in the supermarket, as all these TV chefs claim that all supermarkets have them, but Safeway and Choices did not have puff pastry. The compromise is phyllo pastry and here's the result.
[Thanks to LSC for putting on the phyllo top and making it pretty!]
Overall, not bad. I was happy with the result, but if I were to make it again, I will tweak the recipe a little bit to make the dish a little bit richer.
Friday, February 22, 2008
Three reviewers: ts and js, with a special guest appearance by rl (teehee)
[no reviews by csc, lsc and yd!]
Nu had a $25 Dine Out menu, and a $35 100-Mile Diet Menu.
Feeling like I have to have "street cred," I had the 100-Mile Dine Out Menu.
I mean, I've read the 100-Mile Diet book (mini-review: "okay" as I could have done with less of the "personal" stuff) and I've always wanted to do something "virtuous" vis a vis our carbon footprint, so now that a 100-Mile menu has been offered to me, I feel like I have to take it.
Even though the 100-Mile Dine Out Menu consisted of chicken for the entree course.
Even though it had some sort of poutine course. I like fries but am not too crazy about poutine.
On to the review.
Side Stripe Shrimp + BC Alabacore Fritter
green beans, olives, preserve tomato, fine herb dressing
Nu's Classic Caesar Salad
asiago, popcorn pork belly, buttered croutons
Glenn Valley Farms Butternut Squash Soup
shredded duck, chive dumpling
Crispy Fraser Valley Duck Leg Confit
sweet potato puree, braised red cabbage, orange preserve, jus
Pan Seared "Larry Albright" Trout
vegetable ratatouille, pemberton potato criquette, dill cream
Braised Lamb Cheeks
roasted winter root vegetables, wild & cultivated mushroom couscous, minted radish, rich lamb jus
Blood Orange Pavlova
blood orange curd, citrus salad
Matt's Famous Sticky Toffee + Date Pudding
warm butterscotch sauce
Sadly, nobody who ate the $25 Dine Out menu is reviewing!!!
I tasted the seafood fritter (appy) and it was quite nice. I only had one small bit, so I don't remember any details anymore. But it was good. =)
Oh, and tasted the Caesar salad too: the dressing was good and anchovy-y!
100 Mile Menu
Pemberton Potto "Poutine"
qualicum cheese curds, flourless gravy
Glenn Valley Farms Butternut Squash Soup
candied black heart spring salmon bellies, chive oil
Fraser Valley Yellow Skin Chicken
North arm farms root vegetable pave, forest mushroom cream sauce
Caribou Apiaries Honey Creme Brullee, poached quince candy
The poutine course came and it was a semi-big serving of poutine. It was a bowl-ful of fries, with curds, and gravy, similar in size to maybe a medium (large) McDonald's fries.
The potatoes were merely okay. I didn't think them spectacular by any means: they weren't crispy and were, in fact, on the soggy side. The curds, as curds are, are flavourless, but I didn't really like the gravy all that much. Gravy has too much of an "MSG" taste to me, that is, it's umami to the power of more umami and it seems that the salt or the sodium or the umami-ness of it sticks to the side of my throat. I react this way to processed soups and other processed foods and I really don't like the aftertaste or the after-swallow.
That being said, I really do not know why they chose to have the POUTINE as a starter. I finished about half of my poutine and was trying to finish all of it, but I thought if I ate all of it, then I would be TOO FULL to enjoy the other courses!
I agree: I really can't think of WHY poutine would be part of the tasting menu! It's just so wrong. I don't think poutine can stand on its own as a "dish" in a tasting menu. There's really nothing much going on: it's just fries! The poutine itself was all right, but nothing spectacular.
The butternut squash soup was delicious. It was smooth, silky, with the subtle sweetness of butternut squash. What I didn't care for was the salmon they put with the soup. It was too "fishy," so it was a funny combination to have something that's fishy and sweet. Something fishy and salty would have worked better perhaps.
So to recap: POUTINE + SOUP or something LIQUID. Anybody following the plot? I'm getting fuller and fuller!
I didn't think the salmon was particularly sweet. In fact, it sort of tasted like "smoked salmon" to me (but not quite). But yeah, I didn't like that salmon there AT ALL! I just left it in the bowl.
When my chicken came, I was already FULL. Which was a shame because the chicken dish was delicious. It was tender, the mushrooms were flavourful, and if you had the meat with a little bit of the skin, it was quite heavenly. I couldn't eat more than 3 or 4 little pieces, though and had only 2 forkfuls of the root vegetable square they had. I COULD NOT EAT ANY MORE!
When the server came in to take away my plate, she asked if there was anything wrong with the chicken. I said no. In fact, it was quite delicious, but I was simply too full from the poutine. She smiled and said other people can handle it. I just smiled back and accepted her offer to have the whole thing wrapped up.
