Archive for February, 2009

Didn’t know what i want for dinner so after looking at all the fish available i ended up with a piece of fluke. But then while leaving the counter i spotted a trout and changed my mind again – and left the store with deboned trout, oyster mushrooms and scallions.
The plan was to bake the fish en papillote and though the original recipe called for corn husks i forgot to buy them and used avocado leaves instead.

Trout baked in foil

The fish was delicious but the mushrooms were lacking in texture. I will definitely make it again – though next time i won’t forget to get corn husks and use different mushrooms…. Maybe shiitakes though these might be too strong flavored for a delicate trout, or some king oysters, or how about this – beach mushrooms would be great or even enoki. Not sure about maitakes – maybe if i just brown them a little before…


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Mediterranean dishes are funny this way. You look at the recipe for water borek (turkish) and then for achma (georgian) and you coudn’t tell one from the other…


Tonight i was trying to recreate a dish i had many many years ago in Moscow: i didn’t remember the name but from my memory it resembled both borek and achma…

I started with a recipe for a turkish water borek, by the esteemed Binnur and streamlined, streamlined, streamlined… Used a small pyrex dish the size of an eggroll sheet. Didn’t boil the sheets, and used 2 instead of 4 for dough layers. Same amount of filling, in 3 layers though. Halved the amount of topping. Kept int he fridge for an hour only.
Baked as per the original recipe.
Came out nice and indeed reminded a borek very much though not the dish from my memory…

ETA: one year later – this time i didn’t do any shortcuts and the dish came close to what i remember. One caveat – don’t boil dough sheets more than 1 min (for Melissa brand ar least) – they become too slippery and tear easily.

straight from the oven:

a perfect bite of gooey cheesy goodness:

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A confession – i’m not a big fan of writing (and reading) beer tasting notes. I find them (similar to wine TNs actually) too trying, in many cases forced by the rigid format (no less than X words) of beer reviewing sites.
And then a good belgian is a good belgian, who really cares what you think about Orval, repeated in the umpteenth time – this is a damn great beer – but you either love it or don’t, end of story. It’s like writing the review of Sistine Madonna really.
Now once in a while here comes a beer that is different and daring – like this Avatar Jasmine IPA by Elysian.
After brewing for a while i understand how difficult is to pull a flavored beer through so i applaud their effort. In fact jasmine is as difficult as lavender – you overdo it and end up with a toilet freshener…
So here are my tasting notes (won’t bother with obvious – this is a solid IPA)…
Aroma – an certain clash of herbal hops and jasmine flower.
Flavor – Elysian brewer should get kudos for choosing right malts to go with jasmine – a perfect balance!..
I think i’ll go get more of this quite an intriguing beer.

Oh in case you wonder apropos of Valentine reference, i found this beer much better than a requisite champagne…

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There is a certain irony in what is the luxury food vs thrifty… Back in my childhood in Far East of Russia there was a scarcity of meat but the still the abundance of seafood including the wild salmon so the traditional russian pelmeni (aka dumplings) filling of pork and beef was reinvented with salmon. And wasn’t this rendition great – in fact one of my favorite food memories…
So that was my inspiration for tonight’s dinner – that as well as other traditional russian dumplings, served with crisped pork fat bits, onions browned in the same fat, and sour cream.

salmon dumplings

i rendered a fat from some pancetta, then browned white onion dice in it, mixed with chopped salmon and filled in wonton skins.
Cooked then into patstickers but tomorrow i’ll steam them – seems like this will be a better idea for a delicate salmon filling.
But other than that – great stuff!

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Man was i missing all these miso possibilities…
Well now it’s time to catch up!
Tonight is a quick miso dinner of mussels, with the rest of ingredients right from the japanese pantry: sake, ginger, scallions, garlic and watercress. Ok, there were olive oil and butter involved too. Oh and some grilled triple olive ciabatta. A modern japanese pantry?.. Anyway the outcome was still delicious, light and tasty… And it involved miso!

Mussels steamed in Sake and Miso

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Nice vegetarian dinner – quick but full of flavor. Steamed and peeled fingerlings, small whole shiitake mushrooms caps and scallion whites tossed with melted butter, white miso and mirin (Eden brand that doesn’t have any sugar in it).
Roasted for 10 mins in 425F convection. Sprinkled with scallion greens and cilantro before serving.
Very nice, and of course goes well with some good hoppy IPA.

Miso Glazed POtatoes

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Haven’t had a chance to explore all the great restaurants of Vancouver but our dinner at Zakkuchi left me craving for japanese food, big time.
That’s why the first dinner i cooked after coming back home had all to do with miso, soy sauce, sesame oil and edamame.
And chicken wings… Now i couldn’t find any recipe for some miso marinade so improvised – white and red miso, with some sake. In the fridge for several ours. Then added just a bit (about tsps) of dark soy sauce and sesame oil, 1/4 cup of scallions oil (made it for the side of steamed eggplants) and about 1/3 cup of mixed black and regular sesame seeds. 20mins turning once in 400F convection oven. OMG!

Sesame chicken wings
On the side – steamed eggplant with scallions oil and black vinegar; edamame pods steamed and tossed with meyer lemon vinaigrette (zest and all).

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