Tuesday, August 31, 2010

FBC: Lemon Pepper & Hefeweizen

Golden Crispy Deliciousness
Remember my first Frat-Boy Roast Chicken that won the Joust? Beer roast is so amazingly addictive.  I have started to experiment with different beer pairings.  This time we want to pair the thicken with Granville Island Hefweizen and make some additional improvements to the roast.   First, hefweizen doesn't come in a can, we improvised by using empty coke can to hold the beer.  Second, two different rubs were applied separately to add layers to the flavours.  The first rub is coarse salt and pepper to emulate crispy salt and pepper chicken wings. The citrus flavour of hefweizen would go perfectly with a lemon pepper rub.

Frat-boy Chicken Series:
FBC: BBQ and Honey Larger
FBC: Lemon Grass Chili and Asian Beer
FBC: Chocolate Mole & Irish Cream Ale

Grind salt in a mortar for idea coarseness
Ingredients:
1 bottle hefweizen
1 empty clean can
1 whole chicken
1 tablespoon coarse salt
2 tablespoon coarse black pepper
4 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoon lemon pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice



Instruction:
1. Preset the oven to convection 425F.
2. Clean the chicken, pat dry with paper towel.
3. Mix salt, black pepper, and olive oil in a bowl.  Brush the mixture onto the chicken.
4. Pour 1 cup of hefweizen into the can. Prop the chicken onto the can and arrange the legs so the chicken is well-balanced and sits straight up.
5. Bake it for 10 minutes. In the mean time, mix lemon juice, lemon pepper, and ⅓ cup of beer in a bowl
6. Lower the oven temperature to 300F
7. Take the chicken out. Brush the lemon pepper mixture onto the chicken.
8. Put the chicken back in the oven and bake for 40 minutes or until the chicken's internal temperature reaches 160F.  Glaze it with more beer and lemon pepper occasionally.
9. Enjoy the rest of the beer while you wait for your roast!
10. Once it is ready, leave it to cool for 20 minutes before carving.  This will help the moisture in the chicken to settle.

Peter's Farm

Peter and Jean
Peter's family owns a farm in Richmond.  I had the opportunity to go pick blueberries last weekend.  It was the last chance before autumn rain ruins the berries.  Peter's blueberries are completely natural.  They were not sprayed with chemical and had minimum human interventions.  Some premium trees were cropped earlier in the spring to ensure bigger and more flavourful fruits (sort of like grapes for wine!)

There were rows after rows of blueberry trees filled with delicious ripe berries.  There are no less than 12 different types of blueberries in BC along.  I had the first hand experience eating from different blueberry trees.  Some were acidic with pronounce fruit, some had minty herby tastes, and some were super sweet.  Peter encouraged us to graze from tree to tree until we find our favourite flavour.  Everyone seems to like the minty blueberries.  I focused on more acidic berries (to make jams and preserves) and also those minty ones for the Duck Pot Pie.

Helen holding delicious garlics
We came across lots of different critters during the pickings.  I am pretty sure I ate a few bugs here and there when I was grazing. Well, it was just protein and I didn't notice it.  My hands and clothing were stained purple.

The farm also produces various other vegetables and herbs.  Green beans, peas, corns, plum, apples, garlics (which were amazing btw). The neighbor gave us two massive zucchini.
Huge.

Granville Island Hefeweizen

Granville Island is a local micro-brewery that is named after a little island in the middle of Vancouver Metropolis.  It is an urban oasis filled with waterfront restaurants, theaters, galleries, art studios, and our famous farmer's market.  This is a must-see place for any tourist.  Granville Island Brewery is Vancouver's most famous micro-brewery.

Here is Dennis's review:

Graville Island "Robson Street" Hefeweizen has been a staple beverage in our household and on the road since in inception (or at least its discovery by Christine and I). We use this citrusy, sparkly, smooth Hefeweizen for drinking AND cooking, so whether you're reading Christine's blog to enhance your culinary repertoire or to discover a new drink pairing, you're reading the right post!

A Hefeweizen is a white beer with a cloudy, semi-translucent look. You'll often find them in restaurants served with a slice or orange or lemon (my preference being orange) to complement the already bright flavour of the drink. Hefeweizens are quite possibly the least bitter beer out there next to Latin lagers like Corona, as there are characteristically no, or at least very little hops added in the brewing process.

