Monday, December 31, 2012

Bûche de Noël (Christmas Log/樹幹年輪蛋糕)

This is my last post for 2012, so I want to introduce to you a traditional French holiday dessert that they have here in Quebec: bûche de Noël (Christmas log). My friend, who's a local, told me that he and his family have it every Christmas, and that it's an old French tradition. If you walk around Quebec, you'll see that all the bakeries and supermarkets offer them during this time of the year. 

We were in the Vieux Quebec (Old City) a few days ago and saw many different kinds of bûche de Noël in this bakery and café


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Music Share 音樂分享

音樂,一直是我們倆姐妹生命中不可或缺的一環,「沒有音樂,生活將是一種錯誤」,(→_→)連尼采都這麼說了是不是。雖然我們各自欣賞的領域不同,但音樂 豐富了我們的每分每秒,音樂分享著我們的喜怒哀樂,音樂擴大我們的思考空間,音樂也延伸了我們情感的蘊藉.. 這種種的一切,我兩姐妹是一樣的。沒有音樂,生活將是一種錯誤! 所以,不嫌棄的話,跟我們倆姊妹,一起發覺更多音符上的幸福吧! (阿恩會以神秘嘉賓方式,出奇不意的也分享她喵喵世界的音樂給大家! 敬請期待! (* ̄▽ ̄)/‧☆*"`'*

Music is one thing that never lacks in our lives. Nietzsche once said, "Without music, life would be a mistake." Even though we two sisters may like different kinds of music, we both agree that music can enrich every minute and every second of our lives: music shares our sadness, our frustration, our happiness and our joy; music can open our mind, expand the space of our thoughts, and extend our emotional reach... Life would not be the same without music! So if you would like to, please follow us as we discover and are inspired by music in our new "Music Share" category. (From time to time, a mysterious "furry" guest may appear to share her love of music from her "meow-meow world" with you.) Please stay tuned!


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Vanilla Crème Brulée "Not" (香草"不"蕾)

My little sis and I were talking about the upcoming holidays and what she's going to make for her friends to sweeten them up. (Really? With her skill of cooking???! XD) After carefully thinking about it, she told me that she wanted to make crème brulée. (Wow, so ambitious!!!) She asked me if it were possible to make a "double flavored" crème brulée, which would have a layer of cocoa powder on both the top and bottom of the the custard. Yummy! But unfortunately I had to tell her that it's not possible to do that for the bottom, only the top. 



Monday, December 17, 2012

Party Markers (派對標記) - Kikkerland, Vacu Vin, Umbra, Trudeau


I'm sure we've all been to parties where everyone has their own bottle of beer, glass of water or wine. With everyone enjoying themselves, conversing, and moving around socializing, it's very easy to forget where you left your drink or which glass is yours. It happens even with just a small party of 4, so forget about a full house of 8 or more people, and certainly, not to mention after a glass or two of alcohol!!! Here's a great invention for situations such as these! It would also make a perfect gift for the host if you're going to a party!

我想大家在聚會中多少會有這樣的經歷:一邊品嘗美食,一邊和友人交談的不亦樂乎之際,隨手將杯子放置桌面的某處,等到要喝的時候,才發現同一處已擺了好幾杯,跟本搞不清哪杯是自己的!不要說是滿屋子的人,就連4個人都會發生這樣的事情,更不用說喝完1, 2杯之後!! (除非你有老妹那酒桶般的酒量!) 在這種情況下,我想為大家介紹的幾個產品非常適合。如果你準備參加party,這也會是個完美的禮物喔!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

iPhố Express (越南快餐店)

Ne soyez pas dupé par leur nom en pensant que c'est le fast food. C'est effectivement le contraire! On offre un menu avec de délicieux mets vietnamiens authentiques, un service impeccable, et un endroit très confortable pour s'asseoir. Nous sommes très heureux d'avoir trouvé cet endroit charmant. Peut-être après avoir lu ce post, vous aurez envie d'y aller et que vous l'aimerez autant que nous!

We passed by this new restaurant earlier this year when it had just opened. Very often when the name starts with "Express", right away, it tells me that it might be a fast food franchise, and for someone who doesn't quite support either fast food or franchises, the name didn't really sit well in my head. (We were glad to find out later that it's not a franchise, nor is it your typical fast food!) On the other hand, they have this really nice, simple, modern decor, which is very attractive and convincing to me. Next thing I know, we were eating at the restaurant! (Don't ask me how it happened...)


