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Friday, 30 September 2011

Raving About Tandoori King

My favourite Indian Restaurant in the city and I only raved about it once on the blog, almost a year ago (see Tandoori King). Nothing better than ending a busy week and a hectic September with a night at Tandoori King along with some of my favourite people in the world.

While Tandoori King delivers their food to somerville kitchen a lot, I never order this appetizer given how badly it travels.

But if one is there, one shouldn't skip the Onion Bhaji - Indian style onion rings with delicious coating and dipped in tamarind sauce.

The feasting tonight included their "world famous" Butter Chicken, Palak Paneer, Eggplant Bhartha and Vegetable Korma.

The last one was ordered by mistake; this was corrected with another favourite.

Malai Kofta are those balls made from mixed vegetables, chickpea flour and grated cheese and cooked in a cream cashew nut sauce.

I would barter anything for someone to teach me how to make those - two thirds of my dinner was the Malai Kofta sauce over rice. 

They also have a great selection of nine Tandoori breads. I never skip the Nan that comes plain with no butter. 

Tonight we also ordered Garlic Nan that I personally passed on but other guests were going so crazy over it that they turned the dinner into Nan sandwiches.

All platters were cleaned up by end of the night. Those trying Tandoori King for the first time were impressed. Those on their nth visit continued to be impressed. And those of you who have not tried it, don't miss out.

Tandoori King
8017 Fraser Street
Vancouver, BC
Tandoori King on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Lebanese Stews Series - Bazella (Peas)

Yes, in Lebanon you can make a full meal out of peas in the form of Pea Stew (Yakhnet Bazella). And what is better than such fall nights to make one.

The recipe for this followed any other Lebanese Stew Recipe (see formula at Lebanese Stews Series). In this case, the meat used was sliced roasto (see Mom's Roasto), the sauce was lemon and water, and the flavour enhanced with "Alleyeh" (see recipe).

This stew is eaten over plain rice. If you are a pea fan (or have jardin peas frozen like the above), try it out - simple, healthy and warming.


Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Spontaneous Summer Desserts

As we all gear up to turning our heaters back on this weekend, I wanted to reflect on summer and share with you a seven summer spontaneous desserts to keep you going for the next seven months.

Why have a banana cake (see recipe) on its own when you can dress it up.

A tsp of raspberry jam, a piece of marshmallow and rather than serving a piece of cake, you are now serving Guimauve avec Gateau. 

Beautiful fruit in abundance early summer from the different local farmers' markets (my favourite remains Kerrisdale's).

All you have to do is design the layout and you have a Triage des Fruits.

The infamous somerville kitchen's sfoof (see recipe) is easily fancied up with three enhancements: (a) sherbert; (b) apricot; and (c) fancy serving plate.

I call it Sfoof a la Mode.

I wrote about those Beignets before (see Memories of New Orlean's).

And as if deep fried dough covered with sugar does not have enough calories, you can enhance the calorie count with Kozy Shack rice pudding and colour up the plate with a jardin strawberry.

You now have Beignets de Jardin.
And Kozy Shack rice pudding shows up again. This became a regular feature for a couple of weeks at somerville kitchen.

What's easier than picking up some fresh jardin blackberries and a pack of Kozy Shack and mix together for Kozy Shack La Mure Riz Pouding. 

The day after Blogiversary celebrations, leftovers cupcakes were cut in half, covered with cream and topped with fresh jardin raspberries to yield Les Deux Etages Cupcake.

Love to hear your spontaneous desserts ideas at or in the comments below. Thank you.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Baked Rattlesnakes

You met my rattlesnakes last month (at Rattlesnakes-Yum). Between the sun and the rain storms tonight, I managed to rescue what is left of them and use them for dinner; thus the story of baked rattlesnakes.

First, I shelled out the beans (look how beautiful they look) and boiled them (they cooked fast).

Given the exotic nature of the beans, I wanted to bake them in an exotic way, but no exotic recipe was to be found.

I took matters in my own hands creating my own recipe - Onions and Piperade (last time I used piperade, someone commented "you just like saying piperade, don't you?" - see Summer Big Salads). 

I fried the onions and piperade, mixed with the beans and a bit of the beans' boiling liquid. 

For kicks, I added 1 Tbsp maple syrup and baked all for 1 hour in a 375 oven.

It turned out really nice. The rattlesnakes had a rattling distinctive flavour. Glad I saved some beans for next year's crop.


