Category Archives: General

Calabrese Sausage Recipe

Calabrese-style sausage on a bun, with peperoncini

Calabrese means ‘from Calabria’, which is a province in southern Italy.  The foundational flavours of Calabrese cuisine are olive oil, garlic, chili, and fennel seed.  My understanding is that many of the Italians in Edmonton have roots in Calabria.  So here, as in many other parts of North America with lots of southern Italian immigrants, this flavour profile has simply become “Italian”.  Like if you go to the Italian market and something is labelled “Spicy Italian Sausage” you can bet that it contains garlic, chili, and fennel.  Even though this particular combination isn’t common in most of Italy.

Anyways.  This is my attempt to replicate one of the Calabrese sausages made at Mercato, in Calgary, where I worked over the … Continue reading.

Papa Suds’ Pizza Dough

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.

Pickling Spice

Homemade pickling spice mixture.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.

Aunt Dorie’s Fried Porridge

Aunt Dorie's fried porridge with bacon and saskatoon rhubarb compoteMorning!  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

Ingredients

  • 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
  • 2
Continue reading.

The Ten Sandwich Commandments

I’ve been in this game for years, it made me an animal
There’s rules to this shit, I wrote me a manual
A step-by-step booklet for you to get
Your game on track, not your wig pushed back.

-The Notorious B.I.G.[1]

A chicken and waffle sandwich, with roast apple and goat's cheese

 

The Ten Sandwich Commandments

  1. Thou shalt provide interest.
  2. Thou shalt provide textural contrast.
  3. Thou shalt consider the colours of your ingredients.
  4. Thou shalt balance rich sandwiches with fresh, light components.
  5. Thou shalt balance salty meat and cheese with acidity.
  6. Thou shalt cut bread precisely.
  7. Thou shalt spread to the edge.
  8. Thou shalt aggressively season meat, slaws, and salsas to compensate for the muting effect of bread.
  9. Thou shalt apply salt to raw vegetables such as tomatoes and
Continue reading.

In Defense of Deep-Frying

On March 1, 2017 I’m teaching a class for Metro Continuing Education called Deep-Frying Without a Deep-Fryer. Course details are available here.  I thought I’d re-post this old article, a vehement defense of this most venerable technique.  Originally published March 23, 2014.

 

Deep-fryer haters gonna hate.Yesterday I was walking on Whyte Avenue and I saw a sign that upset me.  It was outside The Pourhouse, a tavern with a clever name and a broad selection of beer and food.  The poster read “No Deep Fryer on Premises.”

I perfectly understand the intentions of this advertisement.  I have been to bars where the food is clearly manufactured off-site, purchased frozen, plopped into a deep fryer, and garnished with green onions or bottled … Continue reading.

10 Foods that You Should Never Buy Again

I love the title of this post because it sounds like those fear-mongering, unsolicited internet advertisements, like, “3 Foods that are Making You have Cancer right now… You’ll never guess what number 2 is!!!”

Despite my pedantic writing style, I really hate pretension, and I don’t want to make people feel bad about enjoying their favourite foods.

But…

Following is a list of ingredients, prepared foods, and drinks that I think no one should ever buy.  Like ever.  Not because they’re bad for you, but because paying money for these items makes you a sucker, both financially and spiritually.  You can make the following foodstuffs from scratch for a fraction of the cost in no time at all, and your … Continue reading.

Arm of Lamb

Roast lamb foreleg, or "arm of lamb"One of the great things about purchasing your meat as a whole animal and cutting it yourself (besides getting high-quality ethically produced meat for a fraction of its farmers’ market price) is that you have total control over how the meat is divided.

I’ve written about this before (Alternative Pork Primals) but I have another great example of an unorthodox meat-cutting practice: arm of lamb.  While lambs have four legs, the traditional roast leg of lamb is always a hind leg.  The shank meat is trimmed away, leaving relatively tender, lean meat that is best roasted medium rare.

The foreleg is a very different piece of meat.  It could simply be billed as “foreleg of lamb” but I … Continue reading.

That Scene in Ratatouille

I work in a kitchen that is built into a sort of warehouse.  It has terrible ventilation and gets stiflingly hot in the summer.  We’ve found that if we raise the large bay door in the receiving area behind the kitchen, then prop open the door in front of the kitchen, we can sometimes wrangle a decent cross-breeze to cool us down.

One hot afternoon we were running this system, and riding a beautiful cross-breeze.  So much so that the catering menus and prep lists pinned to the walls were flapping and waving at us.  I was cutting chickens at a work bench opposite another cook who was slicing fennel.  I was downwind, so to speak, and during one warm … Continue reading.

Canola Oil

Some crusty bread with cold-pressed canola oil for dipping.Take a midsummer drive away from Edmonton in any direction and soon you will find fields of yellow flowers in radiant bloom.  This is canola, and the oil pressed from its seeds is as common in Albertan pantries as the plants are to Albertan landscapes.

Canola is a Canadian invention.  In fact, its name is an amalgam of the words “Canada oil low acid”.  Canola is a type of rapeseed that has been bred to have a low erucic acid content.

What’s rapeseed, you ask?  It’s a plant with an unfortunate name, ultimately derived from the Latin word for turnip, rapum, to which it is a close relative.

Allow me to expedite this explanation by quoting from the … Continue reading.