Laksa!

So a few weeks ago I was listening to CBC Metro Morning. Every Thursday Matt Galloway talks with Suresh Doss about his fav food find of the week. Usually it's in some remote strip mall or small plaza. A place that you likley wouldn't normally go.

Such a good thing that he discovered Malay Thai. It's in the corner of a small food court in a Markham Mall that is off-set from the road and you barely notice when you drive by.

I had to go there three times before I managed to get a bowl of the Laksa!!

The first time, was early evening. Oviously everyone else had heard the Suresh talk about it on the radio too, because the people in line in front of me (like me) didn't look like food court regulars...They were sold out that day. The second time I went back they were again sold out. The CBC feature was really good for business.

Finally the third visit was the charm! LAKSA

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This was my fist time trying it. 

It's made with vermicelli and egg noodles, which are bathed in a stock mixed with a spice paste. The spice paste gives the soup its heat and umami flavours and its bright orange colour. The soup is then topped with fish cake, tofu, sprouts and additional spices.

So delicious you could almost lick the bowl after. They have several other things on the menu that are worth a taste, including this other noodle soup (but I can't remember what it was called)!

 

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Spring is Maple Syrup Season

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Spring is Maple Syrup Season in Canada! I had a chance to visit Horton Tree Farms to see how it is made: (Video Coming)...

 

Here are links to some awesome Recipes using Maple Syrup from my favourite Bon Appetit Magazine:

 

 

 

Happy 2017: YouTube!

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Happy New Year!

I am finally going to work on some videos to add content to my YouTube Channel! I really enjoy sharing my experiences with you, and I think that video blogging is the next step for me!!

I would love it if you would subscribe to my channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCceLTXmg3Zd2OONhripv9qQ

I am planning to post new cooking/food videos every week starting in February!

:)

Giving Tuesday Spotlight: FeedFive

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I included the FeedFive T-Shirt in my Little Locavore's List of Holiday Gifts for Foodies to Wear.  Because it's Giving Tuesday, I wanted to tell you a little more about what you GIVE when you buy one of those shirts! dark-tshirt-sizing-3-0

Recently I went to volunteer at Feedfive. Feedfive is a non-profit organization that gets people together monthly to cook a meal that will feed the less fortunate at the Ray of Hope community centre.

It started out as a group of friends getting together to help cook a meal, but they soon realized that pooling their own money to pay for ingredients wasn't sustainable, so they needed to come up with a product to help raise money.

They wanted to be transparent, so that the person buying the product would know exactly where their money was going, and after some brainstorming and calculations, they figured that the money from one t-shirt was enough to pay for five full meals!  Hence the name: Feedfive.

This may seem unreal, but they actually do raise ALL the funds from selling only t-shirts and tank tops. Soon you'll also be able to buy hoodies and aprons as well!

Once they raise enough money to buy ingredients, they have to think about what they are going to buy, and it all comes down to these four things: what's on sale, what's affordable, what's popular, and what's doable.  Things like pastas with salads are often on the menu.

Once they've costed everything out, and sourced all the ingredients, they need people to cook and serve it.

FeedFive relies entirely on volunteers to do all the cooking, washing up, and serving of the food.  Since all the cooking takes place in the prep kitchen at the University of Waterloo, it was assumed that most of the volunteers would be students, but it turns out that the bulk of the volunteers come from people aged 35 to 60.

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I was the youngest volunteer the night that I went to help cook, but everyone was friendly and I got to meet some really great people.

I was in charge of the béchamel sauce. This was the first time I've had to make sauce for 300!

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Feedfive is always in need of more volunteers, thats where you can help, if you're interested in cooking a meal, serving a meal, and being part of a good cause, than check out their website for details and how to sign up.  Or just buy one of their cool t-shirt, it literally does feed five!

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This is me with FeedFive founder Danny Aguizi and his mom who came from Egypt to volunteer!

 

Hello Fresh: Sneak Peek

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I had the chance to check out Hello Fresh, and though it would be cool to see how a meal prep delivery service works! HelloFresh is new to Canada as of 2016, and delivers “cook from scratch” meal plans straight to your door, with carefully curated, easy to follow recipes and locally sourced fresh ingredients in just the right quantities.

