Saturday, March 31, 2012

Eating out at Sushi Hiroba

Not long ago somebody had read on my blog about how much I love Korean food, especially bi-bim-bap, and suggested I try going to Sushi Hiroba to try theirs. Although the restaurant has the word "sushi" in their name, their menu covers both Korean and Japanese cuisine, offering sushi, Korean BBQ, and even bi-bim-bap.
I didn't think this would happen, but I think I may have found my new favourite place to eat bi-bim-bap. Ever since I had my first bowl of bi-bim-bap at Momo a little over a year ago, I have been unable to find another place that serves one that tastes as good. This one had more vegetables, less rice at the bottom, and even the red sauce (gochujang) was thicker and tasted better. The only problem is that this restaurant only serves it in a plain bowl while Momo serves their bi-bim-bap in a piping hot stone bowl (making it "dol-sot" bi-bim-bap), so the bi-bim-bap at Sushi Hiroba does lack that extra heat and crispy rice at the bottom of the bowl you'd often find with the bi-bim-bap at Momo. So I guess they both have good things going for them. : )
The whole concept of Korean BBQ has always fascinated me, but now that I don't eat meat, it doesn't matter! Ha ha ha!
But oh look! Bi-bim-bap! Unfortunately Sushi Hiroba doesn't have a tofu version on their menu, but if you don't eat meat, you can just ask them to leave the beef off.
And part of the Japanese section of the menu.
So when my mom and I first sat down, we were wondering what these little mints were doing on the table, but then we saw that they had the word "tissue" stamped on them and thought it would be best if we didn't eat them. After we ordered our food the waiter brought a small container of water and poured it into the bowl, and like magic the things stood up.
We didn't order miso soup, but they gave it to us for free. I have a feeling everyone get's miso soup as part of their meal because everyone else in the tables around us also got miso soup.
So they brought out my dish with two containers, one with the red sauce and once with sesame oil. Definitely necessary!
My mom ordered the bul-go-gi (sweet marinated beef) hot pot, which came with a bowl of rice and a little salad.
My mom said that every bite of this was amazing, and such a great deal at only $9.99.
And now my after photo. I swear I didn't lick the bowl! It just looks like I did. : )
So here are the hours for the restaurant. The place is actually quite small and only holds probably 15 tables, but they also do take out. I really enjoyed my meal here yesterday and I can't wait to go back again and eat off of their Japanese menu!

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Hiroba on Urbanspoon
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Friday, March 30, 2012

Coconut Macaroon Easter Egg Nests

Ahhhhh, it's nice to be baking again. Last week so many papers were due, and yesterday I had to write an exam, so I haven't been able to spend much time in the kitchen. But now that my exam is in the past, I finally feel like I have time to experiment with making tasty treats. The other day I saw this post at Two Peas and Their Pod, and decided that it was the perfect thing to try with Easter taking place in just a week.
To make the birds nest, I used the Gluten Free Chocolate Bottomed Coconut Macaroon recipe because it was so quick and easy to make.

Chocolate Bottomed Coconut Macaroons (Gluten Free) 
-2 large eggs
-1/2 cup white sugar
-1/8 tsp salt
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-3 cups sweetened shredded coconut

Put the eggs into a large bowl and whisk them well. Then add in the sugar, salt, and vanilla, and whisk them together well. Then you stir in all of your coconut.
Unlike in the original recipe that makes the macaroons with 1 tablespoon of batter, scoop out 2 tablespoons worth of batter for each cookie, put them onto a lined cookie sheet, and then use your thumb to make a dip in the centre. Be sure to leave some space between each cookie because the bottoms will spread a little. Then bake them in your oven for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees, or until the tops become brown. 

Take them out and let them cool for a few minutes on a cooling rack.
For the chocolate filling I used Nutella mixed with a little almond milk (you could also use regular milk). For eight cookies I needed 1 large spoonful of Nutella and 1 tsp of almond milk.
Then pop some candy coated chocolate eggs on top and voila, you now have a bunch of mini birds nests to serve at Easter.

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Monday, March 26, 2012

A Final Visit to Prairie Lights Before The Summer

Well the school year is now coming to an end which means that Prairie Lights Restaurant will soon be closing it's doors for the summer holidays. To read my other two blog posts about Red River College's Culinary Arts program and my meals at Prairie Lights, click here and here.
Friday's meal was the perfect way to say goodbye to Prairie Lights before summer vacation, as well as the perfect meal to give me strength and energy before my up coming final exams. The menu had many seafood options and being a pescetarian, I felt like I had many dishes to choose from. From the beginning of the meal with the delicious bread basket, to the final bites of heavenly dessert, my meal was truly amazing. By the time I left to go home that evening I was completely stuffed and satisfied. Here are some of the photos I took during the meal.
The bread basket with a small loaf of zucchini bread in the centre and a plate of various butters including a sweet beet butter and pesto.
 The Asparagus Spears and Poached Egg Salad with Spiced Walnuts and Bacon Dressing.
My meal, the Vegetable Tagine served on Toasted Couscous with Apricots and Almonds.
The Cornish Game Hen with Ginger Sesame Stuffing and Saskatoon Jus.
And then of course we had to order something flambéed.
The Bananas Foster Flambé with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.
The Gateau Opera.
The Mini Baked Alaska with Mixed Berry Sauce.
And my favourite dish of the evening, the dessert special. Spiced Molten Chocolate Cake with Poached Apples, Ginger Ice Cream, and Coffee Soil. This dessert was really amazing because the cake was very rich and fudgey, and the ginger ice cream was like nothing else I had ever had before. I absolutely loved it. Perhaps I should ask the college for the recipe and then I'll have a reason to bring out my ice-cream maker from the back of the cupboard.
Well that's it. I hope everyone does well on their final exams. Be sure to get lots of sleep and keep in mind, summer break is just around the corner!
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Saturday, March 24, 2012

My First Attempt at Sugar Cookies

You may think it's a little strange that I had never made sugar cookies until now, since they are so simple to make and fun to decorate, but it's true. You see, we didn't own a rolling pin.
Sugar cookies are kind of impossible to make without a rolling pin. : )
So when my friend and I decided to get together and catch up, we thought that it would be fun to chat while decorating something. A first we were going to make cupcakes, but in the end we chose sugar cookies, and then I went to buy a rolling pin.
The recipe for the dough I found at Joy of Baking and I found it really easy to make. There's also a video to show you the entire process of making sugar cookies.

Sugar Cookies [source]
-3 cups all purpose flour
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 cup softened butter
-1 cup white sugar
-2 eggs
-2 tsp vanilla

First, whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda. Then in a separate bowl, mix the butter and sugar together using a hand mixer for about 3 minutes. Then add the eggs and vanilla to your butter and sugar and beat those in as well. Then add the dry mixture into the wet mixture and beat until well incorporated. Wrap the dough in some saran wrap and put it in the fridge for an hour.
Once the dough has firmed up in the fridge, lightly dust your counter-top with flour as well as your rolling pin, and begin to roll out your dough until it is 1/4 inch thin. Then use cookie cutters to cut out various shapes of dough. Place the unbaked cookies onto a greased or parchment lined cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
While your cookies are baking, whip up some icing. Simply mix together equal parts softened butter and icing sugar, and then add milk one teaspoon at a time until you get the consistency to want (vanilla is optional). This icing had 1/2 cup softened butter, 1/2 cup icing sugar, 1 tsp milk, and 1 tsp vanilla.
Now that the cookies are done, it's time to decorate and socialize! My friend and I didn't have much experience decorating cookies, but I think they turned out fairly well for our first try.
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