Wednesday, July 6, 2011

First customer.


My first customer for a custom Red Rover collar and lead for none other than Sparrow sister Ember in Maple Ridge. She's the perfect model since they are both a lovely red and the same size.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Steveston Farmers Market


Living in Steveston can sometimes make a person quite jaded... In the summer, we rarely go down to the dock unless its a week day to avoid the hordes of crowds. It's a cross we share with locations like White Rock, Kits beach, and likely any other tourist trap hocking a waterfront experience and ice cream flavored summers. 

I will make some exceptions however, like these last few weeks of Spot Prawn Season... I braved the unwashed masses to get my last batch of fresh sweet prawns.


Every other Sunday, one of the local business owners hosts a Steveston Farmers Market, and since we believed most non-locals had gotten Steveston out of their system during the Canada Day Salmonfest BBQ on Friday, we felt it was safe to ride down on our bikes to check out this year's market. (re: the Barbeque, the salmon lineup began at 9am!! the Philipino BBQ Pork Skewers were TEH WIN as usual, but the Church's Strawberry Rhubarb Pie - which is my whole reason for going... was disappointing.)



The usual suspects of jewellery, soaps, Belts, Granola, and produce... Pies at a shocking $14 a piece (John should be sooo grateful whenever I bake a pie!). We came across this delightful little bakery booth. Don't get my wrong, alot of the bakery booths are pedestrian, dry cupcakes, overly sweet cookies, and mushy pies, but this place was a cut above with their giant chocolate crumble cookies and ginger sparkles... also juicy looking pies and tarts. We opted to pick up tarts for dessert - Sour Cherry for John, Pear for me and Chocolate Pecan. All three were a huge hit. 



Also an impressive newcomer to the fair was a japanese potter. Her work was exceptional but above my price point ($80-$120 a bowl) Wish I had thought to take photos but often crafters do not like people to take photos of their product for fear of stealing their idea. I also met a gentleman leatherworker, whom I've managed to convince it would be FUN to teach me how to do leatherworking.... working my way up to making leather leashes and collars for Red Rover!  Can't wait!

I also came home with my usual Farmhouse Fresh Chevre from Agassiz. Check out this picture of a baby lamb from their farm. Cute right?


We were surprised to see La Brasserie at the Farmers market! Food carts represent!



We shared a sandwich, then savored fresh organic lime and mango ice pops (basically frozen organic fruit puree) from Soylent Green. Yummy, and I bet pretty easy to make, if I had the patience and will to peel and mash enough mangos to make a pop! In that moment, it was absolutely worth the money to enjoy the cool refreshing sweetness with my man and our bikes.
In true Ivy Fashion, I decided to cook a dinner last night without a recipe... Anything kicking around the kitchen...

Looking around the house, I had slim pickings. I had recently bought some fresh shrimp from steveston that afternoon, but after spending 30 mins peeling the tiny shrimp (and them disappearing into my mouth), I knew I wouldn't get enough to make an appy for one.I settled on a butternut squash I had scuttled away and set about roasting it in the oven at 350 until tender. I let it sit to cool a bit while I dug out the Pasta Machine.

I scraped out the soft pulp and tasted it... Roasted butternut squash is a good thing - sweet and caramelized, but its also bland so I seasoned in with cayenne and cinnamon liberally, feeling a bit of anxiety and remorse over seasoning with such gusto without trying it on a small amount of the pulp first. Nothing lost nothing gained, I supposed. Thankfully, it was delicious with a little bit of sea salt and fresh ground pepper to bring out the flavors. I then caramelized some white onion, shallots, and 4 cloves of garlic in a fry pan, then added them to the mix, with 4 drops of white truffle oil.

I whipped up a simple pasta dough, then cranked it through the machine at 2, 4 then 5 settings, to make long flat sheets of pasta dough. Carefully I used a small teaspon to stack the squash mash on the dough and formed the raviolis with a stamp careful to be as generous as possible without the ravioli leaking. 

Voila.


Home made Roasted Butternut squash and caramelized onions,shallot/garlic Ravioli. The recipe called for 2 mins of cooking, but it actually took 15 mins to get then tender. I would even dare make the pasta even thinner for a more tender product. I might try coloring a future batch with beets. Fun.



Served this with a Rose sauce, a dollop of fresh chevre, fresh parmesan, and bbqed italian sausage. While it was subtle, the white truffle oil was the secret ingredient to this dish adding an amazing depth and richness to an otherwise average meal. Highly recommend the investment in it as it lasts forever, due to being extremely pungent and only requiring a few drops here and there.



Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Root Beer Pulled Pork

Today's grand ambition relates to our big plan to host a Texas style BBQ in the summer, once Jong has the backyard suitable groomed... I'm trying a very special pulled pork recipe with a twist, a Root Beer Marinade.  This recipe has received rave reviews for a while now, from chefs of all calibres and I'm eager to see if it holds any merit. Cavaet... I'm not following the recipe. In traditional Ivy style, I'm just doing what I think looks best.

