Tag Archives: hot

Friday 5 – Gazpacho 5 Ways!

25 Jun

by Stephanie Dickison

It has been insanely hot here in the city.  On Monday, my eyelids were actually sweating.

One of my favourite ways to keep cool in the summer heat is to make and consume a ton of gazpacho.  This cold Spanish soup is not cooked and is often a melange of tomatoes, cucumbers and other vegetables and spices.

Here is a roundup of 5 (or more) pretty spectacular gazpachos to help you beat the heat this weekend:

1. Andalusian Garden Gazpacho from The Los Angeles Times (LA would know something about eating in the heat)

2. Watch and learn the step-by-step process of making Creamy Gazpacho (with beautiful scenery in the background)

3.  A lot of restaurants put a Fruit Gazpacho on their menus at this time of year.  They are incredibly quick and easy to make and very refreshing.  Here’s a fruit & veg version and Pineapple Cucumber to swoon over.

4.  Green Gazpacho is a nice change from the red, tomato-based version that we’ve come to know and love.  To keep the green love going, give Spinach Gazpacho with Shrimp & Cream Cheese a try.

5.  One of the many great finds at farmer’s markets right now are beets.  Surprise and delight your dinner guests tonight with Beet & Ginger Gazpacho or Ginger Lemongrass Beet.  They’ll be so thankful not to have to politely eat yet another beet, goat’s cheese and walnut salad!

p.s.  My secret for making a spectacular gazpacho?  Yellow tomatoes (see picture above)!

The G20 Series: The Republic of Korea

22 Jun

Korean Hot Pot (Photo By Stephanie Dickison)

by Stephanie Dickison

I am not going to discuss the political difficulties between North and South Korea.  I just want to talk about the food.

On May 21st, I attended the Korean Food Products and Beverages Exhibition Toronto 2010 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.  I brought my fella and my good friend Cindy, who is Korean and was excited to see her culture celebrated.

It was not just disappointing, but devastatingly heartbreaking.  A mere 6 booths were set up and speeches were being given by various politicians and business folks the entire time.  We got ourselves a DVD entitled “Korea Sparkling: A Sparkling Journey to Korea” and a pack of dried noodle soup.

We left after 10 minutes (and that was stretching it out) and went and got ourselves a stiff drink.

I think it was so soul crushing because we all love Korean food so much.  The blend of sour, sweet, hot and salty tastes  makes for some of the most memorable meals I’ve ever had.

In Toronto, we have our own Little Korea or Koreatown, that runs along Bloor Street between Bathurst and Christie. Not only can you get amazing food, but you can watch walnut cakes being made, shop for ingredients at the many fresh fruit and vegetable markets and even get Korean housewares.

I love the many places to get fried chicken and cutlets, the bevvy of hot pots available and have you had pork bone soupDolsot Bibimbap?  It’s easy to get vegetarian dishes when eaten Korean fare, but for meat-lovers like myself, I can tuck into noodles heaped with various cow and pig parts, otherwise unappreciated in other parts of town, and Korean beef ribs, which could give some of the Southern States a run for their money.

And if you’re wondering how to recreate it all back in the comfort of your own home, I refer to Quick & Easy Korean Cooking: More Than 70 Everyday Recipes by Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee.  It is easy to use and gives fantastic, authentic results.

One of my favourite new dishes to make at home is Korean PancakesThis is the mix that I buy. This humongous bag is only $2.69, I think and it will make enough pancakes to get you to Christmas!

Okay, now I’m hungry!

p.s. If you’re from the Korean Food Products and Beverages Exhibition, Cindy and I are available to put together next year’s event and do it up right – standing room only

The G20 Series: Russia

15 Jun

by Stephanie Dickison

I love the fact that Russian cooking includes a lot of cuisines.

In The Best of Russian Cooking by Alexandra Kropotkin, soups not only get their own section, it’s early on in the cookbook, which isn’t always the case with North American cookbooks.  I like to believe this is because they place a lot of importance on them.

I also love that there are a ton of both cold and hot soups available.

According to Wikipedia:

“Russian soups can be divided into at least seven large groups:

  • Chilled soups based on kvass, such as tyurya, okroshka, and botvinya.
  • Light soups and stews based on water and vegetables.
  • Noodle soups with meat, mushrooms, and milk.
  • Soups based on cabbage, most prominently shchi.
  • Thick soups based on meat broth, with a salty-sour base like rassolnik and solyanka.
  • Fish soups such as ukha.
  • Grain- and vegetable-based soups.”