The Granville Island "Robson Street" Hefeweizen is an awesome Hefeweizen for anyone to drink, and its especially accessible to drinkers who are new to Hefeweizens in particular. It's a little sweeter, and smoother than other wheat beers I've tried, and it also isn't as prohibitively expensive as some of its European counterparts. If you're reading this from outside of the Canadian West, then be sure to try your local microbrewery Hefeweizen.

Be sure to check back soon for the Hefeweizen version of the "Frat-boy Chicken"~!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Duck Pot Pie

Smell sooooo gooood...... (but looks terrible)

This is my August entry for Royal Food Joust by the Leftover Queen: Duck Pot Pie.  This is rather complex and labour intensive recipe. Duck breasts and thighs were braised slowly for 3 hours in calvados, a brandy made with distilled, fermented apple and pears, before being incorporated with balsamic vinegar, dried apricots, home-made plum preserve, and blueberries (that I hand picked the day before).  Egg-free, dairy-free whole wheat pie crust was made from scratch.  It took all night, but it was well worth it!

I have never made a pot pie before. I experimented with different vegan pie crust recipes, and I found Earth Balance's Vegetable Shortening produced a regular pie crust made with butter and lard. Christina suggested that if I want to watch my calories and eat my pie too, I can skip the bottom crust and just add a layer of crust to the top.

Duck is naturally greasy and has gamey flavours.  The acidity from balsamic vinegar help cut the fat while the plum, apricots, and blueberries add fruitiness to an otherwise overly musty, gamey dish.

Ingredient: (Makes 1 pie)

Crust
2.5 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup cold water
1 cup solid vegetable shortening (not margarine!)

Duck Rub:
1 tablespoons of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of cumin
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
1 tablespoon of chili powder
1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of cayenne
1 tablespoon of oregano

Pie Filing:
1 duck breast (cubed)
2 duck thighs (deboned and cubed)
1 onion
½ cup calvado
3 cups duck or beef broth
2 cups potatoes (cubed)
1 cup carrots (cubed)
1 cup celery (cubed)
1 cup blueberries
½ cup of dried apricot (cubed)
1 tablespoon thyme (minced or dry)
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon plum preserve
1 tablespoon of olive oil
salt and pepper

Preparation:
1. Liberally season the duck chunks with the rub. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
2. Pre-heat oven to 275F.
3. In a cast-iron Dutch oven (or a deep pan/pot with lid) over high heat, sear the meat in one tablespoon of olive oil.
4. When the meat is browned, increase heat to high and add half a cup of brandy, stirring up the caramelized bits with a wooden spoon. Reduce the brandy to a quarter of the original volume.
5. Add enough duck or beef stock (about 1 cup) to cover half an inch in the bottom, cover, and bake at 275 degrees, or about three hours or until tender.
6. Meanwhile, make your pie crust.  Mix flours and salt together.
7. Take about 1/3 cup of the flour and mix it together with the cold water.
8. Cut the vegetable shortening into the remaining flour until crumbly. Add the flour and water and mix just until a dough is formed.
9. Wrap it with plastic and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
10. Divide the dough in roughly into two pieces.  One of the pieces should be bigger than the other by ⅓.
11. Roll the bigger dough onto a lightly floured surface to the desired thickness about 1/8-inch thickness. Gently press it into the pie pan.  If the crust tears, just mend it together with your hand and use additional dough to mend holes.
12. Leave the smaller dough for now.  Wrapped everything up with plastic wrap and put it back into the fridge.
13. When the duck is tender, take it out of the oven.  Separate the meat from the braising liquid, and set both aside. In the same dutch oven or pan, saute onion over low heat until the onion is transparent but not burnt.
14. Add the rest of the stock and all the braising liquid. Bring to boil.
15. Add in potato, carrots, and celery and bring to boil again.
16. Reduce heat to simmer.  Add apricot, plum preserve, thyme, salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar. Stir until the sauce has thicken.
17. Gently stir in blueberries without breaking or squishing them.
18. Pour and evenly distribute the content in to the pie crust almost to the top.
19. Roll out the other piece of pie crust and cover the pie.  Cut several slits in the top of the crust and place in a 425-degree oven for about 40 minutes. After the first 20 minutes, wrap aluminum foil around the edge of the crust to keep it from burning.
20. When the crust is nicely browned, remove the pie and let sit 15 minutes before serving.