First I bought a well marbled pork shoulder butt from Save-on foods. A good sized roast was about 4 lbs and $20. the price seemed a bit high to me as I've heard this cut of meat is reported to be super cheap. Perhaps look for it on sale. A half lb per person is a generous serving.... so I'm ready to serve 8 people. (In the end it made 10 very meaty sandwiches)



I began by rinsing the roast, the rubbing it with some Maison Cote Smoked Sea Salt (smoked 4 days with red alder wood). You could probably just use Salt and pepper. Option here to do a real pulled pork marinade with paprika, italian spices, etc... but this recipe said it wasn't required so I didn't bother.



Maison cote is a local supplier of fine ingredients such as fresh vanilla beans (which I use to make Cold Press Vodka Vanilla Extract.) and a variety of special salts. I've also a raspberry salt I plan to use in future culinary endeavors. Just a matter of how and when.... Maybe sprinkled on home made truffles?

Digressing... sigh. After rubbing the roast generously with the smokey salt, I seared all sides in a frying pan, olive oil heated to medium high heat then transferred the roast to this casseroule dish and covered with root beer ( 1 cup for every 2 lbs). Bake at 300 in the oven until tender and internal temperature reaches 190-200 degrees... about 6 hours for this 4 lb roast. Slow, low heat is the key here.



Don't touch the roast, don't turn it, just leave it until the internal temperature is around 190, then take out of the oven, remove the meat from the liquid, and let sit for 10-15 mins to let the fats cool and stick to the meat instead of running out onto the cutting board. Shred with two forks, in a large bowl, then top with your favourite bbq sauce (I used a guinness hickory sauce from the grocery store. No need to be too fancy.) Delicious. Seriously the BEST pulled pork I've ever had.. even better than Memphis Blues, Hog shack, and yes.... even anything in Texas...



I served this meal with oven fresh corn bread (Try this recipe for corn bread, It's amazing and I made it in advance, just baked it just before I needed it. 5 ingredients, whip it til smooth then bake for 20 mins. Can't get any easier than that and it was excellent!), kaisser buns, a simple coleslaw (cabbage, carrots, corn, yoghurt, mayo, sunflower seeds, dill, vinegar), fresh watermelon, sweet corn, and cinnamon chocolate cupcakes with vanilla bean butter cream icing.



A decadent meal for an awesome sunday afternoon. Nom!

- Ivy

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Feastro - my new favourite!

Having cravings for sushi and noodles this morning but came across Feastro in my Vancouver Street Cart iPhone app and decided to go check it out instead since it was only 2 blocks away from my office. 

I looked them up on the net and the menu looked promising.

Fresh Halibut Tacocrispy chickpea battered fresh halibut, 
tomato/anise chutney with Henry Reed organic greens, 
tikka masala yogurt, hand cut salsa. $7

Pulled Pork Taco
slow smoked, sweet rub, Henry Reed organic greens, 
guacamole, refried beans, hand cut salsa. $7

Prawn & Grilled Prosciutto Taco $7

Bonzai Prawns
local prawns, sautéed in white wine, garlic,
tomatoes, lemon, served on basmati rice and grains,
with a pineapple brochette.


I arrived to a line up of about half a dozen people... which interpreted as promising. I also check out the clientele when I go to an eatery as they are a great indictor of the quality and value of food. I had a tough decision to make, and while I was leaning towards the Prawn and proscuitto taco, the proprietor and I had a wee chat and he recommended the Fanny Bay Oysters...


Accolades for the truck to read while you wait...


A beverage station nicely packed with ice and pretty flowers.


So here it is..Fanny Bay Oysters – Panko breaded, with Henry Reed organic greens, truck made smoked tomato cocktail sauce. $11







Delicious and fresh with olives, blood orange, beets, beautiful sliced cucumbers, and gooseberries. And while I do love Re-Ups pulled pork sandwiches, Arturos Chicken Taco Salad, and La Brassiere's Rotisserie Chicken Sandwich there's a new favourite in town and he goes by Feastro.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

It's pretty much crack

Lunch has been an exercise in indulgence. As I walked with my intern we
accidentally stumbled upon a "FREE ICE CREAM" stand by TD plaza. We
partook in the cold icy goodness and continued our pilgrimate to the new
food cart La Brassiere to try their new BRASS sandwich, described as
"rotisserie chicken sandwiches topped with crispy deep fried onion
strings in one of the softest buttermilk buns I've ever eaten.

It was heaven in my tummy, and I highly recommend it. NOM NOM it up.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Waffles sans poulet


I have long suspected that I've been getting ripped off when I buy the box of pancake mix, so I decided to try my hand at making waffles from scratch.



Description

You can keep the batter, covered, in the fridge for up to a week. Just be sure to whisk well before using again. You may also use whole wheat flour for this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat waffle iron. 
  2. Separate egg yolks from whites, Beat egg whites in large bowl with whisk until fluffy then add in the yolks.
  3. Beat in flour, milk, vegetable oil, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and vanilla, just until smooth.
  4. Spray preheated waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray. Pour mix onto hot waffle iron. 
  5. Cook until golden brown. 
  6. Serve hot. Devour.


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