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 ‘recipe’

Gastronomically yours,

October 4th, 2017

Stuffed Acorns

In the coming days many or our refrigerators will become a stockpile of ingredients and provisions that are necessary to prepare Thanksgiving dinner and sustain family and friends over a long weekend that is centered around being thankful and consuming food. With all of the flurry of activity, visiting and eating Looking in your refrigerator the days after the weekend may be akin to an archaeological dig as you unearth all of the remnants of the previous day’s or week’s meals. It’s like an adult version of waking up after a college party and trying to chronologically piece together the recent events of your life. We tend to go a bit overboard with holidays dedicated to feasting which rules with sovereignty like no other.

Acorn Squash Harvest

Presence of mind and the simple understanding that eating is a bodily function, not an Olympic event may assist us in transitioning ourselves and warding off symptoms of withdrawal. Cold turkey is archetypical as a Thanksgiving leftover, which ends up being reincarnated in sandwiches, soups, stews and the ever foreboding casserole for a few days after its sole intended feast. These culinary creations often become littered with bits of ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, or cranberry sauce found sitting in the refrigerator, next to the turkey covered with torn bits of foil and plastic wrap.

Sometime next week you may be forced to make sense out of the leftovers piled precariously in your fridge, garage or out of desperation for food salvation on the back deck. The fate of your leftovers depends on when the food was prepared, how it was served, how long it sat out on the kitchen counter without being refrigerated and how you reheat them. Ultimately it is best not to produce so much food that you have leftovers. If your left-overs were left out on the counter for more than four hours, they are no longer leftovers, they are garbage. If your leftovers were properly stored in the refrigerator and cooled down to an internal temperature of 4°C or colder within 4 hours then you can reheat and serve them but only once. So do not pull out all of the food for leftovers and reheat them, just use what you need. When reheating your leftovers make sure that they reach an internal temperature of 74°C and discard the food if it does not reach that temperature within 2 hours and most importantly never add reheated food to fresh food.

If you haven’t already I suggest you need to purchase a reliable kitchen thermometer and learn how to store, use and calibrate it properly. Use it for more accurate cooking results and as a tool in assisting you to serve safe and healthy foods to your family and friends.
If you are cooking for a small gathering maybe rethink Thanksgiving Dinner and try something like the following recipe.

Turkey Stuffed Acorns
Ingredients:
2 acorn squash, small ones
6 oz. ground turkey
1 yellow onion, minced
½ cup minced red bell pepper

1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp Mexican Kitchen Cartel
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Method:
Cut the squash in half, lengthways, discard the seeds and bake the squash cut side down on a parchment lined baking sheet at 375°F until tender, about 30 minutes.
Separately cook the ground turkey in a large, preheated fry pan or skillet, over medium heat until lightly browned. Stir in the onion, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder and cumin. Continue stirring and cooking the mixture until it becomes very aromatic. Finally stir in the tomatoes and beans. Reduce heat to low and let the mixture simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes. Season mixture to taste with salt, pepper and some hot sauce.
Once the squash are cooked, turn them over and fill them with the ground turkey mixture and top with cheese. Return filled squash to the oven and bake for another 5-10 minutes until the cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

Mexican Kitchen Cartel from The Spice co. naturally

 

Gastronomically yours,

September 28th, 2017

Hearty Bud the Spud Soup

The average Canadian consumes 60 kg or 130 lbs of potatoes annually mostly as fries or chips. Potatoes are indigenous to Peru and since their discovery they have been distributed throughout the world and have become a staple in many cultures diets. The International Potato Center in Peru has over 7 500 known varieties of potatoes 63 of which were developed in Canada. One of the most famous Canadian bred potato varieties is the Yukon Gold. This potato was created at the University of Guelph in conjunction with Agriculture Canada in 1980.

A single medium sized, skin on potato contains more potassium than a banana, 45% of your daily needed vitamin C and 20% of your daily vitamin B6 needs. Spuds are also praised for being cholesterol, fat and sodium free. The unhealthy reputation of potatoes has nothing to do with the potato but everything to do with the amounts of butter, sour cream and salt that we slather our potatoes in before eating them.

