Blueberry Boy Bait

When I posted a deal on organic blueberry on my facebook ($1.69 per pound), my friend, Jess suggested me to bake a Blueberry Boy Bait. I was fascinated with the name and did a search on the internet. Here is what I found from www.cookscountry.com.

In 1954, a 15-year-old girl won second prize in the junior division of a Pillsbury baking contest with a moist and tender blueberry cake that was named after the effect it had on teenage boys–one bite and they were hooked. Topped with cinnamon-sugar and loaded with blueberries, it straddled the divide between coffee cake and dessert cake.

The Blueberry Boy Bait is indeed moist and tender. The cinnamony crust on top gives a contrast of texture with a light crunch. I love the aroma of cinnamon that fills the kitchen during baking.

Blueberry-Boy-Bait-15

You can make the Blueberry Boy Bait using fresh or frozen blueberries. If you use frozen blueberries, do not thaw them or else the cake will be stained with blueish color.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup blueberries, toss in 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour

Topping

  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Blueberry-Boy-Bait-1

Source: this recipe is adapted from www.cookscountry.com

Prep time: 30 minutes;  Bake time: 50 minutes;  Serves 12

(more…)

Continue Reading

Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce

Jorge served the Basil Cornmeal Muffins with a tangy sauce using fruits and vegetables that are in season. It was the season of strawberry and rhubarb.

Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce (5)

The Strawberry and Rhubarb Sauce is very appetizing. It can be served warm or cold. The basil in the muffin goes well with strawberry.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup diced strawberries
  • 1 stick of rhubarb, diced
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice

Source: Jorge Viduenez

Prep time: 10 minutes;  Cook time: 10 minutes;  Serves 12

(more…)

Continue Reading

Basil Cornmeal Muffins

For dessert, Jorge prepared another item made with cornmeal. This time, it’s a sweet cornmeal muffins.

Basil-Cornmeal-Muffins-12

Jorge kicked it up a notch by adding basil to it. Jorge served the Basil Cornmeal Muffins with Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce which I will post next.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups fine or medium grind yellow cornmeal
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 7 basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 cups corn kernels
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese for sprinkling (optional)

Basil-Cornmeal-Muffins-1

Source: Jorge Viduenez

Prep time: 20 minutes;  Bake time: 25 minutes;  Serves 12

(more…)

Continue Reading

Jalapeno Chili Corn Bread

Jorge served the Chicken Ratatouille with Jalapeno Chili Corn Bread.  Corn bread is native to the New World and was discovered by the Europeans during the European exploration of North America.

Jalapeno-Chilis-Corn-Bread-11

This Jalapeno Chili Corn Bread is not as spicy as it should be because Jorge toned down the heat by using less jalapeno due to not many of the seniors can tolerate the heat.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of coarse corn meal (also packed as polenta)
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 3/4 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup of firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 2 jalapeno chili
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Jalapeno-Chilis-Corn-Bread-1-600x400

Source: Jorge Viduenez

Prep time:  30 minutes;  Bake time: 30 minutes;  Serves 12

(more…)

Continue Reading

Chicken Ratatouille

Ratatouille is a traditional French Provencal stewed vegetable dish. Ratatouille is usually served as a side dish. The key ingredient in Ratatlouille is tomatoes accompanying by garlic, onions, zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers, carrot and a mix of green herbs like herbes de Provence which is typically a combination of savory, fennel, basil, and thyme.

Chicken-Ratatouille-10

Jorge served this Chicken Ratatouille with Jalapeno Chili Corn Bread which I will blog next.

Ingredients

  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 2 zucchini, cut into cubes
  • 1 eggplant, cut into cubes
  • 2 red or yellow bell peppers, halved, seeded, and thickly sliced
  • 3 tomatoes, peeled, quartered and seeded
  • 12 chicken drumsticks or thighs
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup butter, divided
  • 10 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Chicken-Ratatouille-1-600x400

Source: Jorge Viduenez

Prep time: 30 minutes;  Cook time: 1 hour and 10 minutes;  Serves 12

(more…)

Continue Reading

Stuffed Eggplants

Jorge selected a theme of French cuisine for the South Arm Cooking Club for Seniors. Jorge landed in Quebec and stayed there for 3 years where he got his French influence. The recipes he selected for this kitchen were largely influenced by the region of Provence of France. The region of Provence has abundance of fresh vegetables, herbs and seafood due to it’s Mediterranean climate and location next to the Mediterranean Sea.

