Metro Cooking Class: Pork Butchery

A pig's head from Nature's Green AcresOn Saturday, February 23, 2019 I will be leading a class for Metro Continuing Education called Pork Butchery.  A quick synopsis:

Buying and cutting whole animals is a fantastic way to pay less for the best quality meat in the province.  Even if you don’t think you’ll ever buy a whole animal and cut it yourself, this meat-cutting demonstration is an unparalleled way to learn about where your food comes from and how best to prepare it.  In this class Allan Suddaby will break down an entire side of pork into useful cuts like shoulder roasts, pork chops, and hocks, using only a knife and a handsaw.  He will also discuss the important techniques of grinding meat and making stock from the bones.

You can register for this class here.

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Metro Cooking Class: Sausage Making – The Next Step

A plate with breakfast sausage, fried eggs, and toast.My introductory Sausage Making class has now run more than a dozen times with Metro Continuing Education, so there are quite a few “alumni” that are eager to take their craft to the next level.  So, on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 I will be leading an intermediate class called Sausage Making: The Next Step.

Build on your sausage savvy! Add nuance and variety to your homemade sausages by using meats such as wild game and adjusting the texture with progressive grinding and emulsifying techniques. We will delve into traditional styles and use unique casings to perfect the look of our links and enhance the experience of eating them. We will also discuss how to develop signature recipes tailored to our own palates and the ingredients that are available. Intermediate course.

It is recommended that you take the introductory Sausage Making course before taking this one.  Or at least have a few sausage-making sessions under your belt.

You can register for this class here.

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Metro Cooking Class: Charcuterie at Home

Slices of homemade peameal baconOn Monday, February 11, 2019, I will be teaching a class for Metro Continuing Education called Charcuterie at Home.

Curing and smoking your own meat at home is much simpler than you might think. Chef Allan Suddaby will walk you through all the ingredients and equipment required. You’ll learn how to turn fresh pork belly into the best bacon you have ever eaten and fresh pork leg into amazing holiday ham. Hands-on course.

You can register for this class here.

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Metro Cooking Class: Sausage Making

A sausage plate from Salz Bratwurst Co: featuring a classic brat, liptauer, krautsalat, and käsespätzle.On Wednesday, March 6, 2019 I will be leading a cooking class for Metro Continuing Education on sausage making, one of my favourite topics.

This class will teach you everything you need to know about making sausage at home form scratch.  Discuss how to source great local meat and then learn how to grind, mix, and stuff that meat into natural casings.  You will make two recipes: classic garlic and spicy Calabrese.  Hands-on/demonstration course.

You can register for this class here.

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Kim Chi

Homemade kim chiKim chi is an ace up the sleeve, delivering instant, intense flavour to bland ingredients like rice, flour, and eggs.  And unlike most condiments that pack that kind of punch – things like hot sauce or fish sauce – kim chi is quite wholesome.

Kim chi fascinates me because it is simultaneously very similar to and wildly different from a preparation that I am much more familiar with: sauerkraut.  Both are ostensibly fermented cabbage, but where sauerkraut is thinly sliced and acidic, with an almost floral, yeasty aroma, kim chi is chunky, salty, often burn-your-face-off spicy, with something of a fishy aroma.  Sometimes, amazingly, it is also effervescent.

Sauerkraut is made with European-type cabbages like savoy.  The relatively low salt content (I use 1.89% salt) and the relatively warm fermentation temperature (15-20°C) favour both the acid-producing bacteria as well as the aroma-producing yeasts that give sauerkraut its characteristic flavours.

Kimchi can be made with any vegetable, though nappa cabbage is by far the most common.  It almost always has other vegetables mixed in, things like daikon, green onion, and carrot.  A relatively high salt content (~3%) and relatively cool fermentation temperature (4-10°C) favour gas-producing bacteria that give kim chi its subtle effervescence.

While every crock of sauerkraut is a little different, there are really only a few ways that styles of sauerkraut differ from one another.  Kim chi is a much more complicated and variable preparation, and when I first undertook its production it made my head swim.

Like many white kids my age, I owe a lot of my knowledge and appreciation of many Asian preparations to David Chang.  The kim chi recipe in his Momofuku Cookbook is the first I ever made.  It is a frustrating recipe as it uses very imprecise measures (“one small to medium head cabbage”) and so can have quite inconsistent outcomes.  My other beef with the recipe is that it is incredibly sweet, with sugar being the most important ingredient after cabbage, about 12% of the weight of the cabbage by my measurement.

So starting with the Chang recipe I made several iterations week after week as my mother-in-law continued to bring me heads of nappa cabbage from her garden.  By the fifth iteration I had a pickle I was quite happy with.  This is how I answered some of the many questions that came up.

What vegetables to use in kim chi?

I came to realize that a major contributor to the flavour that I expect from kim chi, the funky part, is more from daikon than it is from fermentation.  So in addition to nappa cabbage I use daikon.  Green onion is essential for the flavour I was seeking, plus it’s a good pop of green in the sea of fiery red.  I also appreciate the visual contrast and crunch provided by carrot.

How to achieve 3% salt content?

One of the most important things I wanted to do with my recipe is dial in the salt content so that I knew exactly how many grams of salt to add per kilo of vegetables.  In On Food and Cooking Harold McGee says kim chi should be about 3% salt by weight.  The tricky bit is that we’re using kosher salt and fish sauce, which is extremely salty.  I decided to take the kosher salt quantity from my sauerkraut recipe, then add the fish sauce on top of that.

Should l use sugar in kim chi?