Currently last year’s potato harvest has been resting in cold storage deprived of light for a few weeks now. This method of storage promotes a change in the potato’s enzymes creating the perfect balance between the naturally occurring sugars and starches in the potato. This metabolic shift creates a fuller and somewhat fruity flavoured potato.

By spring the extended storage of these potatoes will cause a further metabolic shift in which the starch will further break down and turn to sugar. As these sugars become more concentrated, we will find that these older potatoes will take on a overcooked or burnt appearance especially when we fry them, as the sugars will quickly caramelize and burn on the outside of the potato, resulting in a bitter-tasting exterior and an undercooked interior.

To avoid this situation, one should store potatoes in the dark at temperatures from 7 and 10°c for up to three months.

Potatoes fall into one of two categories — mealy or waxy. Mealy potatoes (russets, purple) have thick skin and high starch content, but they’re low in moisture and sugar. Waxy potatoes (red, new) are just the opposite. They’re low in starch with a thin skin. They’re high in both moisture and sugar. Choosing the right type of potato to cook with can make or break a recipe.

Mealy potatoes are best for deep-frying. Because they’re low in sugar, they can be fried long enough to cook them fully in the center without burning the outside. They’re also the best choice for mashed potatoes because they fall apart easily when they’re boiled which makes them the perfect choice for making the following hearty potato soup recipe.

 

Chunky Potato Soup

Ingredients:

6 slices smoked thick sliced bacon, cut in bite size pieces

1 cup of diced cooking onion

1 ½ cups diced carrot

1 cup diced celery

5 cups peeled and diced Russet Potatoes

2 litres chicken or vegetable stock

1 cup milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tsp. minced parsley

1 cup aged cheddar cheese

 

Method:

In a large soup pot over medium heat cook the bacon until cooked to desired doneness, Remove some of the bacon fat but leave some in the pot and add the onions, carrots, and celery. While occasionally stirring the vegetables let them cook until the onions begin to become transparent about 3-5 minutes. Add the potatoes and continue cooking in the bacon fat for 5 more minutes

Stir in the stock and increase heat to medium-high, letting it come to a gentle boil. Cook the potatoes until they start to get tender and reduce heat to low. Using an immersion blender pulse the soup until it is pureed but not smooth as you still want it to have some chunky bits in it. Stir in milk, cream, and parsley and then season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve immediately topped with the grated cheese.

Gastronomically yours,

February 5th, 2017

 

Super Bowl LI

This Sunday more than 18 million Canadians will be watching the New England Patriots confront the   Atlanta Falcons in the 51st Super Bowl Sunday. It is billed as the second highest eating event after Thanksgiving and will see Canadians spend more than $1 billion on snack foods.

Dining etiquette for Super Bowl Sunday is relatively relaxed as is the menu. Traditional Super Bowl food includes chicken wings, pizza, chili, and potato chips. To put this into perspective consumption facts state that Canadians will consume over 100 000 kg of snack food in the form an estimated 6-7 million pizzas, nearly 1/2 billion chicken wings which we will wash down with some 1.3 million liters of beer. This one day feeding frenzy will see the average Canadian consume in excess of 2000 calories over the four hour game.

My gut hurts as I digest these numbers so to better manage your game day caloric intake you may want to consider making your own half-time show spread instead of ordering in take-out. Wings have become the most sport synonymous food, surpassing pizza and can be prepared without deep frying. Baking them in the oven and dusting them with herbs and seasonings will knock a couple hundred calories off of every serving.

Potato chips are the ultimate game day snack food, which will see us nosh down in excess of 3 million pounds of while dipping them into some 1 million pounds of dip like guacamole. A party’s just not a party without chips but if we reach for baked versions instead of fried chips we can still enjoy their crunchy texture without breaking the calorie bank.

 

 

The following recipes for our Reggae Rub Chicken Wings and our Kick Ass Cajun Southern Fried Chicken are both bone in comfort food s that are easy to prepare and enjoyed by many. It is best served with corn, mashed potatoes, slaw, gravy and of course some fresh baked rolls to ensure that your plate is clean when you’re done.

