Sunday, August 23, 2009

Favourite Restaurants

My lovely friend Kristen, has asked her friends with foodie blogs to write about their favourite place(s) to eat and then link our blogs together... so that is what I am going to do since I really don't feel like cooking today (I have enough leftovers to manage for today) and also because she is a good friend and it is fun to think back on some yummy places for good dinners. Being international makes mine a little different as well, since some of my favourite places to eat are not on this continent. :) Please see the list below... they are in no particular order.

1)Samwon Gardens is one of the best (but most expensive) Korean restaurants in Seoul. Everything I have ever eaten there is delicious. It is also special to me as this is the place I ate with my Uncle Garth when he would come to Seoul on business and once when my parents visited, we all ate there and it was wonderful.

2) There is another restaurant in Seoul that had the best Rib Eye steak covered in a super creamy and delicious blue cheese dressing with a side salad and shoestring fries. It is La Cigale Monmarte. Loved that place and used to go there a couple times a month with Raymond and then friend Wilma...

3) My favourite Chinese food restaurant ever was also found in Seoul, Korea. Holee Chow. Mmmm... spicy pork loin.... the food there was hardly ever greasy and just the right amount of spices. Raymond and I would go there every so often and gorge ourselves on way too much food. Our favourite thing was their side dish of spicy cabbage (not kimchi exactly... just really really yummy).

4) Cafe De La Lune, Victoria, BC. I used to go for evening walks with my friend Shawna from UVIC and we would always stop in there for a treat to share, they had the biggest, best Rice Krispie Squares. Mmmmm... We'd often pop by there for tea etc after a night out on the town too. Sounds granny-ish but it just seemed to suit our sensibilities. Loved that place.

5) My house or my friend's houses... a home cooked meal with family and friends will always beat out a restaurant in my tummy, heart and mind.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Thai Green Curry

First things first... get all your ingredients ready! I use the chicken breast strips that they sell in the grocery stores, but you can use chicken breasts, or beef or even fish or seafood. Pick your protein (even tofu) and go with it. I also like to use leftover veggies mixed with fresh veggies. Great way to clean out the fridge and still make something yummy and new.

The all important coconut milk. You can get a lower fat version but for some reason it just isn't as nice. Go for the full fat version!!

Green curry paste. Bad picture, I know... green curry is not very spicy so if you are looking for something a little hotter, go for a red curry. The basic procedure is pretty much the same. The jars of curry paste (which is better than the pre-made curry mix) have a how to on them, but I am using what I remember my Thai cooking teacher telling me to do... well sort of.

Instead of using Pam or another spray to grease the pan, I bought a Kitchen Spritzer from Pampered Chef and I just fill it with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Saves money, doesn't have aerosol and is more environmentally safe.

Drop in some onions and garlic to saute
Add chicken and eggplant into the mix and keep sauteing. The eggplant should be soft before you add much more.

When the eggplant or any other heartier veggies you choose to use are soft, add in other softer veggies. I tossed in some frozen mixed veggies and leftovers.

After a few minutes of cooking that, open your coconut milk and pour it in.

Then stir in the curry paste and allow the whole pan to simmer for a little bit. You should be tasting it to see how much of the curry paste you want to add. I added about twice what the bottle said because I love this curry's flavour. But we are all different, so do what feels right for you.

Once it and your Thai jasmine rice is cooked, plate it up and ENJOY!! Yum, yum... and it makes enough to serve probably 5 or 6 people... or enough for you to have super yummy leftovers for lunches at work. Everyone will be jealous when you tell them it is homemade and not take out!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Yummy Cod Dinner

I started out with two fillets of cod (they were frozen, not fresh). I added a little pat of unsalted butter per fillet, a little touch of fresh garlic, salt, pepper and fresh dill. Then I closed the foil pocket and threw it into the oven at 375 for about 30 minutes. This keeps the fish from drying out.

A basic tzatziki sauce made with plain, nonfat yogurt, fresh dill, cucumber and garlic. I thought it might be a fun way to dress the potatoes and asparagus.

When the potatoes were almost done boiling in a lightly salted water, I threw the asparagus in to steam in the same water... waste not, want not, isn't that what they say?

This is one of my favourite additions to any yummy meal... a nice glass of a good wine.

