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

Posts Tagged ‘Caterer Lakefield’

Gastronomically yours,

March 6th, 2015

Kibbeling Walleye

I have been ice fishing only a few times in my life and that was more than enough for me.

Family and friends of mine habitually go ice fishing. Me?

I’m happy to stay at home with my fillet knife ready to prepare dinner. My favorite fresh water fish to prepare is walleye.

Yes I said walleye.

It is at this point that people take it upon themselves to correct me with “You mean Pickerel!”

with which I reply “No, I mean walleye.”

My response is typically followed by an awkward silence, and then I usually get accused of being an American;

which I defend proudly as being a Canadian.

Rasi and her big brother Sequoia going ice fishing for the first time in the Picton Harbour

Rasi and her big brother Sequoia going ice fishing for the first time in the Picton Harbour

Generations have handed down this tradition of calling walleye wrongly pickerel. Walleye are related to the perch family and pickerel are related to pike. The difference in identification can be seen in the dorsal fins. Walleye and perch have two dorsal fins and members of the pike-pickerel family have one.

The name walleye comes from the way the fish’s eyes reflect light like those of a cats. This is the result of a light catching layer of tissue in the eyes. This genetic adaptation allows the fish to see well in the low-light conditions found in deeper waters where walleye escape from the warm waters of summer. Walleye are also nocturnal feeders so their eyes are designed to assist with their night vision.

What is down there?

What is down there?

Genetically, walleyes vary greatly depending on their watershed due to the fact that the species has been artificially propagated for over a century. The resulting farmed fish has been introduced to existing populations or simply introduced into ecosystems that never held walleye before.

Walleye tastes great compared to other North American fishes as I find some of them to be overly swampy in flavor. Locally we have an abundant supply of walleye swimming in many of our lakes and can easily be harvested through the ice now or wait until summer.

As mentioned I’m not much into ice fishing which is why the following recipe comes to you from the Dutch Virgin Islands and has been adapted for use with Kawartha Walleye instead of Caribbean white fish. This tasty snack food is available at local food stalls and food trucks throughout the islands.

Rasi kicking back  and taking it easy waiting to catch a fish.

Rasi kicking back and taking it easy waiting to catch a fish.

 

Kibbeling: Deep Fried Battered Fish Pieces

Ingredients:

2 lbs walleye cleaned and cut into bite size pieces

1 cup flour

1 cup milk

¼ cup beer

2 eggs

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

Lime and lemon wedges

Oil for deep frying

Method:

In a medium size mixing bowl whisk together the flour milk, beer, eggs, salt and pepper. Preheat your deep fryer to 170-180C. Pat the pieces of dry with paper towel. Using a fork dip the fish in the batter and coat it on both sides. , stir around gently. Carefully transfer the fish pieces one by one into the hot oil. Do not use a fryer basket as it is better to free float the fish. Don’t overcrowd the fryer; this will drop the temperature of the oil too much, causing the batter to be soggy instead of crisp.

Turn the pieces of fish while they are frying to allow them to cook evenly. When the pieces are golden brown, scoop them out with a slotted spoon and let them rest on a paper towel lined plate to remove excess oil.

Serve immediately with the lemons and limes, fried chips, mayonnaise and some hot pepper sauce.

 

Looking for a new freezer? We sell upright freezers that are designed and built exclusively for the All-Natural Food Council of North America. For details please conact me at thechef@chefbrianhenry.com

Looking for a new freezer? We sell upright freezers that are designed and built exclusively for the All-Natural Food Council of North America. For details please conact me at thechef@chefbrianhenry.com

Gastronomically yours,

February 18th, 2015

I scream for Snow Cream

Watching the snow fall this morning I was reminded about a recipe that I learned to make when I was about six years old… Snow Cream. As a child, I was amazed how easy and fun it was to make dessert out of snow. I even began to believe that I could end world hunger with all of the snow that fell in my small Ontario town.
Friends of the family came to visit us from the South late one fall and as luck would have it we had an early snowstorm. Seizing the moment; one of our guests ventured outside with some bowls and collected as much snow as possible and quickly went to work stirring together some milk, sugar and vanilla. Then handful after handful I gradually added the snow while we took turns stirring the mixture. With short work we had created a couple of liters of Snow Cream that we drizzled with maple syrup.
Most people who have regular snowfalls and accumulations are the ones who have never heard of snow cream. This simple dessert seems to be more widely celebrated in the deep south of the United States a place not known for snow. It was not long ago that electricity was not a household item, making chest freezers more rare than the snow needed to make this recipe. So when it did snow in the south, this was an easy way to celebrate and make do with what you have.
The great thing about making snow cream is that it doesn’t require too many ingredients and those that it does can be found here locally. Naturally my milk and cream came from The Kawartha Dairy Company and my maple syrup came from Sugarvalley Farm who do farm gate sales in Indian River
The only advice that I give for the following recipe is to make sure the snow is clean. This goes beyond all the yellow snow jokes as you should only use fresh fallen snow, and be aware that it takes at least one to two hours for a fresh snowfall to clean the pollutants from the air, so use only snow that has fallen after that first cleansing snow.

View from the office this morning!

View from the office this morning!

Snow Cream
1/2 cup 35% heavy cream
½ cup 2% milk
1-teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup Kawartha Maple Syrup
6-8 litres of fresh fallen snow
Prepare an ice bath by filling an extra large mixing bowl with ice or snow half way. Set a slightly smaller bowl into the ice bath. Better yet, take your mixing bowl outside and set it in the snow. Combine the cream, milk, sugar, and in bowl and whisk together. Continue stirring while adding snow to the cream based mixture 1-2 cups at a time. The amount of snow needed will vary depending on the size of the snow crystals and the temperature of the snow. Stir in enough snow to make the cream mixture start to resemble ice cream in consistency. Garnish with crushed candy canes. Serve and eat immediately as Snow Cream is not to be stored for any period of time.

