Thursday, April 30, 2009

hajar's halal meats

hajar's halal meats
11320 134 ave

I've been meaning to pick up some lamb lately, so the timing was perfect when Liane Faulder mentioned a local supplier on her blog a few days back. I drove up to Hajar's Halal Meats this morning to check things out and along with 2 pounds of fresh Alberta lamb, I snapped a couple of pictures.

The store is tiny but what space they have is jam packed with meaty goodness. I know Liane is planning an article, so it'll be interesting to hear what she has to say. I mentioned to Mr. Hajar that I read about the store online, and he declared I was the first customer to come in after his interview and mention it. He was friendly, and quite happy that I drove all the way from the south side.

There was a great neighborly vibe; he mentioned I should stop in next door and check out the treats at Paradiso Bakery. I'm sorry I didn't take any pictures because the goodies looked amazing and could probably push your blood sugar level to new highs!

I also walked into Elsafadi Bros Super Market next door for a quick peak, and walked out with 8lbs of strawberries for $5. So here I am; full of berry goodness and planning my lamb meal!

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

the week that was and is - april 29th, 2009

I was amazed to see tomorrows vegetarian lunch option at my work (on the staff side) is battered fish...when did that become a vegetarian option. Anyways..on with the show!

  • It's a free food throw down in the US. With KFC giving away a free piece of their new grilled chicken today, El Pollo Loco is upping the ante by offering TWO pieces of chicken, two tortillas, and salsa. What a great battle for chicken fans to partake in.
  • I made mention last week that Liane Faulder was writing an article "Edmonton's best sammies" for our local paper. I was surprised to see a mention of Teddy's. While I've enjoyed my share of Po' boys at Dadeo's and the previously mentioned banh mi at Van Loc, I've never even stepped into Teddy's or had any one recommend it. I'll have to make a mental note.
  • I wonder what the vegetarian 'ready to eat meals', from the US Department of Defense, taste like and where can I order one?
  • "He once had an awkward moment, just to see how it feels". I've always enjoyed Dos Equis beer and their new advertisements are hilarious if not reminiscent of Chuck Norris slogans. I love the finishing line, "I don't always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer Dos Equis".
  • Stopped in at Careit Urban Deli on 142st this week. The space is small, with the counter side dominated by display coolers and the other a few open style coolers. You can pick up, meat (both deli and fresh), salads, prepackaged dishes, and a selection of jams and jellies. It didn't seem that spectacular, and only stopping in because I was in the neighborhood, I didn't see any reason for myself to make this a destination from the south side.

  • I ended up way up on the North side of Edmonton this past week, so I stopped in and saw Wild Ocean (IMAX) at the Telus World of Science. Some of the scenes are just amazing, and on huge screen it's unreal. Highly recommended.

  • Now go get your ice cream fix at Baskin Robins with scoops of both soft and hard serve ice cream just 31 pennies....You'll have to limit yourself to 3 scoops though.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

cobs bread - edmonton, ab

cob's bread
9680 142 street

My father is a bread lover, and even though I can fill him up with homemade goodness his appetite can catch me by surprise at times. This is exactly what happened on this day, and with no time to prepare some buns for dinner, I accompanied him over to Cob's.

While I haven't purchased bread in a few years, Cobs and Bon Ton are two of the bakeries I use to visit. My favorite loaf from Cobs, would have to be their cape seed loaf, something I would recommend if you like a hearty seedy bread. While the store is small, you can get quite a few choices, and even some sweets.

Just picking up 4 buns, I promised to have bread ready asap, I was surprised to be given bread samples. It's a nice gesture and a great way for customers to try their more 'exotic' breads, although our samples didn't taste that great and found their way to compost. I wonder with higher end restaurants already seeing a decline in visitors, if these more expensive breads are going to suffer a drop in sales as well.

I thought they set up a cute display for their cinnamon breads.

