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Tuesday, 30 April 2013

A Dinner of Freekeh

I discovered Freekeh during my last visit to Lebanon (click HERE to read).

As I mentioned then, Freekeh originated in 2300 BC when wheat in a Phoenician village was burnt and the inhabitants rubbed the burnt wheat and found ripened grain.

I did not even think of bringing some with me. But a visit to an Iranian store in the West End put me face to face with a made-in-Lebanon box of Freekeh.

Now what to make with it. I have no recipes nor is it something I ate as I grew up. 

So I decided to cook it in chicken broth as I do rice. The smell of something burning haunted me until I realized that it is the smell of Freekeh given it is really burnt wheat.

I made a light cheese sauce just like the one I tried in Lebanon. A roasted chicken topped the Freekeh and all covered with sauce. It was really good.

Monday, 29 April 2013

A Dinner of Kale

I featured The Book of Kale in the first somerville kitchen cookbook club. I love this book so much that tonight's dinner was yet another delicious recipe from it.

And no, I won't be sharing the recipe, you have to buy the book for that. But I can tell you it has bacon.

It's a frittata so it has eggs and, in this case, ricotta cheese.

And it comes out perfect, something to impress any guest or hungry stomach.

I am sure you will hear more about food from The Book of Kale, there are over 75 recipes to still try.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Bartering Authentic Shawarma Spice

Shawarma is very easy to make at home. You can have this platter on your dining room table by simply reading on.

The secret to shawarma is the spicing. There is a special spice mix that I have a full bag of, freshly ground and imported from Lebanon less than a month ago. 

And I am giving away a 1/4 cup of shawarma spices in return for any food item you want to barter with - make an offer at and the spices are all yours. And no, you cannot buy them here or, if you do, they are three decades old.

Then all you have to do is marinate your beef slices, add chunks of onion and tomatoes and bake slowly until the fat oozes and the beef is brown. Tahini sauce, pickles, and pita bread and you are all set.

So don't be shy, make a barter offer to and you could be the one biting into this delicious shawarma sandwich.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

토요일 밤

Jang Mo Jib is a Korean restaurant that has been on Robson street forever, but just moved to a new location.

We were three hungry creatures, so hungry that we asked for a table for four; confusing the waitress to no end.

We were three thirsty creatures that were disappointed because the restaurant did not have its liquor license yet.

But at the end of the night, we were three stuffed happy creatures that had a good dinner and ended up eating as many as if we were true, not imaginative four.

The dumplings

The diced chicken with eggplants

The bibimbap

The Korean seafood pizza

The Korean beef ribs

Jang Mo Jib
1575 Robson Street
Vancouver, BC

Jang Mo Jib on Urbanspoon


Friday, 26 April 2013

A Secret Friday Rendezvous

The secret rendezvous was over a mid-day escapade of high tea at Secret Garden Tea Company

Those guys know how to bake for sure. While the tea was alright, the real experience is the freshness of the food and baked goods, the generous amounts and of course all the associated calories.

Three levels of sandwiches, cakes, and petit fours. 

Also, my secret date may have had something to do with how enjoyable this rendezvous was - not only choosing the place, but the flowing fun discussion and laughs. Thank you.

Level 1 - The Savouries

Level 2 - The baked goodies

Level 3 - The petit fours

 The Secret Garden Tea Company
5559 West Boulevard
Vancouver, BC

Secret Garden Tea Company on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Eat More Kale

The amazing Tricia Sedwick of the urban farm and garden project, World in a Garden, educated, entertained and fed us as part of the Eat More Kale workshops.

If you missed this one, somerville kitchen is holding one with Tricia Sedwick next Saturday May 4 - click HERE to register.

Held at one of the Choices Market facilities (key supporters of World in a Garden), Tricia told us about the varieties of Kale, its nutritional value and all the delicious and easy foods you can make with it.

I learned about the different nutrients of kale eaten raw versus cooked (both methods are nutritious but in different ways), the tastiness of kale buds, the edibleness of its flowers and how to let it go to seed to grow a kale forest.  

As part of the fun, we learned about Happy Planet's Grow More Food promotion as we used their cartons to plant our own kale to take home to le jardin.

