Recipe Share with Don Chow of foodiePrints
Recipe Share is a weekly feature on Recipes.ca where we profile culinary experts or public figures in Canada who have a passion for cooking. Each individual answers a set of questions and shares one of their favourite recipes with our community.
|This week, food blogger Don Chow is sharing two of his favourite recipes! Read on to see which ones.
This week we're chatting with Don Chow from foodiePrints, a popular Ottawa-based food and restaurant blog, where it's all about food and drink, cooking, and eating in Canada's capital. He's active on Twitter as well. You can follow the foodiePrints team at @foodiePrints.
What did you have for breakfast today? Corn flakes, 1% milk, and umm... kettle corn.
Quit looking at me funny... It was for sweetness!
What's your specialty dish? Lasagna bolognese... everything from scratch... preferably with home-grown plum tomatoes.
What is something you can't cook?
I have absolutely no idea how to cook rice in a pot! Risotto, not well, but no problem. Plain steamed rice? Not so much. I have a lifetime's dependence on a rice cooker to blame.
What is your "Can't-live-without" kitchen tool or appliance?
My Thai-style granite mortar and pestle. Just about every kitchen prep can be replicated in a mortar and pestle, sometimes with better results. Processing herbs, for instance, results in less oxidation. Spices? Buy whole and pulverize them in a mortar and pestle. You can control the texture. Spices tastes better from whole.
Who taught you to cook?
Certainly not school. I got a "C" in Family Studies. She who taught me to cook would be my mother. She believed her son should cook as well as her daughters. YouTube and British food
programming filled in the rest.
What is your favourite restaurant?
Over all? In Ottawa, Shawarma Palace on Rideau Street. I think the best meals are served at the picnic table. Barring that, a communal table with friends and the best vertical rotisseried chicken in town will do. Eat with your hands. Laugh. Joke. Have fun.
Favourite fine dining restaurant? That would be Allium Restaurant in Hintonburg: great service; creative takes on classic French bistro food; local and seasonal ingredients; near perfect execution every time! I actually had to apologize to chef/owner Arup Jana. We write about Allium seldomly because it's the restaurant my wife and I go to to celebrate occasions.
How do you unwind?
What's downtime? My blog foodiePrints is a second life! I really enjoy doing prep after a long work day, but, give me a book, a Birch Beer or good lemonade (like Absinthe's lemon grass lemonade!), and somewhere I can escape to sit for a while. That's bliss!
Tell us about the last meal you'd like to have before you die?
Good drink from the fountain of youth? No? A bowl of my wife's rice noodle soup with shrimp wontons, braised, beef, and offal (nasty bits you probably don't want me describing...)
What is your favourite beverage?
I love tart things, but lemonade can be too sweet or too sour, so I drink cranberry juice. It's what I order whenever I dine out.
What is the best advice you ever received?
Work now or work later! They are words my dad taught me.
What is your philosophy in the kitchen?
Cook from scratch. Cook local, following the seasons. Waste nothing! For meat, this means cooking nose to tail.
What's your guilty pleasure?
McDonald's French fries. If ever you want to see what evils television did to the MTV generation, look to me. Those golden arches are etched into my brain. No, they aren't the best fries I've ever tucked into, but McDonald's defined what shoestring fries should taste like.
Turnip cake (Cantonese: lo bak go). It's more of a steamed pudding that is served with yum cha (tea), a dim sum dish.
What is your least favourite food?
Brussels sprouts. I hate the bloody things. It takes a very good cook to get me to eat the wretched green orbs...
Can you tell us about your favourite cookbook?
Normally, I'd point to the world wide web, particularly Pinterest for plating ideas. But, lately, I've been pouring through vintage cook books, twenty years old or older. Cookbooks are snapshots in time of how people ate and lived.
One you can't tear out of my hands right now is a Salada compilation of recipes, a quirky book entitled "Recipes from the World's Greatest Restaurants." It was published 1970-ish.
Who's your favourite food writer or blogger?
Right now it's Gabrielle Hamilton whose gift of the written word won't let me put down her book; Blood, Bones, and Butter. I visited her restaurant in NYC during Easter weekend. She likes to play a lot of Mariah Carey in her restaurant.
Normally, I'd point to Anthony Bourdain. Both are gifted writers.
Tell us about the best meal you ever had:
I have been so fortunate to have eaten well in
my short life, never knowing true hunger. The best meal, culinarily, would have to be the Eleven Madison Park tribute multi-course I had at Atelier Restaurant. It was prepared by Chef Murray Wilson and friend Pej Vongpaisal.
Best meal I've eaten, does turkey dinner with my family, Christmas, age 6, count?
What is the worst meal you've ever had?
How about worst things I've been told in a restaurant?
"I'm sorry, that hair came from your sweater. I'm an expert in these sorts of things." (The hair was baked into the pastry. It was stretchy!)
- "Everything here is local. Everything!" (Really? We're in Ottawa! Point me to the farm that grows green papaya, cashews, and white rice!)
- "Aren't udon noodles the ones with the holes in the middle?" (Sigh!)
What has been your greatest culinary achievement?
I once made an olive oil cake that
caught Master Chef Rick Bayless' attention. It was his recipe. His tweet put me on cloud nine.
If you could have anyone cook for you who would you choose and why?
If ever I have children, I want my sons and/or daughters to cook me a meal for my birthday, any birthday. It would mean the world to me if my children can find their way around a kitchen and have an appreciation for food because they know how to cook.
If that's not quite the answer you expect, I want to eat a terrine, prepared by Chef Susur Lee. My better half and I met him at Celebrity Chefs of Canada at the NAC. The surprisingly humble chef is reputed to be a master of French technique. I love French food.
What recipes are you sharing with us today?
Thanks for for chatting with us today Don, and for sharing your recipes with our community of Canadian cooks.
Don't forget to check out our other Recipe Shares with great Canadian culinary personalities!