Stuffed-Eggplants-7-600x400

The first dish is Stuffed Eggplants. I find that eggplant is a vegetable that I seldom used because it’s like an oil sponge. It soaks up oil like a sponge. I’m glad to learn a new recipe with eggplant.

Ingredients

  • 3 eggplants (large plumb variety)
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 red or green bell peppers, halved, seeded and chopped
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Stuffed-Eggplants-1-600x400

Source: Jorge Videunez

Prep time: 30 minutes;  Cook time: 1 hour;  Serve 12

(more…)

Continue Reading

Bei Jiang Restaurant on Alexandra Road, Richmond

Hey all … sit up.

This restaurant excites me and I think it will you too. After just 5 minutes in this restaurant, I was already telling Suanne that we NEED to come back because it is simply impossible to try everything we wanted to.

Bei-Jiang-Restaurant-Richmond-26

We did not find this restaurant. It was JS who first broke the news of this new restaurant on chowhound and the very first response to that initial report was from Vancouver’s uber foodie saying “Color me excited!”. That thread was a very interesting one … well, at least to me as it covered a branch of Chinese cuisine that is not very common in the city.

The Bei Jiang Restaurant is located on Richmond’s glutton street, Alexandra Road. It is in the same strip mall as very popular Cattle Cafe and Michigan Noodles.

Bei Jiang is a Xinjiang cuisine restaurant. Xinjiang is a province located in the western most part of China which for the most part quite unlike the rest of China. It is the Uyghur (pronounced like you-girl, I think) people who makes up half the population. The Uyghur is more Turkic than they are Chinese.

Parking in this strip mall is very bad. You are better off going very early, like 5PM or you are better off paying for street parking along Alexandra. I remember that this strip mall used to be one of the quieter ones along glutton street. Ever since Cattle Cafe, Michigan Noodles and a host of other popular restaurants opened, it had been impossible to get parking in the really small lot. Many do not know that there are more parking by driving to the roof of the building but that too is small too.

Bei-Jiang-Restaurant-Richmond-5

Walking in, the first thing that will grab you is the classiness … well, at least a good attempt to be classy. For the most part, this is a pleasant restaurant with some rough edges.

Bei-Jiang-Restaurant-Richmond-7

The marble top table with the stout table legs along with the silky seat cushions sets this place apart. I am guessing that the nice stout legs are there not only because of aesthetics but it is meant to support the heavy table top. I like the table top as it is cold to the touch.

It is kind of spotty in that they also have a couple really cheap looking tables too.

Bei-Jiang-Restaurant-Richmond-9

And how is this for a table setting in a Chinese restaurant. For one, the chopsticks have more gold on it. And then the tea cup has gold trimmings too.  Like I said, it is spotty … in that not every table has the same table setting. Some have more ordinary looking tea cups.

OK, this comment is gonna make some of you squeamish. This is a traditional Chinese restaurant. They … errrr … don’t provide communal chopsticks if you don’t ask them. As a family we don’t need that and I see that all the other tables don’t use communal chopsticks too. He he he … some of you must think that the Chinese people are really unhygienic.

Bei-Jiang-Restaurant-Richmond-23

I just found out that Suanne cannot lift her pinky easily. Too her a lot of straining to get to this position.

Oh … to add … the restaurant was full during Thursday dinner time although there was no line. The customers seems to be largely young Mandarin speaking people and strangely we were the only family-group dining there on that day.

Bei-Jiang-Restaurant-Richmond-1Bei-Jiang-Restaurant-Richmond-2Bei-Jiang-Restaurant-Richmond-3

Remember I said earlier that I was already planning to make a return visit? Well … just look at only three pages of many of their menu … with so many enticing colourful pictures. The pictures above are clickable to show a larger image. It is one of the most appealing menu I had every seen.

Their menu is very lamb-y but then of course, Xinjiang cuisine is known for their excellent lamb dishes. It took us a while before we decided what we wanted. The waitress was not much of a help because she speaks Mandarin (she took a while to understand when we asked her for two glasses of water).

Another observation of their menu — their prices are high and they do charge a bit of a premium. Still I thought it was worth it because of its uniqueness.

For me, a lot of these dishes I have never try before.

Bei-Jiang-Restaurant-Richmond-4

Like this one! This one used to cost $988 (fine, one grand!) believe it or not. Seems like it was too expensive and now they priced it at $688.

