Archive for February, 2011

My Guilty Pleasure, Because I’m Shameless

Deep fried oyster wraps. Yes, you read right, deep fried oyster wraps. Don’t knock em till you’ve tried em ;-). I wasn’t going to post this because well… honestly? I was a bit ashamed to. It’s no secret, when some people hear the words “deep fried”, they turn and run in the other direction. So when the BFF came over and asked if I’ve been making anything new? These of course came straight to mind (there are no secrets between BFF’s).  Then when she asked if I was going to do a post on them, my response was, “Heck no, woman! Are you crazy?!’. The truth was that I didn’t want the blogging world knowing that I eat this kind of stuff. By “this kind of stuff” I mean something Richard Simmons wouldn’t touch even with a five foot pole.

Truth be told, I’m no Richard Simmons. I mean, dude is adorable and all but, well…let’s just stop there for both our sakes. Anyways, this is what I eat, this is my blog, and I really enjoyed the meal so why not share it? My blog is not a health blog and I am not here to try to make myself look like an all around healthy eater. So BFF, this one’s for you ;-). This recipe makes about 6 oysters. I used one oyster per wrap. My hubby, also known as “The Hungry Hubby”, used 2 oysters per wrap. What veggies you choose to use in the wrap is up to you. Also, I don’t have a deep fryer so these instructions are for deep frying in a 5 – 6 quart sauce pan.

Ingredients for deep fried oysters (makes about 6 medium sized oysters):

  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs beaten 
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 2 quarts vegetable oil (or just enough to cover the oysters)

Instructions:

1. Have everything for deep frying laid out and ready to go. Place flour, eggs, and bread crumbs in separate containers.

2. Fill a sauce pan with enough vegetable oil to cover two oysters at a time and heat the oil on high heat for five minutes.

3. After five minutes, turn oil down to medium heat.

4. Roll oyster around in flour until completely covered. Shake off extra flour.

5. Dip oyster in eggs until fully covered. Flip to cover the other side.

6. Roll oyster in Panko bread crumbs until fully covered.

7. Carefully and slowly slide oyster into the oil and fry for about one and a half minutes per side or until both sides are golden brown. (No longer than two minutes per side.)

8. Drain fried oysters on paper towel.

Because I’m such a (in the words of my hubby) “DORK”, no worries, I’ve called him much worse (naughty wink and smirk), I used my tomato plate in an attempt to make it look more healthy, but who am I kidding? This is pure guilty pleasure. There, consider that your warning ;-).

Ingredients for wraps: (makes 2 wraps)

  • 1 handful spinach
  • 1 handful bean sprouts
  • 1 small sweet pepper sliced into strips
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese
  • Thai sweet red chili sauce
  • 2 tortilla shells
  • 1 or 2 deep fried oysters per wrap

I bought this Thai sweet red chili sauce from Costco – LOVE IT!

The assembly:

A bit of an Asian wrap, I’d say :-).

Can’t forget my beloved cheese :-P.

This is optional, but I wrapped it and microwaved it for 30 seconds just to melt the cheese. I like my cheese ooey gooey. I left one end open because it was too hard to wrap up both ends.

Peek-a-boo.

I-see-you!

See those streaks? Sauce started dripping out the bottom end so I shamelessly tried to swipe it up with my wrap. 

This was the best wrap I’ve ever had. Hubby agreed and we both wondered why nobody sells these (not that we know of at least). They’re so so easy, quick, and delicious. Definitely not an eat two or three times a week type of meal, but if you’re looking for something quick, fun, a bit naughty and delicious to eat, this is your meal. If you don’t have the sauce, please look for it. This sauce and the deep fried oysters are the stars of this meal. This recipe and wrap would work well with shrimp also. Enjoy!

I washed this down with some Chrysanthemum Tea.

Chrysanthemum tea is known to help aid digestion of greasy foods. It is also “classified as a cool, acrid herb which is good for relieving heat of the upper body“. You can read more about the benefits and nutritional value of chrysanthemum tea here.

