Green onion cakes

Summer in Edmonton means festivals, and festivals mean food. There are certain food items that you usually expect to find at Edmonton’s festivals, one of which are green onion cakes. It always baffles me why people insist on standing in long lines for this. I can understand if they’re looking for the puffy kind that you can usually find in restaurants, but more often than not the kind that I see people eating are the flat ones. Don’t they know that they can easily make them at home themselves?

Just a warning – this is not a “how to make green onion cakes from scratch” kind of post. Screw that, I don’t have the time! This is my patent-pending “how to make green onion cakes the quick, cheap and lazy way” recipe.

Green onion cakes

Ingredients
1 package of frozen green onion cakes, can be purchased at any Chinese grocery store
a neutral cooking oil like canola or sunflower oil

my favourite brand of frozen green onion cakes

my favourite brand of frozen green onion cakes

Directions
Heat a non-stick frying pan somewhere between medium and medium-high. Add oil to the pan. You will need more oil than you think; I usually use a bare minimum of one tablespoon (and sometimes more) per side for each green onion cake. The dough will soak up the oil very quickly so if you don’t add enough oil the cake won’t cook properly and if you add too little the cake will be too oily.

Stick your still frozen green onion cake in the pan. (I don’t recommend defrosting them because the dough will stick together and then you will have one very tall green onion cake blob instead of multiple green onion cakes.)

partially cooked green onion cake

partially cooked green onion cake

The green onion cake will start to change colour from white (frozen), to partially translucent (defrosted), to golden brown (cooked). Flip it once one side has lightly browned. Make sure to check on them as they cook, as they can easily burn. Once both sides are nicely browned, slide them onto a plate and you’re all done!

fully cooked green onion cake

fully cooked green onion cake

Be careful of eating them right out of the pan because they will be piping hot and you will burn your fingers and/or mouth. Eat plain, or serve with your favourite condiment (Sriracha, etc.).

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Asparagus and mushrooms recipe

A trip to the City Market last Saturday netted me a few goodies including two bunches of fresh Edgar Farms asparagus (where I bumped into Sharon from Only Here for the Food when we both raced there to grab some before they sold out), and a 1 lb. basket of mixed wild and domestic mushrooms from Mo-Na Food. I also picked up a small container of morels to experiment with, but more on that on another post. I did think about some fiddleheads as well, but I’ve bought them a couple of weeks in a row and I needed a bit of a break from them.

My farmers’ market bounty inspired to cook up a simple vegetarian dinner.

I snapped the bottom ends of the asparagus and gave them a quick rinse, then popped them into some boiling water for a very quick parboil. I then popped them into cold water in order to shock them and stop the cooking process.

While the asparagus cooled, I cleaned and roughly chopped up my mixed mushrooms, diced a couple of garlic cloves, and chopped up another six portobello mushrooms that I had bought at Costco and added that also to the mix. I stir fried the whole lot with about three tablespoons of margarine and reduced the heat to a medium high temperature.

stir-fried mushrooms

stir-fried mushrooms

Once they cooked through, I splashed in about a tablespoon and a half of shao hsing Chinese cooking wine and added salt and pepper to taste (very little salt, as the cooking wine has salt in it already).

I then started plating. First, some drained asparagus. Then, spoonfuls of mushrooms. And to top it all off, scoops of the sauce over the whole thing.

asparagus and mushrooms

asparagus and mushrooms

Simple, fresh, nutritious and delicious. Great with a side of brown rice, or maybe some roasted potatoes. Myself, I toasted some whole grain bread and dipped it into the sauce until it soaked everything up.

Alternatives to the Chinese cooking wine include soy sauce, cooking sherry, or oyster sauce.

A warning – the amount of mushrooms that I cooked were enough to make at least 6-8 servings. I had plenty of leftovers.

Salsa fresca with a twist

It was a beautiful day on Saturday; the sun was shining and the weather was crisp but not freezing. I even opened the windows for a short time to let in some fresh air. If I didn’t know better I would swear that it feels like spring weather is coming soon! (Hard to tell with weather here… a few days ago it snowed, and then promptly melted the next day.)

To go along with the nice weather I made some fresh salsa inspired by a recipe that I was told came straight from a cook in Mexico. I have a doubt about the authenticity of that recipe though, as it includes celery and I’ve never seen a salsa recipe that includes celery. The vegetable does give the salsa a nice crunch. The other thing about this recipe that struck me was the large amount of green in it, as opposed to other salsas which are more about the tomato than the other flavours. It gives the salsa a really fresh taste. For my version of this salsa, I ended up adjusting the quantities of some ingredients and adding seasoning.

Salsa fresca with a twist

Salsa fresca with a twist

Continue reading

I have another announcement to make.

Changed my mind; fruitarianism isn’t for me. Have decided to become a cannibal instead. As an added bonus, there are some great recipes out there!

Hope you had a great April Fool’s Day! 😉

Pea and ginger soup

This is a ridiculously simple recipe. It’s also got a great clear taste with a slight bite of ginger. If I wanted it to be fancy I’d probably strain it before serving, but as it was just for me I ate the bits of peas instead. More fibre is always a good thing for your body. 😉

Pea and ginger soup

Pea and ginger soup

Pea and Ginger Soup

– serves 2 to 3 –
Recipe from Mark Bittman, found at Serious Eats

Ingredients
2 cups frozen peas
2 tablespoons ginger, peeled and chopped
4 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper

Directions
Pour the chicken stock into a large pot along with the peas and ginger. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 15 minutes.

Blend the soup with an immersion blender, or in batches in a blender. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

Fun Friday

This Christmas I will be giving tins of homemade cookies to a few people. I’ve been doing a lot of cookie research recently because of this. And coincidentally (and conveniently for me), Gourmet magazine has posted recipes online of their favourite cookies from 1941-2008. They’ve organized them by decade, as 68 cookie recipes are quite a lot to go through. I’ve already noted a handful that I want to try out; this will take a while!

Gourmet’s Favorite Cookies: 1941-2008

Fun Friday – a Halloween special

Happy Halloween!

A few years ago, my workplace had a Halloween potluck and I signed up to bring a dessert. In my opinion, one of the easiet Halloween desserts you can do is make spider web cupcakes. They look impressive, but are fairly easy to complete.

Basically you take cupcakes (use your favourite recipe or a boxed mix), one colour of frosting, and another colour of icing sugar. After you frost all the cupcakes, take the icing sugar and draw 2-3 concentric circles on the cupcake, starting from the middle to the outer rim of the cupcake. Then take a toothpick and starting from the middle of the cupcake, draw a straight line to the outer edge of the cupcake. Continue to do this all around the cupcake. The line will drag the icing into a web shape (you’ll see the web after drawing all the lines). Then all I did was take some plastic mini spider rings, cut off the ring portion, and place a spider in the middle of the web.

I did take photos, but it was so long ago that I can’t remember where I put the pictures! Luckily I found another site that did something similar: http://www.easycupcakes.com/spider-web-cupcakes/