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,

The eggzact truth on eggs…. Sometimes we have to crack a few eggs

Chicken Ranching

My upper body is covered in random blotches of fiery red sunburn; I have dirt caked into the cracks of my hands and numerous blisters. Mud smears my face and hair and red welts are oozing blood from countless blackfly bites. Clearly I haven’t been in the kitchen; I’ve been getting my gardens ready for this year’s growing season. We have numerous flower beds, herb gardens and a vegetable plot that we cultivate. This year we have made the decision to start raising our own protein as well by adding laying hens to our urban style farming repertoire.

Raising urban chickens is easily approachable by anyone once you get everything set up and it is a great way to get a high quality protein right from your own back yard. It allows you to control what your chickens are eating and their living environment. Essentially, you need to provide your flock with a place to live which requires a coop. A coop is simply the house that your chickens will live in. These homes can be modest to elaborate creations. The rules of making your coop are simple. A coop should protect the birds from the elements, and predators at night. Coop’s should be positioned in a shady spot and allow 3 cubic feet per bird. Nesting boxes could be incorporated into your design as it promotes the chickens laying their eggs in the same spot making them easier to find. If you plan on raising your chickens year round you will need to insulate the coop. A simple venting system will allow for air circulation. The floor should be covered with shavings which will need to be changed over every couple of months and will provide your gardens with ample free fertilizer. You will need to have a run attached to the coop which is a fenced-in area that will contain the birds and protect them from daytime predators.  Allow 3 sq ft per bird when constructing the run.

 

My laying hens enjoy playing in the autumn leaves!

My laying hens enjoy playing in the autumn leaves!

Choosing the breed of birds you want to raise can be daunting as there are more than 150 to choose from of which 50 are readily available. Chickens are also rather social creatures so you should have a minimum of three birds. I’m planning on using heritage breeds that include Barred Rock, Rhode Island Red, and Ameraucana all of which are considered to be excellent layers that will begin laying around 4 – 5 months of age where other breeds may take up to six months before they begin laying.  This selection of breeds will give me a colourful variety of birds but an even greater variety in egg shell colours which will shift in hues between white, taupe, brown, blue and green.

Another reason for selecting these breeds is that they are easily tamed and will behave more like pets. Other household pets that may impact your flock are dogs and cats. Depending on your dog’s personality; it may be of constant concern near your chickens whereas cats will only go after chicks as most fully grown chickens will put a cat in its place quite quickly.

The daily chores involved with raising chickens is about as intensive as having a cat, feed them every morning, provide them with plenty of fresh water, let them out in the morning and put them in at night. Every couple of months you will need to change the litter or shavings in the floor of the coop.

 

 

Like a garden, it takes a while before you can reap what you have sown from your chickens as they must come to maturity before they begin laying eggs and their egg laying is bound by the seasons and affected by the length of daylight hours they are exposed to. As winter approaches and the days become shorter egg production will slow down.  Adding lighting to your coop can reduce the seasonal effects on egg production.

Incorporating chickens into your urban farming practices is great way to way to educate your family on how are food cycle works and allows for hands on learning in a practical environment and is enjoyed by all ages. Chicks can be sourced year round at many of our local farm supply companies. They require advance ordering which allows you to plan and build your coop and run in a timely manner knowing when your chicks will arrive.

 

These are my chickens at 3 months of age.Happy and healthy!

These are my chickens at 3 months of age.Happy and healthy!

Recent video exposes the realities of Canada’s Commercial Chicken Farms http://www.eggmcmisery.ca/
Eggs are laid by birds and reptiles alike; and we have been eating them since the beginning of time when we did more gathering than hunting. Since the domestication of jungle fowl in Asia, the chicken has evolved into one of the most commonly consumed egg producing creatures with quail, duck and ostrich eggs rallying for second place depending on one’s taste and geographic location.  Reptilian eggs are still consumed throughout the world but this practise is less common as many of the species involved are on endangered lists.

Although we may never be able to resolve the question of which came first, bird or egg, we can be certain in knowing the evolution of the countless ways to cook an egg. Eggs originally would have been consumed raw upon their harvest. With the discovery of fire we began baking and roasting eggs. Around 13 000 BC water was incorporated into egg cooking methods by boiling and steaming with cooking containers made from animal bladders and leather which was furthered by the use of stone pots around 7000BC. 2000 years later we were able to create pottery, which was succeeded by bronze, then iron.

 

egg carton photograph

With the evolution of humankind came more sophisticated cooking techniques. No doubt that the first eggs cooked in a pan without water became scrambled eggs which would have quickly evolved into an omelet which originally consisted of numerous eggs beaten and fried until firmly set. It was then sliced into wedges and served like pie. The origins of the omelet are generally thought to have originated in the Middle East around 500 BC. Its commonality travelled to Western Europe and each country created their own regional variation on this giving way to the Italian frittata, Spanish tortilla and the French quiche and omelette.