So, BFF…when are you coming over for some deep fried oyster wraps? Oh, and it’s obvious by now that I have no problem using the term BFF like a giddy little teenage girl. No offense to any teenage girls reading this. If anything, I’d much rather be your age again, trust me. Until next time, friends and family :-D.

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Dinner at Pagolac South Side

 Had another dinner at Pagolac restaurant, but south side this time. I’ve blogged about this restaurant before here. We started out with the deep fried squid.

Then had some butter garlic chicken wings. The other two dishes are raw beef, shrimp, and squid.

Don’t worry, we didn’t eat them sashimi style. They were cooked in this mini hot-pot with sliced white and green onions and a vinegar-y broth.

Then wrapped with vermicelli in rice paper.

Don’t forget the veggies.

Fish sauce, not straight out of the bottle though. This is mixed with sugar, lime juice, water and white vinegar. Most of the time you’ll also find shredded carrots and chopped garlic in your fish sauce at Vietnamese restaurants.

This was not on the menu but the owner made us two dishes of deep fried soft-shell crab. The sauce in the middle is just mayonnaise. Needless to say, this was my favorite dish. If you’ve never had soft-shell crab before, I highly recommend it. The whole crab is dipped in a tempura batter and deep fried. Yes, you eat everything including the shells.

Ended the night with a group picture. From left to right: Pagolac’s owner (uncle), Mom’s friend from Yellow Knife, Dad, Mom, myself , and of course my kiddies. Yes, that’s why we keep going to Pagolac, cause it’s family owned. Don’t get me wrong though, we still pay when we go. Do you see the resemblance between the owner and my Dad?

And there’s my uncle with his famous, “I can dance while balancing a beer bottle on my head” performance. Gosh I love him!

Since this is a family owned restaurant, I didn’t want to comment on the dishes and risk sounding biased. Guess you’ll just have to try for yourselves ;-). This post was actually in my drafts folder so it’s an older one that I forgot to post.

Have you ever tried soft shell crab before? If you ever get a chance to try it, I highly recommend it. Until next time, friends and family :-D.

Olive Oil Flatbread

 A couple of weeks ago I was able to attend the Greek Escapes cooking class, one of Valerie’s culinary classes. We learned how to make hummus, babaganoush, tzatziki, roasted red pepper salad, and olive oil flatbread.

Unfortunately I only snapped a few pictures because well, I was too busy learning how to cook. For that reason, I wasn’t going to do a post on this so I didn’t take anymore pictures when I was done cooking either. I was just going to wait for Valerie’s post so I could comment on how great the class was, but when I heard that Valerie’s pictures didn’t turn out and she wasn’t able to do a post either, I felt really bad. So my dear friend, this post is for you. I hope my flatbread makes you proud.

When we arrived at 8:30 in the morning, Valerie had already laid out this beautiful spread for us. Talk about treating your guests and customers right.

The cooking stations were all ready to go as well. Unfortunately, this was the last picture I got for that cooking lesson. There were 6 of us and believe me, we were all busy, busy, busy (in a good way of course).

Originally I wanted to take the class to learn how to make her amazing red pepper salad. I first got a taste of it at Valerie’s taste tripping party (if I remember correctly). Those were the best red peppers I had ever tasted, so I knew this class was my chance to learn.

As I mentioned above, we made hummus, tzatziki, babaganoush, red pepper salad, and flatbread. I had never even heard of babaganoush until that day, but my first taste blew me away. I absolutely loved it! Even though it’s a dip, I ate it by the spoonfuls when I got home – so good! Although everything tasted fantastic, I’d have to say that the star of the lesson for me was the flatbread.

I wished I had gotten a better picture of it, but when I got home my little savages tore right into it. Ok so did I, but can you blame me? Look at this beauty. Well, what’s left of it in this picture anyways.

