Archive | May, 2011

I <3 Niçoise

26 May

The Nicoise Salad is a fave of mine – I can eat it for days on end because not only is it delicious, filling without the guilt and colourful, but it adheres to the Mediterranean diet that is low-fat (or of healthy fat), a source of high quality, lean protein, and even supplies Omega-3 fatty acids. A bit of background here, it’s a specialty of the Côte d’Azur and named for the city of Nice.

Best place in Vancouver (I welcome your suggestions) and where I got hooked on it: Les Faux Bourgeois

This is my staple recipe, but feel free to sub tuna in olive oil with seared Ahi, or grilled chicken,  or cherry tomatoes for the larger variety. Haricot verts can be found in the frozen section at the Gourmet Warehouse and maybe Whole Foods.  There’s also a pasta version, if you want to serve it potluck style.

Bon Appétit!

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My childhood in a dessert: Ovaltine & Rice Krispies

24 May

Growing up in Vancouver as a child of immigrants in the 80’s, it wasn’t easy to assimilate into the Western culture and still have to struggle to maintain my Chinese heritage. I didn’t have Saturday morning cartoons because I had Chinese school, had thick glasses from grade 4 onwards and I wanted to bring a ham and cheese sandwich to lunch because the other kids would make fun of me that I was eating worms, when it was really chow mein.

Times have changed, of course… kids don’t have to struggle with their cultural identity as much anymore and I’m sure there’s a “Chinese Day” in high school cafeterias with chow mein, spring rolls and all.

So when I saw this recipe it brought me back. Back to the good old days of comfort food, homemade sweets and I smile thinking that this is symbolic of my childhood growing up… Ovaltine and Rice Krispies….

Ovaltine Pudding with Honeyed Rice Krispies

Malty Ovaltine flavors these puddings from New York City chef Pichet Ong.Ovaltine_Pudding_with_Honeyed_Rice_Krispies

SERVES 8

  • 2 1/4-oz. packages unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup Ovaltine powder
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped and reserved
  • 10 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 3/4 cups crisped rice cereal, such as Rice Krispies
  • Whipped cream, for serving

In a 2-qt. saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over milk and let sit for 5 minutes. Add cream, Ovaltine, and vanilla seeds and heat over medium heat; cook, stirring often, until gelatin dissolves and mixture is warmed through. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate and 1/4 tsp. salt until smooth. Pour mixture through a fine strainer into a large pitcher; then pour into eight 6-oz. serving glasses or ramekins. Cover each glass with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled and set, at least 2 hours or overnight.

Meanwhile, heat sugar, honey, and butter in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, swirling pan often, until mixture turns the color of medium-dark caramel; add remaining salt and cereal and stir to coat evenly. Transfer mixture to a greased baking sheet and spread out evenly; let cool and then break into small chunks.

To serve, uncover each pudding and top with some of the crisped-rice mixture. Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream and serve immediately.

Kitchen Gadgets on my Must Have List

6 May

You can never have enough kitchen gadgets. From grape peelers and grapefruit serrated spoons, to milk frothers and large-capacity food processors. One thing I will never use are those slicers — I’m a traditional knife kinda girl. Williams Sonoma is probably THE best place to find all your gadgets – from the mainstream to specialty, they have it all or will. Some are useful, some are fun gifts, some are purely indulgent. Oh BTW, they have great recipes that actually work – worth a try =)

Monogrammed Forged Steak Brand 

Now this is what I’m talking about! A perfect gift for the dad, husband, brother or man in your life who takes pride in the steaks that he grills and wants to tell everyone. Secretly, I want one of these too! Custom order only – 1, 2 or 3 initials for $$39.95.

Nordic Ware Egg Waffle Pan

This is another MUST BUY for me – I’ve been an egg waffle fan from very the first bite into the crunchy yet warm and soft goodness that is a HK snack staple. You can find it in Richmond at the Asian malls or night market for $4 a waffle. Psh. Now I can make it at home. Looks like you do need a gas stove for the best crunchy on the outside effect. I know there’s an electric version of this out there somewhere. $49.95

Nordic Ware Rolled Omelette Pan

Because I’m Asian and all I own is a wok, it’s hard to “roll the omelette” when what you’re working with is circular. Ok fine – it’s not one of those necessary things like the 2 above, but wouldn’t hurt to add to your collection if you have a lot of cupboard space. $39.95

Breville Electric Milk Frother

This is an indulgence, and yet some swear they can’t live without it – me included. $160.00

Breville Pie Maker

Mini chicken pot pie, mini apple pie, mini blueberry pie, mini strawberry rhubarb pie and the list goes on. It’s the “mini” part that’s appealing. Admit it =) $150.00

Also, Williams Sonoma had these adorable mini madeline pans but alas they’re not on the site anymore. Look for it in the stores.