Prelude to summer: Backyard meals

The last few weeks have been thoroughly blissful. Being “between jobs” for me has meant spending luxurious amounts of time planning out, shopping for, and crafting elaborate meals. Much to the benefit of my friends and boyfriend, I’ve had nothing much to do the past couple weeks except cook. While I don’t have any advice or recipes to share right now, I’m putting up pictures from the culinary highlights of the past couple weeks.

I spent the better part of a day preparing an Indian(ish) dinner for my boyfriend last week. The menu: Paneer with Creamy Cumin Tomato Coconut Curry and Arugula, Grilled Corn and Asparagus with Fenugreek Curry, Yogurt Tamarind Marinated Grilled Chicken and Kulfi (frozen condensed cardamom milk dessert). I live on Commercial Drive, a neighbourhood rich with Italian/Mediterranean grocers, and good Indian ingredients are hard to come by. I decided to take a crack at homemade Paneer. I was shocked at how easy it is. My recipe yielded about a pound, and all I had to do was slowly bring 2L of milk to a boil with a tsp of sugar, and pour 1/4 cup vinegar in before removing from heat and straining through a triple cheesecloth and pressing into a flat shape. I did some research, and you can basically use the same process to make your own Ricotta (just add a little cream, and sub the vinegar for lemon juice). Dead fucking simple.

Paneer

Paneer straining through a cheesecloth

The paneer in the Cumin-centric Tomato & Coconut Curry with Wilted Arugula and cashews

The paneer in the Cumin-centric Tomato & Coconut Curry with Wilted Arugula and cashews

Left: Chicken marinated in a Cumin/Yogurt/Tamarind mixture, topped with Cucumber Raita Right: Grilled Asparagus and Corn on a Tomato Fenugreek curry

Left: Chicken marinated in a Cumin/Yogurt/Tamarind mixture, topped with Cucumber Raita Right: Grilled Asparagus and Corn on a Tomato Fenugreek curry

This stuff tastes like flowers. Don't ask me what's in it or what it's called, but it's a very perfumey indian syrup I imagine would be good in cocktails. We put some in the Kulfi and it was delightful.

This stuff tastes like flowers. Don’t ask me what’s in it or what it’s called, but it’s a very perfumey indian syrup I imagine would be good in cocktails. We put some in the Kulfi and it was delightful.

backyard

I harvested this crusty little table from the alleyway on my way home one night. Painted it white, and now it serves as a social center piece. Barely big enough to feed 4 people on, but I’m not one to complain about free things. 

the goods

Inspired by leftovers. Tomatoes stuffed with Barley, Mushrooms, Fennel, and Chicken Livers, Baked with Buttered Breadcrumbs. Pasta with Porcinis, Swiss Chard, Chardonnay, Black truffle oil and a fuck ton of butter. 

 

Backyard charcuterie plate: 2 homemade tapenades, Grainy mustard, Deluxe Foods Apricot Jam, Sopresetta, and turn up cheese

Backyard charcuterie plate: 2 homemade tapenades, Grainy mustard, Deluxe Foods Apricot Jam, Sopresetta, and turnt up cheese

My baby: fig vinegar to be.

My baby: fig vinegar to be.

 

This week I’ll be giving homemade ricotta a shot, and making fried chicken with my boyfriend. If both/either go alright, I may or may not show and tell. If you’ve got any recipes/links to recipes that kick ass, and have ricotta in them, post in the comments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Geometric Recycled Leather Jewellery Pieces + Coupon Code

I recently participated in the Portobello West Market in Olympic Village. Over the weekend, I met lots of very interesting people, and was able to put a clearer face to some of my customers. I’m still very new to this whole jewellery business (I’ve only been doing it since November), so any opportunity for me to interact with the public is valuable. While my sales were just okay, I took a lot of important lessons away from the experience, and am glad to have been able to participate.

I focused on creating fresh, geometric pieces for the market. Here are some of the new pieces we still have in stock.

Rainbow Pride Pennant Bunting Necklace- Recycled Leather

Rainbow Pride Pennant Bunting Necklace- Recycled Leather

Kaleidoscope Handpainted Recycled Leather Pennant Earrings

Kaleidoscope Handpainted Recycled Leather Pennant Earrings

Tan & Navy Handcut Recycled Leather Triangle Chain Bracelet
Tan & Navy Handcut Recycled Leather Triangle Chain Bracelet

 

 

Geometric Mirrored Triangle Recycled Leather Necklace in Painted Gold

Geometric Mirrored Triangle Recycled Leather Necklace in Painted Gold

Galaxy Prism Handpainted Recycled Leather Polygon Stud Earrings

Galaxy Prism Handpainted Recycled Leather Polygon Stud Earrings

Teardrop Recycled Leather Necklace in Turquoise and Ochre with Pyrite Dangle Bead

Teardrop Recycled Leather Necklace in Turquoise and Ochre with Pyrite Dangle Bead

IMG_2788

Recycled Leather Accordion Teardrop earrings in brown with Imperial Jasper Bead

Burgundy Tassel Fringe Leather Earrings with Pyrite Beads

Burgundy Tassel Fringe Leather Earrings with Pyrite Beads

 

