Pho from Than Bros. Pho, Seattle, WA. No pho I've had in Toronto compares.
Please note the bite radius on this pita pizza (which features goat cheese, tomatoes, spinach, and mushrooms).
A rendition of pasta e fagioli soup. Vegetarian.
A bean bake, courtesy of Heidi Swanson. Very filling, and very challenging, as I'd never before worked with dried beans. (I know, I know.) But the goat cheese more than made up for my inexperience.
A fun-to-smash version of Heidi Swanson's Five Minute Tomato Sauce. I like adding mushrooms to mine (I like adding mushrooms to almost everything).
Frozen Coke, the day after our return from Japan.
Katsu curry. This is a very popular dish in Japan (though mine has more vegetables). The stormy evening we returned from Comikket 08, we dragged ourselves on numb feet into a C&C and bought katsu curry from a ticket machine. The curry -- and the air conditioning -- were my saving graces.
Another Heidi Swanson special: lemon-spiced chickpea stir-fry. I made this one work without any issues, because it's so simple: firm tofu, rinsed and drained chickpeas, curry powder, vegetables, lemon juice (or lemon zest). If there's a trick to it, it's letting the tofu sit alongside the curry powder, onion and garlic as they all start weeping together. That way the tofu sponges all the flavours up. (But everyone knows this about tofu, already; nothing new there.)
The beginnings of a turkey hash, in Houston, courtesy of my aunt Phoeme and cousin Clare.
The finished product. Not unlike hayashi rice, now that I think of it. This version relied on a lot of flat-leaf parsley, and I think I would have gone the chipotle + cilantro route. (Then again, that's pretty predictable for me.)
My mango chicken. The recipe changes every time, but mostly it's a game of hurry-up-and-wait while the chicken fries, then toe-tapping impatience as the onions and garlic soften together in a wok de-glazed with orange juice and mirin. You could go more complicated with this and add a curry blend, some cilantro, and maybe even coconut milk, but I find it works best for me when I include the smallest number of seasonings possible: orange juice, mirin, garlic, a drop or two of shoyu, and salt and pepper on top. Remember to add dry red pepper flakes to your cornflour breading.
The finished mango chicken.
The beginnings of a healthier gyro: ground turkey, spinach, grape tomatoes, purple napa. Serve with a mix of Greek yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
The beginnings of Heidi Swanson's Thai-Spiced Pumpkin Soup. I use a hand mixer/stick blender to whip up the pumpkin puree and coconut milk.
My first apple pie.
An experiment in crusts. Too late did I realise that there's absolutely no reason to fold the bottom layer, but it was a very zen moment while it lasted.
A sweet potato soup inspired by Heidi Swanson.
Japanese class bento. I used the pre-made dim sum buns from my grocery store. I will never buy them again: too little meat, and the dough was too dry and sweet.
Japanese class bento: crab and ricotta pasta panfried with ham, peas, carrots, and garlic, with parmigiano reggiano as a garnish. The pasta's filling gets a little stiff after a while; I think a vegetable filling would be better. But I liked the garlic flavour, especially after it had some time to set in.
Homemade gyoza (pre-frying): ground pork, ginger, garlic, spring onions, Worcestershire sauce. They take a long time, but they're worth it. For the dipping sauce, I combined shoyu, raw apple cider vinegar, Asian hot chili sauce, and lime juice.
Pre-fab soba noodles from our local drugstore. Also pictured: bottled green tea (too sweet for my taste -- I prefer Oi Ocha brand) and red bean mochi.
A broccoli and apple salad I made this Christmas, pictured next to a champagne and mango mimosa.
Chipotle and lime soup, with guacamole topping.
The beginnings of coffee ice pops. Next time, we'll add more sugar. But on a hot night, they're the best thing.
Onigiri purchased from a local shop. Inside was a whipped chicken salad. Not great, but nostalgic for me. (I wish they had salmon.)
The beginnings of inari sushi (sushi rice inside sweetened tofu pockets), made with genmai (sticky brown rice).