Monday, 26 September 2011

Authentic Lebanese Tabouleh Recipe

To complete the trilogy of authentic Lebanese recipes (see that for Humus & Fatoush), here is the one and only way to make Tabouleh. Any variation disqualifies it from being called Tabouleh.

There are only three vegetables that go into Tabouleh - tomatoes (beautiful jardin one), parsley and fresh mint (preferably from jardin).

You chop the parsley and mint really fine and mix with tomatoes diced into very tiny pieces. This becomes your base.

You chop white onion, sprinkle them with salt and pepper and put aside.

The idea is that salt and pepper does not necessarily go on all the vegetables, just mixed with the onions to give a subtle enhancement to the flavour and keep the fresh taste of vegetables prominent.

You soak a bit of bulgur wheat (not couscous, not quinoa, those will disqualify it from being called Tabouleh) in water and a sprinkle of lemon juice.

You then mix the vegetables, onions, olive oil and lemon juice to taste. Then add enough bulgur wheat to colour it but not overwhelm the parsley.

This is how an authentic Tabouleh will look like, anything else, as mentioned before, should not be called Tabouleh. Enjoy!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Lebanese Stews Series - Assasa (Beans)

Those of you who read my latest Lebanese Stews Series - Fasoulia are wondering why I am featuring what resembles the same stew all over again.

Well, in Lebanon, not all beans are the same. Fasoulia is regular beans, Loubieh refers to green beans and Assasa are fresh beans that are red and white on both the outside and inside.

This is the first time I find them in Canada, thanks to the latest trip to East Hastings (see Roaming Hastings Sunrise). And now I have the seeds, they are going to be all over le jardin next year.

The recipe is identical to the Fasoulia recipe, except that those beans are fresh and cook faster.

Note how they lose their markings when cooked. 

The stew follows the same recipes in any of the Lebanese Stews Series - cook the meat on low heat with no oil, season with salt/pepper, add the beans, tomatoe sauce, and "Alleyeh".  

A perfect meal for this fall evening.  

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Catching Up Over Food

A best university friend who I have seen only once in the past 20+ years whips into town for 18 hours' visit. How best to catch up than over food. 

While I won't bore you with the gossip, I will share with you the food that accompanied the catching up. 

The poor friend did not have time to catch her breath upon arrival. She dropped her bags and within 3 minutes, we were on our way to 3702 Main, for afternoon tea at Shaktea.

Nothing could have been better than catching up over Shaktea's delicious afternoon tea service.
After a two hour driving tour of the city, all went back to somerville kitchen where the morning was busy preparing a feast worthy of the special friend.

The appetizers were spread out; spinach pies Lebanese style, home made humus (click for recipe), stuffed jardin chard (click for recipe), halloom toasts, jardin thyme pickles (read more at Pickled Thyme), and lots of wine.

The dinner party moved quickly into le jardin given how pleasant the evening turned out to be. 

The main dish was nothing but the somerville kitchen specialty - chicken and beef rice cake sprinkled with fried almonds and pine nuts.

As we were emptying the bottle of wine, and all enjoying a pleasant evening, swiss chocolates gifted to me directly from Switzerland came out. We sampled the white, dark and praline chocolates. 

The night went by way too fast. Early morning, time for goodbye, a breakfast of sunny side up eggs, toast, and sour cherry perogies provided the required fuel for the long drive ahead.

Thank you for visiting, good luck with your new adventure and come back soon.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Blogging Live From Regina - Day 2

After yesterday's horrible on the road food (see Blogging Live From Regina - Day 1), I woke up today to a beautiful prairie warm sunny day, feeling optimistic about better food.

Last night, I put one of those hotel breakfast pre-order forms that you hang outside the hotel room and was waiting in anticipation for a platter of fruit and granola and chilled orange. Here is what I got.

An empty desk waiting for no-show breakfast. After 3 phone calls to the front desk, the restaurant and anyone who would listen, it was identified that I forgot to leave my room number on the form. I screamed "But you picked it up off my hotel room, what other room would it be for?" and canceled the order.

My colleague, a researcher extraordinaire, felt sorry for me and did her research to identify a decent restaurant in the city and we ended up at:

La Bodega Regina
  2228 Albert Street
Regina, SK

Alas, at last a decent meal on the road. While I was expecting some interesting Spanish tapas on the menu, it was mainly pub kind of food.

