Tag Archives: fast

Vancouver Streetfood: Roaming Dragon Pan-Asian

I love streetfood: tasty, no fuss, eat-it-while-u-walk snacks that make my tummy happy without breaking my budget. I especially love the kind of streetfood that’s more than just a snack, it’s a real treat. The sight of a quality streetfood vendor should provoke the same kind of primitive Pavlovian response as the sound of the Ice Cream Man and make me come runnin’ with a handful of loonies. Gingerman and I have found exactly that vendor.

Four Little Dishes = One Great Meal

The Roaming Dragon is like a tapas bar on wheels. They offer a selection of fresh, fun, Asian-fusion goodies that go beyond preconceived notions of “food cart” cuisine. We spotted the truck visiting Kits Point near Arbutus and Whyte, and they have made appearances at Vancouver Farmers Markets. We selected 3 dishes for $15 and took advantage of their “Dragonista” twitter promo for a free Lychee Lemonade. Great deal!

Connect with Roaming Dragon for up-to-date locations and info!

Twitter     @Dragontruck
Website    www.roamingdragon.com
Facebook  www.facebook.com/DragonTruck

Things we love @ Roaming Dragon:

  • EVERYTHING! The flavours are there, man!
  • Perfect portions for a snack or light lunch.
  • 2-3 items + Lychee Basil Lemonade = a nice picnic for two.
  • Soba Noodles are vegetarian, and tofu can sub for duck in confit salad.

Lychee Basil Lemonade ~ Cool, tart, sweet, and refreshing.

Nice twist on a summertime standard. Basil is related to mint, and adding it to the mix was brilliant. The drink has unexpected texture, with little chunks of lychee swimming around, and is served with a wide straw. Personally, I’m not a big fan of lychee, but Gingerman liked the drink so much we came back later and bought a second one.

Duck Confit Salad ~ Savory, melt-in-your-mouth duck confit served warm on a bed of young green things with little chunks of pineapple and watermelon.

I loved the addition of watermelon. It gave a completely different contrast in texture and flavour than the pineapple, and both fruits make good company for duck. As a whole, it was nicely balanced and not too sweet. Requires a fork or chopsticks (if you’re the civilized sort).

Short Rib Tacos ~ Korean style shortrib cradled in a tiny soft taco with a little nori, some greens, carrots, and bean sprouts.

Nicely spiced sort of East meets West take on tacos el pastor. This was the dish I most wanted to try, and it was a NUMMY success!

Rice Balls ~ Crispy fried balls of fried rice.

I know, it sounds deadly, but taste was the payoff. The coating was crispy and quite thin, just doing its job at holding the rice in shape. The rice was a little creamy, with an aroma of 5-spice and the taste of soy in the background. On top, a little drizzle of golden sauce with hints of curry—yum!

*Pork Belly Sliders ~ Tender morsel of pork, thin-sliced cucumber, tasty sauce, soft bun.

Char Siu Bau magically transformed into a dim-sum slider! Skeptical at first, I took one bite and was hooked. Ingenious and delicious.

*NOTE: I confess, when Gingerman listed options from the menu, pork belly was not my first pick. I’ve had a few bad experiences with greasy, chewy pork belly at restaurants, and didn’t want to spend our dough on the possibility of disappointment. However, after we paid for our main order, the hubs let slip that I was planning to blog about the food, and Dragontruck threw in the sliders gratis. I thank them from the bottom of my stomach. Totally loved them!

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We are all Julia’s Children.

A while back, I had the pleasure of seeing Julie & Julia on the big screen. I don’t typically shell out movie theater dollars to watch a pseudo-documentary (Big Screen money is for Star Wars, the Terminator movies, and Beowulf 3-D), but this was special. I grew up with Julia Child.

Every Saturday on PBS, I’d sit with Mommie Dearest and my sisters while the menfolk were off somewhere getting dirty, and we’d learn how to roast a goose, bake a gateaux, and flip an omelette. By the time I came along, Julia was in color, but reruns of the black and white show were frequent.

It didn’t matter whether we ever tried her recipes or not. We loved her. She made cooking significant and entertaining. And because of Julia, we began to explore more sophisticated flavours and techniques. My brothers can make roadkill stew. My sisters and I can make burgundy beef. It pays to watch Public Television. Between Julia Child and Betty Crocker, there were a lot of good eats at our house.

It’s my birthday week, and I’m glad to be here to share something I learned from la plus belle chef du monde: a simple recipe for Potato Leek Soup. I had a plan to attempt Julia’s Boeuf Bourguignon for the first time, but the recipe is involved and I wanted something to sate our hunger until the big dish was ready. Soup was just the ticket. Both recipes came from Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom, a small book compared to her others, but chock full of basic master recipes and excellent tips for everything from preparation to garnish. It’s an essential reference on my kitchen bookshelf. The Boeuf Bourguignon was also a great success, but that post is for another day. I’m still enjoying the leftovers.