Can someone help me translate this page here? I really, really want to try this but am not sure how many this feeds and whether if this is to go or dine in. We need a lot of people to devour this beast. So, am wondering if anyone would want to join me if I organize one?

Bei-Jiang-Restaurant-Richmond-18

We ordered the above because we saw every table ordering this. It was very good.

This is called the ”Da Pan” (big basin?) Chicken. It came in three sizes:

  • Small: $16
  • Medium: $19
  • Large: $24

We got the small one. It is served with potatoes, green and red sweet peppers and some red and green chilli peppers. So this is a spicy dish but not very spicy though.

Bei-Jiang-Restaurant-Richmond-19

This was what intrigued us the most and made us order it.

They serve this dish in two acts. First … (more…)

Continue Reading

Sunlock Garden Restaurant on Fraser and East 27th Ave, Vancouver

Have you ever heard of a Chinese restaurant on 51st and Main called Snow Garden?

I sure haven’t.

But I was sure taken in by the banner outside this restaurant that says “The Original Chefs of former Snow Garden restaurant (51st and Main)”.

Sunlock-Garden-Restaurant-Vancouver-12

The banner was just under the awning of the Sunlock Garden Restaurant on Fraser and 27th.

Even though I did not know of any Snow Garden, I assumed that the chefs must have been really famous or something. I checked for any reviews on the internet. I can’t find anything substantial at all. Maybe I did not look hard enough but the only Snow Garden review I found was of a restaurant in downtown which is obviously not this one. Sunlock? Nyada.

Like going on a blind date, we went. We went over the bridge again and with that, the usual complains of “why do we have to drive so far?”.

Sunlock-Garden-Restaurant-Vancouver-1

I am not a Chinese food snob. Or maybe I am but I am not admitting it.

We walked in and found that the restaurant was quite busy for a restaurant in a quiet section of Fraser. It was half full. We were the only Chinese customers that day. Not that it’s a problem but I found that quite strange because the customers were well represented by all the major ethnic groups of Metro Vancouver.

Am not kidding. There were two tables of Caucasian Canadians, a table of East Indians, a table of Filipinos and us, Chinese. LOL … almost in perfect proportions too!

It appears to us that Sunlock is a neighborhood restaurant. Everyone looked like they lived nearby.

The restaurant looked very dated with worn carpet, old tables … even the plates and bowls looked seasoned. I hate to point this out but I thought I can smell the dustiness of the carpet. It is of a fair size with seatings for 50-60 people. The whole area is spacious.

Despite the makeup of their customers, they have Chinese language menu pasted on the walls … which I thought was not any use to the customers they had that afternoon, including us.

Sunlock-Garden-Restaurant-Menu-1Sunlock-Garden-Restaurant-Menu-2Sunlock-Garden-Restaurant-Menu-3

A quick look at the menu says that this is a Cantonese restaurant. One would have thought that they would serve cheaper food. For the most part, they have a lot of dishes at the $10-$12 price range but they also have pricier dishes. For instance, the duck dishes are about $30 and sea cucumber at $25.

What interests me was the dishes that had the words “order in advance” on them. Like:

  • Sun Lock Garden Special Cold Cut ($33)
  • Peking Duck ($30)
  • Eight Jewels Duck ($30)
  • Braised Duck with Green Onions ($29)
  • Beggar’s Chicken ($27)
  • Braised Pork Shoulder with Brown Sauce ($20)
  • Fried Banana with Honey ($10)
  • Fried Apple with Honey ($10)

There is also a complete section with 7 dishes on Crispy Rice too.

We thought rather than chancing it ourselves, we asked the waitress (she was the only one working the floor) for recommendations. Just because we spoke in English, she suggested some very chop-suey’ish dishes! You know things like Egg Foo Yung and Lemon Chicken. 🙂

Sunlock-Garden-Restaurant-Vancouver-2

I decided to just order my own. I was curious about the dish called Buan Buan Chicken.

This is $10. This turned out to be a cold dish with shredded chicken on a bed of shredded cucumbers and slathered with a peanuty sauce. It was lightly spicy which we kind of like. Both Arkensen  and Nanzaro … (more…)

Continue Reading

[CRA 2010 Signature Dish] Roasted Squab 紅燒乳鴿 from Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant, Richmond

Updated 31st Oct 2014; This restaurant had moved to a new location as per the address on Urbanspoon.

We had been planning for this on and off for quite a number of weeks now. We had been saving this place up to check it out with a group of people. This is because (1) Sea Harbour won two CRA awards for 2010, and (2) it is kind of an expensive place that, well, will be kind of lost on our boys.

