Secrets of Pickling

Last Wednesday, June 19, 2013, due to the fact that I was able to cook Siomai (at around 1 am in the morning for my husband’s lunch) for tomorrow, worked 6.5 hours for a side-line and then headed to Edmonds Community School by bus (for the first time) to volunteer for another Burnaby Food First hands-on workshop (Thank you dear path-finder ^^,) I felt very, very productive. IMG_9815
From 6-8pm, we joined the savvy Andrea Potter- a Red Seal chef and a Registered Holistic Nutritionist-and learned how to make pickled foods using fermentation.
I thought it was great!
We talked about how fermentation (more commonly known as “pickling”) traces its roots way way back in time!
From the Korean “Kimchi” to the Japanese miso soup, Greek yogurts and classic Hamburger pickles, it sure has a special place in our palates.
It is also good to know that the “probiotics” in these pickled foods not only are good for your digestive system but they also fight off germs and viruses.
After our mini lecture, we then proceeded to our ‘hands-on session’.

Yup yup yup! We had take home samples!
Thank you for the fresh local kohlrabi, carrots and radishes Urban Digs Farm!
In about 2 weeks or so…
we will see how these “pickled” veggies turn out (=

Thank you Biggest Little Garden in Town!

The Gardening Saga continues (=

After our first attempt to plant, God has blessed us with ALL the necessary equipment we need to start our patio paradise FOR FREE!

The purpose of Fraserside’s Biggest Little Garden in Town (BLGT) project is to increase food production in urban settings. The BLGT is a container garden project which teaches and encourages individuals and the community in general, to utilize small areas to grow vegetables.

Thank you Biggest Little Garden and thank you Wilf and Vicky for going being patient with my husband’s constant e-mail request to be a BLGT member and for going great lengths to deliver this awesome Starter kit from New West all the way to our home here in Burnaby (=

BLGT Starter Kit (includes watering jug, trowel, cultivator and a selection of assorted vegetable seeds  that grow well in containers)

BLGT Starter Kit (includes watering jug, trowel, cultivator and a selection of assorted vegetable seeds that grow well in containers)

What a wonderful sight to behold! This Little Garden Guide is a 60-page booklet that provides tips and tricks on how to plant, care for, harvest and prepare vegetables grown in containers)

What a wonderful sight to behold! This Little Garden Guide is a 60-page booklet that provides tips and tricks on how to plant, care for, harvest and prepare vegetables grown in containers)

2 bags of organic potting soil


BLGT Apartment Garden (includes 3 cedar boxes, base, lattice)

BLGT Apartment Garden (includes 3 cedar boxes, base, lattice)


Can you believe that these are just the left-over roots that we chop off green onions???


BIG THANKS to these wonderful people!

The Ultimate Chicken Shawarma

In doing one of my homeworks in the second Coursera Class I took called Child Nutrition and Cooking, my husband and I found our new favorite!

Chicken Shawarma with Cliantro and mayo drizzle

Chicken Shawarma with Cliantro and mayo drizzle

While it takes a bit of time to do it all from scratch, I would say that it is all worth it! Shawarma is a Middle Eastern dish of garlicky meat or poultry served on pitas. The carbohydrate component of this meal is the pita bread; which is made from organic whole-wheat flour. According to Saad Fayed, Pita bread is served at just about every meal in the Middle East. It can be used for dipping, or to make delicious sandwiches in the pocket. In the Middle East, pita is made in brick ovens, where very high heat can be achieved. It is very hard to duplicate in a home kitchen, but this recipe, combined with high heat, comes very close. (although I can’t tell you how many times I have used the abaniko to turn the fire alarm off ^^p)

Pita Bread Ingredients:

1 package of yeast, or quick rising yeast

1/2 cup warm water

3 cups all purpose flour( I substituted this with 2 cups whole wheat flour and 1 cup APF)

1 1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1 cup lukewarm water

Pita Bread Preparation:

  1. Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Let sit for 10-15 minutes until water is frothy.
  2. Combine flour and salt in large bowl.
  3. Make a small depression in the middle of flour and pour yeast water in depression.
  4. Slowly add 1 cup of warm water, and stir with wooden spoon or rubber spatula until elastic.
  5. Place dough on floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes. When the dough is no longer sticky and is smooth and elastic, it has been successfully kneaded.
  6. Coat large bowl with vegetable oil and place dough in bowl. Turn dough upside down so all of the dough is coated.
  7. Allow to sit in a warm place for about 3 hours, or until it has doubled in size.
  8. Once doubled, roll out in a rope, and pinch off 10-12 small pieces. Place balls on floured surface. Let sit covered for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 500 deg F. and make sure rack is at the very bottom of oven. Be sure to also preheat your baking sheet.