Nutritionally the egg is usually separated to consider both the yolk and the white. The yolks contain more than half the calories found in eggs and around five grams of fat depending on its size.  The whites are made up of mostly water with a significant amount of protein that is cholesterol free with very little fat if any.

This week’s recipe is for a simple omelet to which I add cheese curds to increase its flavour profile and give it a rich mouth feel. Many local grocers and markets carry all of the ingredients necessary allowing for a one stop shop to produce the following omelette recipe.

 

Simple Cheese Curd Omelette
Ingredients:

3 eggs locally sourced eggs, beaten

2 oz. of Empire cheese curds at room temperature

1 tbsp. Kawartha Dairy butter

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Method:

In a non-stick or well-seasoned omelette pan, heat the butter over medium-high heat. As the butter melts, swirl it around the pan until it starts to bubble.

Pour the beaten eggs into the pan and turn down the heat to a medium-low setting. As the eggs begin to coagulate, push the omelet to one side of the pan with a high heat spatula.

Evenly place the curds along the middle of the omelet and season the omelet with salt and pepper. Once the omelette is completely set, gently slide it out of the pan so that it rolls onto the plate. Serve immediately.

 

 

Eggs are one of the most versatile ingredients used in the kitchen. We commonly use eggs from chickens but duck, goose, and quail eggs are used as gourmet ingredients and are generally used around the world by many cultures. Gull eggs are considered a delicacy in numerous countries throughout the EU. Quail eggs are considered a delicacy in many countries. In Japanese preparations they may be served raw or cooked in sushi. In Colombia quail eggs are so commonplace that a single hard-boiled quail egg is often a topping on hot dogs and hamburgers. Although wild birds’ eggs are edible they are often protected by laws which prohibit collecting or selling them.

Chicken eggs intended for human consumption are unfertilized as laying hens are usually kept without roosters. Fertilized eggs can be consumed as refrigeration prohibits cellular growth delaying the development of the embryo.

I remember watching Rocky Balboa drink raw eggs while training for his big fight. If Rocky only knew that humans can only absorb about 50% of the protein in raw eggs, whereas the proteins in a cooked egg have a 90% bio-availability.

Egg yolks are often used as a binder or emulsifier in the kitchen. The albumen, or egg white, is high in protein but contains little or no fat and can be aerated to a light, fluffy consistency. Beaten egg whites are used in desserts such as meringues and mousse.

Sometimes when boiled eggs are overcooked, a green ring can appear around the yolk. This is caused by iron molecules reacting with sulfur compounds within the egg. It is not always a sign of the eggs being overcooked as it can also occur when there is an abundance of iron in the cooking water. The green ring does not affect the egg’s taste.

 

There is very little difference between white and brown shelled eggs. I personally prefer the brown-shelled eggs, as they are more durable and the shell is harder to break. Locally farmed eggs are usually at most a week old compared to those from large-scale producers, which could age up to two months in cold storage. Fresh eggs have egg yolks that will stand up more firmly when cracked open onto a surface and often surpass the grade “A” standard in yolk form and shape, as well the yolk exhibits a richer mango colour.

Rose Bolton raises organic free-range brown eggs in BurleighFalls. She feeds her chickens an organic mix that contains flax seed giving Bolton’s eggs a rich boost in Omega – 3 oils. These polyunsaturated oils are beneficial to coronary health and brain development.  Bolton’s Farm eggs are available at health food stores throughout our area.

Let the kids make this recipe with some supervision.  It will work well for breakfast lunch or dinner.

 

Easy Breakfast Burrito

Two large potatoes

One cup of sausage or ham diced
Six eggs
One red bell pepper diced

One cooking onion diced

Grated cheese
Tortillas as needed
Salsa as needed

Salt
Pepper

Cut the potatoes into bite size pieces and boil in water until soft enough to pierce with fork. Drain the water and reserve the potatoes.

Brown the sausage in a large skillet with bell pepper and onion until sausage is completely browned. Add potatoes to skillet and cook until the potatoes start to brown. Break eggs into large bowl and whisk. Pour the eggs into the sausage mixture. Continue cooking and stirring until the eggs are no longer wet and resemble scrambled eggs. Serve immediately with tortillas, cheese and salsa.

 

 

I will always remember the movie scene where Rocky Balboa cracks a few eggs into a glass and proceeds to drink them raw. I was seven or eight at the time and for weeks after seeing Rocky my childhood friends would often get caught up in a session filled with raw eggs and double dog dares.

Today the older version of my former self usually cringes at the thought of these memories knowing that this once breakfast of champions is more likely to be a slurry of salmonella. If Rocky only knew that humans absorb about 50% of the protein in raw eggs, whereas the proteins in a cooked egg have a 90% bio-availability there may have been less sequels.
Eggs are one of the most versatile ingredients used in the kitchen. They are used to add moisture, flavour, colour and nutrients to our food and act as a coagulant, binder or an emulsifier.

