Archive for July, 2010

Guest Post

Hi everyone! I have a guest post over at Lazaro’s blog Lazaro Cooks. I would really appreciate it if you would kindly head over there instead this week. Thank you muchly!

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Good Times

Hi everyone, I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and are enjoying your summer.  Hubby and I took advantage of the gorgeous summer weather and took the kids out to the legislature this weekend. If you’re not from Edmonton and you ever visit, I highly recommend visiting the legislature.

This place is beautiful year round. In the summer they have gorgeous trees and flowers which attract a lot of wedding couples. We had some of our wedding pictures taken here as well. It’s also a great place for a picnic, and they have three areas where you can wade in.

In the winter time the fields are blanketed with snow and the trees are gorgeously lit with many different colours of Christmas lights. But this weekend the weather was far from that.

So we decided to drop by and soak up some rays. But there was no chance that my kiddies were going to leave peacefully without getting in on the water action.

Parent tip: Always carry an extra change of clothes in the trunk for accidents or unplanned events like this.

In they went, and even though K was wearing a dress, I wasn’t too worried about either of them getting their clothes all wet.

I was more worried about being pulled apart.

K seriously stood there for at least half an hour watering that stone…SIGH! I guess that’s her own special little way of beating the heat, go figure.

You know what else is great for beating the heat? Mochi ice cream!

I love these things! I found them at T & T Supermarket.

This one was taro flavored, hence the purple colour. When we visited Hong Kong three years ago, I would walk down to the 7-Eleven everyday and get a pack of these. I like that they’re not super sweet like most ice cream can be, and I like the sticky rice wrap on the outside. Anyone else like these?

I’m not sure if you can read that but I thought I’d take a picture of it for my more health cautious readers.

I’d also like to share a quick and easy recipe with you since I haven’t done so in a while. Here is my Oven Roasted Eggplant with Fish Sauce. This can be eaten as an appetizer or along side some rice.

Ingredients:

  • 3 long purple eggplants
  • 3 to 6 stalks green onions (chopped)
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • fish sauce

Instructions:

In a pan, heat up 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Throw in chopped green onions and saute until onions soften. Pour oil and green onions in bowl and set aside for later.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Cut off both ends of the eggplants. Place eggplants in the oven and cook for about 30 – 45 minutes, or until the skin of the eggplants start to wrinkle and brown. If you like eggplant skin you can leave it on (like in the first plate shown above) or peel it off.

Cut the eggplant into bitesize pieces and plate. Pour green onions and extra virgin olive oil on top. To finish the dish, pour some fish sauce over the eggplant. You can use as little or as much fish sauce as you’d like.

Note: This is not fish sauce straight from the bottle. This is fish sauce that has been mixed with other ingredients and most often used for rice vermicelli bowls. My fish sauce recipe can be found here.

I’d also like to share somethings else with you before I leave. The other day while visiting my parents, my Dad dug up an old collection of trading cards that he had in his basement which belonged to me when I was a child. Can you tell I’m a child of the 80’s?

The one I was most excited about was the stack on the bottom right. That’s right, the King of Pop, Mr. Michael Jackson. The first thing that came to my mind was, “Hmmm….I wonder how much these are worth now?” Haha. Hey, can you blame me? Then I wondered if I really could sell away Michael Jackson. Then I thought, oh how I wished my cabbage patch kids trading cards were in here too, along with all my childhood toys. Then I remembered how I idolized Debbie Gibson. Okay, you can stop laughing now. Anyways, good times, good times. Are you a child of the 80’s? What did you love from the 80’s? I would love to hear all your answers. Also, don’t forget to enter the giveaway. That’s all I have for you this week. Until next time friends and family :-D.

Are You feeling Crabby? – CSN Stores Giveaway

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. It was Dad’s birthday a while back but we were not able to celebrate with him as they had a wedding to attend and we had a wedding to attend. Finally we were able to celebrate with him last week and someone was feeling rather crabby (no, not in a bad way, but more like, “I want some crabby in my tummy” way). So I loaded up all 4 kids 😉 and off we went to T&T Supermarket.

We picked out 6 crabs, one for each person.

Some water spinach and baby bok choy.

Mom made some fish maw soup. In this recipe they used shredded chicken but we like to use shredded crab meat.

This is a popular soup when you go to Chinese restaurants and order a set meal. The fish maw is quite spongy in texture. I’m not a big fan of it cause honestly, I can’t stand the texture. I usually spoon them out and just drink the soup.