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Everything that you need to prepare all of the meals comes right in the box that is delivered to you! There are some basics that you should have alerady in your kitchen, like salt & pepper, oil.

Hello Fresh is a meal subscription service. You can choose form either the:

 3 Meal Pronto Box for Two - $79.99

 3 Meal Pronto Box for Four - $139.99

 3 Meal Family Box for Four - $129.99 - This is the box that I am trying out!

The boxes are delivered once a week on either a Tuesday or Wednesday right to your door, and delivery is Free!

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All of the directions for each meal also come in the box, so for someone who is just learing how to cook, this makes it really easy to follow along step-by-step!

The meals are divided into seperate boxes, which are easy to store in the fridge:

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The meats & items that need to be refridgerated are in a special panel at the bottom of the box, with ice packs to keep them cool!

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Hello Fresh tries to use as many LOCAL ingredients as possible, which is why I thought I would like to try their service.

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This week I'll be making 3 Hello Fresh Meals:

  • Shrimp Pad See Ew
  • Smoky Sloppy Joes
  • Chicken Penne

If you want to try them out too! You can go online to HELLO FRESH and use the code : LOCAVORE-60

That will give you $30 off your first order, and $30 off your second order!! Look out for my posts later this week of me making my Hello Fresh "Cook from Scratch" meals.

Maclean's Magazine: Canada's Stories

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It was very much an honour for me when I was contacted by Maclean's Magazine to be part of their Canada's Stories. They have chosen one person for every year since 1905 until 2016 to share a story. My story is about my cooking journey, which I hope will inspire more kids to get into the kitchen.

Once I watched some of the other videos, it was amazing to hear all of the different things that people have lived. A girl named Dakencia was born the year before me in 2001 and survived the earthquake in Haiti. The story of Marguerite Nerny who was born in 1905!

You should take a moment and check out all of the Maclean's Canada's Stories

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IR7iANh4Ya8

#Throwback: VijCookLive- Chicken Coconut Curry

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I'm making Chef Vikram's Chicken Coconut Curry for dinner tonight! I haven't made it in a while! Had to remind myself, by wathcing a little #throwback video of the first time I learned how it make it!! I can't believe this was already 3 years ago!

If you want to make it, and have us guide you step by step, here are the list of ingredients, and watch the video to see what to do!!

Here are the ingredients you will need to follow along.

Shopping list:

  • 2 chicken thighs deboned, skin off, chopped
  • 2 chicken breasts, skin off, chopped
  • ½ tsp saffron (optional)
  • 1/3 cup cooking oil
  • 1 Tbsp cumin seeds or black mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp asafetida (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped garlic (6 medium cloves)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp paprika (optional)
  • 5 cups coconut milk
  • 2 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro (optional)

[embed]https://vimeo.com/70664519[/embed]

2016 Better Together: Hands-On Cook-Off!

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Last year I had the honour of being selected as a judge for the the Better Together Hands-On Cook-Off! It was a great opportunity to be able to see all the videos that people submitted, showing their creativity  and passion for food! It's that time again to submit a video:

If you’re a BC resident, you can submit your 3-minute long (or less) home video cooking show between April 20 and noon of May 20. Grab a friend or relative and show us your stuff!

Videos must include two or more people preparing a recipe together… and having fun!

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Don’t forget to socialize! Share your video on social media, tagging @bettertogether #HandsonCookoff.

  • Now in its 7th year, the Hands-on Cook-off family foodie video contest goes national this year! Manitoba has adopted the contest.
  • The goal for the contest is to raise awareness around the significant benefits of cooking and eating together, inspiring families to have fun in the kitchen across Canada.
  • This year’s panel of judges represents all of these groups, and includes: Claire Newell, Jennifer Pallian, Ethan Adeland, Alex Gill, and Denise Marchessault. Every judge brings their own unique flavour to the ever-growing contest

Vote

Vote for the video you think is the best in each category!

