Brussels Sprouts and Kale Salad

For this community kitchen at Gilmore Park Church, Minoo had a theme of vegetarian dishes. In this kitchen, Minoo wanted to introduce Brussels sprouts which is in season during winter time.

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There were two Brussels sprouts dishes planned for this kitchen; a salad and a warm side dish.

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Here is the excerpt which Minoo shared in the kitchen:

No one knows the origin of Brussels sprouts, though it’s logical to assume they originated in Belgium. Like nearly all vegetables, Brussels sprouts are naturally low in fat and calories.

Unlike most vegetables, Brussels sprouts are rather high in protein, accounting for more than a quarter of their calories. Although the protein is incomplete, i.e. it does not provide the full spectrum of essential amino acids; it can be made complete by eating it with whole grains. This means you can skip a higher calorie source of protein, like high fat meat and occasionally rely on a meal of Brussels sprouts and grains for your protein intake.

Brussels sprouts are loaded with Vitamin A, folacin, potassium and calcium. They are high in fiber; they provide 3 to 5 grams of fiber per cup, and at 25 calories per 1/2 cup cooked. Brussels sprouts are one of those food that will fill you up.

Brussels sprouts belong to the disease fighting cabbage family. Indeed, they look like miniature cabbages. Like broccoli and cabbage; fellow cruciferous vegetables, Brussels sprouts may protect against cancer with their phytochemical property.

Brussels sprouts are also rich in Vitamin C, another anti-cancer agent. You are assured of the health benefits of high in protein and low in fat and calories of Brussels sprouts, so enjoy them while they are in season.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 12 ounces Brussels sprouts
  • 1/2 cup almonds with skins, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino or Parmesan or Romano cheese

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Source: this recipe is adapted from Care 2

Serves 6 to 8

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U-Enjoy in Richmond Public Market on Westminster Hwy.

Updated 1st Oct 2014; This restaurant is closed.

It was new year day. This time, Arkensen refused to go out since he had gone out with me the day before. So, Nanzaro and me drove out to explore if there is restaurant opened for business. We were surprised that a lot of restaurants were opened on new year day.

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We decided to try the fairly new restaurant in the Richmond Public Market. I had suggested several times to the boys to go there to eat earlier but they refused to. They were skeptical about the food there.

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The interior is partitioned into several sections. The partitions looked really high but it does make the place smaller than it really is. t looks better than the previous tenant as far as I remember.

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The photos of the dishes pasted on the window look quite ok.

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There were some daily specials on the wall, mostly appetizers. This place opens until 12:00am; so it’s a da-lang place. I asked the server about the parking after 8pm as the upper level of the Richmond Public Market will be closed. The server said customers can parked on level one or if needed, they can open the gate for customers for more parking on upper level.

We ordered from their lunch special which comes with a main dish, a side dish and a drink from $8 to $9.

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Nanzaro settled with a Malaysian Satay Seafood Fried Rice after much flip flopping. The server told us that they blend the belacan themselves. It was pretty good and Nanzaro said he will come again for it. Continue reading

Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk

Minoo prepared a Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk for the comfort food theme. The colour of the meals at today’s kitchen is simply a shade of yellowish orange, just like fall colour.

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The Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk is gingery and sweet. It can also served as a dessert soup if we leave out the salt.

Ingredients

  • 7 to 8 cups diced butternut squash (1 large 3 lbs squash)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 onions, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger root
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder or curry paste
  • 4 cups chicken broth or water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons sugar, optional
  • 1 x 14oz can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

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Source: adapted from Vegetarian classics

Serves 4

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Simple Butter Chicken

The Gilmore Park Church Community Kitchen resumed in late January. It’s been a month since we last met at the Christmas Potluck.

Minoo started the kitchen with 3 recipes. The theme for this kitchen was curry and comfort food.

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Butter Chicken is certainly my family’s comfort food. Arkensen loves butter chicken.

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Minoo served the butter chicken with a Quick Curried Couscous.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs boneless chicken meat (cut into cubes)
  • 2 lbs tomatoes
  • lemon juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 packet Shan Butter Chicken mix

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Source: Minoo adapted the recipe from a Pakistani family

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Beijing Day 5: Dinner in Din Tai Fung

After a tiring and long day at the Summer Palace, Ben brought me to Din Tai Fung for a late lunch or early dinner.

Din Tai Fung is an award winning restaurant with it’s origin from Taiwan. They are famed for their Xiao Long Bao and being called by the New York Times as one of the Top Ten Restaurants in the world. Two of their restaurants (in Hong Kong) has one Michelin star.

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When we got there, the restaurant looked empty. It was because it was way past lunch hour and too early for dinner.

It is bright and clean. The service was, as expected, very good and the fuwuyuan (waitress in Mandarin) were dressed immaculately. Ben was curious how all of the waitresses had their hair done exactly the same way. He was trying to figure if they were wigs or something.

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I’m sure the board which served as a decor of a wall must be filled with signatures from some of their more famous customers. Too bad, I think they don’t know about chowtimes. Anyway, even if they know chowtimes, there are no more space on the board for us.

Just kidding.

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How can we not order this from Din Tai Fung. We had a basket of their famous Xiao Loong Bao. They have a lot of versions of these XLBs. Some of them are really really pricey (for Beijing standards).

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The Xiao Loong Bao was baggy with very neatly pleads, certainly up to it’s fame. Look at the golden juice from the Xiao Loong Bao.

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We had Fried Rice as filler. It was quite nice with large prawns in it. But the serving was really small.

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We also ordered some spicy wontons. It was what expected too. The wrapper was soft and perfectly cooked and the meat fillings were a lot. I wish it was a bit more spicier. We had so many really spicy ones in Beijing that this one does come across to us as a little bland.

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Lastly we had a bowl of beef noodle to share.

