Peanut Butter Pulled Pork

I love slow cookers. They give you time when you don’t have time. I got inspired to make this dish by someone microwaving their lunch at work. It smelled like peanut butter. I love peanut butter. I found this recipe via A Year of Slow Cooking blog. The recipe can be gluten free, if GF soy sauce is used.

The smell of peanut butter overwhelming my house was too much to bear, I kept on sneaking samples as it was cooking. It goes really well with a vinaigrette coleslaw. I didn’t need the bun; I could have ate it on its own. It has a strong peanut flavor, with satay undertones.  Be sure to use the peanut butter that only contains 100% peanuts. No sugar or other additives for a natural taste.  I used blade roast and shoulder butt instead of tenderloin. I shredded it in my Bosch Kitchen Machine. It was doing ok, until it got the parts covered with the connective tissue. I pulled those by hand. It is really moist and tender.

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Ready to shred
Ready to shred

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Pulled pork slider with cabbage slaw and pineapple
Pulled pork slider with cabbage slaw and pineapple

Green Brownies

I’m still working through my pandan paste, so last weekend I tried to make brownies with it. I found a lovely recipe, courtesy of Phamfatale blog.  The taste was really interesting; it tasted more like green tea with a hint of chocolate. I also discovered that when using freshly made pandan paste, I need about three times the amount compared to using a commercial version.

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Vegetable Manchurian

I’ve never had Indo Chinese food until I went to a South Indian restaurant last week. It is fascinating to me; Indian food using Chinese cooking techniques.  Much of this kind of cuisine is deep fried, with gravy, like this recipe.  It tastes like Chinese food, but with undertones of Indian spices and heat.  Manchurian style is a sauce that is flavoured with soy and a spicy kick. There is also chow mein and fried rice.

I used the recipe from 365 Days of Eating Blog, but I needed to make adjustments to the recipe as the veggie balls were too watery and the gravy too thin. The original recipe called for corn flour, so I used corn meal. In hindsight, I suspected it should have been corn starch.

For the Manchurian balls

2 cups                  finely chopped cabbage
2 cups                  very finely chopped mix of carrots, cauliflower, parsley or whatever you have
4 tablespoons    corn starch
2 tablespoons    all-purpose flour (may need more if too liquid)
2 tablespoons    dark soy sauce
Dash                    chilli sauce
1/2 teaspoon     black pepper
Salt
Oil to fry

For the gravy

2 cups                   water
4 tablespoons     corn starch
1/2 cup                 chopped green onions with stalks
6-7 cloves             garlic
1 inch                    knob of ginger grated
1/2 teaspoon       red chili flakes
2-3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon           vinegar
1 tablespoon       red chili sauce
1 tablespoon       tomato ketchup
1/2 teaspoon      pepper
Dash                    sugar
1 tablespoon       oil

In a bowl mix all the ingredients to form the manchurian balls. It should be a little damp to touch and should form a ball when pressed in hand. Take a fistful and bind tightly to shape the mixture into 1 inch balls. If the mixture is too dry to bind, add an additional teaspoon of water. If the mixture falls apart, add more corn starch or flour and squeeze out some moisture as balls are made.

Heat oil in a wok and deep fry the balls on low- medium heat till they are golden brown. These balls can be eaten as a snack with a side of ketchup or sweet and sour sauce.

In another wok, heat a tablespoon of oil. Add the onions (keep aside some greens for garnish), garlic and ginger and sauté on high heat. Add the spices, sauces and water and bring to a boil. Check for salt and add as necessary as the soy sauce will also add salt to the dish.

Just before serving, take out ¼ cup of the liquid, cool slightly and dissolve the corn starch in it. Add to the gravy and bring to a boil while stirring. Heat till the gravy has a shine to it.

Then add the balls to to the gravy and garnish with the onion greens.

Serve hot with Chinese Fried Rice or steamed rice.

To make a dry manchurian, reduce the quantity of water to ¾ cup, corn flour to ½ tablespoon and then proceed as above.

Recipe inspired by 365 Days of Eating.

All the ingredients
All the ingredients

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Deep fried goodness
Deep fried goodness

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Khao San Thai Kitchen

Looking in from the outside, this restaurant looks like an inviting oasis from the Calgary cold. The decor is tasteful, and the house is packed.

We started with the golden tofu and scallops. The tofu was crisp and the sauce packed a flavor punch. The scallops remind me of something you might see in a fine dining restaurant.

Moving along to the pad thai. One of my friends commented that it was the first time the noodles were done al dente. The panang salmon was an interesting dish. The battered fish in the sweet and sour basa stayed crisp as the sauce pooled nicely on the bottom of the plate.