And most important we tasted kale foods.

The kale smoothies were sweet and sour, great tasting and beautifully coloured.

This included, in addition to lots of kale, apple cider, lemon juice, honey, bananas and ginger. 

Delicious and refreshing.

And we tasted the made from scratch this morning kale chips.

Tricia makes those in her dehydrator. 

I am yet to try making them, but I can see myself getting addicted to them.

Thank you Tricia and World in A Garden for this great workshop.

And my dear readers, there are still some tickets available for the next workshop at somerville kitchen so join us and learn about kale, try some foods (including more than just kale chips and smoothies), support an amazing food growing project, and walk away with kale seeds. Click HERE to register.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Pizza Night

The reason Pizza Nights have not taken place at somerville kitchen recently is that all those big chain pizza delivery places are disappointing - call centres who knows where, expensive, late. But a trip to Urban Spoon found me Ragazzi.

Great website, good selection, polite people on the phone and excellent prices. How could I resist ordering less than three pizzas (did you know that pizzas freeze really well?)

The Margherita was good. A bit too much cheese and oil with the basil baked right into it (but keeping its distinct Margherita taste). 

The Pepperonata was overly salty and oily - did not go down well.

The one I created with ham and pineapple was my favourite - nice cheese flavour to it (wonder what cheese they used or whether I ordered some kind of special cheese and don't remember).

A survey of tasters landed an almost equal preference between my creation and Margherita. Hmmmm, would I order again from Ragazzi

Ragazzi Pizza
2996 East 22nd Avenue
Vancouver, BC

Ragazzi Pizza Co on Urbanspoon


Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Weekend Chefs - Part 4 of 4

... Continued from Weekend Chefs - Part 3 of 4 (Click HERE to read).

Dinner was about to be served and all were still not sure what Lady K was cooking.

The Martian Goddess who left her head on Mars and came to visit us was still standing on the kitchen counter, except it was fully roasted.

Lady K continued to intrigue as to what was going on until....

... the Martian Goddess started delivering a baby. Now it was time to freak out and prepare for the Martian invasion.

But the baby turned out to be a beer can.

Yes, Lady K cooked a Beer Chicken. 

And she expected everyone around the table to be familiar with Beer Chicken recipe and how it works.

Frankly, I thought Lady K's brain was poisoned by the Martian Goddess who left her head on Mars.

But supposedly this is a popular recipe (31,300,000 hits on Google search) where a chicken is marinated in beer then roasted standing up, helped by the beer can.

But delivering the beer can did not go without complications, that a cesarean section was in order.

The beer can, unfortunately, did not survive. But what survived were very moist chicken pieces unlike any other roasted chicken I have tried.

Great work Lady K.

But that was only the beginning of the meal. There were four dishes in total served (providing a delicious meal and leftovers for the week).

The first was the beer chicken.

Second; a romaine lettuce and blue cheese salad; elegantly presented.

Third we had cheese rolls with different cheese taste in every bite.

Fourth, last, but not least was the hearty Iranian macaroni.

Thank you Lady K for the fun evening and all the food. No wonder blogger collapsed; protected from the Martian Goddess who left her head on Mars by the Martian catses.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Weekend Chefs - Part 3 of 4

... Continued from Weekend Chefs - Part 2 of 4 (Click HERE to read).

The next weekend chef was Lady K.

Lady K was in the mood to cook. She was also in the mood to have fun cooking. And let's not forget being in the mood to make everyone wonder what is being cooked.

What would your brain conjure faced by a chicken standing up on your kitchen counter?

Mine went to a Martian Goddess who left her head on Mars and came to visit us.

But I regress. So what was Lady K cooking?

All the spices came out onto the counter with...a can of beer.

A sampler of every jardin herb was soaking in vegetable soap.

There were products that were labeled in any language other than our official languages.

Every type of cheese, creamy and hard, white, yellow and blue, sheep, cow and goat came out of the fridge and were mixed together in one bowl.

And a pot was cooking something; covered in the traditional Iranian fashion of a towel wrapped around the cover.

So what was Lady K cooking? The answer was go out into jardin and smell some flowers.

And my dear readers, tune back tomorrow for the answer.