Sunday, November 30, 2008

My First Ever Whole Fish

Vince and Cristina initiated me into a completely new culinary realm this weekend. The cooking of a whole fish. The experience was pretty funny (the pictures below will tell that story).

Unfortunately, I can't really share any wisdom on how to do it because all I really did was observe. Although I did learn from Cristina that when you're choosing a fish, you should try to find one with very red gills and no clouding in the eyes.

Preparation seemed to involve a careful cleaning, some oil, spice, and onion both inside and on the fish, and finally baking at 400.

The end result was really delicious, but pretty laborious to eat. There seemed to be a lot more inedible carcass than meat.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Bouquet of Swiss Chard

On Saturday, Jase and I were visiting a craft sale that included a booth selling local fresh produce. On our way out the door, the farmer handed us this gorgeous handful of chard (as a bonus present!), with yellow, pink, orange and red stems. Since we didn't have a big enough bag, we ended up walking down Commercial Drive with the chard in hand, and also riding the bus with all this plumage. What a conversation starter...everyone wants to talk about rainbow vegetables and their beauty.

After Jase was gone, I had nothing but the chard to comfort me in his absence. So I simply steamed the leafy greens (and reds and pinks and yellows and oranges) in a bamboo vegetable steamer. I added a little sesame oil and soy sauce...

...and Jase, it was delicious!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Day of New Food!

Yesterday I was delighted to discover that my 12 year old nephew and I share many of the same tastes in food!

The day began with me introducing him to Smoked Tofu...
...and turns out he liked it. And so, we made our sandwiches for the day with Smoked Tofu, Deli Sprouts (which he had also never tried, but liked!), Dijon Mustard and Extra-Aged White Cheddar--all on Uprising Bakery Sprouted Grain Bread.

Jase claimed it was the best sandwich he had ever had (which I did not force him or bribe him to say). I suspect he has a future as a foodie, which pleased me to no end.

After we made our sandwiches, we collected autumn leaves and took a gigantic skytrain tour. We ended up at Commercial Drive, where Jase said he'd enjoy exploring a cheese shop...hello La Grotta del Formaggio, the coolest Italian cheese shop in town! We chose a Lemon Stilton and an Applewood Smoked Cheddar and got a foccacia to go with it. (Jase especially loved the lemon stilton, and we had it in our salad later that evening).

We passed by Elizabeth's Hungarian Bakery, where Jase chose something he had never tried before (an Apple Danish with sugar powder on top) and I opted for the pecan tart.

Being so close to Grandview Park on a lovely day, we planted ourselves on a bench and ate our picnic: the smoked tofu sandwiches, the cheeses and the desserts (which we are eating in the photo at the top of this post).

To top it all off, we stopped at Sunshine Market on the way back to my place where Jase suggested we try some chestnuts. Another new food experience! Because I could not find the nutcracker, Jase promptly figured out how to get at the meaty chestnut deliciousness by hammering them with the blunt end of an axe. That motivated me to find that nutcracker real fast.
Jase just reminded me that we have some more chestnuts we could smash and eat, so I'm gonna wrap this up and go chow down.