Riesling Snow Cream

1 cup 35% heavy cream
3 Tbsp. Sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup of Inniskillin Riesling Ice Wine
6-8 liter’s of snow
Prepare an ice bath by filling an extra large bowl with ice half way. Set a slightly smaller bowl into the ice bath. Better yet, take your mixing bowl outside and set it in the snow. Combine the cream, sugar, and ice wine in bowl and whisk together. Continue stirring while adding snow to ice wine mixture 1-2 cups at a time. Stir in enough snow to make snow cream to an ice cream consistency. Serve and consume immediately.

Note: ALWAYS make sure the snow is clean. This goes beyond all those yellow snow jokes. Always use fresh fallen snow, but be aware that it takes at least one to two hours for a fresh snowfall to clean the pollutants from the air, therefore use only snow that has fallen after that first cleansing snow.

 

Out in the Cold

If you have had to spent extended periods of time out of doors the past few days chances are that your face and any other exposed areas of skin is probably feeling a bit sore and tender. This is because the extreme cold has damaged your skin by dehydrating it and causing it to oxidize. More specifically your exposed skin is being subjected to the sublimation process which is when we see the outer surface of our skin begin to freeze ever so slightly and the water molecules go directly from their solid state or ice to their gaseous state as a vapour without ever being in its liquid state. Simply put we are all feeling a little freezer burnt!
If you have ever found a forgotten tidbit of food in the freezer which was wrapped in haste and repeatedly tossed out of the way every time you went rooting through your freezer you may discover when you finally un-wrapped it that a portion of its surface may have been covered in ice crystals. This is the extreme effects of sublimation on foods that have been improperly frozen which when thawed leaves our food looking dry and shrivelled or somewhat burnt.

freezer brrrrrrrn

freezer brrrrrrrn

Food affected by freezer burn does not pose a threat to food safety or our health, it is will simply have some dry patches or have changed colour as the lack of moisture can cause reactions in pigmentation. By keeping the temperature of your freezer at a constant temperature of -18 °c or colder it will not only keep your frozen food safe it will lessen the effects of freezer burn. Foods located in an area of your freezer that are frequently exposed to temperature fluctuations like those near the door are at a greater risk of experiencing sublimation as well manual defrost freezers are better at preventing freezer burn than the self-defrosting freezers for the same reason..
When we venture outside in cold weather we tend to wrap ourselves up thoroughly and apply a protective layer of lotion on our skin to protect it which we can also do with our food. Properly wrapping our food is the first step in protecting it in the freezer. Vacuum packing your food with sealant machines are a popular method to use, while some choose to use self-sealing plastic bags which allow you to hug and squeeze the excess air out of the bag. Although plastic barriers are extremely effective at protecting food when they fail they fail miserably as the slightest puncture in the protective plastic allows the entire piece of food to be exposed to the effects of cold air. Traditional butcher paper is better for wrapping medium to larger pieces of food because it can effectively create a barrier between foods and the air, when they become punctured only the food at the puncture site will be at risk of developing freezer burn and can easily be trimmed off.
You can also slow the effects of freezer burn on your food by simply placing open, plastic containers partially filled with water in your freezer in addition to those used to make ice cubes to help maintain humidity.

Looking for a new freezer? Conact me at thechef@chefbrianhenry.com

Looking for a new freezer? Contact me at thechef@chefbrianhenry.com as we now have freezers available designed exclusively for the All-Natural Food Council of North America to properly preserve healthy, all-natural foods!

 
Humans have been freezing food for its preservation for centuries as it slows decomposition of foods while protecting them from bacteria and pathogens. Clarence Birdseye II made numerous fur trapping expeditions into Labrador where he learned about ice fishing and witnessed the effects of flash freezing food in the sub-zero climate of the region. Birdseye watched how observed people purposely freezing their food for long term storage which inspired him to invent the necessary equipment required to create an endless line of frozen foods and prepared meals.
It has been proven that freezing foods does not impair their nutritional values; these values are lowered by the cooking methods and cooling processes that foods endure prior to and after being frozen similar to fresh foods. It has also been proven that foods frozen for 3, 6 and 12 month intervals also showed that the duration of time food spent in the freezer did not change their nutritional content.

 

Looking for a new freezer?

Contact me at thechef@chefbrianhenry.com as we now have freezers available designed exclusively

for the All-Natural Food Council of North America to properly preserve healthy, all-natural foods!

 

 

 

Gastronomically yours,

February 14th, 2015

Bloody Valentine

This annual tradition of sending messages to our loved ones dates back to 269 AD.  It was around this time that Roman Emperor Claudius needed to recruit soldiers for his armies. Enlistment was down, and Claudius; a warring ruler blamed the declining recruitment on the men wanting to stay at home with their wives and families instead of going to war. Claudius’s solution to his dilemma was to ban weddings, hoping that this would cause boredom within in the male population and inspire men to want to go to war thus causing enlistment to go up.

Father Valentine was a member of the clergy who enjoyed performing marriage ceremonies. When Claudius banned marriages Father Valentine continued to conduct them in secrecy. Claudius classified weddings as “pagan rituals” and when he heard that Father Valentine was illegally performing wedding ceremonies Claudius imprisoned Father Valentine lest he denounce his Catholic faith.

Nothing says love like meat and go cook my dinner!

Nothing says love like meat and go cook my dinner!

While imprisoned Father Valentine befriended Claudius’s daughter and would spend long hours talking to her from his cell. Roman Emperor Claudius also known as Claudius the Cruel had had enough and ordered Father Valentine to be beaten and beheaded. One of Valentine’s final actions was to write a note to his jailer’s daughter. The note was signed “from your Valentine”. Shortly thereafter on February 14, 269 AD Father Valentine was executed. It wasn’t until 496 AD that Pope Gelasius marked February 14 the day to remember St. Valentine the patron saint of lovers and over time the day was marked with sending simple gifts, poems or messages.

