Spicy Fried Alligator Bites
Spicy Fried Alligator Bites

Spicy Fried Alligator Bites

This little appetizer is my own rendition of the way I have most commonly been served Alligator in restaurants, that is to say, deep-fried with Cajun seasonings. Sometimes, this consists chunks of Alligator meat that are battered, but I much prefer them when they are very lightly breaded, as I have done here. The process is quick and simple, and the result is very nice indeed.


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Chiu Chow Fun Gor at Fan's

Chiu Chow Fun Gor at Fan’s Restaurant in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

This Dim Sum specialty was described on the menu as ‘Dumpling Diced Meat w/ Peanut’, but the Chinese character listing identified it as the classic 潮洲粉粿 (Cháozhōu fěn guǒ). The filling was very nice, although containing fewer ingredients than other versions, but the wrappers were not that good at all.

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Roasted Vegetable Soup
Roasted Vegetable Soup

Roasted Vegetable Soup

I was first inspired to use roasted vegetables in order to make soup after one of my fellow bloggers, , Lola Rugula, posted a recipe for a Roasted Garlic and Vegetable Soup. Up until then, I had never even thought of trying it and I was very pleasantly surprised by the depth of flavor that resulted. Here, I have made a soup using roasted Cauliflower, Leek, Carrot and Parsnip, all four of which are beautifully enhanced by the rich flavors produced during the roasting process.


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Bean-Curd Roll at Yimin Dim Sum House

Bean-Curd Roll at Yimin Dim Sum House in Ottawa

I ordered five different Dim Sum items at the Yimin Dim Sum House in Ottawa’s Chinatown when I visited to try the place out. The Steamed Bean-Curd Roll with Pork was not only the best of all those I sampled, but is, as of this writing, among the very best of all the versions of this classic I have been served.

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Homemade Ratatouille
Homemade Ratatouille

Ratatouille is a famous braised vegetable preparation from Provence in the South of France. The main ingredients typically include Eggplant, Tomato, Onion, and Bell Peppers, but Zucchini and Fennel often appear, with Mushrooms and Black Olives being added in some versions. It can be served as a hot, as a vegetarian casserole or vegetable side dish, and, once cooled, can be served as a relish, or used as an ingredient in more complex preparations.


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An American Alligator and its Meat
An American Alligator and its Meat

Alligator Meat may a bit of a daunting culinary prospect for many people, given the alien and prehistoric appearance of these fearsome beasts. However, although they don’t actually taste like chicken, as often claimed for reptiles and other ‘exotics’, the taste and texture is familiar enough that those who like chicken, will usually like Alligator Meat as well.


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Grilled Lamb Chop Appetizer
Grilled Lamb Chop Appetizer

Grilled Lamb Chop Appetizer

Lamb Chops tend to be the focus of a Main Dish serving in most Western households. Here however, nice plump loin chops are marinated in a tangy Mint Sauce, Grilled with Yoghurt, Garlic, and Rosemary, then served atop a bed of Sweet Bell Peppers sautéed with Sherry. They make a lovely appetizer, and could just as easily be served as one dish in a Tapas style meal.


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Sweet Red-Cooked Pork with Bamboo
Sweet Red-Cooked Pork with Bamboo

Sweet Red-Cooked Pork with Bamboo is an interesting and delicious variation on the Chinese classic Twice-Cooked Pork – 回鍋肉, except that, rather than the meat being simply boiled with a few seasonings in the first cooking step, it is first ‘red-cooked’ in a Chinese Master before being later quick fried with Bamboo, Celery, and Chili Paste.

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Sweet Pepper Parsnips
Sweet Pepper Parsnips

Sweet Pepper Parsnips

This dish was originally created as a side dish for a Beef Roast, but it also works very nicely as Spanish Tapas style dish, rather along the lines of Patatas Bravas. The difference here, of course, is that I have substituted the sweetness of Roasted Red Peppers for the usual tomato-based sauce, and have added just enough chili to make it ‘sparkle’ rather than burn.


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Deep-Fried Scallop Clusters
Deep-Fried Scallop Clusters

Deep-Fried Scallop Clusters

The technique used in the preparation of these little appetizers is very much like the Japanese ‘Kakiage’ style of Tempura. However, I have departed very slightly from strictly Japanese roots a by combining chopped sweet scallop meat, not only with shredded Wakame seaweed, but also some finely diced Chinese Preserved Sausage.


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