Potato Leek Soup

This is the very first recipe in Kitchen Wisdom, and with good reason. It’s in a section called “Primal Soups” which Julia calls “the least complicated and often the most loved.”  Its versatility is extraordinary, served hot or cold, you can leave it chunky and brothy or puree it smooth and add something creamy. To boost the flavour, I chose to use both chicken stock and water, and I sauteed the leeks briefly in a teaspoon of rendered bacon fat. Don’t panic, it’s one itty bitty teaspoon in a whole 2 quarts of soup (that’s at least 6 servings, more if you stretch the leftovers a bit with some extra milk or cream).

Preparing Leeks:

  • One big leek plus one small leek yeilded about three cups sliced. You’ll use most of the white part and some of the green part.
  • Cut off the root and a few inches off the top leaves.
  • Split the leeks in half lengthwise and spread them apart under cold running water to remove any dirt between the layers.
  • Slice the leeks crosswise into thin strips.

In a saucepan over medium heat, briefly saute 3 cups sliced leeks in 1 tsp bacon fat (or olive oil or butter). Add 3 cups of chicken stock, 3 cups of water, 1 1/2 tsp salt, fresh ground black pepper, and 4 baking potatoes (peeled and diced).

Bring the pot to a boil and simmer about 20-30 minutes until potato chunks are tender. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup sour cream. Taste and add more S&P if needed.

NEXT DAY: “Baked Potato” Leek Soup

Heat leftovers and garnish with shredded cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, some chopped green onion, and bits of crisp-cooked bacon.

S’mores Day Cookie Bars

Roasting Marshmallows by ninahale

Roasting Marshmallows by ninahale

I love S’mores. Melty chocolate and gooey marshmallow sandwiched between crisp graham crackers is a time-honored campfire treat. Countless times, I sat staring into the flames, twirling a big puffy marshmallow on on the end of a hand-picked green stick whittled to a fine point, waiting for the perfect browning. Too close or too long in the wrong spot, and it would burst into flame. Sometimes accidents happen on purpose. Please hand me another marshmallow.

In honor of National S’mores Day (August 10th) and the Girl Scout tradition, I present to you this glorious S’moresel from my kitchen. All that traditional smoresy taste in a convenient cookie bar form. I guess that’d be a S’mookie!

Gimme S’more Squares

The recipe for Warm Toasted Marshmallow S’more Squares @ Betty Crocker is pure genius. No eggs required, and totally EASY! Whenever I find the sugar cookie mix on sale, I like to stock up so I can make quick treats like these. They’re totally delicious, pack perfectly in lunches, and go great with coffee or a big glass of cold milk.

Golden Toasted Chocolatey Delicious

Golden Toasted Chocolatey Delicious

I tweaked the recipe a little to produce a smaller batch with more graham flavour and decided to break out some gourmet chocolate bars for the topping. I used Dagoba Organic Dark Chocolate, but many other flavours would be yummy. Also, try your local store brand graham crackers; Safeway’s grahams have an excellent texture and taste and cost less.

Get Ready
  • Preheat oven to 375° and grease a 9×9 pan.
  • Chop fancy chocolate bars to make about 1 1/2 cups of chocolate bits.
  • Bash or food process about 8 graham crackers to make 1 Cup of crumbs.

Make a Grahamtastic Cookie Crust

  1. Mix 1 Cup of Graham Cracker Crumbs with 2 Cups (about 1/2 bag) of Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix.
  2. Melt 1 stick of butter, stir in 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract, and add to dry ingredients.
  3. Press dough into pan and bake 18 minutes.

Add the Chocolate and Marshmallows

  • Lightly browned!

    Lightly browned!

    When the cookie crust is done, turn off the oven and preheat the broiler.

  • While the crust is still warm, sprinkle 1 1/2 cups chopped chocolate over top and let it melt. Spread melted chocolate to edges of crust.
  • Top with 2 cups miniature marshmallows and return pan to oven about six inches below the broiler.
  • Broil until marshmallows are lightly browned ~ 1 min (watch them carefully!)
  • LET THEM COOL—I know it’s hard.
  • Cut into squares and NOM!

Other S’more recipes:

Flickr Creative Commons
ninahale

Garlicky Gammon BLT with Havarti Cheese

The BLT on toast with mayo is a classic sandwich, infinately tweakable. This version takes advantage of fresh summer veggies, and the toast and bacon get an upgrade. Creamy Jalapeño Havarti brings everything together with a little kick of spice. There’s mild garlic flavor in the buns, which get a good shmear of garlic butter before being toasted crisp and golden, and a final drizzle of yummy dill and garlic flavoured yogurt dressing instead of mayo. The dressing also makes a nice dip for carrot sticks or chips.

