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 ‘@ChefBrianHenry’

Gastronomically yours,

May 12th, 2013

 

May is “Love your Lentils Month”Gotta Pulse?

 

Legumes are any plant that produces fruits that are enclosed in a pod. Common examples of legumes would be fresh peas or peanuts. Pulses are any member of the legume family whose seeds have been harvested and dried. Chickpeas and lentils are the most common selections of pulses.

Although lentils come in a variety of sizes we generally find the large green lentil and red lentil in the grocery store. When lentils are labelled as split this tells us that the tough seed coat around the lentil has been removed and the embryo or inner part of the lentil has been split in half.  Split lentils cook twice as fast as a whole lentil and are preferred in soup based recipes as they can be pureed where we prefer to use whole lentils in salads or rice dishes as they hold their shape well and have a firmer berry like texture.

Canada exports lentils to over 100 countries making Canada the world’s largest exporter of lentils. Most of Canada’s lentils are grown in Saskatchewan with most production being focused on the large green and red lentil varieties.  Lesser produced varieties include smaller sized French green lentils and Spanish brown lentils.

Lentils do not need to be soaked prior to cooking them but should always be rinsed off. Canned lentils are available in a precooked state and will reduce all recipe cooking times however the flavour of them is somewhat bland in comparison to cooking them yourself.

Some people are predicting that pulses like the lentil will become our planet`s super food as they are high in fibre, protein, iron and B vitamins and are easily grown without the use of fertilizers. Lentils in their dry form have a one year shelf life when stored in a dry, cool and dark environment.

Canadian grown lentils are available on most grocery store shelves throughout our area. I suggest that you use a smaller green lentil in the following lentil soup recipe as they have a slightly firmer texture than other lentils; especially in comparison to the brown lentil which soaks up a lot of liquid and is quite soggy in texture.

 

 

Lentil Soup

Ingredients:

 

3 tbsp. canola oil or butter

2 cups peeled and diced yellow onions

1 cup diced celery

1 cup peeled and diced carrots

1 tbsp. minced garlic

1 liter chicken, beef or vegetable stock

1 1/4 cups dry split green lentils, rinsed

4-5 medium sized Ontario Hothouse tomatoes

Salt and Pepper

 

Method:

Heat the oil over medium heat in a heavy bottomed soup pot. Stir in the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic. Stirring frequently, gently cook them in the oil until the onions start to brown up. Stir in the stock, lentils, and tomatoes. Increase heat to bring the mixture to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to medium-low setting allowing the soup to simmer for about 30-40 minutes or until the lentils are tender.

For a thick soup pulse it with an immersion blender until you reach your preferred consistency. If you make it to thick, simply thin it out with more stock or water. Season to your tastes with salt and pepper. Serves 4-6.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love Your Lentils

 

 

Love Your Lentils Canada competition launches today

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Canadian Chef Michael Smith challenges Home Chefs and Food Bloggers to get creative with lentils

Vote for your favourites, Canada

Saskatoon, SK, May 2, 2013 – Canadian Lentils in partnership with Chef Michael Smith announced today the Love Your Lentils Canada competition, which challenges home chefs and food bloggers to develop and adapt recipes that could become a new favourite for family mealtime. All Canadians are invited to test them out and vote for their favourites.

“I love lentils and I’m thrilled that we grow the best in the world right here in Canada!” said Chef Michael Smith, who will be judging the finalists. “I can’t wait to taste what Canada’s home chefs and food bloggers come up with!”

The competition will be split into two divisions: Food Bloggers and Home Chefs.

 

Home chefs will be asked to take one of Chef Michael Smith’s existing lentil recipes and add their own twist to it, while bloggers will be asked to submit completely unique lentil recipes. Visit www.loveyourlentils.ca to submit adapted (Home Chefs) or original (Bloggers) lentil recipes. Then, invite family, friends, fans, and followers to cast a ballot for your recipe – there is a chance they could win, too!

 

Love Your Lentils Canada challenge details:

  • The top ten (10) recipes in each segment as voted on by the general public will then be reviewed by Chef Michael and his team, who will select the top three (3) recipes in each category.
  • The winning Blogger and Home Chef will be flown to Saskatchewan and hosted at the Delta Bessborough where they will spend a day with Chef Michael Smith touring the city and taking in some lentil highlights. Joining them will also be one (1) randomly selected voter from the campaign.
  • The six (6) finalists with their recipe and pictures will be featured and promoted on www.loveyourlentils.ca and www.lentils.ca. The top three winners will also be featured on Chef Michael’s website, http://chefmichaelsmith.com.