Reggae Rub Wings are best when grilled over charcoal!

Reggae Rub Chicken Wings

Ingredients:

3 lbs bone-in chicken wings and drums

½ package Reggae Rub

3 green onions, minced

1 tbsp. cooking oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

 

Method:

Take the chicken out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before cooking.  Combine all of the remaining ingredients together in an mixing bowl and mix until evenly incorporated. Add the wings to the Reggae Rub mixture and toss them about to make sure they are liberally coated.

 

For best the best possible flavour cook the wings on a pre-heated charcoal barbeque. If you don’t have charcoal you can use a gas grill, or if necessary you can roast them in the oven. Use a medium-high heat. On the barbecue they will take about 20-30 minutes in the oven at 425 °f you will need about f 45 minutes. More importantly you will need to ensure the chicken is cooked to a proper internal temperature of 74 °c / 165°f. This is best checked with a food thermometer. Serve immediately. Serves 4-6 people depending on what else you set out on the table.

Kick Ass Cajun Fried Chicken

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken 2 -3 pounds

3 eggs

½ cup butter milk

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1-2 tsp. Kick Ass Cajun spice blend

A pinch of both salt and pepper

Vegetable oil or peanut oil, for frying

 

Method:

Using a knife break the chicken down into smaller cuts and pat the pieces dry with paper towel to remove any moisture.

Preheat your deep fryer to 350 °f and your oven to 200 °f.

In a medium size bowl, whisk together the eggs and buttermilk and set aside. In a separate bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, garlic and ginger powders with salt and pepper.

Dip the chicken pieces one at a time into the egg mixture, then evenly coat them in the flour mixture and gently submerge them into your preheated fryer. Make sure each piece of chicken has plenty of space to cook in the fryer without touching anything. If necessary fry the chicken in small batches and transfer the cooked pieces using tongs or a slotted spoon onto a baking tray line with a roasting rack in your preheated oven.

Fry the chicken until brown and crisp, about 10-12 minutes depending on the size of the pieces. More importantly you will need to ensure the chicken is cooked to a proper internal temperature of 74 °c / 165°f. This is best checked with a food thermometer.

Numerous readers of last week’s column which discussed growing your own micro-greens responded wanting know where they could purchase micro-greens and forgo the tasks of indoor gardening so in the theme of keeping our food choices “Close to Home” I suggest that you visit the Peterborough Saturday Farmers’ Market where you will find Tiny Greens, a local sustainable microgreens grower who operates year round and pick up some pea shoot micro-greens to use in the following recipe for Pico de Gallo.

In Mexican cuisine Pico de Gallo is a freshly made style of salsa. The name Pico de Gallo translates to beak of rooster which symbolizes the way we eat by taking foods between our forefinger and thumb and them dipping it into a sauce. By sacking all of those creamy, fat-filled dips and making your own you can feel better and your waistline won’t run a foul on game day.

 

Pico de Gallo

Ingredients:

1 cup minced red onion

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

2 limes, juiced

1 clove garlic, minced

2 1/2 cups Ontario hothouse tomatoes, seeded and chopped

¼ cup loosely chopped pea shoot microgreens

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

¼ cup chopped Italian parsley

1 tsp. Mexican Kitchen Cartel seasoning (optional)

 

Method:

In a medium sized bowl combine the minced red onion, jalapeno pepper, lime juice and garlic. Toss mixture and let it rest for 15 minutes. Mix in the rest of the ingredients and let it marinate for another 15-minutes before serving. Do not refrigerate as this will diminish the quality of the texture and flavours of the tomatoes, use immediately.

Mexican Kitchen Cartel from The Spice co. naturally

Gastronomically yours,

November 24th, 2016

Snow Cream is a scream

It was nice to wake up to a winter like scene this past week. The fresh fallen snow was a delight to see after our typically dreary November days. It was fun to get out and play in the snow, make snowmen and see all of our holiday decorations enhanced by snow. Whenever there is a fresh snowfall I can’t help but think 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 home town.