During the height of prohibition, it is believed that on February 14, 1929 Chicago gangster Al Capone chose to send a Valentine’s message to George “Bugs” Moran. Capone had given orders for his men to take down the rival gangster by starting at the bottom and working their way up through the ranks until they got to Bugs himself. It is believed that these orders from Capone led to the “Valentine’s Day Massacre”.

Capone went into hiding for a while but when he returned home to Chicago; Capone was welcomed home by his family and friends. In his honor they held a feast. One of the dishes served at this feast was Chilled Pasta in Walnut Sauce, Al “Scarface” Capone’s favorite dish.

 

Al "Scarface" Capone got his scars as a young bartender after complimenting a lady on having a "nice ass". Her brother took a knife to Capone's face

Al “Scarface” Capone got his scars as a young bartender after complimenting a lady on having a “nice ass”. Her brother took a knife to Capone’s face

For the more adventuresome I recommend making your own pasta from scratch. Pasta dough does not traditionally contain eggs, unless you are making egg noodles. The following recipes are simple and produce pasta dough’s that can be rolled by hand or machine. The challenge will be cutting the noodle of your choice!

Chilled Rigatoni with Walnut Sauce

Ingredients

500 gr. Chopped walnuts

15 gr. Fresh oregano

10gr. Minced garlic

2 gr. Crushed chillies

150gr. Sultanas

1 bunch parsley

5gr. Salt

5gr. Pepper

250 gr. Grated Romano cheese

250 ml extra virgin olive oil

Method: In a 350f oven toast the walnut for 5-10 minutes. Allow the walnuts to cool down while gathering the remaining ingredients. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse sand-like texture.  Cover and refrigerate the Walnut Sauce for a day or two to let the flavors mellow. Cook 1kg of pasta, rigatoni is best. Drain the pasta and allow it to cool. Toss the pasta with the Walnut Sauce and allow it to sit in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours before serving.

 

Traditional Semolina Pasta Dough

One pound semolina flour

Six ounces water

One ounce olive oil

One half teaspoon salt

Egg Pasta Dough

1 egg, beaten

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons water

 

Method:

In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour and salt. Make a well in the flour, and add your wet ingredients. Stir your mixture until it is combined into a stiff dough. If needed, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons water.

On a lightly floured surface, knead dough for about 3 minutes. Cover the dough and let it rest for ten minutes. Using a pasta machine or by hand; roll the dough out to desired thinness. Use your pasta machine or a knife to cut into strips of desired width.


 

 Here Comes the Bride 

The exchanging of nuptials throughout society carries many traditions. From the ring to the veil and the colour of the brides dress all of these traditions have a story behind them which evolved over time depending on many historical influences.

Wheat and grains are considered to be symbols of fertility. Wheat sheaths would commonly be used in wedding ceremonies and their grains were tossed in the air over the newly wedded couples heads to promote fertility.  As the world evolved we discovered how to use wheat to bake wedding cakes. Some cultures then began to take pieces of the cake and drop crumbs over the bride and groom.

When the price of grains began to rise, people switched to throwing confetti and rice at the newlyweds.  The novelty of confetti quickly faded as it is impossible to clean up the mess it leaves behind.

Controversially I have heard many people on many occasions claim that you should not to throw rice at your wedding because the birds will eat it and explode. If this urban myth were true we would be able to watch wild life shows on migrating birds stopping off for a nosh in patches of wild rice fields and then the poor unsuspecting birds would explode on film. There would be large groups of angry people trying to stop the senseless cruelty of the systematic self-inflicted genocide committed by birds of the world. We would be hanging bird sized rice cookers from trees in an attempt to reverse the damage caused by years of rice emissions around the world. People have stopped throwing rice at weddings because it hurts and rice on the church steps is the equivalent of marbles on the church steps.

Photo Credit www.quericavida.com

Photo Credit www.quericavida.com

Rice is the seeds harvested from aquatic plants that are members of the grass family. Globally this grain provides the human race with almost 20% of our daily caloric intake.

Manomin is the Ojibway word for wild rice that can be found growing in small lakes and slow-flowing streams of central North America. Wild rice and corn are the only cereal crops native to North America.

Almost always sold as a dried whole grain, Manomin is easily digestible, high in fibre and has double the protein of brown rice and like other rice varieties contains no gluten.

James Whetung owner of Black Duck Wild Rice harvests manomin in and around Curve Lake using canoes or an air boat to lightly glide into the rice stands for harvesting as they do not harm the rice plants or their sensitive surrounding soil.  Black Duck Wild Rice is wind winnowed and gently roasted, giving it a delicate nutty aroma. It tastes even better after meeting James and listening to his stories and the legacy of manomin and his Anishinabek heritage.

This truly local and regionally defined grain is available year round and can be found at The Whetung Center in Curve Lake. I recommend trying it in the following recipe.

 

Black Duck Wild Rice

1 tbsp. butter

1/2 cup diced onion

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup each of diced carrot and celery

1 cup wild rice

1 2/3 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup dried cranberries

½ cup slivered almonds toasted

2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh chives

 

Preparation:

In saucepan, melt butter over medium heat and sauté the onion, garlic, carrot and celery together until softened. Add rice and cook for about two minutes while continuing to stir the mixture.

Add stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until most of the rice has split open, about 40 minutes. Stir in the cranberries and almonds and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Add the chives and season with salt and pepper to taste.

This recipe can be served hot or cold.  Refrigerated it will last for up to three days.


 

 

You calling me a Wise Guy?

