Friday, October 31, 2008

Crunky: The anti-Ikea Food

Crunky. What? How great is this chocolate bar wrapper? So great.

There is a Korean grocer near our new house, and we have discovered a few pretty great items, our favourite being Crunky. For $0.89 you can pick yourself up a Crunky. Okay, that was a stupid line but it's pretty fun to say/write the name Crunky.

Crunky is similar to a Nestle Crunch bar: thin, with rice crisps. The quality of chocolate is pretty poor, but so is most commercial chocolate. It's merely edible. But what a name.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Ikea Food

The other night on the way back from work (in Coquitlam. woot.) we stopped in at Ikea so a friend could grab some shelves. Needing to warm up, we got in line for a coffee. What the hell kind of cafe are they running at Ikea? 50¢ hotdogs, $1 pop, $1 cinnamon buns, $1 coffee (no variation). Super crappy cafeteria styles.

However, in the line up I spotted this little number: Choklad Ljus. $1 for 100g of milk chocolate in the most perfectly simple, clean and attractive packaging. Who was I to resist?

You may wonder what sort of quality one may expect from such cheap chocolate, and given the such inferior quality of everything else there*, I was wondering too. However, I was quite pleasantly surprised to tast a very rich, creamy milk chocolate. I usually choose the dark chocolate, but this wonderful bar reminded me why milk chocolate can be so good.

Thank you, Ikea Food. You make wonderful Choklad Ljus.

* The coffee was quite hot, which was nice. The cinnamon bun was dreadful, not at all worth it. I resisted the hotdogs.

Zoe's 1-hour bread

Fresh from Zoe's latest post over at Morning Toast, I decided to give this recipe a try. I've baked my fair share of bread in the past, but my production rate has dwindled over the years. Partly it's a matter of general laziness, but at times the three hour commitment is too much.

The recipe looks so easy: combine flour, water, yeast, salt and honey, and in one short hour, voila! fresh bread. Right now it's rising for 20 minutes, then it's in the oven for 20 minutes, then it's in my belly with butter and honey.

From Simple, Green, Frugal:

Preheat oven 450℉. Combine 1 1/2 cups warm water, 1 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 1/2 T dry yeast, 1 T honey in a bowl and sit until yeast is obviously active. Add 3-4 cups flour, stirring in with wooden spoon*, until it's no longer really sticky. Shape into a log. Let sit, covered, for 20 minutes. Bake for 20 minutes. Take out and after resisting for 5 minutes, slice off a chunk and eat with butter and honey slathered on.

Results: Just finished my second piece. Loverly. Chewy, moist, a bit crusty. I probably should have left it in a few more minutes, but I can handle slightly underdone bread. Thanks, Zo.

* because making bread requires using a wooden spoon. That's how my mom and dad did it, and that's how my children will do it.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Home-made sushi: Attempt #1

As a lovely housewarming gift, Nina and I were given a sushi kit. Bowls, plates, chopsticks, chopstick holders, bamboo mats, the whole bit. We decided to use them as soon as possible, and after a quick shop at our local Korean grocery store we had most of what we needed.

We had decided earlier that it was going to be only vegetarian: Fresh fish is difficult to find in our neighbourhood. We got right into the chopping, of mangoes, portabellos, green onions, red peppers, cucumber and asparagus. I checked out some sushi tips online, and started the rice and miso.

The rice ended up pretty bland. I needed to cook it with a bit of salt, perhaps, and the ratio I read for the vinegar was off (couldn't taste any difference). The texture was fine, I think, and it was properly sticky without being mushy.

Rolling out the maki was a tad difficult, shall we say. We didn't know how thick the rice should be, and my first (and only attempt) ended up as a thick log, not really even edible. Nina and her sister Emily took over, and we ended up with some fine rolls.

Unfortunately our soy sauce was dark, a little overpowering, and the wasabi was cheap and hot than flavourful.

So, the lessons:

1) More vinegar, salt and sugar in the rice.
2) Lighter soy sauce.
3) Better wasabi.
4) Thin rice.

We're going to try again, and soon I hope. I'm looking forward to trying fish, and trying the inside-out rolls with sesame on the rice.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Nina, Rebecca and I recently ate at Sushi-Yama, at Broadway and Guelph. I've been there a few times before, and always enjoyed it. We were eating dinner before going to friend's house for drinks on a Friday evening, not in a rush but not interested in a full meal experience.

We sat quickly with menus. I've had to wait there before, but they have since nearly doubled in size, so there were a few tables open. The wait table were very typical for a sushi place: fast, young Asian women, quick to smile and pour tea. We chose a few dishes to share and a few for ourselves. Our waitress came fairly quickly, and we ordered:

Garlic Tai (red snapper with roasted garlic in ponzu sauce)
Agedashi Tofu
Gyoza (pork and vegetable)
Miso soup all around
Negitoro maki (chopped tuna and green onion)
Japanese radish maki
Chopped scallop maki
and the amazing Salifornia roll: salmon, crab and something else in a huge deep-fried roll.

I also ordered a few pieces of nigiri: salmon belly, tuna and salmon.

The garlic tai was quite good (soft, barely warmed) but not as good as the tuna tataki which I've had before and we thought about ordering. I love ponzu sauce, and the garlic perfectly complemented the dish. The agedashi tofu was hot, soft, nicely crisp on the outside (lightly battered) and the broth wasn't too salty. The rolls and gyoza were fine (not outstanding, but it's pretty cheap); the Salifornia roll was a monster of deep-fried fishiness. I would hesitate before ordering it again but it was a fun experience.

The nigiri were disappointing, and I won't order those pieces again. The salmon was rubbery, the tuna oily (didn't even try it). We never received our miso soup, an oversight that can be forgiven once.

In total the bill was $29.90, and we were fu-ull. I will definitely go back (it's only three blocks from my house), but I will have to think about the nigiri. It's no Toshi's, that's ferdamnsure, but nothing is.

Friday, October 10, 2008

I eat

I eat food. I like food. I like eating food at restaurants. I will be writing about the times I eat out, regardless of where or what type of food or restaurant, from the most common Vietnamese sandwich to the most delicate and pricey seafood.