I Know What You Did This Summer - Foodie Edition

    Chef Denice Wai - www.6Senses.com

    This is my second visit to Tokyo still loves it.  Spent fews day in Tokyo, went to catch up with my friend Chef Yoshi Omae, his father also a chef Senior Omae and his sister at his tiny restaurant called Sushi Daizen which located under the Shimbashi.  Although a year passed by and everyone a year older but the food still the same - Excellent.

    Next stop - Osaka, my first time in Osaka and it gives me an impression that people from Osaka are very trendy and more freestyle than people from Tokyo.  When it comes to food they served more meat compare with Tokyo but the best dish I ever had was Sea Eel cookies which is a dish made from deep fried sea eel bones very crispy and tasty.

    Last stop - Hakone, this is one of my favorite stop for this trip.  Hakone to me is like the 70's Harrison Hot Spring or Vancouver Island, a lot of scenic area and hiking trails.   People are very relax and know how to enjoy their life. Shops open from 10 - 5pm, the latest close at 8pm and they meant it (sounds like Italian or French to me). I'm really impressed about the food they served in Hakone, they used a lot of locally grown organic produce, you could find Italian, French or Western dishes in here and they taste exceptional good!

    Sum up this trip, Hakone is the best stop as it reminds me about home (Canada) definitely will visit Hakone again in the coming future

    Jo Jo Wang - Dietitian, Home cook and baker

    Every year I go to The Wellness Show to scope out new products, keep myself up-to-date on current healthy eating trends, and to attend the different demonstrations and presentations. This year at the Wellness Show, I was so honoured to be invited as a presenter on their Celebrity Cooking Stage! I was so thrilled, yet so nervous. First of all, I am not a celebrity, and I am not a cook either! I mean, I do cook and share recipes on Deborah’s radio show, but to be on stage demonstrating to a group of people in person…that’s a first!

    Being a registered dietitian, I have enough experience presenting nutrition-related facts. So I picked a recipe that I feel comfortable making and have enough nutrition-related points for me to “present” while making it. I thought that should be interesting enough to attract audience at The Wellness Show.

    The recipe I chose was Black Beans Flax Patties. And then there is the logistic of things, what utensils and cooking gadgets I need for the demonstrations, how is the dish being served as samples, how much is the ingredients going to cost, how many samples do I need to prepare for the event…once all these details were sorted out, it’s time to practice.

    I didn’t practice the whole process too many times, but throughout the week up to the day of the demonstrations, I kept thinking about it and kept editing my “scripts” in my mind, trying to sneak in a few jokes and stories. So finally it’s the day of the demonstrations, I thought I was quite prepared and ready for it, but still nervous. When I found out that I would be introduced by the award-winning features reporter Kate Gajdosik and she would stay on stage with me through my demonstration, that made me feel much better.

    Finally, it’s show time! I had all my ingredients ready to go and samples ready in the oven. Before I knew it, my demonstration was over! I talked a little fast and forgot a few points that I thought I would mention. But overall, I felt pretty proud of myself. It was a super fun experience, the audience was really into my recipe and interacting with me. I had a great time and definitely would love to do it again!

    Here’s the recipe of my Black Beans Flax Patties:

    Black Beans Quinoa Flax Patties

    Yield 12 1/4-cup patties or 60 2-tablespoon mini-patties

    • 2 cups black beans, soaked, cooked or canned, drained
    • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
    • 3 tablespoons flaxseeds, ground
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 2 tablespoons Alligga Flaxseed Cooking Oil
    • 1 small onion, finely chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/4 cup oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
    • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
    • 2 teaspoons cumin
    • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
    • 2 cups kale, finely chopped
    • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    • salt & pepper to taste
    1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon mat.
    2. In a large bowl, add black beans, mash with a fork into rough pureed. Add cooked quinoa to black bean pureed, set aside.
    3. In another small bowl, mix together ground flax and water, set aside for at least 10 minutes until thicken.
    4. In a pan over medium heat, add flaxseed cooking oil, sauté onion and garlic for about 2 minutes. Add sun-dried tomatoes, tomato paste, cumin and cayenne, cook for another minute to release flavour from spices. Add kale and balsamic vinegar, cook for another minute. Pour mixture along with the flax mixture to the bowl with black bean puree and quinoa. Mix well. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste.
    5. Shape mixture into 1/4-cup patties with wet hands. Pack tightly so they hold together better. Place on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, then carefully flip patties, and bake for another 8-10 minutes until golden and firm. Enjoy!
    6. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 5-6 days. To reheat, preheat a skillet over medium heat, add a bit of flaxseed cooking oil, and cook patties for about 3 minutes per side, or until heated through. Or reheat in a 300F oven for 5-10 minutes.

    Louisa Chan - Food blogger www.LforLife.com

    To me, summer means spending time with my partner and my dog OUTDOOR. Vancouver’s winters are so long and gloomy, so as soon as summer arrives town, We are all geared up and ready. From dog parks to magnificent forest trails, hiking and playing fetch are my family’s summer rituals.

    Last year, the three of us went camping in Vernon for the first time. On our way back, we discovered the breath-taking Kentucky Alleyne Provincial Park, just north of Kelowna. I wish we can revisit this place and enjoy the quiet blue water and soft white sand with Lex this year!

    Besides outdoor activities, I also enjoy spending time on my cozy balcony. Big thanks to Jackson-Triggs Winery and Victory Gardens’ gardening box and Habitat Gardening’s edible flower pots, I started planting food earlier this month. When it’s time to harvest, I am going to host an intimate Korean barbeque balcony party, menu includes, crispy pork belly, fresh-out-of-soil salad and white wine(of course!). May I wish everybody a yummy and healthy summer!

    Stephanie Yuen - www.beyondchopsticks.com

    It has been one of my travelling dreams to roam across BC to meet and greet those hardworking folks in the food and restaurant industry. Many of whom are so passionate to make this beautiful province more flavourable, in an eco-friendly way. And of course, to taste as many regional dishes that tell stories of cultures and traditions. Starting off with Circle Tours in the Fraser Valley (there're bike routes for riders!) where food producers of organic and farm-fresh products await. There are wineries and restaurants all over BC's wine regions, from Vancouver Islands to Lillooet; from Richmond to Okanagan. I am always ready to sip glasses of award-winners and indulge in gourmet fares prepared by famed chefs. Carpeted with lush green fields and picturesque farmlands, aspiring talents, young and old are hidden in inns and eateries, ready and proud to showcase their culinary skills.

    I spent a week island hopping across the ferries years ago, it's time to re-visit all those island beauties and country kitchens. Island summer is about nature foraging in Cowichan, seashell combing at Comox and Courtney; new dining scene exploring in Nanaimo and of course, craft brewery discoveries of Victoria, some perhaps were pioneers who started it all decades ago.

    The best part? Just hop in your car - just a few hours away, paradise awaits.

    Sophia Cheng - PR 

    This spring, I decided to visit the Orange County area in California for some fun and relaxation with friends. It was a special getaway before my good gal pal's wedding. We biked through all the beachy areas and ate all the best food. Can't beat good company and vitamin D. Can't wait for Vancouver sunshine weather!

    This summer, I will definitely be going to many food festivals, including Brewery and the Beast, the all-meat affair in Vancouver! They promote sustainable and hormone-free meat and lots of Vancouver's top restaurants will be there. Also, if you like beer, there is unlimited beer, as well as non-alcoholic drinks like root beer and ginger ale - all locally made. I'm trying to find an old photo from past years! If you want to check out the website, it is breweryandthebeast.com