Check out www.loveyourlentils.ca for all the details.

JOIN THE TWITTER PARTY:

Tweet with @chefmichaelsmth and @cdnlentils at the #lovelentils Twitter party on Tuesday, May 14th at 8 p.m. EDT.

Canadian Lentils is an Official Mark of Saskatchewan Pulse Growers, a farmers’ organization that works to advance the lentil industry in Saskatchewan, the heart of the lentil growing region in Canada. For more in formation about Canadian Lentils and to see more great ways to cook with lentils, visit us at www.lentils.caClick here to like us on Facebook.

For more information about the Love Your Lentils Canada campaign, recipes or to book an interview, please contact:

Saskia Brussaard, Crave Public Relations

saskia@cravepr.com / 416-850-3519 / @cravepr

*If you’d prefer not to receive press releases about lentils or your interests have changed, just email me so I can update our contact information for you: saskia@cravepr.com

Love Your Lentils

 

 

Copyright © [2013]
Crave Public Relations
Share this email on Facebook Share this email on Twitter Forward this email to a friend

Gastronomically yours,

May 12th, 2013

Sticks and Stones

 

Who cannot resist the aromas of a BBQ? We cannot deny that when we smell foods licked by fire and smoke that our appetite is whetted and we start to salivate. This ancient method of cooking dates back to the days of cave dwellers cooking chunks of meat over a fire. Through its evolution we can come to understand the basics of BBQ and harness the elements used for creating memorable back-yard feasts.

 

The word barbecue originated from the Spanish word barbacoa and made its way to Central America. The Arawak people traveled from Central America to the Caribbean taking their style of barbacoa with them. The Caribbean was also inhabited with the Carib Indians who were a fierce society of warriors who led to the demise of the Arawak’s 1000-year existence in the Islands. It is believed that the Carib’s dinned on barbacoa Arawak at their victory feasts.

From Central America the barbecue traveled north to Texas and the barbecue scene has never rested since as it gave birth to a sub-culture of BBQ rib and sauce competitions that are as hot and fiery as the foods served at these annual national events. We must also acknowledge Australia for the “Barbie” and the Japanese for the “Hibachi” and the influences made on our way of backyard grilling. As well as tailgate party goers and the various flavors found in such societal delicacies as Beer Can Chicken.

Roll tape

 

Here in Canada we can trace our cooking styles back to the Pacific Northwest native peoples with the art of plank-grilling where one splits open a freshly caught salmon, binds it to a piece of cedar driftwood and cooks it over a fire. From the Pacific Northwest also comes hot-rock cooking. Here we use heated slabs of granite for cooking fish and seafood on the surface of heated stones. These methods of cooking allow us to infuse or impart natural aromatic flavors into our food.

Plank-grilling and hot-rock applications are fun and easy to do however there are a few precautions and rules to be observed. When choosing a plank use an aromatic wood like untreated alder or cedar. I do not recommend Eastern cedar, pine or birch. It is necessary to soak the planks in water for a few hours before the grilling begins as this allows the wood to slowly release smoke and flavor, as with dry planks you will have a fire and no dinner.

If you choose to cook with stones do not use porous rocks as they sometimes retain water and explode with extreme heat. Use slabs of granite, marble or even terra cotta. By incorporating stone slabs into your BBQ you can try doing mussels and oysters or BBQ pizzas and cheeses to make unique appetizers. Dessert is a necessary course needed to finish any great repast and this too can be done on the Q by cedar planking apples and peaches served with ice-cream.

This May long weekend is the perfect excuse for taking the time and trying something new on your Bbq. Our local grocers, farmer’s markets and farm gate purveyors are sure to have something for you to experiment with.

 

Getting fired up

 

Below is this years BBQ Class Schedule from Friendly Fires for more details check them on line

