Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Chez Michel (神秘嘉賓Michel), 1


I've been waiting for this moment for a long time, and finally, I have the opportunity to introduce you to our first guest, Michel. Over the holidays in December, our friend Michel invited us to his place for dinner. This is the second year that he's invited us over for the holidays, and for that, we're very grateful! Being in a foreign country alone during the holiday season can be a little bit depressing, but he's always letting us know that we're not alone here.

Besides being such a kind and generous person, he is also an extremely talented musician, and one of the best cooks I've ever met! He's also a dear friend of mine. There are so many great things to say about him that I could go on and on... I do not know anyone who does not like Michel, and everyone wants to be invited over to his place, as well!


Salade Lyonnaise (里昂風沙拉)

As you can see from the name of the dish, it takes its name from the city Lyon in France. The dish is usually composed with a kind of bitter green (traditionally frisée, though my friend Michel made it for me, he used chicory instead and it worked perfectly fine. See related post, Chez Michel, 1) , crispy bacon, croutons, poached eggs, and a warm vinaigrette. How delicious is that!

I added the pear myself; the traditional salade Lyonnaise does not have it. I like pears in salad and I thought they would go pretty well with it, but don't worry, you can leave them out if you wish. I know it's a bit more work than most salads, and poaching the egg is a bit tricky, but once you mastered it, you'll be glad you did, because you won't have to fly to Lyon to enjoy this special regional dish!


Rösti (Potato Pancake/瑞士風馬鈴薯絲煎餅)

This is essentially a Swiss potato pancake; it's crispy on the outside and very similar to hash browns, and a little bit like Jewish latkas, as well. It makes a nice presentation and is still fairly easy to manage.  

I've tried different recipes and made it different ways before, but the way my friend Michel (see related post, Chez Michel, 1)made it--and how I like it--is to first cook the potatoes 75% done before shredding them. I know it adds one more step to the process, but the result is crispier! Also, if you have a cast iron pan, this would also certainly help the crispiness factor. If not, it can still turn out very well with a stainless steel pan. Enjoy the recipe and I wouldn't be surprised if you want to make this for your next Sunday brunch as well (...maybe with some poached eggs)!


Swiss Chicken Cutlet (蘇梨士風雞肉與白酒磨菇)

This is a Swiss dish that is originally from the town of Zurich in Switzerland. It is typically served with rösti, which is a Swiss potato pancake.

Traditionally, it is made with veal, but I don't really eat veal and I happened to have some chicken, so I turned it into a chicken dish. My friend, who knew that I don't eat veal, used pork loin (See related post, Chez Michel, 1) and it works perfectly fine as well. In fact, I would say that pork is probably the next closest thing to veal. So feel free to swap the chicken to either pork or veal to suit your own taste.


Apple-Jam Tart (蘋果與果醬塔)

The recipe is inspired by David Lebovitz's Easy Jam Tart , and as he mentioned, his recipe is originally adapted from a crostata recipe from the blog Wednesday Chef. Crostata is an Italian dessert tart in a pie form. The filling is traditionally made with cherry, apricot, peaches, or berry jam. David basically added some cornmeal to the dough (which I loved), instead of just using all-purpose flour, to make the dough crispy. Additionally, he changed how the dough is arranged on the top, which creates this really beautiful flowery pattern. (Genius idea!!) Here, I kept both of David's ideas and changed a lot of other things to make it even healthier, such as mixing in some whole wheat pastry flour, using much less butter and jam, and adding the apples and almonds...etc.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Breakfast: Poached Eggs (水波蛋)

This is one of my favorite ways to enjoy eggs, and I'm about to share with you a quick way to impress someone on this Valentine's Day! Those of you who are easily intimidated by those two words - poached eggs, don't let yourself believe that you can only enjoy it in restaurants. You just need to know a few things before you start. 




Saturday, February 2, 2013

Nuit Blanche at The Old Port Market /魁北克老港市場

This past December 27th was the premiere of Nuit Blanche (All-nighter) in Quebec, a special night where stores were open late and activities were planned throughout the city. Coincidentally, it was also one of the biggest snow storms of the year. The event took place at the Marché du Vieux Port (Old Port Market), Place Royale and the Quartier Petit-Champlain. Due to the storm, we had to leave the car at home, so we decided to just take the bus to one location, which, of course, had to be one of my favorites: The Old Port Market! (or should I say, it's more like we choose to go there because it's indoors! XD)

Since we didn't go to the other two locations, I can't really say what they were like; I only know that there was supposed to be some ice sculptures shown, a DJ, some live performances, and late-night boutiques until 2h. At the market where we went, they featured a live gospel choir that sang until about 22h30. Besides that, it was also a great oppotunity to explore some boutiques and food vendors in the late hours (since the market usually closes at 17h).

Smoked duck (on the left) and deer truffle (on the right)
The minute we walked in, people came over to offer us some hors d'oeuvres right away. Since this event was free, we did not expect to get any delicate hors d'oeuvres like these. 
上圖從左到右為: 燻鴨肉、鹿肉