Father Valentine was martyred after being beaten and beheaded by order of Roman Emperor Claudius on February 14, 269 AD. The story kinda goes like this… Claudius the Cruel was a warring ruler who was recruiting soldiers for his armies. Enlistment  was down, and Claudius blamed this on the men wanting to stay at home with their wives and families. So in a moment of Emperor enlightenment Claudius banned weddings, hoping that the men would over time

become bored and want to go to war thus causing enlistment to go up.

Father Valentine enjoyed performing the marriage ceremonies so much that even when Claudius banned marriages Father Valentine conducted them in secrecy. Claudius got word of the newly classified “pagan rituals” taking place, and had the Father imprisoned lest he denounce his Catholic faith.

One of his final acts was to write a note to his jailer’s daughter, who had befriended him. The note was signed “from your Valentine”. It wasn’t until 496 AD that Pope Gelasius marked February 14 the day to remember St. Valentine the patron saint of lovers and over time the day was marked with sending simple gifts, poems or messages.

During the height of prohibition, it is believed that on February 14,1929 Chicago gangster Al Capone sent a Valentine message to George “Bugs” Moran. Capone had given orders for his men to take down the rival gangster by starting at the bottom and working their way up through the ranks until they got to Bugs himself.

It is believed that these orders from Capone led to the “Valentine’s Day Massacre”..  It is also believed that Al Capone was relaxing in his Palm Beach, Florida home at the time of this murder mystery.

So what has all of this got to do with food? Well when Al Capone returned home to Chicago he was welcomed home by his family and friends. In his honor they held a feast. One of the dishes served at this feast was Chilled Pasta in Walnut Sauce, Al “Scarface” Capone’s favorite dish.

No one was ever convicted in the “Valentine’s Day Massacre” however Capone was finally charged with tax evasion and other petty crimes leading to his conviction and serving a seven year sentence on “the Rock”. I wonder what prison food was like back in the dirty thirties.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gastronomically yours,

February 13th, 2015

Superstitions of the Kitchen for Friday the 13th

 

A Baker’s Dozen

This term simply means thirteen, rarely but at times fourteen. The phrase originated in England when bakers were regulated by a trade guild known as The Worshipful Company of Bakers. One such regulation known as the “Assize of Bread and Ale” was to regulate the price of bread according to the price of wheat. Therefore bakers would add an extra loaf, or roll to ensure that they were over the regulated weight, thus sparing them the possibility of being fined by the trade guild for selling there wares under weight.

Documentation shows that during the reign of Henry II (1148-89) these laws came into existence. Henry III revived this law in 1266, with the maximum penalty being public flogging for the selling of under weight bread. I must include a disclaimer here, as I’m not related to either of the aforementioned Henrys nor do I fancy myself as a baker.

Friday the 13th... photo credit architectureideas.info

Friday the 13th… photo credit architectureideas.info

Ironically this seems to be the only place where superstitions regarding the number thirteen are accepted. The vast majority of nations and religions view the number thirteen as a bad omen. This thinking has many buildings pretending not to have a 13th floor, just as many cities do not have a 13th St.

Superstitions of the table dictate that if you have a baker’s dozen of bakers sitting down to dinner together it would be deemed unlucky. In fact the belief is that one of the thirteen would die within the year.

More precisely there were thirteen apostles who celebrated the Last Supper It was here that the treachery of Judas was discovered. Thus when thirteen people gather at a table to eat, it is believed that one is a traitor and potentially a hanged-traitor at that.

As the story goes, the menu at the last supper was relatively simple, bread and wine. Bread, is considered by some to be the staff of life. Yet when turned upside down it signifies death.

As for the wine, to spill some on the table is an honor to the gods, it signifies ones gratitude with hopes of reward but try not to consume the last drop of wine in the bottle as it symbolizes poverty and all things associated with it.

Another superstition of the table is that when one capsizes the saltcellar you must quickly gather a few of the misplaced grains and toss it over your shoulder. The sharing of salt at the beginning of a meal between guests represents friendship. The spilling of salt represents a disagreement in friendship.

From here in when you come to my house for dinner we will be mindful as to count heads, as well we will dine on a zero-carb, salt-free menu, and there shall be plenty of wine stains in the table cloth.

 

Gastronomically yours,

December 24th, 2014

T’was a Night in the Kitchen

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through’ the kitchen
Not a chef was stirring, not even washing the dishes
The pots were all cleaned and put back on the shelf
Knowing tomorrow it would be back to work for this elf;
Our company had long ago gone to sleep,
While the pot of turkey bones silently did steep.
Removing my tunic and old chef’s hat
I had decided to partake in a stiff nightcap
When out in the kitchen the smoke alarm rang
I ran back to the galley and spouted some slang
I had rendered our festive dinner to ash,
And proceeded to quietly take it out to the trash
While back in the house I poured some Chablis
And ended up on the couch to watch some TV.
When, what to my bloodshot eyes should appear,
But a dude on the network cooking with cheer
He was straining a sauce with a ladle and colander
Later it mentioned that his name was something Oliver
Soon my eyes were drooping and I began to nod,
As my mind was dreaming now immersed in egg nog.
Back in the kitchen I found myself looking
As this bloke named Oliver was standing there cooking
He was calling out names of chefs, who arrived,
Through my exhaust fan looking rather surprised.
Now! Ramsey now! Batali, now! Lagasse and Flay
“On! De Laurentiis, on! Pepin, on! Puck and Ray
They were dressed in chef whites and ready to cook
I interrupted them and asked them to sign their latest cook book.
The pots and pans they began to rattle
As these chefs ironically prepared to do battle

Ramsey started off with a furious expletive Which is why I believe he is a distant blood relative

Ramsey started off with a furious expletive
Which is why I believe he is a distant blood relative