It’s really popular, and there seems to be an endless number of regulars, as the waitstaff greet the customers with friendly recognition. The service was spot on, even when it got really busy.

Golden Tofu
Golden Tofu
Khao San Salsa Scallops
Khao San Salsa Scallops
Pad Thai
Pad Thai
Crying Tiger
Crying Tiger
Salmon Panang Curry and Sweet and Sour Basa
Salmon Panang Curry and Sweet and Sour Basa

Khao San Thai Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Asian Style Spicy Coleslaw With Steak

Ah, the parade of the leftovers. Today it is leftover cabbage, from the awesome meal hubby made last week. What to do, what to do…

Asian Style Spicy Coleslaw with Steak

Adapted from originally from Food and Wine magazine via kalynskitchen.

This recipe makes 10 servings, but can be easily cut in half.

Dressing:
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
3 T fresh lime juice
3 T Asian fish sauce
3 T water
3 T sugar
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 t Sriracha sauce

Salad:
2 pounds green cabbage, thinly sliced (about 12 cups)
3 medium carrots, grated
1  red pepper, thinly sliced
3 T chopped cilantro
15 mint leaves (I used about 1/4 cup chopped mint)
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
salt and freshly ground pepper

Steak:
2 T soy sauce
2 T Chinese cooking wine
1 t Worchestershire sauce
2 steaks, inside round/sirloin/ribeye

Whisk together peanut butter, lime juice, fish sauce, water, sweetener, garlic and Sriracha. In large bowl, toss together sliced napa and red cabbage, carrots, peppers, cilantro, mint, and peanuts.  Toss all steak seasonings and meat in a dish. Cover. Marinate the steak for at least a couple of hours. Bring steak to room temperature and sear both sides.  Cook until desired doneness, but rare is best. Rest for 10 minutes. Slice and toss into salad. Toss salad with the dressing and season with salt and pepper. Serve right away. If you plan to eat some later, don’t add the dressing until just before serving.

Veggie mix
Veggie mix
Steak added
Steak added
Asian style coleslaw with steak
Asian style coleslaw with steak

The Rock Cafe and Restaurant

When I first heard about this restaurant, I thought they served Newfie food. My mistake, I apologize. This is French Asian fusion cuisine.  The Chef and owner is very friendly; he likes to chat with his customers when he is not busy. The restaurant was empty when we arrived for 6pm.  Our meals arrived piping hot, and in good time. There was only one server, and as the restaurant got busier, the service slowed. We had to ask for the dessert menu and the bill, but that’s alright.

I’ve been waiting to try this place since they closed and moved in March. It is indeed worth the wait. The food comes in generous portions. Beware, the entrees come with two sides, that would easily serve as an appetizer. We started with the calamari. It was piping hot and crisp. I had the lamb shank with the corn chowder and house salad for an entree. The lamb was fall-off-the-bone fantastic. I liked the crisp potato skins that fell over the top. The sauce was rich and velvety. The corn chowder was smooth and creamy. The salad contained iceberg lettuce but probably would have been livened up with some dark leafy greens. It was served with a dressing that tasted like butter pecan. Yum.

Hubby wanted the prime rib but it was sold out. So he settled for the Muscovy duck. Settled is not the appropriate word. It was apparently delicious.  We both followed it up with a homemade tiramisu.

The clientele seems to be mostly Asian on this night. This is upscale food in a casual decor. I suspect that restaurant is family friendly as there were young kids there.

TEMPURA CALAMARI CRISPY CALAMARI BREADED IN TEMPURA FLOUR SERVED WITH THE ROCK TARTAR SAUCE
TEMPURA CALAMARI
CRISPY CALAMARI BREADED IN TEMPURA FLOUR SERVED WITH THE ROCK TARTAR SAUCE
MUSCOVY DUCK BREAST ROASTED 10 OZ DUCK BREAST SERVED WITH SAUTEED SPINACH AND MUSHROOM IN ORANGE BRANDY SAUCE
MUSCOVY DUCK BREAST
ROASTED 10 OZ DUCK BREAST SERVED WITH SAUTEED SPINACH AND MUSHROOM IN ORANGE BRANDY SAUCE
Soup of the day Corn Chowder
Soup of the day
Corn Chowder
ROCKING LAMB SHANK JUMBO LAMB SHANK BRAISED WITH ROSEMARY DEMI JUS
ROCKING LAMB SHANK
JUMBO LAMB SHANK BRAISED WITH ROSEMARY DEMI JUS
TIRAMISU HOUSE MADE
TIRAMISU
HOUSE MADE

The Rock Café & Restaurant on Urbanspoon