I remember vividly as friends of the family came to visit us from Alabama late one fall to visit during hunting season. As luck would have it we had an early snowstorm which dumped several inches of fresh fluffy snow. 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 litres of Snow Cream that we drizzled with maple syrup.

snow-storm

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 rarer than the snow needed to make this recipe. So when it did snow in the south, this was an easy way to celebrate in Southern fashion by making do with what you have on hand.

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 my own trees leftover from early spring.  Alternately one could use crushed up candy canes instead of maple syrup to make a Christmas style snow cream.

snow-scream

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.

How to go from Snow Storm to Snow Cream!

images

Snow Cream

1/2 cup 35% heavy cream

½ cup 2% milk

1-tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 cup locally produced 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.

Gastronomically yours,

October 28th, 2016

 

It is definitely soup weather and this recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash Soup is a great way to warm up! Be sure to pick up some “Mexican Kitchen Cartel” from any of The Spice Co’s retail partners to make this soup.  Squash are defined as fruits that are members of the gourd family, which are further classified as either summer or winter squash. They originated in the Americas over 10,000 years ago and were cultivated for their seeds as they typically contained little flesh. The squash were more commonly hollowed out and used as cooking utensils, musical instruments and beverage flasks.

Butternut Squash!

Butternut Squash!

Summer squash which include the zucchini, pattypan and crookneck varieties have a very soft flesh and delicate skin as they are harvested before they have fully ripened, which is why their seeds are also soft and not matured allowing us to readily eat them raw or cooked. Prior to cooking most cooks will remove the undeveloped seeds as they can be quite mushy when cooked with a mucilage like texture. Summer squash varieties do not store well and are usually consumed within a week of being harvested.

Winter squash are harvested only once they have matured. Their skin has toughened up and aged into a hardened rind which protects the fully developed seeds for future use .Fully ripened varieties of winter squash can be stored for three to five months if kept between 8 °C and 12 C ° in a dark, dry and well-ventilated area. Do not refrigerate your winter squashes unless they are cooked or have been cut as this will greatly compromise their shelf life.

Butternut squash is shaped like a vase with smooth beige skin and orange flesh. They are classified as a winter squash which means that they differ from summer squash in that it is harvested and eaten as a mature fruit; when the seeds have matured and the skin hardens into a protective rind. Butternut’s tend to contain more water than other squash and tastes similar to sweet potatoes. Winter squash are high in fiber an excellent source of potassium and vitamins B and C. The deeper orange the color of the flesh, the more carotene it contains.

In South Africa these ground nuts as they are called, are often roasted in a fire pit or barbequed. The squash can be cooked whole or peeled and wrapped with foil and seasoned with nutmeg and cinnamon. When cooking squash in this manner; insert a fork into the flesh as you would with potatoes to test for doneness. Squash flesh can also be frozen. To freeze in sections, simply blanch the pieces for one minute, cool immediately and place in freezer bags. Once cooked, the flesh can be diced and added to soups, stews, risotto and curries.

We picked up some butternut squash over the holiday weekend from the farm gate and cooked them up in a soup. I especially enjoy this soup served with a rosemary foccacia.

 

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients:

One pound butternut squash peeled

½ cup diced carrots

One apple, peeled, cored and diced

One medium onion, peeled and diced

One clove of garlic, minced

1 tbsp.  Butter

1 – 2 tsp. “Mexican Kitchen Cartel” from The Spice Co., naturally

One litre chicken or vegetable stock

One half cup heavy cream or low-fat milk

Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 350f. Cut the butternut squash in half. Remove the seeds from squash and place squash, carrots and apple on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for about 30-40 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven and allow it to cool for five minutes. Over medium heat lightly sauté the onion and garlic in butter in a large sauce pan until translucent. Scoop the butternut squash pulp from its skin and add it to the onion mixture. Now add the “Mexican Kitchen Cartel”, vegetable stock to the pot as well. Cook over medium high heat for 15 -20 minutes.

Puree the soup with an immersion blender until velvety smooth. Stir in the cream and season to taste with salt, and pepper.  Yields: 4 bowls

If you have any cooked or candied bacon around… garnish the soup with it!

