Good Things Come in Small Packages

People love eating me all around the world.  I am like a warm, cozy blanket for your taste buds and tummy.  You can fill me with all sorts of goodies, meat, and veggies.  What am I?  No, I am not a calzone.  Go smaller and Asian….you got it – Dumplings!  Kale and I can eat them every day if we could.  We aren’t sure if it’s in our blood, but there is just something in those small puffy pillows of savoury meat and veggies that calls to us.  A few years ago, Kale and I took a dumpling making class and loved it.  Ironically, it was taught by a very knowledgeable non-Asian guy.  Making dumplings at home is ideally a social activity; therefore, Kale and I took off to the Granville Island Public Market to shop for the ingredients, then headed back to her place to make them.

But before we dove into making the dumplings, we fortified ourselves with a late breakfast of tea and scones.   It felt like we had stepped back in time to when we were kids playing with our tea sets.  Although now, we drank fragrant lavender rooibos tea and nibbled on blueberry-lemon-oat scones using Kale’s sophisticated fine china.

Superfoods in our dumplings:
Turkey – This meat is lean, high in protein and has a good amount of iron, phosphorous, zinc , potassium and vitamin B’s. We selected the free-run and non-medicated turkey.
Prawns – Good protein with Omega-3’s, B vitamins, and is also high in iron, as well as zinc, selenium, copper, magnesium and phosphorous.
Shitake mushrooms – Has a particularly high amount of copper, which may be beneficial to heart health.  These mushrooms are also high in B vitamins and selenium.  It contains lentinan which has anti-fungal properties and can also protect against cancer.
Chives – A good source of vitamin K which is important for the production of osteocalcin, a bone protein.
Ginger – An anti-inflammatory and is full of antioxidants to support its antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-parasitic properties.

Granville Island Kake2Kale

Continue reading

Our Ramen-tic Lunch

I admit it, I have had my love affair with instant noodles, especially when I lived in Hong Kong.  For a period of time it was my breakfast, lunch and dinner.  But my favourite way was to add corn to it while it was cooking, and then break an egg into it at the last minute.  Just before my first bite, I would put a couple of drops of Maggi sauce (it’s like soy sauce but isn’t) into the yolk and then swirl the yolk throughout the noodles.  Mmmm….

{Kale} and I went to an outstanding ramen shop on the outskirts of Vancouver’s Chinatown, called Harvest Community Foods in the Chinatown-Strathcona area.  It is on the same street and several doors down from the Jimi Hendrix Shrine.  Because the food is made with locally sourced ingredients, they charge a little more than average, and the bowls are not the size of a baby wash tub, which I like, because we all need to be conscious of portion control.   I have been there a couple of times and thought {Kale} would like it and she did.  It is a humble place that is part noodle shop, part grocery store.

I was glad to see Hokuto in the kitchen, because he had made my husband and I good bowls of noodles before and so I knew {Kale} would be in for a treat for sure.  He did not disappoint.  {Kale} ordered the Ramen with pork shoulder, candied bacon, egg and radish and thoroughly enjoyed it.  The highlight for both of us was their egg, they soft boil it and then marinate it in a secret sauce.  The yolk is still slightly runny and it has this wonderful deep soy gingery flavor.

Not being a huge fan of udon, I asked to substitute the ramen for the Udon with Sake Kazu Chicken, with watercress and shitake, plus a side of the oh –so-yummy egg.  The ramen was cooked perfectly, still slightly chewy and springy, the broth was savoury without being overly salty.  While devouring our noodles {Kale} and I recalled the old Japanese movie called “Tanpopo” about a couple who were in search of the best ramen in Japan.  It is definitely a must-see for those who are foodies, there is even a few scenes that may be scandalously close to being literally food porn, without crossing the line.

Here are the superfoods in our lunch:

Egg:  Nature’s near perfect food. Contains a wide range of vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, E, choline, B12, as well as protein, lutein and zea-xanthin.
Radish:  Good source of vitamins A, C and E. Great for digestion
Watercress:  High amount of vitamin C and A. Has strong detoxing properties, good for detoxing heavy metals.
Shitake mushroom:  Rich in vitamins, minerals and polyphenols they also activate the immune system, have strong anti-tumor properties and prepare white blood cells to be ready to fight off disease.

If you are a Jimi Hendrix fan then check out this link about his Vancouver shrine.

Harvest Community Foods Kake2kale

This is not a recipe per se, but an idea for a Quick Ramen salad.

  • Cook Ramen according to instructions on the package (use the flavor packet if you want the taste).  You can toss in any superfood veggie you like in with the noodles while it is cooking ie. Chopped carrots, beets, squash.  Then drain and chill for about an hour.
  • Once chilled you may add about 2 Tablespoons of *mayonnaise to the noodles and any sort of protein ie. cooked turkey, tuna, shrimp, chickpeas, etc.  you get the idea.  You could also add fresh herbs and more veggies that can be eaten raw ie. celery, bell peppers.

*May also use sesame oil and grapeseed oil and a splash of rice wine vinegar, and soy sauce, instead of mayo.

Eat healthy, live great! – {Kake}

Harvest Community Foods 2 Kake2kale

Cauliflower Steaks with Red Pepper and Shitake Mushroom Sauce

Cauliflower, The Next Kale?

Kale is everywhere it seems, in salads, in smoothies, made into chips, hidden in cake (check our first post), in our name. But perhaps it is time for the ubiquitous kale to move over and make room for another worthy vegetable. Which one shall it be, carrots, beets, jicama, iceberg lettuce, onions? Nope! The consensus of foodies ahead of the curve indicate it’s cauliflower!

My earliest memories of cauliflower, was of Mom serving it boiled and then topped with oyster sauce. I always welcomed this dish, as it tasted so homey, it was my comfort food while other kids had macaroni and cheese. Well, we had mac and cheese too, but only after Mom went to boot camp once she got accepted into the military, but let’s save that story for another time.

My mother-in-law liked to serve cauliflower cooked in cream of mushroom soup, and so my husband, asks me to make it every once in a while now. But of course, I make my own sauce if time permits, or I rely upon any of the organic versions available. Cream of mushroom soup was the “go to” ingredient in helping immigrant families become westernized. I ‘m sure our grocery list didn’t look much different from other immigrant families who wanted to fit in: Wonder bread, Shake and Bake, the mysterious cottage cheese, peanut butter, Spam, just to name a few. But back to the cream of mushroom soup, it dressed up chicken, pork, serving it just as a soup. Oh, those were the days before we found out how much sodium was in those tasty soups.

Who by now hasn’t had roasted cauliflower, pureed cauliflower, or cauliflower soup? But, what about cauliflower as an entrée? This vegan and gluten free recipe for cauliflower steak with a cashew, red pepper, and shitake mushroom sauce, was inspired by a recipe I saw in Bon Appetit.

What is so great about cauliflower? It has a high amount of vitamin C, antioxidants, fiber, and it contains Indole-3-carbinol (I3C), as does all cruciferous veggies. I3C is important for detoxing xenoestrogens, the harmful type of estrogen, from our bodies. We don’t want these in our bodies because they act as hormone disrupters, and have toxic effects. Xenoestrogens are found in plastics, BPA, pesticides, dry cleaning solutions, air fresheners, perfumes, etc.

Cashews: Have lots of minerals, B vitamins, mono-saturated fat, which is good for your heart.

Red Pepper: Lots of vitamins A (good for eyes), C (good for skin), vitamin B6 and manganese (these two work in tandem to support the nervous system), and lycopene an antioxidant that can help prevent UV damage.

Shitake mushrooms: Not only are mushrooms rich in vitamins, minerals and polyphenols they also activate the immune system, have strong anti-tumor properties and prepare white blood cells to be ready to fight off disease.

cauliflower steak 1

Cauliflower Steaks with Red Pepper and Shitake Mushroom Sauce
Serves 2 as a main, or 4 as a side

  • 1 medium head Cauliflower
  • 2 T olive oil
  • salt and pepper


  • Preheat oven to 400°. Slice off the bottom of the cauliflower removing the leaves, but still keeping the core in place. Then put the cauliflower on the cutting board, with the stem side down and from the center, cut 2 slices that measure ½ inch per slice. Toss the cauliflower bits left over after the slices have been cut, with 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Put onto a large rimmed baking sheet and put in the oven.
  • While bits are roasting, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat.  Cook cauliflower steaks until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side, adding 1 Tbsp. oil to pan between batches. Take out the cauliflower bits from the oven and make room on the sheet for the steaks, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast cauliflower until tender, about 20 minutes, and make the sauce during this time.


  • 1 cup cashews, (soaked for 2 hours then drained)
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 3 T. lemon juice
  • 1 T. nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 cups shitake mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 T. sherry
  • Heat olive oil in pan over medium high heat, add garlic, sauté for 2 minutes, then add the mushrooms cook for about 5 minutes, then add the sherry. Sauté for another 1 minute to cook off the alcohol and remove from heat. Season with a little salt.
  • Put the first 5 ingredients in a food processor or a good blender and puree.
  • To plate, smear the sauce on the plate, place the steaks on top and scatter mushrooms on top. The sauce can be heated as well before serving.  The bits can be served in a bowl alongside.

Bon Appetit! – {Kake}

cauliflower steak 2