Nice weather; we sat outside and I enjoyed a Carmen Creek Bison burger. Tasted fresh, allowed me to try something local and feel somewhat better about eating on the road.

But the Best part of the trip was shopping at this favourite small shop at the Regina airport. It is called Rumour Handcraft, ran by the sweetest woman. I never leave Regina without picking up some of the goodies she carries - all made by locals. Today's bounty included:

- beautiful, comfy hand-made sheep wool slippers for the approaching winter
- wild rice (with recipe book) grown in Northern Saskatchewan
- The Picnic Basket watermelon iced tea mix that is made by a local in her own house
- Riverbend Plantation green tea with Saskatoon berries
- Riverbend Plantation chocolate hearts with Saskatoon berries

And now, at last, home sweet home! Happy Weekend everybody.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Blogging Live From Regina - Day 1

I bet my regular followers missed my Eating on the Road stories, so here I am indulging you live from a 30 hour trip to Regina & back. Buckle up, read and enjoy the flight.

With over 2 hours layover in Calgary, I wanted somewhere to sit comfortably, eat and work. The Molson Brewhouse overlooking the airport and my beloved Westjet seemed like a good choice.

I was leery about this place, but the menu looked interesting and better than what I saw at many airports, so in I went. Big mistake.

This is a "fresh turkey breasts" sandwich with avocado on toasted bread. I should have been prepared for the worse when the sandwich appeared in less than 3 minutes.

The bread was toasted in the morning, the turkey was from a cheap deli, and the sandwich was soaking in the salad's vinaigrette. I don't recall seeing the avocado!

Three hours later, I am in hot sunny Regina, too lazy to venture out and ended up eating at the hotel restaurant. Another mistake.

The salad, well just look at it. I was so home sick for le jardin lettuce and tomatoes.

For main meal, I ordered "chicken breast with pesto in a rose sauce" - fancy...

Well, it wasn't. The chicken breast looked like either a breast sliced into three thin layers where I got only one of the layers, or deli chicken sliced on the thick side. The rose sauce tasted like canned pasta sauce with a Tbsp of cream added to it. The vegetables were obviously (cheap) frozen packaged ones.

After all of this, we did not dare try the desserts no matter how good they sounded. But a "special" order of fruit and brownie salvaged the evening.

10 of the 30 hours of the trip are over, so I am literally one third of my way home. Wonder what tomorrow's breakfast and lunch will be. Tune back in for Blogging Live From Regina - Day 2. Till then, good night!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Welcoming Fall

Kashi Facebook page posted this recipe with the following headline "Cooler nights make us think about warm, savory fall dishes. You’ll love this recipe for Chicken and Sweet Potato Stew with Ancho Chili". Given its the first day of Fall, it was a perfect night to try it out. And it turned out Goooooooood.

Kashi also told me that they love to hear how the recipes turned out and how I have changed them up, so here is the recipe and my adjustments. 

2 tablespoons cold expeller-pressed extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 whole dried ancho chili, stemmed, seeded and torn into large pieces (I used fresh red chilli)
1 organic white onion, finely diced
3 cloves organic garlic
2 teaspoons ancho chili powder (I used Harissa instead)
1 15-ounce can diced organic tomatoes, drained
4 cups organic chicken stock (Did it with low sodium vegetable stock)
1 1/2 pounds organic sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (Love my regular potatoes)
3 cups shredded organic cooked chicken (Perfect for leftovers from roasted chicken)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed organic lime juice (Skipped it)
1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped (Basil worked just fine)

Heat 1 Tbsp of oil and fry the chilli peppers. Put aside.

In same pot, brown chopped onions and garlic; stir in chili powder or harissa.

Move all to a food processor, add the tomatoes and process well.

Heat remaining oil in pot, add tomato mix, cook until it turns to paste (10 minutes).
Now add the broth and potatoes, cook for 10 - 15 minutes until potatoes are tender.

Stir in the cooked chicken. Just before serving, add the fried chilli and cilantro or basil and enjoy.

Now what to serve it with became a dilemma. 

I am sure it will taste great simply with fresh bread. But I was thinking along the lines of rice, couscous, quinoa, etc. 

Then I remembered my recent purchase of Cavena Nuda (read all about it at Proud to Be Eating Canadian). It was definitely the best choice.

This was a very wise, delicious and healthy welcoming to fall, even cats could not resist.