eBabble

Beignets: quick and easy homemade doughnuts

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I had a recipe for beignets from Cook’s Country sitting around for about a year that my daughter would ask about every so often; “Daddy, when are you making doughnuts?”. Last week I finally took a look at it and realized there are minimal ingredients and it comes together quickly and easily.

Porkstrami: Pork Leg Pastrami

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I love pastrami and Montreal smoked meat: tender, very tasty beef brisket cured, smoked and steamed to an umptuous pile of goodness. Unfortunately beef brisket is expensive, relatively speaking: the cheapest I could find was $5 a pound. My go-to meat for all things charcuterie is pork, and right now whole pork legs are going for $1 a pound in my neck of the woods. Yes I’m paying for the skin and bone along with the leg meat, but I render the skin for pork fat and the bone is…read more

Pork and Charcuterie in 2014

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Pork prices rose higher than I ever remember them in 2014, due to issues with pork production and high demand for some cuts like bellies. This in turn caused me to cut back on production myself during the year, only producing what my family would normally eat; staples such as bacon and ham. I have some friends who run a pig farm and they tell me prices will be down to former levels this year. I’ve already seen shoulders and legs for $1.29 a pound this week, much lower than…read more

Single Serving Sponge Cakes

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Early summer strawberries are upon us in Southern Ontario and a local supermarket had local strawberries on sale so I bought a goodly amount and everyone has been eating them for breakfast. I really wanted to have strawberry shortcake for dessert a few nights but wanted to make my own sponge cake. On Saturday  I was at the library with the family and while perusing the latest issue of Fine Cooking found they featured a hot milk sponge cake recipe: it’s also available on their website. I decided to try…read more

Sous Vide Chuck Roast

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I have waffled on the whole sous vide cooking process for a few years, but decided to give it a try when the Sansaire was on Kickstarter. Sous vide is basically cooking food in a water bath that is kept at a set temperature: because the food is submersed in the water its temperature can never exceed that of the water. While happy with my purchase it languished in the cupboard for months. I love grilling and barbequing and it never felt like the right time to sous vide, until…read more

Duck Prosciutto

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More homemade Christmas gifts: this week I made duck prosciutto. It’s very straightforward and requires two ingredients: boneless duck breasts and kosher salt. I have had this preparation in mind for a few years and even bought a frozen duck last Christmas, but just never got around to it. I spotted the duck recently and decided to get it done so I broke down the carcass, made stock from the breast bones, back and neck, rendered the extra skin and confited the legs and thighs. Once into the work it…read more

McDonald’s Poutine

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McDonald’s Canada introduced Poutine this week; at least in Ontario. I was there at lunch and had the opportunity to give it a try. Oddly it’s not “McPoutine” or anything catchy like that; slightly disappointing.   Poutine is $3.99 or $1.50 to substitute in a combo for medium fries. It comes packaged in a brown paper box, reminiscent of poutine joints I’ve frequented in Toronto. I watched the staff made it as there was a poutine rack that had cheese curds in one bin and gravy in a pump beside…read more

Vanilla Sugar

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Continuing my production of house made (homemade) gifts for friends and family this week I made vanilla sugar. This one is incredibly easy and allows time to do other things, like the 3o pounds of bacon I’m also making. Vanilla sugar is a combination of split vanilla beans and white sugar: that’s it. Get whole vanilla beans, split them in half and add them to white sugar. Give it time to draw the flavour and the beans out and you have a lovely scented and flavoured sugar to add to…read more

Herb and Garlic Sea Salt

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Christmas is soon upon us so I gathered ingredients and started preparing my home made gifts. I like to make five or six items that I pass along to friends and family. I’ll feature one a week: first up is herb and garlic sea salt. Combine chopped herbs and crush or grated garlic with coarse sea salt and let dry for a day or two. The preparation is simple and the final product is wonderful: a perfect seasoning for all meats and a variety of roasted vegetables. I made two…read more

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