Be sure to give the crab a good scrub before you cook them.

Scrub a dub dub, in (not) my tub :-(.

I made mine and Dad’s fave, water spinach with fermented tofu/bean curd sauce. You can find the recipe here.

I also made abalone with dried scallops and mushrooms atop baby bok choy. You can find my recipe here. Except in that recipe I used snow pea tendrils. Yes, I know, I have to get organized and put up a recipes page.

We steamed our crabs and made our usual dipping sauce, which is a mixture of chopped garlic, Chinese red vinegar, and Chinese rice vinegar. Another great dipping sauce for steamed crab or other seafood would be fresh lime or lemon juice and salt and pepper.

Waiting for the other three crabs to finish steaming.

And “sake fan”. In Chinese that’s what we say at the dinner table before starting a meal.

My brother and sister in-law joined us as well but they didn’t want to be in the picture.

Cheers Dad!

K wanted in on the action too :-D.

What’s a birthday without gifts right? Well I’m happy to say that a representative from CSN Stores contacted me and asked if I wanted to choose a product to keep for free and do a review for them, or host a giveaway on my blog. I figured, what better way to say thank you to my readers and show how much I appreciate you all dropping in to stalk read my blog, than to have a giveaway? So the kind people at CSN Stores is giving me the opportunity to giveaway a $40 gift certificate to one of my lucky readers. Aww shucks, thanks CSN Stores!

So do you have a baby or kids in your house? How about a student or a pet? No matter what you have and who you live with, this store has everything for everyone. Even if you’re just looking for some housewares or home decor, this is your one stop shop. Here’s how you can enter:

Mandatory:

  • Leave me a comment telling me what you would be interested in buying at CSN Stores.

For extra entries you can:

  • tweet about this giveaway and include “@lynnchenrocks AKA luvtoeat” in your tweet and come back to leave me a comment telling me you did so.
  • link to this giveaway somewhere on your blog and come back to leave me a comment (plus your link) telling me you did so..
  • comment and tell me what’s your favorite way to eat/cook crab.

When you enter your comments, please be sure to enter an email where I can reach you at when you win. The email will only be visible to me and will not show up in your comment. If I am unable to reach you through email within 72 hours after announcing the winner, I will have to choose another winner. The giveaway will end Tuesday August 3rd at 11:00 pm standard mountain time. Thank you for entering, and best of luck to everyone! Until next time friends and family :-D.

Anju Restaurant & Lounge – Calgary, Alberta

Hi everyone. I’d like to thank you all very much for your sweet comments and celebration wishes on my last post. I really appreciate that you not only took the time to drop by and read, but even left such warm comments. You all rock!

I have two very exciting things to talk about today. First of all, I’m sure most of you are familiar with CSN Stores. If not, well let me just say this store sells everything you’re looking for from baking sheets, grills, strollers, pet carriers, and even twin beds! The list goes on and on, but rather than spending a whole post talking about all the things you could buy at such great prices, I figure I’ll just give you the link to CSN Stores so you can see for yourself. Why would you want to take a look? Well let’s just say that they might even be kind enough to offer one of my lucky readers a gift in the near future (wink wink, nudge nudge).

The second exciting bit of news is that during the Canada day long weekend, we took a mini vacation down to Banff, Lake Louise, and Calgary. I know, I know, Canada Day has long passed; so this just shows you how far behind I am on my posts. I still wanted to share this with you though cause any time a mother of two little ones like me gets to get out of the city, it’s pretty dang exciting news to me. So at 6:00 in the morning we loaded up the kiddies, young and old (can’t leave my parents behind ;-)) and drove three and a half hours to Banff.

Free flags and free admission into Banff! Woot Woot!

Another hour drive to Lake Louise:

and another hour to Calgary. Everytime we’re here, we make sure we eat at Anju Restaurant at least once. This is hands down my favorite restaurant in Calgary, and it’s not because we know the owners.

This is a little, cozy, modern Korean restaurant tucked and hidden in downtown Calgary. With a love for food and entertaining, the owners Roy Oh and his wife Anh opened this restaurant in December 2008. Ever since then, they have put their heart and soul into this to turn it into the successful business it is today. As you can see, it is quite modern and nicely decorated. The main floor only has a few tables, I’d say probably 15 tables tops. With such limited seating, it’d be wise to call a day or even 2 days ahead to book your table as they can fill up fast during weekends. I wanted to beat the rush to get some good pictures so I booked for a table of 8 at 6:30. Good thing, because about 15 minutes later, the restaurant started filling up.

