Tag Archives: friends

The G20 Series: Japan

10 Jun

by Stephanie Dickison

Japanese is just about one of the only cuisines I could have every day for the rest of my life.

I like that there are so many aspects to it.  We North Americans are taken with sushi, sashimi and maki, but in Japan there are noodle houses, dumpling houses, tempura delicacies as well as many unusual ingredients from the sea.

You can search for Japanese restaurants outside of Japan to find out where to get authentic Japanese dishes near you and The Japanese Food Report offers lots of pictures and videos.

My favourite Japanese restaurant in Toronto is Daio Sushi (45 Calton St. 416-260-2116 ) which unfortunately doesn’t have a website.  Daio is family-run and really authentic – there are rice paper walls and the servers dress in kimonos.

What it great about Daio is that it is not fancy, so you can go with a group of friends and feel comfortable, and it is not expensive, especially when you consider the ingredients and preparation.

They have items on the menu that many “sushi joints” pass over in favour of cream cheese-filled rolls and other Americanized plates.  Torigarage is deep-fried dark meat chicken served in pieces, Japanese style.  This is the kind of treat you would find in an izakaya in Japan.

Sukiyaki and Shabu Shabu are also available.  These are Japanese hot pots that are incredibly delicious and oh-so filling!

Your server brings out not only the homemade broth and all of the fresh, thinly sliced ingredients, but the heavy  cast iron pot and table-top element to cook it all in.  It says that it serves 2, but 3 or 4 could easily tuck into this lovely dinner.

And if you can’t resist getting makimono or sushi and sashimi, choose some of the more interesting selections that Daio offers, such as Burdock (Yamagobou maki) and Sea Urchin (Uni temaki hand roll).

To make authentic Japanese fare at home, try:

Harumi’s Japanese Home Cooking: Simple, Elegant Recipes for Contemporary Tastes by Harumi Kurihara

Izakaya: The Japanese Pub Cookbook by Mark Robinson and Masashi Kuma

Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen by Elizabeth Andoh

どうぞめしあがれ or Douzo Meshiagare – “Enjoy your meal!”

Monday Review: Dinner at Your Door

3 Nov

Dinner at Your Door: Tips and recipes for Starting a Neighbourhood Cooking Co-Op by Alex Davis, Diana Ellis and Andy Remeis. Gibbs-Smith

By Stephanie Dickison

In these tight economic times, I think that preparing meals at home and sharing meals with friends, family and neighbours will become a part of our routine, just as more people will take transit, stay in to watch movies and generally cut back where they can.

But that doesn’t mean that it has to feel like a sacrifice.  In fact, I think that this getting back to sharing meals and stories around the table is a good thing!

So when I received Dinner at Your Door, I thought – this is absolutely the perfect time for this!

The premise of the book is this:

“We love to cook. But every night? No way! On the other hand, we don’t want to eat out or have frozen pizza. On the nights we don’t cook, we want something delicious-a balanced meal with quality ingredients. Come to think of it, what we really want are home-cooked meals made by somebody else and delivered!
Welcome to co-op cooking, possibly the best idea since Pyrex with a lid. With the plan set up by Dinner at the Door, you cook one fabulous dinner a week and have two or three equally sensational meals delivered to your door, hot and ready to eat. If you love to cook but the pressure of doing it every night gets you down, a dinner co-op is for you. Instead of slamming together three or four 30-minute dinners a week, you can take your time crafting one superb weeknight meal and enjoy receiving the other meals automatically.”

So basically, you and a group of friends, family members and neighbours – anyone who lives in a close proximity – sets up a dinner co-op where you all cook and share the food that you make.  And it’s pretty easy when you think about how much effort it is to cook for two – think about how little extra it is to cook for say 6!

And the benefits of setting up a co-op are plentiful – you get to try new foods, dishes and ingredients, you get exposed to new ideas and presentations and you get a couple of nights off to spend with the kids or read that book for your book club or whatever it is that you want to do, but can never find the time for.

This book goes through everything you need to know – questions to ask yourselves and others before becoming involved, what to do when someone leaves the group, options on delivering the food and forms and worksheets to use.  It really is the bible of setting up a neighbourhood cooking co-op!

But what I like most about the book is how approachable everything is.  Normally, I would have never considered doing such a thing, but the damn book makes it seem like you’d be crazy not to – after all, these are the few steps you need to take! I really think that this book could not only change the way we eat and cook, but our lives.

And the recipes – oh my God, the recipes!  Not only do I want to make these dishes, but I can’t wait to share them with friends and neighbours!  Check out the first recipe – Avocado and Grapefruit Salad with Chile Maple Pecans.  I am making that this weekend for sure!  And there’s:

Spinach & Edamame Soup with a Touch of Cream

Salmon with Fresh Strawberry Relish

Hunter Chicken with Artichoke Hearts

Cobb Sandwich on Fresh Bakery Bread

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Orange Chipotle Glaze

The photos are tremendous and the book is laid out so really all you need to do, is follow their guidelines.

I’m off to write cards to friends and neighbours to kick off my own neighbourhood co-op.  Thanks to this amazing book, I actually feel like I can do this!

I’m so excited!