Friendly Fires 2013 BBQ Class Schedule
Below you will find the schedule for our BBQ classes in 2013. We are very excited to be welcoming two new headliners this year – Chef John from Bohemian BBQ and Master Butcher George from Primal Cuts. Returning by popular demand is Chef Brian Henry.
Once again, the majority of our BBQ classes take place on Saturday morning at our Peterborough store location – and usually rain or shine so come dressed for the weather (tents are erected in the case of rain).
Saturday May 25th – 10am
John from Bohemian BBQ – John is an grill master who specializes in southern BBQ as well as that of countries like Peru, Argentina and Portugal. Today John will be demonstrating the unique flavours of Portuguese Piri Piri with chicken. John promises you’ve never tasted chicken like this. [warning – you may experience withdrawal symptoms the next day] (cost is $15 per person)
Saturday June 1st – 10am
Chef Brian Henry will be taking our taste buds on an adventure to Korea with BBQ techniques and flavours found only on the Korean peninsula. (cost is $15 per person)
Saturday June 8th – 10am
Master Butcher George from Primal Cuts in Peterborough will be exploring the world of beef, more precisely lesser known cuts of steak. We are betting you may never buy a striploin again! Primal Cuts is known for using ethically raised local animals and being the only shop in town that dry ages beef up to 90 days! (cost is $15 per person)
Thursday June 13th – 4pm
Friendly Fires’ own Hayley Doyle and Valerie Adams will be hosting an afternoon of fun and food where women can feel free to discuss all things BBQ. Experience is not necessary. Come for the experience, come for the food, come for the techniques but leave happy, full and eager to get home to turn on your own BBQ! (cost is $30 per person and class is approx 2-3 hours long)
Saturday June 22nd – 11am
With Friendly Fires 2nd Annual BBQ Competition only one month away we thought we’d fire up the grills to have our own mini “Rib cookoff”. Come taste the difference that technique, fuel and flavouring can make to a “simple” rack of ribs.
Saturday July 6th – 10am
Chef Brian Henry is back and this time he is taking our taste buds on a trip to Australia. From the country that brought you “Shrimp on the Barbie” come see what else Australia has added to the world of BBQ through the talents of Chef Brian Henry. (cost is $15 per person)
Tuesday July 9th – 4pm
Friendly Fires’ own Hayley Doyle and Valerie Adams will be hosting an afternoon of fun and food where women can feel free to discuss all things BBQ. Experience is not necessary. Come for the experience, come for the food, come for the techniques but leave happy, full and eager to get home to turn on your own BBQ! (cost is $30 per person and class is approx 2-3 hours long)
Saturday July 13th – 10am
For his final class Chef Brian Henry will be taking our taste buds down to the docks to see what the local fishing boats have brought in today. Seafood or maybe more precisely local “lakefood”. Taste how good it can be right here in the Kawarthas!
Saturday July 20th – 10am
Master Butcher George from Primal Cuts in Peterborough will be exploring the world of beef, more precisely lesser known cuts of steak. We are betting you may never buy a striploin again!  Primal Cuts is known for using ethically raised local animals and being the only shop in town that dry ages beef up to 90 days!(cost is $15 per person)
To sign up for any of our classes, please call our Peterborough location (705-741-1900) or drop in (981 Highway 7 East, Peterborough). Due to the popularity of these classes and the need to know numbers for estimating food, please note that prepayment is required to hold your spot.
Chef Brian Henry
Primal Cuts
Bohemian BBQ

Gastronomically yours,

April 29th, 2013

I’ve had the pleasure of judging many food related competitions over the year’s but none of them compares to judging yesterday’s Butter Tart Taste-Off at the Flavour Festival held in Peterborough, Ontario.

Searching for the best crust, best filling, most creative and best overall was a daunting task.  Ontario.choose the best crust, best filling, the most creative butter tart, and the overall best Butter Tart.

 

Round one had 11 butter tarts

The judging panel was

photo_dan-and-linda_360

Dan Duran and Linda Kash of Magic 967 FM

1297121905299_AUTHOR_PHOTORita DeMontis

Carol Ann 2Carol-Ann Eason

stuStu Harrison

Jay Thuler Magic 96.7

 

and yours truly .

The winners were…

Best Crust: Argyle Country Mart

Best Filling: Doo Doo’s

Best Creative Tart: Doo Doo’s

Overall Best Tart: Betty’s Pies & Tarts

People’s Choice: Cravings Bakery

Full details can be seen at http://ptbocanada.com/journal/2013/4/29/ptbopics-coverage-winners-of-2013-butter-tart-taste-off-at-f.html

Curried Goat

Pemeal Beef Bacon from Traynor Farms

 

 

Can I tweet this cheese?

Here are some suggested recipes for making your own Butter Tarts

remember to fill unused muffin cups halfway with water to prevent them from drawing too much heat.

Butter Tart

Version 1

Pastry

5 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp salt

1 egg

1 tbsp vinegar

water

Mix flour and salt in a large bowl.

In a measuring cup, beat the egg and the vinegar, then add enough cold water to make one cup.

Add one pound of Tenderflake or shortening (whichever you like) to flour/salt mixture. Mix just until the flour looks moist, not too much. Add the liquid and use your fingers to toss it together — do not mix or knead.

Chill the pastry while you make the filling

Butter Tart Filling

1/2 cup butter

1 cup brown sugar

2 cups corn syrup

2 tsp vanilla

2 tsp lemon juice

6 eggs

Beat together the butter and sugar.