Mexican Kitchen Cartel is a smoky blend of traditional seasonings and spices!

Mexican Kitchen Cartel is a smoky blend of traditional seasonings and spices!

Gastronomically yours,

October 7th, 2016

Butter Buns

 

As the morning frosts become harder to scrape off of our cars we are all too well aware that winter will soon be upon us. This change of seasons often involves a change in our diets. Just as we see the squirrels gathering fat laden nuts for the winter we Canadians start to put on our winter coat as we embrace heartier meals like stews and roasts.

Our autumnal eating habits often have us to spending more time in our kitchens as the hearth heats the home. Many of us will see the addition of breads being added to our meals. Baking bread is a great way to spend time with our family and in the end we get to break bread together.

This week’s recipe is for Butter Buns which I made over Thanksgiving weekend. They are soft with a chewy texture and are easy to make. The main ingredients are butter and milk both of which are obtained locally from Kawartha Dairy who is celebrating 75 years of being a family owned and operated dairy in Bobcaygeon.

This recipe calls for an electric mixer with a dough hook attachment but it can just as easily be prepared with your own two dough hooked hands.

 

Butter Buns

1 tsp. Active dry yeast

1 tbsp. sugar

1/4 cup water; warm

1 ½ cups milk; warm

1 large egg; lightly beaten

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

3 ¼ all-purpose flour

½ cup unsalted butter; melted

¼ melted butter

 

Method:

In the mixing bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let the mixture stand for about 10 minutes until it begins to foam up on the surface. With your mixer set on a low setting use the dough hook to blend in the warm milk, egg, and salt, until evenly combined into the yeast water. Gradually add 3 cups flour, one cup at a time; blending mixture until smooth.  Pour in the ½ cup of melted butter and continue mixing at low speed until evenly combined. Add remaining flour and if necessary a little more until the dough pulls away from the bowl. The dough should be soft and tacky to the touch.  Remove bowl from mixer and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Set bowl in a warm place for an hour so the dough can rise to double its size. Meanwhile using the remaining butter; grease a 9” cake pan liberally.

Next punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough 4 or 5 times. Divide the dough into 16 equal portions and gently roll it into balls and arrange them in the buttered cake pan. Let the dough rest in the pan for 35 minutes.

Gently brush the rolls with remaining butter and bake in a preheated oven at 375 °F. Bake the butter buns in the center of oven on the middle rack for about 20-25 minutes until light golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool. If you want extra buttery buns give them another brushing with butter. Once the butter has been absorbed dig in and enjoy. This recipe is loaded with butter and is not recommended for those on fat reduced diets.

Gastronomically yours,

October 7th, 2016

Pumpkins are most commonly consumed in pumpkin pie during the Thanksgiving holidays and as ghoulish decorative pieces through Halloween. For many people Thanksgiving isn’t Thanksgiving without a pumpkin pie. You can forget the cranberry sauce, maybe over cook the turkey and have lumps in your gravy which will all be forgotten but if you do not have pumpkin pie on the table for dessert you may consider never hosting the family Thanksgiving Dinner ever again.  So ingrained is this tradition that once during the early colonization of North America, Thanksgiving celebrations were delayed due to a shortage of molasses which at that time was a key ingredient to making pumpkin pie.

Canned pumpkin is available year-round and is typically used for pumpkin desserts and baking. Fresh pumpkins are available in such great quantity right now that one should take full advantage of them. Fresh cooked pumpkins can be puréed and used in any recipe calling for canned pumpkin. This puree can be frozen and stored in your freezer for up to 3 months.  Smaller sized pumpkins are best for cooking, as they are sweeter, more tender and easier to handle. A 5-pound pumpkin will yield about 4 cups of mashed, cooked pumpkin. With fresh pumpkins one also gains the use of pumpkin seeds. Shelled pumpkin seeds known as Pepitas can be toasted and added to salads, breads or casseroles.

Pumpkins alone are quite healthy for us as they are high in Vitamin A, potassium and antioxidants. This member of the gourd family has an exceptionally high water content making it ideal to use in juicers and blenders for making smoothies and cocktails. The creamy texture of cooked pumpkin flesh is enhanced even more when added to soups and stews.  You can even choose to bake pumpkins like squash with some butter and spices in the oven to be served as the vegetable component of a meal.