I haven't cut it yet.  Pie is the arch-enemy of weight loss.  If you want the pie (George, I am looking at you). let me know!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Ginseng

I got this awesome encyclopedia of Chinese medicine while in Taiwan, and I will be cooking through them as winter. Ginseng is the most popular and most well known Chinese medicinal ingredients. Through out history, ginseng had been heavily mystified, because of its slow growing nature (said to absorb the energy of sun, moon, and earth over centuries) and its shape (the fork shape like resembles human limbs). Ginseng is translated to "human root". In Chinese Medicine, ginseng has health properties and help increase "chi" in the human body. It is scientifically proven to have anti-inflammatory property and a stimulant (don't consume it before bed). Moreover, it enhances sexual performance; sort of like the naturalpathic version of Viagra.

In retail, ginseng are usually bought as dried root. Some specialty Chinese store may carry fresh ones and the ginseng flower, but these are usually prohibitively expensive. When you buy your ginseng, ask them to chop or grind it down. You will need to store these in airtight containers in your freezer.

This amount of ginseng is enough for 4 liters of broth
There are thousands of ways to consume ginseng. The easiest way is to steep a couple slices (or a teaspoon of the powder) in hot water and drink it as tea. My mother used to steep few slivers of ginseng with oolong tea overnight in the fridge and drink it the next morning as a refreshing pick-me-up. It sure beats coffee on a hot sunny day.

My favourite way is to cook it with other Chinese medicinal ingredients and chicken broth. Ginseng has a very intense woody, earthy, nutty, gingery flavour and aroma. It makes delicious, soul warming, low calories soups.

Would you Eat: Bugs



Eating bugs are not only more nutritious but also more environmental than chicken or beef.  However, would you eat it?  I tried bees and snails, when I was young. I might try crickets, but I don't think I can stomach cockroaches...  What would you eat?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Banana Stiletto

Delicious and fashionable

This is a dish I have learned during my cooking boot camp at Dirty Apron.  I have made this several times since then, and my guests have all loved it.  I experimented with different ingredients, colors, and pairings.  I found that whiskey and brown sugar makes the best sauce. Rum and bourbon are pretty good too.  I use soy butter instead of actual butter.  It gives a very different 'mouth-feel', but I found that I can use less soy butter and crank up other ingredients!

The banana should NOT be over ripe.  Soft banana won't hold it's shape, it tastes a little funky, and you won't be able to prop chocolate on one end to make stiletto.


Ingredients (makes 4)
  • 4 banana (Do not tear. Leave a generous length of the stem on each when separating the bananas)
  • 4 tbsp soy butter (or butter)
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar (or other healthy sugar alternative)
  • 4 tbsp whiskey
  • 4 ripe peaches
  • 4 ripe kiwis
  • 4 tbsp Orange Juice (optional)
  • 4 cubes of dark chocolate (darker the better)
  • 4 of your favourite berries for decoration


Instruction:
1. Preheat the oven to 375F
2. Carefully make an incision in the banana. The incision should be less than ⅔ of the diameter of the banana and leave at least ½ uncut on each end.
3. Very gently knock the bottom uncut side of the banana against the table to make it flat. With your index finger, gently ease the incision open without tearing the ends or the bottom.
4. Cut butter into small slivers and fit about 1 tablespoon of butter into each banana.
5. Put 1 tablespoon of sugar into each banana
6. Pour 1 table spoon of whiskey into each banana.
7. Place each banana against the edge of the baking pan.  Feel free to use something to make sure it will stand up right during the baking process
8. Bake for 10-15 minutes or when the outside of the banana turns black.
10. Meanwhile, cut the peaches into pieces and remove the pit. Puree the peaches.  Add some orange juice if it is too dry.  Side aside.
11. Peel and puree the kiwi separately.  However, don't over puree.  The kiwi should be 'pulp like'.
12. The banana should be ready now.  Side aside and let it cool, while you plate.
13. Scoop some peach puree onto the center of your plate.  How much puree is personal preference and also depend on the size of the plate.  Use the bottom (butt) of the ladle and move the ladle in circular motion from the center and outwards to evenly spread the puree in a circle on the plate.
14. Scoop some kiwi puree onto the center of the peach circle you made.  Clean the ladle and use the same method to spread the kiwi out to form a smaller circle.
15. Carefully place the banana into the center.  Prop two cubes of banana under the stem end of the banana and hold it stationary. The chocolate would melt a bit due to the warmth of the banana, allowing them to fuse together.
16. Decorate with berries.