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

edo japan - edmonton, ab

edo japan
millwoods town centre

One day while out and about getting some goodies, I ended up at Millwoods Town Centre. I'd already eaten lunch, but the two friends I was with had stomach rumbles and were enticed by smells of mall food. With your basic choices, and nothing that stands out in the food court, both decided on Edo. This was after a lengthy debate between Edo and a donair. I had to giggle inside as the two dishes are not in the same league, let alone the same sport.

Edo was created in Alberta (Calgary) in 1979 and has 52 locations in Western Canada alone. I for one did not even know they had locations in the US. Apparently they are famous for their time honored teriyaki sauce and offer a pretty basic menu. Chicken, shrimp, pork and beef dishes, along with udon soup and sushi(at some locations). You can get your teppan style dish put on rice or noodles and if you like, finished with a spoonful of the sauce!

Dish one was pork

Dish two was chicken and shrimp

All of us decided that while the meal did it's job, the vegetables were on the mushy side and the rice was like glue. I suppose there is a reason I don't eat out like this very often and I'm not bummed out that I ate before I started my day. As we ended up sitting near the stall, I couldn't help but notice the continual evil glares I got from the woman behind the counter after I took a photo.

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

grilled vegetable sandwich on home made bread

I had a few peppers and a zucchini to use up in the fridge, so I figured it was a prime opportunity to make a roasted veggie sandwich. I let the pepper sit atop the gas stove until it was black, before placing in a plastic bag to steam for 20 minutes. Mean while, I grilled off the zucchini and an onion for good measure. After the pepper cooled, I peeled the skin off and started putting my sandwich together. One slice of bread received some olive tapenade, while the other got mayo and mustard. In between went the pepper, zucchini, onion and two slices of tomato. I then placed the sandwich in the george foreman to toast up the outside. What an amazing sandwich, and this black toasted sesame whole wheat bread is my new favorite.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

furusato japanese restaurant- edmonton, ab

furusato japanese restaurant
10012 82 ave

With all my sushi goodness requirements well taken care by the folks over at Sushi Wasabi, it's been hard to pull myself away and try something new. This was made even more so with the terrible experience I had at Ichiban. However, it is something that must be done and after hearing nothing but great things about Furusato I finally caved.

Researching what I could, I heard it was fairly small and usually quite packed. With this knowledge, I decided to head over just after they open at 5PM. The space is small, but with around 16 tables it is definitely larger than Sushi Wasabi. With the restaurant just opening, I was ushered to my table right away. With my love for chirashi bowls, my test dish for sushi restaurants, I had to pull myself away from ordering a bowl and decided to go with:

medium sized sashimi plate - this consisted of 16 pieces and rang in at $16.95. I don't think the presentation was very exciting, but the taste was fabulous. Especially the tuna which melted like butter in my mouth. I will definitely get this again.

spider roll - I found myself craving soft shell crab lately and this hit the spot ($12.95). The one difference that I noticed was the crab breading. I don't think I've eaten a spider roll before that wasn't in tempura style batter. This version was heavier/crunchier..almost like a bread crust. Good..just different.

whole bbq'd squid - with the above dishes sitting nicely, I couldn't help but notice the table beside me with this appetizer dish ($7.95). It reminded me of a post from Chowhound which got me looking for something like this. The squid was great, and whatever spice was sprinkled on left a great after bite that really hit the spot.

My first experience was really good. The cozy restaurant has a great vibe, which must be why so many people were greeted by name. I can't help but think with the great food and quality service, the tables (which did fill up inside of an hour) are occupied by quite a few regular patrons. I know after one visit, they likely won't remember me, but I will be back sooner than later. I suggest you head down if you are on Whyte; maybe i'll see you there.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

lemon poppy seed bread

Picking up some 4 for $1 lemons at H&W this past Sunday meant, along with putting some lemon in my Coke, I would have lemon zest to play with. I contemplated a lemon-banana recipe I've been meaning to try but the Joy of Baking won out again with a lemon poppy seed bread. So here it is. I don't usually add the sugar glazes to quick breads but seeing as how I'm treating people at work, I couldn't resist. I can only assume it took the bread over the top, as it was gobbled up by lunch.