I have purchased a number of pumpkins from different farms in the area since late August, but the best tasting pumpkins in the area were once again grown in our backyard by my children in their very own pumpkin patch which again has yielded us a two pumpkin harvest. They were perfect for baking up a batch of pumpkin bread which we slathered with butter and took the chill out of the autumn morning.

 

Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients:

15 fl oz. pumpkin puree, fresh or canned

4 eggs

1 cup canola oil

2/3 cup water

3 cups sugar

1 tbsp. molasses

3 ½ cups all-purpose flower

2 tsp. baking soda

 

3 tsp. Humble Pie spice blend from The Spice Co. naturally

Method:

In a large size bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, eggs, oil, water, sugar and molasses. Separately in another bowl sift together all of the remaining dry ingredients.  Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until it is just mixed together but do not over mix it.

Pour the bread batter into lightly greased and dusted bread pans or muffin tins and bake them for 45-50 minutes in a preheated oven at 350°f. Bread is done when a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Let the bread cool down a bit before serving with lots of butter.

NOW AVAILABLE from The Spice Co. Humble Pie

NOW AVAILABLE from The Spice Co. Humble Pie

Gastronomically yours,

October 7th, 2016

The origins of baking pie lay in the Mediterranean and dates back to the Stone Age when Egyptians began using stone tools to grind grains to be made into crusts. This method of cooking quickly grew in popularity as it allowed foods to be prepared in a pie crust that could be easily transported great distances to feed armies and nomadic peoples on their journeys. It’s no wonder that early Canadian settlers brought the tradition of baking pies with them from Europe as they were easy to transport and store for days on their long voyages to the New World. In short time these traditional recipes were adapted to accommodate the indigenous ingredients of the New World.

Pies plates were originally square and referred to as coffins which referred to a box with a lid. If the pie was baked without a top crust it was called a trap. With the discovery of earthen ware pie plates became round and the phrase “cutting corners” became as common as the pie itself.

Those who know me know my affection for vodka… so naturally it finds its way into my Pie Crust

Vodka Pie Crust

2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup cold vodka ( infused with vanilla bean at least 48 hours)
1/4 cup cold water

Procedures
1
Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogeneous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.
2
Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough 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,

June 30th, 2015

Dog Days

As the dog days of summer approach I’m looking forward to some drier weather to allow the cos lettuce in the garden to come into maturity.  Cos lettuce more commonly known as romaine lettuce is an edible member of the daisy family. Its long narrow dark green leaves are rather crisp with a distinctive rib that grows almost to the tip of the leaf.

These thick ribs are most prominent on the outer leaves, which are all too often discarded during the preparation of romaine lettuce but those dark green outer leaves contain more nutrients than the paler inner leaves. It should also be noted that cos lettuce leaves are intended to be served whole because etiquette dictates that the leaves are meant to be lifted by the stem and eaten with the fingers.

It’s these larger ribbed leaves that secrete an abundance of milky sap when cut or torn which gives romaine lettuce its delicate bitter herb taste and when blended with Caesar dressing enhance the overall flavour of one’s salad.

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

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

For some reason Caesar Salad recipes are the ones that people want to share with me the most. Maybe it says something about my Caesar dressing recipe but appears that we all make or know someone who makes the best caser salad in the world. The following recipe is a variation on the traditional that I like to use. I know it is not the best but I do enjoy it in a salad, as a dip or even as a sandwich spread. I will sometimes add some chopped hard boil eggs to my salad along with lots of bacon. I personally avoid using croutons because I do not like the noise they make inside my head when eating them.

Freshly harvested Ontario lettuces are widely available in our produce aisles and farmers markets. With so many food items coming into season remember that all types of lettuce should be stored away from ethylene-producing fruits, such as apples, bananas and pears. These naturally occurring gas emissions cause lettuce leaves to brown prematurely.

