Scallop Xào Tuong at the Café Indochine in Ottawa

Scallop Xào Tuong at the Café Indochine in Ottawa

Scallop Xào Tuong at the Café Indochine in Ottawa

The very pretty dish you see pictured above was served to me at the now defunct Café Indochine in Ottawa. The place got some rather mixed reviews but I ate there a couple of times and found the service and the food to be quite good overall. Their Scallop Xào Tuong , which I had for lunch one day, turned out to be well prepared, and was quite delicious, but it was also a bit disappointing in one regard.

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Pepper Steak prepared with pre-Grilled Flank Steak

Pepper Steak prepared with pre-Grilled Flank Steak

Pepper Steak with a Twist

Beef stir-fried with Peppers probably has roots in China in one form or another, but it has long been a classic in Westernized Chinese restaurants. It seems to be falling out of fashion these days, but it still fairly popular and there are many variations on the basic theme. The dish you see above represents a twist on the usual methods used for the classic in that it uses Flank Steak which is first marinated in Lemon juice, then grilled before being sliced and used in the final stir-frying.

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Stuffed Peppers at the Yangtze Dining Lounge in Ottawa

Stuffed Peppers at the Yangtze Dining Lounge in Ottawa

Stuffed Peppers at the Yangtze Dining Lounge in Ottawa

I love little appetizers of stuffed and pan-fried Bell Pepper Chunks. Mostly, though, I have only eaten them after making them at home. They do appear occasionally on Dim Sum menus, but, rather sadly, I think, they are far from being a standard item. The ones you see pictured above were served to me at the Yangtze Dining Lounge in Ottawa’s Chinatown and, though they were very attractive and nicely plated, the execution wasn’t all that great.

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Stir-fried Ginger Hoisin Pork

Stir-fried Ginger Hoisin Pork

This dish is a really simple stir-fry production. Including the Hoisin Sauce, and the Bok Choy, all the ingredients are very easy to come by and there are no difficult techniques involved. The delicious sweet and sour flavors work beautifully with the pork and the vegetables to produce a Chinese take-out style dish very easily.

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Stuffed Peppers with Black Bean Sauce
Stuffed Peppers with Black Bean Sauce

This appetizer of Stuffed Peppers with Black Bean Sauce features pieces of different colored bell peppers stuffed with a seasoned mixture of shrimp and pork, then fried briefly before being finished in a sauce containing oyster sauce, rice wine and Chinese Salted Black Beans. It can, depending on the portion size, be served as a dim sum offering, a more substantial appetizer, or a side dish as art of a Chinese meal…


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Stuffed Jalapeño Peppers
Stuffed Jalapeño Peppers

The filling for these Stuffed Jalapeño Peppers is very straightforward and simple… not much more than ground pork with scallion and garlic, really.

It is the sauce, though, that I think makes this dish. It is based on Oyster Sauce mixed with some rice wine and a decent hit of chilli oil. The sweetness of the primary ingredient is just enough for this recipe that you won’t be needing any added sugar…


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Veal with Sweet Peppers and Mushrooms
Veal with Sweet Peppers and Mushrooms

The peppers in this Mediterranean-style dish of Veal with Sweet Peppers and Mushrooms are actually my own homemade Marinated Sweet Peppers. You can substitute with fresh, if you like, or even used a commercially prepared jar of roasted peppers, but the herb and garlic flavors of the marinated peppers work much better in this recipe.

Once tender veal strips are sautéed along with the peppers and seared button mushrooms, the result would be delicious served atop pasta, but is terrific with nothing more than thick ‘door-steps’ of crusty fresh bread…

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Marinated Sweet Peppers
Marinated Sweet Peppers

The Italian antipasto dish of Roasted Red Peppers is a perennial favorite, but the preparing them can be a bit time-consuming, especially the fiddly task of peeling the skins after roasting.

Today’s dish of Marinated Sweet Peppers is a bit simpler, with three different sorts of bell pepper being flash-fried at high temperature to yield a similar smoky sweetness, and then marinated, with the skins still remaining, in a garlic and herb infused oil. The result is an appetizer style of dish that is terrific served with nothing more than crusty bread.

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Tiger Skin Peppers - 虎皮尖椒
Tiger Skin Peppers

Tiger Skin Peppers, or so 虎皮尖椒 (hu pi jian jiao) are so named because of the characteristic patterns that form on chilies when seared at very high, giving them a ‘tiger skin’ like appearance. Personally, I actually think that ‘Leopard Skin’ might be closer but I won’t quibble.

Anyway, once seared, the chilies are finished with a simple sauce composed of Chinese Black Vinegar, soy sauce, and, usually a little sugar. I am rounding that out, here in this recipe, with a little chopped garlic here. The result makes for a very nice appetizer or side-dish…


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An Appetizer of Marinated Roasted Red Peppers
An Appetizer of Marinated Roasted Red Peppers

Roasted Red Peppers that have been marinated in olive oil make a lovely Italian Antipasto style Appetizer but they are great to have on hand for a variety of other uses. They can be added to a whole variety of more complex hot and cold dishes, are fantastic when pureed for sauces and condiments, make great garnishes when sliced or dices attractively, and, on a more pedestrian level, go great on sandwiches and wraps.

You can buy some fairly decent pre-made varieties in jars, or occasionally in bulk from the deli section of the supermarket, but they are easy enough to prepare at home and the results are far better…


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