There is a bar and lounge area upstairs with welcoming, comfortable couches to sit and chit-chat on, have a few drinks with your buddies,

or take a quick nap on while waiting for your friends to arrive. But I highly DO NOT recommend the nap in case you miss the whole party, as K found out the hard way ;-).

On with the food shall we? We started out with sweet pickled daikons and kimchi.

Spicy grilled eggplant (one of my favorites).

Truffle yam fries with gochugaru aioli.

Dried shredded squid with cho gochujang. (another favorite)

A seafood platter consisting of 6 raw oysters topped with kimchi (I think), chilled mussels, and chilled squid with vegetables.

Kimchi pancake with bacon.

Calamari with Kaffir lime leaf, red onions, and lemongrass aioli.

Korean style chicken wings.

Lamb chops with Korean BBQ sauce and seasonal vegetables.

6 Oz. marinated flank steak with seasonal vegetables.

Stone rice bowl with grilled vegetables, wild mushroom, fried egg, and a choice of beef, chicken, prawns, salmon, or tofu (we chose chicken). This was definitely another one of my favorites, and so pretty too. 

Golden curry prawns, creme fraiche, and cilantro.

Clay pot glazed black cod with gochugaru caramel glaze. I highly recommend this dish. If I had to choose a favorite, this would be it.

Beef rib soup with daikon and leeks.

We were all pretty stuffed and no one had room for dessert, except me of course. Yes, I’m an eating machine. When I saw chestnut creme brulee with savory coconut cream, I was SOLD! This was THE BEST creme brulee I have ever had! It also came decorated with slices of strawberries and gold flakes. If you like chestnut and creme brulee, this is definitely your dessert.

It should also be noted that the menu at Anju changes every couple of months to provide for the freshest ingredients possible. In my mind, that has it’s advantages and disadvantages. So if you’re not sure if your favorite dish will still be on the menu when you return the next time, its best to call and check. With that said, it was another fabulous dinner at Anju Restaurant. This diamond in the rough still remains on the top of my must go to list.With Roy’s killer culinary skills and Anh’s creative mixology skills paired with her great taste in decor, this team is a force to be reckoned with. I also almost forgot to mention that Roy and Anh created every dish and drink on the menu themselves, including my favorite drink called The Bruised Heart, which I highly recommend. I would’ve ordered one, but I was the designated driver that night so I didn’t want to take any chances. Next time you’re in Calgary and looking for a great place to dine, keep Anju Restaurant in mind.

Have you ever visited Canada before? Do you have a favorite Canadian place to visit? Hopefully my next post will include a giveaway from CSN Stores. Until then friends and family.

Figgin’ Delicious! Plus Some Celebrations

I dedicate this post to you Ms. Lynn Chen. Okay, just half of the post, as the other half is all about me, me, me. You already know I’m shameless so whatever. Feel free to stop reading after the figs (if you’re even reading).

I never paid much attention to figs until I read this post of Lynn’s from The Actor’s Diet. “Favorite fruit in the world”? I started wondering how much I really was missing. And so began mission fig. After getting an email from Valerie that she had seen figs at Superstore, I was out the door within half an hour. An hour later, mission accomplished. Thank you Valerie!

Of course I couldn’t eat one before cutting it open first to see what it looked like inside. Aww, how cute, it even made a little heart shape.

Look how beautiful! My camera doesn’t do this fruit justice. True beauty DOES come from within :-).

And then my creative juices started flowing.

I hope you can tell what this is cause this is as creative as it gets for me.

I’d have to say, that was kind of fun. Who knew figs could be so much fun. Hmm…go fig-ure ;-).

Let’s hope my efforts didn’t go in vain.

To anyone with young children, that my friend, is how you get your 3 year old daughter to enjoy eating her fruits and vegetables. Gosh, us moms have to be so creative sometimes.

Well, at least she had most of it.

And Mom enjoyed her snack too (6 to be exact) :-P. Those figs were figgin’ delicious! Sorry, I had to say that again. Thank you Lynn, for bringing the fig to my attention. They’re definitely up there along with persimmons and durian. Some of you may beg to differ with the last fruit but I still love them…teehee.