The chicken dish was good. I liked the mushrooms. I couldn't quite finish the root vegetable pave. Well, one factor would be that the poutine just took up an excessive amount of stomach space, but the second was that there was some sort of strong root vegetable there! I tried asking people if they got what I meant when I said that the taste of that vegetable pauses a little bit after taking a bite, but then rushes forward in a very "effervescent" way... like a WHOOSH of vapor/flavor. It was very weird, and I couldn't quite get to liking that. I assume it's some sort of radish, but I've had radishes before, and this was different. Oh well.
The dessert was probably the best part of the meal. Again, it is a shame though because I only had 2 spoonfuls of it before I have to pass it on to somebody else who can appreciate it more at that time! I surrendered. I really could not have any more food or else I'll puke everything out. The creme brulee was smooth and creamy, just rightly rich and rightly sweet (not too sweet). I thought I wouldn't like the honey but it might have been the ingredient that put this creme brulee way above other creme brulees. Perhaps it added the right touch of sweetness? Anyways, that's only speculation on my part.
Seems like the night for speculations anyways.
The creme brulee was very nice. In fact, I lose respect for a place that can't do creme brulee right! Teehee. The quince candy was basically like a marshmallow! From the description, I thought it would be a piece of candied fruit, but it was not the case. MARSHMALLOW! (I don't really like marshmallows.)
My overall rating: 8 for the food. It was one of the best performers among all of the restaurants we've tried during Dine Out 2008.
For me, the food was executed well, but I was actually wanting to do their Dine-Out menu... I just thought I should take the 100 Mile Menu because they seemed to have put an effort of making one. (I still object to that poutine being a dish in the tasting menu.) So, even though the food was executed well, in terms of my satisfaction, my food rating would have to be 6.5 or 7/10.
And now, RL! She had the wine pairings with her meal.
the 'nu' sign was hard to see in the dark -- it was gray. The parking was difficult as well. And the food, it's not *that* good. i felt full right after the first course and its matching light beer. but overall, it was ok.
[the 'nu' sign was hard to see in the dark -- gray kasi. parking mahirap din. and the food, it's not *that* good. i feel busog na on the first course pa lang with the light beer. but overall ok lang.]
Published February 20, 2008
The Dairies Are Half-Pint, but the Flavor Isn’t
By MARIAN BURROS
Small dairy farmers, unable to keep afloat selling milk to large processors, are turning to alternatives such as making butter, yogurt and crème fraîche.
The taste really is different! I just remember the organic butter at Bishop's: it was very very yellow, sometimes with the slightest tinge of green (I guess depending on what the cows ate) and very strong in flavor. It was almost like cheese!
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Looked at Mark Bittman (aka "The Minimalist") and he has "what I ate last night" entries in his blog. Seems a popular blog entry: I don't know if I have the energy to constantly be posting "what I ate last night" entries, since most of the meals I eat on most nights are not really that memorable. I figure if I get to eat 80% of what I want to eat 80% of the time, I'm happy. It's when those numbers dip that I become cranky.
Last night was a simple roast chicken with lemon and oregano. One of my favourite things in the world is roast chicken. I like how infinitely variable a thing of chicken is. I did lemon and oregano to match with Tiffanie's Greek Salad. Delicious, delicious, delicious. The Greek salad last night is different from the ones we used to do: this one had olives in them. I must say I really am getting more and more enamoured of olives: the olives here just added a whole other dimension to the Greek salad.
I actually carved out the breast of the chicken and made a sandwich of it with the Greek salad. Don't know why, but I craved a sandwich the past two days.
Speaking of cravings, I've been craving split pea soup, but with the weather turning so spring-like and sunny, how am I supposed to curl up to a steaming bowl of split pea soup? Seems like we didn't even get to do "winter dishes" this year. How am I going to do beef stews and beef braises when it's so sunny outside?
Ah yes, beef. Beef is just so political, isn't it? For myself, I can't even make heads and tails of how I stand on the issue. It's quite complicated, but I do love me beef.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Recipe by LSC
10 cups of water (estimate only)
4 slices of ginger
1.5 - 2 lbs beef brisket (beef flank in meat market)
3 - 6 beef bones (with marrow)
1 - 2 onions (sliced)
6 - 12 tomatos (sliced)
4 - 6 potatos (cubed)
kangkong - or you can substitute it with spinach or baby bok choi (or any kind of veggies you like) *
Put ginger in water.
Add beef bones, beef brisket, tomato, onions, salt.
Let it simmer for 1 hour or until beef brisket is tender.
Simmer till potatos are cooked.
Add spinach (or your choice of veggie).
Simmer for a few minutes until veggie is cooked.
