Thousand Island Dressing

Since we have some time left, Karen decided to prepare her salad dressing for the community meal. She made Thousand Island Dressing. Karen added some brown sugar to balance the sourness of the lemon juice which varies from bottle to bottle. She’s making the dressing for at least 100 servings.

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Did you know where the name Thousand Island came from. I did a bit of a research and found that it is named after the region of Thousand Island where it is first popularized. The Thousand Island region covers New York state and Ontario. So, does this qualify as a Canadian invention? 🙂

Ingredients for 8 servings

  • 1/4 cup Mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons skim milk plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chili sauce or seafood sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped sweet onion, Karen used green onion instead
  • salt and pepper to taste

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Instructions

IMG_1592Place the mayonnaise, yogurt, chili sauce, parsley and green onion in a large mixing bowl.
IMG_1597Add in the lemon juice and whisk until smooth.
IMG_1594If necessary, add water to thin to desired consistency. Add seasoning and adjust seasoning to taste.Cover and chill at least 1 hour before serving. This dressing will last for a week in the refrigerator.

While preparing this dressing, someone in the group brought up some issue about using raw garlic in dressing which cause garlic breath. Karen told us that to reduce the unpleasant breath of eating raw garlic, we have to remove the greenish stem inside the garlic. Also, the more finely you chop the garlic, the more flavour it yields. However, if your family or guest does not like garlic, leave the garlic in large piece and remove them before serving. She told us she learned these tips from an Italian chef. Once again, Karen, thank you for sharing these tips with us.

Cream Cheese Frosting

While Carrot Cake can be eaten just as it is, normally it is topped with cream cheese icing. So, Karen made a Cream Cheese Frosting for her Carrot Cake. She used a peach flavour cream cheese instead of the regular one. The flavoured cream cheese is sweeter — so, you can if you want to reduce the amount of icing sugar in the recipe.

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You know the consistency of the Cream Cheese Frosting is right when a spoon is sticked into the cream cheese, it stands upright without toppling.

Ingredients

  • 1 package (259g) of brick cream cheese, softened (Karen used those in tub)
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 4 cups icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

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Click on the link below for the instructions.

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Carrot Cake

Karen harvested some carrots from the farm the day before the community meal and she decided to make Carrot Cake for dessert for the Gilmore Park Church community meal the next day. Sometimes, it’s only the day before the meal that Karen will know what she’ll be preparing for the community meal as it all depend on what she’s getting from the donors.

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The Carrot Cake is fragrant with spices and the cream cheese frosting adds creaminess and sweetness to it.

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As we were washing and peeling the carrots, we found two unique ones which is worth to do a show and tell. These two are like two pairs of dancers legs.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups grated carrots

The above ingredients will yield 20 servings of carrot cake from a 13 x 9″ pan. When we made this for the community meal, we used the ingredients for 40 servings and made it 3 times. The ingredients to make 40 servings is simply double the above ingredients except for the salt which is increase to 3/4 teaspoon only.

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Click on the link below for the instructions.

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Diplomat Bakery on London Road, Richmond

Polly and I revisited Diplomat Bakery for our cake meet. This time, we went to the new location on London Road. It is a new commercial and residential area where many constructions are still in progress. The location seems a bit remote now but after all the development has completed, I’m sure it’s going to be a good traffic in the place. London Road is located at the southern end of the No 2 Road. The neighborhood had been expanding for the past few years and it’s just a matter of time when development encroaches into the area east of No 2.

While we were there, there was a good flow of traffic around tea time and just before lunch time by the construction workers.

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There was a special offer at the Diplomat Bakery during our visit which is get 4 slices of cakes at $2.95 and you’ll get one free slice. Since Polly and I usually share 3 slices, we decided to get an extra slice and end up with 5 slices, with the free slice offer. Each one of us brought one slice home to enjoy later.

Here are the cakes which we ordered.

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A slice Strawberry Cheese cake which is very rich and creamy. Continue reading

Roast Leg of Lamb

This recipe is taken from the recipe posted on Simply Recipes.

