After numerous indecisive thought process, I came out this salad. It’s really awesome. The objective was to prepare something low carb. I wanted to use the quinoa to make sushi and came out too wet and failed so instead I mixed the filling together.
I have had eaten surimi tobiko cucumber salad many times in Hong Kong as an appetizer and this version has taken the salad up one level, even more delish and can serve as a main low carb dish.
10 Sticks Surimi, cut into very thin strips
1 cucumber, deseed, partly remove skin and cut into very thin strips
3 tbsp Tobiko (you can buy them frozen)
a small handful Coriander, roughly chopped
1 ripe Avocado, cut into small pieces
Toasted seaweed (optional: for garnish on top)
2/3 cup white quinoa
Salad dressing inspired from recipe found in CHOW.com:
1 tbsp light soy sauce
3 tbsp dark toasted sesame oil
3 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
3 tbsp Mayonnaise
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp Rice Vinegar
2 tsp sriracha (Thai Chili sauce) or 2 tsp Korean Chili paste ( I have used Korean this time as I have run out of Srircha), you can add more if you want it more spicy
Cooked the quinoa as instructed on your pack. Drain and transfer into a bowl, set aside to cool down.
Prepare the ingredients as described above and place them in a mixing bowl.
Prepare the salad dressing in a small bowl, you need a little whisking to mix well.
Finally toss in the quinoa with in the other ingredients in the mixing bowl and pour in the salad dressing.
This is enough for 3-4 people, depending if you serve as an appetizer or main course. I like to serve in smaller portion on a small plate and garnish with a little toasted seaweed on top. And repeat when I want second.
Today is creative Wednesday, this afternoon I have prepared roasted pumpkin for tonight’s dinner but I have not planned what to go with it. While I was cooking the risotto, I thought just pumpkin and risotto sound a bit plain so I looked into the fridge, not much available really as we will be away for the weekend so did not stock up much. Previously I would grill some tiger prawns to go with the pumpkin risottobut I was a bit lazy. The reason why I rustic roasted the pumpkin is because it requires least effort to prepare with extremely satisfactory results. And I can spend more time with Marc.
The idea of using Smoked tofu was inspired by my favorite vegetarian restaurant in Basel/ Zurich called Tibits. They use a lot of tofu in their dishes, so I thought just be brave and give a try. I asked Peter if he dared to try my creative dish, he said I had to right and in the end he had second. He was still having a teleconference when I placed his plate in front of him and I could see his face looked surprised when I spontaneously decided to crush a little amaretti biscuit on top, a little sweetness matched well to the pumpkin : ) I am truly proud of my dish tonight and very happy with the inspiration I had in the last minute! Sometimes you just have to try, if you never try, you never know. I love smoked tofu, they keep quite long in the fridge and becomes handy and is a great alternative to meat.
I admit that I love meat especially a nice piece of steak or rack of lamb. I cannot imagine myself can become a vegan totally but occasionally I would have some meat free days especially when I want to lose some weight.
Going to a vegetarian restaurant usually will make me turning my head immediately, however, there is a place which have made me changed my mind towards veggie dishes. This is Hiltl in Zurich and its veggie fast food chain, Tibits. Hiltl is more formal, with sit in à la carte area , and a bar lounge just next to it. This place is so popular and packed at all times that you have to give the table to them after an hour or so. Tibits is a veggie fast food restaurant chain, it seems to be expanding its business outside Switzerland, the first one is UK. Anyway, I had lunch with a friend for the first time last year and was totally amazed that the veggie buffet is not boring at all and they have so much varieties and the ones I picked were all tasty. The stuffed jalapeño peppers are finger-licking. There is this Curried Tofu Melon I sampled was a surprised to me, it was so memorable that I wanted to look for the recipe but I could not find it in their cookbooks. And after months, I am still thinking of it from time to time, so I took the courage and tried to make it myself with my imagine and even add a little more ingredients to it. The results was great, Peter sounds skeptical over the phone when I told him that I was going to experiment a curry salad with melon and tofu. He made a remark: “interesting combination”. The only thing I would have to improve next time is to use less curry powder, otherwise it was just what I was looking for. I am very happy and has got me in a mood to explore more vegan dishes. That evening I have prepared a quinoa salad, bare with me, it will be my next post.
The last two weeks had been very busy but special, my secondary schoolmate, Cynthia came to stay with me all the way from sunny San Francisco to snowy Basel. I guess if she knew that it would snow here, she would have changed her mind. It was a pity that it had been snowy pretty much throughout her stay. Nevertheless we had a great time, we laughed our heads off day and night, having late nights, watching movies and TV, wine tasting in Alsace (Andlau and Colmar), needless to mention of course wine and dine.