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Homemade Honey Applesauce (自製蜂蜜蘋果醬)

In a place so cold like Quebec, there really aren't so many fruits around after October. But luckily, it has one of my favorites - apples! There are so many different varieties of apples here. I have seen several kinds in New York, but occasionally in Quebec I will see some rare local varieties (for example, see my post on Marché Jean-Talon 2).



Sunday, November 25, 2012

黛黛食記 - 『KiKi』

啊.. 久違了的黛黛食記U勾來囉.. 想必大家都很想念這單元吧!!!(對不起我說謊其實根本沒人想沒人念..嗚)

台灣公司文化之一,就是很愛聚餐(有些啦)某次正為家庭聚餐的地點而想破頭之際,老姐提出了一間姐夫因公司聚餐,吃過覺得很不錯的餐廳 - 『KiKi』


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Marché Jean-Talon (Jean-Talon Market) 2: 10.20.12


If you read my earlier post, you would probably remember that the first time I went to Marché Jean Talon was during the early spring this year. It was still cold at the time, but they just started to have some spring produce coming in. However, it was quite different this time. 



Thursday, November 15, 2012

French Vanilla Sugar (法式香草糖)

One of my favorite flavorings that I use a lot in baking is vanilla. I especially love real, fresh vanilla beans. Whenever I can for certain recipes, I've always tried to use the fresh, real thing such as in ice cream, custard, flan, or even jam (check out my strawberry-vanilla jam).

The leftover vanilla pod from my strawberry-vanilla jam recipe, dried and broken into 2 pieces.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

泡麵也算是種伴手禮之... This is FASHION!!

朋友前陣子從日本的一日研習營回來,帶了2碗日清泡麵給我當伴手禮,最近才有時間拆封來品嘗(是有沒有事業做麼大這麼忙啊).. 泡麵有效期限都很長嘛是不是.. 嘎在嘎在.. (安心狀)

New England Clam Chowder

Autumn comes early in Quebec. This is our second year here, and like last year, the weather started to change in late August. You can already see the leaves falling and the colors changing.

With the change to colder temperature, it naturally makes us all want to have something warm. This is also the time of the year that comfort food starts to come to the top of the list. One of my favorite classics is clam chowder. I'll never forget that the best clam chowder we ever had was at a restaurant in Newport. Other than that, I've had tons of bad chowders, most of which tend to have very few clams and be overly salty.


Storing and Cleaning Clams

There are many methods of storing and cleaning clams. Besides finding the freshest clams possible, the trick to store them, if you're not planning to use them right away, is to keep them cold and not to let the moisture escape. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Discovering L'Affaire est Ketchup

Nous sommes allés à L'Affaire est Ketchup pour célébrer une occasion spéciale avec un ami, et le repas était incroyable! En plus du ce repas délicieux, il y avait une grande sélection de vins. La serveuse était impressionnante: le volume de sa voix, qu'elle a mémorisé tout le menu, et son énergie! Tout le monde était très sympathique, et l'on nous a donné des shooters gratuits. On était très heureux d'y aller et c'était tellement agréable!

(Continue for English/閱讀中文請看續文)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Kale-Lettuce Salad with Sea Vegetables and Lemony Yogurt Dressing

This summer we thought we were going to move, so we did a lot of walking around through different neighborhoods. Even though we didn't find anything we liked at the end, it helped us to learn a lot about the different areas in Quebec. One of my favorite new discoveries is this cute little organic food store in Limoilou, which is just 5-minute drive away from downtown Quebec City. Most of the produce there is supplied by their own local farm. I love going there as much as the farmers market. Since most of the produce there is local and seasonal, every time I go there, I find a different variety of vegetables, and I even get to see them grow larger as the season progresses. I especially love that they have a huge section of sprouts!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Soft-Boiled Eggs (法式水煮蛋)

I'm an eggy person, you might call me an egg freak. Therefore, I'm very particular about my eggs! If you've ever had a brunch at a French restaurant, you probably have had some soft-boiled eggs before. I don't know about you, but I love having my eggs underdone most of the time. It is fairly easy to prepare; the trick is just the timing. The creamy runny yolk makes it a perfect accompaniment for salads, vegetables, on toasted English muffins, or any breakfast dish.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Soij's Adventure in Battlefields Park (Plaines d'Abraham)

Cat care-takers, have you ever seen anyone out with their cat freely and wondered if you and your cat could do the same? I've asked myself that many times, and as close as we are to the largest park here, we never thought about taking our cat there. However, since we've been getting much nicer weather this summer, we said to ourselves, "Why not try to take her to the park?"

