Monthly Archives: November 2009

Discovering Lemongrass

The other day I was doing my weekly stop at T&T, which is this phenomenal Asian grocery store in Vancouver located on the corner of First Avenue and Renfrew. As usual, I was wandering around and deciding what new thing I should play with in the kitchen and the lemongrass called out to me. I’ve always enjoyed the aromatic and lemony taste of it in soups, so I wanted to see what I can do with it!

So when in doubt, go to a stirfry, right? It’s tough to mess up and usually anything goes. Once on my cutting board, I discovered that lemongrass is very hard and stalky. I peeled back the first layer and the aroma hit me immediately so I figured more was hidden underneath, so I proceeded to bruise it by banging the back of my knife over it before slicing it very very finely until the kitchen was full of lemony goodness.

Stiryfry with lemongrass

As for the stirfry, along with the lemongrass was a medley of vermicelli noodles, green pepppers and korean bean sprouts (another T&T treat). The sauce was made up of the usual suspects in my fridge these days, oyster sauce, Thai garlic chili sauce and soya sauce.

Overall, it was very good and I was very pleased with the lemongrass. My only disappointment was that I really underestimated the texture and while it was even sliced and cooked down in a stifry, it was a little on the tough side. It is so potent, that you can still definitely get the taste of the lemongrass by keeping it in larger pieces and removing it prior to serving or next time throwing it in a food processor or the Magic Bullet (which is an amazing invention!)


Stiryfry with lemongrass


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Filed under Lemongrass, Oyster Sauce, Soya Sauce, Stirfry, T&T Supermarket, Thai Garlic Chili Sauce, Vancouver

Make Sauce and Be Happy

We’re all busy and it’s easy to get caught up in life. We usually don’t mean for work or whatever to take over our lives, but somehow it just happens and you lose sight of the simple things in life that make you happy. I felt this way the other night, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t found the time to blog lately, even though I kept thinking about it and wanting to do it.  So with that in mind, I went to the grocery store wanting to cook and treat myself to something and as I was walking by the meat counter, I was caught by some meaty looking short beef ribs.

Needless to say I picked them up and rushed them home with the excitement of a yet to be created marinade being tossed around in my head. Once I got home, there was no measuring, just a free for all of sauces being married together that turned into Ethan’s Sweet & Salty Kicked Ribs. It turned out fantastic and I can’t wait to try this with fish and tofu as well!

Ethan's Sweet and Salty Kicked Ribs

The Sweet

  • Carolina Honeys BBQ Sauce (I happened to have Tony Roma’s BBQ sauce in the fridge)
  • Banana Ketchup (A Filipino condiment that is sweeter than the ketchup were accustomed to)

The Salty

  • Soya Sauce
  • Oyster Sauce

The Kick

  • Thai Garlic Chili Sauce
  • Tabasco

After letting it marinate for an hour or so, I heated up a pan with some oil and got it nice and hot and simply cooked them evenly on both sides. They tend to be pretty thin, so it didn’t take more than 4-5 minutes per side. I did cheat and make a little cut in the middle to check the color before removing it off the heat (I like it right at Medium). Once I took it them out of the pan, I let them rest for a few minutes with a tent of aluminum foil. If the chefs on the Food Network have taught me anything, it has been to let the meat rest and let the juices redistribute and settle before slicing and serving, if not, the juices will run out and it will be very dry.

Today wasn’t about cooking or a homemade sauce, it was about taking a moment and relaxing and doing something you enjoy and makes you happy.

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Filed under Banana Ketchup, BBQ Sauce, Food Network, Oyster Sauce, Short Beef Ribs, Soya Sauce, Sweet & Salty Kicked Ribs, Thai Garlic Chili Sauce, tobasco, Tony Roma

Popover to the Baker’s Dozen

In an ongoing attempt to treat ourselves to a little something sweet (or savory) at work, the Baker’s Dozen (BDx13) was formed. The BDx13 is a bake club and once a week someone is responsible for treating the rest of us. It started simple enough with the thought we’d enjoy a cookie or a square, but each week, it seems that the bar is getting raised higher and higher.

Since the first week, we’ve been introduced to a number of amazing treats such as Lemon Squares, Pecan Sour Cream Coffee Cake, Mocha Cake & Ganache Icing, Blueberry Zucchini Muffins and my claim to fame, the Lemon Ricotta Cookies. In a future entry, I will post a whole bunch of Baker’s Dozen recipes.

