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 ‘spice rubs’

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 28th, 2016

Candy Crush or Sugar Crash and what to do with Halloween Leftovers!

The scariest harvest of the year is upon us  as some 4 million Canadian kids take to the streets and rake in their loot from more than 13 million homes that will participate in shelling out candy. These costume clad kids will return home and almost immediately pour out their pillow cases onto the floor to reveal their share of almost $360 million worth of candy that was purchased across Canada in the month of October.

Candy Crush

Candy Crush

 

As parents assist in checking through their kids candy for any detrimental items that may have made it into their stash, the kids in a sugar and caffeine induced state immediately are taking inventory and begin organizing their haul into rows and piles. If watched closely your children will go through an eerie transformation from goblin or ghoul to instant entrepreneur as they quickly will wade into the role of a business person as they will realize that they have a share of precious commodity in a market of excess supply.

To watch children with their faces still smeared with makeup and half disrobed from their costumes enter into the frenzied barter and trading sessions with siblings or other kids from the hood would give any math teacher pause as they explore early lessons in economics.

Sugar Crash!

Sugar Crash!

It will quickly become evident that all candy was not created equally and the first things to get traded off will be the hard to move less-desirable candies which include Candy Corn, Tootsie Rolls, fruits or vegetables and non-edibles like pencils and toothbrushes.

This makes way for the serious trades to happen and is a quick follow based upon industry sales which see M&M’s, Snickers, and Kit Kat taking secondary positions to the highly prized Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup which has an unprecedented high trading value and is often smuggled as dangerous cargo or contraband as our schools have become peanut free zones.

Within a few days all of these child markets and kid-cartels will crash much like our children as their confectionary novelty and sugar buzz wears off. The market induced glut becomes stagnant and for some it can cause boredom, but with a few Halloween tricks up your sleeves you can still have plenty of fun by bringing the kids and the left-over candy into the kitchen to create meals that can be served right into December’s holiday festivities.

The easiest ways to cook with leftover candy is by chopping the candies and adding them into brownie and milkshake recipes. For more of a challenge you may want to try making ice cream and cheesecake recipes. For some real twists on food maybe even try the following recipe whose core ingredients can be purchased locally and as frightful as it may sound the combined flavours will leave you bewitched!

 

Beet Salad with Chocolate Goat Cheese and Black Licorice Vinaigrette

 

Black Licorice Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. chopped black licorice

¾ cup water

1/4 cider vinegar

2 tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 green onion, minced

¾ cup salad oil

Method:

Combine the licorice and water in a small sauce pan and heat over medium-low heat until the licorice is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and whisk in the cider vinegar, green onion and Dijon mustard. Finally whisk in the oil by slowly pouring it into the licorice mixture. Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper to taste and refrigerate until needed.

 

Snickers Goat Cheese

Ingredients:

2-4 oz. of chopped Snickers bar

4 oz. goat cheese, room temperature

1 chive, finely minced

Method:

Place all of the ingredients in a glass bowl and microwave it until it becomes soft. Stir the warmed ingredients together and set aside.

 

Roasted Beets

Ingredients:

8 beets, medium sized, cut in half

1 tbsp. cooking oil

Your choice of salad greens

Salt and pepper

Method:

Toss the beets in a bowl with the oil, salt and pepper. Turn the beets out onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in a pre-heated oven at 400 °f for about an hour or until fork tender. Remove the beets from the oven and let them rest for 30 minutes. Peel or pull the skins off of the beets. Slice the beets into bite size pieces. Lightly coat the beets with some of the vinaigrette and set them in the refrigerator to marinate for one hour.

To serve assemble the greens onto a plate and top them with the beets. Drizzle the remaining vinaigrette over the salad and top with crumbled goat cheese.

Candy Crush

Candy Crush

Gastronomically yours,

October 28th, 2016

 With Halloween just a couple of sleeps away, I thought it best to share some ideas on how to carve your pumpkin,

 how to roast the seeds and recipes for cooking with pumpkin.

Happy Halloween!

               Happy Halloween!

You don’t know Jack!

Numerous religious groups have placed great importance on the last days of October and the first days of November. These include but are not limited to the Gaelic Samhain, Christian All Saint’s Day, All Souls Day, All Hallows Eve, Day of the Dead and All Hallows Mass. For the most part it appears that the general consensus was that most people believed that there was a lot more spirit activity at this time of year as relatives and ancestors who had passed away might drop by for a visit. This was also a time for community festivals celebrating the end of summer, the harvest and the coming dark days awaiting the rebirth of spring.

One of the first plants domesticated by humans was the gourd, not so much as a food source but for its carving potential which led to the creation of the first line of primitive kitchen ware. Jack o’ Lanterns in my opinion was the earliest version of a flashlight after the torch. Walking home from any autumn festival in the dark would be a nerve racking experience with all of the blowing leaves and night time sounds of autumn, add in the fear that the undead might show up would only further your worries.

The tradition of carving Jack o’ Lantern’s was brought to Canada by Irish and Scottish settlers. They often transformed gourds, turnips or squash into easy to carry lanterns. These lanterns were decorated with intensely fierce faces to represent the souls forever lost in purgatory. They were carried and displayed about homes to ward off evil spirits and protect people from the undead, which were believed to be at their peak activity in the autumn months.

Pumpkin carving has evolved greatly in recent years and has gone beyond triangle eyes and smiles. Specialty pumpkin carving kits and power tools are used by some to create works of art and some neighborly competition.

This being the last weekend before Halloween you should get out to one of the regions pick your own pumpkin farms and get your pumpkin carved this weekend for Halloween. Choosing a pumpkin is easy to do knowing that the larger the pumpkin, the easier it is to carve. Avoid bruised or moldy pumpkins as they will spoil much faster. Lighter coloured pumpkins tend to be softer and easier to carve.

