Baked Plantains

In this South Arm Seniors Kitchen, Colleen introduced yet another new ingredient for dessert.


The dessert is Baked Plantains. Plantain cannot be consumed raw. It is used for cooking. When buying plantain, look for those with darken skin which indicate that it’s ripe. Colleen had a hard time finding ripe plantain when she went groceries shopping for the kitchen.


  • 4 large, very ripe (black) plantains
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • pinch of allspice (we substituted with nutmeg)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 2 tablespoons butter


Source: via Colleen


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Ecuadorian Vegetable Salad

The second dish which Colleen prepared for the South Arm Seniors’ Kitchen is a simple and colourful salad.


I enjoy this Ecuadorian Vegetable Salad which has a combination of raw lettuce and cooked beets and carrots.


  • 5 beets, peeled and quartered
  • 8 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 6 large romaine lettuce leaves, thinly sliced
  • juice from 2 lemons
  • salt and pepper to taste


Source: via Colleen

Serves 6 to 8


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Locro de Habas (Fava Bean Soup)

Colleen prepared 3 dishes for the South Arm Seniors’ Kitchen. Her goal for this menu is to introduce some new ingredients to the participants.


The first recipe is a Fava Bean Soup. The soup is thickish with the addition of egg. It has some similarity in ingredients like this Chinese Tomato Egg Soup.


Fava Bean is also known as Broad Bean, Bell Bean, Field Bean or Tic Bean. Preparing fava bean involves first removing the beans from their pods, then remove their exterior coating of soft shell before cooking.


So, the kitchen started with everyone seating around the table to prepare the fava beans. This job is great to involve everyone in the family to help out while catching up with one another.


  • 4 cups twice peeled fresh fava beans, from about 4 pounds of whole fava pods
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 cups diced white onion, about 1 large onion
  • 2 roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon achiote powder (annatto seasoning)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • salt to taste
  • 3 large gold potatoes, peeled and diced, about 3 cups
  • 6 cups water or broth
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 eggs, light beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups crumbled queso fresco (we substituted with feta cheese)
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro or pasley
  • 1 avacodo, peeled and sliced for garnishing
  • hot sauce, optional


Source: via Colleen

Serves 6 to 8


The Annatto seasoning gives the soup the reddish colour.


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Various Japanese Sushi

Terumi demonstrated how to make various sushi at the South Arm multicultural community kitchen.


Participants listened attentively to the instructions.


Terumi demonstrated how to make California Roll, Tuna Maki and Cone.


Kazuko demonstrated how to use plastic mold to make nigiri sushi.


  • 4 cups Japanese short grain rice (cooked a little harder than usual); for rice cooker, one cup is 180 cc
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1 package of unseasoned sheet nori (dried seaweed); cut in half
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cucumber
  • 250g crab meat (can use artificial crab meat)
  • 4 tablespoons Japanese mayo
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 block of sashimi quality tuna
  • soy sauce
  • wasabi
  • 1 can tuna or salmon


Look at all the preparations needed for this demo.

Source: Terumi & Kazuko


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Rolled Egg

The last side dish which Kazuko demonstrated in the South Arm Community Kitchen is Rolled Egg.


Rolled Egg is a popular bento box item and great for lunch box.


  • 4 eggs
  • Dashi bonito soup stock seasoning to taste (optional)
  • soy sauce to taste


Please note: the bonito flakes should not be in the photo

Source: Kazuko

Serves 4


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Spinach Ashitashi

For starter or appetizer, Kazuko prepared a cold spinach dish called Spinach Ashitashi.


You can garnish the Spinach Ashitashi with bonito flakes or sesame seeds. This is another very simple side dish to make.

Coincidentally, this recipe reminded me of a recipe in a cook book by Michelle Tchea with the title “Building A Perfect Meal”. I came to know Michelle T through chowtimes. Michelle T wrote to me one day asking me where to get sao bing in Vancouver out of the blue.

