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Saviolo's Journal
Saviolo's Journal
November 30, 2023

Delicious and Simple Homemade Crab Rangoon Recipe (video)

This is an appetizer you frequently find in Mongolian grill restaurants, and us usually advertised as some kind of pan-Asian sort of dish, but was invented in the United States. It is, however, delicious and surprisingly easy to make. The mix inside can be as simple as crab and cream cheese, but I can't imagine this without a bit of ginger and some other flavours going on. It is creamy and rich and quite easy to stuff your face with.

We got our hands on some frozen cooked crab meat for this. If you have the patience to start with fresh live crab to boil and extract all the meat yourself, then go for it! If you don't have the time for that, then cooked frozen or fresh jumbo lump crab meat (if it is available in your area) are perfectly fine. In fact, even artificial crab/surimi works wonderfully in this recipe!

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November 23, 2023

Easy Homemade Thai Mango Salad Recipe (video)

Another quick and easy one this week. This mango salad is an incredible accompaniment to the satay beef we did last week and the ajaad the week before. The trick is in the texture, much like what we did for the Korean japchae, we cut everything for this recipe into shoestring strips, which really enhances the texture of everything. We also used a couple of spicy serrano peppers from our garden, but we found that the final result was not all that spicy at all. The coolness of the mango really calmed down the heat of our peppers.

Of course Thai birdseye peppers are a little more traditional in something like this, but the beauty of making it at home is that you really get the opportunity to control the heat to a level you like. If you want it hotter, you can toss in some hotter peppers like some strips of ghost or scorpion chilis. If you want it a little milder, then use some shishito peppers or poblano peppers. You could even use little strips of coloured bell peppers if you don't want any heat at all.

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November 16, 2023

Easy Homemade Beef Satay Recipe (video)

This is a classic Thai dish. It is traditionally served with a peanut sauce, but this time we just served it with the ajaad (spicy cucumber relish) we made last week, and a mango salad that will be next week's video. The magic of this dish is all in the marinade. A bunch of incredibly aromatic ingredients mixed together with some soy sauce, vegetable oil, and fish sauce to let your beef soak up all the flavours and aromas.

The secondary magic is how you cut your beef. We used blade steak for this, but skirt steak is probably preferred. You really want to make sure that you're cutting across the meat grain, not with it. This will ensure that your meat is more tender. You also want it pretty thin (hence our pounding) because when you pop it on that hot grill, you want to get nice colour on the outside in a hurry without overcooking it. The bits of marinade on the outside will get a little char to them, but it just gives you an intense toasted spice aroma, not the flavour of burnt beef.

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November 9, 2023

Thai Ajaad - Spicy Cucumber Relish Recipe (video)

Sorry I missed last week! Things got away from us while I was recovering from the flu! Fun times! But we did have a big Thai feast recently, and we made some videos about it. This week we did a video on the delicious spicy relish that is typically served with satay: ajaad. It's super easy and actually quite a versatile condiment with some big flavours that will enhance many dishes.

The shallots we used in this recipe may have actually been small red onions passed off as shallots! It's not super easy to tell, but they seemed a lot darker in colour than typical shallots. Regardless, shallots are ideal for this recipe, but you could definitely use red onion if that's what you have on hand. Also, we used some quite spicy home-grown serrano peppers from our garden, but you can control the heat by using milder or hotter peppers in this recipe if you like. Thai birdseye chiles are more traditional, but make this recipe at the heat level you like. We didn't find it particularly spicy the following day, but there was definitely a pleasant building heat.

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October 26, 2023

Homemade Arrabiata Spicy Italian Tomato Sauce Recipe (video)

We grew a couple of different hot peppers in our balcony container garden this year; Padron peppers, serrano peppers, and Ho Chi Minh cayenne peppers. For this recipe, we used some of our ripe red padron peppers and roasted them to make hot and spicy arrabiata sauce! This is a super simple sauce that includes tomato, hot peppers, onion, garlic, fresh herbs, and olive oil. We used it on some beautiful locally produced cheese ravioli, but you can use arrabiata on pizza, or any number of other pastas that will hold a tomato sauce well.

Ours came out quite spicy. Padrons are supposed to be about as hot or maybe a tiny bit hotter than jalapenos, but we find that ours are a little hotter than that. If you want to make sure it's less spicy, you can use a lower Scoville pepper like Hatch or Shepherd peppers, or some "suntanned" red poblano peppers. Alternately, if you want to go the other way and make it really hot and spicy, you can add serrano peppers, or even habanero, scorpion, or ghost peppers! Careful, though: that is going to be a *very* spicy sauce.

