Thursday, December 31, 2009

Spanish-themed Menu for New Year's Eve

New Year's Eve at "The Boulevard"
Thursday, December 31, 2009

Our menu for tonight. I don't know how we suddenly came up such with an extensive (vs. an easy) menu, especially after cooking on the 25th and the catering gig on the 27th!

I should also mention that, besides sautéing mushrooms and green beans, we've never made any of these dishes before!

And! We're gong to be cooking for about 50 adults and about 15 kids.

Are we crazy? Well, I guess that's just how we roll.

Spanish-themed Menu

Red wine made refreshing with fruit juices and orange slices.

Fideuá (Seafood Noodle "Paella")

Toasted short noodles cooked in saffron- and smoked paprika-flavored
seafood stock, with clams, mussels, squid, shrimp, chorizo, bell peppers and peas. Post is here!

Salsa Romesco

"Queen of the Catalan sauces!"
Made from ñora peppers, almonds, hazelnuts, roasted tomatoes,
garlic and olive oil. Perfect with everything! Post is here.

"Calçots" con Salsa Romesco

No real calçots available here.
These are green onions, grilled and charred, eaten with Romesco sauce. Post is here!

Mushrooms sautéed with garlic, white wine, parsley and olive oil.

Judías Verdes rehogadas con Tocino
Green beans sautéed with bacon.
Try it with Romesco sauce

Bacalao con Patatas

Bacalao (salt cod) and potatoes baked in a creamy sauce. Post is here!

Gambas al Ajillo
Prawns with garlic in olive oil.

Lengua Estofada

Beef lengua braised in red wine and veal stock. Post is here!

A hearty stew with pork shoulder & shank, pig's feet,
smoked ham hock, chorizo, morcilla sausage, cabbage and garbanzo beans.
Served with a "gremolata" of parsley, capers, garlic, and orange & lemon zests. Post is here!

Empanada de Pavo

A Galician-style meat pie with a Moorish-inspired filling of
turkey meat, chorizo, olives and figs. Post is here!

Tarta de Soletillas
Ladyfingers dipped in Earl Grey Tea, layered with ground almonds and
orange-flavored mascarpone cheese and whipped cream filling,
dusted with cocoa powder.

Pudim Flan (Universal Bakery)
A classic Portuguese (oops!) flan from Vancouver's
Universal Bakery on Rupert.

¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

Happy New Year to all! And we'll be posting about these dishes in the days (or most likely, weeks and months) to come! =)

(I'll be automatically posting this later tonight, so the menu will still be a surprise to our guests.)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Well, JS and I haven't really been doing anything too Christmas-y. There's dinner with the family tonight -- I'm a Christmas Eve-er myself, rather that a Christmas Day-er -- then a gathering with relatives tomorrow.

We decided to give ourselves a break and have a semi-potluck tomorrow, only making roast turkey and roasting a whole beef tenderloin. We may or may not make a cauliflower gratin as well.

We have to save some energy to cook for our annual New Year's Eve gathering, after all.

(See last year's New Year's Eve menu: A Starry, Starry Night in Vancouver -- Evoking the Philippine Christmas Spirit.)

Also, we have our first-ever catering gig!

This fell quite unexpectedly on our laps. It's a holiday dinner for about 30 people, buffet-style. The above are the labels I made for the dishes we'll be making. This will be the first time we're roasting a whole beef tenderloin, so we decided to a practice run tomorrow.

So, Merry Christmas to you all! JS and I will just be working away in the kitchen all this while. =)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Rice to Riches (New York, NY)

Our first NYC post!

We were in New York for a few days in August 2009. And yes, four months later, our first post is ready. ;)

JS and I were actually on our way somewhere else (for pizza, actually) when we walked past the Rice to Riches storefront. Hmm, interesting. So I went in for a closer look.

Rice pudding, you say? I lurve, lurve, LURVE rice pudding. My heart went pitter-patter. I went a little weak in the knees. I couldn't resist; I had to return after having our pizza.

I only have a few pictures of the interior, but they had quite a fun set-up.

It was hard to take pictures as there were always a bunch of people in front of the display.

nifty packaging; the sizes available

They had some pretty nifty containers; custom-made, it seems. These are for eat-in orders. They also had some rice pudding already packaged if one is in a hurry.

