Homestyle Craving: 小米粥 Millet Congee

20 Dec

20121021_172600When I went back to Taiwan, out of the very many dishes I craved, I really wanted something that I dreaded to eat as a child. It was tasteless but nutty and had a weird texture – that’s probably because my mom wouldn’t let me put brown sugar in it. The secret to 小米粥 is to toast the millet before you make it into congee. Simple, but I couldn’t figure it out till I asked my grandma. If you have a chance to go to Taipei, hit up the restaurant on the corner across from the parking lot at the Shida Night Market (vague, I know) – really good stuff.

Note that if you apply heat to the millet beforehand, it will be more separate in the porridge as the starch will have hardened. Thus it’s recommended to toast QUICKLY 1/3 to 1/2 for flavour, then rinse with the rest and then cooked.

UPDATE: Mine wasn’t turning out in the same consistency as what I ate in Taiwan. Mom said to add half a cup (rice cup) or less of uncooked rice. Wash and cook with the millet.

UPDATE 2: For creaminess – boil water w/bit of salt then add millet. Cook like you would with oatmeal. Add almond milk for creaminess & boil down. Add raw sugar to taste. 

NOTE: if you need to add more water if the consistency is too thick, ADD BOILING WATER, not cold water!!!

小米粥 Millet Porridge (Xiao Mi Zhou)

Ingredients:

Serves: 3-4
Yield: 3 cups
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 2 cups boiling water as reserve
  • 1/2 cup dry millet
  • 1/2 chinese cup of uncooked rice (more like 2-3 tablespoons)

Directions:

  1. Toast 1/3 or 1/2 of the millet in bottom of pan or in skillet over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes, until some aroma begins to waft.
  2. In the meantime, bring water to a boil. How much you use depends on how thick you want your porridge.
  3. Add the rest of the millet.
  4. Add millet to boiling water and boil over medium-high to low heat for 25 – 30 minutes, until done. It will not absorb all the water, but some color and starch will be released to let you know as cooking finishes.
  5. If desired, add a few tablespoons of milk for creaminess.
  6. Eat warm, adding  demerara sugar or honey to taste.

If you like chinese soups, check out The Chinese Soup Lady – for all the pregnancy soups, confinement soups etc.

Glowbal’s Famous Brussel Sprouts

29 Sep

What You Will Need:

  • 1 lbs Brussels Sprouts
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Capers, drained
  • 1 oz Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 tsp Chilli Flakes
  • Salt to Taste

Method: Bring up the temperature on your deep fryer to 375 degrees. Wash sprouts and remove any dead or browning leaves. Quarter large sprouts and halve smaller sprouts. Ensure the Brussels Sprouts are completely dry before putting them into the deep fryer. Place Brussels Sprouts into deep fryer and cook for 1 minute or until golden brown. Remove the sprouts from the deep fryer and shake to remove all excess oil. Place into a small bowl, adding capers, lemon juice, grated Parmesan, chilli flakes and salt. Toss together, plate and serve immediately. (Serves 4)

What’s been haunting me: Brazil Sao Judas Tadeu Coffee

30 Jul

Brazil Sao Judas Tadeu

May 2012 – July 2012

49th Parallel notes: Sweet, soft – dried apricot, chocolate & toasted almond.

Elysian Coffee notes: well balanced and mildly acidic with a medium, buttery mouth-feel.  Aromas of: almond, marzipan and vanilla, with: pistachio, apricot and milk chocolate. You want to brew this on Clover there.

My notes: Sweet, smooth, extremely well balanced. Buttery, caramel, chocolate, bit of almond, some fig. A bit of cream brings out the best of it. Mindblowingly amazing, yet hauntingly delicious. Liquid heaven.

