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A lot of times on Crass Cuisine I make a meal and discover after the fact that I have nothing interesting to say about it. So I eat it, take a picture of it, and forget about it. After working on this blog for 2 years now I have accumulated a lot of photos of dishes that were never featured, along with some photos of food at grocery stores and farmers markets that struck me as beautiful or interesting. So I thought I would do a post featuring those. Hope you enjoy:
berries at the portland, or farmers market

raw artichoke

 grilled skirt steak with pan-seared fresh chiles and shallots

apple pie

lamb stew

 pomegranate prawn curry with fresh cilantro

roasted red pepper and anchovy salad

rosemary and garlic rubbed roast

 lemon icebox pie with vanilla wafers

 lemon meringue pie

 wild mushroom risotto with lamb stock

 eggplant curry

 vegan chocolate cupcake with pink himalayan sea salt

 Julia Child's french onion soup

 pork chop sandwich

 asparagus, cherry tomato and chicken penne with fresh basil

 peach, apricot and fresh ginger pie

 roma tomato and fresh basil salad

 lavender, honey and blackberry teacup pie
 rainbow chard stems
southern buttermilk biscuits

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I've been thinking about breakfast lately. It's the most important meal of the day, sure, but we rarely treat it that way. Since I've got time on my hands these days, I've been enjoying taking my time with this oft-rushed meal. I'm trying to make it a one-two punch by making it delicious and packed with nutrients. And I think I might have hit on something:

Pan-fried kale with eggs:
1/2 bunch kale
extra virgin olive oil
2 eggs (or 1, depending on your appetite)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Add a little oil and a little water to the bottom of a deep saucepan. Wash and tear kale into bite-sized chunks, heat saucepan to medium-high, add kale and stir frequently. Allow to cook for about 15 minutes, lightly browning each side of the kale and wilting it completely. When almost finished, push kale to one side of the saucepan and add eggs, cooking until desired doneness. Pile kale on a plate, place egg(s) on top, season with salt and pepper to taste. Add a shot of hot sauce if desired.


This seems a little granola, but it's really delicious. Kale has such a potent, green flavour and when pan-fried, it takes on a great crunch.  But do cook it well. When I undercook it, well, I suffer. To put it plainly, from extreme gas pain. Kale is in the gabbage family, although many don't realize it. And it should be treated as such. If you don't want to kill your loved ones via methane gas poisoning, heed this advice. 

I've been enjoying myself in the kitchen even more lately because the crazy hoarder who lived in the apartment facing mine finally moved out. For the last several years, crazy hoarder has done her crazy hoarderiest to make sure I can't see into her kitchen (which was absolutely revolting) by putting up various scraps of wrapping paper and gift bags while spying on me in between the cracks of her self-made-slash-self-imposed-mural-prison. I did my level best to ignore her, but she would come over every so often to ask me to open a jar, or let her friends into the building (for some reason she only periodically had a phone). She drove me nuts and her staring at me was starting to make me paranoid. But no more! I feel a weight off my shoulders.

Amazing what dealing with nutters will do to you. My advice when dealing with them is to energize yourself with a good breakfast first, then do your best not to let them rattle ya. As I've been repeating to myself lately, you have to be like a cork in water, you can't let difficulties get you down :)

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The Arts Club, Kale & Nori Culinary Arts and the Legacy Liquor Store are throwing a new Arts Club Dinner on Thursday, July 12, 2012. The four course menu – created by Jonathan Chovancek - features cocktail pairings, including concoctions made from Ardey, Auchentoshan, Benromach and Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban premium whiskies.

The event takes place around the Legacy Liquor Store's communal table o'er at 1633 Manitoba Street, and goes for $90 a head. Proceeds benefit the Arts Club. Call 604 687 5315 x248 for tickets or more info, or head over to the Arts Club website.

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RimFoodBaht

I'm hovering by the open window of the truck, getting what cover I can from the afternoon rain and trying to be near whatever heat the kitchen emits.  The couple running it are scattered, doing the best to keep up to the pace while CBC employees grumble about work. Vorrayut Jiranuntiporn picks up his wok, plates the rice, and does a few hundred other things all at once.



Jiranuntiporn and his partner, Wasinee Tuntiveerabut, are (relatively) new immigrants from Thailand, and RimFoodBaht is their food truck.  They're offering dishes from their home, in a city filled with many Thai restaurants but very few good ones.  I want them to succeed despite the busy Noodle Box a block away, where office workers line-up for odd faux-Asian stir-frys with little substance.  I want them to succeed despite having one of the worst food truck locations downtown, where the closest offices are workers for the government and not ones with expense accounts.  I want them to succeed.