We commonly use eggs from chickens but duck, goose, and quail eggs are used as gourmet ingredients and are generally used around the world by many cultures. Although wild birds’ eggs are edible they are often protected by laws which prohibit collecting or selling them.

Chicken eggs intended for human consumption are unfertilized as laying hens are usually kept without roosters even so fertilized eggs can be consumed as refrigeration prohibits cellular growth delaying the development of the embryo.

There is very little difference between white and brown shelled eggs. I personally prefer the brown-shelled eggs, as they are more durable and the shell is harder to break. Locally farmed eggs are usually at most a week old compared to those from large-scale producers, which could age up to two months in cold storage. Fresh eggs have egg yolks that will stand up more firmly when cracked open onto a surface and often surpass the grade “A” standard in yolk form and shape, as well the yolk exhibits a richer mango colour.

There are a numerous local farms producing eggs from a variety of birds including ostrich eggs here in the Kawartha’s with just as many alternative grocery stores and markets selling them. Pick some up and drop them into this week’s recipe for egg drop soup.

 

Egg drop soup

Ingredients:

5 cups chicken broth

1 tsp soy sauce

2 tbsp medium-dry Sherry

2 tbsp grated fresh ginger

1 garlic clove, minced

1 lemon grass root bulb, peeled and bruised

2 large (chicken) eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup thinly sliced bok choy

½ cup sliced mushrooms

2 green onions sliced thin on the bias

½ tsp sesame oil

 

Method: Combine the broth, soy sauce, Sherry, ginger, garlic and lemongrass in a large heavy stock pot and bring to a boil over medium –high heat. Let the mixture simmer for five minutes then remove the ginger, garlic and lemongrass with a sieve and discard. Whisk the soup in a circular motion; while slowly pouring the eggs into it in a steady stream. Let the soup continue to simmer for about a minute allowing the eggs to cook. Turn off the heat and stir in the bok choy, mushrooms, green onions and sesame oil. Adjust seasonings to taste and serve immediately. Makes four to six servings.

 

 

Pickled Eggs

Preserving foods using the pickling process has been around for a few thousand years. Pickling is a technique used to preserve food and prevent food spoilage for extended periods of time. This is can be accomplished by either producing pickles preserved in vinegar, a strong acid in which few bacteria can survive like most of the bottled kosher cucumber pickles available in the supermarket or one can produce pickles that are soaked in a salt brine which encourages fermentation. Common examples of fermented pickles include kimchi or sauerkraut.

Pickling is a technique used around the world; as it can also change the flavours and textures of foods. The flavours of India are preserved in chutneys, kimchi is Korea, Japanese Miso pickles, salted duck eggs of China, pickled herring is found in Scandinavia, the Irish have corned beef, the salsas of Mexico, and pickled pigs feet in the southern United States.

I love pickles with their strong sour, salty, sweet and acidic flavours. I’ve never met a pickle that I haven’t liked. My all time favourite is pickled eggs; they are the perfect pub food and pair perfectly with beer, any beer. One does not need much of a gastronomic education to pair these two foodstuffs together.

There are many recipes for pickled eggs, which means that you can choose one that will suit your taste in food. Some recipes may be very hot and spicy and will contain ingredients such as chilli peppers, for those who prefer a sweeter flavours you should try recipes that contain brown sugar, beetroot, onions and cinnamon.
The best vinegar to use for pickling is good quality malt vinegars, which may be either brown or white in colour. Cider vinegar may also be used, which some may prefer, as its flavour is milder in comparison to the malt vinegars.

The eggs that you use for pickling should be as fresh as possible, especially as they may be stored for a long period of time. Grocery store eggs may be well over a month old when purchased. For farm fresh eggs I like to use eggs raised by Rose Bolton north of Lakefield which are available at the Lakefield Pantry.

 

Pub-style pickled eggs
Ingredients

12 hard-boiled eggs

4 cups of malt vinegar

1 finely chopped chilli pepper

10 black peppercorns

10 whole cloves

3 cinnamon sticks

2 tsp of allspice

Method

Peel the hard-boiled eggs and rinse them off to remove any pieces of shell. Allow the eggs to cool and then place them in a large clean jar.

Heat the vinegar and the spices in a saucepan until the liquid begins to boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove the vinegar mixture from the heat and allow it to cool to about room temperature. Strain the liquid and pour over the eggs covering them completely.

Seal the jar tightly with the lid and store in a cool and dark place for a minimum of two weeks before consuming. Although it is not necessary I choose to refrigerate my pickled eggs.

The final taste of the eggs is largely determined by the pickling solution. The eggs can be left in the solution from one day to several months. Prolonged exposure to the pickling solution may result in the eggs developing a rubbery texture.

Other ways of serving pickled eggs are in egg salad sandwiches, potato salad or with fish and chips, as the British do.

Pickled eggs are a great source of protein; they are low in fat and contain very little carbohydrates, making them a healthy whatever your diet.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,



Comments are closed.



reservation
Chef Brian for Hire
The Spice Co.