The Ides of March have come to pass with many things food gracing our social medial channels. Ottawa keeps demonstrating there is good eating to be had. Food entrepreneurs continue to fill out the spectrum of dining options from low to high-end. Locals just have to have an open mind and look around.
Personally, I’ve been cooking of late without plating anything for the tripod-mounted camera, soft box, or speedlites. So, it’s time to resurrect our “relatively wordless” post format (not to be confused with the more meaningful “bunch-of-stuff” format) and share some snapshots from the kitchen.
Truth be told, the following was compiled to respond to an all-too-familiar Facebook update and some criticism I received during deliberations on Recipe to Riches.
[In case you didn’t know, I passed this past summer’s auditions and took a run at putting one of my dishes on store shelves at Loblaws and Loblaws Superstore under the President’s Choice-brand. Leading up to my episode’s release, Metro Ottawa published an article. And, CBC Radio invited me to appear on Alan Neal’s All In a Day. I made Neal a chorizo Scotch egg.]
my it m[u]st cost a fortune to eat out so regularly? do you ever cook and eat at home as a professional Foodie do you get to write off your eating out I hope!
There is no disputing operating foodiePrints has been a costly endeavor. Besides site-hosting, web design, and ongoing support (we’ve a designer and developer on retainer), there is the cost of gear (cameras and smartphones), and food (including the occasional drink). We pay for much of what we write about. Thankfully, our sponsored work defrays some costs.
Generally-speaking, card-carrying “professional” “foodies” don’t cook. Me, I just think a little more about the food I eat. I celebrate cooks. And, I readily encourage anyone and everyone to pick up some basic skills in the kitchen.
Having picked up a 2.8 L enamel-coated cast iron dutch oven from Canadian Tire, I have been interested in putting the thinner-than-le-creusot Lagostina-branded piece to work. While professional kitchens play with well-seasoned carbon steal pans, aluminium sheet pans, and aluminium pots, my kitchen is equipped multi-ply stainless steal and well-seasoned cast iron pans. My pots are also mutli-ply and non-reactive. A single non-stick pan remains from the days when I used to have a set. That one is meticulously cared for, employed for only eggs.
Celebrated for their ability to “make fond,” the first dish from my enamel-coated cast iron dutch oven was pot roast, using boneless shin-of-beef.
Pot Roast, Cooked By Taste
Add back the seared shin of beef and juices. Cover and bake in an oven set to 350F for 3 hours.
Once the beef is tender, pass the braising liquid through a fine mesh strainer, discard the onions, de-fat the liquid, and reserve.
Reduce the braising liquid until thickened to make a gravy.
Baked grits is prepared this way: sweat a finely chopped onion in salted butter until soft; add 1 quart of liquid (any combination of cream, milk, water); add 1 cup of corn meal; bring to a boil, stirring constantly; place in an oven-proof dish; bake at 350F for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes; stir in cheese; serve.
Reheat the meat in the braising liquid before reducing. Keep warm.
Can you tell I’ve never made pot roast before this?
Afterward, I decided to try something with some amazing cattle beans gifted to my wife and I for our wedding, a take on French cassoulet.
Pork and Beans, Cooked By Taste
For this batch of pork and beans, I decided to include something corned and something smoked.
For the something corned, I chose turkey.
For the something smoked, I found sliced smoked pork hock at Marché Hintonburg (1059 Wellington Street W.)
After 8 hours set to low, de-bone all the meat and reserve. Strain and de-fat the broth, discarding the aromatics.
Time to play with some beans and put everything together.
Secondly, let’s get back to Recipe to Riches
I think he really looked at his recipe as a formula, said Gail.
He’s a computer scientist and I think he couldn’t wrap his head around the touchy-feeliness that’s so necessary when cooking, Gail continued.
Well Ms. “Canadian trained culinary expert, food writer and television personality” Simmons, you want touchy-feeliness? With respect, this 4-eyed Poindexter understands full well the intangibles to cooking. His love of food was reignited when he met his wife. He cooks for her.
He just figured he’d best not pay attention to the “intangibles” when he’s tasked with making 150 savoury pies on national television.
Consider Valentine’s and my making good on a request from my dearest for a decent bowl of noodles.
Ramen is as much about textures as it is about flavours. A good bowl needs to feed all the senses.
Tonkotsu soup is a tradition that takes hours to prepare as it involves making something exceptionally rich by emulsifying pork fat. This batch took upwards of 8 hours of strong simmering, checking every hour to adjust the liquid, stir the solids, and skim the scum.
To make the marinated soft-boiled eggs, steam large chicken eggs for 6.5 minutes. Chill in an ice-water bath. Peel the eggs and immerse them in the pork belly (chasu) braising liquid (chilled of course). Marinate 4-6 hours; overnight is best (the marinade actually penetrates through the albumen, mingling and coagulating some of the yolk).
Now, I’m thinking it’s high time to revisit ramen noodle making again too…