Here is the Roast Leg of Lamb recipe which we bought a couple of weeks prior in Washington. The Leg of Lamb was huge, was about 5 lbs and it took me and my boys almost 5 days to finish it, that was when Ben was away on vacation. He only had two servings of it.

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We had three meals with just the plain Roast Leg of Lamb with gravy and some steamed vegetable and rice and the last two meals with noodles and soup. The boys preferred to have the roast lamb in noodles and soup as I sliced the lamb very thin for them. They had hard times eating them in a steak form as they had trouble cutting them.

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Ingredients

  • 1 5 to 6 lbs leg of lamb, bone-in or boneless (I had boneless).
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Marinate

  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon of dried thymes
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped rosemary or 1 tablespoon of dried rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

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Green Onion Pancake

Betty made Green Onion Pancake in the Caring Place Community Kitchen. I’m afraid this is only blog with one photo as the rest of the photos did not turn out well. I’ll try my best to illustrate the process without pictures.

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Nanzaro loves this Green Onion Pancake and he ate the two pancakes that I brought home from the community kitchen. I made a batch for him at home the following week. This is really simple to make. Continue reading

Red Mango in Bellevue, WA

After the 12-egg omelette breakfast, we went for a bit of shopping around Bellevue. After all, with the exchange rate between the CAD and USD these days, everything in the US seems like a bargain to us. Before heading back to Vancouver we drove over to the Bellevue Suqare for dessert — Frozen Yogurt in a place called Red Mango.

Red Mango was recommended by Erick who mentioned that this fro-yo chain from South Korea had taken California by storm. The only yogurt we ever had was those Danone yogurt that was sold in small plastic cups at the Real Canadian Superstore.

Locating the Red Mango was a bit of a challenge for us. It was because it was not listed on the Bellevue Square store directory. After walking about for a bit and having asked the info counter did we realize how new this store is. They had only opened just last month.

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This Red Mango outlet is small with just a few small tables. We did notice that most of the customers are Asians. Frankly, I know very little about yogurt and never imagined that a popular yogurt chain would actually originate from east Asia.

Froyo, or frogurt, is a low fat alternative to icre-cream. Red Mango claims that they use only natural ingredients in making their “Authentic” frozen yogurt.

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Ordering this is easy. The menu is really small. You get a choice of two flavours — vanilla or green tea. And then you choose the number of toppings you want. The toppings are fresh fruits or dry stuff like nuts. chocolate, etc.

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We ordered two Red Mango Yougurt to share. The first was the medium sized, original vanilla flavour with three toppings. Continue reading

12-Egg Omelettes in Beth’s Cafe in Seattle, WA

Call us crazy or what … a few years back, heavens knows how many years back, we actually drove all the way from Richmond to Burlington just to try the Krispy Kreme that had just been opened. Back then, I knew it was crazy as not many people do that. I recall the amused look of the US Border Officer when I told him I am going to the US for donuts.

A few weeks back, a reader by the name of xsweetonex commented on our blog of Beth’s Cafe in Seattle and of their 12-egg omelettes … that sure got my attention. So, I googled Beth’s Cafe and to my surprise there were tons and tons of reviews of this place. I told Suanne I simply got to go and check out this place. Since, Red Mango had just opened too in Bellevue, we took a Saturday driving across the border … yeah, again … just for food.

They have a website which you should check out (http://www.bethscafe.com/). For a worn-down looking restaurant like this, it’s amazing that they’re world famous for their omelettes. Apparently, Beth’s had been operating here for more then 50 years.

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In a nice way of describing it, Beth’s Cafe is described as informal. Maybe it is early in the morning when we got there but the customers were most like truck drivers type. Not that it’s a problem but contrasting this with, say IHOP or Denny’s, the customer here does not seem to have at least have their hair combed. Know what I mean?

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This is an old place and it shows. They had ingeniously peppered by crayon drawings from their customers. When we got seated, they asked us if we wanted crayons and paper. It was entertaining reading the crayon drawings from people all over the world.

