Cross-posted from Calgary is Awesome.
Sunday, September 16, 2012
Cross-posted from Calgary is Awesome.
Sunday, September 09, 2012
Friday, September 07, 2012
1) I'm combining two months in my monthly check-up.
2) Instead of a calendar, there are two Instagrams of the Okanagan as the header... that is because I haven't written anything on my calendar.
So the self-loathing begins...
Clear My Plate
I would say I was pretty good on cutting back on the amount of work I did this summer, but my calendar still stayed pretty busy. I've been thinking about it a little and I don't think my goal is to be doing nothing, but to not feel guilty when I am doing nothing - so perhaps a combination of last year's goal of setting aside a weekend with no plans every month, as well as working on my own ability to say "no" to things and to feel less guilty in general.
Be a tourist in my own city
I went to the Stampede for the first time in a few years, took in GlobalFest with my sister and her friend and ran the Spartan Race. I also tried a few new-to-me restaurants (obviously), so all in all a good summer! My only regret is we never made it out hiking or camping, but we kept pretty busy.
In terms of real tourist stuff, B. and I went to Kelowna for an extended August long weekend - it was nice because we did a lot of fun stuff, but it's not so big or so far away that we felt like we had to see everything, so there was a lot of lying on the beach/laying in the B & B because it was too hot for the beach as well.
Drink at least 1 L on non-work days
I feel like I need to come up with a strategy to work on this. The water bottle works for *most* work days but for some reason I don't drink from it when I'm at home on the weekend...
Get at least 7.5 hours of sleep per night (i.e. 10:30-11 PM bedtime) at least one night per week
I haven't been marking on my calendar, so I'm not sure how many nights I'm *actually* getting to bed before 11 PM, but since moving in with B., we've both been getting to bed earlier. Case in point, I spent five days at home with my sister while my brother and his girlfriend were away and I stayed up so late while with B. we generally get to bed at 11:30 at the very latest, and I feel more awake at work and less like I'm going to fall asleep behind the wheel on my way home from work. I'm back home for the next two weeks (my parents are still not fully accepting that I'm moving in with B. before we're married) and so far I haven't gone to bed until 12:30 AM :S
So not as bad as I thought - only a quarter of the year left!
Thursday, September 06, 2012
Cross-posted from Calgary is Awesome.
Local interior designer Sarah Ward of McKinley Burkart did an amazing job with the space, creating an environment that is modern and classy, but still feels cozy. I loved all the little details, like the retro tile floors, globe lights in the private room, the quirky art on the back wall and these beautiful painterly washroom doors.
The Tunisian Carrot Hummus ($7) had a subtle, earthy sweetness and tasted light compared to the more garlicky hummus that I'm used to.
The bok choy ($6) carried the traditional Asian flavours of soy, sesame and ginger very well, with just a whisper of spice from the Thai chilli - very bold to be serving greens as an hors d'oeuvre!
Now to the meats - the albondigas ($10) were so good. Moist lamb-pork meatballs made with manchego cheese in a tomato sauce. You could really taste the lamb in the meatballs; I definitely had more than one of these.
The crowd favourite was definitely the Chicharron ($7) - the crispy skin on the pork belly made way for some melt-in-your-mouth goodness. Edamame was scattered over the plate in the quince sauce, making for a pretty presentation (and delicious too!) I somehow managed to only eat one of these, but nothing is stopping me from ordering this the next time I'm there!
My personal favourite was the striped bass (above, $9) - the fish was cooked perfectly; the skin was crisp and lightly salted while the meat stayed very tender. The slabs of fish sat on a bed of peas and Israeli couscous flavoured with saffron and garlic. I loved the contrast of flavours between the light-tasting fish and the smooth (slightly chewy), creamy, garlicky couscous.
The good thing about hors d'oeuvres is that there was a lot of room for dessert! The yuzu yogurt ($7) had a nice citrus flavour, but I was more impressed by the warm roasted rhubarb beneath - definitely comfort food here!
All in all, I had a great time at Candela and couldn't stop raving about all the food! I would definitely love to go back to see what a full meal service is like.