I finally managed to get this going after a couple of tries.

Sea-Harbour-Seafood-Restaurant-Richmond-22

Sea Harbour is one of those restaurants in Richmond where you see the parking lot with highest percentage of luxurious cars. The parking lot is big with some more lots around the back of the building. But even that it is full during peak meal times.

One option is to park across the street in Yaohan Center but be warned. If you are forced to park there, you should pretend to walk into Yaohan Center before you head across the street. There are people who look out for cars to tow. They make a lot of money doing it and trust me, they are very efficient. Best way is to park, go in one entrance and go out another. Those lookouts are smart about people walking in and out already.

Anyway, the Yaohan Center parking is just as hellish. So, really the best thing is to go as early as possible.

And that is what we did. Dinner was at 6:00PM and the parking lot was empty.

Sea-Harbour-Seafood-Restaurant-Richmond-2

The interior looks grand and quite tastefully decorated. It is festooned with gold everywhere. No real gold of course but the decor shouts opulence with chairs upholstered in gold fabric, newish looking carpets and tables with double table cloth.

We had been here before. For dim sum. As a mere salaryman, I can’t afford to bring the family here for dinner, not all the time.

Sea-Harbour-Seafood-Restaurant-Richmond-1

The table setting is nice. The napkins are gold (in color). The plate is gold (in color). The rectangular dish for the hot towel is also gold (in color). Actually the gold (in color) plates are cheap plastic. But hey … it is still gold (in color).

Service is impeccable. The captain, manager or whatever they call the senior guy is professional and polite. You know, this are the kind of place where they change your plate very often … and they do.

Sea-Harbour-Seafood-Restaurant-Richmond-3

Looking at the menu, I was thinking … OMG, did I make a mistake in organizing this dinner. I mean, we could easily spend half a month’s dine out budget eating here.

Yeah … a dish costing $16.80 is considered cheap on their menu. You should have seen their other pages. No, I did not take pictures of the entire menu. I had to pretend to maintain dignity by not taking too many pictures.

Anyway, as I was saying, I was going to come here to try their two award winning dishes. Sea Harbour won:

  • Gold in the Prawns category with the Pan Fried Prawns with Soy, and
  • Silver in the Squab category with their Roasted Squab

I really was set getting this. The day before the dinner, JS was warning me that the prawns could be expensive since spot prawns is out of season already. Yup, it turned out that it was more expensive.

Sea-Harbour-Seafood-Restaurant-Richmond-19

This is kind of how it was at our table. Someone told me (or maybe I read somewhere) something funny. I can’t recall who, when or where. A blogger was dining somewhere and was taking pictures. That drew a comment from a customer saying that “back in his days, people take pictures of pretty girls”!

Isn’t it quite the norm these days? I see a lot of people nonchalantly taking pictures of their food in restaurant.

Did you also notice that it is mostly the girls who takes pictures of food? Right? Somehow it is cooler for girls to take pictures of food. Restaurants tolerate that. For guys taking pictures, the restaurant thinks we are spies or a competitor … especially those with big SLRs.

So it was good dining with bloggers. ALL of them understand protocol. Oh yeah. Pictures first … don’t touch the food until the last camera had been put down.

So we had a few foodie bloggers in attendance … the inseparable JS-TS, the globe trotting ET and Christina and the omnipresence Grayelf. Gracing the event too is a foodie from New York, Eunice. She has a blog but it was last updated almost 1 year ago. But she has something new up her sleeve which she describes it as a “pandora for food”.

Sea-Harbour-Seafood-Restaurant-Richmond-4

Meal started off with some lemon tea. Full compliment of the restaurant. Served oddly in a bowl not a cup, they only gave us two.

Everyone was too shy to drink it. I think everyone thinks that it is meant for the most senior on the table and no one wants to have that honour.

Sea-Harbour-Seafood-Restaurant-Richmond-5

They already know we wanted the Pan Fried Prawns with Soy. I called the previous day to make sure that they have the two dishes and have them reserved for us.

So they brought the prawns to the table — live — for us to inspect before bringing back to the kitchen to cook. I should have taken a closer look but am a noob at these things. So I said, yeah OK.

Tell me … what do you look for when they bring live seafood to you?