Cynthia is a chef as well as in the restaurant business, I was so lucky that I did not need to cook in the last two weeks but can still sample a lot of yummy food. She is very kind to demonstrate a lot of her signature Asian fusion dishes and share her cooking tips with me. It has widened my horizon and I hope I can cook outside the box in the future. Baby Marc was so good those evenings that he was almost able to sleep through and allowed us to enjoy the dinner quietly. Hubby was also very nice to me that he let me go out for the last few days during her stay and took care Marc for me.
She brought me a lot of goodies from US: self-dived uni (sea urchin) and abalone, hamachi (sushi fish), sake, magazines and baby stuffs. Half of her luggage was all for me, I was so amazed how she managed that. If you are interested, you can see what I have eaten in Flickr.
When we went shopping in Basel and Zurich, Cynthia kept saying everything in Switzerland are really much more expensive than in the US except the 3Cs: cheese, chocolate and CIGARS!!!
Anyway after she had left, I have to cook for ourselves again. One thing I have learnt is that I can make use of the herbs more efficiently without wasting them. The other day I was so happy that for the first time I found Shiso leaves Perilla) in the Asian market here, I did not know what I could do with the whole pack and just bought it because I love shiso. We used the shiso to garnish the sashimi but there was still a lot left so I made a Shiso pesto and have used it in pasta and fried rice.
125-150g dried spaghetti
100g mix of steinpilz mushrooms and champignons
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp fish roe or uni (sea urchin)
1 cup packed fresh Shiso leaves (also called Perilla), discard stems, washed and pat dried, briefly chopped
2 cloves garlic, cut into small pieces
1/3 extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup parmesan reggiano cheese
Make in advanced the shiso pesto by whizzing all the above using a handheld mixer. Store in a food container.
Sauté the mushooms with olive oil and garlic. In the meantime, cook the pasta as instructed from the pack.
When the pasta is ready, toss in 1-2 tbsp shiso pesto and mix well, Layer the sauteed mushroom on top and spoon 1 tbsp fish roe in the middle. Serve immediately.
Having bought the duck breast and kept in the freezer for some time, I finally decided to make it last night. Duck breast seems to be challenging to prepare, I heard that it takes longer to cook then other meat so I always felt restrained to try cooking it myself. I love duck almost in all forms but I have always enjoyed it in the restaurant. Nevertheless, every thing has its first time. I have searched online and found an excellent post on ‘how to pan roast a duck breast from Cookthink. Meanwhile, just like Marisa’s post in Slashfood, I did not need to put the duck breast into the oven but still could get the inside rosé.
The other night initially I did not have any idea what to cook for myself, I did not feel hungry until it’s almost 9pm. I seemed to feel hungry only when it was gradually getting dark. When I looked into twitter, I saw Helen had made aglio e olio for dinner, I thought this was not a bad idea, quick to make and my other food blogger friend Ella @ From Stratch had just blogged this dish recently. However, the inside me wants to make something different, I was thinking that I have a small bottle of Masago which needs to be finished asap. I know there are Japanese pasta which uses fish roe but from what I can remember, they are using creamy sauce which I did not fancy tonight. So I had an idea to use the aglio e olio recipe as base and spin off to become a Japanese-Italian fusion version. The result was delizioso, oishi!!! I was very happy with my creativitiy tonight : )
30ml extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp masago (capelin roe) or tobiko (flying fish roe)
1/2 sheet sushi nori (seaweed), cut into thin slices
1 tbsp fresh or dried parsley
1/2 small red chili cut into small pieces, discard seeds or 1 tsp dried chili flakes
fresh ground sea salt
Cook the liguine as instructed from the pack to al dente and drain in a colander.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan at medium high heat, sauté the garlic and chili for a while, when the garlic turns slightly brown, add the drained liguine and basil into the pan and toss until they are mixed well. Sprinkle the parsley, mix well.
Transfer the pasta onto serving plate. Sprinkle some parmesan cheese, then add the masago or tobiko on top and followed by the nori.
Add a little freshly ground salt as seasoning and mix well.
When I was in Toronto recently, I had a very memorable dinner with my old friends from US in North 44 )° . This restaurant was picked by my old pal, he had been there 8 years ago and he would like to revisit. I had no objection at all as this friend always has good recommendations. This place had recently been renovated but the standard of food was not deteriorated at all. We all left with satisfying stomachs and smiling faces.
I have enjoyed my meal in particular my starter and dessert which both were not in the menu.
Starter:Steak tartar (special of that day), the portion was not too big. I was surprised it was served in 3 small portions instead of the traditional one portion in the middle. The tartar was not too minced, so it gives more texture in your mouth.
Main course:Grilled Black Cod accompanied with Chinese green vegetables and mash potatoes with chives
I did not take a photo for my main course as it looked a little odd and disturbing when I was engaged in a conversation, so I kept to minimal. But I have to say the fish cooked just right and the mashed potato with a little twist by having some chives was delicious.
Dessert: Bourbon with salted pecan homemade ice cream, this was absolutlely divine.