Over at Yulinka Cooks, Julia in Wisconsin gives you the low down on Borsch with her Borsch 2.0 entry (note there is no “t” in hers).

I like the decoding of Uzbek Soup in Anna’s Recipe Box.

Schi, a traditional Russian soup, might sound a little hearty for this warm weather, but I say give it a try.

If you live in Seattle, you can learn to make Russian soups like a pro.  But since you probably don’t, you can make some of the soups from The Food and Cooking of Russia by Lesley Chamberlain, discover Russian Food Culture and learn to read Russian menus.

And on your way to Russia, shop here for your authentic ingredients.

In the meantime, Clear Russian Fish Soup with Lime and Dill sounds delightful:

* 8 cups fish stock, clarify

* 1 pound white fish fillets, sliced into 6 serving pieces (salmon fillets are also excellent)

* 6 paper thin slices of lime

* 1 Tablespoon finely cut fresh dill leaves

Bring stock to a boil in a large saucepan. Lower in the fish fillets and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 3-4 minutes–until the fish is just opaque. Carefully lift the fish out and put into flat soup bowls. Pour hot stock on top, squeeze a little lime juice into each bowl, float a thin lime slice on top, and sprinkle with dill. Serve at once.

The G20 Series: Mexico

13 Jun

by Stephanie Dickison

Funny, I was just thinking along the same lines as Chris – how the hell do you sum up an entire country’s food in a mere 3-4 paragraphs?!

You can’t.  I can’t, anyway, so I thought long and hard about what sets Mexican food apart for me from the rest of the crowd (I had to fight getting up in the middle of the night to make tacos).

Here’s what I came up with:

Mexican food is perhaps one of the most fun, messy foods to eat.

Tacos and tacitos drip hot sauce and juices from pork and chicken,  enchilada sauce bursts forth from your entree, and ceviches blot your napkin with lemon or lime juice.

Salsas are perhaps one of the messiest condiments, with the water from the tomato or tomatillo and citrus juices making it sometimes difficult to get on your tortilla chip or breadstick.  And when your  fajitas, quesadillas and tacos have salsa on them, just  know that it might take a few tries to get the hang of it and not have it end up on your shirt front.

The good thing about salsa is it is simple to make an outstanding one as long as you have fresh ingredients on hand, and because you don’t have to cook it, it can be made quickly.  The base ingredients include tomatoes or tomatillos, cilantro, onion, garlic, citrus juice and hot peppers.  Some pros say salt and pepper too, but I’ve never done that.  (Hmm, I’m going to try that next time….) I like to chop and mix it all by hand, but many people use their food processor.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is the making it fresh always trumps a store-bought one. And this way, you can make it as hot or mild as you like.  The best way to add heat to your salsa is to remember that:

1.  the smaller the chili, the hotter it is

2. add a little at a time and taste as you go

The other thing I’ve learned is, salsas vary in Mexico, depending on the region.   Northern Mexico is known for its hearty grilled beef dishes, so you want something vibrant to stand up against the heaviness.

In The Cuisine of Puebla by Karen Hursh Graber, Northern Mexican “Drunken” Salsa is the perfect accompaniment.  And she says if you don’t have tequila, an extra 1/4 cup of beer will do just fine.

Ingredients:

  • 1 mulato chile, seeded and deveined, soaked in hot water until soft, drained
  • 3 pasilla chiles, seeded and deveined, soaked in hot water until soft, drained
  • 3 large garlic cloves, roasted on a comal or griddle, then peeled
  • 1 tablespoon chopped onion
  • 3 tomatoes, roasted on a comal or griddle
  • ½ cup beer
  • 2 tablespoons tequila
  • 1/3 cup pineapple juice
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar or piloncillo
  • salt to taste

Preparation:

Grind the chiles, garlic, onion and tomato in a molcajete or blender. Add the beer, tequila, pineapple juice and sugar and blend to combine ingredients. Add salt to taste.

Made a few hours ahead of serving, this salsa develops a deeper flavor. Makes 2 cups

If you want to make something from the South, use a smoked jalapeño called Chipotle.  The Aztecs who lived in central and southern Mexico from the 14th to 16th Centuries, came up with the idea.

The only other thing I would suggest is a lot of napkins.

You’re going to need ’em.