From now until the end of June, get a 15% discount on all jewellery from my Etsy site with the coupon code: ilovescandinazn !!!

www.etsy.com/shop/scandinazn

Like us on facebook: facebook.com/scandinaznvancouver

 

 

 

 

Chai Spiced Almond Milk Recipe

As a designer who reads a lot of food blogs, I tend to be overly critical of elements like typeface, lighting, colour balance, photo quality, spacing. You know, aesthetic stuff. Every idiot and their dog has a food blog (including myself). Stumbling across one that has both top-notch content and attractive design is like finding a needle in a haystack. I hit the food blog jackpot when I discovered Holistic Nutritionist Sarah Britton’s aesthetically pleasing, informative, and eloquently-written healthy foods blog My New Roots. Her recipe posts are rich with nutritional information about whatever she’s cooking, and full of personality. She’s also super cute.

In addition to her TED Talks, Britton also posts instructional videos. Through the video posted below, I learned how to make my own Nut Milk. It’s seriously so easy. Raw nuts are full of healthy fats, and when you sprout them (soak them in water for 24 hours), the enzymes re-activate, making them a nutritional goldmine.

Chai Spiced Almond Milk

1 Cup Raw Almonds (Soaked for 24h, barely covered in water)- you can use other nuts if you desire, or a mix.

4 Cups Water

1/2 tsp Cinnamon

1/4 tsp Cloves

2 Anise Stars

1/4 tsp Nutmeg (freshly ground, it makes a huge difference)

10 pods Green Cardamom

1/4 tsp White Pepper (black is fine too)

1/3 Cup Dates, Pitted & Halved (cooking dates are fine). You can add more if you want it to be sweeter.

Materials: Blender, cheesecloth (triple layered) or nutmilk bag (a piece of clean fabric will also work if you can strain things through it).

Instructions: Combine all ingredients in your blender, and blend on high for about 3 minutes, or until everything is completely pulverized. Take a spoon and taste the almond milk. Add more dates if you want it to be sweeter, or more spices if it needs to be stronger. Put the cheesecloth or nutmilk bag over a large measuring cup or bowl, and pour the blended mixture into the fabric. Picking up the fabric by the dry top, carefully squeeze the bag, so the clean nut milk drips into the measuring cup and the pulp stays in the bag/fabric. Pour into a sealed bottle or container. It will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Sprouted Almonds

Sprouted Almonds

Spice Mixture

Spice Mixture

Everything in the blender, ready to be pulverized.

Everything in the blender, ready to be pulverized.

Straining the nut milk through the cheese cloth

Straining the nut milk through the cheese cloth

The finished product. Great on its own, in tea, or spiked with bourbon.

The finished product. Great on its own, in tea, or spiked with bourbon.

Kimchi

In November, I started working at a Japanese restaurant around the corner from my house in East Vancouver. Like many Japanese restaurants in the city, this one is owned and operated by Koreans. Aside from the 2-minute commute, one of the best things about working there are the staff meals. I’m used to the “scarf down a plate of fries as fast as humanely possible” approach to dining on the job at restaurants, so sitting down to a freshly prepared (free!) meal after every shift felt like a pretty sweet deal. We’re constantly spoiled with a delicious array of Japanese and Korean dishes, lots of which I never tried before working here. Bibimbap? In-fucking-credible. Spicy Korean Soup with Spam? Surprisingly great.

The spread changes from shift to shift, but the one thing that’s always present: a big, stinky bowl of Kimchi. For the better part of my life, I’ve had an unjustified aversion to the stuff, and it wasn’t until I started working here I grew a pair and tried it out. I feel like a chump for the 22 years I didn’t have the balls to eat the damn stuff, because low and behold, Kimchi is the bomb.

Now, aside from being delicious, Kimchi also offers lots of health perks. It contains beneficial probiotic bacterias which can speed up your metabolism, enhance immune system, lower cholesterol, and produce antioxidants. I asked many of my Korean co-workers for tips on how to make Kimchi, but save for one, none of them have ever attempted to make the stuff. “The older generation always makes it”, and “It’s too difficult” were common responses. These guys eat Kimchi like there’s no tomorrow, so learning that none of them had ever actually made it scared me a little bit. Is it really that difficult? Testimonials I had been reading on blogs made it seem pretty easy, so my boyfriend and I decided to give it a shot.

We went off a couple different recipes, but mostly stuck to this fantastic video by Maangchi. Super cute.

Basically, you need the following ingredients:

Korean Red Chili Powder

Japanese Mochiko Flour

A Butt-load of Garlic

Another Butt-load of ginger

Sugar

Onion

Fish Sauce

Julienned Carrots

Julienned Daikon Radish

Salted, Drained & Rinsed Napa Cabbage

Whatever other cabbage-like things you want to throw in there

Some people add squid or oysters to theirs. I think that sounds gnarly, given the fact that you’re going to have to let it ferment for a couple weeks.

Napa cabbage gets heavily salted between all the leaves, left for a few hours, then well-rinsed and wrung out.

Napa cabbage gets heavily salted between all the leaves, left for a few hours, then well-rinsed and wrung out.