 

Greek Quinoa Salad

18 Jun

Quinoa is a super food – it’s great if you’re on the South Beach diet, it’s high in fibre, low on the glycemic index and a complex protein. It’s really good depending on how you make it, because by itself it’s tasteless, bland, bitter and kind of beany smelling, even though it’s really a seed. I eat this particular quinoa salad 5-6 days a week for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack or even as a late night snack. Prepare in advance, chill, and consume within 4-5 days, if it can last that long =)

Greek Quinoa Salad

note: some people like more quinoa, some less, o less tomatoes and more onions, so measurements based on personal preference.

  • quinoa ( prepared as per the package) – I like to use Bob’s Red Mill Organic Whole Grain Quinoa
  • grape tomatoes, halved
  • japanese cucumbers, diced
  • red onion, diced
  • minced garlic to taste
  • feta cheese (I like Happy Cow Goat Feta from the Okanagan – not as salty. Found at Whole Foods, Donald’s Market)
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced (or more if you want it to be more tangy)
  • 2-3 splashes white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • salt, to taste
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • agave
  1. Prepare quinoa – rule of thumb is rinse, 2 parts water to 1 part quinoa, let water boil, add quinoa, cover, cook for 10 minutes or till all the water has evaporated or been absorbed, fluff with a fork, cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Chill, because if you don’t and add the veggies, you’re going to have steamed vegetables on your hands.
  2. Add tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, minced garlic to cool quinoa. Fluff.
  3. Add lemon juice, white wine vinegar, olive oil and fluff till well blended.
  4. Salt & pepper to taste, and just a squeeze of agave.
  5. Lastly, crumble feta cheese and fluff.

L’Abattoir’s Bagnolet Cocktail Recipe **shh the secret’s out!**

16 Mar

Bagnolet Cocktail

1.5 oz Hennessy VSOP or VS cognac
3/4 oz Tio Pepe fino sherry
1 oz Giffard fig syrup
1 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 dashes Fee Brothers Old Fashion Bitters
1 egg white

Add all ingredients except bitters into a mixing glass. Shake first w/o ice – this lets the egg white create a nice froth. Add ice and shake very hard. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass or a footed sour glass. Drip bitters onto the froth to finish.

Anvil Bar & Refuge‘s 100 Classic Cocktails You Must Try AKA “the List”

12 Mar

The Anvil 100 List

Anvil Bar & Refuge‘s 100 classic cocktails you must try, or, “the List”

