Saturday, February 23, 2013

Tribute to Salty

           When people think about commercials and product mascots and logos, a few stand out in their mind.  In my childhood, Tony the Tiger was my favorite product mascot with his simple catchphrase “They’re GRRRRREAT!”  I couldn’t pass the cereal aisle without begging my mom for a box of Frosted Flakes ™.

           In 2009, Knorr™ advertised reduced salt Sidekicks™ featuring a little salt shaker named Salty.  The commercial, featuring a sappy Michael Bolton song, endeared Salty to the public.  The commercial was clever, funny and touching at the same time.

"Please cheer up, Salty. We still love you."

           The ad campaign was so successful that the company released several clips featuring the misadventures of Salty, produced a limited edition of Salty and Pep shakers, which flew out of the warehouse and sales of Sidekicks™ increased by nearly 25%. They launched a subsequent campaign, “Salty is Missing” which offered a $25,000 prize.

          While no stranger to Knorr™ products, (as chicken broth powder is a staple for Chinese dishes in our restaurant, and we always had our 5kg Knorr™ Chicken broth powder on hand for our stocks, soups and stir fry dishes, and Knorr™ onion soup mix is a flavor enhancer when caramelizing onions for French onion soup) Sidekicks was a relatively new product to me.  I had to try the prepackaged noodles that tormented Salty so.  They were actually pretty good!  I mean, they are not handmade fresh pasta with a homemade sauce, but as far as pre-packaged “quick food” goes, they were tasty and not expensive at all.  I wouldn’t suggest eating processed food everyday, Knorr™ Sidekicks™ do make nice quick side dishes for chicken, fish, pork chops or any other main you can think of.

So, here’s a little tribute I made today in my backyard to Knorr™ and the little salt shaker that could, Salty.


Here are the Youtube links to the Salty commercials:

Original “Salty” – Knorr SideKicks Commercial:
Salty – Neck Brace:
Salty Tries Online Dating:
Salty – Mask:
Salty is Missing:

"Keep your chin up, Salty!"


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

All About Avocados!

Avocados are pretty cool fruit, they taste great, have a soft buttery texture and can be used in a variety of dishes.  In Cantonese, avocados are called "gnow yow gwor" or, butter fruit, because of it's soft buttery texture, they are also called butter pears in English for the same reason.  Avocados are also called alligator pears, because of it's dark green bumpy skin, which resembles alligator skin.

Here are some interesting facts on avocados:

Avocado – A Super Food

AKA butter pear or alligator pear

A ripe avocado will yield to a gentle pressure when held in the palm of the hand and squeezed. The flesh is typically greenish yellow to golden yellow when ripe. The flesh is prone to enzymatic browning and turns brown quickly after exposure to air. To prevent this, lime or lemon juice can be added to avocados after they are peeled.

Health benefits:

It is a good antioxidant.

High avocado intake has been shown to have a beneficial effect on blood cholesterol levels.

Specifically, after a seven-day diet rich in avocados, hypercholesterolemia patients showed a 17% decrease in total serum cholesterol levels. These subjects also showed a 22% decrease in both LDL (harmful cholesterol) and triglyceride levels and 11% increase in HDL (helpful cholesterol) levels.

Avocados are high in monounsaturated fats – a good fat which helps lower cholesterol

Avocados are also known to promote healthy skin and hair.  And although many people use it as a facial mask, it is most beneficial when eaten.

Studies show that an adequate or regular intake of potassium can help to guard against circulatory diseases, like high blood pressure, heart disease or stroke.

Nutritional value:

About 75% of an avocado's calories come from fat, most of which is monounsaturated fat.

Avocados also have 30% more potassium than bananas, a mineral that helps regulate blood pressure.. They are rich in B vitamins, as well as vitamin E and vitamin K.[22]

They have a high fiber content among fruits.

1 cup = 146 grams = 235 calories

5 reasons to eat more avocados

1. Avocados are packed with carotenoids

Avocados are a great source of lutein, a carotenoid that works as an antioxidant and helps protect against eye disease. They also contain the related carotenoids zeaxanthin, alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, as well as tocopherol (vitamin E). But avocados aren’t just a rich source of carotenoids by themselves—they also help you get more of these nutrients from other foods. Carotenoids are lipophilic (soluble in fat, not water), so eating carotenoid-packed foods like fruits and vegetables along with monounsaturated-fat-rich avocados helps your body absorb the carotenoids. An easy way to do this is to add sliced avocado to a mixed salad.

2. Avocados make you feel full

Half an avocado contains 3.4 grams of fibre, including soluble and insoluble, both of which your body needs to keep the digestive system running smoothly. Plus, soluble fibre slows the breakdown of carbohydrates in your body, helping you feel full for longer. Avocados also contain oleic acid, a fat that activates the part of your brain that makes you feel full. Healthier unsaturated fats containing oleic acid have been shown to produce a greater feeling of satiety than less-healthy saturated fats and trans fats found in processed foods.

3. Avocados can protect your unborn baby—and your heart

One cup of avocado provides almost a quarter of your recommended daily intake of folate, a vitamin which cuts the risk of birth defects. If you’re pregnant—or planning to be—avocados will help protect your unborn baby. A high folate intake is also associated with a lower risk of heart attacks and heart disease. Does your family have a history of heart problems, or do you have risk factors (such as being overweight or smoking) for heart disease? Avocados could help keep your heart healthy.