"Little Diva" size in ready-to-go containers.

Here's the shot of the display that I sneaked in. As you can see, they had a variety of flavors available: "Category 5" Caramel, Take Me to Tiramisu, Cinnamon Sling, Hazelnut Chocolate Bear Hug, etc.

One could also choose different toppings to add to one's rice pudding: Nudge, Blessings, Cloud 9, Remedy, Mischief, etc.

What are those toppings? The Rice to Riches website has all the answers.

They will ship rice pudding overnight! I wonder if people actually use this service.

Kooky Signage
Bathroom is for Rice to Riches customers only. Violators will be disgraced, tortured, and saavagely beaten. If you survive, you will be shot.

I personally love the signage. It's probably because I agree with them!

Honor the HONOR SYSTEM. Only take how many napkins you need, and NO MORE!!! Store security, God, and Santa ARE WATCHING YOU.

They had an extensive write-up on the "Formula to becoming a Rice to Riches Employee."

My absolute favorite part of it:

"If you've got time to lean, you've got time to clean."

So true.

Oh, what about the rice pudding, you ask?

Sorry about the weirdo lighting. The table was orangely-lit. See how the nifty spoon fits into the nifty bowl? Anyway, I ordered the "solo" size, as JS indicated she didn't want any.

The rice pudding was actually pretty good. Who would've thunk it? The whole lot was creamy, and the texture of the rice was nice. I ordered the plain one ("Old-Fashioned Romance") to really "test" their rice pudding. It wasn't too sweet at all, always a plus, but I think I should've ordered the vanilla instead ("Understanding Vanilla"), just for some flavor. Of course, I think they expect people to add toppings to the plain flavor.

Being rice pudding, it was very filling, and I couldn't finish this "solo" size. (Of course, the half of a large pizza in my stomach could be a factor as well.)

If we were in the area again, I would've definitely returned to get more rice pudding. Perhaps somebody could overnight-ship me some? =)

Their website has pictures of the storefront, the store interior, the packaging, and all sorts of stuff. It also has the list of flavors and toppings. Check it out if you have the time.

Rice to Riches
New York, NY
Visited in August 2009

We ate all the food below -- and more -- in 4 days! Insane. See how: NYC Eating Extravaganza (August 2009)

[eatingclub] vancouver in New York
Rice to Riches
Shake Shack
Grom Gelato
Bleecker Street Pizza
New York Burger Co.
Artichoke Basille's Pizza
Katz's Deli
Lombardi's Pizza
Hummus Place
Max Brenner, Chocolate by the Bald Man
Momofuku Ssäm Bar
Amy Ruth's
Taïm Falafel and Smoothie Bar
A Tale of Two Dogs: Gray's Papaya & Papaya King

Enjoyed this post? Why not subscribe to our blog? Subscribe via reader or subscribe via email. Thank you!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Chinese Ramen

All I want these days for most meals is a bowl of noodles.

I don't know if it is the cold weather talking (we hit some negative temperatures the past week) or if it is age (which, I suppose, cold weather makes you feel more), but I've become quite a minimalist in my gustatory desires.

Which explains the lack of posts here at [eatingclub] vancouver, for which I must apologize. We just have not had the time nor the energy nor the desire to prepare more meals for the past month. On most days, I dump meat into a pot in some braising liquid and I stir-fry some greens in hot garlic oil and that is our meal.

We have had to contend with our arch-nemesis-es too, the dark, which makes it impossible to take good pictures past 4:00 in the afternoon.

Back to the noodles.

I happen to like Japanese ramen but it is too much of an ordeal to go downtown (or even the nearest good ramen place) and contend with the traffic and the dreaded parking. Plus, TS does not like Japanese ramen. Besides, she had a very mysterious and disturbing episode at a ramen shop downtown that she does not care to repeat.

I figured we'd make some version of "Chinese" ramen at home.

We call it "Chinese" ramen because some of the better ramen bowls I've had are those from Hongkong-style cafes. These tend to be more punchy in flavour.

It is a matter of shopping for the ingredients to put in our Chinese ramen.

The "Toppings"

I picked up some ramen noodles, bean sprouts and seaweed at the grocery store and some Cantonese cha siu at a neighbourhood barbecue joint.

TS prepped some green onions and cilantro as well. We also had gailan that we blanched to eat with the noodles. That in the jar are some bamboo shoots.