Add the next three ingredients and beat again. Beat the eggs, and add to the mix.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Roll and cut the pastry, and place in tart pans. In the bottom of each shell, put a few raisins or pecans or walnuts — whatever your taste buds like.

Pour in liquid filling to within half an inch of the top.

Bake for 18 minutes. Take the pan out, turn it around and return it to the oven for a few minutes longer — until golden brown and not really runny.

Let tarts cool before removing from pan. Makes two dozen.

 

 

 

Version 2

PASTRY:

2 cups cake & pastry flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut in pieces

3 tbsp cold shortening, cut in pieces

2 tsp lemon juice

4 to 6 tbsp ice water

FILLING:

1/2 cup sultana raisins

1/2 cup corn syrup

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 tsp salt

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

For pastry, stir together flour and salt in medium bowl. Using pastry blender or large fork, cut in butter and shortening until pieces are about the size of peas.

In measuring cup, stir lemon juice into 4 tablespoons ice water. Stir into flour mixture with fork. Add remaining ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, as needed, to just moisten dry ingredients. Using hands, press mixture into ball. Flatten into disc. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Roll out dough about 1/8-inch thick. Using 4-inch diameter cookie cutter or top of drinking glass, cut out 12 circles. Place circles in lightly greased cups of 12-cup muffin tin, ruffling edges to fit. Refrigerate while you prepare filling.

For filling, in small bowl or measuring cup, cover raisins with hot water. Set aside.

In medium bowl, using back of wooden spoon, blend corn syrup, sugar, butter and salt, until smooth, with no butter streaks. Blend in egg and vanilla.

Drain raisins well. Divide among tart shells. Top with equal amounts of sugar mixture.

Bake about 18 minutes in preheated 400F oven, until pastry is golden and filling is puffy and brown.

Cool in pan on rack 15 minutes. Remove tarts to rack to cool completely. Store in covered container. Makes 12.

 

 

Who cut the cheese?

 

 

Gastronomically yours,

April 26th, 2013


The smell of Spring

 

I love the aromas produced by foods being prepared in a kitchen. One of these favorite culinary induced aromas I can only smell in the bathroom. It is the smell of metabolized compounds found in asparagus. These sulphur based compounds give our urine a distinct perfume within 20 minutes of ingesting this member of the daffodil family.

The effect of eating asparagus on our urine has been of curiosity and study since the 1700’s. Most recently a study published in 2010 found that while almost everyone who eats asparagus produces the aromatic asparagus-urine only 22% of the population has the autosomal genes required to smell them. This trait is unique to asparagus as these compounds originate in asparagusic. The aromatic producing elements of asparagus are more concentrated in young asparagus are more present in young asparagus, with the observation that the smell is more pronounced after eating young asparagus.

Another food study in the 1700’s saw the cross breeding of Fragaria virginiana and Fragaria chiloensis which lead to the creation of the cultivar more commonly known as the common garden strawberry.

These naturally sweet aromatic orbs are related to the rose family and have been used for centuries in the kitchen but also in cosmetic applications and of course the perfume industry. The strawberry is the first fruit to ripen and be harvested in the Kawartha’s. Their flavor can be influenced by weather and this year’s hot dry spring should produce exceptionally sweeter fruits than usual.

Asparagus and strawberries have a number of similar traits. They are both related to flowers; make great companion plants, they require human hands to harvest them, and are only available locally in season for a short period of time. Pick up both of these ingredients at farmers markets and grocery stores throughout our region while still in season and try them together in this week’s recipe that will welcome the delicious aromas of summer into our homes. The many textures and flavors of this salad are best served with barbecued chicken to making it a satisfying meal.

Asparagus and Strawberry Salad

Ingredients:

2 cups asparagus, trimmed and cut into bite size pieces

3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2 cups sliced fresh strawberries

2 tbsp. lemon juice

4 cups arugula

1 tbsp.  Honey

3 tbsp.  Balsamic vinegar

 

Method:

In a medium sized bowl combine the asparagus and half of the olive oil together and toss it until the asparagus is evenly coated with the oil. Cook the asparagus for 2-3 minutes in either a preheated oven or barbeque at around 400 °f. Once cooked remove asparagus from heat and allow it to cool to room temperature.

Make the vinaigrette by whisking together the remaining olive oil, lemon juice, honey, and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl.

