What are we doing for lunch today?

"Come on guys, it's Friday. Let's go to Upstairs" - T. Koop

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Christmas eve

So I had picked up some beef shanks from Eurotrash (midway down the page) a couple of weeks ago and had this grand plan to make braised beef shank with mashed potatoes and kale for Christmas Eve. I was going to braise the shanks in red wine along with some mushrooms, onions, and tomatoes. So at around 4pm on the 24th, I started to chop the veggies and take out the defrosted meat. I took out my Lagostina pasta pot and put it on the heat to get it ready to brown the beef. I realized that the meat hadn't fully defrosted so I stuck it in the microwave for a couple minutes while I prepared the spice rub - some paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder, cayenne - and then put the rub onto the meat:
All rubbed up, the shanks were ready to be browned. I grabbed my Becel oil and poured it into the pasta pot. I heard a "fwoosh" and watched as the oil caught on fire - I guess the thick base of the pasta pot allowed it to heat up beyond the fire point (?) of the oil!! In my haste to put out the fire, I didn't cover the pot but instead reached for the fire extinguisher (in my defense, the flames were up to the fume hood). The fire extinguisher did the trick, but it also left yellow dust everywhere:
The dust got into cracks everywhere in the kitchen, and all over veggies and meat that were going to go into the braise (so we had to chuck it). As well, the fume hood was tinged with a gray that could only be removed by several applications of Vim. So after about 3 hours of cleaning, we decided to go for Japanese food.

And I had to toss the pot. Damn.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Recipe: Sauteed Green Beans

This is a simple recipe inspired by something I had at Lee (check out the ridiculously pretentious flash page). It's a pretty versatile side dish.

The ingredients are pretty simple and you can always have them on hand.

Oyster Sauce (this happens to be Mei Wei Yuan Golden Mark Oyster Sauce)
Green Beans (frozen works fine)
Something Spicy (ground chilies in this case)

I also include red peppers too, but I didn't have any handy.

Mincde up a garlic clove and sautee that up. Add some of the hot stuff (chilies or ust hot sauce), defrost the beans and toss that in. When the beans are cooking dump a bunch of the oyster sauce on it and watch that shit thicken. I like it nice and saucy. And there you have it.


Friday, December 23, 2005

Christmas dinner

Did your big Christmas dinner plans fell through? Got a bunch of hungry mouths to feed? I was on Queen St. West today having a $2 sausage ($1 for hot dogs) and noticed that at least one guy is giving away free hotdogs on Christmas day from 3-6pm. NE corner of Queen and Spadina. That's all I know.


Went to Furama on Spadina for post-dim sum dessert on Wed.

Not much to say other than the item on the right was labelled Pineapple Butter Cake but was really some kind of pork dumpling. Two people tasted it and were like "Eww, it's kinda salty". The cakes are okay, not that sweet.

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Recipe: Pupusas

This is an easy recipe the latino favorito, pupusas. Pupusas are simply a stuffed flat bread. You can use all sorts of filling, but this recipe is for black bean.

For the filling sautee some finely chopped onions with some black beans (from a can). Toss in some latinish spices or pepper if thaz what you gots. Warm that shit up and kinda mash up the beans, but don't mash the crap outta them.

Start with Corn Masa Mix, this is just ground up corn and you can get it in Latin American grocery stores and most non-ass supermarkets. It's what's used for tortillas, pupusas, tamales, all that crap. Sometimes they call it masa repa.

Use the masa and just add water make a pasty dough. Take a small ball and make a disk about 4 inches (101.6 mm) across and put a golf ball sized quantity of bean goop in the centre. Fold it up like a dumpling and flatten it out.

The trick is getting it flat and even as possible without the bean leaking through. So now you have a layer of bean sandwiched between corny outer shells.

Just toast those units up on a griddle (or a dry frying pan if that's all you gots) and viola!

This stuff is good topped with some salsa (aka chopped up tomatoes w. onions and cilantro).

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Turkey Dinner at John's

Went to John's for the Turkey Dinner. They've done some re-painting of the walls there. There are also some Christmas ornaments everywhere. The turkey dinner came with a few small pieces of turkey, some steamed vegetables, two scoops of mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and standard John's gravy, and a toasted roll. As usual, the bread was a bit stale. The turkey had some nice flavour, although it'd have been nice to have more. I guess for $5.50 one can't complain too much. Mind you, with a diet coke, it ended up being $7.50 which isn't that cheap.

All in all, nothing mind blowing either way. But hey, what's Christmas without John's?

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