Sea-Harbour-Seafood-Restaurant-Richmond-12

The reason I asked you that question was … I was quite disappointed with the dish when … (more…)

Continue Reading

[CRA 2010 Signature Dish] Hong Kong Style Beef Congee 港式牛肉粥 from Kwong Chow Congee and Noodle House

I had been up to my neck with work these days. Postings had been spotty. I thought no one will noticed but yesterday someone asked me if anythings the matter. Nothing at all. Just very busy with work when I had two projects dumped on my lap which excites me. So I had been giving my all to work and I reckon I’ll be in the same predicament for the next few weeks.

Today, am following up on one of the CRA Signature Dish adventure we went to recently.

Kwong-Chow-Congee-and-Noodle-House-14

We had never been to Kwong Chow Congee and Noodle House before although we had heard about this popular restaurant many times. Part of the reason is because they are far away from home. Part of the reason is also that someone was killed there some years ago. I guess it is still fresh in some of your mind that a well-meaning customer were killed in a botched robbery while trying to defend the restaurant. Sorry I had to mention that but it is just on my mind every time Kwong Chow is mentioned. Despite that sad incident, Kwong Chow had bounced back — business is as good as ever.

So you can also deduce that  Kwong Chow Congee and Noodle House opens late. They opens for lunch at 11AM and does not close until 2AM.

On the drive to Kwong Chow, I had Nanzaro help read the reviews out load. That is part of my modus operandi to find out as much as before I go the restaurant and know what to expect and what to order. It seems like most of the reviews on dinehere.ca are really bad — most of it focused on their poor service.

We braced ourselves for the inevitable poor service but we are determined to go there nevertheless because we wanted to try their award winning Hong Kong Style Beef Congee.

As an aside … I was wondering if some of you could help me understand this better. You see the name Kwong Chow (Cantonese for the city of Guangzhou) is the capital of the province of Guangdong (also known as Canton). I think the work Kwong Chow means “state of Kwong”. So, how is it that the name of the capital city refers to the state/province? Understand my weird question?

Kwong-Chow-Congee-and-Noodle-House-1

The restaurant is super busy and noisy. It is very much like walking into a market. But then the dining hall is big, so we did not have to wait long for a table.

The decor wasn’t too bad. It had nice ink paintings, carved calligraphy board and things you see in a traditional Chinese restaurant. Some of the menu specials are pasted on the wall but alas it is all in Chinese — so it is lost on us. In all it has the ambiance of an old school Cantonese eatery.

I can immediately see where the poor feedback service came from. Despite the large dining area, I could only count four service staff handling all the while I was there. Poor service aside, I thought it is amazing how these four are able to hold everything together. No many people will be able to work in such high stress environment for long!

It seems like the way they deal with all these is to let a few balls drop as they try to juggle all the demands from the customer. I would say that their priority seems to be as follows:

  1. collect money from customer
  2. deliver bill to table
  3. take order from customer
  4. seat new customers
  5. deliver food to the tables
  6. deliver extra like water, condiment

We had to ask twice for ice water before we get it.

Kwong-Chow-Congee-and-Noodle-House-11

Worse off is when we asked for an extra saucer of the ginger onion sauce. It is really really good and we like it a lot. Well, it took me FOUR attempts reminding them before I got it. I think they were going to ignore me even though they keep on telling me “coming, coming” each time I ask them.

But I am like a pit bull. I was not going to let go. And I was not going to show I was annoyed. Each time, I asked I try to waste their time by talking to them until they gave that to me. Yeah … I finally got it after the food is half finished. 🙂

But seriously, I was not annoyed. I just know how busy the place is. I know many of you will not accept it but for me, I think I know how to work these type of restaurants. After all, Kwong Chow is popular and packed during meal times for a reason, poor service aside.

Kwong-Chow-Congee-and-Noodle-House-3

I like their Chef’s Specialty menu. You can’t go wrong especially when they have quite a number of exotic dishes listed even on the first page. It also has mouth watering pictures too. So that helps those who are not familiar with the food.

Many people come to Kwong Chow for their congee and noodles but you should really explore this other side of their menu.

Kwong-Chow-Congee-and-Noodle-House-4

The Chef’s Specialty Chicken is one of the best in town. I got to hand them that.

We ordered a half chicken for $9. The whole chicken is double that, so, no … it is not cheaper if you order the whole bird. If the half chicken is too big a serving if you dine alone, they also have a $6 serving.

I like the gelatin under the skin … lots of it. As you can see, the chicken is very juicy. The skin is … (more…)

Continue Reading
Close Menu