Place about a cup of arugula onto four dinner plates. Top the arugula with the strawberries and asparagus.  Lightly drizzle each salad with the vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

 

Gastronomically yours,

April 25th, 2013

You be the Judge

 

Geographical regions are often defined by their terroir or their sense of place which is personified through its geography, environment, culture and cuisine. This weekend our region will display all of its characteristic qualities that define our somewhereness here throughout the Kawartha and Northumberland counties at the Flavour Festival being held this Sunday at The Morrow Building.

My childhood summer memories are filled full of drives with my father throughout Central Ontario. Our regular road trips through the countryside were serenaded by baseball games on am radio while squeaking our way through lightly salted bags of curd, softened on the dashboard in the sun. Often these road trips were interrupted by stopping to try butter tarts from corner stores and church bake sales.

To me curd and butter tarts define our region like nothing else when it comes to food. Personally, I have never met a curd I haven’t enjoyed and our region is full of brilliant cheese makers. Finding a great butter tart is more redolent of spending a lifetime in pursuit of a fish that got away and faded memories of summers past.

What makes the best butter tart? Is the most personal question one can be asked and can include other questions like “Do you like a runny or firm filling?” or “Do you prefer raisins in or out of your tarts?” These questions as well as who makes “The Best Crust”, who makes “the Best Filling”, who makes the “Best Overall” butter tart and who makes “The Most Creative Filling” will be asked and answered at the Flavour Festivals Kawarthas Butter Tart Taste-Off.

A panel of judges including myself have been tasked with the difficult job of answering these questions while finding our local area’s best butter tart. This will be no easy task but I will fulfill my public service duties to our community to the fullest.

There is another category that will be awarded at this competition as well and it’s the most prestigious of all “The People’s Choice Award”.  I personally invite you to come out and discover the flavours of the Kawarthas and Northumberland County at this year’s Flavour Festival and I further challenge you to come and help us decide who makes the best butter tart in the region.

For those of you who enjoy butter tarts and their pastry I suggest you try the following recipe for Vodka Pie Crust using Kawartha Dairy Butter.

Vodka Pie Crust

 

Ingredients:

13 oz unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 tbsp. sugar
6oz cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup cold vodka that has been infused with vanilla bean
1/4 cup cold water

Method:
Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined. Add the butter and shortening and pulse the mixture until it reaches a uniform consistency. It will appear clumpy and curd-like.

Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula and add the remaining flour. Again pulse the mixture until evenly incorporated. Turn the flour mixture out into a medium sized mixing bowl.
Sprinkle the vodka and water over mixture. Use the rubber spatula, to fold the dough over on itself while pressing down on the mixture to combine it into a slightly sticky dough mass. Divide dough in half and form it into two even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

Gastronomically yours,

April 16th, 2013

Go(a)t Milk?

 

Goats are one of the earliest animals to be domesticated by humans in the mountains of Iran over 10 000 years ago. Since then goats have been harvested for a variety of purposes in the kitchen. Their flesh has been consumed in braised or roasted preparations. Their hides have been used for storing and transporting water and wine and on occasion for parchment. Their hair of course has given us mohair and cashmere sweaters.

Egyptian pharos respected the goat, goat milk and cheese with an almost holy reverence. Evidence found in Egyptian ruins has shown us that often pharaohs would have these food items placed among their treasures in their burial chambers. As well the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations consumed vast quantities of goat milk.

Today we have around 500 million goats being raised around the world in a variety of climates by numerous cultures. Globally these goats provide us with 1.5 million tons of meat and 5 million tons of milk annually.

Worldwide goat’s milk is the most consumed milk. Canadian’s mostly consume cow’s milk; in fact the average Canadian consumes over 70 liters of milk annually as milk, yogurt, and ice cream all from bovine sources.

Goat’s milk is slowly becoming more popular in Canada, mostly due to the increase in those individuals who are lactose intolerant. Although goat milk is not free of lactose it does have comparatively lower amounts of lactose than cow’s milk making it easier to digest. As well goat milk forms a softer curd and does not require to be homogenized as, the fat globules in goat’s milk are small and well-emulsified which means the cream remains suspended in the milk, instead of rising to the top, as in raw cow milk once again making goat milk easier to digest.

Milk producing goats average 3 to 4 liters of milk production daily which has an average butterfat content of 3.5% making it very smooth and creamy in texture and flavor.

Much of the goat milk available in Ontario grocery stores is commercially produced in Quebec. Recently I came across Crosswind Farm Goat Milk at the Lakefield Foodland. It comes in a nice cleanly labeled 1 liter jug which proudly displays the Kawartha Choice Farm Fresh logo. Naturally I had to try it as my family and I have taken to consuming goat milk recently as our youngest daughter became a year old and we are starting to incorporate dairy products into her diet. It is delicious milk with a rich creamy texture and a light refreshing taste.