* Don't forget to let it sit overnight so the syrup can really soak into the bread, before you dig in. Fight the urge!

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

the week that was and is - april 22nd, 2009

What a busy week. Normally I can put this little section together a little bit at a time, but here goes nothing in one big swoop.

  • With all the baking I did on Sunday, I had the TV on for longer than I normally would and saw a show on PBS called Diary of a Foodie. The show is put on by Gourmet Magazine and the episode I watched was about different meals and their significance during the holy month of Ramadan. It seemed like a decent show and it looks like its been on for a few seasons. Why are some of these shows so hard to catch....
  • I love the name of this effect - vicarious goal fulfillment. With regards to food it's the idea that "a person can feel a goal has been met if they have taken some small action, like considering the salad, without ordering it" or "see salad, eat fries" for short.
  • It seems the recession is adding to the new "slider sensation" as I like to call it. I know some of the fancier joints around have served up mini hamburgers, but now even the fast food joints are in on it. "McDonald's is testing a Snack Wrap Mac. Burger King is pushing BK Burger Shots. Jack in the Box sells Mini Sirloin Burgers. Johnny Rockets offers Sliders."
  • Some people may think it's out of the norm, but I quite enjoy a cheese sandwich once in a while. Although, I don't think I would enjoy it everyday at school...although a free sandwich is a free sandwich.
  • 250 years of that dark, stormy brew called Gunniess! As a fan of the dark Vitamin G, I'd like to see if we will we get the 250th anniversary stout that is being released this Friday.
  • I'm always surprised how much empty space you find when you open a bag of potato chips. I mean it seems like half the bag is "air", so it's good to hear Frito-Lay is upping the amount of food in the bag and this change "involved no increase in price, was part of its "continuing commitment to deliver value to consumers."
  • Sometimes the article title is reason alone to read it, so when I saw an article titled - When Lobster Was Spam, 5 Gourmet Food That Use to be Cheap, I knew I had to post it.
  • Last week I talked about the 25 things chefs hate, and this week is the flip side. I've been given this answer and I agree..."When asked what’s particularly good — please, for the love of God — don’t say “it’s all good,” even if it is. Have some knowledge and insight into your own menu. Have an opinion. Know what’s fresh."
  • Sharon mentioned that the second T & T Supermarket is set to open in Northgate Mall. I was under the impression for some time that it was going to open up in the old South Edmonton Common Wal-Mart location. It's nice to see a second store regardless of where it is.
  • While writing a segment for the Bistro section (Edmonton Journal), Liane Faulder discovered the joy of Banh Mi. She mentions Van Loc, a favorite of mine, which is a great place to try these Vietnamese creations, on your way to indulging in a bowl of pho next door at Tau Bay!
  • Homemade pizza of the week - banana peppers, sauteed onions and freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano.

And speaking of homemade goodness; after reading a couple of KitchenAid Pasta kit reviews, I definitely need to track one down!

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

huevos rancheros

I'm a strong believer that everything tastes better in a tortilla, or in this case - on a tortilla. Huevos rancheros, or ranch style eggs, is a relatively easy and delicious breakfast dish. Top a corn tortilla with a fried egg and salsa - done! If that isn't simple, I don't know what is. If you order this dish in Mexico, you may receive the plate with refried beans, rice and guacamole or avocado.
Not really needing a massive meal my only addition was a layer of cheese below the egg. With so many salsa and cheese options, it can be a very creative and personal dish. For example, if you enjoy salsa verde, feel free to indulge in huevos divorciados one day. Top one egg with your regular salsa, the second egg with salsa verde and divide the two with a wall of refried beans. Enjoy.

The picture below is how I normally cook my eggs for this dish and my egg sandwiches. I have a few versions of these rings and consider them a great piece of kitchen magic. In saying that, I still haven't attempted the microwave version.

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

rice krispie loaf

Seeing as the house needed a pick me up, and I wasn't inclined to undertake a full baking adventure, or start drinking, first thing in the morning, it came down to some rice krispie squares. I only had 3 cups of cereal left, the original recipe calls for 6, so I decided for fun to put it in a loaf pan. The squares did their job bravely and were helped along with a handful of chocolate chips.
I have only made the stove top version before, so this was my first attempt at making them in the microwave. I only had to clean up one dish, because with the recipe halved, everything fit in a pyrex cup quite nicely.