 

Caesar Salad Dressing

Ingredients:

Two whole raw eggs, shelled

Two tbsp. Of red wine or Balsamic vinegar

One tbsp. Fresh squeezed lemon juice

One to four cloves of garlic depending on your personal preference

One white of a green onion

One tsp capers

One tsp. Worcestershire sauce

One – two cups of canola oil depending on desired consistency

One quarter cup of grated of parmesan

Salt and Pepper

Method: in a food processor combine the eggs, vinegar, lemon juice and garlic. Puree until smooth on a high speed. With the processor still running on high add the green onion, capers and Worcestershire and continue pureeing until smooth. Continue to operate the food processor on high and gradually pour in the oil. Take your time and allow 3- five minutes to complete this process as we do not want the dressing to separate.

If you prefer a lighter dressing add less oil and for thicker dressings add more. Once the oil has been added, finish by adding the parmesan cheese.

Taste the dressing and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Let the dressing sit for 1-2 hours in the refrigerator before serving.

Additional ingredients to try in your Caesar salad include pancetta, grilled asparagus, almonds and hard boiled eggs.

Gastronomically yours,

March 29th, 2015

How to Ham it up!

A ham is the rear leg of a hog, which is preserved by a variety of combined methods

such as wet or dry salting, smoking and drying, it is one of the oldest cuts of cured meats produced by modern society

with almost every country in the world utilizing regionally inspired preparation methods.

The moveable feast of Easter will see many people consuming ham but there is much to consider when purchasing a ham.

Laterality is the individual orientation of preference to what side of one’s body we show a personal inclination for.

More simply are we left or right handed. Estimates indicate 85% of the animal kingdom

is right side dominant which includes our hands, eyes, ears and feet.

When purchasing a ham it should be acquired from the left hind leg of a pig as they tend to be right side dominant.

It has been observed that because of this lateral trait,

pigs scratch themselves more often with their right hind leg,

causing the muscles to work more resulting in a tougher ham with less fat.

A Picnic Ham is not a true ham as it is cut from the upper part of the foreleg and contains a portion of the shoulder,

but they are cured in the same manner as a proper ham, making it taste just like ham.

Traditionally hams are cured with salt and sugar to remove excess blood and moisture.

They are then rinsed and hung to dry and further age. Some find their way into a smoke house where

they are hung over a variety of smoldering hardwood coals to develop a rich flavour and naturally colour the hams exterior.

This process can take anywhere from 6 to 18 months.

In North America many boneless or shaped hams are simply processed bits of meat

that have been mechanically shaped and held together with processed ingredients that work as adhesives,

their added smoky flavour comes from flavoured liquid that is sprayed on or injected into these hams.

A bone-in ham can be purchased whole or halved from either the shank (foot) end, or from the butt (hip) end.

Whole hams will weigh at an average of 12-14 lbs. To decide on how much ham you need to feed your guests,

I suggest 1/2 pound of bone-in ham per guest which allows everyone to have plenty to eat,

with enough left over for sandwiches and the ham bone will be in the soup pot for a hearty Split Pea Soup.

When it comes to preparing the ham you will need to remove the ham from the refrigerator

and let it come to room temperature for one hour before heating it in the oven.

If and only if you are using a salt cured ham boil it for 15-20 minutes in a pot of water

before heating it in the oven to remove the excess salt. Discard water

Don’t be a cheap bastard and save the water for soup because it will taste like shit!

When heating a fully cooked ham we must keep it moist as you want it heated through but do not want to

dry it out so place the ham on a roasting rack, add half an inch of water to the bottom of the pan and

over the pan tightly with aluminum foil and cook at 350°F for 15 minutes per pound or until the internal temperature of the ham reaches 165°F.

To glaze your ham, simply raise the temperature of your oven to 400°F for the last 15-20 minutes of

cooking and liberally brush your ham with a glaze of anything sweet a couple of times.

Once the ham is cooked, let it rest for 15 minutes before you carve it to minimize moisture loss.

 

Chef Brian Henry offers Pig Roasts and other whole animal Roasting

Chef Brian Henry offers Pig Roasts and other whole animal Roasting

reservation
Chef Brian for Hire
The Spice Co.