Yotam Ottolenghi is one of the most influential chefs in the world right now, for both home cooks and professionals. His books Jerusalem and Plenty are entirely vegetarian, and must-reads for contemporary cooks. They are great because the techniques are simple, but he takes them further than usual and produces brave, vibrant dishes. By giving vegetables simple treatment and then going wild with nuts, fruit (fresh and dried), spices, herbs, and cultured dairy, he has provided a watershed repertoire and vernacular for professional chefs who want to feature vegetables more prominently. Some of his dishes have been wholesale adopted as modern classics by small-plates restaurants. His Moroccan Spiced Carrots and Yogurt dish alone I have seen variations of at Hawthorn, … Continue reading.
My first class in culinary school was “Soup and Vegetable Cookery”, and one of the many many techniques taught was “tomato concassé”. While this literally translates to “chopped tomato”, it is a rather more involved preparation in which the tomatoes are scored, briefly boiled, chilled in ice water, skinned, seeded, and then chopped. At the time I thought the only way I would ever peel tomatoes would be in canning whole tomatoes. The thought that I would actually do this in a restaurant was laughable.
Flash forward a few years and I am reading the Momofuku Cookbook. Lo and behold there are peeled cherry tomatoes in an interesting variation of a Calabrese salad. And darned if they aren’t just the … Continue reading.
I set myself a challenge. Every season there would be a salad on the menu, but it needed to be a composed salad, not a tossed green salad. I was really keen to make a beet salad with goat cheese this fall. It’s a fine line between classic and clichéd, so I wanted to make it in a way that I hadn’t done before.
I was really struck by the Beet Salad with Chèvre Frais in the Eleven Madison Park cookbook. Most of all I liked the presentation, with perfect rounds of sliced roasted beets arranged on the plate, and pops of colour and texture placed artfully around and among them. I played with this a lot over the … 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.
I had heard of kosher pickles many, many times in my life, but always assumed that they were just pickles that were, well, kosher, as in approved for consumption in Jewish dietary law. Turns out that is not the case, and kosher pickles are actually a particular style of pickle, one that is naturally fermented like those described in this post on lacto-pickles. If you are familiar with sauerkraut you are familiar with lactic acid fermentation. Anyways kosher pickles are the real-deal accompaniment to deli sandwiches like smoked meat or pastrami.
Kim 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 … Continue reading.
The actual Greek name of the ubiquitous Greek salad is Horiatiki, which means, roughly, “village salad.” As I mentioned in my general post on Greek food, one Greek restaurateur told me that the primordial Greek salad was just feta, onions, and olive oil, and that traditionally the cucumbers and tomatoes are flourishes added only in the summer months.
There are really only two things you need to know to make superlative Greek salad. The first: for this dish more than maybe any other you need to use amazing ingredients. Greek salad with pale tomatoes and thick-skinned cucumbers and canned olives is really one of the saddest things you can eat.
I use the following:
- Gull Valley vine or
This post was originally published on September 17, 2013. I’m re-posting it todayfor those that attended my session at Eat Alberta 2017.
Kraut is German for “herb”. It was also a derogatory term for Germans during the Second World War. Sauerkraut means “sour herb”, or possibly “German curmudgeon”. Why this preparation would be called sour herb I have no idea.
Ukrainian, Russian and several other eastern European languages use the word kapusta to refer to fresh cabbage, cured cabbage, and various dishes made with one or both of those.
Sauerkraut is a miracle preparation. Cabbage and salt. That’s it. Somehow liquid appears from thin air and submerges the cabbage. Over a few weeks, though neither cabbage nor salt are acidic, … Continue reading.
This post was originally published on January 6 (Orthodox Christmas Eve!), 2013. Re-published today for those that took my session at Eat Alberta 2017. The only difference between what we did at Eat Alberta and the recipe below is that we used Sylvan Star medium gouda instead of orange Cheddar.
There are as many recipes for perogies as there are babas in the world. Some pillowy perogies have potato in the dough, as well as the filling. Others are made with a simple dough of flour, sour cream, butter, and eggs. This is what I prefer…
This afternoon I made perogies, then ate four dozen of them, giving me ample opportunity to contemplate their mysteries.
The Dough. … Continue reading.
We’ve tried a lot of things with dandelions. The leaves are great. Hopefully everybody knows that by now. I’ve made syrups with the flowers, but truthfully they don’t have much flavour and are only good for their sunny colour. The roots are delicious roasted and useful in bitter infusions, but they are such a bitch to harvest I rarely bother. The flower buds can be pickled, but while they look a good deal like capers they don’t actually have much flavour of their own, and certainly don’t have the distinct mustard-like pop of their Mediterranean look-alikes.
Dandelion crowns might be the tastiest part of the plant.
The crown is where the root transitions to the stalks. It is only slightly … Continue reading.