Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"A Passion for Cooking", with Barry Londry

It seems that food and cooking is everything in Barry's life. So much of what Barry does is related to food -- whether working in community gardens, helping to plant fruit trees, or volunteering at a local community kitchen. This passion led to a career in cooking, and a keen interest in the cooking styles from a diversity of culinary traditions, including Asian. One of his favorite recipes is below.

Malaysian Chicken
Serves 4-5

3 lbs chicken thighs (about 8-10 pieces)
1 large red bell pepper cut into 3/4" pieces
1 large onion cut into 3/4" pieces
3/4 lb baby bok choy (preferably Bok Choy Mue)
1 or 2 Tblsp. curry powder (to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tblsp. canola oil
1 can coconut milk (approx 400 ml)
1 1/2 cups water
2 or 3 whole star anise
2 or 3 stalks lemongrass (outer dry leaf/leaves removed and cut to about 5-6" long)
1 Tblsp chili garlic sauce

Using half of the curry powder and the salt and pepper, season both sides of the chicken.
Heat a very large pan on medium high heat.
Add the oil and brown both sides of the chicken.
The chicken should cook for approximately 3 minutes per side.
Use 2 pans to cook or brown in batches.

Remove chicken from the pan.
Add the onion and red bell pepper to the pan.
Add the rest of the curry powder.
Stir and cook for about 3-4 minutes.

With the back of a large kitchen knife, gently bruise the lemongrass to release its essential oils.
Add the coconut milk, water, star anise, lemongrass and baby bok choy to the pan.

Stir gently to mix.
Heat to a boil, and then reduce heat to a gentle simmer.
Simmer for about 25 minutes or until done.
It will be done when an "instant read" thermometer reads 165 degrees, or the juices run clear when pierced with a knife near the bone.

Turn off the heat.
Add the chili garlic sauce.
Stir to blend all ingredients.

Serve with rice.

"Pasta Memories" with Maria Buono

Maria Buono has been in Canada for much of her life, after emigrating from Italy. Still, her memories of Italy are strong, particularly of food and its association with family. We get a sense from Maria's story that food has alwarys been a very important part of her life. In this school cooking group, we prepared a simple but much loved recipe of tomato sauce and pasta.

Tomato Sauce and Pasta

1 can crushed tomato
1 can tomato paste
Diced onions
Basil, oregano, bay leaves
Salt and pepper
1 package any type of pasta
Parmesan cheese

Saute onion and garlic in oil for a few minutes.
Add tomato.
Add water if needed.
Bring to a boil.
Add in basil, oregano, bay leaves and any other preferred spices to taste.
Simmer at least half an hour.
Salt and pepper to taste.

Cook the pasta in a large pot with lots of water to prevent sticking.
Bring to a boil, and slow boil until ready.

Top with parmesan cheese.

Friday, March 18, 2011

"A True Dominicana" with Ironelys Lugo

There is an expression in the Dominican Republic that if you do not eat Plantain, you are not a True Dominicana. Plantain, as well as Yucca (also known as "Cassava"), are perhaps the most enjoyed foods from the Dominican Republic. There are many ways to prepare these foods, though the most common is fried or "frito". Ironelys Lugo is a True Dominicana. Her love of her culture and its food is very apparent in this story.

Ripe or green plantains *

Peel the plantain and slice lengthwise into 2-inch thin strips.
Fry in a generous amount of oil about 5 minutes, or until golden brown.
Remove the plantain chips and let drain on paper towels.

Fried ripe plantains go well as a side dish for almost any meal.

* Ripe plantains are sweet and soft, and are brownish-black in colour. They resemble overripe bananas.
Green plantains can also be fried. These are called "Tostones". They are tasty , but with a less sweet flavour.

** Optional: sprinkle cheese-- feta, grated mozzarella, monterey jack or fontina -- on the chips, if you want to experience saltiness contrasting with the sweetness of the plantain.

Yucca Frita (Fried Cassava)

Yucca (Cassava) roots

In a large pot, cover the yucca with water.
Add salt and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium-low and cook about 15-20 minutes or until tender.
Let the yucca cool down.
Cut the cooked yucca into 2-inch strips.
Fill a large frying pan with enough vegetable oil to cover strips, and heat to 350 degrees.
When the oil is hot, place the yucca strips into the heated oil carefully.
Fry them until golden brown on both sides (about 6-8 minutes).
Remove the yucca pieces and drain on paper towels.

Sprinkle with salt and serve.

"Healthy Chicken & Rice Soup -- Guatemalan Style" with Julia Garcia

Chicken Soup is an all round favorite food, especially when we are sick. Julia Garcia chose this recipe for its health benefits. She often made this Guatemalan style soup for her family to give everyone lots of energy - for things like dancing! A particularly enjoyable flavour in this recipe is the hint of fresh mint.

