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Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Ottawa, Ontario
Home country: Canada
Current location: Toronto, Ontario
Member since: Wed Oct 29, 2008, 04:34 PM
Number of posts: 3,073

Journal Archives

Homemade Monte Cristo Sandwich Recipe (video)

We took the sauce chivry that we made last week and used it in this sort of hybrid of a Monte Cristo and a Croque Monsieur. This sandwich is incredibly flavourful and extremely rich and makes for a luxurious brunch addition. We recommend serving this with a nice sour kosher dill pickle or a salad with a nice tart vinaigrette, just to cut down the richness a little. Lots of butter and cheese in these!

Of course you can use whatever kind of mustard you prefer. I don't recommend adding mayo to this, because the eggs in the bread and the béchamel/chivy will fill that niche for you. A nice dijon mustard or even a nice yellow mustard can work just fine here. Of course your ham is really the central component, and you want to go with something nice and flavourful, and something that's tender and not tough, or you'll have trouble getting a bite without pulling the whole sheet of ham out!

Sauce Chivry - Herbed Bechamel Recipe (video)

A little bit back to basics this week. We had already done a video on roux -> béchamel -> mornay sauce to make mac and cheese, but that video was mostly focused on the cheese sauce at the end. This one is really focusing on the béchamel sauce and making it as amazing and flavourful as it can be. Béchamel is one of Escoffier's "Mother Sauces" from which all other French sauces are derived. It is an incredibly rich and creamy sauce, and if handled correctly, can carry a lot of flavour. Technically what we're doing here is called a Sauce Chivry, which is an herbed béchamel.

He had an excellent locally produced dry vermouth to steep the fresh herbs in, but any dry vermouth will do. You do want to use fresh herbs if possible, though. The doubling down of the herbal aromas in this sauce really make it shine. It's extremely aromatic and, of course, very rich like most classic French cooking.

Chiles Rellenos en Nogada Recipe (Stuffed Chilis in Creamy Walnut Sauce) (video)

This week we did a really interesting dish from Mexico. There are a few things about this recipe that make it a little unusual: Firstly, it is typically served at room temperature. Everything's cooked well (except for the sauce), and then served once cooled. You can heat it up or serve it hot, but it does change the character of the dish somewhat. Secondly, it comes together quite quickly, but there is a lot of prep work involved to get there, first! Lots of things to chop, then cook together and reduce, plus peeling the walnuts. It's a bit of advance work before you start assembling. The stuffing is wonderfully aromatic and flavourful with the rich pork, the crunchy almonds, and the flavours of the tomato, pear, and raisins adding a great deal of complexity, sweetness, and acidity.

There are a few optional things that you can change in and out. We made a sous vide pork for this recipe, and added both the pork (pulled) and the juice that rendered into the bag while it was sous vide cooking. That's something you're going to want to do in advance, of course. We cooked the pork for 24 hours. Peeling the walnuts is also optional, and the only reason you're doing it is to keep the sauce as white as possible (the colours of the pepper, the sauce, and the pomegranate are supposed to represent the colours of the Mexican flag). You also don't need to peel the poblanos, but it just helps the sauce glaze them when you serve. If you have access to a gas range or open flame, it makes it much easier to char and peel the peppers.

Rich and Delicious (and Slightly Boozy!) Black Forest Brownies Recipe (video)

Another dessert recipe this week! We made these really excellent Black Forest brownies. This is a bit like a slightly deconstructed black forest cake, and honestly you can use whatever your favourite brownie recipe is for the base. We intentionally wanted to make this recipe not completely sickly sweet all over the place, so we found ourselves some sour cherries instead of using, for instance, cherry pie filling. If you can't find canned sour cherries, you can add lemon juice to cherry pie filling for a little bit of a tart zing.

We also use some ingredients in the sauce that we didn't go into a whole lot of detail about. We add dietary fibre (in the form of acacia gum and inulin) to lower the glycemic index of this quite sugary dessert. This is entirely optional, and if you don't wish to use the dietary fibre, you can replace it with a bit more of the cornstarch that we used to thicken the cherry sauce. Both of those ingredients are completely unnoticeable in the final product, and do not affect the taste.

Additionally, we soaked the cherries in cognac, but you can use whatever booze you prefer, or no booze at all! We covered the cherries while they were soaking to prevent too much of the alcohol from evaporating, but if you're planning on serving these to kids, you may wish to let them soak uncovered or heat them a little longer to evaporate more of the alcohol.

