Chicken Ramen

Chicken RamenWe made ramen from scratch for the first time, and it turned out great. We had a large piece of leftover chicken in the freezer and decided to make broth from scratch. I highly recommend it. It’s easy, and the results are delicious.


1/4 chicken
1/2 bag baby carrots
1-2 green onion stalk, chopped
2 packs of precooked udon
salt to taste

Fill a large pot with desired amount of water, add 3 pinches of salt and the chicken, and bring to a boil. Keep on heat for 1-1.5 hrs.

About 45 min. into the boil, remove the chicken, shred off the meat, and place back into the pot. Add the carrots and a few splashes of olive oil and bring back to a boil. Taste every once in a while and add salt and/or oil if needed. When the broth tastes ready, drop in the noodles, cook for another 5 min., then turn off the heat and garnish with green onion.


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Fried Dumplings

fried dumplingsI love dumplings, and they’re easy to make at home, if you’re willing to put in the time. This recipe is for fried dumplings, which you’ll see on the blue plate in the photo above. (The plate on the left has steamed dumplings on top of a bed of cabbage and mixed veggies sautéed with the leftover dumpling filling. More on that another day.)

The fried dumplings are so good, you’ll keep wanting more.


1 package ground pork
1/3 head of cabbage
1/4 bag of baby carrots
1 green onion stalk
3 garlic cloves
patisse to taste
1 package of circular won ton wrappers

Place the ground pork in a large mixing bowl, and ground the cabbage, carrots, green onion and garlic in the food processor until they’re thoroughly minced. Then, place the contents of the food processor into the mixing bowl with the pork. Add the patisse–and be generous if you want the play up the umami so that the salty element isn’t lost in the other ingredients.

Mix all the ingredients in the bowl thoroughly by hand, then place a dollop of the mix in the middle of each wrapper, dab water on the edge of the wrapper, and close the wrapper over the filling so that the end product is a semicircle shape.

Heat up canola oil in a large skillet and fry the dumplings on each side until golden brown.

Serve with soy sauce and other desired dipping sauces on the side.


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Big Rock Urban Brewery & Eatery, Vancouver, Canada

Big Rock UrbanContinuing our growler-fill search, hubby and I went to Big Rock Urban Brewery, situated on a side street lined with industrial buildings on the edge of a well-developed neighborhood. Big Rock is in a large space that houses an eatery, bar room, storefront and distillery.

The décor is a touch modern hunting lodge, and there’s an entertaining projector screen on the far wall that shows sports events. It’s a casual, classy, open space, with a very good menu. I ordered the steak frites, with the steak seared perfectly on the outside and lovely pink meat inside. Hubby ordered the duck sandwich, which was tasty but made for a small meal.

We also ordered two flights, which each hold four different drinks. It’s a great way to sample the various offerings of the brewery. The mosaic tasted the best, so after dinner we got our growler filled with that brew, getting a head start on the weekend.

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Jerk Chicken

Jerk chickenHaving moved to Vancouver from Jamaica, we were feeling nostalgic for jerk chicken. We decided to inaugurate our new grill with a Jamaican classic. We served it with rice and peas (red beans), made with coconut milk, another traditional Jamaican dish.

Jerk is supposed to be spicy, but depending on the brand of rub/sauce that you buy, the spice levels vary.


1 pack of chicken leg parts
1 jar of Jamaican jerk rub
Jamaican jerk sauce, a few squirts
coconut milk, enough for a thin coating over the chicken

Put the chicken in a large bowl and massage the jerk rub, jerk sauce and coconut milk into the chicken. Cover and let sit for about 3 hours. Remassage the jerk and milk into the chicken right before you’re ready to put it on the grill.


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FrittataFrittatas can be delicate or hearty, and they’re always beautiful. To make it light, keep it concentrated on the eggs. To make it heavier, add potatoes and meat. However you choose to make it, you’ll end up with a lovely brunch dish.


4-6 eggs, beaten
milk or cream (desired amount)
1 Roma tomato, chopped
1 small onion, sliced
1 small green pepper, sliced
2 chorizo sausages, squeeze the meat out of the casing into chunks
1 large potato, cut into small cubes
sharp cheddar cheese (desired amount), cut in chunks
goat cheese (optional garnish)
salt and pepper to taste

Heat up olive oil in a cast iron skillet and cook the potato cubes, then add the onion, tomato, green pepper, chorizo, salt and pepper to saute.

Fold the milk/cream into the beaten eggs, pour into the skillet, distribute the cheddar chunks around the skillet, and partially cook the eggs.  Place the skillet in the oven and broil on low (around 400 degrees) for 5-10 min. The frittata should fluff up and the cheese should be melted thoroughly. Garnish with goat cheese when ready to serve.


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Storm Microbrewery, Vancouver, Canada

Storm microbreweryWe bought a growler soon after we arrived in Vancouver at Green Leaf Brewing Co. in North Van. Now, we’re having fun looking for microbreweries around the city to fill ‘er up.

My husband found out about Storm, a microbrewery in a neighborhood-in-transition, as I shall call it. Established in 1994, Storm boasts the title of longest-running independent craft brewery in Vancouver. It’s past Chinatown, in East Van, in an industrial-looking area that has signs of impending hipsterdom, such as a gourmet grocery and an upscale apartment building.

The hood isn’t full-blown hipsterville yet, and I was delighted to discover Storm. We parked on the sloped driveway and walked through the entrance, with flies abuzz, attracted to the funk of fermentation. There was a young woman at the counter wearing a faded gray Mickey Mouse sweatshirt who offered us samples. Storm likes to get creative, and they make special brews called “Brainstorms”. I tried the hibiscus brew and liked the mild, sweet bite. We ended up filling the growler with one of the mainstay brews and drank the whole jug that day to keep the beer from going flat.

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Udon With Ground Pork and Carrots

Udon with ground pork and carrotsUdon noodles are good to have in stock. There’s a lot you can do with them. They’re basically a blank canvas.

This dish plays up Chinese flavors, with a big hit of umami coming from ground pork. Add carrot slices for a colorful veggie, garnish with green onion, and you’ve got an exotic, lovely meal.


2 precooked udon packs
1/2 package ground pork
1 small onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 bag of carrots, slice each carrot length-wise into quarters
1 large green onion stalk, diced
soy sauce to taste
patisse (optional)
sesame oil (optional)

Boil the carrots until they soften (but not so much that they crumble). Drain and set aside.

Heat up olive oil in a large skillet and saute the onion, then stir in the garlic and pork and cook thoroughly. Stir in the udon and carrots, add more olive oil if desired, then add soy sauce, patisse and sesame oil to taste. Garnish with green onion.



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