Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Thai chicken curry recipe with a lot of love

Although this adapted green curry recipe may not be as refined as the previous recipe which was made from scratch, you may find this one to be less time consuming and convenient to make at anytime of day.  I much more prefer the use of dark meat over white because it absorbs more flavours and do not often become tough and rubbery if overcooked.  After gathering all the ingredients together, the rest is just throwing everything in the pot and leave to simmer.

50 g Mae Ploy green curry paste
300 g chicken (dark meat with skin and bones on)
1 can coconut milk (top creamy part separated)
1/2 cup Green Giant mixed vegetables 
1/2 cup snap peas (or any other type of vegetables)
1/4 cup sweet basil
seasoning to taste, about 1-2 tbsp. fish sauce, 1-2 tbsp. sugar

In a large pot at medium heat, saute green curry paste with chicken for 5-7 minutes (add a tbsp. of cooking oil if the chicken sticks to pot).  Add the top creamy part of the coconut milk, saute until it is completely mixed with curry paste.  Add the rest of the coconut milk and vegetables.  Bring to boil, then slowly add water.  Add sweet basil and season with fish sauce (or salt) and sugar.  Leave to simmer for at least 35-45 minutes until the fat from coconut milk starts to separate.  Remember, the longer time you leave the curry to simmer, the better it will taste!

Once the curry is ready, serve the curry with sculpted jasmine rice just to make life more interesting :)!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The story of the giant lobster

This is a regular size lobster you get in a restaurant...

and mostly everywhere else...

This is the size you get down the street at your local T&T supermarket franchise...
Live sea puppies with claws the size of a water bottle!

For somewhere between $35 - $50, you can get a lobster the size of small dog (I'm serious).

He ended up here :( (it's always sad to see them put up a fight)
This is just a claw...
Again, HALF a claw...
 You don't need to do anything fancy.  Just steam it, squeeze some lime/lemon, or butter if you're into that...and just enjoy its natural sweetness, succulent meat.

It's pretty much the size of my face! 
Instead of the traditional curried crab, Thai style, we switched it up, giant lobster style!  Clearly, there was only one star of the show that night and he could easily have fed five people.

Obviously there was enough to make one more dish, so why not throw some garlic, shallots, peppercorn, basil, and seasoning in there and give it a quick stir fry? In a wok and high heat please, you do not want to overcook and disturb the miracle of nature here.

Why go out and spend over $100 when you can feed a whole family with the same freshness over a bottle of fine wine?
Pretty much an open bar

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hidden (but good) lunchin' spots on West Pender

Ha Long Bay
Despite their vibrant food posters plastered across the window, it would be months before I finally took notice of this modest vietnamese restaurant on W Pender before I finally took notice.  Finally, as I embarked to Sushi 01 for some lunch, a distraction caused my companion and I to take a different direction.  The food posters finally caught our eyes.  It's been a long time since I had vietnamese food and my stomach was agreeing with my brain to go in.  We took a quick look at the menu and immediately knew what we wanted to get; an order of 8 spring rolls and a vietnamese sub.

The lemongrass sandwich made our first visit a great experience and memorable.  Succulent grilled chicken, marinated with lemongrass and seasoning, rested along side of julienned cucumbers, carrots and cilantro.  The french baguette was fresh and toasted.  The sandwich tantalized my palette.  I enjoyed every single bite of it and continued to fantasize about it from time to time afterwards.  It was a done deal, I would definitely come back for more.  
Ha Long Bay on Urbanspoon

JJ's Lounge Vancouver Community College
Opened from 11 to 12:30, JJ's Lounge can get very busy and may require reservation.  You wouldn't think there's a fine dining restaurant in a school, but here it is.  JJ's Lounge truly reflects the quality of the culinary arts program offered at VCC.  Despite the restaurant being a practical 'classroom' for culinary arts students, the standards are definitely on the higher end and they are reflected in the quality of food.  The price is much lower on the high end spectrum and the food is made with fresh ingredients (appies around $4 entrees around $10).  The dishes are carefully crafted and presented.  Thus, the food tastes much better than most high priced fine dining restaurants I've come across, and it's hard to believe that they were made by students.  

Housemade pate with pear saffron chutney, olives, and a dab of mustard, $4 (insane!).  Pate was delish, it didn't have the metallic liver aftertaste (which I can't stand) at all! It was smooth and creamy.  The pear saffron chutney complemented with sweetness and the mustard brought the flavours out more. WOW!
Artichoke and wild mushroom ragu with truffle gnocchi, $8.50.  The creamy sauce carried a very subtle hint of truffle.  The gnocchi was soft and held the creamy sauce quite well.  The mushroom ragu was slightly acidic to help balance out the heavy cream sauce.  A subtle, yet very filling dish, one which will make you want to take long naps afterwards.
Parpadelle with ragu of slow braised veal, $9.  Our server was confused that the parpadelle was the gnocchi.  We forgave him.
Lamb cooked 2 ways, slow cooked leg of lamb and pan roasted loin, rosemary jus with vegetables and fries, $10.  This dish was a steal.  The lamb was tender and it tasted excellent. I am dying to go back and try their steak and lemon souffle.  You get the most bang for your buck here at JJ's Lounge.  Highly recommended.  

More pictures on following visits:

2 oz. cosmopolitan $4.50. WOW!
Lamb 2 ways encore
Crispy duck salad. YUM!

JJ's Restaurant (Vancouver Community College) on Urbanspoon