The recipe is located on the inside of every rice krispie box, or at the Kellogg's website here

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Friday, April 17, 2009

corn tortillas

If I skip past the store bought hard tacos I'm sure we all had as kids, I don't remember eating anything but flour tortillas as a kid. Corn tortillas didn't seem to be available in that many grocery stories so I suppose it wasn't really an option. I didn't come to appreciate corn tortillas in all their glory until I spent time in Guatemala. With a diet consisting of mainly beans and corn tortillas, I'm sure you will understand why. Plus when you aren't used to dining on an such a basic diet, the frijoles sometimes fight back. So on days when I couldn't jam any more beans in my mouth, I would simply make a meal out of 5-10 corn tortillas and hopefully some cebolla (onion).

The eldest daughter in my host family was the tortilla captain. She would haul a basket of corn kernels across the field to get milled down every morning (this was a loud and seemingly dangerous machine, but was operated by very small children). This big batch of masa would then become the fresh tortillas she would whip up 3 times a day. I mentioned before that I would bake and cook with my mother whenever I could, so as I started to love corn tortillas, I found myself stepping out back to watch the process. It didn't take long for the men to notice my absence and either mock me or drop some gender bias comments when I was trying to learn; but as long as I wasn't stepping on anyone's toes, I was happy to be out there on the homemade comal (an old oil barrel) pressing those golden discs of goodness!

Enough of the back story; this is about making corn tortillas right. So when I finally came back up North, I was the lucky recipient of a tortilla press. And yes, while it is an art to make them by hand, I can't thank the world enough for presses. The tortillas themselves come together quicker than their flour counterpart, making them a perfect snack or meal accompaniment.

Besides the water from your taps, all you will need is a bag of masa. You should be able to find this at the bigger grocery stores and latin tiendas. Directions, more a less just a ratio of masa to water, are listed on every package I've ever bought so it's not like you even need to research a recipe. It makes me laugh to see such simple 'directions' as I like to think it would be like your box of cereal saying 'add milk'...some of these things are just common sense. Do it enough and you'll eventually be able to gauge the moisture without measuring.

* I do recommend cooking them in a cast iron pan and having a towel lined open weave basket handy to keep them in. The tortillas can be eaten straight away, but they tend to be stiff from the heat, so let them relax for a few mintues in the basket to get that foldable quality that is so perfect for tacos, fajitas, enchiladas..or my favorite as a fork replacement.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

los andes - edmonton, ab

los andes
3903 99 st

You can't drive very far in or around Millwoods without seeing little mom and pop hole-in-the-wall establishments. I tend to make mental notes of these places, but rarely end up remembering them at the supper decision moment. To help alleviate this I've put together a small list of restaurants I want to try that actually exists outside of my own head. This paper list is ideal, because not only does it help me remember the name but a rough location. Los Andes just happens to be on this list, or I should say was on the list.

I couldn't find much about Los Andes online, besides the Vue article from 2005, and it doesn't look like much has been said since. The restaurant is located in a light industrial area, and sandwiched between an auto body shop and a yoga studio. My experience with Chilean food is pretty limited, so besides being excited to try something new, I had no expectations.

The interior is very basic, and being in a block style industrial building it lacks any distinct features. Walking in with two friends we waited at the door for a few minutes, and after not seeing an employee we decided to seat ourselves. The restaurant has an interesting vibe. There is a mixture of wood (with vinyl cushions) and metal chairs, along with a few mismatched tables. The tables were all topped with condiment containers that have long seen better days and need a good cleaning. Somehow this didn't seem surprising after looking around and seeing dirty dishes waiting to be cleaned up on half of the tables.

