I have Greek food on the brain. The current infatuation has many diverse origins. For starters this summer is the ten year anniversary of an epic trip through southern Greece, and I have been reading old food notes from the journey. Also I’ll be doing a class on Greek mezze for Metro Continuing Education this fall. With all this in mind last week I made a Greek lamb sausage.
In 2008 I spent five weeks in Greece, eating in tavernas two or three times a day. I don’t think I ever had a sausage like this. In other words this sausage is not traditional, but it is very much inspired by Greek loukaniko, a pork sausage flavoured with orange … Continue reading.
This is my family’s pizza dough recipe. We make pizza almost weekly, so it is a workhorse recipe, one of the most important in our kitchen.
People familiar with our neighbourhood have asked why we make our own pizza when we live literally one block from a pizzeria. The answer is that it’s easy and good and fun and cheap. The scaling and mixing of the dough take less than ten minutes. All together the ingredients for our homemade pizza cost under $5 per 12″ pie, something that we pay $18 plus tip for down the street.
I feel obligated to mention that our recipe is adapted from the little booklet that came with our KitchenAid stand mixer. I resent … Continue reading.
One of my favourite Italian desserts is simple, elegant, and endlessly adaptable: cookies and sweet wine. In Italy I’ve seen this dish served with every manner of cookie, from amaretti to lady fingers to biscotti, and sweet wines as various as Vin Santo, Recioto, and Pantelleria. You could easily take the dish outside the realm of Italian cuisine and try something like ginger snaps and sweet applejack. A particularly memorable experience was being served s-shaped Buranelli cookies with a glass of sweet Zibbibo in a small restaurant in Venice on a wet, chilly September afternoon.
Buranelli are from the Venetian island of Burano. The dough is a bit like shortbread (more sweet and less buttery than my preferred Scottish-style … Continue reading.
I am very interested in foods that I only knew in their industrial form for decades before I understood what they actually were. Mayonnaise may be the supreme example. It was a ubiquitous component of my childhood. I’ve written about this before, but I sat at many family suppers that featured three different mayo-based salads side by side by side, what I call the holy trinity of Ontarian side dishes: cabbage salad, macaroni salad, and potato salad.
Mayonnaise was such a ubiquitous part of my youth it wasn’t until my mid twenties that it even occurred to me that mayonnaise must be made out of components.
So, what is mayonnaise? Mayonnaise is a sauce, an emulsion of oil and … Continue reading.
Chili is one of the great North American dishes, and one that is especially relevant and useful in modern life, as it is a hearty one-pot meal that can be put together and left to cook in a crock pot or low oven for several hours.
I’ll argue that the only two essential ingredients in chili are meat and beans. When I was growing up that meat was always, always ground beef, though I have to say I really like using shredded or cubed braised beef like brisket or chuck. For beans you are not beholden to the canned red kidney beans of my childhood: any and all pulses are great. These days my kitchen always has dried pinto and … Continue reading.
This is the information I provide students in my Charcuterie at Home class, which I run a few times a year for Metro Continuing Education.
What is charcuterie?
- Charcuterie is a French word, from char for flesh or meat, and cuit for
- Originally this was a medieval guild that was allowed to prepare certain cooked
meat dishes like pâté and terrine.
- These days it broadly refers to cured meat, whether bacon, ham, salami,
prosciutto, or even duck confit and jerky. It also encompasses other meat preparations like fresh sausages.
- Most charcuterie techniques – salt-curing, smoking, and air-drying – were
developed as a way to preserve meat.
- Even though we now have ways to pasteurize, refrigerate, and freeze
… Continue reading.
This is my homemade pickling spice. To be wholly honest I don’t use it very often. I make a lot of pickles, but I prefer my pickled vegetables to taste of vinegar and garlic and maybe one other flavour like dillseed or caraway. The only preparation for which I regularly use this mixture is corned beef, which I make once a year, for St. Patrick’s Day or sometimes Easter.
That being said I do really love the flavour and aroma of this blend. To me there is something festive but medieval about it. It conflates the so-called sweet spices (allspice, clove, cinnamon) and savoury spices (pepper, mustard, coriander, bay). That distinction between “sweet” and “savoury” flavours is more or … Continue reading.
Styrian pumpkin seed oil (Steirisches Kürbiskernöl in German) is a remarkable artisan product.
Styria (Steiermarck in German) is a province in the southeastern part of Austria. Here and in parts of adjacent Slovenia they grow pumpkins that produce hull-less seeds. These seeds are roasted and pressed to produce a fabulous oil that puts all other pumpkin seed oils to shame. Whereas most North American versions are a yellow-brown colour, Styrian pumpkin seed oil is deep forest green, and powerfully redolent of roasted nuts.
Unfortunately I have not been able to find a high-quality Styrian pumpkin seed oil at any of the continental import shops in Edmonton like K & K. To get my fix I purchase online from … Continue reading.
Morning! I made this on Edmonton AM on CBC Radio earlier this morning. Aunt Dorie is my great aunt, my mom’s mom’s sister. She lived with my mom’s family and did most of the cooking for the household. I wrote a bit more about her generation in this post. Her fried porridge is delicious and indicative of her generation’s ingenuity, frugality, humility, perseverance, and the enduring love they had for my mom’s generation. Anyways, enough said! Here’s the recipe.
Aunt Dorie’s Fried Porridge
- 180 g steel-cut oats
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 50 g dark brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 680 mL water
- 70 mL heavy cream
- 2 large eggs
- 140 g oat flour
… Continue reading.
Goualsh is a beef stew originally from Hungary but eaten all over Central Europe. It is the kind of preparation that Europeans will fight to the death over. Matters like whether it is properly called a stew or a soup, whether it contains tomatoes, or potatoes, or what starch it is served with (if any) often become violent. It is estimated that 12 Europeans are killed every year in goulash-related arguments.
The following is an original recipe, inspired by the goulash made at Seewirtshaus in Semmering, Austria. When I worked there they made a goulash similar to this using Maiboc (May deer) and served it with Serviettenknödel. Many would take exception to my use of tomato paste and … Continue reading.