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The Coffee and Hot Chocolate are $1.95 each.

IMG_1485 Continue reading

9-Course Chinese Dinner in Richmond Mandarin Restaurant

Updated: 6th Jan 2015; This restaurant is closed.

Some of you know me very well as an organizer of events. It’s just me … it’s just who I am. I simply enjoy putting together ideas, make a plan and see to it the plans work. Nothing gives me greater joy than to see people enjoying themselves.

When I was in my early twenties, I remember vividly that one camp that I had been part of organizing. It was a national camp of over 800 participants and I had played a huge part of organizing a city tour … 20 buses in all. Logistically it was a nightmare but I had such a kick seeing everyone single boys and girls coming back to camp happy, tired and late … no one missing and everyone had a great 10 hours away. Ah … those were the days … I’ll talk about those some other time.

For the past few years, I had also enjoyed organizing gatherings among friends … the biggest of which was a picnic the past summer which was attended by a whopping 50 people in all. Just two weeks ago, I initiated another idea for a gathering of my “lah speaking” friends (mainly ex-Singaporeans and ex-Malaysians). Since it is colder and wetter these days, outdoor events are out of the question. So, I initiated a Chinese Dinner for the same group of friends. Well, I said I initiated it because I did not organize it this time … WB offered to do it and she did it so marvelously well. I think WB will make an excellent project manager! [No, seriously WB.]

After narrowing it down from three restaurants, WB finally settled down on the Richmond Mandarin Restaurant which is located in the same building as T&T on Cambie. WB, with the help from Polly, did a great job in haggling a 9-course menu for just $168 (for a table of 10). This is amazing considering that Richmond Mandarin has a “Menu A” which costs $928 and their cheapest “Menu D” which costs $298. Moreover, WB managed to get the use of their VIP Room … for free!

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We had a total of 30 people who came to the Richmond Mandarin Restaurant that night, about 20 adults and 10 kids. WB decided to create a separate cheaper menu for the kids while the adults go for the whole-shebang. Anyway, she figured that the kids would not care much for Peking Duck … the kids will actually be happier with fried rice and noodles … and the parent happier too because we don’t have to pay the full $168 for them.

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Let’s start with the kids’ menu … first off … Fried Rice Noodles with Beef.

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Then the kids had Deep Fried Chicken Wings. The kids started eating first … we wanted to make sure that the kids are all eaten and finished before we start our feast. But I was sooo hungry looking at the chicken wings. You see, I hardly had anything to eat that day in anticipation of this meal.

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And the kids’ favourites … Fried Rice!! They looked so good and smell so good. Continue reading

Shanghai Wonderful Restaurant in Richmond

Hey … right off the bat … I am saying this … this is one Chinese restaurant that simply MUST check out. We had been passing by the Shanghai Wonder Restaurant many times before. Each time, we see that the waiting lines spill out of the restaurant. It was not until Craig blogged about this that we see what the fuss was. He liked it so much that he actually blogged about it TWICE!

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Knowing how busy this restaurant is, we decided to go extra early ahead of the dinner crowd — it was at about 5:30PM, I think. It was great because we had practically the whole place to ourselves, well, at least for 30 minutes. We got seated at the booth tables along the wall … which was great because those tables were on a raised platform. It give a better view of the entire restaurant … i.e. being able to have a clearer peek at the neighboring table’s dishes.

From the decor, this is definitely a more upscale restaurant. We like the cleanliness and brightness. And the service is great and the host patient which we appreciate. You see, Chinese restaurants need to be very patient with the Chinese-illiterate chowtimes! 🙂

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The first dish we ordered is the Cheery Pork with Brown Sauce on a bed of spinach. We find the name kind of odd. Cheery? Oh, I simply love this even though it is full of fats. The gravy/sauce too is simply marvelous. I think this is one of their signature dish. It came in a slab of pork neatly cut into cubes. This one costs $14.95.

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This is the cross section of the meat … it’s almost 1.5 inches thick with 1/3 of it fat. Continue reading