A few minutes after sitting down, a gentleman came in and out of the kitchen a few times, but did nothing to acknowledge our presence. Finally, he made another appearance to accept payment for the only other table occupied and brought us menus. You open the menu to see spanish, but flipping the pages over you encounter the english translations. We decided to split a few of the dishes and ended up ordering;

ensalada de maiscos - scallops, shrimps, squids, clams, mussels ($11.50). This was from the appetizer menu and showed up in a pink shell. The pieces were quite small (that shrimp is the size of a dime), the squid was overcooked, there didn't seem to be any scallops and only a few tiny clams. There was imitation crab which wasn't listed, and the broth that everything sat in had good flavor. I wonder if the seafood comes from a package or bottle, as the pieces were so identically small that I can't see someone cutting everything like that.

pescado frito - cod served with salad ($14.75). Basically this was way below average fried fish with a scattering of romaine lettuce. The dish didn't jive with me at all, I found the batter really heavy and extremely greasy and the oil had probably seen better days. Can't say much more about pieces of lettuce; at least they had some crunch.

chacarero - thin sliced and grilled beef and green beans, tomatoes, on homemade bread with french fries ($9.50). I couldn't help but look through to the kitchen from our table so when I saw our waiter/cook touching the beef then licking his finger, rip a piece of the beef from the sandwich then taste a bit and repeat this a few more times until I guess he was happy, I wasn't exactly excited to dig into this dish. With that said, the sandwich was the best of the three. The homemade bread came out toasted while retaining a soft interior. The bun easily made this sandwich, providing an great base to build upon with, unfortunately, average toppings. The slice of beef and tomato were decent, but the green beans were lifeless and it was all brought together with a heavy hand of mayo. The fries were average and generously topped with seasoning salt, much to the glee of one friend.

Our drink orders never did show up and by the time we had sampled a bit of everything, I wasn't concerned. This is one restaurant I won't be visiting any time soon. The service was below average with no real attention paid to us. The three dishes didn't arrive together or within 5 minutes of each other for that matter. The food wasn't anything to write home about and neither was the interior; no effort was made to clean up any dishes during our entire 1 1/2 hour visit. From the looks of the lunch specials on the wall and its location in a light industrial complex, it probably sees a lot more action during the day, but I don't take think it's enough to slide later in the day.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

the week that was and is - april 15th, 2009

A steady week all around so it's nice to see Wednesday and hopefully the end of snow time.

  • First off, print this coupon and go get your free taco. Taco del Mar is offering free tacos on Tax Day(today only). With all the locations around, I'm sure you could treat your stomach to an afternoon of free goodies.
  • Another stop into Flirt Cupcakes this past week with my friend Sarah, who really wanted to dive in on the peppermint version, led to the discovery of a peep topped cupcake. Nice, but very simple way to dress up a cupcake for Easter. The peppermint icing was subtle (I would have enjoyed a stronger flavor) but the sweetness factor in the buttercream was perfect this time.

  • Interesting to see how much money the top 100 grossing restaurants in the US make ($1.52B).
  • Of the 25 things chefs hate about you, I think this is my favorite; "Splitting a soup four ways is just not acceptable."
  • With the opening of a King Taco restaurant in Ontario, I can always pray it is just a matter of time before they head west. I have always heard good things about their food.
  • Sometimes messing with comfort food can be good and bad. Good because you get new and exciting flavors; bad if it is changed too drastically...does it then lose the comfort factor. Either way I like to experiment with classic sandwiches, so I'm not surprised by chefs making upscale versions.
  • Ooooby, based out of New Zealand, is a new social network designed for connecting "food growers and locavores, and working towards a “goal of food interdependence”." Maybe we can move to something like that here.
  • A change of pace for my regular sandwich loaf this week. I was inspired by the sesame oil in the fridge and decided to sub 1 tablespoon of it for the usual vegetable oil, along with some toasted sesame seeds, to really kick up the flavor. It work really nice and I think I'll sub out both tablespoons next weekend.

  • Using up all the sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds meant shopping, and instead of regular sesame seeds, it was on to black toasted seeds. I put whole seeds in my no knead loaf, along with some ground up inside and on the crust. Delicious!

