Wednesday, December 29, 2010


If there is any better form of leftovers than Christmas turkey, I don't know what it is.  And since we hosted our family Christmas dinner this year, we were the benefactors of  the leftover turkey.  Last night was our first real chance to enjoy the bounty of smoked turkey, home made cranberry sauce and Capozzi stuffing.

Capozzi stuffing?  It's a recipe that has been in my family for generations, and until recently I only knew part of the story.  As I researched the recipe, I came across this email from my late mother who sent the recipe to my sister-in-law:
The "recipe" is one of those "a little of this, a little of that" things"  Basically, you start with soft but stale bread crumbs - old bread, not fresh - which I crumb using a little chopper, or food processor, a blender will do too.  To that I add the seasoning, and the original recipe has summer savoury, sweet basil, thyme and oregano, and of course, freshly ground pepper and salt to taste. Go easy on the salt because both the cheese and the butter have salt, and I have ended up many times with a dressing that is too salty.  I do not use sage in this recipe - which makes it different from most.  Then you add, depending on the amount of crumbs, about one cup of grated Parmesan cheese, more or less, to taste.
You then, in your nice big wok frying pan!  Saut矇 the finely chopped veggies - onions, carrot, celery - in lots of butter.  (This is a pre-cholesterol recipe!) Then, when the veggies are soft, but not overcooked, (there should still be some colour to the celery) and the onion nice and transparent, add some finely chopped cilantro.  Then add this to the bread crumbs.  It should be quite moist, rather than dry.  If it is too dry to hold together, then cook up some more veggies to add.
There you go!  You are on your own with the seasonings, but think "Italian mama" and you will be fine!  This recipe came to my mom from Mama Capozzi in Kelowna, BC.  The Capozzi's were immigrant grocers in Kelowna in the early days, and when my Dad was out of work, they let him run a bill at the grocery store without bugging him about paying.  They also had the first grocery turntable at the checkout in town, and sold linguine in long strands doubled over, so when you cooked it it was about five feet long!  The Capozzi's children went on to build a financial empire in wine making and my Dad wrote insurance for Tommy Capozzi, who kept have accidents with his flashy cars, and was a very bad risk!  How many recipes do you know that come with a story!

My Printer Ran Out Of Jelly

This is a food-printer, Being developed at Cornell University, this device allows 3D food objects to be "printed" by a syringe whose movements are determined from computer blueprints and models. Different syringes contain different ingredients allowing the designer complete flexibility.

These "fab@home" machines have been used to print chocolates, cookies, and even domes of turkey meat. So far only liquids and gels can be used in the syringe, but researches have begun playing around with cheese, cake batter, chocolate, and dough.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

One of these things just doesn't belong ...

I really like the way this toilet/bidet set looks.  The combination of wood and ceramic is really stunning.  But sorry Flora, there's no way I'm using wood anywhere near the toilet.  Just sayin' ...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Old School Meets Twitter

It was bound to happen; the combination of social media and design.  John Kestner's 'tableau' scans any photograph placed in its drawer and posts it to a Twitter account.  Conversely, digital images posted to the Twitter feed appear in the drawer as physical photographs.  The only suggestion that this table is more than it appears is the glowing drawer knob that slowly changes colour.

Now if they could just do this with food ...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Street Eats - Poke'm!

Last Friday was an opportunity to join the throngs of Christmas shoppers Downtown.  Not willingly mind you.  Trust me, I'd much rather listen to a Justin Bieber's Christmas album (if there, Heaven help us, is such a thing) than deal with the lunacy that is Christmas shopping.  But when I'm stumped on gift ideas I go to where the choices are greatest, and so Downtown I went.

The trip wasn't a total gong show because it gave me another opportunity to check out a new street-food cart.  This visit was to Poke'm.  Poke'm is serving more what I expect out of street food vendors ... Hawker-style.  Small bite sized portions of food, packed with flavour.  Their menu is simple:  6 Pokes and 6 Sauces.  Pick one of each for $3.75, or get 2 orders for $7.   For an extra 50 cents you can get a sesame bun (free with the combo).

They recommended the Fish Fritters with Japanese sauce.  Very nice choice.  Fritters were very light and tender, and most important on a chilly December day, hot!  The "sauce" is sweet wasabi, mayo and teriyaki, topped with sesame & seaweed.  Not overly Japanese-y but enough so that you get the idea.  This ain't not fish and chips is what I'm trying to say.

Poke'm is simple, quick and with 252 combinations (I included no sauce in my calculations) you'll never get bored.  Although based on what I had on my first visit, I could have that again for quite a while and be a very happy man.

And if anyone has any ideas for a great gift for my wife, I'd really like to avoid another trip downtown.


Location: Corner of Robson and Hornby
11:30 am - 6:30pm

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Marilyn

Yes, that is a cabinet.  Created by English cabinet maker (and owner of the best moustache in the business) Mark Wilkinson, the Marilyn was designed to store lingerie and jewelery.  Made of walnut, Wilkinson used both computer controlled machinery (to rough out the shape) and hand tools (finish work) to achieve the final, stunning result.

File this one under "Beyond My Ability".  Wow.

Hastings Serendipity

Sometimes the best discoveries happen completely by accident.

My driving route to and from one of my regular work stops takes me along Hastings between Main and Nanaimo.  For those who care to look, there are some terrific food and dining options along this strip ... pho joints, cheese shops, delicatessens.  Mostly old-school type places that survive simply because they're good at what they do.

A new awning caught my eye last week at the corner of Hastings and Garden (just West of Nanaimo).  The sign said "The Red Wagon" ... a new restaurant that had taken over the old space beside Pho Le Do.

I parked the car in front of Donalds Market and wandered down to investigate.  I was thrilled to see a very diner-centric menu attached to the front window.   Inside was a mix of tables and chairs that suggested this place was put together on a tight budget.  In my experience this bodes well for the diner as it usually means the focus is on the food.

I grabbed a chair at the counter (perfect for single diners like myself), had a cuppa and enjoyed some Aretha Franklin.  The vibe was certainly "diner", right down to the napkin dispensers, ketchup bottles and chalk board announcing the day's specials (Bacon & Blue Cheese Burger).  I ordered a bowl of he soup-du-jour (Cream of Onion) and a Ruben.

Both dishes were a hit.  The soup was not overly onion-y, and had be prepared to a perfect smooth consistency.  No lumps of onion here.

The sandwich?  I can say without fear of superbole that this was the best Ruben I have ever eaten.  The amazingly tender corned beef is house made, and is served with sauerkraut and Russian dressing.  House made chips (not fries) come with.

I left feeling sated and happy, knowing I'd be returning to try their brunch the next chance I had.

The Red Wagon Restaurant
2996 West Hastings (@ Garden Dr.)
Vancouver, BC

604 585-4565
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