Thursday, April 28, 2011

Test Kitchen: Dong Po Pork Belly...

FREAKING SUCCESS!!!!! 7 hours later....

[ed note: i started this at like 7PM~]

making some sort of Dong Po Pork Belly, i had no idea what that even meant, im like what? long duck dong pork belly? But thanks to my father (not actual father hahaha) Jowett Yu, he informed me that Dong Po is some famous poet who loves him some pork belly.

I saw this recipe off this blog i saw on, called Kitchen of Friends, and tried my best to follow the recipe, though i'm not known to ever follow anything. Their site is super awesome, im excited to try to follow more.

So here i've gathered all the ingredients for this Dong Po Pork Belly
•pork belly
•green onion (it called for a spring?)
•ginger (it called for a thumb)
•garlic (it called for 2)
•brown sugar (i actually have normal brown sugar, but decided to azn it up with the hard stuff)
•soy (dark and light)
•cooking wine (as you please!)

i hate writing instructions, cause i am so bad at following them, but you can see the full step by step details over at Kitchen of Friends. but if you want a shortcut. throw everything together with some water to a boil, throw in the pork belly (after a light blanch according to that website), and cook at low heat for 3-4 hours.

im its like 11:30 now. and my pork looks nothing like the pics over at kitchen of friends... or anything like what google images says its suppose to look like.....
12:59 AM
i.. am so tired... SIX FRIGGIN HOURS LATER... while the recipe said 3-4 hours...
i realized that i didnt turn on the heat enough.... but i nudged it over slightly more... and and... i think... i can go to sleep now. i am so tired... but i think i'm pretty much done

And the day after... to make the sauce... and to finally have a meal:

Calamari in white wine tomato sauce

I've been waiting for my stupid pork belly to turn into an amazing melt in your mouth experience (you'll probably read about it later!)... but since it takes forever to slow cook things (who woulda thunk!) i got hungry and decided to try out some of that frozen calamari my roommate got.

So this is my first time cooking it, and since i had an open bottle of white in the fridge, it was a no brainer! and it was SO YUMMY!!!! i chopped up some garlic, tomatos, and olives, fried it up in oil for a few minutes, salt and chilli flakes, deglazed with some white wine, cooked it down, added the squid and yum yum yum! it was super good! i was afraid i was going to overcook it, cause nothing is worse than eating rubber band calamari (ok there are worse things...).. but it was perfect! 

now if only my stupid pork belly would finish cooking......

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Test Kitchen: Gyutang ... tasty cow tongue by me!

TA DA!!!!. ok here is a disclaimer. below i am going to show pictures of a cow tongue. if you find that gross. i totally understand. i thought it was super gross, but since i love the cow as an animal that keeps on giving, i have today, learned to embrace all the seemingly yucky parts on a wholly delicious animal.




raw beef tongue alert!!!!




     So if you know me, i am a completely random bizarre person.  I was eating my frozen grapes at work today, and offering some to my coworker, and somehow ended up comparing defrosted grapes as something soft and slimy and asked her if she ever had beef tongue... and then the seed was planted... and i had to have it.  Went to Sunny Supermarket @ Finch and Leslie for some azn meats, and picked the smallest and "normal" coloured one i could find.  The other ones were HUGE and spotted with black and blue... i was horrified. This tongue cost a lil over $5.00 bucks. which is a STEAL since when i go out to izakayas in Toronto, a measly 8-10 slices set me back over $5.00. JACKPOT.

     I honestly had no idea what to do with it once i got it, but luckily my FATHER (not my actual father), Jowett Yu, HEAD CHEF OF SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA'S MS. G's (ha ha name dropper), dropped me some hints on how to cook this sucker.

TIPS FROM CHEF JOWETT: how to make gyutang/cow tongue
where do i even start?
braise it for hour. or blanch quickly, peel the skin off, thinly slice, then grill

how do i make gyutang?
bring a pot of water to boil, lower the tongue, blanch for 30 sec, then take out. peel the skin back on where the palate used to be. chill in the frige till cool, then thinly slice. the best part to eat is where it was once attached to the back of the throat at the base.... more fatty

what do i do? just salt it?
yes. grilled with just salt. dipping sauce is like ponzu soy, or if u likle korean style, salt sesame oil b pepper

So i followed the instructions. the fast one cause i really wanted to try it. Blanched it for 30 seconds. it totally changed the colour right away to white. hmmmm i wonder if that would happen if i boiled my own tongue.... anyway,  the tongue skin didnt rip. tried another 30 seconds. tongue skin totally stuck on. I guess i gotsa chop it off the old fashion way...

halfway through slowly and painstakingly sawing the thick skin off. i was like. this thing's got ankle socks on! or more accurately, white wedges? this photo cracks me up.

omg so i finally get all the outter tongue off... and stuck it in the freezer so it would be easier to cut. I would have liked to have kept it in longer, and will next time, cause it was a bitch to cut. 