Doctor's office bento! Finished inari sushi with funwariyaki (sweetened red bean paste between green tea-flavoured pancakes), sitting on sliced carrot (for the illusion of health). The inari sushi kit came with its own furikake, but there wasn't much flavour. It's more for decoration, I think.
My Christmas dinner: beef slow cooked in coffee porter with chipotle seasoning, fingerlings and creminis. The beef came out fork-tender, but still a little dry for my taste. Next time, I'll also use different potatoes: these were a little waxy for my taste.
My autumnal pork tenderloin. Lis made this dish based on my recipe, and claims to have enjoyed it. I like to think I improved her Valentine's Day just a little bit.
After eating Thanksgiving dinner at a Black Angus, I wanted to make my own (to cleanse my palate). So I returned to Canada and stuffed a turkey breast. It's not exactly easy, but it's not terribly difficult. Mostly it's a time-consuming process -- especially if you only remember that your house has no twine right before the roasting begins.
Lasagna. In this case, the wine was the star. Not that the lasagna was bad, but really: it's about the wine.
Look at that crust. Just look at it.
When preparing maki, I always forget to slice my salmon and avocado thinly enough. I suspect this is because I'm too eager to just sit down and eat it.
My attempt at making maki. I marinated the salmon in lime juice and dashi kombu just to be safe. My sushi skills are lacking, though: the rice was too soft, partially because I forgot to fan it before rolling it.
A silky miso udon I made. The trick is to cook the noodles in the soup broth with the other ingredients, so their starch leaches into the contents and thickens the total texture.
Jajangmyeon: udon in a mild black bean sauce with pork and ginger.
This is one of my favourite weekend dinners: barbecue chicken pizza on roasted garlic naan. Next time, I'll watch the edges a bit more closely.
A cheddar and cauliflower soup adapted from Closet Cooking. I added apple and sweet potato to mine.
A lentil stew with crushed tomatoes, coconut milk, tamarind juice, kale, and pork. I wish there was a shorter name for it, aside from "curry."
The steak dinner I prepared after finishing the first draft of "The von Neumann Sisters."
My Otaku Cook Up dish: slow-cooked chana dal.
Beef, lentils and cabbage cooked in beer.
Herbed chicken breast poached in grape tomatoes, over whole wheat spaghetti.
Quite possibly my finest katsu ever.
My Good Wine Day plate. I particularly enjoyed the mango salad with shirataki noodles and cilantro, and the bulgalbi (Korean short ribs).
Escargot in fingerling potatoes, cooked in veal demi-glace. I wish I could take credit, but these are all Skeet & Toolis.
Kentucky Bourbon Pecan Pie with a gingersnap crust. If you don't own the Whistlestop Cafe Cookbook, you should.
Dinner at the CN Tower restaurant, 360°. This was my amuse bouche, a spiced shrimp on a bed of white beans in basil oil.
Dinner at the CN Tower: Crab chowder with corn, bacon, shiitake mushrooms and lemon creme fraiche.
Dinner at the CN Tower: Pork tenderloin stuffed with Granny Smith apples, haricot verts, and scalloped potatoes. The potatoes were underdone and covered in too many breadcrumbs, but the pork was fabulous and the beans were perfect.
Dinner at the CN Tower: A chocolate tower dessert -- just bitter enough, but still light and airy like mousse ought to be.
Dinner at the CN Tower: My lemon mascarpone cake with a gingerbread crust, topped with white chocolate ice cream. Very tart and refreshing, but also quite heavy.
Finally, I have learned how to prepare brown rice on the stovetop without creating a gluey mess. The secret is washing the rice plenty of times.
My Japanese-style curry, with celery leaves.
Compass Albion Ale, clutched in the hand of one Peter Watts.
The mac & cheese at the Victory Cafe. Delicious, and even better the next day!
Squash Risotto with Duck
Smoked salmon quiche with yogurt, spinach, and dill