  1. Absinthe Drip – absinthe, water, sugar
  2. Air Mail – rhum, lime, honey, champagne
  3. Alexander – spirit, creme de cacao, cream
  4. Algonquin – rye, french vermouth, pineapple
  5. Americano – campari, italian vermouth, soda
  6. Aperol Spritz – aperol, sparkling wine
  7. Aviation – gin, lemon, maraschino, creme de violette
  8. Bijou – gin, italian vermouth, green chartreuse, orange bitters
  9. Blackthorn – irish whiskey, french vermouth, absinthe, angostura bitters
  10. Blinker – rye, grapefruit, raspberry syrup
  11. Blood & Sand – scotch, orange juice, italian vermouth, cherry heering **Note: Glowbal’s Black and Blue makes a darn good Blood & Sand {VIDEO} **
  12. Bramble – gin, lemon, creme de mure
  13. Brandy Crusta – cognac, cointreau, lemon, maraschino, peychaud’s bitters
  14. Caipirinha – cachaca, sugar, lime
  15. Champagne Cocktail – brut, sugar, angostura bitters
  16. Champs Elysees – cognac, lemon, sugar, yellow chartreuse, angostura bitters
  17. Chrysanthemum – french vermouth, absinthe, benedictine
  18. Cocktail a la Louisiane – rye, benedictine, italian vermouth, absinthe, peychaud’s bitters
  19. Coffee Cocktail – cognac, ruby port, egg
  20. Collins – spirit, lemon, sugar, soda
  21. Corn ‘N Oil – blackstrap rum, falernum, angostura bitters
  22. Corpse Reviver #2 – gin, lemon, cointreau, lillet blanc, absinthe **You MUST try this at The Keefer Bar**
  23. Cuba Libre – rum, coca cola, lime
  24. Daiquiri – rum, lime, sugar
  25. Daisy – bourbon, yellow chartreuse, lemon, lime
  26. the Darb – gin, french vermouth, lemon, apricot brandy
  27. Death in the Afternoon – champagne, absinthe
  28. Dulchin – pisco, apricot brandy, curacao, lime, grenadine
  29. East India Cocktail – cognac, curacao, pineapple gomme, maraschino, angostura bitters
  30. El Diablo – tequila, creme de cassis, lime, ginger beer
  31. Fernet-Branca – it’s a shot of fernet-branca
  32. Fourth Degree – gin, french & italian vermouth, absinthe
  33. French 75 – gin, lemon, sugar, brut champagne
  34. Gimlet – gin, lime, turbinado
  35. Gin & Tonic – gin, tonic water, lime
  36. Gin Gin Mule – gin, lime, ginger beer, mint
  37. Gin Rickey – gin, lime, soda
  38. Hemingway Daiquiri – rum, lime, grapefruit, maraschino
  39. Hot Buttered Rum – rum, butter, sugar, water
  40. Improved Cocktail – spirit, maraschino, peychaud’s & angostura bitters
  41. Jack Rose – applejack, lemon, grenadine
  42. Japanese – brandy, orgeat, angostura bitters
  43. Jasmine – gin, cointreau, campari, lemon
  44. Knickerbocker – rum, raspberry syrup, curacao, lime
  45. Last Word – gin, lime, green chartreuse, maraschino
  46. Mai Tai – rum, curacao, lime, orgeat
  47. Maiden’s Prayer – gin, cointreau, orange, lemon
  48. Manhattan – rye, italian vermouth, angostura
  49. Maple Leaf – bourbon, lemon, maple syrup
  50. Margarita – tequila, lime, cointreau
  51. Martinez – italian vermouth, gin, maraschino, orange bitters
  52. Martini – gin, french vermouth, orange bitters
  53. Metropole – cognac, french vermouth, peychaud’s & angostura bitters
  54. Milk Punch – spirit, sugar, milk
  55. Mint Julep – bourbon, mint, sugar
  56. Mojito – rum, lime, mint, turbinado, soda
  57. Monkey Gland – gin, orange, grenadine, absinthe
  58. Monte Carlo – rye, benedictine, angostura bitters
  59. Morning Glory – scotch, lemon, egg white, absinthe
  60. Navy Grog – rum, honey, lime
  61. Negroni – gin, campari, italian vermouth
  62. Old Fashioned – spirit, sugar, angostura bitters
  63. Old Pal – rye, campari, french vermouth
  64. Opera – gin, dubonnet, maraschino
  65. Oriental – rye, italian vermouth, curacao, lime
  66. Paradise – gin, apricot brady, orange, lemon
  67. Pegu Club – gin, curacao, lime, angostura & orange bitters
  68. Pimm’s Cup – pimm’s no. 1, gin, lemon, soda, cucumber
  69. Pink Gin – gin, angostura bitters
  70. Pink Lady – gin, applejack, lemon, grenadine, egg white
  71. Pisco Punch – pisco, pineapple gomme, lemon
  72. Pisco Sour – piso, lemon, egg white
  73. Port Flip – ruby port, sugar, whole egg
  74. Punch – jerry thomas’ special punch recipe
  75. Ramos Gin Fizz – gin, cream, lemon, lime, egg white, soda, orange flower water
  76. Red Hook – rye, punt e mes, maraschino, angostura & orange bitters
  77. Rum Swizzle – rum, lime, falernum
  78. Rusty Nail – scotch, drambuie
  79. Satan’s Whiskers – gin, french vermouth, italian vermouth, curacao, orange, orange bitters
  80. Sazerac – rye, absinthe, peychaud’s bitters
  81. Scofflaw – rye, french vermouth, lemon, grenadine, orange bitters
  82. Seelbach – bourbon, cointreau, champagne, bitters
  83. Sherry Cobbler – sherry, sugar, fruit, soda
  84. Sidecar – cognac, cointreau, lemon **For a fantastic variation, try the Loire Sidecar at L’Abattoir**
  85. Silver Fizz – spirit, lemon, sugar, egg white, soda
  86. Singapore Sling – gin, cherry heering, lime, pineapple, cointreau, benedictine, grenadine, angostura bitters
  87. Smash – spirits, sugar, water, mint
  88. Stinger – cognac, creme de menthe
  89. Suffering Bastard – bourbon, gin, lemon, ginger beer, angostura bitters
  90. Tailspin – gin, italian vermouth, green chartreause, campari
  91. ‘Ti Punch – rhum agricole, lime, sugar
  92. Toddy – spirit, sugar, hot water
  93. Tom & Jerry – rum, brandy, egg, nutmeg
  94. Twentieth Century Cocktail – gin, lemon, creme de cacao, lillet blanc
  95. Vesper – gin, vodka, lillet
  96. Vieux Carre – cognac, rye, italian vermouth, benedictine, angostura & peychaud’s bitters
  97. Whiskey Skin – scotch, lemon, hot water
  98. White Lady – gin, cointreau, lemon
  99. Widow’s Kiss – calvados, benedictine, yellow chartreause, angostura bitters
  100. Zombie – jamaican rum, lime, lemon, pineapple, passion fruit syrup, brown sugar, angostura bitters