Arroz Cocido o Sopa Aguado (Cooked Rice Soup)

1/2 lb rice
1 chicken (or equivalent parts)
1/2 bag mixed vegetables (green beans, carrots, peas, corn)
2 tomatoes
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 red and 1 green bell pepper
Bunch of fresh mint
2 litres of water or more as needed
Salt and pepper

Saute peppers, onion and garlic.
Chop tomato finely and add to saute.
Cut chicken into small cubes.
Bring the rice with the chicken to a boil.
When it is boiling, add the sauteed ingredients.
Add the chopped mint.
Add salt and pepper and the mixed vegetables and cook for another 15 minutes.
Add more water if necessary so it remains as a soup.

Serve in bowls accompanied by bread or tortilla.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

"A Traditional Nisga'a Dinner" with Teresa Mark

Salmon is unquestionably BC's most important fish. For the Nisga'a and all Westcoast First Nations, salmon is a mainstay in their diet and a critical food in maintaining First Nations' culture. Teresa Mark shares with us her love of cooking and a traditional Nisga'a meal with salmon, smoked salmon, bannock, veggies, and wild rice. Absolutely delicious.


Nisga’a Salmon Dinner

Fillet the salmon and cut into smallish pieces
Roll salmon in a flour mix
Sprinkle with seasoning salt and pepper
Fry in hot skillet about 3 or 4 minutes each

Smoked Salmon

This can be heated up and eaten warm.
Either cut in small pieces and boil for a few minutes or heat in the oven

Brown Rice

Prepare with ancient grains or wild rice and follow directions
Finely chop red pepper, onions, celery onion, and carrots
Sauté the veggies with some garlic
Mix in with rice after it is cooked
Add seasoning to taste


Lightly steam any variety of vegetables
Season and add a little butter.
Boil up some mini potatoes.
Add some butter or Ooligan grease.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

"Japanese Chow Mein" with Patricia Naomi Yodogawa-Wood

Steveston was a thriving village prior to the demise of the BC canneries. It was also home to many Japanese Canadians who worked in the canneries and as fishermen. Patricia Naomi Yodogawa-Wood grew up in Steveston where her father and grandfather were fishermen. One of the pictures in this video shows a family fishing boat, also named Naomi. Patricia shares with us a dish she likes to make when cooking for her large family. After you watch her demonstration in the video below, try the recipe!

Japanese-style Chicken Chow Mein

1 boneless breast of chicken (sliced thinly)
1/2 package "Farkay" Chinese-style steam-fried noodles
1 small onion (thinly sliced)
1 carrot (cut julienne style)
2 celery stalks (sliced thinly)
2 handfuls of bean sprouts
2 Tbsp of canola/mazola oil
Salt/Pepper to taste
1 cube chicken boillon in 1 cup very hot water (mixed)
Soya Sauce to add when serving

In a wok (heated) add oil until hot.
Add chicken and stir until cooked.
Add sliced carrots, onion, celery, and bean sprouts and stir.
Cover for about 5 minutes until vegetables are tender.
Add noodles (1/2 package) and 1 cup of chicken stock.
Cover and cook until noodles are soft. Stir occasionally.

Serve with hot rice and Soya Sauce.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

"The Story of Mole" with Erika Linares

While we may think of enchiladas or tacos as the most notable food from Mexico, in fact Mole is considered Mexico's national dish. Much loved by Mexicans everywhere, it is believed that Mole has a religious foundation. Erika shares one version of the Mole story, where it was part of Aztec rituals. In another story she tells about the beginning of Mole due to a nun's quick thinking in a colonial Spanish convent. It might be noted that, currently, cooking and eating Mole is regarded as an act of resistance against the proliferation of fast food restaurants.

Mole Poblano

1 chicken or equivalent chicken parts
8 anchos chiles (guajillos)**
15 mulatos chiles **
2 pasillas chiles **
1 chipotle chile
3 medium green tomatoes, chopped (jitomales)
50 grams of almonds
50 grams of raisins
2 tblsp of roasted peanuts
1/2 loaf of French bread crumbs
1 crushed fried tortilla
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 medium sized onion
4 cloves of garlic
1 bar chocolate
1/2 cup of oil
salt to taste

** Mexican chiles are only available in Mexican stores, though substitutes could also be used.

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to skillet and cook until brown on all sides, about 12 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook until almost cooked through (approximately 20-25 minutes). Set aside.
Grind the almonds and peanuts.