Ramsey started off with a furious expletive
Which is why I believe he is a distant blood relative
Batali somewhat sweaty with red hair and round belly
Shook when he laughed, like a slab of pork belly
Laggasse was shucking a pail full of clams
His eyes how they twinkled! When he shouted out BAM!
Flay with a free-range turkey flung over his back,
Looked like a cook from not just any barbecue shack.
De Laurentiis pulled out her knives which she honed
While this everyday personality looked already at home.
Pepin the French chef worked rather free and wild
And that’s okay with me because I too lament for Julia Child
Puck and Ray the ever famed culinary tycoons
Were smiling and working on a curried crab Rangoon
It was obvious now that our Christmas dinner would not be traditional
As it seemed this merry feast would border on being biblical.
With a wink of their eyes and a twist of the pepper mill
I knew that Christmas dinner would not see us dining on krill.
With a dash of caraway and a dash of dill, I sliced up the fillet
And fired up the chaffing dishes, Christmas dinner this year would be buffet.
What I was to do next I was no longer sure
I was just thankful that we would not dine on manure
All chefs on hand were given thanks and gingerbread
As they returned where they came from I went straight to bed
With the bread in the bread maker using fresh baker’s yeast
I wish Happy Holidays to all, and to all a good feast!

 

Merry Christmas from all of us in the kitchen!

Merry Christmas from all of us in the kitchen!

 

Gastronomically yours,

December 21st, 2014

More S’mores Please!

So what do you do when your children’s school ask you for 150 sweet treats for their festive feast in winter? You make s’mores, these maybe a bit over the top for child gastronomes but I took pleasure in knowing that between the sugar and caffeine in each of these jars these kids would be on one hell of a tear for an hour or so!

The recipe is easy to do, should take you about 3-4 hours to complete and do not substitute milk or white chocolate… Also do not use any cream other than that listed…

 

Canned S’mores

Ingredients:

150 125ml Mason Jars

90 oz Graham Cracker Crumbs

5 lbs dark chocolate 70% or higher pistoles

4.25 liters 35% Heavy Whipping Cream

¼ cup vanilla extract

3x 400 gm bags of miniature marshmallows

¼ cup cocoa powder

¼ cup icing sugar

Method:

Remove lids from mason jars. Scoop 1.5 tbsp. of the graham crumbs into each jar.

Place enough Graham Crumbs to cover the bottom about a cm or 1/4 inch'ish

Place enough Graham Crumbs to cover the bottom about a cm or 1/4 inch’ish

If you have chocolate pistols carry on with the recipe otherwise you will need to break or chop the chocolate into small pieces.

 In a large size (2 gallon) stainless steel pot bring the cream to a simmer over medium heat. Immediately remove pot from heat and add the chocolate.

Let the chocolate rest in the cream for a minute or two.

Using a wooden spoon stir the melted chocolate with the cream until smooth without lumps.

Do not use a whisk as this may aerate the mixture forming bubbles like an Aero bar. Stir in the vanilla extract.

 Pour the chocolate ganache mixture into a large pitcher, and pour about 2-3 tbsp. into each jar over the graham crumbs.

Pouring from the pitcher is more efficient than ladeling it out

Pouring from the pitcher is more efficient than ladeling it out

 

Leave enough space for the marshmallows

Leave enough space for the marshmallows

Let the ganache cool and begin to set. While the ganache is still somewhat soft add a small handful of the miniature marshmallows on top of the ganache.

Using a blow torch on a low setting gently toast the marshmallows. Be cautious though as the little suckers like to flame up and burn easily just like when you’re sitting fireside!

I gave each of them a little blow before setting them down to make sure they were extinguished.

be careful when using the torch to avoid burnt offerings!

be careful when using the torch to avoid burnt offerings!

Using a sieve dust the marshmallows with the cocoa powder and then with the icing sugar.

Let it snow cocoa and icing sugar!

Let it snow cocoa and icing sugar!

Close up the jars, adorn with whatever decorative Pintrest seasonal swag you have on hand.

Add your decorative bits, I chose to list the ingredients on the back of my card for allergy concerns!

Add your decorative bits, I chose to list the ingredients on the back of my card for allergy concerns!

Keep the s’mores in a cool place, like a fridge or in your garage if you are in a cold climate.

smore1

 

 

 

705.875.0428

705.875.0428

Gastronomically yours,

December 17th, 2014

Cheeses of Nazareth

The earliest recorded history of cheesecake shows that cheesecake was very popular in ancient Greece. When Rome conquered Greece, the Romans began preparing cheesecake and often would use cheesecake as an offering in their temples to their gods. One of the foods served to athletes during the first Olympic Games held in 776 B.C. on the Isle of Delos was cheesecake.

In the early 1900’s the most famous variation of cheesecake came of age and is still at the top of its game as the New York cheesecake. This pure, untainted cheesecake is prepared with pure cream cheese, cream, eggs, and sugar. It is not to be served with any goopy toppings just a pure and simple unadorned cheesecake.

The most indispensable ingredient in any cheesecake is cheese. Most cheesecakes are made from ricotta, cream or cottage cheese. There is a never ending supply of recipes for these creations with cooks the world over striving to make the perfect cheesecake. Many cultural and regional influences can be displayed in cheesecakes which will see a variety of ingredients used for the crust and regionally influenced cheese ingredients.

Sequoia and Kira Henry making fresh goat cheese at Crosswind Farms

Sequoia and Kira Henry making fresh goat cheese at Crosswind Farms

In my opinion if cheesecake was good enough for Olympians it’s definitely good enough for me. On the contrary I must admit that I’m not a huge dessert eater. So I prefer my cheesecake to be a savory preparation which would see my cheesecake made from Gorgonzola cheese and maybe a walnut crust or an almond port cheesecake served with a light salad. These types of cheesecakes put me into culinary rapture. With life being so unpredictable why not eat dessert first? I enjoy cheese like most Canadians do. I could eat it at every meal, whether it is cheese soup, a fresh bag of curds or a silky cheesecake; cheese always satisfies.