    Balls of Pita Goodness

    Balls of Pita Goodness

  9. Roll out each ball of dough with a rolling pin into circles. Each should be about 5-6 inches across and 1/4 inch thick. IMG_9149
  10. Bake each circle for 4 minutes until the bread puffs up. Turn over and bake for 2 minutes.

    They really are puffy!

    They really are puffy!

  11. Remove each pita with a spatula from the baking sheet and add additional pitas for baking.
  12. Take spatula and gently push down puff or slide them into halves.

    Hello to "pockets" of endless meat + veggie combo possibilities

    Hello to “pockets” of endless meat + veggie combo possibilities

On the other hand, the protein comes from the minimally processed mozarella cheese and free-range grilled chicken tenderloins marinated in garlic, curry, lime and other interesting spices.

Shawarma Ingredients:


2 T fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. curry powder

2 t EVOO

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground cumin

3 garlic cloves (I usually double the amount because we are garlic-fans)

 1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast cut into 16 (3 inch) strips


1/2 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek Yogurt

2 T tahini

2 t fresh lemon juice

1/4 tsp salt

1 garlic clove, minced

Remaining Ingredients:

Oil to grease baking sheet

4 (6-in pitas)

1 cup chopped spinach

8 (1/4 in thick) tomato slices

Shawarma Preparation:

1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

2. To prepare chicken, combine the first six ingredients in a medium bowl. Add chicken to bowl; toss well to coat. Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes.

3. To prepare sauce, combine yogurt and next 4 ings.(throw 1 garlic clove), stirring with a whisk

4. Thread 2 Chicken strips onto each of 8 (12-in) skewers. Place kebabs on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 4 minutes on each side until done.

*What I really find amusing is the grilled lines (and smoky flavor) formed after you flip those chick-fillets. Oooooh! They look soooo yummy!

*What I really find amusing is the grilled lines (and smoky flavor) formed after you flip those chick-fillets. Oooooh! They look soooo yummy!

5. Place pitas on grill rack; grill 1 minute on each side or until lightly toasted. Place 1 pita on each of 4 plates; top each serving with 1/4 cup lettuce and 2 tomato slices.

in Pockets

in Pockets

or just one whole pita

The sweet and sour property of the tomatoes combined with the slightly bitter taste of the dark green leafy spinach not only balances the flavors of the whole dish but their rich vitamins also makes it very healthy. To top it off, I drizzled some Japanese mayo and tiny pieces of dehydrated fresh cilantro leaves in the fridge to save it from completely decomposing. ^^p It was so rewarding! Yay homemade meals! Yay to homemakers who love real food for their families! Yay to Cooking Light and for this awesome recipe  and Yay to Maya Adam for bringing us all together! (=

Sushi Party: Care for some “Tofu” Sushi?!

It wasn’t until Joseph and I went to an “all-you-can-eat sushi” restaurant called Robson Sushi that I realized “inari” (tofu sushi) and tomagoyaki” (egg sushi) existed.

Inarizushi. Definitely a favorite (=

Inarizushi. Definitely a favorite (=

After a few clicks here and there, I found out that Inarizushi is also known as “stuffed sushi.” It uses tofu instead of vinegar rice on the outside and usually contains the vinegar rice on the inside. The tofu “pouch” is deep fried to create “aburaage,” or fried tofu bags.

At first, I improvised using “tofu puffs”. I found out that you could make more sushi using these kind than to get the real tofu packets from the store. (Tofu puffs are less expensive and they form a solid base after you cut it in half.

These semi-homemade recipe came together quickly and most satisfactorily. Considering that the rice was prepared in a rice cooker and the tofu puffs were sold prefabbed, the only real work was measuring the dressing, toasting some sesame seeds, and assembling the whole package.

