Metro Cooking Class: Sausage Making

A sausage plate from Salz Bratwurst Co: featuring a classic brat, liptauer, krautsalat, and käsespätzle.On May 16, 2018 I will be leading a cooking class for Metro Continuing Education on one of my favourite topics: sausage making.

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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Metro Cooking Class: Charcuterie at Home

Ham hocks smoked over fir boughsOn Wednesday, April 18, 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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Tortillas

Homemade tortillas coming out of the skillet.A while back I wrote a list of food items that I don’t think you should ever buy because you can easily and cheaply make something at least as good at home.  As time goes on Lisa and I strike upon simple recipes and quick techniques that add items to the list.  Most recent are tortillas, the kind made of wheat flour.[1]

There are loads of tortilla recipes online.  We’ve tried several, and most are garbage, producing tortillas that are either too dense and doughy or way too delicate to stand up to filling and wrapping and eating out of hand.

We use a food-processor to mix the dough.  It takes less than 5 minutes.  With a small amount of lard and proper mixing, these tortillas have a great texture, soft and pillowy but robust and pliable enough to be rolled into burritos.

Tortillas
the wheat kind…

Ingredients

  • 320 g all-purpose flour
  • 1 + 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 55 g lard
  • 170 g cold water
  • extra flour for rolling out dough
  • extra lard for frying

Procedure

  1. Put flour, salt, and lard in the bowl of a food processor.  Run processor until lard has been broken up into very small pieces evenly distributed throughout the flour.
  2. Slowly pour the cold water into the flour mixture with the processor running.  The dough will come to together, eventually forming one large ball that rolls around the bowl as the blade moves.
  3. Remove dough from processor and knead briefly on a lightly floured counter until smooth.
  4. Wrap dough in plastic and let rest one hour.
  5. Preheat a heavy cast-iron skillet over medium heat.
  6. Cut dough into 8 pieces of even size (each portion will be just under 70 g if you want to get serious about it).  Shape each portion into a ball.
  7. Roll out each portion into a circle about 8″ across.
  8. Lightly brush the skillet with lard.
  9. Put one of the raw tortillas into the skillet.  Once it has puffed and has developed a few dark brown spots on the underside flip the tortilla.  Once the second side has developed a bit of colour remove to a plate.
  10. Repeat steps 8 and 9 until all the dough has been used.

Yield: 8 tortillas

 

Notes
1. I’ve always thought it weird that people call these “flour tortillas” to distinguish them from “corn tortillas”. Both types are made from flour! One from wheat flour, the other from masa, a flour of nixtamalized corn.

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Kona Breeze Cocktail

I could hear it coming, rustling softly through the coffee trees, stirring the monkeypods, and sighing through the sugar cane.

 

A Kona Breeze cocktail, with Koloa dark rum and Trader Vic's macadamia nut liqueur.For no reason besides my own creative enjoyment I am developing a set of Hawaiian-themed cocktails.

From the start I knew that one of my Hawaiian cocktails was going feature coffee, and it didn’t take long to settle on the other components, all classic Hawaiian flavours that pair well with java: dark rum, macadamia nut, and orange.

Kona is a city and region on the western, leeward side of the big island.  For many it has the perfect weather: warm days, cool nights, infrequent rains, and a nearly constant, gentle breeze.  There is a lengthy description of Kona’s balmy weather at the beginning of one of Jack London’s short stories, The Sheriff of Kona.  The characters talk specifically about that breeze: ‘”You see, the land radiates its heat quicker than the sea, and so, at night, the land breathes over the sea.  In the day the land becomes warmer than the sea, and the sea breathes over the land… Listen!  Here comes the land breath now, the mountain wind.'”

Kona is the oldest and largest coffee region of Hawaii, and the first place that macadamia nuts and Valencia oranges were planted on the archipelago, so Kona Breeze seemed like a natural name for this drink.