This dessert should be paired with the same alcohol you used in the ingredient.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Edible Chess Set


This is something I found online. I didn't make it (I wish).  These chess molds are not available for purchase either, but it does inspire me to collect more cookie cutters or make my own! 

Aren't these awesome! Play your chess and eat it too!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pho Tan

Christina recommended that we try Pho Tan on Main and King Edward.  I am not going to do a full on review, but this place is significantly better than the other ones we have tried so far. Unlike other pho places, this restaurant actually have tasteful decor, well built chairs and tables, and decent music.
The owner or manager not only have good taste in interior design, but also in high end premium wine.  Empty bottles of Routhchild, Shafer, Opus, St Emilion were cleverly showcased in the wall.  Someone likes his (or her) bordeaux and Cabernet Sauvignon...  They don't actually have a wine list though.

Steam Rice Roll: A lot healthier than the fried version. Packed full of protein, fiber, and carbs.
This satay pho is made with peanut sauce and coconut milk.
Nothing beats cheap, flavorful pho in an enjoyable (and hygienic) atmosphere.  I definitely look forward to going back.

Pho Tan on Urbanspoon

Mayer Family Chardonnay 2008, Okanagan BC




Variety: Chardonnay
Producer: Mayer Family Vineyards
Specification: Tribute Series
Vintage: 2008
Region: Naramata, BC
Alcohol: 14%
Price: 35.00

Appearance: Clear, medium lemon yellow, legs
Nose: Clean, medium intensity, developing, citrus, toast, herbaceous, oak, vanilla
Palate: Dry, medium acidity, no tannin, medium+ alcohol, medium+ body, medium+ intensity, stone fruit, toast, butter, lemon, herbaceous, stony., medium+ length

This is a local wine from Naramata Bench near Okanagan.  Mayer Family Chardonnays are ranked among the very best Okanagan Chardonnay and are comparable with other premium international Chardonnay.  British Columbia has the potential to become the next Napa Valley for white wine in the next two decade.  However, like majority of other locally produced wine, they are way over priced, especially considering they don't suffer the 120% tax other international wines do.   Consuming local product is good, but this is borderline rip off.  I suppose if you ignore that fact, it is pretty good wine compared to other $35 international whites on the shelf.

Quality: Good, ready to drink but can keep.

Pairing: This wine is pretty heavy bodied, making it the perfect pairing for another local speciality: sockeye salmon, especially with a heavier or creamier sauce.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Seattle: Marrakesh

Jess and Mike lived near this Moroccan Restaurant called Marrakesh.  From the outside, the restaurant looks borderline gaudy and dodgy.  It had no windows.  In Taiwan, gaudy establishments with no window are usually brothels.  Anyway, I was in the mood of adventure and I was sure I would be pleasantly surprised either way.


Inside, the restaurant was gorgeously designed to look like a Middle Easter Tavern with beautiful rugs on the floors and hanging from the walls.  The tables were only knee high, and most guests sit on the floor.  A beautifully dressed belly dancers jingles from table to table in this dark and ambient room. It was surreal!

The food were well priced (for a Seattle restaurant).  For $18.99, you get a decently portioned 5-course dinner.  There were unlimited soft doughy bread to finish the sauce from each dish. Wine and beer was cheap as well.

Marakesh House Salad
B'stilla Royale: Mysterious chicken stuffing of deliciousness  (Dennis had the vegan version)
Breka Vegetarian: Stuffed phyllo with mousseline potato, chopped green onion, parsley, and cilantro
Tagine of Chicken Honey and Prunes
Tagine of Lamb with Egg Plant
The dessert was quite stingy, but I appreciate that for weight lost reason. I definitely recommend this restaurant for anyone who happened to be in the area.

