Tasty Treats at the T&T Night Market

T&T Night Market, Kiku Corner

In the summer of 2000, our parents took our family on a round-the-world trip. We set off after school let out in Saudi Arabia, stopped to visit our family in Germany, then visited our family in Canada, flew to San Francisco, then Tokyo, then Beijing. Asia is famous for its night markets, where you can visit dozens of small, ramshackle food stalls and taste things you would never have the opportunity to eat anywhere else. In many cases, the vendors don’t speak English, and you just order by pointing at the food on display and handing over your money. When we were faced with deep-fried grubs, scorpions and grasshoppers on skewers, Tomiko, Karlos and our dad chose the grasshoppers. Apparently they taste like potato chips!

Closer to home, T&T is a large Chinese supermarket, now owned by Loblaws. Every year for the past 5 years they hold a night market in their parking lot in the Docklands area of Toronto. Nearing the entrance, we were bowled over by a funky, rank stench. It smelled like a hot car full of old diapers containing pig poo. It turns out it was just the stinky tofu! We joked that it was the gauntlet that would weed out the faint of heart. Needless to say, we made it through!

The night market runs from 6pm-midnight on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We arrived around 6:30 pm when it was still light out and not so crazy busy.  That made sure that our photos would turn out well, but most importantly, there would be enough food!

The photo above is tofuyaki, the tofu variation on takoyaki, or octopus balls that are commonly served in food stalls in Japan, especially Osaka. Basically, this was tofu cubes covered in panko and deep-fried, and then served with unagi (eel) sauce, mayonnaise, and bonito flakes. Absolutely delicious!

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How to Freeze Berries

How to freeze berries, Kiku Corner

Now it’s the height of summer when beautiful fruit is in copious supply and available for just a few dollars. Of course I want to take full advantage of the seasonal fruit, so I freeze them. Once frozen, you can store them for up to 6 months. I like to use them in baking, in smoothies, and added to yogurt. If you haven’t eaten them all, you could even do this with mulberries!

 

How to Freeze Berries

Ingredients

fresh strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries

 

Directions

1. Rinse berries and drain. Pat dry with paper towels.

2. Arrange the berries in a single layer on a baking sheet (lining the sheet with parchment paper prevents the berries from sticking to the sheet), or in an ice cube tray.

3. Place the baking sheet or ice cube tray in the freezer for an hour, until berries are mostly frozen.

4. Gently pour berries into a labeled plastic freezer bag. Place in the freezer and store for up to 6 months.

5. Enjoy these berries in the dead of winter, and dream of warm summertime breezes!

Toronto Eats: Brunch at Rose and Sons

Toronto Eats: Rose and Sons, Kiku Corner 3

One of my university friends just got back from a month long trek in Peru, so we met at Rose and Sons for brunch. It’s a tiny space that used to house an old diner. The walls were lined with subway tile and had a few large mirrors that made the whole place seem larger. Although we visited for brunch, there is also a dinner menu and even a whole list of drinks! It seems like Rose and Sons would be a great evening hangout. After we ate and were just walking out, I looked over to the open kitchen and saw a board with giant hunks of beautiful fresh bread – rye, wheat, and a wheel of cornbread. I must try that next time!

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Summertime is…Mulberries!

Summertime is...Mulberries! Kiku Corner

There are two mature mulberry trees in our parents’ backyard. Since we have second and third-floor balconies, we can easily reach these delectable fruits. There is little else that heralds the coming of summer than fresh mulberries. These are so perishable, so seasonal, that I’ve never seen them for sale in the grocery store. Luckily, there are many mulberry trees in the residential areas of Toronto – come July, just look out for sidewalks that are stained purple. Not many people know that these delicious berries are edible (once I was standing on the sidewalk, eating berries off an overhead branch, and someone asked me if this was a blueberry tree. Er…).

Mulberries look a bit like blackberries, but are less sour, more sweet, and have smaller, softer seeds. They are a great fruit to really gorge on, because the juice doesn’t stain! It easily washes off skin and clothing. I don`t want to ruin these beauties by messing with them – they are best eaten plain, freshly picked.

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