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Shrimp Siu-Mai from the Yen Fung Ding Dumpling Shoppe

In the kitchen, one act of cooking typically precipitates one act of eating and one act of cleaning. Be it entertaining guests at a dinner party or preparing a Wednesday-night dinner, some dishes provide very high return on investment. Others do not. That is, some foods are more difficult to make than others. An entire industry of convenience foods was spawned to ensure that this investment of time and energy is minimized. An example of such foods include the myriad of frozen dinners that are now available in the frozen food aisle of the mega-mart.... | Continue reading article

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Tandoor-Baked Naan from Shafali Bazaar in the Byward Market

Naan is an Indian round flat bread that is typically too elaborate to make at home. This is especially true if you want authentic yeast leavened Naan because it is supposed to be cooked in a vertical clay oven, called a tandoor. According to wikipedia, tandoor ovens and the tandoori cuisine they gave rise to originated in Punjab regions of Northern Indian and Pakistan. They are traditionally fired with wood and reach temperatures of 480°C (900°F). To maintain these cooking temperatures, tandoor ovens are often left lit for long periods of time. Just try explaining... | Continue reading article

Holy Eggplant! – Local Woman Finds God in a Vegetable (August 12, 2007)

God Eggplant According to the Associated Press, a woman, named Felicia Teske, found herself in the presence of the almighty when she sliced an eggplant from a local roadside produce stand. Apparently, during its development, the eggplant’s seeds mysteriously arranged themselves to spell the word “G-O-D” when sliced. Seeing this, the Deleware county native and her husband promptly set aside a slice of eggplant, but cooked the rest for dinner. The image comes from abclocal.go.com. Regarding eggplant, save for baba ganoush, I largely dislike the vegetable in any preparation. Its distinctive bitter flavor is difficult... | Continue reading article

What does 120 Calories look like?

In the day and age where Coke and Pepsi have to amend their labeling to explain that their bottled water actually comes from the public water supply, I am left to wonder what else is on the label. Like every other packaged food from the mega-mart, labels on Aquafina and Dasani also have a breakdown of how many calories a “recommended serving” contains and what nutrients the serving provides. Sometimes, to keep the numbers low, recommended servings on some packaged foods can be as ludicrous as 6 potato chips or a half cup of cereal... | Continue reading article

Chicken-Stuffed Pitas from the Middle East Bakery

Middle East Bakery Front Window Counter Pita is traditional to many Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines as an ingredient and predominant component of meals. It is torn into pieces and used to scoop sauces or dips, such as hummus or baba ganoush. It is used to wrap sandwiches such as gyros, donairs, and shawarmas. Traditional pita is made by baking flattened rounds of dough at high temperatures, approximately 700°F. This causes air to expand inside of the round, puffing up the dough, and creating a pocket. When removed from the oven, the thin layers of baked... | Continue reading article

Maple Valley Tea World: Great Bubble Tea at a Reasonable Price

In 1983, a tea stand owner in Taiwan, named Liu Han-Chieh, originated the first bubble tea. According to bubbleteasupply.com, this concession owner was the first to add tapioca pearls to a cold infused tea drink that was already popular among elementary school children. The original tea drink was made by taking brewed tea and mixing it with powdered fruit flavorings to sweeten it. It was then served in clear plastic cups. Liu Han-Chieh topped the drink with tapioca pearls, which promptly sank to the bottom of the cup, and added a thick straw. The result... | Continue reading article

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We spent a day the “Turkish Way” – Notes from 2007′s Turkish Festival

One of the lesser promoted of Ottawa’s summer cultural festivals is the annual Turkish Festival. Unlike the much larger and week-long Lebanese or Greek festivals, the local newspapers barely mention the Turkish Festival. In particular, the Greek Festival is usually advertised weeks in advance of the event. During the Greek Festival, there is always an editorial, describing Greek food and how every year more and more lamb is served to attendees. The Turkish Festival shouldn’t be missed. Here are pictures and videos of the inaugural event from 2007: The inaugural event was held on a... | Continue reading article

Another form of Shawarma – grilled, not rotisserie

The friend of mine who introduced me to chicken shawarma platters from the Shawarma Palace, recently told me about a form of shawarma that borrows from the tradition, but is entirely prepared on a griddle. He further informed me that this form of shawarma is popular in Boston. Like me, my friend is used to the rotisserie prepared shawarma where the meat is cut from columns that are vertically roasted. This method of roasting chicken, lamb or beef produces meat that develops an intensely flavored crust. Shawarma Platter Outer Pita Grilled Chicken Menu During brunch... | Continue reading article