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.

Ingredients:

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.

Enjoy!

 

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Salmon Burgers

Salmon burgersI enjoy thinking about creating meals, and I get ideas at random times. One night, the idea for salmon burgers popped into my head before I was about to go to sleep. The process is simple, and the result is classy and delicious. You can top the burgers with a curry-mayo and serve with your choice of sides. In this case, I kept the burgers naked and paired them with mac and cheese.

Ingredients:

1 large slab of salmon, chopped into big chunks
1/2 cup green peas
1 small onion
salt to taste
1 large lime wedge
olive oil
mayo (desired amount)
curry paste or powder to taste

Put the salmon chunks, peas, onion, olive oil, salt, and freshly squeezed lime in the food processor and mix into a paste. If it’s too watery, pulse in small bits of bread to absorb the moisture. Shape the paste into patties.

Heat up olive oil in a grill pan or skillet and cook the patties until golden brown (about 5-10 min. a side).

Mix curry paste or powder into mayo to top the burgers.

Enjoy!

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Sausage and Kimchi Stuffing

Sausage kimchi stuffingIf you have old bread lying around, I recommend making stuffing. It’s easy and delicious, and you can get creative with what to add to the mix. Plus, that old bread won’t go to waste.

Here, I use chorizo and kimchi. The juice of the chorizo will flavor the dish, and the kimchi will add a kick of sour in counterpoint to the umami.

Ingredients:

1 chorizo sausage, chopped
2 slices whole wheat or multigrain bread, cut into small cubes
1 big spoonful of kimchi
a handful of spring greens or arugula
a sprinkling of sharp cheddar cheese

Heat up olive oil in a skillet and cook the chorizo. When the chorizo is almost cooked, stir in the other ingredients. Let cook for another minute, then serve.

Enjoy!

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Steveston Fish Market, Richmond, BC, Canada

Steveston Fish MarketWe like to get right into exploring a place. In Vancouver, fish markets are high on our list. We visited Granville Island, and while it had a lot of pretty artisanal offerings, we didn’t like the overcrowded atmosphere, nor the high prices.

Steveston Fish Market in Richmond, BC, about a half-hour drive from Vancouver, is more what we like. You can buy fresh seafood straight from fishermen at the wharf. There will likely be a crowd, but not to the extent of Granville Island’s crowd.

For our first trip, we bought a pound of large shrimp at $9 CAD (less than $7/lb. USD). Not exactly the best price, but not bad for a market in a historic fishing town that attracts locals and tourists alike.

We took the shrimp home, gave it a quick boil, and served it with dipping sauces of melted butter and a blend of mayo and curry paste. Yum.

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Coconut Curry Udon

Coconut curry noodles

I used to not like fat udon. The thick, round noodles look childlike and lacking in sophistication.

Now that we live in Vancouver, I’m coming around to them. Many Asian restaurants serve some form of udon in this city, and the noodles are easily available at the supermarket. We decided to give them a try at home.

It’s best to buy udon that’s pretty much already cooked, so all you have to do is drop it in boiling water for about 3 min.

I got the idea to make a sauce for the udon with coconut milk and curry, which creates a rich flavor, full of umami. You can add in any protein you like. This dish uses chicken.

Ingredients:

For the chicken:

4 large chicken thighs, deboned and cubed
salt to taste

Heat up olive oil in a skillet, sprinkle the chicken with salt, toss the chicken into the skillet, and cook thoroughly, stirring occasionally.

For the noodles:

2 packets of single-serve udon noodles
3 pinches of salt
1/2 can coconut milk
curry paste to taste

Boil water with the salt in a large pot and add the udon. Cook for about 3 min., then drain.

Put the empty pot on low heat, pour in the coconut milk, and stir in the curry paste. The paste is very concentrated, so be conservative as you dole it out, making sure to taste. Add the drained noodles back into the pot and stir the sauce into the noodles thoroughly. Add salt to taste if you like.

You can serve the chicken on top of the noodles; the dish is prettier that way. But for the best flavor, stir the cooked chicken into the noodles, including the oil that the chicken has been cooked in.

Enjoy!

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Salmon Over Rice

Salmon on a bed of riceIn addition to trout, the other fish we love in Vancouver is the wild sockeye salmon. It’s so easy to get at the supermarket, whether filleted or whole. We saw a great deal the other day and bought a 4-6 lb. salmon for only $16. We carved two large portions for one meal and still had about 1/3 of the fish leftover to use for another day.

As with other seafood, we like to keep things simple when cooking salmon. Pair it with a starch-and-veggie side, and you’ve got a beautiful meal.

For the rice:

Ingredients:

1 cup brown rice
salt, 3 pinches
1/3-1/2 bag of carrots, sliced into small circles
1 small onion, cut into small cubes
1 small tomato, cut into cubes
1 small eggplant, cut into small cubes
salami (desired amount), cut into small cubes
cheddar (desired amount)
arugula, for garnish
lime wedge, for garnish

Boil 2 cups water in a large pot with the salt and add in the rice, carrots, onion, tomato, eggplant, and salami. Lower the heat to simmer and cook until rice is tender (approx. 45 min.), stirring occasionally. When the rice is ready, stir in the cheddar, let melt, and serve the rice as the bed on which to place the salmon.

For the fish:

Ingredients:

2 portions of salmon
1 small onion, sliced,
1 small tomato, sliced
1 lime wedge

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Lay foil in a Pyrex, rub the bottom with olive oil, and lay the fish on top. Place the onion and tomato slices into the gutted cavity of the fish, and drizzle the top of the fish with olive oil and fresh lime juice. Cover the top of the fish with foil and cook in oven for about 30 min.

Enjoy!

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