 

Kona Breeze

Ingredients

  • 1 oz Koloa Kauai dark rum (or other high quality dark rum)
  • 1 oz very strong coffee (recipe below)
  • 1/2 oz Trader Vic’s macadamia nut liqueur
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau
  • orange blossom water (or substitute orange peel)

Procedure

  1. Dry build, adding rum, coffee, macadamia nut liqueur, and Cointreau to mixing glass.  Fill glass half full of ice.  Stir rapidly until drink is very cold, roughly 30 seconds.
  2. Fill double old-fashioned drinking glass with ice.  Pour chilled drink over top, straining through a julep strainer.
  3. Swab a very very small amount, roughly one drop, of orange blossom water around the rim of the glass.  Orange blossom water is very potent, and too much will easily overpower the aromas of the rum, coffee, and nut liqueur.  If you don’t have orange blossom water you could twist some orange peel over the drink.  This is agreeable, though nothing like the aroma of orange blossom.

 

Very Strong Coffee for Kona Breeze

My first instinct was to make this drink with Kona coffee, but for this drink I prefer “third wave” light roasts that are fruity and juicy, like those made by Stumptown, Bows and Arrows, and Timbertrain.  I have not encountered a roaster that does this type of treatment to a Kona-grown coffee.

Ingredients

  • 500 mL cold water
  • 45 g ground coffee

Procedure

  1. Bring water to a boil.
  2. Weigh out coffee into a French press.
  3. Pour boiling water over coffee such that all the grounds are hydrated.
  4. After about 15 seconds all the grounds will have risen to the top to form a kind of raft.  Use a spoon to stir this raft back into the water.
  5. Put the lid on the French press and depress the plunge so that is it just, just below the liquid level.  Set a timer for 4 minutes.
  6. After 4 minutes, fully depress the plunger and pour off the coffee into a glass jar.  Leave uncovered in the fridge until chilled.  Close tightly with lid.

 

Then it came, the first feel of the mountain wind, faintly balmy, fragrant and spicy, and cool, deliciously cool, a silken coolness, a wine-like coolness – cool as only the mountain wind of Kona can be cool.

-from The Sheriff of Kona by Jack London

Swinging from a mango tree in Captain Cook,, Hawaii

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Ouzo

Me drinking a glass of ouzo with water in Parikia.

Me drinking ouzo with water, and being a douche-bag.

Ouzo is a strong, clear, anise-flavoured spirit made in Greece.  The taste may remind you of liquorice candy, or other anise spirits like sambuca, pastis, and Pernod.  The term is a protected regional designation within the EU, meaning that if it’s not made in Greece, it can’t be called ouzo.  It is usually about 40% ABV.

Ouzo is made by infusing a relatively neutral spirit with anise and other botanicals.  The neutral spirit is a grape pommace distillate, just like Italian grappa or French marc.  In most of Greece this grape pommace distillate is called tsipouro, though the Turkish word raki is also common, especially on the islands of Crete and Cyprus.  Tsipouro has been made for centuries, and over time many distillers, notably monks, started flavouring tsipouro with herbs and spices.  Ouzo is simply an anise-flavoured tsipouro.  Unflavoured tsipouro and raki are still very common in Greece.  In fact most meals that I ate on Crete ended with a complimentary glass of raki.  There is at least one brand of tsipouro available here in Alberta: Avaton, made by the Greek winery and distillery Tsantali.

I think of ouzo the same way I think about gin: a neutral spirit infused with botanicals.  For gin the featured botanical is juniper, but there are usually several other ingredients, maybe lemon peel or grains of paradise or seaberry.  In ouzo the featured botanical is anise, but there are often other ingredients like coriander or cardamom.  For both spirits it is the unique blend of botanicals that sets the different brands apart.

Unlike gin, ouzo has not gone through a renaissance at the hands of small craft distillers around the world.  While the shelves of boutique liquor stores abound with the likes of Aviator, The Botanist, and Monkey 47, there are not many ouzo options for us here in Alberta.  I think the reasons are pretty obvious.  The extremely strong anise flavour is quite polarizing to North Americans, and very much an acquired taste.  Plus ouzo is not used in classic cocktails.  Plus you can’t call it ouzo unless it’s made in Greece.

The only three brands of ouzo currently available in Alberta: Ouzo 12, Cambias, and Olympic Ouzo by Tsantali.Anyways, according to Liquor Connect, there are in fact only three brands of ouzo currently available in Alberta: Ouzo 12, Cambas, and Olympic Ouzo by Tsantali.

