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    Vancouver, BC

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  1. Crowd-pleasing desserts

    My go-to is the Nanaimo Bar. It's a regional treat in my province (BC), consisting of a graham crumb-nut-coconut bottom layer, custard filling, and chocolate top layer. Minimal cooking, and easily scales up. For the custard powder, traditionally it's Bird's Custard, although I have seen some American recipes using just icing sugar or vanilla pudding mix. But for us locals, it's Bird's Custard or it's not a Nanaimo Bar! Also Magic Bars/Hello Dolly Bars/Layer Cookies...whatever they're called. Usually graham layer, topped with nuts, chocolate chips, coconut, whatever you want...sweetened condensed milk poured over top and baked. I'm a big fan of bars for things like potlucks & cook-outs - they're very portable, not messy, and are fine left on the buffet table for a couple hours
  2. What an amazing trip, Rarerollingobject - WOW! I bow down to your powers of eating & drinking - I am lusting after all that gorgeous, beautiful sushi! Japan is on my bucket list, of course. Thank you for the virtual trip!
  3. It isn't about a preference for imitation over natural flavours. In the article, Lohman herself states that "there is a time and place to use every version of vanilla in your kitchen." Including imitation vanilla. Personally, I don't see the point of using bean in say, chocolate banana bread, but would certainly use it in a custard. Bean form is about as natural as one can possibly get. Hmmm...I need to find a decent locally-available brand of imitation vanilla now.
  4. To answer @Jim D., by "imitation" I mean artificial vanilla flavour or extract (vs natural/pure extract) - you know, the "cheap" stuff. In the article, Lohman prefers using natural vanilla in her cakes rather than imitation, despite the extracts coming out at a tie in the vanilla-off. Thought that was interesting - seems to me that cakes are baked at a high enough temperature that imitation vanilla might be a better option?? I am not a cake baker, except for the occasional banana bread.
  5. This article from Epicurious came through my inbox today: Is Real Vanilla Always Better Than Imitation Vanilla? Short answer - not necessarily. According to culinary historian Sarah Lohman (author Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine), the compounds that make up the complex vanilla flavour in natural vanilla extract can't survive high-heat cooking, such as cookies. Vanillin, which makes vanilla taste recognizably as vanilla, is sometimes all you need to get that familiar taste. There's a mention of a vanilla-off in America's Test Kitchen where imitation & natural were tied, but I don't have a subscription so can't see the article. Well, smack me with a sugar cookie!! I can't recall the last time I've used imitation vanilla for anything - it's always been drummed into me that real, natural vanilla is best. Presumably, the real stuff - paste, crush, extract, etc. - are still preferable for puddings and things, as they are cooked to a lower temperature than cookies. And what about cakes? I'm curious to test this out, if I can find the time to do it. So, bakers & cooks of eGullet - what say you? Has anyone done a comparison? (And yes, I recognize imitation vanilla is commonly used in mass-produced foods, etc, etc; it has its place. But I'm curious about those using it at home or in their bakery/pastry shop.)
  6. Butter Tarts

    Send me your hell grapes - I put extra raisins in mine!
  7. Butter Tarts

    @Anna N Yes! I like the middle squares - gooey, quivery deliciousness. DH likes the edge parts. That is probably why we are still together.
  8. Butter Tarts

    Must have raisins. Preferably the little currant raisins. None of that pecan-chocolate-cranberry rubbish. My concession to butter tart purity is butter tart squares. I like the squares because I don't have to deal with making all those little tart shells.
  9. Fruit

    +1 for salad. They're also excellent as part of a cheese/charcuterie board. Bet they'd be really good wrapped with prosciutto. I like my Fuyu persimmons on the crunchy, less ripe side. Never tried cooking them.
  10. Oh dear. So I went to T&T (Asian supermarket) last Friday. I came home with (amongst other non-frozen groceries): frozen oven bread, fish balls, whole milkfish, 2 bags of dumplings. These all went into the freezer. I'd also put in a bag of marinated chicken leg quarters and 2 boxes of strawberries. Everything was on sale (except for the fish balls)!! Last week I had used up: partial bag of raspberries, remainder of ice cream, some tomato paste. Shuffled some stuff around and felt rather accomplished. Also polished off a half bag of dumplings - to be promptly replaced by the 2 bigger, brand new bags on the same damn day..... On the other hand, I resisted buying frozen stinky tofu, pepper pork buns, Thai fish cakes, and whole parrot fish. Hooray for me.
  11. Hot Pot For Home Use

    Is it necessary to get a hot pot-specific pot? I recall my family used a deep, heavy corning ware casserole/pot, and also clay pots. Until my folks discovered the wonders of the induction stove.... Now all we use is the stainless steel type. A few months ago, for giggles, my dad dragged out a really old-school type of hot pot. Made of steel with a chimney in the middle, in which you put charcoal to heat up the broth. They got it as a wedding present, but have never used it, preferring instead the electric stove.
  12. That's odd T&T doesn't have it. Perhaps try some of the other Asian supermarkets in Richmond? Or along Kingsway - I think there are more South East Asian stores there.
  13. That uni donburi.... oh my goodness....I am salivating like you wouldn't believe.
  14. Must have been Pork Chop Tuesday! We had Pork chops, too - which weren't from the freezer - with Pineapple salsa. The pineapples were from the freezer. And ice cream & Pie for dessert.
  15. Too-thin porkchops

    So I've got some regular thickness pork chops, but I think I will on-purpose thin them. Maybe Hong Kong pork chop rice.