Cooking Club for South Arm Seniors Christmas Celebration 2008

It has been a fruit full year for the Seniors Cooking Club in South Arm Community Center. Without realizing the passing time, this senior cooking club has been in session for a year.

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When Stella announced that there will be only one cooking session in December for the seniors in South Arm, Paul expressed his sadness as he missed his Danish way of celebrating Christmas. So, Stella and Minoo came out with a lavish Danish cooking session to celebrate Christmas with Paul (right most standing).

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Stella decorated the table with red table cloth and had some festive center pieces to bring up the Christmas festivities.

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It was also Minoo’s birthday on the same day and Stella presented the birthday girl with a Christmas planter and to thank her for all the hard work that she had put in for this seniors’ kitchen.

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South Arm Community Kitchen Christmas Potluck 2008

The South Arm Community Kitchen celebrated the end of the 2008 cooking session with a Christmas Potluck.

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It is always fun to come together to share a feast. We want o thank Minoo for setting up a festive table setting for us to enjoy the food.

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Coincidentally it was Julie’s birthday (center). We sang a birthday song for the birthday girl who has been a good demonstrator in the South Arm Kitchen whenever she is needed.

Here are the food we shared at the potluck:

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Azar made a Zeresh Saffron Basmati Rice with Chicken. Zeresh is a kind of sour berries and the dish is very appetizing. You can find Zeresh at Iranian grocery store.

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Julie made a Shanghai dessert called “Zin Tai Luan” in Mandarin. It is literally translated to “Heart too Soft”. This dessert is sweet as it is doused with honey.

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Julie explained to us how this dessert is made. First she has to remove the seed from the red dates. Then she stuff it with glutinous rice and raisin. The dates are then steamed and drizzle with honey before serving.

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Vanessa brought Giant Shell Pasta with meat sauce. Vanessa was the ex leader of the South Arm Kitchen. We want to take this opportunity to thank her for her great service to the South Arm Community Kitchen.

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Katy made a cold appetizer of bean curd, carrot and celery. The bean curd has to be boiled to cook it. The carrot and celery are steamed. All the ingredients are tossed with some sesame oil and chilled.

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Japanese Sushi

Frank’s Japanese Feast ended with non other than Japanese Sushi. We did a mistake by removing the sushi rice from the rice cooker too soon. According to Frank, the rice has to be hot and the sushi chef will fan the rice to cool it down a bit. Nevertheless, we still asked Frank to demonstrate to us how to roll the sushi despite his unwillingness due to the mistake we made. Frank just wanted everything to be perfect.

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I will not illustrate how to roll the sushi here as I had covered that in this blog. Frank’s maki roll is filled with a kind of bamboo (I will show you this ingredient later), pickled daikon, avocado, cucumber and artificial crab meat.

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Winnie gave Frank a helping hand while Frank demonstrated how to make sushi roll. Winnie’s daughter loves sushi and Winnie often make it for her daughter at home.

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This is the bamboo thingy I mentioned above. It came in dry form in long strands. You can find most of the Japanese ingredients which Frank used here in Izumi-Ya Japanese Market at 7971 Alderbridge Way, Richmond.

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The dry bamboo has to be soaked in warm water until soft. It is then rinsed a few times until the water runs clear. After that, it is boiled in water until it expanded and soft. Dump off most of the water, leaving just a bit, add 4 tablespoons of sugar, a few dashes of mirin and soy sauce and let simmer on low until the liquid is almost evaporated and absorbed into the bamboo. The final product is sweet and has a crunchy texture.

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Japanese Finger Food

Frank’s Japanese Feast continue with a number of finger food. These finger food include Teriyaki Chicken, Baked Kabocha and Tempura.

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Frank marinated the chicken drumet with soy sauce, mirin and sugar. These are baked in a preheated 350F oven for 15 to 20 minutes. We can really taste the mirin in this chicken drumet.

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Next finger food is Kabocha. Frank simply sprinkle the Kabocha chunks with sugar, Teriyaki sauce and olive oil. These are baked in a 350F preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the Kabocha is soft.

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Supreme Miso Soup

The next item Frank served in his Japanese feast is Miso Soup. I called it Supreme Miso Soup because I have never had such a rich miso soup.

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This supreme Miso Soup has so much ingredients in it unlike those we had in most Japanese restaurants which only has a few tofu cubes.

Ingredients

  • water
  • fish and seaweed seasonings
  • dry seaweed
  • miso paste
  • tofu, cubed
  • tofu pocket, sliced
  • egg plant, cut into small pieces
  • button mushroom, sliced
  • spinach
  • bean sprout
  • green onion, chopped
  • fish cakes
misosoup-22-300x200Egg plant, tofu cube, chopped green onion, miso paste misosoup-20-300x200Dry seaweed
misosoup-18-300x200Various fish cakes misosoup-17-300x200Tofu pouch

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Japanese Feast

Frank surprised the Gilmore Park Church Community Kitchen with a Japanese feast. We could not believe the amount of items that he brought to the kitchen. All in all, he brought in 5 boxes of stuff, including a rice cooker and a tea set. Frank must have spent at least two days to prepare for this feast.

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There were plenty of cutting and slicing to be done. Fortunately, there were enough hands in the kitchen to get the job done.

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Frank even wrote up the menu on the spot. Frank is so ambitious in planning a Japanese feast for us. Frank has such good hand writing despite that he told us he only had 42 hours of English lessons officially. Can you guess how old is Frank? This full of life and good spirit gentleman is 86 years old.

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Frank started the Japanese Feast with Green Tea. He brought his own tea set for an authentic feel to Japanese meal.

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Baked Butternut Squash Fries

In the Squash workshop, Karen also shared with us a Baked Butternut Squash Fries from Hungrygirl.com. She used turban squash for this recipe. A drizzle of balsamic vinegar adds some tang to the fries.

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Karen told us that she had tried about seven methods to bake fries but none of it can achieve the deep fried fries texture. Although we cannot get the deep fried fries texture, but we can compromise with some good tasting and healthy fries.

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Squash, Corn and Lemongrass Soup

The Greenhouse Social Club of the Richmond Fruit Tree Sharing Project met once again on the last Thursday of the month for a cooking workshop. Arzeena is the organizer for this workshop and Karen Dar Woon will be the demonstrator for this workshop. Karen is the chef for the community meal at the Gilmore Park Church. The Gilmore Park Church community meal ended end of November and will resume in January. Karen can now concentrate on her own catering business in the month of December which is a very busy month for her. I enjoy Karen’s workshop as she always shares cooking tips with us.

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The star ingredient for this workshop is Squash. Above are a few of the squashes for the workshop. The large white squash is called Blue Magic. The smallest one is Acorn Squash while the remainder two are Japanese Squash or also known as turban squash.

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The first recipe for this workshop is called Squash, corn and Lemongrass Soup. The soup is velvety, light and sweet with a hint of freshness from lemongrass and cilantro. We enjoyed the soup so much that we had second helping of it. The recipe is taken from Gourmet, November 2007 by Lilian Chou.

Ingredients

  • 1 fresh lemongrass stalk, root end trimmed and 1 or 2 outer layers discarded
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons grape seed oil
  • 1 3/4 lbs kabocha or butternut squash
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (10 ounces; from 2 to 3 ears)
  • 5 cups water
  • cilantro leaves for garnishing

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