One of the reasons I love teaching sausage-making classes is that I often learn something from the students.
There was a time when I assumed “banger” was just the British dialect word for sausage, and that it didn’t necessarily imply anything about the ingredients or technique any more than “sausage” would in North America. Turns out that is not quite true. One Scottish student of mine asked where he could procure the rusk necessary to make bangers. I had never heard of rusk. The word can refer to two different things: sliced bread that has been baked or toasted until crispy throughout (like a Melba toast), or crumbs that have been made from such a bread.
Every Saturday the owner of Sunworks Farm is at the Strathcona Market griddling his chicken sausages and doling samples to passers-by.
I’m usually wary of chicken sausages. They’re often dry and mealy with no structure. The main difficulty in making sausage from poultry is the very low ratio of fat to lean, nowhere near the desired 1:3 that is easily achieved with pork.
Anyways many years ago I gambled on the Sunworks chicken sausage sample and was happy to find it was one of the best I’d ever eaten. My pleasure quickly turned to curiosity and I wondered aloud how they made it so juicy. Was there … Continue reading.
With so many peppers coming from the garden and fermentation on the brain I wanted to try my own fermented chili paste. My recipe is very much like sambal in terms of ingredients and consistency, though sambal isn’t usually fermented. Korean gochujang is a fermented chili paste, but it includes a large proportion of starches like rice, soybean, and malted barley and is not a straight lacto-fermentation. So this preparation isn’t really of a traditional style, but it turned out quite good and I can definitely see it becoming a pantry staple.
One of the main reasons I think I’ll make this every year: you can process a large quantity of peppers very quickly. Simply chop coarsely, pulse a few … Continue reading.
Kuchen (“cake”) and Obstkuchen (“fruit cake”) can refer to many different desserts and pastries in Austria and Germany. By Austrian fruit cake I am referring to a very simple, very common preparation of a dense but tender cake that is topped with seasonal fruit before going in the oven. It’s made throughout the year with whatever fruit happens to be best that day. I was in Austria in May, June, and July, and saw it made first with rhubarb, then cherries, then apricots. The fruit settles into the cake nicely during the bake, but is still visible from the top. I think soft fruits that get a touch jammy when cooked work best for this (as opposed to, say, apples … Continue reading.
Right off the hop: I stole this idea from Ben Staley. He made “Green Plum Cured like an Olive” at Alta (RIP) and it really blew my mind. Not sure if he is serving these at Yarrow or not. After my meal at Alta I talked to Ben briefly and asked how he made the plum olives. If I remember right he said they were fermented in brine, then pressure-cooked with a bit of vinegar. I’ve since done some research and it turns out that pickled green plums are actually quite common across North Africa and the Middle East. Still, I owe Ben for introducing me to the concept.
Can you make plum jam with Japanese plums? Of course! However as we’ve discussed several times this season, when you cook the flesh of Prunus salicina some powerful sour flavours develop.
Out of hand the flesh of a Japanese plum is so mild you might consider dialling back the sugar for a jam recipe. You definitely should not! First, the sugar is essential for the mixture to actually “jam” or set, but also that generous dose of sweetness balances the acidity that is unleashed during cooking. I ended up using the same ratio I use for raspberry jam: 2:1 fruit to sugar. Even with this high sugar content, the jam is quite tart. We noticed that of our two … Continue reading.
No process better demonstrates the difference in “behaviour” between European plums (Prunus domestica) and Japanese plums (Prunus salicina) than drying. Whereas typical grocery store prunes made from domestica are soft, chewy, and super sweet with dark flavours of caramel, dried Prunus salicina are much more like dried sour cherries.
These plums at left were halved, pitted, and kept in our dehydrator overnight around 40°C.
Even though the flesh of fresh Japanese plums has very little acidity, as I wrote about in this post most processing methods cause a dramatic change in flavour and the fruit becomes sour. Dehydrating of course concentrates this acidity. I like sour … Continue reading.
Last summer I posted about our Japanese plum trees, and how we had harvested a few plums from each tree the last two summers.
This year we got our first appreciable harvest, so I have finally been able to play around with how best to store, cook, and preserve the fruit. There is almost no useful English-language information online regarding Japanese plums in the kitchen, and we’ve had some pretty surprising results, so I thought I would share!
The following information is all about our Ptitsin #3 cultivar. We are still waiting for the Ivanovka to ripen, but expect similar results.
Harvesting. Plums are able to ripen off the tree. When the Ptitsin plums are almost fully ripe, … Continue reading.
Last week I helped with a chicken harvest for the first time. My parents-in-law had raised twenty eight birds to maturity on their property in Lac St. Anne County.
The chickens were killed with an axe to the neck, severing the head.
After a couple minutes of twitching the bodies were held by the feet and dipped in steaming water to loosen the feathers. We had two “turkey fryer” propane burners heating 5 gallon pots of water to 150°F. The chickens were dunked a few times, just until the wing and tail feathers pulled out easily, which took less than 60 seconds. If done properly this helps the feathers release easily in the plucking machine, without cooking any of the … Continue reading.
It’s been something of a personal crusade of mine to get more people deep-frying at home (see this post, and this class). Even though I consider French fries the single most important fried food in western cooking, I rarely make them at home. The main reason is that when working with a standard pot it takes several batches to fry enough potatoes to feed my family. While I don’t mind frying half a chicken and putting it in the oven while the second half is fried, the six batches required for fries is a bit tedious. With that said, when I’m feeling ambitious this is how I make fries at home.