Thursday, January 27, 2011

Whippet bed buddies.

Minka and Sparrow get ready for bed.

Puppy Update

Sparrow's fur is markably darker today. It's normally a beechy color but this morning over breakfast I could see her fur was almost dirty in appearance.

She's growing like a weed. Her body and tail elongated overnight without notifying the rest of her body. Looks strange. I know John looks forward to her training to be complete and she becomes a full grown dog. I love the puppy. Puppy kisses, puppy breath and puppy love. Yes its gud!

The novelty is over for Minka who can barely rouse from bed to halfheartedly lay some sisterly smack down.

For the last couple of nights the puppy has been obsessed with sleeping close to my face. She likes to sleep on my shoulder or on my chest to smell my breathe and chew on my hair. I often wake up to puppy snorings in my ear or my hair being gnawed on. It's cute right now. But John wants me to discourage it right now to avoid a "thighs situation" like we do with Minka.

First nail clippings last night as well. Puppy was chill. Minka may very well have been tortured from all her wailing.

Missing my girls and eager to get home soon to see what I've missed while I was at work.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I fail at being asian - Zakkushi Review

I've kept coral reef tanks where I've held my hand in the briny water while cleaner shrimp cleaned the dead skin off my hand. I've captured small fresh water shrimp at a waterfall in Malaysia. I've cooked countless prawn dishes, and de-veined them as part of the preparation. I eat real sushi - not california rolls, atleast once a week. I grew up a rough and tumble Chinese Redneck-Hunter-Fisherman's Daughter and have seen my share of sea life in various states of liveliness (and dismemberment) but nothing prepared me for my meal at Zakkushi last night with J.

Appetizer:  Your choice of...
Sashimi Seven (7 kinds of seasonal sashimi)
-- or --
Appetizer Trio Ankimo (Fresh monkfish foie gras), Gomaae (Boiled spinach w/ black sesame sauce), and Takowasabi (Octopus mixed w/ wasabi stem)

Optimistic J ordered the Appetizer Trio,and I had the Sashimi Seven. J was fearful of another Frenemies situation (Gyu's Salmon and his 7 friends, an experience so horrific we've dubbed it Salmon and his 7 Frenemies) so offered to try the Trio in the interest of menu diversity.

I felt pretty smut about our choices, as monkfish foie gras wasn't exciting me too much... This lasted until our meals arrived. On my plate was a lovely selection of snapper, salmon, tuna, sweet scallop, and beautifully presented... the penetrating and judging gaze of a raw shrimp with it's carpace shell removed. My friend Shianne - having the sensibilities of an average asian - would have marveled at the freshness of the shrimp and thrown down the delicacy without any concern but  I was horrified. I clearly could not eat it and each second of its beady eyed stare only increased my loss of appetite. In a decisive act of action to save me (thank you J!) J flagged down the waitress to take it away. but not before I covered the atrocity with a napkin like a funeral pyre.

This is not the actual photo but it is for Zakkushi by another reviewer.
I was in too much shock to capture the experience.

Don't get me wrong the sushi was a wonderful quality but I had let down my entire yellow nation in proper representation. Shame. I could hear the words of condemnation at my waste.

Here is the actual dish without the head.
Here is Jenny's appetizer trio. The Monkfish Foie Gras ended up tasting like cheese. The Gomae I've had before at other places, and I can say this place had one of the better versions of it I've ever had. It was not too saucy or salty.

The last item was a spicy chop of raw octopus and wasabi stem. Delicious but unusual. A little bit slimy. I found it an interesting gastro experience but not something I'd eat again.

Entree: Your choice of...

 ~Meet the Meat~ Sukiyaki (5 oz of sliced AAA Angus beef, tofu, onion, knotted yam noodle, shiitake and Japanese green onion in a hot pot) & Kushi San Bon (3 charcoal grilled skewers of Me Maki, P-Toro and G Beef)
-- or --
~Sea of Love~ Seafood Trunk w/ Uni Sauce (Grilled white tuna, prawn, scallop, tomato and asparagus on steamed rice w/ sea urchin sauce) & Orient Clam Miso Soup
-- or --
~Japanese Tradition II~ “Kishu” Plum and Shredded Kelp Udon (Japanese premium sour plum and shredded kelp in Udon noodle soup) & Nigiri Sushi (4pcs of seasonal sushi)

The next course was excellent. I had the Sea of Love (praying it came cooked). And Jenny had Meat the Meat. 