Cross Wind Farm is our locally owned and operated goat cheese farm producing award winning artisanal cheese. Which is located just a short drive outside of Peterborough in Keene. Cross Wind is a family owned and operated farm and it is proudly celebrating its 4th Anniversary this holiday season. I recommend using Cross Wind Farm Cheese in the following recipe for Balsamic Scented Goat Cheesecake with a Cranberry Almond Crust, which is sweet enough for dessert but is also savoury enough to eat with a salad. A bitter green salad would be best dressed with a light balsamic or berry vinaigrette, and slice your cheesecake into pieces that are about half of what one would serve for a dessert size portion.

 

 

Cranberry Almond Crust

Ingredients:

1 cup of crushed almonds

2/3 of a cup graham cracker crumbs

1 tbsp. of sugar

1/4 cup dried cranberries chopped

1/2 cup of melted butter

Method:

In a medium sized bowl mix together all of the dry ingredients. Now pour in the melted butter and blend together until it is of an even consistency.

Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of 9 inch spring form pan.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 6 or 7 minutes. Set aside.

 

 

Balsamic Scented Goat Cheesecake

For the filling:

1 ½ pounds of goat cheese

5oz. honey

1/2 cup whole fat goat’s milk

6 eggs

1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Method:

Beat goat cheese with the honey on low speed until barely combined. With the beaters running slowly add the goat’s milk. Next add the eggs one at a time and beat until just incorporated. Pour the filling over the prepared crust and bake on the middle rack of the oven at 300 F for 25 minutes. Let the cheesecake cool and serve with a light salad.

 

Logo picture format

 

 

Gastronomically yours,

December 13th, 2014

The Lakefield Village Merchants

Proudly Celebrating the 11th Annual Ice Sculpting Competition!

Proudly Celebrating the 11th Annual Ice Sculpting Competition!

Present the 11th Annual Polar Fest Ice Sculpting Competition

Come visit the Village of Lakefield

Come visit the Village of Lakefield

Greetings from the Kawarthas!

The Lakefield Village Merchants are currently planning the

11th Annual Polar Fest Ice Sculpting Competition

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

2015 theme

Frozen”

As we are celebrating our 11th year of this fabulous event we have decided to go with the Disney Movie Frozen as our family oriented theme

 

This years theme will be inspired by Disneys Frozen

This years theme will be inspired by Disneys Frozen

Each sculptor(s) or team will have 2-3 blocks of ice to work with. You can have a fourth block to carve with, but it will need a logo of one of our sponsors carved into it.

In addition to prizes/awards for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners, all carvers will be given $100.00 to help offset incurred personal costs. The People’s Choice Award will be given at 5:00 pm, with an Ice Carvers’ Reception from 4:30 pm –5:30 pm immediately following the competition Saturday evening at The Thirsty Loon Pub.

Please keep in mind that entrant space is limited and it fills quickly. Please respond by, January 25th, 2015. If you are interested please reply to me ASAP, and I will forward more information to you.

 Don’t hesitate to contact me if you require any additional information.

I look forward to another successful year.

Sincere regards,  Brian Henry

Ice Sculpting Competition Founding Facilitator

on behalf of Lakefield Village Merchants

705.875.0428

thechef@chefbrianhenry.com

www.chefbrianhenry.com

 

Ice Sculpture Competition Guidelines

 

The following guidelines will assist you with your plans to participate in the upcoming Polar Fest Ice Sculpture Competition on Saturday, January 31st, 2015.

PLEASE READ THESE CAREFULLY.

 

  • A minimum of two blocks of ice per entry will be supplied by The Lakefield Village Merchants (40”x 20” x 9.5” – approx.270 lbs per ice block).

 

  • Ice carving will take place on Saturday, January 31st, 2015 from 9 am to 4 pm. Please arrive at Cenotaph Park in Lakefield at 8 am for instructions for the day. The Awards Presentation will take place on Saturday at 4:00 pm with a reception from 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm immediately following the competition.

 

  • Participants are responsible for supplying their own tools and materials – electricity will be provided. Neither ladders nor chairs are provided and it is the sculptor’s responsibility to provide these if necessary for their carvings. Please remember to bring extension cord(s) if you will be using chainsaws or other tools that require power. A limited number of generators will be on hand. You may choose to bring your own generators.

 

  • The sculptures will remain on display for the whole weekend and as long the weather allows them to last. Once completed, all sculptures become the property of The Lakefield Village Merchants. The Lakefield Village Merchants retain exclusive rights to the sculptures and the use of any photographs, videos or reproductions thereof for future promotional, commercial or other applications. Parties interested in the use of photographs, videos or reproductions of the sculptures for commercial, promotional or other use application means must receive written approval of that use from Brian Henry, Competition Facilitator and from the Lakefield Village Merchants. Carvers shall be entitled to use photographs of the sculptures they themselves created for their personal portfolios and such use shall be excluded from this restriction.

 

  • Safety is very important. In order to ensure the safety of all participants, we strongly recommend that personal protective equipment be used in order to avoid injuries due to the use of electrical or manual equipment. This includes safety boots, hearing protection, protective eyewear and other relevant safety equipment. Each participant is responsible for their own safety, as well as the safety of other competitors and the general public. The Township of Selwyn, the owners of property on which sculptures will be situated and The Lakefield Village Merchants will in no way be held responsible for injuries and/or damages incurred to the carvers/sculptors and their support team. The carvers are responsible for their tools and equipment. No rewards will be paid out due to loss, theft or damage to tools, equipment and personal effects.

 

  • Other than the annually set theme there are no set parameters as to design to the sculptures, a general sense of taste must apply, with a liberal approach to keeping the sculptures in the realms of political correctness. As well this approach applies to the sculptor’s behavior and actions while partaking in this event.