Cajeta is a sweet milk caramel desert that I learned to make while travelling in Mexico. It is consumed throughout Latin America and is traditionally made from goat’s milk. Many of you may refer to this preparation as dulce de leche.

This recipe is so simple that all one has to do is combine one cup of sugar with one liter of milk in a heavy non-reactive pot. When the mixture starts to boil, immediately remove it from the heat and add a quarter teaspoon of baking soda. The liquid will froth up rather aggressively for about a minute. Return the pot to the stove and continue to simmer the mixture for about two hours. Be sure to stir the mixture regularly. It will slowly turn a light brown color and then keep getting darker. When the mixture is half of its original volume and somewhat sticky it is done.  Let it cool down and use it immediately or store it in the fridge for up to five days. It’s great on toast, ice cream or all on its own on the end of a spoon.

Gastronomically yours,

April 11th, 2013

Baaad to the bone…

 

As a kid growing up in Ontario I came to associate the goat as a satanic symbol that could be found scavenging their meals from discarded garbage. I remember hearing stories of goats eating licence plates, garbage and tin cans.  Little did I know that goat meat is the most commonly eaten red meat in the world and the goat itself were the second animal after the dog to be domesticated over 12 000 years ago.

Goat meat still carries the reputation for being tough in texture with a strong, gamey flavour much like lamb use to be, but breeding, feeding and harvesting practices have changed greatly over the years and today’s menus see goat meat being served in a variety of ways which include braising, stewing, grilling, roasting and frying. It is also consumed raw similar to beef in tartar and Carpaccio preparations or dry cured as jerky.

Goat meat is leaner than both lamb and beef, making it a healthier red meat choice for consumers concerned with their cholesterol and fat intake.

The breed of goats most commonly used for meat production are the Boer goat which hails from South Africa. This breed of goat differs from dairy goat breeds like the Saanen, Alpine and Lamancha as it was bred for meat production and is a short legged stocky goat with a broader chest and thicker rump. Boer goats are traditionally harvested around six months of age and yield a 50 pound carcass with meat that is exceptionally mild as the animals have not reached sexual maturity. Goat meat is also referred to as cabrito, and kid.

Crosswind Farms in Keene is a reputable producer of dairy based goat products and also sells goat meat which I suggest trying in the following recipe for Curry Goat. For the adventurous types I urge you to attend this year’s 2nd Annual Flavour Festival where I will be hosting the Culinary Theatre with a series of seminars which will include demoing this recipe. Details are available http://flavourfestival.net/ and at http://www.chefbrianhenry.com/events/

View Crosswind Farms on-line at http://www.crosswindfarm.ca/

 

Curry Goat

 

3 lb. Goat Meat cut into bite sized pieces

2 tbsp. cider vinegar

6 whole allspice berries

½ tsp. thyme leaves

1 ½ cups diced yellow onion

2 cloves Garlic minced

1 Scotch Bonnet pepper, seeded and minced (optional)

2-3 tbsp. Curry Powder

2 tbsp. Canola oil

2 cups potato cut into bite size pieces

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Method:

In a glass or non-reactive metal bowl combine together the vinegar with the allspice, thyme, onion, garlic, and Scotch bonnet pepper. Add the goat meat to the vinegar mixture and mix it together to coat all of the meat with the seasonings. Refrigerate the meat mixture, covered for 2 hours.

In a deep saucepan or large cast iron skillet heat the oil with the curry powder over med-high heat, stirring frequently until the curry powder becomes fragrant. Add the goat meat to the pan. Stir the meat while its cooking until it begins to brown. 3-5 minutes.

Reduce the heat to medium- low setting and stir in 3 cups of water. Cover the pot and let it simmer for 30 minutes.

Add the potatoes and let the mixture simmer for another 20-30 minutes until both the meat and potatoes soften. Serve immediately with fresh bread. Serves 6-8 people.

 

 

 

 

Gastronomically yours,

April 4th, 2013

Tofu or not Tofu that is the question

Tofu is a highly concentrated form of protein that resembles whose form is similar to cheese. Its origins are disputed as to whether the Mongol’s or Chinese discovered the tofu making process but it is believed that this food staple entered the culinary world somewhere between the 2nd to 10th centuries. It was originally known in Chinese as dou-fu or tou-fu but today we refer to it by its Japanese name tofu or simply bean curd.

The process of making tofu is quite similar to making cheese as it is made from the pressed curds of coagulated soy milk. The coagulation of soy milk proteins happens with the adding of salt, acids and / or enzymes, just like cheese.