The Broth

I had some chicken stock that I made the day before and we still had miso paste in the fridge. So our broth was a miso-based one. The corn kernels are what are left in a bag of frozen corn. I also added some tofu puffs that we also purchased for this purpose.

I suppose one could add butter to this, but we didn't bother.


JS's bowl:
First, some cooked ramen noodles, followed by gailan, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, a tofu puff...

...followed by some nori, then cha siu slices.

The whole lot was finished with the miso broth and corn kernels, and a sprinkling of green onions and cilantro.

My bowl was a tad simpler.

I had noodles, gailan, a lot more nori, some bean sprouts, a lot more corn, and a tofu puff.

I finished with the same green onions, cilantro, cha siu and miso broth, plus a generous amount of shichimi ("seven flavor chili pepper").

Our proper, proper bowls of Chinese ramen.

Enjoyed this post? Why not subscribe to our blog? Subscribe via reader or subscribe via email. Thank you!

[eatingclub] vancouver SOUPS
[eatingclub] vancouver NOODLES
[eatingclub] vancouver CHINESE
[eatingclub] vancouver JAPANESE

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Shakshuka (Stewed Bell Peppers with Egg)

I've never heard of shakshuka prior to walking into a small, neighbourhood eatery here in Kerrisdale (Gaia Bistro).

From the name, which sounded to me vaguely Africanesque and very exotic, I would never have guessed that the dish consists of tomatoes and peppers with a sunny-side up egg, with flavours so home-y and comforting belying the name.

From researching the dish, I discovered that shakshuka is a popular Jewish dish eaten during Sabbath, when no cooking is to take place. It can be done in advance (the day before Sabbath) and tastes even better when it has had time to sit in a pot, to be eaten the next day.

I jokingly said to TS that maybe we can take our own little vacation from cooking by cooking up a big, big pot (8 L) of it and having ourselves just heat-and-eat as we go throughout the week.

To make this, I thought I'd throw in some bell peppers with some canned tomatoes and that would be that.

So, I started dicing some onions and bell peppers. Then I thought that perhaps I should do a little research. I came upon how to make "real shakshuka" on

Well, I certainly didn't have time to roast the peppers first, and cook them with tomatoes for hours. We wanted food now! So, I decided to wing it. Although there weren't supposed to be onions in shakshuka, I already diced mine, so in they went.

I sautéed the onions with some garlic and chili flakes in olive oil. Then, while rooting around in the pantry, I realized we didn't have any canned tomatoes in the house. We did have fresh tomatoes, so I used that. To amp up the tomatoes, I added some tomato paste as well.

We added chickpea to our shakshuka because we wanted to add some more protein to the dish.

Diced bell peppers went in next. I let the mixture cook until the bell peppers were soft. For seasonings, I added just a hint of cumin, then some sweet paprika. I adjusted the final flavors with salt and a pinch of sugar.

Now the eggy part. I scooped some of the stewed pepper mixture into a smaller pan, plopped an egg in the middle of it, and waited for the egg to cook.

Voilà! Look at that yolk-y goodness.

The shakshuka at Gaia Bistro is served either with sausage or cheese. So feel free to add those into yours.

Eaten with warm pita bread, this lunch hit the spot. It would be good breakfast and dinner too.

As mentioned, we actually also ate this atop our Cuban Arroz con Salchichas.

Enjoyed this post? Why not subscribe to our blog? Subscribe via reader or subscribe via email. Thank you!



2 onions
chili flakes/chili peppers
garlic, as much as you want
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 cup drained canned chickpeas
4 to 6 bell peppers, large dice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon Hungarian sweet paprika

In a pot over medium heat, heat olive oil. Sauté onions, garlic and chili flakes until soft. Add tomato paste and cook for about 2 minutes, until tomato paste has darkened in color. Add the chopped tomatoes and chickpeas and cook until the tomatoes have broken down. Add the diced bell peppers. Add cumin and sweet parpika into the pot as well. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until the peppers are soft. Adjust seasoning with salt and sugar.

To serve, scoop desired amount into a small pan. Heat over medium heat. Break desired number of eggs into the pan and cook until desired egg doneness. Serve with warmed pita or other flatbread.

LinkWithin Related Stories Widget for Blogs