Marrakesh Moroccan Restaurant on Urbanspoon

I Won Again!

If you have a blog and unique recipe ideas, come and join the contest! 


My Frat-Boy Roast Chicken that I submitted for the Royal Foodie Joust has won all three category: Best Overall, Best Photo, and Most Unique Interpretation.  I think I was just lucky though. There were less competitors this month.

However, I do love this method of cooking chicken.  In fact, I cooked another one tonight with Hefeweizen and lemon pepper glaze. I will blog about that one in as well the near future.

Anyway, I will receive a Joust apron, 2 more mugs as the prize, and, as well as, a nifty logo for my blog.

Follow this link if you would like to join the competition!


Trainer's Tip from Christina

I lost another 3 pounds in Taiwan.  This is super surprising considering Taiwan is an island of awesome food.  Christina gave me a detailed workout instruction and warning about eating too much food.  Having her in the back of my head has proved to be a very effective method of discipline and portion control.

Here is her bi-monthly tip for everyone:

This weeks tip is focused on incorporating more vegetables into your meals.

A great trick which is also kid friendly is to puree steamed cauliflower into cheese or cream sauces. It blends in perfectly, adding vitamin C and folate, without sacrificing the deliciousness of Macaroni and Cheese, for example.
Another recipe to try is for making a better burger! By adding ground mushrooms into your burger, you add selenium, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin D and more, while still keeping a nice meaty texture.

Try this recipe which makes two burgers

1/2 small onion finely diced
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 cup finely chopped mushrooms
1/3lb (150g) extra lean minced beef
a splash of Tabasco
1-2 tbs olive oil

1. Sauté the onions and garlic until golden in a non-stick pan.
2. Add in the spices and mushrooms and sauté until soft and no moisture remains. Remove from heat.
In a large mixing bowl and add in the mushroom mixture,meat & olive oil and mix together thoroughly.
3. Form into 2 large patties and grill or dry fry in a skillet. The patties will take about 5 minutes on each side to cook.

Top with lettuce, tomato, onion, mustard, 1 tbs low fat mayo OR 1/2 oz shredded aged cheddar cheese on a whole wheat bun or english muffin and enjoy!

Be creative and try to incorporate more vegetables into otherwise unhealthy recipes so you get more vitamins and nutrients but keep the flavours you love.

or more calorie saving tips & questions on Personal Training in the Vancouver area, please call Christina Longo at 778 846 4185 or email at longoc(AT)live(DOT)com

www.thepursuitpersonaltraining.com

Karma Coffee

Blogging over skype!
Barney, my supervisor at Whole Foods when I worked there, introduced this coffee to Dennis. And ever since then, he has been hooked!  This coffee is fair trade and locally roasted on Vancouver Island.  Dennis and I are planning a trip to visit there soon!  Coffee is Dennis's heroin.  If he was less diligent about dental hygiene, his teeth should be black now. Below is Dennis's review of his beloved coffee.

Karma Coffee - Kazee
Earthy, smoky, medium-bodied, very little acidity. Kazee is comparable to a French roast, but without being as fully bodied. It also lacks that characteristic bitterness of a French roast that normally demands it be had with cream. A good coffee for both morning and evening drinking, but not necessarily ideal for either.. I prefer to drink my coffee black, and Kazee is no different. However, there is a little richness that is missing,, so putting a dash of cream is discretionary, but I would probably recommend doing so for most people. Kazee would pair well with a bran muffin, or a semi-sweet dessert like a biscotti. Any overly flavourful foods would take over the flavours of the Kazee. Actually, a semi-sweet 70%~ cocoa content dark chocolate would probably be absolutely perfect.

I would recommend Kazee for anyone who likes French roasts and wants to try out an organic and locally roasted coffee company. Kazee, which is type of coffee roasted by Karma Coffee on Vancouver island, retails for $14.29 at Whole Foods in Vancouver.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Back in Vancouver

I am back in Vancouver, and I am blogging before I even unpack!

Btw. Apple Service in Taiwan fixed my laptop for $50.  They didn't seem to notice (or mind) that the damage was caused by gravity. W00T!

