Month: March 2012

Steamed Squid with Scallion and Ginger

Steamed squid is one my regular selections at Dim Sum restaurants and I decided to whip up a batch using some of the SeaQuest Brand Frozen Calamari Rings I still have left. I like squid steamed with spicy sauces particularly but, this time, I just went with the very simple scallion and ginger version that is most commonly offered as Dim Sum…  Continue reading “Steamed Squid with Scallion and Ginger”

Review: Dunn’s Famous Deli – Ottawa

355 Dalhousie Street, Ottawa, (613) 562-4966 – Website

Date of Visit: March 22, 2012 

I hadn’t really planned on reviewing breakfasts when I started my blog but my wife thought it would be a good idea and on my recent trip to Ottawa I hit a couple of spots that deserve a mention. Dunn’s is one of them:

Dunn’s is just down the street from Les Suites hotel, which is where I usually stay when I visit the capital. It is part of a restaurant chain, I recently discovered, and it is primarily a licensed Deli specializing in Montreal Smoked Meat. More importantly, from my perspective, they offer breakfasts 24 hours a day, and, for those who require it, their breakfast menu offers a ‘Hair of the Dog Caesar’… although I haven’t been tempted by that particular offering yet…  Continue reading “Review: Dunn’s Famous Deli – Ottawa”

Review: The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen

By Grace Young

1999 Simon and Schuster Ltd.  ISBN 13: 978-0684847399

The title of this book suggests that it provides a broad overview of dishes from across China but, as we learn in the introduction and notes to the reader, the focus is almost exclusively on Cantonese cookery. It is not just a bare collection of recipes, though; Ms. Young, who grew up in a Chinese-American family, spends a lot of time introducing the reader to some of the philosophy and traditions of this particular regional cuisine…  Continue reading “Review: The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen”

Experiment: Penne with Pork and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Last week, I made Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic Sauce for my Naan Pizza experiment and I still had a cup or so left over. I thought of a couple of potential uses for it but, as I am travelling tomorrow, I decided to use the whole remaining batch in a pasta sauce as I don’t think it well keep until my return.

I decided on thinly sliced pork as the meat component and, for a nice color balance, I settled on some baby spinach I had left over from a recent Steamed Beef Balls experiment. I also thought about maybe adding some sort of mushrooms for additional color and flavor but I eventually decided that anything else other than some nice Romano cheese might be overkill. On later reflection, as will be apparent in the verdict below, I maybe should have listened to my initial impulse…. Continue reading “Experiment: Penne with Pork and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce”

Review: Luxe Bistro – Ottawa

47 York Street, Ottawa, (613) 241-8805 – Website

Date of Visit: March 21, 2012

I had planned to visit Luxe Bistro on a trip to Ottawa in 2011 but was prevented from doing so by lack of time. On my most recent visit to the capital, I made this restaurant a priority and booked a table for 7pm on the first evening of my stay.

As luck would have it, I developed a bit of a nasty chest cold just before leaving home and I arrived in the city, a mere two hours before my booking, in a rather frazzled condition after an especially trying three hour flight seated behind a constantly crying baby. Admittedly, this is hardly the best frame of mind in which to do a restaurant review but, as it turned out, aside from a limited ability to properly savor the wine, I ended up enjoying a pretty decent dining experience…  Continue reading “Review: Luxe Bistro – Ottawa”

Travel: Culinary Trip to Ottawa – March 2012

Yesterday, I returned from a much-anticipated culinary adventure to Ottawa that I mentioned in a previous post introducing Ottawa’s Chinatown. The picture you see above is taken from Les Suites hotel where I have stayed on my last six or seven trips to the capital. It shows a lovely view overlooking Dalhousie Street and By-ward market, which is home to a terrific concentration of restaurants and a great place to just wander around.