The Devastating Impact of 'Fear of Crime' Politics - SOME MORE NEWS

Totally Non-traditional Shakshuka Recipe (video)

What makes it non-traditional? Mostly it's the grilled cheese sandwiches we serve it on! Shakshuka is believed to originate somewhere in northern Africa (most commonly believed to be Morocco after the Columbian exchange) as a sort of worker's dish. There would be a big pan of hot tomato sauce with aromatic herbs and spices and some eggs poaching, and workers would come and grab some with a pita or other flatbread. It spread quickly through the Middle East and the Levant, and you can also find versions of it in Spanish (huevos a la flamenca), Italian (uova in purgatorio), and Israeli cuisine.

At its base, it is a very simple dish. Get some tomato sauce hot in a pan and let the eggs cook in it. It's another one of those dishes where there are a million variations and no one does it quite the same. The tomato sauce can be spiced with Moroccan spices, harissa, coriander, caraway, paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper, or spicy sausages like merguez, chorizo, or lamb mince. Dairy, such as yogurt or feta cheese, make great additions as well, adding richness. We decided to serve it over grilled cheese sandwiches with some delicious melty and aromatic cheeses, and it goes extremely well with the lovely reduced tomato sauce and eggs!

Fried Cauliflower Nuggets with Curry Mayo Recipe (video)

For this recipe, we used the gravy from the butter chicken we made last week. We doubled down on the spices, because we wanted to mix the gravy with mayo to make a creamy curry dip for the fried cauliflower nuggets, and it came out really bright and flavourful. Curry and cauliflower mix extremely well, and the combination is really delicious. One great way to serve cauliflower is to sprinkle it liberally with curry powder and roast it whole, then put a little butter when it comes out of the oven! Delicious.

For this recipe we used coconut flour on the outside of the cauliflower for the coating, and it didn't have quite the effect we were hoping for. It didn't impart much coconut flavour to the dish, and it made the coating very tender and quite fragile. It was a delicate texture, but not the crispiness you would expect from just using flour or even cornstarch. We recommend sticking with AP flour for the coating, the coconut flour really did not add as much to the recipe as we'd hoped, though it smelled amazing while it was frying!

Murgh Makhani or Butter Chicken Recipe (video)

I have a weakness for Indian food. I will continue to eat well past the point that I am full and always end up hurting myself, but I just love it so much. Butter chicken is one of my very favourite Indian dishes, and it's surprisingly easy to make at home. This is one of those recipes where everyone has their own method and different spice blends and substitutions. Some people use cream, some yogurt. Some people use almond flour, some cashew flour. Don't be afraid to experiment and shift things around. It's traditionally a mild curry, but we like to spice it up with a little bit of dried hot pepper mixed in with our other whole spices.

You definitely want to toast the whole spices a little before you blend them up, because it really wakes up the flavour quite nicely. For the onions (and shallots if you decide to add shallots!), you want to make sure you're cooking them over a medium low heat. You don't really want to sear them, you're just trying to caramelize them very slowly without getting a whole lot of sear on the outside. This is a low and slow recipe, and does take some time to cook, but is definitely worth it for the flavour!

Cajun-style Shrimp Etouffee Recipe (video)

Back to the Cajun food this week! Étouffée is French for "smothered" and these shrimp are smothered in a rich brown roux-thickened gravy made with shrimp stock and butter. This recipe is also sometimes made with diced tomatoes, but apparently that makes it Creole instead of Cajun.

The trick of making a darker roux is two-fold. Firstly, you will want to use a bit more flour than you normally would, because as the roux darkens the oil will come out a little bit, and the flour will slightly lose some thickening power. We're not aiming at a dark roux for this one (as we did for the gumbo video we did), but we're looking for a roughly peanut-butter colour of brown. Second, you want to watch it pretty closely, because it can scorch very quickly. Keep it moving in the pan, and keep an eye on it so that it cooks evenly and doesn't burn.

Homemade Fried Mozzarella Sticks and Homemade Ranch Dip Recipe (video)

Some classic pub food for St. Patrick's Day! The mozzarella sticks aren't really the main event in this recipe, they're dead simple. Breading and frying single-serving mozza snacking cheese until they're melty is the easy part. The homemade ranch dip is really the star of the show, here. I was honestly pretty amazed at this recipe. It was like regular ranch, but everything was turned up to 11. Really bright flavours, and extremely versatile. We obviously used it with the mozza sticks, but it also went really well on fried chicken the next day, and would make an excellent pizza dipping sauce, too.

The recipes we adapted this from used sour cream along with the mayonnaise, but we went ahead and used our own homemade creme fraiche, which was delicious. Sour cream will work just fine if you don't want to go through the process of making your own creme fraiche, though.

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