  • The video with the most votes in the Multigenerational category will win the People's Choice award in this category and $300 cash.
  • Videos submitted in the Youth category have a chance to win a prize for their team and a prize for their school or youth program. The video with the most votes in the Youth category will win the People's Choice award in the Youth category and $150 cash for their team plus $150 cash for their school or youth program of their choice.

http://bettertogetherbc.ca/contest

Here was a great video example form last year:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1Ta8wxYBo0

Highlights from DinnerPartyYVR 2016

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My fourth time participating in DinnerPartyYVR was awesome! All of the dinners together raised over $23K for charity! Thank you to everyone who helped me with my dinner, and helped to raise funds for the charity that I support: Quest Food Exchange-Giving Page! <-----You can still donate to my fundraising efforts!

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IMG_20160409_204946920Andres my Sous Chef for the evening

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Thanks to Nick for teaching a new and amazing way to make the most delicious croutons!

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The Yemenite Spice mix that I made, and coated my butternut squash with before roasting it, and then pureeing into the soup.

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The Pork Tenderloins were rubbed with a marinade of Porcini Mushroom powder, brown sugar, chili flakes and olive oil. I let them sit in the marinade for just over 24 hours before we grilled them.

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The Dry Sodas that I served with dinner were a hit!

For dessert I did my vanilla bean panna cotta. Thanks so much to Zwilling Canada for the really nice Sorrento Double Walled glass tea cups that I used for my dessert! They were the perfect size!

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Dinner Party YVR 2016

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12400676_10153387270139779_9008594027135311494_n This Saturday (9 April 2016) I will be participating Dinner Party YVR, for my fourth time! I'm really grateful that I have had the chance over the past couple of years to meet such a fun food community and be able to give-back by doing something that I love: COOKING!

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People sign up to participate and to cook dinners in their homes. All the money from the tickets sold, goes to the charity of the Hobby Chef's choice.

The #DPYVR organizers Annika & Crystal do a great job in bring people together for this awesome event!

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The charity I support is Quest Food Exchange.

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Quest partners with local wholesalers, supermarkets, and farmers who donate surplus food.  Quest assists individuals each month through partnerships with local social service agencies by providing their clients with access to Quest's not-for-profit grocery markets and by delivering raw food materials to agencies for their own meal programs.

They have four grocery markets where clients that are referred (through their social services agency), can go to shop.

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The Quest Mandate is to:

  • Reduce Hunger with Dignity
  • Build Community
  • Foster Sustainability

I think that what they are doing is really great, because it allows people to shop for groceries of their choice, at an affordable price,  and it redirects food that may have gone to waste otherwise.

 

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On my visit, I met with Calvin, who gave me a tour of the facility. They have a really big warehouse where they are able to store all of the surplus foods that are donated to them, and they have a new walk-in freezer now, which is so important to them, because they can now have accept more frozen items.

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If you're looking for a good cause to either donate or volunteer with. I would highly suggest that you contact Quest. What they are doing is so good.

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My DinnerPartyYVR dinner is SOLD OUT, but you can still make a donation to my fundraising for Quest Food Exchange: Liam's Dinner Party YVR Chimp Donation Page

All support is very much appreciated!

 

Healthy Family Expo: March 6th (Win Two Tickets)

Last year I had the chance to visit the Healthy Family Expo!
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I especially liked the opportunity to meet and talk with some Local Food Producers like one of my favourites: Tree Island Yogurt!