Here's a few slices i managed to cut up. I eventually cut up everything, super hard to cut it thinly.  My roommate, who is russian, preferred to have hers thicker.

And here it is! my first batch of Gyutang, complete with lemon and ponzu dipping sauce.  There was waaayyy more from where that came from.  it was so easy too!  seriously, if i were to sell my beef tongue, the street value would be like.... 50 bucks! i swear! what a rip off. from now on, i'm cooking my own tongue.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ichiban fish house @ Richlane Mall FULL MEAL!

Come with me as poseidon Brenden Frasier beckons us into Ichiban Fish House @ the most awesome Richlane mall, by Leslie and 16 in Richmond Hill, Ont. (9425 Leslie Street, Richmond Hill, ON (905) 737-7313 if you're precise)

Ichiban fish house wants you to know they do not import... from japan... 

     So Ichiban Fish House is an interesting lil place. you go in, and its pics among pics of sushi trays and fridge/display of fish/uni/octopus/etc, and you head into the dining area, which seats, maybe 24 ppl in the whole place.  There is one waitress (whenever i go, but its off peak hours?), and maybe 2 people in the kitchen? 3? im not sure. ANYWAY the interesting part is, that you get menu. which consists of, 1 menu. and then 2 photo albums of just pictures of food + cost + name.  Which is AWESOME.  One is like a roll menu, i think, and the other is everything else.

     Like check it out... i took a few pics, i wonder if could get a set of ones of these, cause it's awesome.  It's like, oh hey, a family photo album... if your family was delicious food that you want to EAT! They have everything, from basics, sashimi types, and fried stuff types, and bento box types, terriyaki types, etc etc. But they also have hot roll types!

     They start you off with a free salad and miso, and end you off with a free green tea ice cream.  Which i really should stop accepting cause it is proven, at least in this stomach, that raw fish and ice cream does not mix... but... free!

So me and Maria got the tempura.  Another interesting bit. Apple Tempura! i liked it! cause it's deep fried... but i can see how ppl would find it weird. good tempura, lightly battered, veggies are tender at every bite.

Maria got the Sushi Combo 1, which was like $9 bucks or something, but she chose the all salmon one, which consists of... what you see in the picture.

I got the spicy tuna, i think it was $4-5 bucks.  I realize that anything that is 'spicy' costs extra, and really they just dot some hot mayo on top, what i didn't know is that when we asked for some mayo on the side, they gave us a whole bowl of spicy mayo. tip from me. ask for spicy mayo on the side cause that's free!

I got the hand rolls cause they looked pretty it was around $9 bucks. They were filled to the bottom, which is always a good sign, and the seaweed remained nice and crunchy.  yum yum. 

So I've gone to this place probably 5 times now, it's a good, fast, easy lunch place to go, (or dinner, i think Richlane Mall closes at 12PM), it's a lil more expensive than what i am used to (though being from vancouver, where the fish jump into your mouth, its a whole diff animal i guess), but it's fresh, speedy, and good. 

Things that are awesome: Frozen Grapes

I cant find my camera :(
but you know what grapes look like. green ones, purple ones, reddish purple ones. but frozen.
I only had them at Guu, where they limit you to one per person when they give you your bill.
But that's what i've been doing now, as a nice lil frozen treat, and healthy too!
The only downside is that they roll a lot faster when you drop them. the upside is that they are delicious!