From these curds we see four basic categories of tofu. Soft or silken tofu has a high moisture content which makes it ideal to be used in smoothies and sauces as its texture is similar to pudding or custard.

Firm tofu crumbles nicely like feta cheese and works well in casseroles and pasta dishes. Extra firm tofu quite dry and holds its shape well and can be barbequed or pan fried. Dried tofu is also available and needs to be rehydrated for consumption and is often added to soups.

Regardless of what texture of tofu you use its flavour or should I say lack of flavour for the most part is always the same; none existent.  This lack of flavour is what makes tofu such an incredibly versatile ingredient to work with as it readily absorbs whatever flavours you add to it.

Once you have chosen what texture of tofu you want to useit should be stored in the refrigerator with respect to its expiration date. One you open your tofu you will need to drain the water that it is packaged in and change it daily to preserve freshness. Unopened packages of tofu can be stored in the freezer.

Ontario produces about 3 million tonnes of soybeans annually on over 2 million acres of farm land. Most of these protein packed legumes are destined for livestock feed with a small portion of this annual harvest destined for human consumption. Sol Cuisine is an Ontario vegetarian based food producer, who has been using organic, GMO free Ontario grown soybeans since its inception in 1997, to produce its line of soy based products. Sol Cuisine tofu is available at Joanne’s Place in Peterborough.

Regular readers of this column know my appreciation of all animal based sources of protein with a fondness for butter, bacon and all forms of beef. What you may not be aware of is that I have in past lives been vegetarian, owned vegetarian restaurants and to this day offer an extensive list of vegetarian courses and meals for my clients. As such I have learned that introducing tofu into anyone’s menu or diet can be a challenge for a number of reasons. This week’s recipe is one that I have used for over 20 years to assist people in trying tofu for the first time, or for those wishing to have some fun with tofu. I like to call this recipe KFT or Kentucky Fried Tofu as its flavour is reminiscent to the Colonel’s secret recipe. It can be served with hominy grits, corn on the cob, okra and some slaw just to give it a down home kind of feeling.

Be sure to pick up the nutritional yeast needed for this recipe while at Joanne’s too.

 

Kentucky Fried Tofu

 

Ingredients:

1 lb. extra firm tofu

2tbsp. soy sauce

1/4 cup sliced almonds

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

3 tbsp. de-bittered nutritional yeast

1/8 tsp. ground sage

1 tsp. thyme leaves, dried

1 tsp. oregano leaves, dried

1 tsp. marjoram leaves, dried

1 tsp. sweet paprika

1/8 tsp. garlic powder

1/8 tsp. onion powder

¾ cup whole wheat bread crumbs

Oil for frying

 

Method:

Drain all of the water from the tofu and slice the block into four equal sized rectangles. Squeeze the rectangles between your palms to remove any water absorbed within it. Slice the tofu rectangles corner to corner to make triangles. Place the tofu triangles on a plate and drizzle them with the soy sauce and set aside.

Combine all of the remaining dry ingredients in a food processor and grind them together using the pulse setting until you have evenly incorporated them into what resembles a flour like mixture. Transfer this dry mixture into a mixing bowl.

Preheat a frying pan over medium heat with just enough oil to cover its bottom. Dredge the tofu triangles in the almond flour mixture, making sure that the tofu is fully coated on all sides and gently place them in the fry pan. Turn the pieces frequently while frying them until they reach a nice golden brown. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

 

 

 

Gastronomically yours,

March 28th, 2013

Gotta Pulse?

 

Legumes are any plant that produces fruits that are enclosed in a pod. Common examples of legumes would be fresh peas or peanuts. Pulses are any member of the legume family whose seeds have been harvested and dried. Chickpeas and lentils are the most common selections of pulses.

Although lentils come in a variety of sizes we generally find the large green lentil and red lentil in the grocery store. When lentils are labelled as split this tells us that the tough seed coat around the lentil has been removed and the embryo or inner part of the lentil has been split in half.  Split lentils cook twice as fast as a whole lentil and are preferred in soup based recipes as they can be pureed where we prefer to use whole lentils in salads or rice dishes as they hold their shape well and have a firmer berry like texture.

Canada exports lentils to over 100 countries making Canada the world’s largest exporter of lentils. Most of Canada’s lentils are grown in Saskatchewan with most production being focused on the large green and red lentil varieties.  Lesser produced varieties include smaller sized French green lentils and Spanish brown lentils.

Lentils do not need to be soaked prior to cooking them but should always be rinsed off. Canned lentils are available in a precooked state and will reduce all recipe cooking times however the flavour of them is somewhat bland in comparison to cooking them yourself.