Combine the chiles, onion, garlic, tomatoes, almonds, peanuts, tortilla, bread crumbs, raisins, cloves, cinnamon. Saute in oil and cook about 15 minutes. When cooked, puree small amounts of this mixture in a blender until smooth. Add a small amount of water each time to make it smooth. Cook the sauce another hour.

Add the cooked chicken to the mole sauce and leave it cooking for at least another 25 minutes. Add some chicken broth if needed as the sauce should be very thick. Add the chocolate.
When finished, sprinkle some ground peanut on top.

Serve with rice and tortilla.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

"An Italian Family Dinner" with Linda Massaro

Italians have enormous pride in their food. Who does not love and appreciate Italian food for its good quality and great taste? In fact, it was in Italy that the Slow Food Movement was born -- not only as an alternative to "fast food", but also to preserve local food traditions. In this story, Linda Massaro tells us about the very important tradition of eating together as a family.

After you watch this video, you might want to try making the recipe below.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

1- 1/2 lbs. of spaghetti
3 large eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1-3 tbls. olive oil
2 oz pancetta**, coursely chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
Salt, pepper, parsley

-Boil the spaghetti in a large pot of salted water. Use lots of water, which helps avoid the pasta from sticking.
-In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, add salt, pepper and parsley.
-In a large fry pan, cook the pancetta in olive oil until cooked. Add the onions and cook until they turn colour.
-Drain the spaghetti and add to the fry pan. Toss to coat with the olive oil.
-Add the egg mixture and cheese. Toss together until the egg is cooked.
-Add more cheese and freshly grated pepper.

**Pancetta is an Italian salt-cured bacon. For more authentic Abruzzese taste, use Pecorino Romano cheese and add a little Diavoletto red pepper when you add the onion.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"Sylvia's Salvadoran Empanadas" with Sylvia Hernandez

Son deliciosas. "I love Empanadas" is what people say. Empanadas de Platano is a favorite of Sylvia’s children. Made from plantain, a type of banana, empanadas are a sweet food enjoyed as a desert or appetizer and are very popular food in El Salvador. Many street venders sell these on the streets of El Salvador.

Empanada De Platano de Leche Poleada y de Frijoles
Plantain Empandas with Milk or Refried Beans

4 ripe plantains
½ cup sugar

1 can refried beans for filling (or prepare from scratch)

Leche Poleada filling

½ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 ½ cups milk
4 tbs cornstarch

Preparing Leche Poleada

In a saucepan bring 2 cups of milk to a boil together with the cinnamon, lemon zest, sugar and salt. Dissolve the cornstarch with the remaining milk and add to the saucepan stirring constantly until it gets thick. Let it cool down before using.

Preparing the Plantain

Wash the Plantains and cut it into chunks with the skin on. Cook until tender, drain off, remove the skin and mash them until getting a smooth kind of dough. Place it in a bowl and lay it on the fridge until completely cool

With your hand, take a small amount of Plantain and form into a 6 inch tortita (tortilla)

Place in the middle enough Leche Poleada or Frijoles. Fold over and give it a half moon shape, pinching the sides to enclose the filling. Deep fry Empanadas until golden brown. Put them out on paper towels to soak up excess oil.

Dust the Empanadas with sugar.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"Chicken for Hard Times" with Sara Beaulieu

In Chile, during the years 1973 till the late 1980's era of political repression and economic uncertainty, a variety of food was hard to find at times. During these times families found creative ways of taking the same old food and mixing up the recipes and preparation. In this way, food always tasted different.

Chicken Marinade in Soya Sauce

8 chicken legs, thighs or breasts (pollo)
¾ cup oil (aceite)
¾ cup soya sauce (salsa soya)
3 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
3 teaspoons dry mustard (mostaza seca)
1 1/2 teaspoons finally chopped garlic (ajo)
5 teaspoons red wine vinegar (vinagre de vino)
3 cups water (agua)
9 chopped green onions (cebollitas verdes picadas pequenas)
3 1/2 cups of chicken stock (caldo de pollo)
2 teaspoons corn starch (fecula de maiz)
1 tablespoon lemon juice (limon)
salt (sal)

In a bowl combine and mix oil, soya sauce, worcestershire, the mustard. Add the garlic, the red wine vinegar and the lemon juice. Mix all.

Put the chicken in a bowl with the sauce. Add the water and the green onions. Allow the chicken to marinate for an hour in the fridge.

Heat up the oil in a fry pan to a high heat. Add the chicken and fry 4 or 5 minutes all sides. Add 1 cup of marinade sauce and cook for another 3 minutes. Mix the chicken stock, along with the cornstarch and a little water. Cover and cook at a high heat for about 35 minutes. Serve with cooked rice.