How To DIY: Brigitte Bardot Blowout {VIDEO}

6 Mar

via Sine Qua Non salon

Superbowl Recipes: Part 2 Homemade Bacon Bourbon Popcorn

4 Feb

Not just for Superbowl, mind you. Movie night, date night, party time, picnic… just watch your waistline!

BACON BOURBON POPCORN

Thanks to Sarah Sprague

  • 5 quarts of plain popped corn (Freshly air-popped or oil-popped corn is recommended.)
  • 1/2 to 1 pound of thick cut bacon, chopped and fried to just about crispy, well-drained
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 ounces of bourbon (Any old bourbon will do here, so don’t feel like you have to break out your best reserve for the dish.)

Preheat your oven to 250º.

Melt 1 cup of butter over medium heat.  Mix in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt and then stir until boiling at the edges. Lower the heat slightly and let boil until the caramel is 250º or until a spoon dipped into the caramel comes out, well, looking like there is caramel on it. Remove from heat and add the baking soda and bourbon. Once fully incorporated, stir in the bacon.

If you don’t eat bacon, mix in 1 cup of chopped pecans. Pecans and bourbon are always awesome together.

Divide the popcorn into either two very lightly greased roasting pans or whatever else it fits into and coat with the caramel. Mix well — don’t worry if the caramel starts to cool on you here, it will warm back up in a second –  and then put the popcorn into your oven for about 45 minutes to an hour, mixing every 10-15 minutes so every last kernel of corn is coated in bourbon bacon bliss.

Once done, pour onto either parchment paper or wax paper to cool and break into pieces.

If whatever reason you don’t eat all of the bacon bourbon popcorn in one sitting (doubtful), refrigerate it for up to a week.  I actually think it tastes better when made the night before and has had a chance rest in the fridge overnight.

Superbowl Recipes Part 1: Greek Nachos

3 Feb

Superbowl is 60% football, 40% food. I mean, really. You can’t watch the game without good food, but you can have good food without the game =) You have to have your hot dogs, burgers, chili, nachos, pizza – all at the same time on this special day. Hey, it’s only one day out of the year to indulge without judgement, right? That, and Thanksgiving.