Speaking of fruits, Mary from Keep Learning Keep Smiling has a great fruit post up. If you love fruits like me, you definitely have to check out her post. She even talks about durian! Ok, I better shut-up before I set some of you running in the other direction. Now onto other matters totally unrelated to figs.

These days my math only goes as far as how many diapers have I changed today, how many spoonfuls of food did my children eat during dinner time, and how much is that broken__________ going to cost me now? It’s been a while since my math teaching days, so if I can still calculate correctly, Gary and I have been together for 14 years. We’ve only been married for 5 years but dated for 9 years before that. And if you want to count the years which he stalked me before we dated, that would be 5, for a total of 19 years which we’ve known each other. Okay, now my brain is officially fried.

We went from two crazy, dating lovebirds: 

who luvtoeat 😉

to husband and wife. (non-pro pics)

Sorry, those pictures were pictures of pictures. Back then I was too cheap to get a photographer who would put our pictures onto a cd for us. Lesson well learned; don’t cheap out on wedding pictures. I’ll remember that for next time ;-). Haha, just kidding hun. Funny, no? So now most of you are probably thinking, “But LeQuan, they have scanners now.” And to that I respond with, “But everybody, I’m technology challenged remember?” Yes, sigh…what will you all do with me? I’m sure that’s what goes through the hubby’s mind everyday :-D. Anyways, where was I? Ah, yes……

Even being fur-Mommy and Daddy of this cutie. RIP baby, you will always be in our hearts.

To proud parents of these two beautiful children.

L is thinking, “Who? Us?”

Today marks the day of our 5th year of marriage.  Happy anniversary babe! Now get dressed and take me out for a nice dinner cause you know how I luvtoeat ;-)…teehee. Actually we’re off to a wedding. Remember this friend?

She’s getting married today. CONGRATULATIONS my dear friend! You deserve all the happiness in the world. I luv ya girl! AND, today is also my Dad’s birthday. So much to celebrate on this day. Have a wonderful weekend everyone! Untill next time friends and family :-D. Do you have a favorite fruit that you love?

What The Heck is a Taste Tripping Party?

I hope everyone had a great Canada day and happy 4th of July! I’m a little late on this post as the family and I visited Banff, Lake Louise, and Calgary this past holiday weekend. That’s a whole other post in itself though.

So just this past Wednesday I was invited to a taste tripping/potluck party/blogger meet up hosted by Valerie @ A Canadian Foodie. Counting the dishes that I took pictures of, I’d say there were about 17 foodies and bloggers plus their other halves; so about 30 people in attendance.

As soon as we arrived, we were each given name tags with the names of our blogs underneath our names, then escorted to the drinks section. Check out this beautiful, huge punch bowl. How can you tell “someone” entertains a lot ? 😉

You can click on any of the smaller pictures to enlarge them.

Not only did we have name tags, but Valerie also made labels for each dish.

Plus, she put together a recipe book of all the dishes that everyone brought that night and we all got to take one home. How cool is that?

Look at all this wonderful food.

The table was so long that I had to take two pictures just to capture everything. But it’s also cause my picture taking skills suck.

The moment I’ve been waiting for all night, Valerie announcing that dinner is about to start…teehee.

Let’s start with the salads shall we?

Courtney, from Take it and Like it!, brought a Tzitziki & Pita, Garden Salad.

Kelley, from Cookbook Cooks, brought a Summer Chickpea Salad.

Jean, from May Contain Nuts, brought a Moroccan Quinoa Salad.

Mel, from Cellar Door, brought a Tabbouleh Salad.

King Crabby, who is also from May Contain Nuts, brought a Pickled Beet Salad.

Brooke, also from Take it and Like it!, brought Prosciutto & Fig Crostini.

FIG! Can you believe I’ve never had a fig before? Lynn, if you’re reading this, I FINALLY GOT TO TASTE A FIG! Okay, so it wasn’t a whole fig, just a slice of a fig, but you were right…YUMMERS! And so continues mission fig. Brooke, I’ll be stalking dropping by your blog soon to find out where you got those figs. Or if anyone knows where I can find fresh figs in Edmonton and would like to save Brooke from me stalking her blog, please shoot me an email or comment.

Sorry, got a bit sidetracked; that happens a lot with me (hubby is nodding his head in agreement). Back to the food shall we?

Lea, from XOX Lea Lea, brought Brochettes de Kefta.