  • I knew nothing about a recent Easter Egg hunt until bruleeblog posted about some delicious chocolate treats; what a great promotion idea. I'm definitely going to have to make my way to Kerstin's one day and pick up a few things.
Ok so if I want to have a crack at growing my own vegetables this year. Is it too late or early, good or bad choices to begin with...anyone have some advice.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

key lime pie

So just like Easter dinner, the choice for dessert was left up to my father. I was surprised to get a request for key lime pie, as I've never made one before, and I don't remember my father ever talking about any desire for it in the past. A quick look through a few of my favorite baking websites and I discovered the winning recipe over at the Joy of Baking. I've never been let down by any recipe I've baked from the site, so it made the decision a little easier.

The key, no pun intended, to a quality version is getting key limes. Key limes are quite a bit smaller than your average lime, loaded with seeds, and are both stronger and more bitter than their larger cousin. While I read on many sites that it is ok to substitute fresh lime juice from regular everyday limes, it really does make a difference.

I was happy to discover this is an extremely easy pie to put together. Your basic graham cracker crust (butter, sugar, graham crumbs) goes together in a jiffy and is pressed into a pie plate. The filling is just a matter of whipping a few egg yolks, slowly blending in a can of sweetened condensed milk and finally when the mixture is fluffy, incorporating the key lime juice and a bit of zest. You then fill your crust and bake for 10 minutes. Top with either merangiue or whip cream and your done.

This may be the easiest pie I've ever put together. Plus in researching the pie, I discovered from Wikipedia that Key lime pie;

  • Many early recipes for key lime pie did not instruct the cook to ever bake the pie, relying on this chemical reaction (called souring) to produce the proper consistency of the filling.
  • Key lime pie is made with canned sweetened condensed milk, since fresh milk was not a common commodity in the Florida Keys before modern refrigerated distribution methods.
  • Some cooks add food coloring to give the pie filling a green color. This practice is frowned upon by those who make traditional key lime pies.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

prime rib with oven roasted vegetables

Being elected to cook Easter dinner could have been good or bad. I hadn't really pondered a dish to prepare and I wasn't expecting to really 'celebrate' anyways. So with step one out of the way, I left the main ingredient up to my father after I filled his mind with a few quick thoughts I had - typical ham or turkey meal, braised lamb shanks, short ribs, ciccopino, and prime rib. Not knowing of his recent encounter with a bad prime rib meal, he jumped on the chance to have one done up by me. To complement the dish I decided to pick up a rutabaga, carrots, beets, baby potatoes and parsnips to roast.

Wanting to get a good piece of meat I headed over to Sunterra Market. I requested a 3 rib roast and had the butcher slice the bones almost completely off before tying it together. This I had read, would allow me to still use the bones as a rack and make the final serving a lot cleaner. While getting the meat prepped, it was a quick slide over to the vegetables and retrieve what I needed. My surprise of the day came at the till. Not only are the vegetables a heck of a lot more expensive than my regular pick ups at H&W, but the prime rib rang up at $60. Woowzer..better not mess this up.

Prep was relatively easy, as the roast simply required a few hours on the counter to come up to room temperature. I discovered through my pre-meal research that a lot of bad results stemmed from a lack of this first step. Once it was ready, the oven was set to 450 and the two cut sides were rubbed with a couple of tablespoons of butter. In it went for 15 minutes, for a quick sear, and then I lowered the oven to 325. I let it cook away, basting the sides every 30 minutes, until the internal temperature was 118 degrees (rare). At this point I pulled the roast and let it rest under tinfoil for 20 minutes. I measured it after it's rest and it was perfectly (127 degrees) done to medium rare.

The vegetables were straight forward. I cut up everything but the carrots into relative chunks and mixed in some olive oil, salt & pepper, and basil. I let it hang out with the prime rib for the last 40 minutes before cranking the oven to 400 degrees for the 20 minute rest period.