GREEK NACHOS

Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 45 mins
Serves: 4

Ingredients

Baked Pita Chips:

  • 5-6 Pitas or storebought pita chips to cut down on prep time (OR nachos (I like the local Que Pasa, though in this case it might not hold up the toppings))
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon+ dried oregano
  • salt to taste
  • 2-3 teaspoons of lemon zest (optional)

Hummus:

  • 1 15-16 ounce can chickpeas
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1-2 tablespoons of tahini (tahini sauce or peanut butter with sesame oil can be substituted)
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoons of smoked paprika
  • Salt and ground pepper to taste, (About 1/2 teaspoon each should be more than enough.)
  • Water

Greek Vinaigrette:

  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil (optional)
  • 1/4 salt
  • Pepper, to taste

Toppings:

  • 1 cucumber (I would use mini Japanese cukes)
  • 2-3 fresh tomatoes (I would use 1pt of grape tomatoes, halves)
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives
  • 3-4 ounces crumbled feta

Instructions

Pita Chips:

  • Preheat the oven to 350º.
  • Slice the pita bread pieces in half and then cut into triangles.
  • Line a cookie sheet with either parchment paper or foil. Brush the pita chips with olive oil, or put in a giant plastic bag with the oil and shake until coated, or just give a quick spray with olive oil kitchen spray, then place on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with dried oregano, lemon zest and salt.
  • Bake until golden brown, approximately 4-6 minutes.

Hummus: (buy or make your own below)

  • In either a food processor, bowl with a stick blender, or a traditional blender; chop the roasted garlic.
  • Then add the drained chickpeas, olive oil, lemon juice, tahini, paprika, salt and pepper, and blend until smooth.
  • The hummus will be very thick, so using either the reserved water from the can or plain water, slowly add a tablespoon of liquid at a time while blending to thin to desired consistency.
  • In medium bowl, mixed together all of the ingredients for the vinaigrette.
  • Remove the seeds from the tomatoes and cucumbers. Chop the tomatoes, cucumbers, olives and red onions and toss in the vinaigrette.

Set aside to marinate.
Layer the pita chips, hummus and most of the feta on an ovenproof platter and bake for about 7-10 minutes. The feta will not melt, but will soften in the oven.
Drain the excess vinaigrette off of the chopped vegetable mix and put over the baked nachos.
Top with the remaining feta and serve.

Like a LBD, Everyone Should Have the Perfect White Shirt

13 Jan

I’ve been hunting for the perfect white shirt for the longest time – my last go to white shirt was a Norma Kamali which has since turned yellow. I kind of regret not spending a paycheque on that Gianfranco Ferre one at Neiman Marcus a few years ago that was just the right amount of crispness, stiffness, whiteness with french cuffs and the most dramatic collar. At least if I bought that I could have had it copied in China. Nothing generic from the Gap, Banana Republic, J Crew would cut it… not even Zara or Club Monaco. Nothing was right unless I went bespoke (very Daphne Guinness whom is unmatched in pulling off white shirts and tailored jackets) until now…

“Part of the Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey group, Thomas Pink is a British shirt maker with flagship stores in London’s Jermyn Street, Madison Avenue, New York and Rue Francois Premier, Paris. Altogether there are more than 80 stores around the world – in USA, France, Mexico, Dubai, Hong Kong, Australia, China, Canada, and in the UK.”

“To date 2011 has seen new openings in Australia and Hong Kong and in May a newly designed Thomas Pink store concept opened doors in Washington DC. 2011 will also see a brand new refurbishment of the largest Thomas Pink store of all, www.ThomasPink.com.

Of course the only Canadian locations are in Calgary and Toronto…. but until they find their way to an Alberni storefront, I’ll have to resort to shopping online.

Plain Jane – not too plain – it’s all about the tailoring baby!

Erin Plain – feminine ruffled shoulders

Emma Plain – plain, though see the slight detailing?

Aileen Plain – Body Shirt (for tucking in!)

Cindy Plain – for you pussybow lovers

Lidia Classic – Check out the ruffle detailing!

Sabina Plain – a tuxedo shirt for the ladies

Sylvia Plain – not so plain with French seams and silk ruffles on the gauntlet and around the neck