1919 4 St SW
Calgary AB T2S 1W4
Saturday, September 01, 2012
We had some extra broad-bean sauce leftover from our tofu-making adventures, so we decided to try and make two more of our favourite Sichuan treats - Dry-Fried Green Beans (乾煸四季豆) and "Fish-Fragrant" Eggplant (魚香茄子).
For the recipes, I decided to turn to Appetite for China. I started reading the blog when the author, Diana, still lived in Beijing - she has now moved to Brooklyn where she writes and teaches cooking classes. What I love about Diana's blog is that the recipes are authentic (she lived in China, after all) but still approachable.
Szechuan Dry-Fried Green Beans (乾煸四季豆)
Adapted from Appetite for China*
Serves 4 as part of a multi-course meal, or 2 as a main dish
- ½ tbsp (7 mL) Chinese rice wine (Shaoxing wine) or dry sherry
- ½ tbsp (7 mL) chili bean paste (Pixian Doubanjiang)
- ½ tsp (2 mL) sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) sugar
- ½ cup (125 mL) peanut or vegetable oil
- ¾ lb (340 g) green beans, rinsed and dried well, cut into 2" pieces
- 6 dried red chilis
- ¼ tsp (1 mL) ground Sichuan peppercorns
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) minced garlic
- 1 tsp (5 mL) minced or grated ginger
- 3 green onions, white parts only, chopped
Nutrition Info (per ¼ recipe): 310 calories, 27 g fat (5 g saturated, 0 g trans), 0 mg cholesterol, 15 g carbohydrate (4 g fibre, 8 g sugar), 3 g protein, 152 mg sodium. An excellent source of vitamins C, E and K. A good source of vitamin B6, folate (vitamin B9), magnesium, potassium and manganese.
- Prepare the sauce by stirring together the rice wine, chili bean sauce, sesame oil and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
- Heat a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the sides. Add green beans and stir-fry, keeping the beans constantly moving, for about 7 minutes, or until the outsides begin to blister and the beans are wilted. Turn off the heat, remove the green beans and set them aside to drain on a plate lined with paper towels.
- Remove all but 1 tablespoon of oil and reheat the wok. Add red chillis, garlic, ginger, and scallions; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Sprinkle the salt over the beans and stir to combine, adjusting the seasoning if necessary. Transfer to a serving plate and serve while hot.*The original recipe includes dried shrimp and preserved vegetables - we eliminated both and it was still delicious.
Szechuan "Fish-Fragrant" EggplantAdapted from Appetite for China**Serves 4 as part of a multi-course meal, or 2 as a main-dish
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) low-sodium chicken broth, or water
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) chili bean paste (Pixian Doubanjiang)
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) Chinese black vinegar or balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) Chinese rice wine (Shaoxing wine) or dry sherry
- 2 tsp (10 mL) sugar
- 1 tsp (5 mL) cornstarch
- 2 tbsp peanut or vegetable oil
- 1½ lb (680 g) Asian eggplant, cut into 1¼-1½" cubes
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) minced ginger
- ½ tsp (2 mL) ground Sichuan peppercorns
- Green onions, thinly sliced, for garnish
Nutrition Info (per ¼ recipe): 137 calories, 7 g fat (1 g saturated, 0 g trans), 0 mg cholesterol, 17 g carbohydrate (7 g fibre, 8 g sugar), 3 g protein, 824 mg sodium. An excellent source of manganese. A good source of vitamin E, folate (vitamin B9) and potassium.
- Prepare the sauce by mixing together the chicken stock, chili bean paste, soy sauce, rice vinegar, rice wine, sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a wok over high heat until a bead of water sizzles and evaporates on contact. Swirl the oil in the pan to coat the base and sides. Add the eggplants and stir-fry until outsides become golden brown and insides begin to soften, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and Sichuan peppercorn and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in the sauce mixture and mix well. Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes to allow the eggplant to fully cook and the sauce to thicken enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat serve with scallions sprinkled on top.**We added a bit of ground pork to the recipe, which is how it is often served in restaurants, to bulk it up with a bit more protein.