  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked sushi rice
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 package tofu puffs (cut in half)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
  • scallions (finely chopped)

Tofu Puff Seasoning: 6Tbsp sugar, 6t mirin, 1T soysauce


1. It is crucial to wash the tofu puffs with hot water so as to remove the excess oil in it.

2. Toss the Tofu puff seasoning and let the tofu soak for a bit and until it boils. (2-3 min.)

3. Drain the excess seasoning and lay the pockets on a plate.

4. Take a spoonful of cooked vinegar rice and place it into the pockets, making sure it is snug.

5. Garnish with  scallions and sesame seeds.

6. Okay… now it is time for some Sushi party ^^,

The Plan

The Plan

Looks like...
Looks like…

it was...
it was…

"approved" (=

“approved” (=


Hello Nigirizushi!

Nigiri, also known as “hand-formed sushi” consists of an oblong mound of sushi rice that’s pressed into a small rectangular box between the palms of the hands, usually with a bit of wasabi, and a topping draped over it.Toppings are typically fish such as salmon, tuna or other seafood. Certain toppings are typically bound to the rice with a thin strip of nori.

1st Attempt at Nigirizushi

1st Attempt at Nigirizushi

I am definitely in awe at how much attention and care the Japanese put into their food. It doesn’t only hold true in their sushi-making, their craftmanship and lifestyle also scream both class and elegance.


lox (smoked salmon) cut into rectangular strips

Sushi rice (Adapted from Noobcookleihut, and smokywok)

– 1 cup of Japanese short-grain rice

– water to cook the rice (usually in the ratio of 1 cup rice: 1 1/4 cups of water)

For sushi dressing:

1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tbsps. sugar
1/2 tbsp salt
1/4 inch worth of nori strips


pickled ginger, soy sauce, wasabi


1 Prep nori (seaweed) strips by cutting them into thin pieces, about a quarter inch thick. IMG_4775

2. Shape each of these sushi, or rather, nigiri using a rectangular mold.IMG_4782


The rice is pushed into the mold to take its signature Nigiri shape.

3.The smoked salmon strips are then topped onto the molded sushi.IMG_4778

Tuck the extra strips at the bottom for a stronger hold

Tuck the extra nori strips at the bottom for a stronger hold.

4. And finally a belt of nori is used to secure the  the fish & rice together.


5. Enjoy! (=IMG_3456

Healing Foods, A Multicultural Potluck

This was another of my homeworks in the Coursera on-line class that I am taking right now. I thought it was really fun!

I had to identify a food from my own culture that has purported effects on health promotion or disease prevention and “actually” prepare it at home, do an independent nutrient analysis, provide visual documentation of the final product, and then share the health-related significance that this cultural dish has.

So, I made…

My Homework: Arroz Caldo!

Arroz Caldo! ^^,

After reading the assignment details, the first thing that came to my mind is the traditional Filipino thick rice porridge called lugaw (loo-gaow).

This dish can be cooked in different variations like the one I made called Arroz Caldo – a lugaw made with chicken and ginger. It is often thought to be a European dish because of its name but is actually a Chinese congee that was adapted to the tastes of the Spanish colonial settlers who patronized Chinese restaurants in the Philippines.

I chose this primarily because all the ingredients in this dish are readily available at my pantry and I don’t really want to go to the Superstore again after doing grocery the other day =)

When I was young, I can often remember people favouring this dish (I even watch it on telenovelas) where they would serve lugaw for someone who is sick particularly those who have a cold,fever or an upset stomach.

It’s remarkably comforting, warming from the inside, soft, and easily digestible. They say that when you’re feeling unwell, one of the last things the body needs is to expend extra energy digesting and the higher fiber content of unrefined rice can upset the stomach. So it actually serves a purpose.

Also, this dish has a lot of herbs like garlic, ginger and onions.

Garlic, which according to Wikipedia has been found to have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal activity. Ginger on the other hand contains chemicals that may reduce nausea and inflammation. Researchers also believe the chemicals work primarily in the stomach and intestines, but they may also work in the brain and nervous system to control nausea.Last but not least, onions contain chemical compounds with potential anti-inflammatory, anticholesterol, anticancer, and anti-oxidant properties, such as quercetin and glycosides.

