Sunday, 12 August 2012

Putting Pride in Cooking...

Recently, Vancouver celebrated its cultural and sexual diversity by hosting the annual Pride Parade. Considered one of the largest in North America with over 1-million crammed into the downtown core, which is pretty big considering there are only about 2-million in Greater Vancouver. Although I take pride in my acceptance of all people great and small, I just don't like them all crammed into one place. Thus, I take an annual pass on the Pride Parade and instead have a small BBQ in White Rock to watch the little fireworks display to mark our own Festival of the Sea.

Perhaps I watch too much Food Network, (and will eventually be the Next Food Network Star), but this year I thought to issue my own cooking challenge as one might see on "Top Chef:" to create a menu that reflects the rainbow colours of the Gay/Lesbian/etc Community flag (or, if you're South American, the Inca flag. They are one in the same, so an Inca in Vancouver might be in for a surprise should he or she visit a marked establishment on Davie Street. Likewise, if you're gay in Cuzco). "Drawing knives" as they do on such shows to determine who has which theme, I drew each of the 6 colours of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple (I passed on indigo) to inspire my meal. Here are the resulting dishes:

Red: Grilled Lamb with Romesco
The red meat that is lamb is quite obvious, but a romesco sauce is a classic Catalunian dish made of roast tomatoes and red peppers, bound together with toasted hazelnuts, oregano, olive oil, and lots of Spanish paprika.

Orange: Citrus Di Gua Fan
Di Gua Fan is a traditional Taiwanese rice dish made of coconut milk and yams. Adding a bit of orange juice into the broth and some carrots to boot helped boost the orange colour.

Yellow: Seafood Pacri Nenas
Pacri Nenas is an Indonesian curry I learned to make at a day-long cooking class in Bali many years ago. Fresh (not tinned!) pineapple is the key, and lots of tumeric helps make this a vibrant sweet and spicy summer curry. Adding prawns and squid during the last 10 minutes adds some extra protein as well.

Green: Chicken with Chimichurri
Hard to find a meat that is naturally green, so a bit of Argentine chimichurri will help add colour to any grilled meat. Simple to make, just blend together lots of cilantro, some parsely, olive oil, onion, and garlic, with a dash of cayenne for spice. Done.

Blue: Blueberry Clafoutis
Blueberries are in season here in BC, and down the road there are plenty of fresh blueberry farms to shop from. A clafoutis is a cross between a custard and a cake, using mostly egg and milk and only a little flour.

Purple: Purple Goma-ae Coleslaw
My original plan for purple was to do a purple potato salad. The fun in this is that potatoes originate in Peru, so a purple potato salad would've been the perfect play on Pride and the Inca flags. However, no purple potatoes in market now, so I substituted it with a purple cabbage coleslaw in a goma-ae dressing. Goma-ae is my favourite Japanese dressing, made essentially of ground sesame and rice vinegar.

In the end, I was proud of my Pride menu. Putting pride and love into your food is also a key factor in elevating the same dish from good to excellent; you can really taste the difference when you put your heart into it. A meal made to impress any Food Network challenge judge for sure, and paired perfectly with what else but a glass of rose! Tinhorn Creek Cabernet Franc Rose 2011 to be exact.

No comments:

Post a Comment