Start with less water than you like, this way you can always add more water for more broth.
* do not put broccoli or watercress - these veggies are so strong that they will destroy the good taste of the soup.
A Filipino dish recipe by LSC.
Yes, once again, LSC's fantabulous STEP-BY-STEP pictures not available. =(
8 cloves garlic - chopped (can still add more if you like garlic)
half a small onion - chopped
1 small garlic - chopped (see picture) - add more if you like
1 - 2 beef tripe
1 - beef "stomach" (?) - this i can't figure out - the one in pic "papaitan_14" i think it's still tripe but different part
1 lb. beef - any part you like
2 beef spleen
1 bitter melon - chopped
1 pechay (bok choi - not baby one, but the big ones)
1 - 2 tsp. salt
dash of pepper
1 tsp. beef bouillon
3 cups water
3 - 4 chili peppers
1. Boil tripe, "stomach", and spleen in water for 15 mins.
2. While the innards are boiling, prepare the garlic, onion, ginger and bitter melon.
3. Take out inards from water and cut into small pieces.
4. Put oil in pot.
5. Add garlic, onion, and ginger.
6. Stir until golden brown, add tripe and "stomach"
7. Cover and let it boil.
8. Add meat and stir.
9. Add pepper.
10. Add spleen and let it boil.
11. Add 3 cups of water.
12. Let it boil in med heat for 30 mins or until tripe is tender
13. Add salt.
14. Add beef bouillon.
15. Add chili peppers.
16. Add bitter melon.
17. Let it boil for 10 mins or until bitter melon is cooked.
18. Add pechay (we didn't as Nanay Conching forgot it at the store)
19. Simmer for another 10 mins.
Filipino recipe by LSC
OK, so it actually means in "blood" sauce. =)
LSC emailed this a while back with fantabulous STEP-BY-STEP photos! Alas, they are no longer available. =(
LSC gave me her images! They're now posted here, woohoo. (as of March 1, 2008)
On to the recipe!
Note: the pictures show the requisite amount/quantity of the ingredients as well.
6 - 8 cloves of garlic - sliced
6 - 8 shallots - minced
2 pork stomachs
1 pork spleen
2 small pint of pork blood
1 lb pork belly
pork bouillon - since i don't have this we used tamarind soup mix instead (if you use this do not add vinegar)
calamansi (or lime/lemon)
1. Boil stomachs, spleen.
(Note: LSC said that she now omits the spleen, as she finds it horrible. Haha.)
2. Cut open stomachs - clean by rubbing calamansi (in this case we use orange and calamansi) and salt - knead stomachs
3. Use knife to clean stomach of slimey layer
4. Once cleaned, put stomach and spleen aside
5. Slice garlic and mince shallots
6. Slice stomach, spleen and pork belly and cut into little strips
7. Put oil in pot
8. Add garlic and shallots
9. Once the garlic and shallots are cooked, add sliced pork stomachs
10. Cover and let it boil
11. Add pepper
12. Let it cook for 15 mins
13. Add water
14. Add salt
15. Cover and let it boil (about an hour or so)
16. Add pork belly
17. Cover and let it boil down
18. Add spleen
19. Add tamarind soup mix (1.5 Tbsp)
20. Add salt (1 tsp.)
21. Add jalapenos - try to place them at the bottom of the pot
22. Cover and let it boil down a little
23. Add pork blood
24. Simmer till pork blood is cooked (dark brown) in about 10 mins
Monday, February 18, 2008
"World-famous" Caesar Salad
house-made foccacia croutons, grated Parmiggiano-Reggiano
Flank Steak Salad
basil-marinated bocconcini, campari tomatoes, baby spinach, balsamic vinaigrette
Peri-peri Chicken Wings
This is so good! You can put it on anything! =D
Prawns with Cumin Butter
Roast Salmon with Almonds
Braised Chicken with Mushrooms & Cranberries
Not the greatest-looking dish, but very tasty.
(I guess braised items served in the braising liquid is never pretty.)
Cranberry sauce (for mushroom-braised chicken)
"Yogurt Cheese" (Strained yogurt, that is.)
Instead of sour cream; for mushroom-braised chicken
Pork Tenderloin with Salsa Verde
Pasta with 3 Ps: pesto, peas, Parmiggiano-Reggiano
Boiled New Potatoes with Paprika Butter
This didn't turn out the way I imagined. The potatoes weren't the waxy kind!! =(
But, I still haven't given up on my boiled potatoes!
Hazelnut Oil Grilled Radicchio
Sautéed Kale with Golden Foccacia Bread Crumbs
Roasted Bell Peppers w/ couscous & feta
Gelato Log Cake
Haha, the "yule log" didn't really go with the birthday theme.