We’re Moving…

Maybe WE are not…but this blog is. I’ve moved all the contents of this blog to Buttery Bakery.

Please visit there for all posts found in this blog.

Please visit there for further new posts.

Thank you!

Cat

Steamed Fish

One of the simplest and purest way to cook fish is to steam it. It works best with the freshest fish you can find and with limited amount of time and perpetual laziness.

All you need is salt, ginger, green onions, and a splash of Chinese cooking wine.

I didn’t even have a steamer. I put a plate inside a very large cast iron pan filled with about half an inch of water but then it was a pain, literally, to remove the plate after the fish is done. I do not really recommend it, but if you have no choice, feel free to improvise with whatever pots and pans you have. Just make sure that the rim of the plate you use doesn’t block steam from rising with in the pot, or pan.

Step one, cut the ginger and green onion into strips.

Step two, salt the fish.

Step three, sprinkle the ginger and green onion strips onto fish.

Step four, splash some Chinese cooking wine on top. Not too much, you don’t want a drunken fish. Ha. Bad. Yes.

Step five, steam for about 10-15 minutes. I start counting time when the water begins to boil and steam begins to leak out of the side of the pot.

Step six, don’t burn yourself taking the plate out.

So hard right?

You can really taste the fish this way, and the aromatics are just right. Bon appetit!

Fresh Tomato Bruschetta

On Saturday I went to the Farmer’s market in Ste. Anne with Ian. I bought this strange looking sandwich thing. I am not entirely sure what it’s called. It looks like a great big kernel of wheat. See?

I only know that it is made of home-ground whole wheat flour and baked. And it’s filled with a mixture of lentils, carrots, tofu curds, green peppers, chili peppers, red peppers, and is almost fat-free. I also know that it’s awfully tasty and filling.

We went to a marvelous and charming little cafe in town, called Twigs. They have the most innovative sandwiches I’ve ever seen or heard of. Alligator sandwich, anyone? They also have excellent espresso, which has become my treat reserved for Saturdays.

Anyways, we also picked up a baguette at the market. Very delicious bread with a crunchy crust and a chewey inside. That is, if you eat it on the same day. Which we didn’t. So what happened to the bread? It got hard and dry, blame it on the Montreal weather. It has been very cold these past few days. I even broke out winter boots. Yes, winter boots in September.

In efforts to resuscitate the baguette, I made bruschetta! (Was going to make baked french toast but forgot…)

Simple ingredients. Easy dish. Elegant look. Wonderful taste. Read on for the recipe.

Oh, did I mention that Ian is learning to cook? I didn’t? Oops. Well, it seems that his first lesson is knife skills, seeing as he made salad today with boiled eggs. (If your boiled eggs always have the icky bluish-greenish sulfur ring, follow this trick: bring eggs to a full boil for 2 minutes ONLY, then cover and let sit for 10 minutes, rinse with cold water and peel. I guarantee perfect eggs every time.)

Doesn’t the olive oil and balsamic vinegar look like the perfect couple approaching each other shyly? No? Okay, maybe it’s just me. ;)

Note: Rubbing the garlic on the toast gives just enough garlicky-goodness without visible, or overwhelming chunks of garlic. Enjoy.

Fresh Tomato Bruschetta
serves 3-4

1/2 lb. fresh tomatoes
5-6 fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade, or fine strips
dash of onion salt, to taste
pepper to taste
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, cut in half crosswise
1/2 of a day-old baguette, sliced

  1. Place the baguette slices on a baking tray and dry in 250 degree oven until crisp, about 20 minutes, or more if your bread is more fresh.
  2. Chop the tomatoes and combine with the rest of the ingredients except for the garlic. Set aside.
  3. Rub one side of each toast with the garlic and top with tomato mixture.
  4. Eat.

Cucumber Tuna Salad on Romaine with Roasted Walnuts

Hm, what to do when you’re hungry and your only source of protein is a can of tuna? And you want to eat healthily, simply, but still yummily?

You get chopping. That’s what you do.

For a doze of Omega 3’s, vitamins, and protein, try this salad. Or rather, salad duo, since the tuna salad sits on top of some shredded romaine in a lemon and cracked pepper dressing.

Super easy. Fairly quick. Ultra healthy.

Cucumber Tuna Salad on Romaine with Roasted Walnuts
serves 1

2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus 2 tsp. for tuna salad
1/4 tsp. freshly cracked pepper, plus a little more for the tuna salad
enough onion salt to taste
1/2 can flaked tuna in water, drained
1/3 c. finely diced English cucumber
1 very small carrot, shredded
2 Tbsp. chopped walnuts

  1. To roast the walnuts, either use the microwave (a couple minutes on high and stir every 30 seconds, until fragrant) or the oven (400 degrees for 5 minutes, stir once, until fragrant). Set aside.
  2. Mix the lemon juice and 1 Tbsp. olive oil and season with cracked pepper and onion salt to taste. Set aside.
  3. Mix tuna with the remaining olive oil, cucumber and season with cracked pepper and onion salt to taste. Set aside.
  4. Place shredded lettuce on a dinner plate and spoon the tuna salad in the middle. Sprinkle the shredded carrots around the tuna salad and drizzle the dressing over the romaine. Finally, sprinkle with roasted walnuts.
  5. Toast to your health!