The most common brand here as in the rest of the world is Ouzo 12, which was first developed in the 1880s and has been owned by the Campari Group since 1999.[1]  It has a strong and pure anise flavour.  Cambas is a great counterpoint to Ouzo 12, showing how different houses flavour their spirits.  While still smelling and tasting of anise, Cambas has a very distinctive toasted coriander aroma. I find the Tsantali Olympic to be the most neutral and least interesting of the group.  I also find the Greek column packaging super tacky, but that’s par for the course in Greek exports.

How to Serve.  The most traditional way to drink ouzo is mixed with water and served on ice.  You will notice that the liquid changes from clear to milky and opaque.  This is because the main flavour compound in anise is readily soluble in alcohol, but not in water.  When you add water these compounds start to come out of solution and diffract light, making the drink cloudy.

Ouzo with water (<<ouzo me nero>>) is a common aperitif in Greece.  It can be found at a taverna, or an ouzo bar called an ouzeria.  Both of these establishments usually offer small plates of mezethes, Greek appetizers.

Ouzo Cocktails.  Ouzo is emphatically not a part of the classic cocktail bar, but if you appreciate the fresh taste of anise, it can make some brilliant mixed drinks.  I’ve developed two of which I am quite fond.

 

An icy-cold Dryos sour.Dryos Sour
A while ago I wrote a short post about a perfect moment I had drinking ouzo and water in a lime orchard in a town called Dryos.  Much later I decided to make a simple sour combining the flavours of ouzo and lime.  I love the icy white colour of this drink.

Ingredients

  • 2 oz Ouzo 12
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • 3/4 oz fresh lime
  • 1/2 large egg white

Procedure

  1. Dry build: Combine the ouzo, syrup, lime, and egg white in the glass of a Boston shaker.  Secure the tin and shake a few times to start the egg white emulsion.
  2. Open up the shaker and fill 3/4 full with ice.  Secure the tin and shake vigorously for about 15 seconds.
  3. Double strain into a chilled glass.

 

A Greek variation on the classic Sidecar cocktail.Greek Sidecar
This is basically a classic Sidecar, only using Greek brandy, and substituting a small part of the brandy with ouzo.  So where the Dryos Sour smacks you in the mouth with anise, the Greek Sidecar merely suggests it.  Metaxa brandy is sweetened with a small amount of muscat wine after distillation and aging.  For this reason I have dialed back the Grand Marnier from the classic 1 oz.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 oz Metaxa ‘7 Star’ Brandy
  • 0.5 oz Cambas Ouzo
  • 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz Grand Marnier

Procedure

  1. Combine all ingredients in the glass of a Boston shaker.
  2. Fill the glass 3/4 full of ice.  Secure the tin and shake vigorously for about 15 seconds.
  3. Double strain into a chilled glass.

 

Sources

1. All these facts – most popular brand worldwide, developed in 1880s, and bought by Campari in 1999 – are from this page on the Campari website.

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Metro Cooking Class: Greek Mezze

A Greek dinner for the August full moon: roast lamb shoulder, potatoes, olives, tzatziki, and horiatiki.On Wednesday, February 7, 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: Sausage Making – SOLD OUT

A plate of sausage, toast, apple sauce, and braised red cabbage.On March 14, 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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Metro Cooking Class: Charcuterie at Home – SOLD OUT

A freshly glazed ham, smoking on the barbecueOn Wednesday, March 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: Austrian Classics

Pork schnitzel with parsley potatoes, cranberry, and lemon.On Thursday, February 15, 2018, I’ll be leading a cooking class called Austrian Classics for Metro Continuing Education.

Ever since I spent a summer cooking and eating my way through Austria, the regional cuisine has been very dear to me.  The several posts I’ve written on the subject are collected here.

The description from the Winter 2018 Metro Class Calendar:

Explore the cuisine of the Danube!  Prepare some classic Viennese dishes, including pancake soup, schnitzel, and even traditional apple strudel, all from scratch.

You can register for this course here.

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Metro Cooking Class: Sausage Making – SOLD OUT

A plate of sausage, toast, apple sauce, and braised red cabbage.On November 15, 2017 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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