And there you have it... the fish, the potatoes, the asparagus and the tzatziki. YUMMY!! I added a little more fresh cracked pepper and sea salt at the end to make sure that all things were seasoned to my taste (and to my final day of salt loading), I know that you will do the same... Enjoy and happy eating!

Cake Balls - thanks Noreen

This is all you will need unless you want to do the cake from scratch or you want to get all fancy schmancy... I used a chocolate cake mix (eggs, water and veg oil required) but you can use any kind of cake. I also used a milk chocolate frosting, but again you can use whatever turns your cake crank. Then I bought some self hardening chocolate and sprinkles and nuts for garnish.

Mix up the cake mix (I threw in a little Mexican vanilla and cinnamon to add my own personal touch to the mix).

After the cake is baked and cooled, cut it into little squares. I baked the cake in a tin lined with parchment paper, it made it easier to pop out of the pan and into the bowl.

Put the cut up cake and frosting into a bowl and mix. It looks nasty (see the pic below) but you want it to be a mucky, muddy looking mess... that means it is perfect.

ew... right? Just taste it... yum!!

Melt the self hardening chocolate using either a double boiler system or your microwave. I did the double boiler because I felt like I had more control over the chocolate, keeping it glossy and smooth.

As the chocolate was melting slowly, I went ahead and pre-rolled the cake balls. You can make them as big or small as you like. As this was my first time making them, I think I went a little too large, which made them a bit of a pain to dip.

I also layed out my sprinkles and nuts for IMMEDIATE dipping after being dipped in the chocolate.

Look at that glossy, yummy melted chocolate... that is a sight that makes this chubby bubby very happy!! hahaha

As I was dipping the cake balls in chocolate and laying them on the parchment paper, my roommate was sprinkling nuts and sprinkles over them. We put them in the fridge to harden up nicely and then enjoyed them after a yummy cod dinner and some wine... Good times, I am telling you!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Coming soon...

Okay, I haven't cooked one single thing since I came back from Mexico... Right now I am on a doctor prescribed salt loading diet for three days so that I can check my cortisol and other adrenal gland hormone levels... But don't worry. I have some good recipes up my sleeve and I can't wait to get them started! I am stealing a recipe from my new friend, Noreen - cake balls (I know it sounds weird, but trust me, it is going to be AMAZING!!). I am also going to do some good stuff with halibut... so stay tuned readers, I am going to get my cook on soon!!

Sunday, August 9, 2009


The other day I went and saw the Julie and Julia movie and it almost made me want to cook through a cookbook... but that's been done before, hasn't it?! :) So I was thinking that I might just go through some of my favourite childhood memories in food. There are a lot of different foods that I connect to certain times in my life. And also, there are foods that every time I returned home from university or whatever country I was in that I wanted my mom to make. They were comfort foods of a different sort; they put me back into my childhood or a time where I felt particularly loved or safe. So I am excited to start this venture with you... and of course, I'll be trying new stuff too! Of ocurse... this will have to happen once I get back from my vacation in Mexico!! So see you all in about a week or so!! Happy eating!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Heartache, Headaches and Food

Today was one full of heartache (going through a bit of a break up and it's taking it's toll) and a huge headache (I think it was leftover from my massage) and that always leads me to one of my ways of removing stress: Food! I was also so blessed and pleased to see that 6 people are now following this little venture of mine. Thanks Kris for linking this blog to yours!! You truly are a lovely friend!

So today I want to share one of my favourite recipes that is a comfort food for me (I haven't made it in quite a while, but I also know it is a crowd pleaser). Years and YEARS ago I used to work in a Lebanese restaurant in my hometown of Gibsons, BC. This item was not on the menu, but one of the cooks (Sam) would cook it up for us workers from time to time and I finally twisted his arm for the recipe one day before I left to go back to university. Again... there aren't really any exact measurements and there are no pictures today (maybe the next time I make it), so please enjoy experimenting and changing it to fit your tastes. :)