It's happening again! Sunday, March 6th will be the 3rd Annual Healthy Family Expo.
This year’s Healthy Family Expo is a fun-filled event for Lower Mainland families looking for easy ways to make their lives more active and healthy. Highlights include a 10,000 square foot Active Kid Zone, healthy food & drink sampling, plus fantastic shopping from over 100 highly curated exhibitors. Grab bags for the first 500 attendees, the first 200 attendees will receive a child day ticket to the Sea to Sky Gondola, and a range of Toyota hybrid vehicles will be on site at the event for test-drives.
A quiet baby feeding area is available in the Family Lounge, with couches for family comfort, plus a changing station fully stocked with Seventh Generation diapers and wipes.
Healthy Family Expo’s $15,000 grand prize showcase includes:
  • 1-year lease on a Toyota Prius c,
  • annual family pass to Sea to Sky Gondola
  • digital camera from London Drugs,
  • gift card for Whole Foods Market,
… and so much more.
Healthy Family Expo is proud to have the smallest carbon footprint of any tradeshow through 100% BC wind power, sustainable printing solutions, and 99% waste diversion from landfills thanks to Zero Waste Stations provided by Green Chair Recycling.
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Tickets: $12 in advance / $15 cash at the door (kids under 12 are free).

TO WIN-------->> Leave me a comment here telling me what your family does to be healthy! One winner will be chosen and notified via email on Monday, Feb 29th ! Good Luck!!

Advance tickets purchased before Friday March 4th are entered to win a $200 Healthy Family Expo Shopping Spree, and are available online at www.healthyfamilyexpo.com/tickets and in-store at Whole Foods Markets and London Drugs.

For more information about the Healthy Family Expo, visitwww.HealthyFamilyExpo.com.

Bien dans son assiette: CBC Radio-Canada

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Janvier et Février sont les mois où la liste des fruits et légumes "de saison" est très peu (à cause de la météo). Nous avons de la chance ici en Colombie-Britannique que nous pouvons aller aux Marchés Fermiers toute l'année!

Evelyne Charuest de Bien dans son asiette à Radio-Canada, est venu avec moi sur un de mes visites hebdomadaires au marché fermier local.

Voici la petite liste de ce qui est est la saison, mais vous pouvez encore trouver beaucoup de légumes qui ont été récoltées plus tôt dans la saison et stockées, ainsi que certains produits en conserve, et des patisseries fraîchement cuits!!

January and February are months where the list of "in-season" fruits and vegetables is very small (because of the weather).

We're lucky here in BC that we can go to Farmer's Markets all year round! I had Evelyne Charuest from Bien dans son asiette on Radio-Canada, come along with me on one of my weekly visits to my local Farmer's Market.

Here's the small list of what is is season, but you can still find many fruits and vegetables that have been harvested earlier in the season and stored, as well as canned goods, and freshly baked treats!!

 

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Nous avons pris un promenade autour du marché et ont a parlé aux fournisseurs.

J'ai aussi ramassé quelques choses que je devais faire un délicieux Soupe à la Courge Butternut rôti!

Evelyne and I waked around the market and talked to vendors. I also picked up some things that I needed to make a delicious Roasted Butternut Squash Soup!

 

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Vous pouvez écouter notre conversation ici:

You can listen to our chat here: Le marché d'hiver extérieur de Vancouver : Un reportage d'Evelyne Charuest

Merci beaucoup à Radio-Canada pour que j'ai la chance de partager mes aventures sur le marché avec des gens de partout au Canada!

Thanks so much to CBC Raido-Canada for the chance to share my market adventures with people all across Canada!

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Apollo Food Trucks

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A couple of months ago, I had the awesome opportunity to go and visit Apollo Food Trucks. If you live in Vancouver like I do, you probably have seen many of the trucks that they have made on the street or in the summer at Food Cart Fest. Some of my favourites are:

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Apollo Food Trucks was started 15 years ago by Norm Kerfoot and his brother Glen. They had originally started with Hot dog carts and when saw the Food Truck market demand grow, they started building them.

They are named Apollo after a great dog that Norm once had.

The trucks usually start out as used moving/delivery trucks that are totally gutted and then custom built to suit the needs of each customer.

 

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This is Rob, he showed me around the workshop and told me all about the trucks!

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Here is one of their custom food carts being built.

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Every part of the inside of each truck is custom! Everything is carefully measured and added in.

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They use Checker Plate Aluminum on the floor, which looks really awesome and shiny, but also is non-slip.

They make sure that the trucks meet with the highest health & safety standards.

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The customer decides what they want inside the truck, and then it's up to the team at Apollo to make sure everything fits perfectly.