Ichiban Fish House @ Richlane Mall

9425 Leslie Street
Richmond Hill, ON
(905) 737-7313

Another GEM at the always giving Richlane Mall by my work! Now a staple for my Go-To Japanese fixes with Lunch Buddy Maria.
I have way more, and better pics to post up, and a further description of this hidden gem, but for the moment, here we tried, and myself for the first time, a baked scallop roll.
I think we both prefer to have cold rolls in general, but this was really delicious and was a way to warm my tummy besides having an udon, terriyaki, or tempura (which we so did have), but you know what I mean (probably not).Publish Post

Monday, April 18, 2011

Fresh Fusion: healthy make your own more expensive salads

16 Vogell RoadRichmond Hill, Ontario
P: 905-780-7878
F: 905-780-7877

So today, me and Maria decided to have a "healthy" lunch... (since we TacoBell/KFC'ed it last time....), a good portion of my coworkers, including myself had checked this place out when it opened a few months ago... there's a lot that they offer: salads, wraps, pressini, burritos, breakfast, smoothies, and soup... and they have separate line ups for each major station.

The way they make your salads is pretty... different... it's kinda like the marble slab of salads, minus the 10,000 caloric ice cream cheesecake.  I mean, they have a million different salad toppings, you can choose from existing signature menus items, or customize it yourself. and they toss (heh) all your ingredients on the giant long cutting board, and with a double sickle, basically go medieval on your salad til its itty bitty massacred pieces.

And here is my completed wrap! I was like, oohhh FREE DELIVERY! but no. there is a surcharge of $1.99, and the min is like $15.99, which, i could easily order and eat... so.. no big.

My $8.00 dollar Chicken Tikki Wrap (Romaine, Tandoori Chicken, Cucumber, Carrots, Red Onion, Tamarind Sauce, Lime Yogurt Chutney).. the sauce was actually really really good, but... i think i was hungrier after eating it...  

I also got a $3.00 Tomato Tortellini soup that was served in a thimble, i'm also such a sucker whenever i see tortellini, even though, there's only ever 1 or 2 tortellini. 

Maria got a steak and cheese pressini.

I didn't try any... but it looked like a pressini. 

Wimpy's Diner @ Sheppard and Willowdale

Wimpy's Diner
North York, ON

199 Sheppard Ave. E. M2N 3A8 
Tel. 1-416-222-7737 

So before Jughead came along, there was Wimpy from Popeyes, the original hamburger eating king (though i would totally go to a burger joint called Jughead... or even Pop Tate's! and have a nice chocolate malt)

I always pass by this place on the way home from work, and always wondered what it offered.  According to wiki, Wimpy's is a UK hamburger restaurant chain founded in 1954.  I guess to me, this is kinda like a Denny's since it has an all day breakfast, but also offers homestyle meals like, meatloaf, mass potatoes and peas, or like a turkey diner, its like any other kinda burger, sandwich, wrap, dinner, all day breakfast joint, but with the kitschiness appeal of a 50's, 60's diner (complete with jukebox, mine started off with Paul Anka's Diana)

The milkshake is in the middle. i wish the milkshake was bottomless :(

 This is the 5 star breakfast, 3 eggs, homefries, ham, bacon (to replace sausage), and a side of toast (not seen)

this. . . this magic carpet ride is Wimpy's famous burger, a 10 oz burger, with cheese, with a side of onion rings and endless pop for like, $12? bucks. 

so in order to even attempt to eat this monster, i had to cut the patty in half and form my own double patty, just shy of being a three quarter pounder.... and all i see when i look at this picture, is with his pickle tongue sticking out... cooing "feeeeedddd meeee seeeyyymooouuurr"... i dont know why. but this burger wants to eat people. you can thank me, cause i ate this people eating burger. you're welcome. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

icook: an all you can eat hot pot self service experience.

7030 Warden Avenue

Markham, ON
(905) 307-7878

Like in that giant T&T complex @ warden and steeles

Me and my friends were gonna go out for Hot Pot to this place we went before, but decided to check out this All you can eat self serve hot pot place in Markham called, icook @ 7030 Warden Ave. We were so excited about it, OMG, we get to take as much food as we want, and cook our own food and then get up and serve ourselves drinks and get more food ourselves... AWESOME.... yeah. now that i think about it... We're paying, what $20.00 each, for trays of uncooked, unseasoned food, talk about gold mine... icook is right, icook and iserve myself. itip myself. 