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October 19, 2023

Hearty Mushroom Cream Pesto Pasta Sauce Recipe (video)

This week we got our hands on some really excellent mushrooms. There were some amazing chanterelles, cinnamon cap, and pioppino mushrooms available, so we thought we'd make a mushroom cream sauce with them! Don't be afraid to really cook your mushrooms, you want to cook as much of the moisture out of them as you can! For some of these kinds of mushrooms, you really do need to wash them, because they do get a lot of soil and growing medium stuck in the caps and between the stems, but because we'll be cooking them for so long, that little bit of extra moisture isn't going to harm them,

You could make this without the pesto, but we felt like it added a really bright fresh aroma to the dish, and it was delicious. We also thought that it might be nice to add some nuts, though we didn't here. Pine nuts, chopped walnuts or pecans, or even toasted almond slices would all be great additions to this sauce for a little bit of textural variety, especially if you don't have a variety of mushrooms to work with. You can totally make this recipe with just white button or cremini mushrooms, but it will have less textural variety, so you may want to toss some toasted nuts in for that.

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October 12, 2023

Easy Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde Recipe (video)

A super easy and delicious recipe this week. We got our hands on some local fresh tomatillos, and decided to make some salsa verde! There are few ingredients, and the only specialized equipment you need is the food processor, though you could also use a stick blender for this. The flavours are bright and fresh, and roasting all of the ingredients really brings out the natural sweetness. If you're going to use garlic (as we did), we definitely recommend roasting it very well, because the sharpness of raw garlic will really overtake a lot of the other excellent flavours and aromas.

Like so many things, this dish is better the second day after the flavours have had a chance to come together. We also find that this recipe is better served at room temp or a little above, so if you're pulling this out of the fridge to serve, you might want to pop it into the microwave for a few seconds before serving!

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October 5, 2023

Refreshing and Simple Cheese and Peach Dessert Recipe (video)

This recipe is based on a dessert we had in a local Italian restaurant. It's coming to the end of peach season here in Ontario, but there are still some stunning peaches at the markets, so we want to eat as many of them as we can while they're in season. The flavour combination of the sweetened fresh cheese, the super sweet peaches, the slightly resinous basil, and the tart blackberries is amazing. You could also replace the basil with some fresh mint if you wanted. If you can't get your hands on fresh, we don't recommend using dried herbs for this, because that fresh green aroma is really what makes it. Our basil grew like crazy this year, so we've got it to spare.

The cheese we used was a sheep ricotta, and it was much drier than we were expecting. We added a little bit of yogurt to help cream everything up a little, and you could also use some heavy cream if you had to. You may have better luck using something like mascarpone, burrata, or stracciatella cheese (which is how it was served to us in a restaurant). You might even be able to do this with cream cheese, though you may wish to whip it a little or use some cream or milk to make it a bit lighter.

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September 28, 2023

Simple and Delicious Garlic Chutney Recipe (in the style of Toum) (video)

This sauce is so basic that it pops up just about everywhere in the old world. In Western Europe it might be known as aioli, while in the Levant it is known as toum, a transliteration of the Arabic word for garlic. Toum is typically just garlic with oil and juice; the version presented here was inspired by a hot sauce we encountered at a Somali restaurant in Toronto and also contains cilantro and fresh, green hot peppers, something like a cross between toum and basbaas.

There is no purer expression of garlic flavour than this. The type of garlic you use will definitely change the flavour, so make sure you like the garlic you're using! The hot pepper is completely optional, but it does add a very pleasant heat that complements the garlic heat very nicely. You could also make this hotter with a hotter pepper. We have fresh serranos in the garden, but you could really amp it up with a fresh scotch bonnet or habanero.

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September 21, 2023

Hearty Red Lentil Soup Recipe - Based on Shurbat Cadas (video)

This amazing red lentil soup is based on a Somali recipe called Surbat Cadas. We've made a couple of substitutions just based on what we can easily acquire, but this delicious hearty soup is basically the same thing. One thing to note about red lentils: Like quinoa, they have a chemical compound on them called saponins, which are a bitter, soapy compound. Make sure you rinse your red lentils well until the water stops being sudsy. It will improve the flavour of the dish!

Once it's been blended, it may not look like much, but it is full of flavour and is surprisingly filling! We used ghee (clarified butter) to sweat the veggies at the beginning of this recipe, but if you use a neutral oil (or coconut oil or peanut oil) this recipe is completely vegan. Even that garlic sauce we garnish with at the end is vegan (and will be next week's recipe)! The blend of spices is one of those things that changes a lot regionally for the recipe, but figure out what works for you. Toss in some cardamom or coriander seed if you like. Allspice or mace might make nice additions, too. A bit of grated dry ginger wouldn't go amiss.

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Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Ottawa, Ontario
Home country: Canada
Current location: Toronto, Ontario
Member since: Wed Oct 29, 2008, 03:34 PM
Number of posts: 3,245

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