During the 2010 Winter Olympic Game in Vancouver, Michelle T was in town for the games. We met up a couple of times at Gingeri Chinese Cuisine and Red Star Seafood Restaurant for dim sum.

Last month, I received an email from Michelle T asking me if I’m interested to share her newly published cookbook on chowtimes. I was trilled to hear that she had published a cook book.


Building A Perfect Meal is about how to create quick and simple meals at home. It’s a collection of basic recipes like creamy mashed potatoes, hand pulled noodles, pickled vegetables and fried rice with a jazz up version to create a more elaborate dish. The cook book also comes with valuable cooking tips from her experience in the kitchen.


While I was browsing through Michelle’s cook book, I came across a very similar recipe to the Spinach Ashitashi. It’s called Japanese Soy Spinach. Michelle T”s recipe uses beetroot leaves and stalks instead. In the cook book, Michelle T featured a Versatile Soy Stock and Dipping Sauce as seasoning for the spinach. I will share the recipe at the end of this post.


  • 2 to 3 bunches spinach
  • soy sauce to taste
  • bonito flakes
  • sesame seeds
  • salt


Source: Kazuko

Serves 4


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Miso Soup

Due to numerous requests, Kazuko and Terumi teamed up to do a Japanese cuisine demonstration at the South Arm Multicultural Community Kitchen. All the participants look forward to this kitchen.


Kazuko started off with Miso Soup, a staple soup in Japanese cuisine. Miso soup is quick and easy to make.


  • 200-250g soft tofu
  • 6 teaspoons miso paste
  • 1 teaspoon Dashi bonito soup stock seasoning
  • 600ml water
  • 2 tablespoons dry seaweed
  • 2 green onions, chopped


The Japanese ingredients can be bought from T&T, Fujiya or Izumi-ya.


You can click on the photos above to have a larger view.

Source: Kazuko

Serves 4

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Oatmeal Dates Squares

For dessert, Colleen prepared a Oatmeal Dates Squares for the South Arm Seniors Kitchen.


Celia was so happy because she loves Oatmeal Dates Squares. She always asks her friend to make her some when she craves for it. Now, she can make it herself.


Dates are the fruit of the date palm and are high in potassium, magnesium, folate, as well as containing many other nutrients. They also have dietary fiber and are sometimes used to prevent constipation. They have very high sugar content and should only be eaten in small quantities.


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 1/2 cups rolled oats or quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped pitted dates
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water


Source: via Colleen


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Chicken and Wholewheat Pasta with Creamy Walnut Sauce

The main dish which Colleen prepared for the South Arm Seniors Kitchen is Chicken and Wholewheat Pasta with Creamy Walnut Sauce.


Walnuts offer us a dose of protein, calcium, and fiber among other nutrients. Walnut also contains Omega-3 fatty acid. However, walnut is high in calories and should be limited to a small handful.


  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/3 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon olive or walnut oil
  • 1/2 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups wholewheat pasta
  • 1 cup small broccoli florets
  • 1/2 red pepper, cut into thin strips


Source: via Colleen

Makes 4 servings


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Tabbouleh with Baked Pita Chips

This is the second last kitchen for the South Arm Cooking Club for Seniors for this season. Colleen prepared a theme of Middle Eastern flavours with recipe like Tabbouleh and recipes with ingredients like walnuts and dates that are common in the middle east.

Colleen got the inspiration from a request from a participant who wanted to learn how to use bulgur wheat.


Bulgur is a whole grain with equal calcium and protein as found in brown rice but has fewer calories, less fat and more fiber and folate. It is found in various grinds or sizes. The above which Colleen bought from the Real Canadian Superstore is of a larger grain. Bulgur can be used in soups and bread.


Tabbouleh is best served after chilling in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight for the flavour to mellow.


Colleen served the Tabbouleh with some crispy Baked Pita Chips.


  • 1 1/2 cups bulgur wheat
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 2 pounds tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


Source: via Colleen


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