but really, what are you expecting out of an all you can eat place anyway? standards are always set pretty low (except if you're Country Style mmm mmm mmmm)

some of the items available: mussels, prawns, meat slices (beef, chicken, pork, lamb), fish balls, quail eggs, noodles of sorts (glass, udon, ramen etc), veggies (chinese cabbage, green stuff?)
• all you can eat sauces, hot sauces, sesame butter, chili oil, egg, satay, soy, garlic flakes, onion flakes, etc etc etc all you can think of (that usually costs extra for each sauce, and egg) to put in  your personalized dipping sauces.
• all you can drink pop (usually pop is extra at sit down AYCE hot pot)
• individualized hot pots, to keep my broth clean from those lamb meat stinkers
• everything is put out in the back, so you can help yourself to everything

• everything is put out in the back... and it's overlapping each other, cooked stuff, raw stuff, there are 1 set of tongs for everything

• now i didnt experience this, but in the boys bathroom, the place is a health hazard, with the counter rotting from the bottom up, and a roll of paper towel nesting in an ingenius waterproof (ding!) garbage bag covered cardboard box with a hole cut through to pull the paper out.... we totally had laugh about it... and then all went home to threw up.... oh and he wanted me to add... also throw up in toilet from his butt.

It pretty much is the consensus between all my friends that we are not going to visit this place again. a hot pot experience isnt life changing, i mean you cook your food in flavoured water. most hot pot places are All You Can Eat (AYCE) anyway, so the difference here is....... that you have to get it for yourself... soooo, depending on how fast you move... i guess its timeliness of getting food into your mouth? if that really matters to you and you cant wait for a server, than yeah, get the table at the back and stuff your face to your heart's content.

Skor covered cupcakes!!!!

We had a work lunch. and this lil fella was leftover cause i guess people thought he was rolled in poop or something. but GUESS WHAT SUCKAHS! he was rolled in SKOR BITS. it was the most delicious skor cupcake ever!!!! everything should be rolled in skor. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Fun Times at Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament at Castle Toronto

*SPOILER ALERT!!!! if you really care about the thrilling plot line*

As a noble woman of the Red and Yellow Kingdom (red cause chinese people like lucky, communist red, and yellow cause chinese people like gold), I was obligated to attend to the Dinner and Tournament hosted by the Throaty King Phillipe over at the Toronto Castle.  

Here is Lord Chancellor inviting us into the King's castle, and delegating the parties to their tables after the knighting ceremony. 

Scurried in by our full bosom wench, I mulled over the Bill of Fare, painstakingly inked by the finest slaves no doubt.

No! this is not a bowl of peasants blood! though i reckon would taste like bile! But the sweet savoury creamy flavours of a fine tomato bisque, served out of a plastic black kettle...and a side of buttery-i-can-see-through-this-plastic-metal-looking-plate garlic bread

As I am enjoying my butter, with bread, i witness an atrocity! What is this but Prince Tristan, forgetting his safeword and now held captive by... bad guys... which really was his fault, cause his week old wife Princess Leonore begged him to stay, but he insisted on a trip with his boys, also known as the John Travolta Kelly Preston Story.

But the Tournament must go on.  Here's King Philippe in a ceremonial march in where he invites knights from all surrounding kingdoms to compete for glory.

My very own knight. what is that round amulet on that spectator's wrists?

the wenches come around with halved rotisserie chicken

Ribs and roasted potatoes

this is all i get? more food wenches!

The entertainment commences with feats of equestrian and falconry (on a side note. i wonder if the royal falcon ever took a royal shat on the royal guests head while in flight). As the royal falcon took flight, i abstained from eating my roast chicken. it felt wrong.

The entertainment continues with the knights performing feats such as killing each other.

Ending my royal meal with a tea and subpar mcdonalds apple pie. 

And so ended my "feast". and here is the formal review.  Medieval times, i visited when i was like 10 at the Califonia castle, it was great then, cause i was 10. and also i got to eat with my hands. which is also the selling aspect for me (there is absolutely NO cutlery).  The food itself is better than i anticipated (I went in the fall, there were less people and the chicken was a lot more tender than this time, which i attributed to the almost full house), the one rib you get is pretty tasty and fall off the bone, anda the half potato is seasoned perfectly. the apple pie is shat.  And the horses do some pretty cool things (but they look really sad) and the falcon flying over your head is really cool too.  It's mostly a kiddy crowd (surprise), but also for those with a whimsical state of mind and want something different.  The jousting is decent and sparks do fly in the sword fighting.  The choreography is sometimes too staged, but who wants to be hit in the head with a mace, so they're gonna make sure they're out of the way.  But all in all, a fun family outing.