How to Cook Gammon Bacon:

Gammon bacon is not like ordinary bacon. One slice contains two portions: a round piece from the loin (back bacon) attached to a streaky piece from the side, effectively providing two distinct meat experiences.

gammon bacon I separate the loin from the streaky part and pan fry the pieces over medium low heat. The loin piece is quite lean and should be cooked through but remain tender (a minute or two each side, depending on thickness). Cook the streaky parts a bit longer over low heat so the fat renders off and the pieces become crispy. Drain them on paper toweling.

Garlicky Gammon BLT

This recipe makes two sandwiches. One slice of gammon bacon per sandwich is plenty, but for a more generous serving of meat allow two slices per person. I know, you can’t see the bacon in the picture. Really, the bacon is in there; I swear! Fellow Foodie Fotographers: if you have any advice for sandwich posing, I’d love to hear it.

gammon BLT

2 Nature’s Blend Olive Oil & Garlic Buns
Garlic Butter
Handful of baby field greens
Havarti Cheese with Jalapeños
Two slices Gammon bacon, cooked
One heirloom tomato, sliced
Garlicky Dill Dressing

  1. Make Garlic Butter:
    Mix 2T softened butter, 1 garlic clove minced, dash of paprika, S&P.
  2. Make Garlicky Dill Dressing:
    Combine 1/2 cup plain yogurt, 1/8 tsp granulated garlic, 1/2 tsp dried dill, S&P.
  3. Spread buns with garlic butter. Toast under broiler until golden. Let them cool.
  4. Place sliced Jalapenño Havarti Cheese on the bottom bun, then top with cooked Gammon bacon, baby greens, and tomato slices.
  5. Drizzle with Garlicky Dill Dressing and add the top bun.
  6. Enjoy thoroughly.

Mango-Avocado Salsa (no tomatoes)

When I think salsa, I automatically think about tomatoes and tortilla chips. But “salsa” is really just a word for “sauce.” They can be chunky or smooth, with or without heat, and use a variety of ingredients. This chunky salsa features mangoes and avocados. The flavour is fresh and bright, creamy and a little bit sweet. Chopped raw shallot adds a spicy little kick at the end. Super easy to make, very nutritious, and perfect for a summer picnic. Goes really well with pork or chicken, too.

Mango Avocado Salsa

  • mango salsa1 ripe mango, diced
  • 2 small avocados, diced
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • juice of one lemon
  • a little lemon zest
  • dash of garlic powder
  • S&P to taste
  • chopped fresh cilantro

Mix everything together in a bowl. Store leftovers covered in the fridge.

Old-Fashioned Peanut Butter Pinwheels

Creamy and Sweet

Creamy and Sweet

I’ve been on a sugar kick lately, and for whatever reason these nostalgic treats kept popping into my mind. They were extremely popular where I grew up and often graced the child’s-eye-level shelf at our local store bakeries. One version of the recipe uses cold mashed potatoes in the sugar dough, and at first, I was bent on making potato candy . . . then my sister talked some sense into me. You can indeed use plain leftover potatoes, but according to Sissy, the result can be unpleasantly grainy and not as tasty.

Half a batch provided plenty of candy for our house. If you’re having a bake sale or a party, simply double the ingredients for a super-size batch. The dough comes together very easily in a stand mixer, but a wooden spoon and a bowl will work just fine (be sure to knead the dough).

The dough is quite easy to handle. It also has plenty of sugar, so I reccommend using a fresh ground nut butter or a natural variety like Adams. The distinct lack of sugar in the nut butter provides a welcome contrast to the creamy, sweet dough. I initially used 1 cup of creamy cashew-peanut butter (so yummy) with no sugar added, but I think that wasn’t quite enough, so I suggest at least 1 1/2 cups in the recipe.

Sissy’s Peanut Butter Pinwheels

  • 1lb powdered sugar (3 3/4 cups)
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup) melted and cooled
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbs heavy cream
  • good quality peanut butter (about 1 1/2 cups) room temp

sugar doughMix sugar, butter, and vanilla. Add cream slowly (1 Tbs at a time) until a dough forms.

rolled out sugar doughKnead on board covered with powdered sugar at least 5 minutes. It should be nice and smooth. Divide in half. Roll out between two sheets of plastic wrap.

ready to rollRemove top sheet of plastic. Spread dough with Peanut Butter. Roll up jelly-roll style.

candy logCover with plastic wrap. Chill until firm.

Use a sharp, clean knife to cut 1/4″ slices.

Keep this candy refrigerated . . . I keep it wrapped and just cut off a slice when I want a fix. I don’t know how well it freezes because it never stays around that long.

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