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While I was visiting the ONE OF A Thai truck was getting ready to be sent off to the Northwest Territories.

Apollo ships carts and trucks all over the world! From places portland, and a few of their trucks have gone to Hawaii, Alaska, and as far away as Australia.

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Thank you to Rob for showing me around the factory, and a big thank you to Norm and Glen for providing Vancouver with all its awesome food trucks.

 

Get Local Dinner

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I am really excited that Whole Foods will be hosting their first ever GET LOCAL DINNER, and asked me to participate! I partnered up with my friend Chef Ned Bell, who is the executive chef at the Four Seasons.  The dinner will be next Tuesday, Sept 1st, from 6:30-9pm in the Allegro Café at Whole Foods Market Cambie!

This is a private ticketed 4 course meal with wine pairings!

It is so great because 100% of the ticket sales are going to benefit Chefs for Oceans, which focuses on educating chefs about sustainable seafood practices, and Growing Chefs which brings growing vegetables into the classrooms to get kids excited about cooking & eating veggies!

You can get your tickets now at Customer Service (Whole Foods Market-Cambie). $75

 

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Try my LOCABOBS recipe & Win a Staub Grill Pan!

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I was really excited when Staub Canada asked me to create a summer recipe that you could make with their awesome 12" Grill Pan- STAUB. I wanted to make something simple to prepare and delicious, I decided on Kebabs.

I experimented with a few different ideas, and the final one ended up being my LOCABOB recipe!

With the Locabobs I tried to use all LOCAL ingredients that you can find at your farmer's market!

Check out my recipe below:

LocabobsThe contest started today and ends August 31st!

Here is the link to enter: ENTER HERE!

Good Luck!

Local Cooking Class @Whole Foods!

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I am super excited that I was invited by Whole Foods Market to teach my first cooking class! My class is for kids/teens like me ages 12-16, and I am going to focus on using LOCAL ingredients in the dishes that we are making!

The class is just $15 and all of the proceeds will go to the Whole Kids Foundation!

Details below:

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Ener-C!

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I discovered Ener-C when I tried a sample of it at Whole Foods last year. My mom bought the packs of the Orange Ener-C when we all had a cold one time, because it was a great way to get more Vitamin C. I really don't like eating the chalky chewable vitamins.  Ener-C has great flavours, and it's a little fizzy when you mix it with water, so it's kind of like a healthy soda!

The Flavours that you can get Ener-C in are:

  • Orange
  • Cranberry
  • Raspberry
  • Lemon/Lime
  • Tangerine/Grapefruit
  • **(NEW)** Coconut Pineapple (so good)!!

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Ener-C isn't only Vitamin C, it's great for:

  • A boost of energy throughout the day, because of the Vitamin B!
  • Getting your Electrolytes if you're an athlete (Like Me)!

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One of the other great things about Ener-C is that it's LOCAL! Made in Burnaby, BC!

 

Eat! Vancouver is Happening This Week!!

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  I'm so exited that EAT! Vancouver is happening again this week!

I attended the show last year and saw some really amazing and very funny presentations and can't wait to see what this year has to offer. 

 The 2015 EAT! Vancouver Food + Cooking Festival is a world class week-long food festival taking place throughout downtown Vancouver from April 26th to May 3rd, showcasing this city’s extraordinary culinary culture.

Already the largest food festival in Canada, EAT! Vancouver, now in its 13th year includes hands-on workshops, collaborative chef dinners featuring top chefs from across Canada, Canadian Flavours Gala, a hospitality symposium, a pastry panel and of course EAT! Vancouver at BC Place, from May 1st to May 3rd .

EAT! Vancouver attracts Canada’s culinary stars, food producers and restaurants, from Vancouver, North America and beyond. Consumers, from across North America, will come to the EAT! Vancouver Food + Cooking Festival to participate in Vancouver’s vibrant food culture and experience great food from around the world.

 

April 26th- May 3, 2015

Festival Hours (at BC Place): 

  • Friday, May 1: 2pm-9pm
  • Saturday, May 2: 10am-9pm
  • Sunday, May 3: 10am-5pm

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You will have the chance to see some of the Canada's top Chefs!! I am so excited to see Chef Susur Lee's presentation.

