Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Dorgel Creamy Banana Gelato

This is the third of the Dorgel line of gelatos I have tried, I am not sure that I like this one or the hazelnut gelato better. This one is very creamy and quite banana-y, though it is the fake banana flavour, rather than getting it from real bananas.

Grilled Vegetarian Ham and Cheese

I first came across this very tasty flavour at the teahouse of the Buddhist Temple in Mississauga, I kind of like the flavour of this soy-based fake ham, and did like the combination of the ham and cheese (though I suspect that they might have used fake soy-based cheese too; I didn't, the cheese I used was a mixture of mozzarella and cheddar, but you could use your favourite cheese). You can get vegetarian ham in any Chinese supermarket, it comes in a long log, from which you can slice off a chunk to use in any number of recipes.

Grilled Vegetarian Ham and Cheese
1 thick slice vegetarian ham, cut into thin wedges
handful shredded cheese
2 slices bread
butter or oil

Butter 2 sides of bread. Place one slice, butter side down, on a plate. Place sliced vegetarian on top of bread. Pile shredded cheese on top. Place other slice of bread on top, butter side out. Grill for 5-6 minutes on panini grill on high, or on medium heat on a heavy frying pan, flipping after 2-3 minutes, when bottom is golden brown.

Le Petit Ecolier Extraordinaire Hazelnut Chocolate

When I first tried the hazelnut milk chocolate Le Petit Ecolier biscuits from LU, I thought they tasted pretty good. Now they have come out with an Extraordinaire! version, with 2x the hazelnuts, and with thicker chocolate. And, they taste even better, though I'm still leery of the ingredients.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Dorgel Hazelnut Gelato

Having enjoyed some hazelnut gelato at the recent Carassauga Multicultural event, and given that I didn't really like ice cream, or cold things, to try this gelato from Dorgel, or any gelato for that matter, was a stretch for me. But, I found that I did enjoy it. Quite hazelnutty, with small pieces of hazelnut throughout. Still too cold for my tastes, but I let it melt a little before eating. You can find this in most supermarkets, though I have noticed that the stock of this is usually low and not so frequently replenished.

Master Delight

The trail goes as follows. We were invited over to visit a co-worker the other week, coincidentally the final of the Football Euro Cup, okay several weeks ago, there we were served these mixed nuts that my beautiful Bride enjoyed. Following this, we found the mixed nuts package for sale in this Middle Eastern supermarket and a convenience store. From that, we found their phone number, and as it turned out, in talking to them, that this package of mixed nuts were their "seconds", they sold the better nuts in their outlet store. Going to their outlet, located near Dixie and Derry Roads in Mississauga, at 7033 Telford Way, we found many more nuts for sale, several kinds of roasted salted pistachios, hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, peanuts, lots more; we chose to have the mixed nuts for $5.99 special. The nuts were great, and better than the mixed nuts bag. Go to the end of the strip mall that parallels Derry Road, it is at the end. They also sell other Middle Eastern goods.

Khakhara Bajri

These thin crispy Indian snacks from Surati Sweet Mart Limited made from millet, flour, palm oil, and spices are really tasty. They are a little spicy, a warning for those not so adventurous, but there are milder versions available, as well as a host of other flavours; interesting to me just from the back of this package would be the Methi (Fenugreek) and Schezwan.

Wonderfarm Pink Guava Juice Drink

I first was introduced to guava by my father, who enjoyed the fruit growing up in Tanganyika. The flesh of the fruit varies from white to salmon-pink, this juice is made from the pink varietal, with added water and sugar. It tastes very much like I remember guava or its juice, very tasty and refreshing.

One Russian, One Lithuanian Chocolate

When I showed the Lithuanian Chocolate to my co-worker, she gave me two of her favourite chocolates, one from Roshen in Lithuania, which is the only one she eats, because it has hazelnuts in it; the other from United Confectioners in Russia.

The Lithuanian chocolate was darker than the Russian one, the Russian was more sweeter. I preferred the Lithuanian one, not only because it had hazelnuts in it. Both were not bad.

Edible Toronto

The idea of a magazine that details local foods in various regions I find very intriguing, the two magazines that I have got so far from this regional quarterly (this one's tagline is "Celebrating the Abundance of Local Foods in Golden Horseshoe). There are lots of different regional Edible magazines, each one is catered to showcasing foods, farmer's markets, recipes, local foods, issues and ideas in that area. I've found it a valuable resource and an interesting read. You can find articles from back issues, culinary events, recipes too, and subscriptions at their website Edible Toronto, though you can find it for free at various establishments.