My trip, like the best laid plans of mice and men, did not pan out quite as I hoped but I did get to eat at quite a few new interesting places and visit some great sources for exotic foodstuffs. I have quite a bit of editing to do, but in the next few weeks I will be posting reviews of the various restaurants and introducing you to a number of great places for culinary shopping in the nation’s capital. I will also show you all the ‘treasures’ I came home with and many of these will be featured in upcoming ‘Foodstuffs’ posts and then later, as I get to investigate them, form the centerpieces of some interesting Kitchen Experiments …  Continue reading “Travel: Culinary Trip to Ottawa – March 2012”

Experiment: Squid Sashimi (using frozen Calamari)

A while ago, I featured Sea Quest Brand Frozen Calamari Rings in a ‘Foodstuffs’ post. In that post I opined that, while this product might be fine in any number of cooked preparations, it really wasn’t sashimi quality squid.

Since writing that post, I began to wonder if there was something I could do to do ‘rejuvenate’ the squid rings and render them tasty enough to eat raw. I love fresh squid sashimi, but fresh squid, along with so many things, is pretty much unavailable here in the far north and so it seemed like some sort of work around solution would be necessary. It struck me, as I thought about the problem, that maybe the ‘juice’ I made using Korean fermented shrimp might just add the required fillip to the frozen squid and maybe compensate for the diminished taste…  Continue reading “Experiment: Squid Sashimi (using frozen Calamari)”

Kale Sautéed with Garlic

Kale is not a commonly available vegetable here in Iqaluit. I think I have only seen it two or three times in all. This week, one of our stores had packages containing very large bunches and some little bags containing just a handful of leaves. As the wife is away in Costa Rica this week, the large bunches would have been too much for me but I grabbed a small bag with the intention of doing something with an Italian flair as an accompaniment to some nice pork cutlets…  Continue reading “Kale Sautéed with Garlic”

Review: The Food and Cooking of Southern China

by Terry Tan

2003: Anness Publishing Ltd.  ISBN-13: 978-1903141632

 My library is full of books on general Chinese cooking and these days, unless something looks particularly special, I try to limit new purchases to those that focus on a particular regional cuisine or some specialized type of cookery.  Accordingly, I was rather excited when I came across this title at Amazon.

Unfortunately, purchasing books online, as I am mostly forced to do given my location, doesn’t really allow you to browse through them first. The cover of this particular volumes promises that it will help you ‘Discover the vibrant foods of Cantonese, Shantou, Hakka, and Island cuisine’. Leaving aside the fact that Shantou is a city in Guangdong Province and therefore Cantonese (albeit with its own particular style), the omission of Fujian from the list is rather glaring. Fujian cookery is traditionally one of the eight classical schools of Han cuisine and Fujian, by most reckoning, is definitely in the South. It seems odd, then, that this province should be neglected in a book about the cooking of Southern China and, had I noticed this before receiving the book, I might have twigged to the fact that I was ultimately going to be disappointed… Continue reading “Review: The Food and Cooking of Southern China”

Experiment: Scallions Explode Lamb – 蔥爆羊肉

 Lamb is not terribly popular in Southern China but it is quite common in the North and in the cuisines of the far West. When sautéed with scallions, it is a frequent addition to menus in many restaurants, particularly those featuring Beijing cuisine, where the English name usually appears in Chinese as 蔥爆羊肉 (pinyin: cōng bào yángròu). This, in translation, is ‘Scallions Explode Lamb’ but the actual dish is less alarming than it sounds. The second character in the Chinese name, bào (爆), can indeed mean to ‘burst’ or ‘explode’, but in the culinary sense it merely means to flash-fry at high temperature.

I bought a small lamb roast a few days ago with the intention of cutting it up for a few different dishes to feature here at my blog. It wasn’t a great cut by any means, and yielded a pretty meager quantity of meat after I trimmed away the fat and gristle, but I had more than enough to give this Northern Chinese favorite a try…  Continue reading “Experiment: Scallions Explode Lamb – 蔥爆羊肉”