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Also, you MUST check out all of the demos on the Celebrity Chef Stage! I am lucky to get to help Chef Ned Bell with one on Saturday, May 2 @ 2:45pm!!

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Chef Mark McEwan will be on the Celebrity Chef Stage on Sunday at 12:15pm!

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Get your TICKETS now!

 

Global TV with Chef David Hawskworth

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This morning Chef Hawksworth & I were on Global TV to talk about the Better Together #HandsonCookOff contest! Here were are with Brody setting up!

Almost ready to get cooking!

BehindScenes_global_April_2015We made a delicious dish, which you should try and make with your family at home!

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Here's the recipe:

Crispy Skin Chicken Thighs with Potato Gnocchi, Wild Mushrooms & Chimmichurri          

 

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Ingredients:

  • 8 Bone in Skin on Chicken Thighs
  • 200g of Mixed Mushrooms ( we used king Oyster and Morels)
  • 360g of Potato Gnocchi
  • 180g of Chimmichurri
  • 60g of Asparagus Ribbons( peeled using veg peeler)
  • 4 TBSP of Veg oil
  • 60g of Butter
  • 150ml Chicken Stock
  • 40g of Copped Parsley
  • 25ml Lemon Juice
  • Tt Salt and Pepper

Potato Gnocchi

  • 5 Med Sized Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • a/p Flour to feel
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • Tt Salt

Chimmichurri

  • 2 Bunches Parsley
  • 1 Bunch Cilantro
  • 1 Shallot Chopped
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Thai Chili
  • Sherry Vinegar
  • Salt t.t.

Method:

  • Stab potatoes with a knife or fork, and bake on a resting rack at 35oF for 2.5-3 hours, until knife tender.
  • Remove from oven peel potatoes of their skin and rice through fine ricer attachment.
  • In a large mixing bowl, season riced potato, add egg yolk and lightly dust in flour while kneading gently. DO NOT LET POTATOES COOL BEFORE DOUGH IS FINISHED. The dough will take on enough flour to stop adhering to the sides of the bow, and be soft and dry to the touch.
  • Transfer dough onto a clean table, and roll into snakes. Cut gnocchi with a pastry scraper in uniform pillow shaped 1xm x 1cm cubes.
  • Transfer onto a floured, parchment lined full tram spaces apart from each other. Do not overcrowd tray. Freeze, overnight.
  • Blanch in boiling salted water, and remove once gnocchi float. Transfer to pan or that, well oiled with EVOO. Refrigerate. Reserve until needed.

Chimmichurri

Chimmichurri is a sauce that is great for grilled meats. It originates form Argentina.

  • Add 3/4 of the herbs and the rest of the measured ingredients and blitz until almost smooth in a blender. (If you watched us this morning on Global, you will remember that I did it with a Mortar & Pestle).
  • Add the remaining herbs and pulse to achieve texture through the mix.
  • Season with Sherry Vinegar and Salt.

Assembly:

  • Make Gnocchi and Chimmichurri up to one day in advance.
  • Allow chicken thigh to sit at room temperature for 1hr before cooking, set oven to 375F.
  • Season chicken with salt and pepper, and heat a pan with vegetable oil on med/high heat.
  • Add chicken, skin side down and render on medium high heat, once you start to see golden brown around edge of chicken, place in oven to carry through, approx 25 mins.
  • Once chicken goes into oven, heat another pan with half of the amount of butter on med high heat.
  • When butter starts to foam add mushrooms on the side and using same pan, place other half of butter and bring back up to medium high.
  • Once again when butter is foaming add gnocchi and fry until golden. Combine mushrooms back in with gnocchi in one pan and add chicken stock, simmer down until glazed.  Finish with parsley, lemon juice and salt and pepper.
  • Remove chicken from the oven once cooked through and serve family style.
  • Garnish with Asparagus Ribbons and serve Chimmichurri on the side.

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Thanks to Leigh Kjekstad at Global TV for having us on this morning!

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