Red Chili Flakes, Fish Sauce, Onion, Garlic, and Ginger ready to be pulverized.

Red Chili Flakes, Fish Sauce, Onion, Garlic, and Ginger ready to be pulverized.

The red pepper pasted gets added to a cooked mixture of mochiko flour, sugar and water, and gets blended to make the kimchi paste

The red pepper pasted gets added to a cooked mixture of mochiko flour, sugar and water, and gets blended to make the kimchi paste

Julienned Carrots, Daikon Radish and chinese chives are added to the kimchi paste. It's now ready to be spread on the cabbage.

Julienned Carrots, Daikon Radish and chinese chives are added to the kimchi paste. It’s now ready to be spread on the cabbage.

The kimchi paste mixture gets spread liberally between every leaf of the cabbage segments.

The kimchi paste mixture gets spread liberally between every leaf of the cabbage segments.

The prepared cabbage is sealed inside glass quart jars. We fermented one inside the fridge, and one outside.

The prepared cabbage is sealed inside glass quart jars. We fermented one inside the fridge, and one outside.

The jar we fermented outside of the fridge was ready in about a week. It was pretty damn tasty, but we both agreed the one fermented in the fridge tasted better, although it took about 2 1/2 weeks. It was a lot of work, but none of the techniques involved in the kimchi making process were very difficult. You just need a lot of ingredients, and a lot of patience. It cost us about the same amount to make it as it would to buy the same amount in the store, but next time it will be a lot cheaper (all we’ll have to buy will be the veggies).

Ways to eat Kimchi

By Itself (duh), or Cut up on rice with other asian pickles

In Kimchi Soup

In an asian noodle salad

I used my Kimchi to make this Shirataki Noodle Salad. Thinly sliced cukes, radishes, carrots and Kale, dressed with sesame oil and rice wine vinegar, tossed with Kimchi. Fresh, healthy, and delicious.

I used my Kimchi to make this Shirataki Noodle Salad. Thinly sliced cukes, radishes, carrots and Kale, dressed with sesame oil and rice wine vinegar, tossed with Kimchi. Fresh, healthy, and delicious.

In Salads

On the grill: rolled up in flattened beef and skewered

In Okonomiyaki

Kimchi Okonomiyaki from Namu Gaji Street food at the Ferry Building Market in San Francisco. Earth-shatteringly delicious.

Kimchi Okonomiyaki from Namu Gaji Street food at the Ferry Building Market in San Francisco. Earth-shatteringly delicious.

In an Omelette

On a Pizza

With pasta

Basically any way you choose to eat it, Kimchi is delicious. If you’re up to a challenge and have got a free day on your hands, give homemade Kimchi a shot.

Introducing SCANDINAZN

It’s time for me to start something fresh.

I started branding my homemade clothing back in high school, and have always used the name Yüki to define my label. Yüki comes from Yukie (you-key-eh), my middle name and my grandmother’s name, meaning “snowy branch” in Japanese. Yuki means “snow”, and the two little dots over the ‘u’ were my little way of making it look Scandinavian. Anyways, my label never really took on a direction. Over the years I designed collections for 4 very different fashion shows with 4 different markets, clothes for myself and friends, and clothes to sell online; all of which were tucked under the Yüki umbrella. The projects associated with my line had nothing to do with each other and created a confusing brand image. So in conclusion, the Yüki days are over.

what is next?

I’m re-launching the line under a new name, Scandinazn. My mixed Scandinavian and Asian heritage strongly influence my design aesthetic, so I came up with the name Scandinazn to pay tribute to that. The Scandinazn etsy shop is now active and is currently selling jewelry that features recycled leather and mineral beads. In the coming months, expect to see clothing up there as well. Our goal is to run a few staple styles, offered in a variety of exciting colorways, incorporating manipulated textiles. We aim to sell our goods in a couple boutiques around the city, and at some art and craft fairs. Scandinazn jewellery is currently selling at Two of Hearts at 3728 Main St, and will be part of the East Van Bazaar at the Waldorf Hotel on December 16th.

Recycled Leather-Looped Earring with Freshwater Pearl

Freja Necklace in Quartz- Recycled Leather strips with dusty quartz accents

Check us out on Facebook and Etsy!

RISE Project: Recycled clothing.

Upon graduating from Kwantlen’s Fashion Design degree program, I got involved with a project called RISE. The RISE clothing project aims to have people re-think clothing consumption and gain awareness about how mass-production of clothing affects the environment. Over the last few weeks, I’ve produced 5 outfits for the show using recycled clothing. Here’s what I’ve come up with.

Dip-bleached on the bottom, dip dyed on the top. Recycled Denim.

Jersey skirt, dip-bleached and dyed, converted from a t-shirt.

Knit tank, sprayed with bleach

Cotton/Spandex leggings, sprayed with bleach

Recycled denim shorts dip-bleached and studded.

Le butt.

Hand-dyed and bleached out cotton jersey top

Romper, converted from a dress with center front metal zipper

Mens vintage canvas shirt, dip dyed, and converted into dress.

The show will take place in downtown Vancouver, sometime around July… I’ll post more information and links when they become available.

.xxx