Here are the ingredients to prepare this recipe:


Chicken Broth (adapted from Simply Recipes)

  • Leftover bones and skin from a cooked or raw chicken carcass
  • Celery
  • Onions
  • Carrot
  • Salt
  • Pepper

1. Put the leftover bones and skin from a chicken carcass into a large stock pot and cover with cold water. Add veggies like celery, onion, carrots. Add salt and pepper, about a teaspoon of salt, 1/4 tsp of pepper.

2 Bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat to bring the stock to barely a simmer. Simmer uncovered at least 4 hours, occassionally skimming off the foam that comes to the surface.

3 Remove the bones and strain the stock.

Arroz Caldo (adapted from
3 cups jasmine rice
3-4 cups Chicken broth, or a substitute like vegetable broth
3 eggs, hard-boiled
4 thumb sized, ginger, cut lengthwise
*one chicken breast (optional)
1/2 lemon, juice
1 whole onion,diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
fish sauce, soy sauce, salt and fresh-cracked black pepper (catered to your taste buds)
green onions, chopped+fried garlic for toppings


1. Cook 3 cups of jasmine rice in a rice cooker. Using cooked rice speeds up the process than if you started the recipe using raw rice.

Spoon the cooked rice into a large pot on medium heat. Start with as much broth as it takes to meet the top of the rice.

2. Stir to over cook the rice without burning it. Once the broth-rice comes to a simmer, lower the heat, and stir every 3-5 minutes.

3. Dice four cloves of garlic and half of a medium-sized onion. Warm a little vegetable oil in the bottom of a pan on medium heat.

4. Using the fresh or frozen ginger, cut into thumb-sized pieces that are more manageable.

5. Saute garlic, onion and ginger and add it to the rice.

6. Stir everything together approximately 30 minutes.

Easier additions to lugaw include hard-boiled eggs, fresh-cracked black pepper or salt, fish or soy sauce, basically anything.

What I really like to do is add a generous amount of fresh lemon, green onions to give it crunch and color!

Nutrient Analysis:

  • Serving size = 1 bowl of Arroz Caldo
  • How many servings your instructions in Answer 2 makes = 6 servings
  • Calories = 362 calories
  • Total fat (grams) = 10 grams
  • Saturated fat (grams) = 3 grams
  • Sodium (milligrams) = 1522 mg
  • Carbohydrate (grams) =51 grams
  • Dietary fiber (grams) = 5 grams
  • Sugars (grams) = 0 grams
  • Protein (grams) = 18 grams

I arrived at this numbers by plugging in an estimation of the amount of ingredients in a bowl of arroz caldo. I used the Super tracker to adjust the servings and calculate the nutrients of each food. I did the nutrient analysis of my Arroz Caldo using the Super Tracker Software.

After 3 consecutive meals of lugaw (dinner, brunch and dinner tonight)…my husband and I finally finished eating them!

I guess all the effort was worth it, but I might not do this dish for the next 2 years. ^^p

Whole Wheat Stawberry Pancakes

Weekend Mornings aren’t complete without this lightly-browned fluffy creatures lying on your breakfast table.

Like many “health and fiber-conscious” people,  I don’t really want to use the “empty” refined all-purpose flour. Remember, the dietary expert and my Nutrition for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention instructor Katie Ferraro MPH,RD, CDE said that “fiber” is the future!

Therefore, the more fiber you add in your servings the better off you will be.

And so, here is a recipe that will satisfy that premise.

Whole Wheat Pancakes

Whole Wheat Pancakes
Adapted from Skinny Taste
Servings: 7

  • 2 cups Organic Whole Wheat flour 
  • 4 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups + 2 tbsp fat free milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • sunflower oil
  • Nutella spread (for a little swirling only!)


1. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl.

2. Add wet ingredients to the mixing bowl and mix well with a spoon until there are no more dry spots; don’t over-mix.

3. Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Lightly coat it with oil and pour 1/4 cup of pancake batter.

4. Wash strawberries, cut the top part off and cut them lengthwise.

5. When the pancake starts to bubble, you may add your strawberries if you wish. (or you can add them on top of your pancake tower later)

6. When the bubbles settle and the edges begin to set, flip the pancakes.

7. Repeat with the remainder of the batter.

8. Get that fork and dig in! ((=
Makes 14 pancakes.

Calories: 171.7 • Fat: 2.1 g • Carbs: 31.5 g • Fiber: 4.9 g • Protein: 8.9 g • Sugar:2.5 g
Sodium: 561.4 g