We're very fortunate to live 1 minute away from the Plaines d'Abraham, which is the equivalent of NY Central Park in Quebec City. The park is also where the British defeated the French in 1759 and lead to Canada becoming a bilingual country. You wouldn't have imagined that all that happened on such a peaceful and beautiful field. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Kung Pao Tofu/宮保豆腐

Typically this dish is made with marinated chicken, a lot of chili peppers, and peanuts, but since I have to make it with tofu, I worried that it might be a little bland if I only used tofu and chili. I wanted it to be as flavorful and as colorful as it can be, not to mention healthy as well. Inspired by the seasonal vegetables, I'm bringing some in to "jazz it up." If you don't like one of these vegetables, feel free to skip or replace it with something else. Instead of peanuts, I prefer cashews myself, since they are lower in fat content but are very high in protein and still taste fairly like peanuts. Also, if you cannot eat spicy food like me, you might want to consider either using less dried chili pepper and removing their seeds, or just skip it all together like I did.

Easy Double Chocolate Cupcakes with Mocha Ganache


When it comes to baking chocolate desserts, one of the keys is to use a good 

quality baking chocolate or cocoa. I always try to use dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate if possible. The result is rich and chocolaty and is perfect for chocolate lovers (like my hubby). It also makes the dessert tastes less sweet, as the cocoa content goes higher in the chocolate.

You might ask how is it so easy to make this? It looks so complicated! Well, that's the impression you want to give others! For this cupcake, you just need to mix all the ingredients together. If you don't have an electric mixer, you can just do it by hand with a large whisk. As for the decoration, which is the scariest part for most people (including myself), just follow my instructions, and you don't need any special tool or piping bag. I just tried it with a zip-lock bag and it worked fine. The only thing is you have to really make sure you don't cut the hole too big. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Chinese Valentine's Day (七夕情人節)

Before I decided to post this, I got a special request a few days ago from my little sis in Taiwan. Apparently August 23rd is Chinese Valentine's Day! (Actually, it's July 7th on the Chinese lunar calendar.) I've been living outside of Taiwan for so long that not only I did not know when the holiday is, but I don't have much of a clue about it either! Yes, shame on me! I guess out of "guilt", I'd better post the two recipes she requested for this special holiday.

She told me that she wanted to make 2 things for her special "other half": One is a chocolate dessert so she can write her messages to him; the other one is the famous Chinese dish, Kung Pao Tofu (宮保豆腐). Why Kung Pao tofu, and not chicken? Well, her beloved one does not like eating meat, she explained.

As a Taiwanese person raised on traditional Taiwanese food, I never had this dish while I was growing up, until I went to NY and saw it in all the Chinese restaurants. It's kind of a standard, must-have dish in Chinese restaurants for Westerners (like her "other half"). It is typically quite a flavorful dish, with marinated chicken and lots of chilis, but when you think of tofu, it's rather bland and boring, so to make it as good as the traditional chicken dish is a challenge! I tried my best to fulfill my little sis' wish, so if you're looking for a healthy alternative for this dish, hopefully you'll take a peek at my vegetarian version and maybe even try it. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Back to "The Basics"

Reading my recipes

Don't be surprised if you occasionally see my recipes say "some of" this or that for certain ingredients. To me, cooking is all about intuition, feeling, creativity and inspiration. A recipe is just a guide. I leave some measurements off when they are "to taste" and I feel that it won't affect the recipe too much. When I cook the same dish, I don't always make it the same way every time--and I like it that way. Some days, I like it spicy, some days I like it more cheesy; it depends on my mood. Don't let the recipe limit you; feel free to add more or less herbs and seasonings, or even leave out some things if you don't like them. After all, you have to enjoy it!

When I read recipes, I never like having to look at a long list of ingredients or having to scan through the list in order to know which ingredients and quantities to use for each procedure. I can't tell you how many times I've accidentally skipped one or two ingredients and found out later (when it's too late!). For practical reasons, while cooking, I'm always trying to find ways to read as little as I can. Therefore, if the list is long, I've decided to group together ingredients that are going to be used at the same time. This way, you can mix them in advance and set them aside in one place, and when the procedure calls for it, you can just add them all at once. It's organized and time-saving!

