Street food and me have a good thing going. We enjoy each others company, we have lots to talk about and both of us know the other is inherently good — even if skewers of meat sometimes spit from the grill and a certain ill-tempered cook occasionally takes out her frustrations on an onion or two.
If you share my love for street food, just pick up the closest copy of Saveur Magazine, or if you don’t have one lying around, search for your favourite dish in their online catalogue of recipes. Their repertoire is extensive, their photos drool making and all of the articles and recipes are available for free online.
Growing up in Vancouver, one of the greatest cities in the world in terms of its immigrant-rich culture, I had a lot of exposure to ethnic cuisine. First there was the north-Asian wave of my childhood and beyond: Cantonese-Chinese, Szechuan-Chinese, Japanese and Korean…I’ve eaten my fill of each many times over. As a young adult, I went through a south-Asian phase, including Indian, Thai, Indonesian and Malaysian. Vietnamese restaurants arrived a little later than the rest, and just as we were getting comfortable with the menu and finding our own favourite hideout, Howard and I moved to Pender.
A little rock in the sea inhabited by approx 2000 people doesn’t do a lot for your international food options. In fact, until the Japanese restaurant opened 2 months ago (hurray!), ethnic dinner options were a complete shut-out here — unless you got creative at home.
It’s easy to be creative at home when you have a lifetime of dishes to copy, and I’m pretty happy with most of my repertoire. But I don’t have a lot of experience with Vietnamese cuisine, so when I saw an article about Pho — Beef Noodle Soup — accompanied by an authentic recipe in Saveur this March, I knew it was the perfect place to start.
Sandwich lovers will already know that April’s edition of Saveur Magazine was devoted to the sandwich.
Which is funny, because I too am devoted to the sandwich. I don’t think I ever intend to own a restaurant (although I flirt with the idea when it comes up from time to time), but if I was to take the plunge, my dream place would be a deli. We’d make awesome breakfast sandwiches, scones and coffee to start the day, and then for lunch, we would move on to street foods of the world — served between 2 pieces of house-made bread.
Yup, sandwiches would rule the days in my restaurant all right — but not the nights — because the best thing about my dream deli is that it closes everyday at 6pm. I’m too old to do dinner service anywhere but home.
Like just about everybody else out there, I am always on the lookout for a killer homemade pizza crust. Up until now, I haven’t had much luck, and I was starting to think that I’ve been asking more than my home oven can deliver.
And then along came the most recent recipe up for review — Saveur Magazine`s Squash Blossom Pizza. Inspired by Pizzeria Mozza in LA, this crust is crispy, chewy and pretty much the best pizza to ever come out of my kitchen. In other words, I’ve found my keeper. Continue reading
If you like fennel, you’ll love Finocchio al Forno — Fennel Baked in Cream — from Saveur.com. If you’re lukewarm on this green furry-topped bulb of licorice delight, then I don’t think this dish will be enough to turn the tide. At least that was the case with Howard. He said it was OK, but it was too much of one thing that he’s not overly fond of to begin with. (Living with a philistine can be trying at times.)
So, even though I halved the recipe, and had 2 generous helpings myself, we had some a lot of leftovers. Which turned out to be a good thing — because after a night in the fridge, when the fennel has absorbed all of the cream and Parmesan, is when this dish really shines. Continue reading