All in all the meal was great. We started with a nice chunk of fontina with crackers while enjoying my new favorite malbec. Once everything was ready, I sliced up a crusty loaf of bread and we dined on an absolutely amazing prime rib. I couldn't stop myself from two helpings of both the meat and vegetables. With the ease of preparation and simple cooking methods, I can't help but think the only thing that should stop you from making this is the price.

Up next..dessert.

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

hot cross buns

Hot cross buns,
Hot cross buns,
one ha' penny,
two ha' penny,
hot cross buns.

If you have no daughters,
give them to your sons,
one ha' penny,
two ha' penny,
Hot Cross Buns

It's that time of the year again. No, not buy a solid pound of chocolate shaped like anything from a guitar to your more typical bunny time...well yeah it is that time again, but I'm talking about flooding of hot cross buns into the supermarkets for Good Friday. We always had a package of these lying around the house and 90% of the time they would only have raisins. Why, well my father doesn't eat the candied peel, or currant based versions. This, in my opinion, is a good thing as it stops him from buying too many. Thinking I would treat him with a fresh homemade raisin version, I did just that.

The last time I made hot cross buns I was just a young boy helping his mother, so I really had no idea where to begin. I did a bit of searching around and found a fairly straight forward recipe I could put together in an afternoon. The results were good. The dough was light, fluffy and a 1/2 cup of raisins for 12 buns was almost perfect. At least I think they were; I only scored two before they disappeared. A quick mix of ingredients left me with this.

After a quick rise and shape I was left with this.

And after the buns doubled nicely in the afternoon sun, I let them spend a few minutes in the oven. I decorated them with an icing based cross, instead of the flour/water paste which made them a little more decadent. Oh yeah. I forgot the egg wash in case you are wondering why they look so pale, and the odd shaped ones were the results of my exact scale measuring as I ended up with a few bits left over which I tried to refold in a ball.

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

dan shing restaurant - edmonton, ab

dan shing restaurant
15912 stony plain road
780.483.1143 or 780.944.0394

Recently my friend Sherri and I were discussing lunch plans and decided we were both in the mood for some won ton soup. In the past we had gone to Good Buddy and were pleased, so we decided to head back for another round. We made a last minute decision to see if your friend Kevin, who happens to live on the other side of the city, would come as well. With Kevin now coming along Good Buddy was out so Sherri and I headed to the west end. Not having a clue about Chinese food on the west side, we both left the decision in Kevin's hands. He mentioned a greasy spoon/hole-in-the-wall restaurant he used to visit back in high school. So ladies and gentleman - dan shing restaurant.

Arriving just after 1PM, the restaurant was surprisingly busy and stayed that way through out our visit. Kevin's greasy spoon description was bang on. Dan Shing serves a huge menu, the take-out sheet goes to 400 items, with most being typical western styled Chinese fare. This massive list of dishes is available under the following categories - soup and noodles, lo-mein, congee, steamed rice roll, rice dishes, fried rice dishes, chow fan or mein, fried spaghetti, chef's choice, hot pot, and snacks. I know about chow mein, but can anyone tell me about chow fan? Oh yeah, the picture below is a condiment pick in honor of KimHo.

A last minute addition of Kevin's brother and his girlfriend brought our group to five, so we decided to order family style. We decided on;

chicken fried rice - it was bland and non de-script, almost no reason to eat it.

fried beef with gai lan - probably the best choice, as it was a good mix.

deep fried squid with spiced salt - nicely battered and perfectly cooked, too bad there was no spicy heat; so much for the menu warning.

ma poa tofu (my choice) - I was hoping for a spicy, mouth numbing szechuan dish with this order but like the squid, there was no heat to be found.

I think overall the experience was average. The restaurant interior is nothing to write home about and the service is quick. After our order was placed, the dishes started to arrive in typical speedy fashion, and that was the last attention we got until clean up. All of the plates, besides the rice, were off the chef's choice section which easily held the more traditional options. With that said, I really was looking forward to our spicy choices, so I was bummed to discover the dishes anything but spicy. With so many options on the menu, I wonder if they have a handful that really shine, because if you are looking for Chinese food I wouldn't say there is any reason to go out of your way to visit dan shing.

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