Ginger and Chicken (Gai Pud King)

The combination of chicken and ginger is very healthy, good for post-pregnancy, so I should be making this for my beautiful Bride more often. This is also very tasty. The idea of putting black fungus in this dish is alien to the Thai, but it worked as an ingredient. Put more or less ginger, depending on how spicy you prefer, and how spicy or fresh the ginger is. We like it spicy, with lots of ginger flavour.

Ginger and Chicken (Gai Pud King)
1 cup woodear mushrooms
1 onion
3" piece ginger, julienned into matchstick-size pieces
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 chicken thighs or breasts, cut into small small pieces
2 Tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp sugar

Soak the mushrooms in hot water for 5 minutes, until they are soft. Remove any hard bits. Slice or tear into equal-sized pieces. Halve the onion lengthwise and slice lengthwise into equal-sized pieces.

Add a tablespoon of oil to a hot work over medium-high heat. Add chopped garlic and some of the julienned ginger and fry for a minute or so, until the ginger and garlic starts to turn brown and becomes fragrant. Add pieces of chicken and stir to coat the chicken with oil for a minute or so; fry until browned. Add onion, the rest of ginger and woodear mushrooms. Stir to mix well. Add fish sauce and sugar. Stir for a couple minutes to cook all ingredients and let the ingredients absorb the fish sauce and sugar.

Salmon in Parchment

I had always been intrigued about the idea of cooking in parchment, wrapping a whole meal in a package and baking in an oven, opening that package at the dinner table, appealed to my foodie-ness. This recipe is very versatile, originally it called for halibut fillets and spinach, my beautiful Bride prefers salmon, and wanted some when she was pregnant, so I made that substitution; too, I had bok choy on hand instead of spinach. It did turn out differently than the grilled salmon we normally prepare, this method steams the ingredients, and thus could end up being a little bland, if you're used to spicier dishes. Next time, I would think I would add more things to liven up the flavour, but otherwise, it makes a very healthy meal.

Salmon in Parchment
1/2 large yukon gold potato, scrubbed and sliced 1/8-inch thick
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
one baby bok choy, well washed, leaves separated
2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
2 slices lemon
225 g salmon fillet
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400F. Fold a 12-by-17-inch sheet parchment paper in half crosswise.

Place the sheet of parchment flat on a work surface. Place the potatoes, garlic, bok choy leaves, shallots, and the lemon slices on one side of the crease; season with salt and pepper. Place salmon on top of lemon slices, and season with salt and pepper. Fold parchment over ingredients. Make small overlapping folds along the edge to seal.

Place packet on a baking sheet. Bake until packet has puffed, and fish is cooked through, about 18 minutes. Serve immediately, opening packet at the table.

Nativa Chocolate Vanilla Creme Cookies

This is the second of two products we tried from the Nativa Organic line that is made for and sold at Shopper's DrugMart; my beautiful Bride wanted to try it, because she likes Oreo cookies, and, while it's not so dark a cookie, it tastes similar to those who are not purists. Many of the ingredients are Organic, which aspect I like, but being a cookie, it's all about sugar; I find these sweet, but not as sweet as Oreos. My beautiful Bride finds them better than Oreos, she likes that the cookie is crunchier.

Twice Fried Plantains

I first encountered fried plantain in Venezuela, it's often served as a side dish along with the main course, though there the plantain is sliced lengthwise, and then fried in oil, until the outside is caramelized and dark. Oddly enough, I don't care for plantain chips, or even banana chips, but these are great. This recipe could be as a side dish, or even as an appetizer. Use fairly ripe plantains, you can tell by the amount of blackness on the peel; they should be yellow but approaching black. These are quite delicious served warm, the sweetness of the plantain, similar in flavour and texture to bananas, comes out beautifully.

Twice Fried Plantains
2 plaintains, ripe (black spots on peel)
oil, for frying

Peel plaintains. Cut in slices 1/2 to 1" thick.

Fry plaintain slices in hot oil in a frying pan placed on medium heat, for 2-3 minutes, until they are golden brown. Flip each piece to fry other side, until they are golden brown.

Place on paper towel to absorb oil and allow to cool.

Place fried plantain slices between two sheets of parchment paper or clingwrap. Carefully squish each piece with something heavy to make a thin piece about 1/4 of the original thickness.

Fry each piece again in hot oil in a frying pan placed on medium heat, for 2-3 minutes, until golden brown. Flip each piece to fry other side.

Place on paper towel to absorb oil.