My main problem with the Chang recipe is that it’s way too sweet.  I plan to eat large amounts of kim chi, and want to feel good about it, so I entirely removed white sugar from my recipe.  There is some sugar in the fish sauce, so the kim chi is not entirely devoid of sweetness.

Do you really need to use gochugaru, Korean chili?

In a word: yes.

I was extremely skeptical of the websites that say you absolutely must use gochugaru to make kim chi.  I figured it was a bit like a website telling you that you need to use Italian olive oil to make proper pasta: just a bit of pretension.  Turns out they are more or less correct.

Gochugaru is quite different than North American chili flakes, mainly in that all the seeds of the pepper have been removed.  The flavour is very fruity, and a touch smoky.  As the seeds and surrounding membrane are a major source of capsaicin, Korean gochugaru is actually not as hot as chili flakes, which means you can add a lot of it before the mixture gets too spicy.  This is good because it gives the kim chi a vibrant red colour.  The other important difference is that gochugaru is ground to a consistency finer than chili flakes, but coarser than chili powder.

I made several batches with standard North American chili flakes.  They were all tasty, but did not really have the real flavour and red-stained brilliance of true kim chi.

What fish sauce to use?

This is one component that I haven’t play around with yet.  I had a bottle of Squid Brand Fish Sauce in my fridge, so that’s what I used in all my experiments.  It’s likely that different brands have different concentrations of salt and sugar and may require adjustments to the recipe.

 

Kim Chi Recipe

I chose to write my kim chi recipe as a baker’s formula.  I distinguish between two types of ingredient: the vegetables and the flavouring agents.  When added up the vegetables total 100%, like the flour in a baker’s formula.

Kim Chi
from scratch

A plate of crispy kim chi pancakes

Crispy kim chi pancakes with sesame and green onion.

Ingredients

  • 87.89% nappa cabbage, cut into strips about 1″ broad and 2-3″ long
  • 7.29% daikon, cut into thin half moons
  • 3.30% green onion, sliced into 2″ lengths
  • 1.52% carrot, julienne
  • 1.89% kosher salt
  • 7.12% fish sauce
  • 3.43% fresh garlic, finely minced in a food processor
  • 3.43% fresh ginger, finely minced in a food processor
  • 1.36% gochugaru

Procedure

  1. Combine cabbage, daikon, green onion, and carrot.  Toss with salt.  Cover and let stand at a cool room temperature overnight.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the fish sauce, garlic, ginger, and gochugaru.
  3. The next morning, press the vegetables and strain off the liquid that has pooled at the bottom of the container.
  4. Add the chili mixture to the vegetables and mix thoroughly.  Cover and let stand at a cool room temperature for 48-72 hours.
  5. Transfer to the refrigerator.  After about two weeks a tanginess will have developed.
  6. Store tightly covered in the fridge.
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Metro Cooking Class: Greek Mezze

On Wednesday, November 28, 2108 I will be leading a class for Metro Continuing Education called Greek Mezze.

Take a culinary voyage to the sunny Mediterranean! Greek cuisine is famous for its deliciously simple treatment of fresh produce, seafood and lamb. Come learn the nuances of several classic Greek appetizers, or mezze. Make your own tzatziki, hummus and village salad from scratch, and work with paper-thin phyllo dough to make spanakopita and its many variations.

You can register for this class here.

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Metro Cooking Class: Charcuterie at Home

Slices of homemade peameal baconOn Wednesday, November 21, 2018, I will be teaching a class for Metro Continuing Education called Charcuterie at Home.

Curing and smoking your own meat at home is much simpler than you might think. Chef Allan Suddaby will walk you through all the ingredients and equipment required. You’ll learn how to turn fresh pork belly into the best bacon you have ever eaten and fresh pork leg into amazing holiday ham. Hands-on course.

You can register for this class here.

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Metro Cooking Class: Sweet and Delicious Cider Making

A glass of applejack beside a glass of cider: note the darker, bronze colour of the applejackOn Thursday, October 11, 2018, I will be leading a class for Metro Continuing Education called Sweet and Delicious Cider Making.

There are countless apple trees in Edmonton, and cider is one of the best ways to preserve and consume local apples. Learn how to make sweet and aromatic apple juice and hard cider like you’ve never tasted before. Allan will show you how to crush, press and ferment your cider using affordable homemade equipment. Demonstration course.

You can register for this course here.

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Metro Cooking Class: Sausage Making – The Next Step

My introductory Sausage Making class has now run more than a dozen times with Metro Continuing Education, so there are quite a few “alumni” that are eager to take their craft to the next level.  So, on Wednesday, November 7, 2018 I will be leading an intermediate class called Sausage Making: The Next Step.

Build on your sausage savvy! Add nuance and variety to your homemade sausages by using meats such as wild game and adjusting the texture with progressive grinding and emulsifying techniques. We will delve into traditional styles and use unique casings to perfect the look of our links and enhance the experience of eating them. We will also discuss how to develop signature recipes tailored to our own palates and the ingredients that are available. Intermediate course.

It is recommended that you take the introductory Sausage Making course before taking this one.  Or at least have a few sausage-making sessions under your belt.

You can register for this class here.

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Metro Cooking Class: Sausage Making

A sausage plate from Salz Bratwurst Co: featuring a classic brat, liptauer, krautsalat, and käsespätzle.On Wednesday, October 3, 2018 I will be leading a cooking class for Metro Continuing Education on sausage making, one of my favourite topics.

This class will teach you everything you need to know about making sausage at home form scratch.  Discuss how to source great local meat and then learn how to grind, mix, and stuff that meat into natural casings.  You will make two recipes: classic garlic and spicy Calabrese.  Hands-on/demonstration course.

You can register for this class here.

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