Some people are predicting that pulses like the lentil will become our planet`s super food as they are high in fibre, protein, iron and B vitamins and are easily grown without the use of fertilizers. Lentils in their dry form have a one year shelf life when stored in a dry, cool and dark environment.

Canadian grown lentils are available on most grocery store shelves throughout our area. I suggest that you use a smaller green lentil in the following lentil soup recipe as they have a slightly firmer texture than other lentils; especially in comparison to the brown lentil which soaks up a lot of liquid and is quite soggy in texture.

 

Lentil Soup

Ingredients:

3 tbsp. canola oil or butter

2 cups peeled and diced yellow onions

1 cup diced celery

1 cup peeled and diced carrots

1 tbsp. minced garlic

1 liter chicken, beef or vegetable stock

1 1/4 cups dry split green lentils, rinsed

4-5 medium sized Ontario Hothouse tomatoes

Salt and Pepper

 

Method:

Heat the oil over medium heat in a heavy bottomed soup pot. Stir in the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic. Stirring frequently, gently cook them in the oil until the onions start to brown up. Stir in the stock, lentils, and tomatoes. Increase heat to bring the mixture to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to medium-low setting allowing the soup to simmer for about 30-40 minutes or until the lentils are tender.

For a thick soup pulse it with an immersion blender until you reach your preferred consistency. If you make it to thick, simply thin it out with more stock or water. Season to your tastes with salt and pepper. Serves 4-6.

Gastronomically yours,

March 22nd, 2013

Kelp Caviar

 

I want you to visualize swimming in a lake on a hot summer day. You’re floating freely, looking at the sky completely relaxed when you feel some aquatic plant brush against your leg causing you to thrash about screaming seaweed. I can only imagine how you may react if I served up some seaweed on a plate to you.

Most people aren’t aware but they consume seaweed numerous times a day. More specifically we consume aquatic brown algae known as kelp which has mucilaginous ergo slimy properties which are extracted and used as emulsifiers.  These emulsifiers are used in food stuffs like salad dressings or ice creams to stop them from separating. Kelp is also used in toothpaste, soap and body lotions.

Kelp is harvested from the cold North Atlantic waters with the North Pacific waters producing wakame. Like kelp, wakame is used in a number of culinary preparations but is most famed for being served as seaweed tea known as kombucha in Japan. When kelp is dried and ground into a powder the slimy bits become concentrated and are used as a food thickening agent or emulsifier known as alginate. It is praised by vegetarians as it can be substituted in recipes that normally are thickened with eggs.

Chefs have been playing with gastronomy or the science of food in their kitchens turned laboratories and have created a number of novel new ways of preparing and serving food. One of these concepts is to take two main components from dried ground kelp and separate them. The first being alginate which is rehydrated with a variety of natural ingredients causing it to turn into a firm gelatinous liquid. This liquid is then dropped with a spoon, eyedropper or pumped by a machine through something similar to a shower head producing into a coagulation solution of calcium extracted from the kelp which causes only the surface of the flavoured alginate drops to coagulate into uniformly shaped pearls. The firm surface of these pearls encapsulates the inner free flowing liquid. Simply put the pearls are like a biting into a soft jelly filled candy.

Unless you are Chef Nye the science guy the aforementioned procedure may have sounded exceptionally complex or merely put you to sleep.  Either way I want you to know that kelp pearls are now easy to enjoy at home without any fuss or lab experiments. Kelp Caviar is a Canadian company harvesting Canadian kelp to produce an entire line of flavoured kelp pearls.

I recently discovered this product line at The Firehouse Gourmet in East City where I sampled a few varieties of Kelp Caviar which included wasabi and sturgeon flavours. It was profoundly refreshing in my opinion compared to fish egg caviars. The little pearls popped just like fish egg and tasted mildly of the ocean.

This fat free, all natural gourmet condiment, is loaded with minerals with it being notably high in iodine, iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.  It is further packed full with the following vitamins A, B1, B2, C, D, E, and amino acids, which all contribute to a healthy diet and are easily assimilated in the body.

These tasty little beads would accompany cheese, meats, crackers, potato skins, sandwiches and an endless list of other possible food items. This incredibly shelf stable product will hold for three months in the refrigerator after opening is a must try condiment.

Sometimes it`s hard to find locally sourced foods in the dead of winter, but sometimes if you adventure outside of the normal realms of your culinary universe you might find yourself in East City, eating vegan kelp pearls.

 

@KelpCaviar or www.facebook.com/kelpcaviar

reservation
Chef Brian for Hire
The Spice Co.