Here's how I show my measurements:
C - Cup
T - Tablespoon
t - Teaspoon

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

黛黛走跳 - 『BAILEYS貝里詩奶酒品酒會』

星,所以,在得知最愛的奶酒之一 - 「貝里詩」,正在舉品酒會,馬上三步做兩步,

典禮,所以人潮湧退許多,但那不是重點!! 只要場內酒存量夠我喝..咳! 夠我淺嚐.. 我就滿

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Strawberry-Vanilla Jam

For strawberry lovers (like me), during the months of June and July you can never get enough strawberries. If you're in Quebec, luckily, you're in the right place at the right time! There's an enchanting island right next to Quebec City called Île d'Orléans. The island has a reputation for its local produce and is known as the "Garden of Quebec" ("Jardin de Québec"). At this time of the year, one of their most well-known products is strawberries. I have never seen as many strawberries anywhere else as I have here!  

Inheriting the traditional French culture, people here are big into canning. Plus, during the winter, which is so long and cold, there really isn't much local produce grown. If you want to eat seasonally and locally, summer is the best time to take advantage of all the varieties of fruits and vegetables and to preserve them.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Cute spooooooon ❤


從小布偶,小抱枕,造型指甲刀,筷子(筷嫁=快嫁=快點嫁出去),新人頭像茶包.. 五


飯匙耶! (尖叫)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

黛黛食記 - 『北平 . 喜來順』

立刻跳下車(喔! 不對! 下羊..)手刀衝到餐廳前(好危險,姐姐有練過,小孩子不要學喔)

所以.. 馬上選定了週六中午,帶著倆老開心的前往用餐.. (是說貪吃同樣也不能等啊捏)

雖然價格不怎親民,但人山人海的場面,菜色也的確頗有深度,是說.. 很成功的收服
了寬以待己嚴以律人的我,以下便是當天吃下肚的美食,上菜囉~ 各位!


Monday, July 16, 2012

Jean-Talon Market (Marché Jean-Talon)


If you're a marché person like me, you'll have to pay a visit to the Marché Jean-Talon when you go to Montréal. This farmer's market is located in the distrct of Little Italy. It opens year-round, like the Marché du Vieux Port in Québec City. It was hard for us to resist the delicate Lebanese pastries, the fresh baked breads, the colorful spring produce, the aroma of the smoked meat and sausages. We were told that you can find the best cheeses there. To avoid the crowd, my best advice is try to visit during the week if you can.


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Cabane à sucre (Sugar Shack)


One of kids' favorite seasons in Québec is this time of the year, from March to the end of April. Actually, I should correct myself and say for both children and adults. It's maple syrup season!!! I don't know any locals who don't like maple syrup. I can't express to you how much I love maple syrup! When I first learned that my husband got a job in Canada, my first thought was, "Great! They have the best maple syrup there!" (Is that really more important than my husband's work?) I add it to my oatmeal, pancakes, waffles, when baking, just about anything that needs to be sweetened!!! Don't get me wrong, I'm not the kind of person who eats sicky-sweet kinds of things. In fact, I'm not even a big fan of desserts, but the taste and the smell of maple syrup is somehow irresistible to me.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Spring Asparagus Pasta with Arugula Pesto


This is the season of asparagus and my first Spring in Québec. The temperature last week went up to as high as 21ºc and that was 2 weeks before April! The snow piles that have been sitting for months are now mostly gone. Normally at this time of year, Spring doesn’t arrive until mid to late April, but this year it is surprisingly early, as if the city is giving us a special welcome!

Well, I guess I have nothing to complain about. In fact, we were told by most of the locals that they do not like the snow at all. Since the winter is normally long here, people will find any excuse to stay out as soon as the  temperature reaches 10ºc or higher. As much as I love the snow, I have to confess that I can’t wait to see and smell the spring flowers, and certainly spring vegetables are one of my favorite things as well!

In New York, the outdoor farmer’s market would already be opened in March, but here, it’s usually opened in May, due to the cold weather. Thankfully, we have an indoor farmer’s market, Marché du Vieux Port, that’s open all year round.

I don’t know about you, but for me, I love the asparagus at this time of the year. They’re young and very thin, which is great for stir-frying, sautéing or grilling. The fat and juicier asparagus usually comes in later in of the season. If you prefer the thin ones like me, you have to try this recipe. I love the green of this dish; it’s springy, simple, flavorful and full of nutrients. I paired the asparagus with another spring vegetable – baby arugula. They are both low in calories and are packed with vitamins A and C.