4. Avocados can help lower your cholesterol

As well as increasing feelings of fullness, the oleic acid in avocados can help reduce cholesterol levels. In one study, individuals eating an avocado-rich diet had a significant decrease in total cholesterol levels, including a decrease in LDL cholesterol. Their levels of HDL cholesterol (the healthy type) increased by 11%. High cholesterol is one of the main risk factors for heart disease. The cholesterol-lowering properties of avocado, along with its folate content, help keep your heart healthy.

5. Avocados taste great!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Avocado Courgette soup

Hey guys,
I got a request for an avocado soup, so here is an avocado soup recipe I created while promoting the fruit (yes, it is not a vegetable).  Tomorrow in my blog, I will be discussing all about avocados, they are actually a very healthy and versatile superfood.  Enjoy!

Avocado Courgette (Zucchini) Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil                                                4 spring onions, chopped (green onions)
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger                                    1 clove garlic, chopped
1 1/2 pint vegetable stock                                           8 ounces water
2 medium courgettes (zucchini), thinly sliced           1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper                                                   1 medium avocado, peeled, stoned and chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice                                           1 tablespoon chopped red sweet pepper


Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add 2/3 of the spring onions and cook for 3 minutes; stir in the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more.

Add the stock, water, courgette, salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, until the courgette is very soft. Allow to cool slightly. Stir in the avocado.

Puree the soup with an immersion blend and heat through. Stir in the lemon juice. Garnish with the red pepper and remaining spring onions.

If zucchini is not your thing, you can omit the zucchini and add 1/2 cup of cream instead.

5 Chinese take-out food myths debunked

Five Chinese Take-out food myths debunked

1)      You always get hungry an hour later

2)      That’s not Chicken in your Chicken Chow Mein

3)      It is difficult to learn to cook Chinese food

4)      Chinese food uses hard to find exotic ingredients

5)      Chinese food is expensive to make


I was born in a Chinese restaurant…well, actually I was born in a hospital, but a few days later, my parents took me home, to the Chinese restaurant that my family owned, lived in and worked.  Ever since I was a kid, I would watch my parents and grandparents work in the kitchen.  When I was a pre-teen I started to work in the kitchen myself….so suffice to say, I know my way around a Chinese kitchen.

As with any “foreign” food and culture, there are a lot of myths going around, and Chinese takeout fare is no exception (in fact I would say it’s probably the food that has the most myths about it), so I would like to address some of the myths floating around there and hopefully put some fears to rest.

1)      You always get hungry an hour later

Many people tell me this is their biggest issue with Chinese food, that they don’t feel satisfied because they feel hungry again an hour later.  There may be some truth to this, however it is not because it is “Chinese food” but because must have sides like fried rice or noodles are high in complex carbohydrates.  Complex carbohydrates, such as those found in rice, noodles, pasta and white bread are quickly digested and absorbed, giving you a full feeling quicker, however it will also leave you feeling hungry sooner than if you were eating mostly protein.  Eating a bowl of pasta would also give you the same effect.

2)      That’s not chicken in your chicken chow mein

How many times did we get prank calls back in the day with kids asking “have you seen my dog/cat?”  The answer is, honestly, on rare occasions, it might not be chicken, but it is not cat, dog, rat, panda or anything else like that.  It might be turkey.  Now that regulations are tighter, it likely isn’t the case, but back in the day, turkey meat was cheaper, had more white meat and was generally less fatty than Chicken, so some restaurants used turkey in their sweet and sour chicken (chicken balls) and soo guy.  Personally I wouldn’t do that, I prefer to be straight up with my clients and would instead advertise sweet and sour turkey and soo fo guy (guy= Chicken in Cantonese, fo guy= literally fire chicken, meaning turkey).


3)      It is difficult to learn how to make Chinese food

I suppose it would depend on what dishes you were talking about, since “Chinese food” covers a huge range of dishes, but most take out fare, is pretty simple to make, although it might be time consuming.  For example, an eggroll is not difficult to make, but takes a few hours to make from start to finish.  Many dishes have just a few steps, but require time consuming prep.  If you have the time and would like to learn a few dishes, stay tuned I will follow up with a few Chinese takeout recipes.

4)      Chinese food uses hard to find exotic ingredients

Once again, since Chinese food covers a huge range of dishes (each province and region of China, Hong Kong and Taiwan have their own signature dishes and styles), but since we are talking about North American Chinese take-out food here, the answer is no.  It wouldn’t make sense to spend extra money importing exotic ingredients while trying to keep the product costs low.  That’s why you will be able to find all the ingredients at your local wholesaler or grocery store.  Larger cities would have more of a variety of dishes on their menu that uses more “exotic” ingredients, but these cities would also have Asian grocery stores that would readily have the ingredients.  As for central Newfoundland where I grew up, there were no Asian grocery stores, and so we got all our ingredients locally.  So, if you want to make Chinese food, like the kind in your local restaurant, the ingredients won’t be too hard to find.


5)      Chinese food is expensive to make

Chinese food is no more expensive to make than any other North American dish, since common ingredients are used (Singapore noodles, for example, uses rice noodles, pork, carrots, onions, green peppers and eggs) which people might already have around their house.  In the restaurant, the profit margin from ingredient to final product is pretty large, however the profit is reduced when you consider how much work goes into preparing the food.  So, if you have the time, Chinese food is simple and not too expensive to make.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Happy Chinese New Year!!!

Gong Hay Fat Choy!!!  

May the year of the snake bring you much prosperity and happiness.

Welcome everyone to my new blog. I can't think of a better time to kick start my adventure in cyber space than at the beginning of a new year.

Come by often & check out my food and culinary related topics. I'll post yummy recipes,  share my opinions and critiques. Together I hope to wish to share many delicious adventures & experiences.  So all you foodies out there, let's raise a glass and bring in 2013 with a BANG!!!