For my recent contribution to the Baker’s Dozen, I wanted to do something savory and something slightly outside of the box. Since it was around Thanksgiving and cranberries were everywhere, I decided to make a homemade cranberry sauce and serve it with a popover.


Popover with Cranberry Orange Sauce

I was leafing through the Joy Of Cooking and I came across something called a popover, but had no idea what it was. Since it was in the bread section, I had a rough visual image, but of course for a clarification I went to Wikipedia and learned it is a “light, hollow roll made from an egg batter similar to that used in making Yorkshire pudding. The name “popover” comes from the fact that the batter swells or “pops” over the top of the muffin tin while baking.”

Start with a buttered muffin tin and a preheated oven at 450 degrees.


1 cup of milk

1 tablespoon melted butter

1 cup of sifted all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon of salt

2 beaten eggs (but add them one at a time)

Beat just until smooth the milk, melted butter, flour and salt. Add 1 beaten egg at a time to the mixture, but do not overbeat.

  • The batter should be no heavier than whipping cream.
  • Fill the buttered baking cups 3/4 full.
  • Don’t overload, too much batter in the pans willl give a muffin-like texture.
  • Bake at once. After 15 minutes, lower the heat without peeping to 350 degrees and bake about 20 mintues longer.
  • To test for doneness, remove a popover to be sure the side walls are firm. If not cooked long enough, the popovers will collapse. You may want to insert a sharp paring knife gently into the other popovers to allow the steam to escape after baking.


As for the cranberry sauce, I’ve made it a few times and know I do it by feel. The nice thing is that it’s really tough to mess up! Typically the recipes call for a lot of sugar, but I prefer it on the tart side.

1 bag of cranberries (usually 3 pounds, but whatever you find)

1 cup of orange juice

Zest of 1 orange

3 tablespoons of honey

2 tablespoons of sugar

  • Wash the cranberries and place them in a pot with the orange juice, sugar, honey and zest.
  • Bring it all to a boil until the cranberries begin to burst (which by the way is pretty cool to see).
  • Bring it down to a simmer for a few minutes and stir occasionally.
  • Let it get to room temperature before placing it in the fridge
  • Once it has a chance to chill in the fridge, you’ll get the nice consistency you’re looking for.

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Filed under Baker's Dozen, Cranberry Sauce, Orange Zest, popover

Beautys – A Montreal landmark

corner of street

Beautys @ Mont-Royal and St-Urbain

When I made my way to Montreal a couple of weeks ago, I had a few things on my “eating to-do” list, General Tao chicken (check), Boustan’s Creation (check) and bagel, lox & cream cheese. I was able to satisfy that craving at a landmark Montreal restaurant called Beautys.  Beautys has been around since the early 1960’s and you get that time-warp feel when you get to the intersection of Mont-Royal and St-Urbain. Whenever I walk into Beautys, I feel like i’m going to see Archie, Betty and Veronica sharing a soda and Jughead eating a burger.
inside Beautys

Welcome to Beautys

What is lox you might be asking? Lox is essentially a salmon filet that has been cured and then finely sliced. I am happy to report that the bagel, lox and cream cheese at Beautys satisfied my craving! The bagel was perfectly toasted which softened the cream cheese and allowed it to hug the lox, onions and tomatoes into a delectable melt in your mouth sandwich. The only thing that was missing were some capers, which always adds a nice little salty kick to it.

bagel, lox and cream cheese

Bagel, lox and cream cheese

As for the pourer of the syrup, Jonathan gave a thumbs up to the blueberry pancakes and since he is the one who introduced me to Boustan’s Creation, I respect his food prowess and happily endorse his approval of the pancakes.


Blueberry pancakes

On a side note, I happened to go on a weekday morning, so we got a table right away, but if you go on a Saturday or Sunday for breakfast, brunch or lunch, be prepared to wait a good 30 minutes for a table.

93, avenue du Mont-Royal Ouest

Montreal, QC

H2T 2S5


Mon-Fri – 7 a.m.-4 p.m.

Sat – 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Sun – 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.


Filed under Bagels, Beautys, Friends, Lox, Montreal, Pancakes