 

Deadline for entry is January 25th, 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015 Theme

FROZEN”

 

2015 Ice Sculpture Competition Entry Form

 

Name:                                                                                                                                    

 

Number of blocks requested: One              Two                 Three                    .

 

Telephone:                                                    Occupation:                                                  

 

Address:                                                                                                                               

 

City:                                                                            Postal Code:                         

 

E-mail:                                                                                                                                   

 

 

Please be sure to include (checklist below):

  • Completed form
  • Sculpture Design Plans
  • Short 100 word bio about yourself and or your team for press release.

 

 

Please forward your completed entry forms to:

 

Brian Henry

Private Chef Services

Ice Sculpting Competition Founding Facilitator

On behalf of the

Lakefield Village Merchants

  1. 875.0428

thechef@chefbrianhenry.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gastronomically yours,

December 4th, 2014

Zen and the Art of Marshmallow Roasting

 

Roasting marshmallows isn’t just a summer time treat, as you can make them indoors too!

The technique is quite simple: find yourself some oversized skewers, impale one or two marshmallows on one end, position yourself at the opposite and hold the marshmallow over a fire. The trick lies in getting your tasty treat cooked to your preferred taste, this seemingly simple challenge is similar in ordering a med-rare steak in some restaurants.

Getting the outside sugars to caramelize to our discerning palates, while swatting mosquitoes can produce some interesting results. From the Chicago-style being burnt on the outside and blue-rare in the middle to the perfectly cooked foie gras-style of a golden crust with a gooey molten centre.

The basic concept for making S’mores is to create a toasted marshmallow sandwich; this creation showed up in the 60’s and traditionally one uses graham crackers and chocolate. For the next fireside gathering try setting up a buffet for the kids, using After Eight’s, cookies, caramel or cut-up chocolate bars and pieces of sliced fruit. Better yet get ice-cream cones, fill it with roasted marshmallows and set up an assortment of toppings. The night time games of hide and seek or flashlight tag that follows tends to be super charged with the kiddie-crack effects of a sugar high.

Another unique summer time event is watching thunderstorms and the inevitable power outage that ensues. For this I like to keep a bag of mini-marshmallows and wooden skewers on hand as one can ride out the storm by roasting away over the candles and watch the lightning with cottage comfort food.

Now as the early days of winter have arrived we have moved our marshmallow roasting indoors using our wood-fired Heartland cook-stove.

The Marsh Mallow was originally a confection made from the mucilaginous root of the Althae officinalis, a relative of the common Mallow but resembles the Hollyhock. Today’s commercially produced Marshmallows are made from sugar and Gum Arabic and starch.

Roasting safely on an open fire

Roasting safely on an open fire

smore2

 

The first marshmallows were made as a medical confectionery for treating sore throats in ancient Egypt.

They were produced from the mucilaginous sap and roots of the common Musk Mallow plant which were boiled with honey and dried. The result was something akin to a honey flavoured sponge. Recipes evolved to include spices, herbs and colours from natural sources.

French confectioner’s discovered that the Musk Mallow sap could be whipped into a lighter texture as air bubbles became trapped within the sticky mass and further enhanced this by incorporating meringue into the recipe. Modern industrialization saw the recipe for of marshmallows change into a simple blend of sugar, gelatin and cornstarch. Today the Musk Mallow plant is considered to be an invasive weed while its ornamental cousin, the Hollyhock enjoys its ornamental limelight.

If you’re stuck for ideas for what to do for Valentine’s Day why not make up a batch of marshmallows and serve them for dessert. You can serve them with chocolate, graham crackers and candles to produce tableside S’mores. The following recipe is easy to use and can include Canadian sugar extracted from sugar beets.

Be aware that this recipe can make a sticky mess out of your kitchen if not approached with care. Keep plenty of warm water on hand to clean up any spills as you go. Make sure that you dust everything with icing sugar that you don’t want coated with marshmallow.

 

All smore'd up

All smore’d up

Marshmallows

 

Ingredients:

1 tbsp. powdered gelatin

½ cup cold water, divided

1 cup granulated sugar

½ cup icing sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

Food colouring optional

 

Method:

In a small bowl, whisk together the gelatin and half of the water. In a medium sized, stainless steel sauce pan, combine the granulated sugar and the remaining ¼ cup of water. Whisk this over medium –low heat until all of the sugar is dissolved.

Whisk the dissolved gelatin into the sugar water and quickly bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and allow it to boil for 2-3 minutes. Do not leave the pot unattended as its contents will double in size and easily boil over.

smore4

Remove the pot from the stove and transfer its contents into the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk the contents at a low speed setting for 2-3 minutes. Add the vanilla, salt and a couple of drops of food colouring if you choose. Increase the speed on your mixer to maximum and let it run for 8-10 minutes. At which time you should have a large sticky white mass of something that looks like shiny icing and smells like marshmallows.

Liberally dust your work space with icing sugar and pour the marshmallow mixture onto the sugar coated area. Let the mixture rest for about five minutes before completely dusting its surface with more icing sugar. Gently push the dough out until it reaches a thickness of about 1 inch. You can now cut out the marshmallows with a knife or cookie cutters and transfer them to a parchment lined cookie sheet. Let the marshmallows sit out for 45-minutes before serving. Marshmallows will store in a sealed air-tight container for 3-5 days. Yeilds: 30-40 marshmallows.

Rasi says you know they are good when they are sticky!

Rasi says you know they are good when they are sticky!

Gastronomically yours,

November 18th, 2014

Venison

As a child I never did understand why my father and his friends would travel to northern Ontario every year to go deer hunting. Besides the fun he would have and the time spent “in camp” with his lifelong buddies I just never figured out why anyone would expend so much energy on bringing home venison for the purpose of serving it to other people to eat. I grew up fearing dinner at anyones home who announced that venison was on the dinner menu. It was always served covered with an unpalatable amount of onions or garlic to cover up it’s gamey flavour. It was also either cooked beyond recognition in an attempt to make it tender or ground up into sausage with bacon to compensate for venison’s exceptionally lean characteristics.