Time to catch up!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

World of Pierogi Challenge: Willow Leaf Dumpling

How many people does it take to make dumplings? Five!
The August Daring Cook's Challenge asked us to make pierogi and encouraged us to make non-traditional filling as an optional challenge.  According to their recipe, pierogi dough seemed to contain either eggs or milk, none of which I can safely consume. I happened to be in Taiwan on business, so I decided to make dumplings, using unique local ingredients: bamboo shoots, Taiwnese chives, mushroom (I am still looking for its English name).

For Father's Day, I stayed with my grandparents for the weekend.  My grandfather was a famous banquet chef with 40 years of culinary experience.  What I have learned this weekend have revolutionalized my dumplings forever; I have learned a brand new way of making dough and filling. My previous post on making dumpling is now officially inadequate.

It will take about 4 posts to explain all the ingredients and the process in detail, and I will do so when I get back to Vancouver (don't have time right now).  If you are interested in making pierogi, check out Daring Cook's recipes.


Beacuse the dumplings were for steaming, I mixed a cup of flour with boiling hot water first to cook the dough. This would prevent the dough from over expending when steaming the dumpling.  After the flour mixture cooled, I mixed in more flour, a pinch of salt, corn starch, and few drop of vegetable oil.  Then, I kneaded for a good 15 minutes.

The dough is then rolled out into a long log and, with a knife, cut into small thumb size pieces. I rolled them into balls, flattened into coins, and then rolled out into pieces of skins.

Filling: Lettuce, carrot, garlic, Taiwanese leek, bamboo shoots, mushroom, ground pork, soy sauce, sugar.  The proportions were rather unscientific unfortuantely.

Dumplings are named after the way they are folded and shaped.  This are the Willow Leaf Dumpling, which is designed for steaming or boiling.  This folding method is rather difficult to explain; I think I will make a video of it instead.  For frying, check out my other dumpling.

The dumplings were then steamd for a good 10 minutes. How do you tell if your dumpling is ready? Gently pinch your dumpling to see how the dough reacts.  A cooked dumpling should have the same "taughtness" and texture as the back of your hand when you make a fist.

The August 2010 Daring Cooks‟ Challenge was hosted by LizG of Bits n‟ Bites and Anula of Anula‟s Kitchen. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make pierogi from scratch and an optional challenge to provide one filling that best represents their locale.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Trainer's Tip from Christina

Today's tip is a reminder to take back portion control at restaurants.

If you lack the self control to stop when full and leave food on our plate as many of us do, pasta dishes can often be prepared in ½ portions by request. Most restaurants do not advertise this, but a quick moment to ask your server can save you up to 600 calories and leave you feeling satisfied but not stuffed.

Another easy request is to have your burger or sandwich on whole wheat. Almost every kitchen has it available and will happily help you get those healthy whole grains into your system.

When it comes to fast food, there are often unadvertised children's size portions. For instance, at Wendy's, the advertised small Frosty has a substantial 310 calories and 8 grams of fat. The unadvertised Jr. size is 150 cal and 4 grams of fat making it a perfectly proportioned treat. Similarly, Dairy Queen has a unadvertised child's cone that contains 170 calories and 4.5 grams fat, verses its small counterpart with 230 calories.

So, to keep portions in moderation, even when eating on the run or at a restaurant, don't be afraid to ask for a smaller portion size that may not be advertised. Then you can eat your Frosty and keep fit too!

For more calorie saving tips & questions on Personal Training in the Vancouver area, please call Christina Longo at 778 846 4185 or email at longoc(AT)live(DOT)com

www.thepursuitpersonaltraining.com

R.I.P Computer

Chinese-Japanese Styled Culinary Art
I am currently in Taiwan on a business trip.  On my way here, I did something unmentionable to my computer - involving gravity.  I am hoping the Apple guys won't notice and fix it for free.  Two months worth of blogs are on that computer and I don't have time (or the photos) to write up news ones until I come back to Canada.

My trip has been very rewarding so far.  My 83 year old grandfather showed me some of his culinary arts this weekend, which I can't wait to share with everyone.  All my spare time are spent trying out different restaurants and night market stands...  It's a huge challenge not to stuff my face full of all the wonderful food that surrounds me.