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Eating Vancouver: Wednesday

15 Jan

I was really looking forward to dinner on Wednesday as some old colleagues of mine had made reservations at Miku, a Japanese restaurant in the west end of Vancouver.  I’d been perusing the menu for a couple of days prior and was, to be honest, totally overwhelmed at the variety of delicious options it presented. Meeting first for a drink – a golden mojito that I will definitely be making at home – at the Pan Pacific Fairmont, we popped over Miku across the street and were promptly led to our giant table perfect, as one friend pointed out, for sharing!

Leaving it to my dining companions to choose our dishes for the evening was a good move and everything that arrived on the table was not only delicious, but fresh and gorgeously presented. We started with a beer and then sake (choosing the cups was especially fun, resulting in a barrage of Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade jokes) and then it was on to the endless rounds of beautiful seafood.

Not necessarily in this order, we had:

-Goma-ae: assorted vegetables in a handmade sesame sauce

-Aburi Tuna: albacore tuna on a bed of crisp vegetables & dressed with masatake sauce (made with onions, garlic, soy sauce, and sesame oil)

-Ebi Fritter: lightly beer battered tiger prawns served with a chili cream sauce

-Sockeye Salmon Sashimi

-King Roll: ebi tempura, snow crab & avocado topped with tobiko, with a chili cream sauce

-Salmon Oshi Sushi: local salmon pressed & dressed with our Chef’s own soy & Miku sauce, topped with jalapeño

-Miku Roll: salmon, uni, snow crab & cucumber rolled in tobiko & topped with Miku Sauce

-Coal Harbour Roll: ebi, salmon zuke, lettuce, cucumber & ikura, paired with honey mustard & topped with rice crackers

-Red Wave Roll: snow crab & avocado wrapped in maguro & topped with masatake sauce

Though it all disappeared quickly from the table, the resounding favourite among us was the salmon oshi sushi, which we renamed “fish cubes.” (Appetizing, non? I promise, this dish is not to be missed!) The heat from the jalapeño slice and cracked pepper paired well with the smooth, rich taste of the ruby red salmon between the sticky stacks of rice. These mouthfuls were so good that we had to order another round.

Among the food, the friends I hadn’t seen in ages and the couple of bottles of sake, it was definitely right near the top of the best meals I had out here on the west coast.

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(Mostly)Chinese Chicken Salad

27 Sep

Always on the hunt for new and interesting ways to make salad more than just lettuce. This recipe is a Bobby Flay creation, but I’m renaming it. He calls it “Chinese” but the chipotle puree tells me otherwise. I also added some diced red pepper to the salad, as it was in the fridge and I figured it couldn’t be bad in there!

I poached four chicken thighs in water with peppercorns & a dried ancho chili that I happened to have in my cupboard. (I poached them because I wanted that shredded texture that works best with poached chicken, as opposed to grilling or baking.) They took about 25 minutes in barely-boiling liquid. I then removed the skin and bones, shredding the rest with two forks. Delish. Leftover chicken from a roast would also work really well.

Serves 2-4.

Ingredients

1/4 c rice wine vinegar
2 tb smooth peanut butter
1 tb ginger, grated
2 ts chipotle puree
1 tb soy sauce
1 tb honey
2 ts sesame oil
1/3 c canola oil
1/2 Napa cabbage (or whichever cabbage you prefer)
1/2 head Romaine (or…y’know…whatever you’ve got!)
2 carrots, shredded
1 handful snow peas
1/4 c fresh cilantro, chopped
1 green onion, chopped
2 c chicken, shredded
1/2 c peanuts & mint, julienned

Directions

1. If you have not cooked chicken yet, fill a medium-large pot with water or stock. Bring to a boil and add in your chicken. Cook 25-30 minutes at a low boil.
2. In a small bowl, combine vinegar, peanut butter, chipotle puree, soy, honey, sesame oil & canola oil. Whisk until smooth.
3. In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, lettuce, carrots, snow peas, cilantro and green onion.
4. Toss the dressing into the salad and plate on large dishes. Add the chicken.
5. Top with peanuts & mint.

*If you poach the chicken, keep the broth that’s left. Skim the fat, let it cool and reuse for soups. If you’re not going to use it right away, toss the broth in the freezer. It’ll keep for quite a while.

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