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The hand made noodle was really good. We enjoyed the beef noodle so much that we even finished the last drop of soup.

The bill came to RMB 185 (about $31 Canadian). For such food, it is pricey in Beijing standards. But then it is Din Tai Fund and they do charge a premium.

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There are four Din Tai Fung restaurants in Beijing alone. The one that we went to is in the shopping area of Xidan. That shopping area is unbelievably full of people – mostly youngsters. They have overhead bridges for pedestrian that connects every shopping complex around that area. It is a good idea seeing how busy this area is.

We went for a little shopping around Xidan after the meal before we called it a day.

Beijing Day 5: Suzhou Street in Summer Palace

Ben and I was debating on whether we should visit Suzhou Street or not because it was a long walk from where we were. Suzhou Street is located within the grounds of the Summer Palace.

I insisted I want to go there because our entrance ticket included the entrance to Suzhou Street. I did not want to waste the ticket even though we were all tired already from all the walking.

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Suzhou Street (Suzhou Jie) was a street built by Emperor Qianlong for the members of his court to imagine themselves being in the canal town of Suzhou. This is like his personal playground.

The shops here were even filled with products from Suzhou. The shop assistants wearing clothes in the style of the Qing Dynasty warmly welcome customers from all over the world.

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Suzhou Street is in the middle section of Back Lake that runs for over 300 meters. The … Continue reading

Beijing Day 5: Summer Palace (Yihe Yuan)

We dedicated a whole day on our fifth day in Beijing to visit the Summer Palace.

The Summer Palace is situated in the northwest suburb of Beijing. It is huge and is almost the size of Vancouver’s Stanley Park. It is definite much bigger than the Forbidden City by about four times. The Summer Palace was built around Kunming Lake, West Lake and South Lake.

The Summer Palace was declared by UNESCO as a as a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design and is recorded as one of about 1000 sites on the World Heritage List. It is the natural landscape of hills and open water is combined with artificial features such as pavilions, halls, palaces, temples and bridges that form a harmonious ensemble of outstanding aesthetic value.

The Summer Palace is officially known as Yihe Yuan in Mandarin which stands for the word Garden of Nurturing Harmony. This area was developed as an imperial garden over 800 years ago. It was not until the reign of the Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty that it was built as it stands today. It was built as a present to his mother to celebrate her 60th birthday.

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We took the long subway out to the Summer Palace. That ride took almost 1 hour but good thing we had a seat after a few stops. I think it was because it was a weekday and not many people visits the Summer Palace then. The moment we got out of the subway, we were inundated by pedicab drivers! We did not want to take those pedicabs. We were more afraid of being scammed. 🙂

Ben was telling me story of his friend who was scammed by a pedicab driver outside of Forbidden City. The poor-looking pedicab driver convinced him to take his trishaw saying “three kuai, three kuai” (3 Kuai is about 50 cents Canadian). Seeing how cheap it was and also taking a pity on the pedicab driver he got on for a 20 minute ride back to his hotel. After a short distance, the pedicab driver got off and then another pedicab driver got on. Guess what happen next … Continue reading

Beijing Day 5: Breakfast at Yoshinoya in Oriental Mall

Day 5. I was truly rested. It seems like I have seen the last of the jet lag and adjusted myself to the day-night cycle. Which is good because I was so worried about wanting to sleep during the day time and being awake like an owl during the night.

We started with breakfast in Oriental Mall. We had breakfast there because we planned to use the subway to get to the Summer Palace. Ben told me that there are two subway stations around the Oriental Mall. So you can imagine how long that one building is.

I like the Oriental Mall because there are so many things to eat. Moreover it is so clean and modern.

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We had breakfast at Yoshinoya in the Gourmet Street in the Oriental Mall. Ben was telling me about Yoshinoya which is found all over Beijing. There are so many of them that you can almost be sure there is a Yoshinoya in every shopping complex, mall or major street. It seems like there are more Yoshinoya than there are McDonalds and KFC.

Yoshinoya is a Japanese fast food chain who are famous for its beef bowl. Believe it or not, Yoshinoya is older than McDonalds or KFC. Yoshinoya is more than 110 years old already.

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We ordered one breakfast combo to share because we wanted to save some stomach room just in case we came across something interesting to try later.

The combo was just … Continue reading

Prata Man on Capstan Way, Richmond

When we visited Pho Han, we put a long forgotten hole in the wall restaurant, Prata-Man back in the our places to visit. We had visited it when we were new to the city. That was more than 10 years ago. We over heard the server telling a customer at the table next to us that Prata-Man has been in business for more than 20 years.

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It was a Saturday that we came here. Only Arkensen came with me because Nanzaro wanted to watch a winter classic alumni hockey game that afternoon.

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Prata-Man served Singaporean cuisine which is very similar to Malaysian cuisine.  We noticed there were quite a number of Costco staff that came here for lunch because of it’s proximity to Costco in Richmond.

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There is hardly any decoration and even the tables and chairs are mix and match.

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The good thing is they have menu with photos for easy ordering. Their menu is limited, less than 30 items. So, ordering is made simpler rather than some restaurants which offer 100 over items and making choices seemed so difficult. You can click on the photos to have a larger view.

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Prata-Man also offers combo for 2 for eat in only from Tuesday to Thursday. It looks like a good bargain. You can click on the menu to have a larger view.

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For appetizer, we ordered half and order of  BBQ satay. We ordered the mix version, i.e. 2 beef, 2 chicken and 2 pork to try. The half dozen satay costs $7.75.

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The BBQ satay is served with sliced cucumber, pickled daikon and carrot and peanut sauce. The peanut sauce is not as spicy as we are used to. But I like the chunky peanut texture. Of the three types of meat, I still prefer chicken which is more tender. Continue reading