Allan, from Button Soup brought a Goose Confit Ravioli with Celery Leaves and a Rhubarb Vinaigrette.

Kevin, from Kevin Kossowan, brought an Applewood Smoked Moose Tongue.

Bianca, from What’s For Dinner?, brought a warm Pesto Potato Salad.

Valerie, our gracious hostess, made Roasted Red Peppers. Not to mention, that huge bowl of punch you saw earlier, the taste tripping spread (which you’ll see later), and not one, but two huge Pavlovas (which you’ll also see later).

Maria, manager of the City Market, brought Sloppy Joe Bison Sliders.

Daniel (@DanPrime) brought Portuguese-Style Chicken and Rice.

Colleen, from How to Cook a Wolf, brought Chicken Tajine with Tomatoes Olives and Chickpeas as well as some homemade flat bread.

Chris, from Eating is the Hard Part, brought Puerco Pibil (also Cochinita Pibil). Hey Valerie, I hope you don’t mind me stealing this picture from you. By the time I got to this dish, everything was all gone (I can definitely see why).

Ms. Brûlée from The Brulee Blog brought a Pandan Agar Agar dessert, but I forgot to get a picture of it as she was passing it out around the room and I was too busy enjoying it. But you can get the recipe and see a picture of it by clicking on the Pandan Agar Agar link above.

Finally, I brought Fermented Tofu Sauce with Water Spinach. Or for those of you who understand Chinese, it’s also known as Fuyu Ong Choy.

I’m sorry if I’ve missed anybody’s dish, or if I made any mistakes on your dishes; please let me know and I’ll be glad to make the correction. So let the party begin!

Here’s my plate. Being the piggy that I am, I tried to stuff a little of everything on it. I was unsuccessful as I had to go back for a second plate to get everything I missed the first time. Let’s just say, Edmonton foodies/bloggers, you sure know how to work that kitchen! Everything was fantastic! A lot of these dishes were new to me but I enjoyed each and every one of them. They all had their own unique tastes. Now this is what a potluck is supposed to be like.

The next part of the party was quite an experience.

Ever heard of the miracle fruit or miracle berry? Well we tried the miracle berry tablets. You’re supposed to take one tablet, let it dissolve on your tongue without chewing or swallowing it, and smear it around your tongue as it’s dissolving. The tablet alters the sour and bitter taste buds on the tongue, causing sour foods to taste sweet.

Valerie is explaining what to do with the tablet as many of us had never tried this before.

As if there wasn’t enough food at the potluck, Valerie put out this beautiful spread just for the taste tripping.

She laid out grapefruits, limes, lemons, radishes, rhubarb, oranges, pineapples, tomatoes, olives, pickles, garlic, grapes, kiwi, brussels sprouts, strawberries, chocolate, salt and vinegar chips, cheese, sour cream, yoghurt, different sauces, and different beers.

Here’s my plate of samples.

The ones that surprised me most were the lime and lemon slices. Both of them tasted sweet, like lemonade. I liked them both so much that I took both slices from the hubby’s plate as well. The funny thing was, while the lime and lemon slices tasted sweet inside my mouth, the outside rim of my mouth and lips were burning from the sourness. I also enjoyed the strawberry, kiwi, and rhubarb, as they all had heightened sweetness to them.

We weren’t done just yet as Valerie brought out the final dessert for the night, Pavlova. This was the first time I had ever had Pavlova, and it knocked the socks off of me. Look at this beauty!

She not only made one, but two Pavlovas!

And look at the size of them!

They definitely tasted as delicious as they looked! I can’t wait till she posts the recipe.

What a wonderful taste tripping/potluck party/blogger meet up this was Valerie. As I’ve commented on your blog, you bring such life to the blogosphere, and I love your constant curiosity of the unknown. It was a pleasure to finally meet Vanja. Thank you muchly for the invite as this was the best potluck I have ever been to. What an experience!

To all the bloggers whom I got a chance to talk to that night, it was a pleasure meeting you all as well. It’s so nice to finally put faces to the blogs I stalk…err…I mean, read. I’m ashamed to say I haven’t had a chance to visit all of your blogs yet, but I’ll definitely be making my way around to everyone’s blogs soon.

I hope you all enjoyed reading this as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. If you want a much better explanation of the taste tripping, and better pictures, you can also check out Valerie’s post here. Food blogging totally rocks! Until next time friends and family.