Restaurant Review: La Cabane Grecque

I’m finally back on campus at MacDonald. Mac is one of two McGill campuses, and the one that no one knows about. It’s super small and shares its space with a college preparatory school here in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue. The town’s name is so long that sometimes I have trouble typing and writing the entire name on forms! I’m very glad to be back and even looking forward to the up coming classes.

So yesterday, as a back-to-school-I-haven’t-seen-you-since-April get-together, a few friends and I went to downtown Montreal to have dinner. La Cabane Grecque is located on Prince Arthur, corner street to La Coloniale, in a very popular location in Montreal.

This time of the year, the streets are closed to autos and restaurants offer outdoor seating with various entertainment on the streets, from music to juggling to skateboarding. The maitre d’s from each restaurant come outside to lure the passerby. It’s quite something.

As for the restaurant, in short, the food was mediocre but the service was great. I had the steak a la Cabane Grecque, which was aged tenderloin strips with steamed veggies, homestyle potato, rice, and chef’s salad. The chef’s salad is actually a garden salad and was heavy on the oil. It was surprisingly filling, both two girls I was with were getting full after the salad. But that might have been because of the bread. They serve very good whole wheat bread with a very creamy butter. I would’ve been happy just with the bread basket.

I asked for the steak to be cooked to medium rare and it turned out to be almost medium well and in some areas, well done. The sides were nothing special. And this bugged me: the food tasted strongly of butter. I love butter, but I went there for Greek food. It didn’t seem authentic. But like I said, the service was excellent. The waitress we had was friendly and helpful and attentive. Our water glasses were refilled continuously and she came to check on us several times. Next time I want Greek food though, I would like to get Greek food.

Tang Yuan 汤圆 (Glutinous Rice Balls)

These are a Chinese dessert typically served during 元宵, or Lantern Festival. It’s a bit like nuo mi ci (糯米糍), or the other glutinous rice balls in that it is also made with glutinous rice flour. It’s actually a lot alike nuo mi ci, just smalled and served in a sugary soup. They even share some of the same fillings, such as red bean, black sesame, peanut, etc.

Making these small glutinous rice balls are easier, in my opinion, since the ingredients are just rice flour, water, and red bean paste. The red bean paste can be store-bought, or homemade. I love homemade red bean paste. It isn’t as sweet and still has some whole beans in it. Most store-bought paste is almost sickeningly sweet and has an off taste and textureless. If you have time, just boil a pot of red beans until tender, add sugar to taste and a tiny amount of oil, and mash together.

Tang Yuan 汤圆 (Glutinous Rice Balls)
makes about 15 3cm balls

250 grams glutinous rice flour (usually half the 500 gram package sold in Asian food stores)
about 3/4 c. hot water, more or less as needed
red bean paste or other filling

  1. Mix the water into the rice flour, a little at a time, until you have a pretty soft dough that holds together.
  2. Knead a few times and let rest for about 15 minutes.
  3. Pinch off small balls a little smaller than 1 inch in diameter.
  4. Flatten in your palm and drop a small dollop of red bean paste into the middle. Pinch the edges closed and roll between your palms until round. Use a little water if the dough is hardening too fast.
  5. Bring a pot of water to boil. Drop the rice balls into the water and boil until they float.
  6. Add a little sugar to the broth, if desired, and serve with a little of the broth.

BBQ…and Eating ALL Day!

Eating all day…that’s what usually happens when my family does barbeque. It’s my dad’s birthday tomorrow so we celebrated today. This is what we did today.

Jalapeno Burgers, with finely minced onions, Worcesterchire sauce, garlic powder, even more finely minced jalapeno peppers, salt, and plenty of freshly ground pepper.

More Jalapenos! Grilled until the skin blackens and blisters. Then the seeds and removed and it’s used to top burgers, or eating out of hand. My mom guzzled water after one bite.

Sweet Chili Grilled Chicken. I made a rub with chili powder, ground cumin, ground pepper, garlic powder, ground Sichuan peppercorns, salt, sugar, a dash of soy sauce, and olive oil. The chicken was allowed to sit overnight.

Chicken. Potato Salad. Garden salad with the sweetest cherry tomatoes.

Way better than any store-bought potato salad. I used chopped pickles and a generous splash of pickle juice along with mayo, chopped onions, mustard, ground pepper, and salt. No eggs so the salad has a better chance sitting outside the cooler.

Grilled peaches with cinnamon. Grilling caramelizes the sugars in the fruit and intensifies the flavour. Plus, like my brother says, “it’s super juicy!”

Here’s my dad’s birthday cake. For more cake details, go to Buttery Bakery!

We also did a number on Italian sausages, steak, hot dogs, and more fruit, but I didn’t record with pictures. I can tell you that they were good though!

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

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