That wonderful perfectly baked to a golden brown top, sprinkled with fresh rosemary and coarse salt fluffiness had me dreaming of bread making all week. I was in love, in love with the taste of this glorious bread and in love with bread making; and when you’re in love, you chase the object of your affection. Am I right foodies? 😉

Those smiles right there are the reason why I’m learning to bake. 

Valerie is a Richard Bertinet fan, so the technique she taught us to knead our dough was the same technique she learned from Mr. Bertinet himself. For all you bread making lovers (yes Denise and Biren, I’m talking to you) here’s a link to a video of this unique technique. (Thank you for emailing me that link,Valerie.)

After learning this technique and tasting that wonderful olive oil flatbread, I fell in love with bread making. Valerie not only taught me the technique, but she installed baking confidence in me. Confidence that lead me to make my very first bread on my own (bread that involves kneading, that is). If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that baking and I aren’t very good friends, so for me to actually feel confident in baking is pretty huge.

This dough was so soft and smooth (yes, kinda like a baby’s bum bum), it blew me away. 

Salting the bread before putting it into the oven. You’ll notice I chose to leave out the rosemary as my kiddies were not big fans of it. I highly recommend it though.

Such a classic baking picture isn’t it?

The bread is finally done. Putting one last layer of olive oil on it. Mmm…olive oil.

It didn’t look as pretty without the rosemary though. Valerie, I hope I’ve made you proud with this bread. Thank you for the wonderful cooking lessons, I will never forget them. I’m sorry your pictures didn’t turn out. Hopefully this will at least put a smile on your face and a warm feeling in your heart 😀 

The next day, kiddies had this for a snack (one piece each). I don’t think I will ever buy a bread making machine, kneading is just too fun. Why let the machine have all the fun, right?

So tell me, do you have a favorite bread recipe? Feel free to add links to your comments. Until next time friends and family. Happy bread making 😀

Olive Oil Flatbread  (recipe from the Greek Escapes class)

Ingredients

  • 18 ounces, 475g, 3 3/4 to 3 7/8 cups white bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons, 30g semolina
  • 1/2 ounce fresh, 1/3 ounce dry, 1 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons really good fine grain salt (sea salt)
  • 5 tablespoons EVOO
  • 11 1/2 ounces, just over 12 fl oz, 350g water
  • 4 tablespoons EVOO or more
  • few sprigs of rosemary
  • good quality coarse salt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 500 F.
  2. Mix flour and semolina; rub the yeast with finger tips.
  3. Add salt, EVOO, and water all at once into the bowl.
  4. Mix ingredients until they come together in the bowl and mix for a few minutes more.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a very, very lightly floured surface and work the dough until it is ready to proof.
  6. Rest dough in an oiled bowl for one hour covered with a lint free cloth in a warm place.
  7. Use rounded end of the scraper and turn dough out on an oiled tray.
  8. Drizzle oil over the dough; use fingers to push and prod the dough to spread it from the centre toward the edges of the tray trying NOT to stretch or pull it.
  9. Cover with lint free dish towel and rest warm and draft free for 45  minutes.
  10. Prod the dough again, dimpling it with your fingers, and rest for 30 minutes more.
  11. Take rosemary needles and push them gently in evenly over the dough.
  12. Sprinkle dough with coarse salt and immediately put it in preheated oven.
  13. Turn heat down to 425 F for 25 to 30 minutes until light golden brown.
  14. Cook on wire rack and brush with EVOO while still hot.

 

Happy Chinese New Year!

Most of my family are out of town this Chinese New Year so there won’t be any big feast for us. I just wanted to take this time to wish all my Chinese and Vietnamese readers a happy and prosperous Chinese New Year! Also, thank you very much to all of you who left me comments on my guest post over on Mary’s blog. I really enjoyed reading all of them and appreciate you taking the time to drop by.

Happy New Year!

恭喜發財!

Chúc Mừng Nǎm Mới!

I’ll be back after the weekend with a food post, I promise. Until next time, friends and family :-D.