Because of the diverse nature of the many different restaurants and chefs Brian Henry has worked under he is highly proficient at a wide range of cuisines.

Brian’s cooking is seasonal, inventive and smart, but in no way unapproachable or fussy. When he is coaxed out of the kitchen and starts talking about food, his passion and knowledge are instantly recognizable.

"Chef Brian Henry cooked a series of delicious appetizers for us as we sat around a table in the kitchen". Thanks

Tony Aspler, Wine writer

“Chef Brian Henry puts one hundred percent of his energy into going all the way.”

Birgit Moenke, Editor Stir Media Read More Reviews

Gastronomically yours,

Here are the recipes from last weeks Friendly Fires Barbecue Class

One Stinky Onion

 

One of the top 10 questions I get is, “how do you chop onions without crying?”

The answer is simple. Don’t chop onions.

Slicing or chopping onions can be among the most miserable of kitchen chores.

Our sniffly noses and tears streaming down our cheeks make it easy to understand the purpose of onions¹ sulphurous characteristics: to discourage animals from eating them.

Our bodies react to onions as they do because cutting an onion releases chemicals that combine to create lachrymator, a sulphur-based gas, which is also one of the ingredients in tear gas.

This gas reacts to the water in your eyes and nose, producing sulphuric acid, which causes that familiar burning sensation and produces tears and sneezes.

Minimize the tearful effects of chopping onions by placing them in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes. This will slow down the movement of the tear-inducing sulphur elements.

Another effective, if somewhat awkward, method is to try cutting the ends off of your onions under cold running water. Then allow them to soak in cold water for half an hour before chopping them.

If you¹re going to be cooking your onions right away, try placing them in the microwave for two to three minutes on high to help release the gases prior to chopping.

 

Ultimately, though, if you don¹t want to cry over onions, you’ll need to wear a pair of goggles and a nose plug. (Fashion note: Be sure to remove protective devices before dinner guests arrive.)

Onions are most often used as a sub-ingredient to help build foundations for great dishes. On occasion, though, they get top billing as the primary ingredient in recipes such as French onion soup, onion bread or onion rings. In these recipes we get to enjoy the true sweet flavour that onions have to offer.

You can use any variety of onion to make the following recipe for Red Onion Marmalade, but I prefer to use red Italian onions, with their striking colour preserved by the red-wine vinegar.

 

These onions, as well as many other varieties, are available at any roadside produce stand. I found mine, as well as the apple cider, at the Deer Bay Farm’s stall at the Peterborough Farmer¹s Market.

Serve Red Onion Marmalade as a condiment. It makes for a light alternative to horseradish in beef dishes, and is delicate enough to be served with poached or smoked salmon. I like to pair it with triple creamed Brie, some grapes and a baguette.

 

 

 

Red Onion Marmalade

Ingredients:

3 cups of diced red onions

1-cup red wine vinegar

1/2-cup unsweetened apple cider (optional)

1 tsp rubbed sage or a cinnamon stick

4 cups granulated sugar

Method:

In a large saucepot, combine diced onions, apple cider, vinegar and sage. Over high heat, bring mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar and return to a boil for two to three minutes.

Reduce the heat to medium and allow the mixture to simmer for five more minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow the onion s to cool. Store the onion marmalade in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to four weeks.

Red Onion Marmalade is great on fish, pork, beef and brie!

Red Onion Marmalade is great on fish, pork, beef and brie!

We be Jamming!

As the many varieties of Ontario berries and stone fruits are coming into season many a cook is preserving the flavours of the summer harvest by making assortments of jams and jellies. This process is often a form of large batch canning which is quite involved with the picking and cutting of fruits, cooking the fruits, testing it to see if the pectin sets, sterilizing the jars, filling the jars and then further processing them in hot water baths I get tired out just writing about it.

There is no doubt in my mind though that if you have ever made jam like this you have done it with a family member or friend and you know that it is a time for sharing much more than the workload. I regularily process foods into jams, jellies and assorted condiments but I usually do it in small batches depending on the individual needs of clients. This quick approach saves me a fair bit of time as I can produce a liter or two in less than hour.  Also this allows me to forgo using a water bath as I just stockpile it in the refrigerator until needed.

I enjoy making a variety of sticky, jammy textured preserves or condiments that include onion marmalades, balsamic jellies, and smoky bacon jams.  Forgoing the use of pectin in these preparations requires using extra sugars to produce the desired consistencies, which can be acquired from a number of sources other than white sugar. Maple syrup, honey and agave nectar are natural alternatives to use as a sweetening ingredient but their viscosity can impact the final results of your preserves consistency.

The following recipe for Smoky Bacon Jam uses a blend of brown sugar and maple syrup to sweeten it up and add depth of flavour to stand up to the bacon and spices used in it. This unique condiment is a must have staple and is perfect for small batch summer canning.

 

Smokey Bacon Jam

Ingredients:

1 ½ pounds bacon, cut into 1 inch squares

2 cups minced sweet onions

1 tbsp. minced garlic

1 tsp. dried chipotle powder

½ tsp. ground ginger

½ tsp. ground mustard

Pinch of ground cinnamon

Pinch of ground clove

¼ cup water

¼ cup maple syrup

½ cup sherry vinegar

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

½ cup packed light-brown sugar

Method:

In a large size skillet cook the bacon over medium heat, stirring frequently, until browned. Transfer cooked bacon to paper towel lined plate to drain. Drain the fat from the skillet leaving all of the browned bits of bacon and cooking debris in the skillet with about a tablespoon of the bacon fat.

Stir the onions and garlic into the pan and cook them over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions become translucent. Turn up the heat to high and stir in the chipotle powder, ginger, mustard, cinnamon and cloves. Let the spices heat up and release their aromatics before adding the water, maple syrup and vinegar.

Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, and scrape all of the browned bits off of the pan while continuing to stir. Add the vanilla and brown sugar and let the recipe return to a boil before adding the bacon. Reduce heat to low and let jam reduce for about 5-7 minutes. Transfer the Smokey Bacon Jam to a suitable storage container and let it cool down before covering and refrigerating. It will store refrigerated up to 3 weeks, if it actually last that long.

 

Bacon Jam

 

Smokey Bacon Ketchup

Ingredients:

1.5 pounds  Bacon

1.5 cups of Ketchup

1.5 cups of Bulls Eye BBQ Sauce Bold original

1 – 28 oz can of diced tomatoes

1 tsp Chili powder

Method:

Cook the bacon and drain off fat. Once cooled chop bacon into small bite size cubes and reserve.  Place all other ingredients into a medium sized non-reactive container and puree until smooth using an immersion blender or in a blender. Stir in the chopped bacon and let it rest, covered, overnight in the refrigerator before using

 

 

Smokey Bacon Ketchup

Smokey Bacon Ketchup

 

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COMING SOON! Check out our line of products! The Spice Co. for all your cooking needs!

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