My pre-Entree was a lovely miso soup served with delicate clams. Jenny had an assortment of three Kushi skewers which were asparagus wrapped in mystery meat - we hope it was proscuitto, a fatty pork, and garlicy beef. Very tasty. We've resisted looking up what they actually are as with most Asian restaurants ignorance is bliss. These items are plentiful on the Zakkushi Menu and can be ordered a la cart.  The Skewers never had a chance. We ate them before we could even consider taking a photo.

The Sea of Love was beautifully prepared seafood (YAY! It was cooked!) with asparagus, tomato and a sea urchin sauce (the sauce I couldn't taste and thankfully had forgotten it was listed as an ingredient as I adored this dish and the Urchin sauce would have put me off if I had thought about it too much. This dish was comforting and delicious. I could eat it every day.

Jenny had the Meat Hot pot, and it was delicious. We couldn't identify the flavor but it was unusually delicious. Familiar yet strange. I felt it had an almost liquoricy - star anise flavor. Very enjoyable in that it challenged our senses. The meat was quite fatty but tender and the mushrooms were juicy from the soup. Most enjoyable were the Yam noodles which had absorbed the delicious broth and proved to be a wonderful receptable for bringing more pleasure to my happy mouth. Lovely.
Dessert: Your choice of...
Giapponese Panna Cotta (white sesame panna cotta w/ maple raspberry sauce)
-- or --
Matcha Ice Cream w/ Red Bean Lady Finger

We both decided to have the Panna Cotta as Matcha Ice Cream - while our favourite flavor - is common in Vancouver. Zakkushi's version had a slight sesami flavor, but had a lovely rich texture. Executed well! The Maple Raspberry sauce provided just the right amount of sweetness. I enjoyed this dessert immensely.

This was a Dine Out Vancouver Menu for $28 /head. Had I not driven I would have definitely have added the $10 Sake pairings to the meal. A wonderful experience over all - oral adventures, a full tummy and emotional turmoil. What more can you ask for in an evening?

Given my low brow humor, I'd also like to mention that I found their menu entertaining. Can you see why I'd think this? Mmm Noodles!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sparrows first car ride

We brought our baby home Jan 16. Here is the car ride to Auntie Jenny and Uncle Scotts. No problems here.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Apple Pie is the Best

The first time I had apple pie was when my Auntie Ben was living with us. I don’t think she’d ever had pie before and was working from a recipe. Now that I think back on it, the filing was a bit dry, and the crust quite thick, but it tasted MARVELOUS. I don’t remember enjoying anything more than my first bite of apple pie. I was seriously, and dangerously hooked.

From then on, my experience with pie was mainly store bought grocery store pies, or the apple pie pockets from McDonalds until I was old and brave enough to bake a pie myself. From the age of 15-18, I would bake a pie every Sunday, often with my best friend at the time, Chris Newman. I think I made my dad very happy those years, as he too had the Fong Love of Pies.

I had three successive weeks of failures in pie making and after that, gave up on piemaking. I couldn’t figure out what I had done wrong to the crust and do the filling, esp after 3 years of experience. It’s pretty much been 10 years since my pie making days and I saw this Food Trends article about pie being the next Cupcake. It inspired me to try baking little pies. I purchased small removable bottom tart pans from a cook shop on Granville Island

After reading this blog post on single serving apple pies in a jar I decided to try this out  too. Mainly because Jong’s been so good at cooking, cleaning and tolerating my mood swings that I wanted to do something nice to show I cared.

The pies took me 2 hours to make, and 40 mins to bake  at 350. I eye balled the filling using golden cane sugar, maison cote vanilla bean paste, cinnamon, cloves, and organic granny smith apples (the tart goes well with the sweetness of the sugar) but followed the tenderflake pie crust filling to the letter at half recipe as I only had 6 tart shells, and 2 canning jars.

In the end, the pies turned out super.. and I think I’m unleashing my pie making beast again… BEST CRUST EVER! Super flaky crust, perfectly sweet filling. I’m going to make little pies to give to family and friends, and freeze up some meat pies for a lazy evening.

The pictures enclosed include the two types of pie, and one with the tartlet with vanilla ice cream. Next time I’ll get fancier with the crust. This time was to see if the jar would explode and if my curse with the crust was over.

Yummilicious. I hear my wedding dress diet crying out in the corner. Time to bury it with a shovel and lime.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Project: Dog Collar

I repurposed the hardware from Willow’s manky old collar and made this new wiener dog collar for Minka last night. I’m quite pleased with the results and it only took me 15 minutes.

My first effort was too small as I didn’t’ take into account the excess for wrapping the edges but we think the little pink cup cake collar will be great for our puppy arriving next week. Can you believe it? She’s coming!