Cucumber Cup Gazpacho Shots

 

Cucumber cup gazpacho

Cucumber cup gazpacho

 

Sorry, I have been terribly lazy of late! Seriously, what have I been doing? Nothing much. Besides work and watching anime and painting my Nausicaa model and eating a lot… nothing much at all. 

Perhaps it’s time for an end of summer post… I realize I have an affinity for cold foods. It’s not that I dislike hot food though, I just don’t shun cold things… I’m a warm (perhaps hot?) blooded human, after all. For some weird reason, things that should be eaten hot I often just eat at 4C. ie. from the fridge. Or even lower. I like salads, and cold, “liquid salads” are certainly great. OK, probably not to the point of the whole fadish veggie smoothies stuff, I’m talking about gazpachos! It is the end of summer, so there is not much chance left for this cold soup. 

I made this simple gazpacho from 1 tomato, 1/2 sweet Vadalia onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 1t balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. I used 1 long English cucumber and threw in the scoopings that came out of the cucumber cups. Just mix everything to a consistency of your liking in a food processor, and serve. I had quite a fun time with the cucumber cups. But you can just serve in an old fashion bowl, of course!

Grill pan | Grilled Scallops

I own one of those large panini press style “healthy” table top grills, which I occasionally bring out for things like pork medallions, slabs of chicken, shellfish. Occasionally would be the key word here, let’s just say it’s a bit of hassle to clean up. So, a more handy stove top grill pan has been on my wish list for quite some time. I recently bought one and I love it. I can use it to grill bread, make sandwiches, or for things like this:

Grill pan. With shrimp in it.

Grill pan. With shrimp in it.

Or grilling scallops… HMMMMMMMMMM:
 

Grilled scallops

Grilled scallops

When I grill scallops, I buy fresh, large sea scallops, and don’t add anything to them except for a tiny bit of salt and pepper. The scallops will release their own scallopy juices and, combined with the dark color and aroma you can only get from a grill, taste totally awesome. With this grill pan, I don’t have to wait for sunny weather to enjoy my scallops! This time, I added a bit of color using some chopped red bell peppers, and green onions and lemon balm that came from my garden. I wish I had more of this to go on top, more like a tapenade, because it looked so pretty like that, and it wasn’t so strong tasting that it stole the show from the scallops at all.

La Boheme Crepes @ Kitsilano Farmer’s Market

 

La Forestiere

La Forestiere

This is what I came for! Well, mostly, anyway, and the produce too. More about this later…

Summer weekends means farmer’s markets. I went to the one in Kits the past weekend. It was pretty small, compared to both Steveston and Ladner, but it had more produce in terms of quantity and variety… It could be just the particular vendors present, or the time of the season (even 2 weeks could mean the end of a certain produce). 

Kitsilano Farmer's Market

Kitsilano Farmer's Market

 
There were a lot of different types of fresh vegetables and a lot of apricots and many different kinds of cherries. Lineups were long for most of the veggie places, especially this one tomato stand. The only bread place for this bread fanatic was A Bread Apart, who, for 3 markets in a row, had out that fruity cranberry loaf. I found squash blossoms again, and I got some but they were a bit more expensive (50 cents each) than the farm that sold them at the Steveston market (6 for 50 cents). The ones with the zucchini attached were for a buck each. Yikes.
 

Apricots

Apricots

 

Greens

Greens


 

Of course, the best, BEST thing about this Kits Farmer’s Market is La Boheme Creperie:
 

La Boheme

La Boheme

They make these awesome buckwheat crepes in their little purple van, in many many savoury and sweet varieties. The one I tried and pictured above was the Forestiere – a cheese, mushroom and spinach crepe. It was sooooo good, and the lineups get a little long here too. Basically everybody I saw at the market was having their giant crepes. I think they also visit the Trout Lake farmer’s market, anyway, definitely check them out, they are awesome.

Lima bean “humous”

 

lima bean "humous"

lima bean "humous"

 

If you can make humous out of chickpeas, you can make it from any other bean. I haven’t attempted the edamame puree that has been rather popular with foodies, though I probably should since there are always bags of edamame in the freezer. I like to snack on them as is though. So I resorted to killing some other beans. I tried making a lima bean puree (since I couldn’t see making a snack of of lima beans). 

This is a low-fat version, though I guess you could always add a spoonful of olive oil to help the pureeing process. I found a bit of water was enough, but the texture is for sure a bit more coarse without oil. I used this as a spread on crackers and it was OK. It didn’t lack flavor but I think it was slightly on the bland side, then again, adding more stuff to it would definitely make it too complex. I think this would be best suited for crackers that are flavored.

 

Lima Bean “Humous”

1 can lima beans

2 cloves garlic

1t cumin

1/2t salt

 

Blend all in food processor. Serve immediately or refrigerate in air tight container (should last a few days).

49th Parallel Coffee Roasters

 

49th Parallel Latte

49th Parallel Latte

 

Ah, it is Friday, and since my plans to do a giant experiment today at work went down the drain due to …. [my laziness], I will write about…. coffee!

Today was a decent coffee day: I went to the Starbucks at work and was happy to find pretty much all my favorite baristas to be present. So, as per usual, I put down my mug without saying a word and I got my Americano made perfectly to my specifications – without my mug being all dripping with coffee on the outside and that little piece of white sticky note with my order scrawled on it still stuck to my mug, and room still remaining. (That, of course, would constitute a bad coffee day, and that happens when that one Least-Favorite Barista Boy – LFBB – is present. I swear he does it on purpose because he dislikes me for some reason.)