It's perhaps an over-romanticized notion to think that people will travel for good food.  Some might, but most won't.  Those that don't will miss out on RimFoodBaht's earnest meals, each cooked to order.  This is remarkable for the green curry with chicken ($6.50), which in most chain restaurants is a meagre cost-saving offering heavy on premade sauce and cheap rice and light on anything else.  Jiranuntiporn's version is stacked, layers of flavour colliding into one; 'soulful' might be a cliché by now but there is no word more apt.  Cynics might yearn for something other than chicken breast, but the plentitude of Thai basil and lime leaves should win hearts over.


The scent from the basil eggplant with ground pork ($6.50) fills the paper bag that I've carried it in back to my office.  I try to devise a plan to make the aroma linger to keep work morale up.  The Nam Ngew ($6.50) - a northern Thai noodle served with a tomato-based pork broth with spareribs, ground pork and an endless supply of garlic and ginger - fills the heart on rainy days, and perhaps one of the best offerings of all of the food carts in the city.  The Miang Kham ($4.50) is served as an appetizer ("Kham" translates to "a bite"), though the toasted coconut - served with bits of shrimp, lime, ginger and shallot, all wrapped up in a leaf - fills that purgatory between savory and sweet, a wonderful limbo  between appetizer and dessert.  All of it is food I'd like to yell about, to bring people near, in this city where pad thai and ketchup have become overly familiar dancing partners.

Guanaco

I'd like my voice to travel further.  Three blocks over finds Guanaco, the new El Salvadoran truck on Seymour, across from the Bay.  This was the spot that recently hosted the failed Coma Food Truck, its contemporary Korean menu lost to a pedestrian wave that often fails to stop in-between shops, in-between offices.  One patron at the cart begets another, though there are more that have questions about the menu than there are that are willing to order from it.



The Manzanos, mother and son, offer pupusas ($8.50) - revueltas, queso y frijoles or ayote, each with  yucca fries and curtido, a more sour slaw of sorts -  a thread from their old pupuseria back home.  Compared to Rimfoodbaht, it's a much slicker, smoother operation, but just as effecting.  Try a sample of the horchata ($3.75), they offer.  Try a sample of the pupusa.  Try it: there's no steep learning curve here.



There shouldn't be, when it comes to meals like these.  The pasteles ($5 for 2, with curtido) are tremendous, its crisp maize shell securing a gush of cheese and meat with assumed universal appeal.  Good things generally come in little packets, as is the case with the chicken tamales ($4.50 for 1).  And there are the pupusas, larger than most other places offer in town, encasing a generous amount of your stuffing of choice, its crisp and chewy cocoon providing that perfect argument as to why this has been chosen as El Salvador's national delicacy.  None of this should be hard to comprehend; it should succeed.

Or at least I desperately want it to.

Joe.

Hamilton Street between Robson and Georgia (at the CBC)

Seymour Street at Georgia (across from the Bay) 
Guanaco Truck on Urbanspoon









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Recently Tenacious C and I went on a little vacation to Victoria. Lana told us that if we wanted fantastic seafood, we should check out Pescatores, right across the street from the Empress.

I love fresh fish and shellfish more than anything else on this earth, so I was excited when we walked into this medium-sized room with low ceiling fans and a New Orleans-y vibe. The lighting is extremely low, which is great for my looks but not for taking photos, which is why none appear here, so you'll just have to take my word for it.

I had the seafood mixed grill, which consisted of grilled salmon, grilled halibut, and three juicy black tiger prawns perched on top of the richest, most delicious chive mashed potatoes I've ever had. (I asked for the recipe and our super-personable waiter had a hilarious response wherein he had about 25 conflicting thoughts and seemed truly disappointed that he couldn't tell me: "ha ha, yes I'd like to... but no. No. No. Sorry. But no"). 

The real stand out other than the potatoes was the perfectly prepared halibut. Halibut is a finicky fish that's difficult to cook without either drying it out or rendering it tasteless. This halibut had crispy skin and tender insides and I tip my wannabe-chef's hat at the person who prepared it, because I'll probably be trying to copy it for the rest of my life.

Next time you find yourself in Victoria stop by there for excellent fish, and start with a few fresh oysters, why don't you.

Pescatores
614 Humboldt Street
Victoria, BC, Canada

Jessica


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Over at Slop Press, we have ONE Molecule-R "Cuisine R-evolution" molecular gastronomy kit to giveaway for Father's Day!  Head over HERE for more details.  

Canadian entries only, contest closes at 11:59pm (Vancouver time) on Sunday, June 10th, 2012.
CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED.