The Knife, an example of Innovation

The knife is a cutting element known from the beginning of time. Surely it is one of the first tools used by man.

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Man is defined by our ability to conceive, create and use tools. The knife, and even more specifically the edge, is the original tool used by humans to manipulate the world around us. Without the invention of the cutting edge, man would never have climbed to the top of the food chain, hunted animals, harvested and cultivated food or even built cities. It makes perfect sense why there is such a large cultural movement behind knives and why so many people absolutely love them. Sometimes it can be hard to explain to “non-knife” people why we enjoy and even obsess over our knives and edged tools. The answer is simple, it’s because we are fundamentally connected to knives on the most basic human level. The fascination and love of knives is hardwired into our DNA.

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For 99.99% of human history not carrying a knife was a serious impediment. The knife gave us the ability to interact with the world around us. Knives are seen as a weapon first and a tool second. But it’s the other way around. A knife is a tool that can be used as a weapon. But isn’t that true of any tool? The knife is the most basic human tool. The connection between a person and their blade extends through human history and connects that person to every single one of their ancestors, just as it is for every other person who has walked this earth.

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A little closer to our day, at the time of the Roman Empire, the Crusades and even during the First World War, swords were part of every good soldier.
In this the culinary field, research to improve its performance is constant. In fact, we are used to see on television great knives that do not have to ever get sharpen, and are able to cut a can or peel a delicate tomato, separating the skin from the pulp .

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The industry has created knives with different types of edge to solve the cutting of different types of food. Each knife has its own utility in the kitchen and at the table.

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Knives are between all elements of the kitchen, the most important.
Knives are considered the right hand of every chef, as the brush for the painter or the hammer for a carpenter. Proper use of the knife, its maintenance and the quality of it is essential for anyone concerned about preparing good quality food.
Knives are one of the oldest tools of history, with more than two million years of use. Man has changed its ways to meet our needs and demands. The knife has helped us to feed, to get shelter, to defend ourselves and ensure our survival.
The story of the knives is fraught with death, adventure, wealth, honor … and all thanks to those first people who saw the need to work with the provided tool that could cut what hands were not able to shatter.

 

 

 

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Diets and Dietary Restrictions

Diets is the sum of food consumed by an organism or group

Dietary restriction is defined as a reduction of particular or total nutrient intake without causing malnutrition

The purpose of diet is loosing weight and fat as much as you want, and as long as you can.

Typical daily menus:

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Resource:  http://www.rawon10.c0m/2013/04/raw-food-recipe-sweet-potato-noodles.html

And here is my own menu, it just started after intersession week and I recorded with my thoughts and experiences

Sunday

Breakfast: small ice cap

Lunch: club house sandwich with coleslaw

Dinner: a medium apple

I usually have coffee for the breakfast, after that I have a big meal for lunch. At dinner, I don’t want to eat too much, just an apple is enough for me.

Monday

Breakfast: Cereal with milk

Lunch: rice with minced pork and vegetable soup

Dinner: 250 ml orange juice

I really don’t like cereal with milk. But it’s a light meal for me to start a new day. For the Vietnamese people, they always have rice in their lunch so I do too. My lunch was so good and I finished all of them, it gave me more energy.And a glass of orange juice is perfect for my dinner.

Tuesday:

Breakfast: : 250 ml milk 2%

Lunch: noodle soup

Dinner: 300 gr grape

I try to eat low carb, in the third day, my lunch was just noodle soup and fruit for my dinner. I feel hungry a little bit, but fine because I’m on diet.

Wednesday:

Breakfast: small ice cap

Lunch: home-made salad with grilled pork and cucumber

Dinner: yogurt

I’m happy with my breakfast. It keep me work well until lunch time. Day by day, I try to take starch out of my meal, it’s really hard. I’m always hungry, a small yogurt is not enough for me. I need to feed my stomach, but NO. I have to go to sleep early to avoid hungriness.

Thursday:

Breakfast : a small ice cap

Lunch : long squash soup

Dinner: grape

Well, I love ice cap and always start my day with it. Long squash soup with minced pork wake me up and keep me warm in these days. Grape is done for my dinner. I don’t feel crazy hungry like previous days. I think my stomach is in the routine.

Friday

Breakfast: 250 ml milk 2%

Lunch: hot and sour soup

Dinner: a banana

I drink a glass of milk for my breakfast. Today is the 6th day, I fell like I’m ok without starch in my meals. A bowl of hot and sour soup for my lunch. I had one banana for dinner, I try not to eat too much at night time, it will be good for my diet.

Saturday

Breakfast: 250 ml milk 2%

Lunch: grilled cheese sandwich with whole grain bread.

Dinner: a medium apple.

In my last day, just a glass of milk for my breakfast, and I got a light meal with 2 slices whole grain bread grilled cheese sandwich. For dinner, I got a medium  apple to feed my stomach.

My experiences during 7 days diet: 

I always feel hungry at night time because I just have fruit for dinner , I usually have a full meal for lunch. Days after days, I eat less and less. But I’m very tired at night time because I take all of protein and fat out of my main meal during a day close to the diet. I lose 2 pounds in 7 days diet, I think it is not really a healthy diet because I drink ice cap nearly everyday, it makes me fat and don’t loose weight as I want.But whenever I drink ice cap, it gave me enough energy in the morning. As a woman, if I do not eat enough carbs for a long time, menstruation will be delayed or not coming, that means it is not worth. I need to have another healthier menu diet and go to the gym to get a perfect body.

 

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Purchasing Meat and game: Chicken!

Kids always want something special for their weekend. Today, they order chicken for lunch, so I go to Grant’s food2  mart in Mississauga to grab some chicken for them.

Let’s see what I found in the market

Chicken feetare part of chicken.

Cooking methods: We can make a delicious soup with stock from chicken feet.

Price: $1.79/lb.

The reason: Most of the edible tissue on the feet consists of skin and tendons with no muscle. Chicken feet are very gelatinous.

Chicken thighs: is the portion of the leg cut above the joint of the knee. Typically available bone-in with skin or boneless and skinless

Cooking methods: baked, grilled,roasted, breadcrumbed chunks.

Price: $3.39/lb.

The reason: it doesn’t have a higher fat content, and dark meat doesn’t dry out easily.

Chicken wing: is an all-white meat portion of the chicken with three sections: wingtip, wing and drumette.

Cooking methods: grilled, baked, deep fried.

Price: $2.59/lb.

The reason: it contains lower fat so it is more pronto drying out.

Chicken drum stick: the digital portion of the leg which is separate from the thigh by a straight cut through the knee.

Cooking method: baked, deep fried, grilled, roasted.

Price: $0.99/lb.

The reason: it’s a dark meat and faster alternative to cook.

Chicken breast:is separated  from the wing by cutting through the shoulder joint, from the neck, the back and the hind quarter. The breast includes the “Y” shaped ends of the ribs and exclude the neck skin

Cooking method: roasting

Price: $2.99/lb.

The reason: it turns out dry.

Chicken liver: has numerous functions in digestion and absorption of foods.

Cooking method: sauté with chopped onions

Price: $0.99/lb.

The reason: it cooks fast and easy.

Chicken Gizzard: is the mechanical stomach of a bird.

Cooking method: fry

Price: $0.99/lb.

The reason: very fast to cook.

Chicken heart: is the muscular organ that pumps blood through the body of the bird.

Cooking method: stir fried with vegetables.

Price: $1.99/lb.

The reason: cook fast.

GINGER CHICKEN

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Ingredients:

  • 1 kg chicken (bone-in, skin-on thigh & drumstick chopped into bite site pieces)
  • 1 piece ginger ( double thumb size) julienne
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1.5 cups water.

Method:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine chicken, ginger, garlic, shallot, salt, sugar, chicken stock, fish sauce and pepper. Mix well and leave to marinate for 30 minutes.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat 1 tbsp. vegetable oil and sprinkle 2 tbsp. sugar over the base. Melt the sugar under medium heat until it turns dark amber. Quickly add the marinated chicken and stir-fry on high heat about 5 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink
  3. Add water, bring to a boil and skim off the foam and some of the floating fat. Lower heat to medium and cook for 30 minutes, uncovered, until the sauce reduce by one third.
  4. Served with hot steam rice.

Hope everyone enjoy your meal.

 

 

 

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This is hot and sour soup but we always call ” Canh chua” in my country. It’s a soup that my mom would often cook at home and she taught me how to make that soup when I backed home last year. It’s interesting for me to cook ” Canh chua” and show my mom what I have done. She said ” it’s fantastic!, you got 10/10 for your first soup. Great job!”

I decided to make this soup today. I used my mom’s recipe as a basis but I adapted and tweaked a few things to get a slightly different depth of flavour.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3L of water (10 cups)
  • 1kg of bait fish
  • 3 red bird’s eye chillies, deseed and sliced.
  • 500g tomatoes, quartered
  • 500g bean sprout
  • 300g orka
  • 500g of spinach
  • 100g tamarind paste.
  • 1/2 pc fresh pineapple, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 50g sawtooth coriander and rice paddy herb , finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons sugar.

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METHOD:

In a pot,add in water, bait fish. bring to boil and then simmer on medium heat for 15 minutes, skimming off any foam

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Soak tamarind paste into the pot with boiling water until the tamarind soft and release its essence. Force the tamarind through a fine sieve to discard the seeds and other solids.

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Turn off the heat, pick out the fish, and add in pineapple pieces, tomatoes quartered. Let the soup stock sit about 1 hour  for the flavour to settle and infuse.

About 15 minutes before serving a soup, bring it to  boil and add seasoning to taste- around 2 1/2 tablespoon fish sauce , 1 tablespoon salt , 4 tablespoons sugar.

Then add in the okra, spinach, bean sprouts and cook for 5 minutes until the vegetable are soft.

Add the fish into the pot and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in sawtooth coriander and rice paddy herb. Taste and add more seasoning (if necessary)

Ladle the soup into bowl, garnish with a little more rice paddy and sliced red bird’s eye chillies.

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In a small dish, put some puree’ chillies and garlic with fish sauce.

That will be great if you eat hot and sour fish soup with rice.

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SENSORY EVALUATION

Hot and sour fish soup is a low-fat clear soup , full of vegetables that have vibrant colours . Brothy, flavourful with a little heat, this soup is rich in nutrients and protein with fresh bait fish, tomatoes, pineapple, okra,spinach and tangy. It is perfect for detoxing after all the holiday indulgences.

Hot and sour soup is very tasty indeed and more refreshing than Tom yum. The sour taste of this soup comes from tamarind which is the mixture with the sweet from pineapple and other vegetables that make the soup taste like sweet and sour with a little bit spicy.

The smell of “Canh Chua” comes from sawtooth coriander and rice paddy herb combined in the soup will give you the perfect taste certainly. It attracts people want to eat more and more.

The texture or consistency is light and the vegetables are soft. This kind of soup is an unthickened broth, it is garnished with a variety of vegetables and fish.

FEEDBACK FROM MY FAMILY

When I served the soup  to mom and dad, they said ” that was delicious soup. I can take my mom’s job in Hot and sour soup right now!”. To the kids, I didn’t put any chillies in, so they were really enjoy my “Canh Chua”. Kids asked me to make this soup twice a week. Yayyyyyyy!

Well, actually I did not follow the recipe in the book, I follow my mom’s one. To cook a delicious Hot and sour soup is quite difficult for me, because the preparation to get all needed materials is much more important. The secret things to make Canh Chua more delicious are tamarind and sugar. You have to use a lot of sugar for this soup to balance with the sour from tamarind.

Reflect on my experience, I did not put enough sugar in my soup, so it changed the flavour. I failed more than 10 times until I learnt this “secret-sugar” from my mom.

Anyway, I love my soup and my family request twice a week. That makes me happy.

Hope everyone enjoy my soup.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vietnamese Hot and Sour Fish Soup- Canh Chua ca

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Pickle mustard greens

Mustard greens are definitely the leaves of the mustard plant. The leaves of mustard greens might have either  a crumpled or even flat texture. Mustard greens are an excellent source of many vitamins including vitamin K,A,C and E.

Pickle mustard green is one of the traditional pickles in the Vietnam.I actually grew up eating pickle mustard green whenever Tet holiday coming.These pickles are less pungent and have a variety of textures and crunch making everyone  fun to eat.

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 lbs mustard greens
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 5L water
  • 5 tbsp salt
  • 10 tbsp sugar
  • 2.5 tbsp vinegar

METHOD:

  • Break the mustard green leaves apart and clean throughly under running water. Dry on the counter for 4 hours .
  • Cut the leaves to desired size, and slice the onion about 1 inch pieces.
  • Combine water, salt, sugar and vinegar in a pot and bring almost to a boil.Turn off heat and wait until water cool.
  • Add all the vegetables, onions into the jar.Pour the water into the jar until the veggies are barely cover. Leave it in a warm place (window sill, or oven with the oven light on) so it can pickle. Taste a piece after a week and every 24 hours until it gets sour enough for your taste, then transfer to the fridge

FERMENTATION:

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As the mustard green start to ferment, it turns to a nice shade of olive. Properly fermented mustard greens retain their mustardy bite, but have a pleasantly sour taste and smell like spicy pickles.

Depending on the temperature, the warmer your room is, the faster it will ferment.

Hope you enjoy the pickle mustard greens.

I can do it, so everyone can do it as well!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Durian – the ” King of fruits”

IMG_6558I am here to tell you about the fruit I hunt that called durian. First I went to St. Lawrence market but I can’t choose anything, and then I decided to go to Chinatown. When I walked around the street, I found Hua- Sheng supermarket which located in 293-299 Spadina, there has lots of fruits, a variety of wonderful products in store.

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Durians have been known as the ” King of Fruits” in Southern East Asia. It is native to Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines . Durians grow only in tropical climates, it is not grown in many places.Moreover, durian provides an excellent source of calories and fat for meal-replacement smoothies.

Durian is strictly a season fruit, typically grown from June to  August. The price for 1 pound is $2.99 . That’s reasonable price to try a new fruit.

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Durian can be recognized by its thorn-covered husk and bungent odor, which has been likened to the smell of gym socks or rotten onion and that has gotten the fruit officially banned from many public place in Asia. Remember when I travelled in Thailand, the tour guide tell us ” do not bring durian to the hotel or else you guys will be fined up to 5,000 bath” . So I did not try durian so far.

Durian is a strange combination of savory, sweet, and creamy all at once. It tastes like sugar mix cream cheese with strongly smell. The flavour is…unique and unlike anything I have ever had before.

Throw back the day I brought durian home, all the kids are yelling ” oh my god, it’s stinky smell chi Hien. Can you put it away, please!”. When I made durian smoothie, I persuaded them to try it but they ignore. After tasting a teaspoon of smoothie, they like it and ask more.I myself love it too. Durian smoothie is very good for a hot summer’s day 🙂

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Durian smoothie

Ingridients:

1 cup durian flesh

1/2 cup milk 2%

1 1/2 cup ice cubes

1 tablespoon condensed milk

Directions:

Place everything into a bender and blend until smooth, adding more condensed milk to taste. Serve immediately.

Hope you guys enjoy my food !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Has everyone ever tried a fermented anchovy dipping sauce?

That sauce made of fermented fish, unlike the more familiar to fish sauce. It is a ground anchovy meal fermented and preserved with salt. Fermented anchovy dipping is rich brown sauce and salty liquid.

When I first time tasted a fermented anchovy dipping sauce, I feel salted, likely I have salt in my palate but it has a powerfully pungent and positively reek.

I do not like this kind of sauce because it has strong smelling. But in the Vietnamese restaurant, they gather diced pineapple and chopped garlic with some lemon juice and sugar in fermented anchovy dipping. That taste better! They usually serve it with lettuces, herbs, mint combined with pork belly, deep fried bean curd and vermicelli. It looks yummy!!!!

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Hope everyone enjoy the food with me!

 

” Mam nem” a fermented anchovy dipping sauce.

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