Anyway, yesterday though, was a good coffee day: I didn’t have my Starbucks.

I went instead to 49th Parallel Roasters – this is a coffee house not to be missed – their espresso is excellent, their lattes pretty, their couches chocolate brown, and their cups sky blue. This is, indeed, a chic little cafe sitting on Vancouver’s 4th Ave. 49th Parallel Roasters are founded by the same guys who created Caffe Artigiano,  so naturally, their coffee scores high points with me. It’s too bad I don’t live or work in that neighbourhood. I really like their Americano.

If you can’t get down to their cafe, their locally roasted coffee can be found at markets like Meinhardt, Whole Foods and Capers, as well as some other coffee places. I have a bag of their organic Ethiopia Yergacheffe Konga. 

 

49th Parallel Roasters

2152 W 4th Avenue, between Arbutus and Yew

604-420-4901

Taverna Gorgona – A little Greek paradise

 

Taverna Gorgona

Taverna Gorgona

 

We came to Taverna Gorgona for lunch after strolling around the Ladner Farmer’s Market. It was Sunday noon, hot, and the patio looked pretty full from the outside. W had suggested we grab a quick sandwich and coffee and find somewhere to sit and eat outside, but I had my eye set on the Taverna. Luckily, right after arriving we were seated by the friendly owner Niko in the rear patio (the other one faces the main street). The rear patio is cozy, there are large umbrellas for shade and greenery surrounds, and there is even a little gazebo in the corner that can seat a small party. Like a little Mediterranean paradise!

 

Taverna Patio

Taverna Patio

 

 

The service is very friendly and fast here. There are a lot of servers running around. We were told that because I had made a little request for my meal (no cheese, sub rice for salad) that the food would arrive a little slower – but it was not slow at all. Actually, compared to many restaurants (save for Chinese noodle houses maybe  hahaha), the food came really fast. Every table gets a basket of pita bread, which is drizzled with what appears to be herbed butter. Their pita is not like typical pita … It’s thick and fluffly, rather like bread.  It was good.

 

Taverna Pita

Taverna Pita

 

Anyway, it’s been a while since I’ve had lamb (lamb being my favorite in the red meat category even though I don’t really eat red meat.) I had already ate half of Fieldstone’s Cranberry and Currant loaf by this time, but I was still feeling incredibly indulgent😀. Enough to consider getting one of their lamb gyro’s, but seeing how gigantic they are I was glad I didn’t. I decided on souvlaki, and since W ordered the chicken, I went for the lamb souvlaki. Gawd… was it ever delicious lamb! 

 

lamb souvlaki

lamb souvlaki

 

 

This was W’s chicken souvlaki – chicken grilled to perfection! All their souvlaki’s come with rice, potato, tzatziki and Greek salad.

 

Chicken Souvlaki

Chicken Souvlaki

 

Beer and Calamari:

Calamari

Calamari

 

The inside is quite festively decorated, there is some skylight too so if you don’t end up out on the patio you could still get a bit of sun:

Inside the Taverna

Inside the Taverna

 

This place is both casual and classy. It’s like you can totally get your fried squid, fried oysters, whatever, with your beer, and sit and relax, or you can come in at night, get a bottle of fancy wine, have a lamb rack. Cheers!

Bee-AH

Beer!!

 

Taverna Gorgona

5047 48 Ave, Delta

604 946 9111

Panini’s @ Neptune Bistro

I don’t know how long Neptune Bistro has been opened, probably because it’s in that back corner of Coppersmith Place Mall that I never pay attention to, although I shop frequently at the Kin’s Farm that just a few feet across the parking lot from it. (And Coppersmith Mall – I didn’t actually know it had a name – I thought it was just Ironwood Mall’s other side… I guess not!)

Anyway, I wanted to check this place out so I dragged NF here with me. (NF didn’t realize there was a cafe at the back of Coppersmith, either.) On the menu are panini’s, donairs, salads, sandwiches, wraps coffee, soup, hot entrees like tandoori chicken and pasta, various pastries… lots to choose from. There are also things like sandwich/soup deals for something like $6.99. 

The service is pretty nice, neighbourhoody. We ordered, took a seat inside (there are two tables outside) our sandwiches came in about 10 minutes.

 

NF ordered the chicken turino panini, and a coffee:

Chicken panini

Chicken panini

 

And I had the roasted veggie panini, with an Americano:

veggie panini

veggie panini

 

The ciabatta they used had a thin crispy crust and very soft fluffy crumb, it was pretty good, light bread. They didn’t use a panini press though, seems like the bread is just toasted. The veggie panini I liked- I think it was like this pepper relish that dressed it and that tasted really good. The portion sizes aren’t huge, but just good for me, though larger appetites may need something more.

This is a nice spacious spot and pretty cozy. There is free wireless access and a big screen TV with several couches in front of it, but the TV wasn’t on. It was lunch time so it was obvious that a lot of customers were from surrounding offices.

I’d definitely come back to try out their other menu items. For a fast, good, casual lunch spot, the selection and quality sure beats the other similar choices in the mall (Tim Hortons, McD’s etc). At least they’ll have decent coffee!

 

Neptune Bistro

Coppersmith Place Mall

#100 – 11331 Coppersmith Way, Richmond
604.277.6647