Sam's Chicken Pasta

Start out with some boneless, skinless chicken (use whatever amount that will serve your number) and chop it into bit-sized pieces. You will then want to brown the chicken in a large skillet for about 2 or 3 minutes (it will continue to cook as you build the sauce and won't become rubbery). Next you will want to chop up 2 cloves of fresh garlic and some cilantro. Add these along with some black pepper (I like freshly ground the best), a pinch of salt, oregano and paprika to the chicken. You're chicken should be about cook by this point and you will want to pour equal parts of milk and whipping cream (the more chicken you have, the more milk and cream you need... for 2 servings of chicken you only really need about 1/2 cup of each) over the chicken and spices. After stirring for a minute or two, toss in about 1/4 cup of FRESH grated parmesan cheese. The sauce will be thick, creamy and have some wonderfully fresh flavours. If you really can't stomach the taste of cilantro (it's not for everyone) use dill instead, it still gives a fresh spike to the sauce and could use a touch of lemon too if you like.
While you are working out the sauce, make some pasta of your choice to pour the sauce over. Enjoy!! Make some garlic bread to accompany it if you like...

So there, pasta helps to heal heartaches (I'm not sure the creamy, rich sauce is good for the headache). I hope it brings joy to your tastebuds and tummies!!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Simple Spicing It Up!!

Today after my massage, I was STARVING. Even though it is warm outside, it's cloudy and dreary looking outside. Those are the days when I crave something warm and comforting. Grilled cheese and tomato soup are my answer. But I don't like to leave things just as they are, all plain and simple. So my grilled cheese was made in a tortilla on my Foreman Grill. So melty and yummy. I left it simple because nothing is better than yummy, melty cheese. But the soup (although I think Campbell's Tomato Soup is super yummy on it's own) got some doctoring. Sometimes I like things to be a little spicey. So I tossed a little oregano, garlic salt, cayenne pepper and a tiny touch of cinnamon into the pot with the soup. Don't ask me why the cinnamon (other than the obvious health benefits - cinnamon and cayenne are really good for digestion and lowering cholesterol), but it just works and gives an extra touch of flavour to the mix. Try it in your spaghetti sauce too.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Grilled Salmon and Eggplant Stacks

I start with a boneless fillet of salmon. I think mine is wild salmon but whatever you like will work just fine. I lightly salt and pepper the salmon first and because I love the way it work with fish, I throw on some dill.

Next I pour a little balsamic vinegar over the salmon and let that marinade while I work on preparing the eggplant for the stacks.

I cut one large eggplant into 3/4 inch thick slabs. Each was brushed with olive oil and then places on my Foreman Grill and cooked for about 7-8 minutes (or until they were soft when poked with a fork).

While the eggplant was grilling and the salmon was marinading, I cut up the tomatoes I needed and some fresh mozzarella. I lightly salted and peppered the tomatoes.

The grilled eggplant is ready (and looking pretty amazing I might add). I took it off and put it on a cookie tray lined with foil in preparation for stacking with the tomatoes and cheese. While I was doing that, I put the salmon on the grill to cook. This is a really quick meal by the way and very healthy.

So that is what the stacks look like before they go in the oven under the broiler. First goes the eggplant, then tomato, cheese and a little feta cheese. I used two eggplant slices, two tomatoes, two mozzarella slices and about 1/8 of a cup of feta cheese per stack. Then I lightly sprinkled some oregano over the top of each stack and put it under the broiler.

Here is what the salmon looks like when it's done. You do have to watch it because the sugars in the balsamic vinegar caramelize and it can stick to the grill if you aren't careful which is why I like to do this on an indoor grill like a Foreman. If I were to do this on an outdoor grill or BBQ, I might put down foil in the grill first or really make sure to clean and oil the grill before putting the fish on it and keep the grill on a low temperature.

And there it is... finished!! I am telling you that it was filling and fulfilling!! Super yummy and super easy. If you are looking for an actual recipe for the eggplant stacks, I took my inspiration from Cook Yourself Thin (a show and cookbook).


Okay... one of my passions in life is cooking and I love to cook for other people and with other people. So I thought it might be fun to put a little cooking blog out there. I won't make entries everyday but I am just keen to share some of the things I love. I don't use exact measurements in my recipes so if you are reading this and like a meal and want to try it at home... well... I hope that you can be comfortable with your own culinary skills and experiment with the information I give. Thanks in advance for reading and I hope to meet and make new friends through all of this.