Now that I’m older and have a greater understanding of foods I have come to appreciate venison and how to properly prepare it. Of all the big game meats, the most extreme variation in flavour does occur in venison. Depending on the species, its age, how and where the animal is harvested from are the main influences on its flavour. Deer that graze in farmers fields on corn are probally a nuisance to the farmer but are my prefference to eat as they tend to have a more mellow flavour opposed to those harvested from Northern Ontario that grow up eating twigs, bark and cedar as they tend to taste like twigs, bark and cedar. The meat from mature males harvested during the rut is always stronger in flavour and too gamey to enjoy. Game animals that are wounded or literally hunted down often have so much adrenaline in their bloodstream that one will taste the adrenaline in it’s flesh.

Freshly arrived Canada Geese called Niska

Freshly arrived Canada Geese called Niska

Dad’s Birthday dinner forester

Venison is not always easy to obtain. That which is farm-raised is most often sold to fine dining establishments, while venison harvested from the wild cannot be sold in Canada and can only be enjoyed by hunters or their friends. During the 1990’s, based upon farm-raised venison figures, venison consumption in North America almost tripled.  The quest for variety and unusual taste sensations drove the demand for venison, but also the emphasis on healthy and natural foods gave it a significant boost. Venison is high in protein, iron, zinc and B vitamins. In addition, venison is very lean. A deer has 5% body fat whereas other domesticated animals have up to 25%.

The lower fat content and higher protein levels in venison are the qualities that dictate how it must be cooked. Most recipes call for the addition of fats, such as olive oil or bacon to compensate for the lack of fat in the meat. Venison must be cooked quickly using high heat methods such as grilling or pan fry. It should be removed from the heat source earlier than other meats would be because it will retain heat and continue to cook  It also should be allowed to rest for 3-5 minutes before serving and should never be cooked beyond medium doneness.Simply put for one to serve a medium venison steak one needs to cook the steak to medium-rare and then remove it from the heat and allow it to rest covered with foil for 3-5 minutes depending on the steaks thickness and then serve.

Always preheat the oven, skillet, grill or barbecue before cooking venison. Brush the steaks with olive oil before pan-frying or grilling to allow it to brown more readily and retain its natural juices. Cook it quickly, at high heat to prevent it from drying out.

I find that blackberries, redcurrant, red wine and juniper are some of the classic flavours to pair with venison, which I might add are not available fresh from the local marketplace however I did get a bottle of Raspberry Merlot Drizzle from Kawartha Country Winery on my drive home after visiting  my friend Frank at the Young’s Point General Store who gave me half a dozen venison steaks that came from a deer that he had harvested locally.

Using the above guidelines you should be able to cook the perfect venison steak  and then apply a bit of the drizzle to finish the steak. I reccomend serving it with garlic roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes.

Plucking the geese is a mighty task!

Plucking the geese is a mighty task!

Venison ajar

 

Not too long ago the refrigerator was not a common household fixture. When animals were harvested for their flesh lack of this appliance posed a bit of a problem for safely storing the large quantities of meat. Some of the meat would be preserved by methods like smoking, salting or drying it; but the greater part of it was stored like fruits and vegetables by canning it.

Talking with neighbors and friends throughout the region it sounds like the local harvest of venison has been a successful one with many freezers exceeding capacity. This surplus of meat is perfect to be used for canning.

The art of canning meat is not limited to hunters or those who live on farms as all meats can be processed and stored by the canning method. Although poultry meats can be canned, red meats like beef, pork, lamb, or venison provide the best results.

Meat that has been stored away in jars makes for quick and easy meals over the winter months and is great to have available for when we get snowbound in the coming months. It is easy to prepare by making a gravy from the juices trapped in the jars and serving it over rice, noodles or potatoes. It also allows you to quickly make stews, soups or casseroles.

To safely jar meat you will need to use a pressure canner which differs from a pressure cooker as it allows several quart sized jars to be processed at once. Pressure canners operate under a great deal of pressure and should be used according to the owner’s manual as they can potentially explode if incorrectly used.

 

Meat in a Jar

Pressure Canner
Canner Jars with rings and lids
Canning tongs

Long handled metal spoon

Non-Iodized salt
Meat of your choice

Boiling water

Method:
Wash and sterilize jars, lids, rims and all of the utensils to be used in boiling water. Place 1 tsp. of non-iodized salt into each sterilized jar.
Cut the meat of your choice into 1″ cubes removing all excess fat and tendons. Firmly pack the meat into the sterilized jars using the spoon. Fill the jars until they are about 1 to 2 inches from the rim.

Next pour boiling water into the jars until about an inch from the jar’s rim. This time use the spoon to release all of the trapped air in and around the meat by gently applying pressure to the meat.  Top the jars off with more boiling water if needed to keep the water level one inch from the rim.

With a paper towel wipe down the jar rims to ensure that nothing will get in the way of the jar sealing properly. Place the lids on top of the jars and screw the rings on tightly. Once you have enough jars prepped to fill your canner; carefully place all the jars in the canner. Fill the canner with water to the manual’s recommended amount. Follow the directions for your canner; and secure the lid in place and bring the canner up to pressure. I recommend that you cook the jar meat at 11-12 pounds for an hour. During the hour cooking process do not leave the pressure canner unattended as they can quickly over pressurize to dangerous levels.

After the hour of cooking at the recommended pressure turn off the burner and allow the canner to cool down naturally and return to normal pressure on its own.  Remove the jars and allow them to cool down. Confirm that the jars are properly sealed after cooling down. Label the jars and store in a cool dark place.

The Chefs of Peterborough

The Chefs of Peterborough

reservation
Chef Brian for Hire
The Spice Co.