The way we carve pumpkins has evolved as well as you don’t have to take off the top of your pumpkin, which is the hardest and possibly the most dangerous thing to do as the top of the pumpkin is woody and tough, try using a key hole or drywall saw for this. You may choose to remove the bottom or the back of your Jack o’ lantern as it is easier to cut through and allows easy access for electrical cords to power up colourful tree lights inside your pumpkin and forgo the candle.

Ice cream paddle-style scoops make quick work of cleaning out the seeds and pulp.  They also allow you to scrape down the inside to about an inch thickness with relative ease. Many people use carving templates available on-line which they print off and use as a transfer to outline their images with.

Once you have your pumpkin carved it will quickly want to rot but this easy to avoid or at least prolong the pumpkins life by soaking your cleaned and carved pumpkin for a couple of hours in a bleach water solution of 1 teaspoon bleach to 1 gallon of water. Remove the pumpkin from the water and dry it thoroughly. This will help keep bugs, mold, and animals away from your pumpkin. Then rub a thin even coating of cooking oil or petroleum jelly all over your pumpkin, inside and out with particular attention to all of the cut edges to prevent shriveling.

If you use a candle to power your pumpkin, make sure to place it in a glass or votive holder, and cut a ventilation hole into the pumpkin. Candle powered pumpkins can be used as an aromatic air freshener by sprinkle the inside of the pumpkin with some cinnamon and cloves.

Finally you can extend your jack-o’-lanterns life by storing it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator when not in use. Finally I must add that you do not eat a pumpkin that has been used as a jack-o’-lantern.

Happy Halloween!

TRICK or TREAT!

                    TRICK or TREAT!

 

The pumpkin has become synonymous with Thanksgiving and Halloween. Beyond the pumpkins symbolism most of us know little about this fruit and leaves most of us reaching for this product in its store-bought canned form when it comes to cooking.

Its symbolic presence of the autumn harvest has made this fruit a traditional staple of the North American Thanksgiving and though it has taken some time; like Linus waiting for the great one to arrive, the pumpkin has come of age and has transitioned itself into a staple of our pantries.

Most of us consume pumpkins in sweet dessert like preparations such as pie, cheesecake and muffins. When ripe, the pumpkin can be boiled, steamed, baked, or roasted. Pumpkins are very versatile in their uses for cooking, from the fleshy shell, to the seeds, to even the flowers.

Pumpkins are the largest berry in the world and are related to other fruits like squash and cucumbers. Pumpkins that are still small and green may be prepared in the same way as squash or zucchini, where a more mature pumpkin might be served mashed like potatoes.

Pumpkin seeds, known as pepitas, are the small, flat, green, edible seeds. Most pumpkin seeds are covered by a white husk, although some pumpkin varieties produce seeds without them. Pepitas are a popular snack that can be found hulled in most grocery stores.

When Pumpkin seeds are roasted one can extract thick oil that is somewhat reddish-green in color and is generally diluted with milder flavored oils because of its vigorous full bodied flavor. It is often drizzled over salad greens, pumpkin soup, potato salad, and even on vanilla ice-cream.

Pumpkin seed oil contains fatty acids which help maintain healthy blood vessels and nerves, and are loaded with essential fatty acids that help to maintain healthy blood vessels, nerves and tissues with its high fiber content helping to aid proper digestion.

Pumpkins are available almost everywhere one would find food for sale right now. It can be fun to go to a pick your own field as well to get your pumpkins. Be sure to save your seeds for this recipe which is a twist on a classic treat of toasted Pumpkin seeds by turning them into a gourmet confection.

 

Pepita Brittle

Ingredients:

One and one half tsp. baking soda

Two Tbsp. butter, melted

One and one half cups sugar

Three quarters cup water

One quarter tsp. fine grained sea salt

Three quarter cups of hulled roasted pumpkin seeds “pepitas”

One quarter tsp. cinnamon

Method:

Stir together baking soda and melted butter; set aside. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper; set aside a second sheet the same size. Butter the parchment on one side.

Combine sugar, water and salt in a medium sized saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low; wash down any sugar crystals on sides of pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. Simmer syrup 10 to 12 minutes, until it reaches 240°F. Remove from heat; with a wooden spoon gently stir in the pumpkin seeds.

While stirring, return pan to medium-low heat until the mixture turns a deep amber color and reaches 290°F. Remove from heat; stir in butter-baking soda mixture with wooden spoon.

Pour mixture onto prepared cookie sheet; cover with second parchment sheet. Press the mixture with a rolling pin to 1/4-inch thick. Remove top layer of parchment and allow it to completely cool down. Next crack the brittle and serve the tasty morsels.

Store your pepita brittle between layers of parchment in a sealed container for up to two weeks.

 

 

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,

October 7th, 2016

Going Cold Turkey

 

Looking in your refrigerator the days after Thanksgiving 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 and Thanksgiving rules with sovereignty like no other.

Coming down from any holiday is  a crash for some and to finish the binge a la cold turkey can be a rough ride. Trying to make sense out of the leftovers piled precariously in your fridge, garage or out of desperation for food salvation on the back deck can be a daunting task.

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 archetypal 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.

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.

Get 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.

 

Roasted Stuffed Squash

 

Ingredients:

1 butternut squash

Cooking oil

Stuffing

Salt and pepper to taste

Cheese

 

Method:

Cut the butternut squash in half, and scoop out the seeds and discard. Brush the squash with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper then roast it on a parchment lined baking sheet at 350°f for 20 minutes or until the squash becomes soft. Scoop out most of the cooked squash flesh, leaving a shell around the edge. Mash the cooked squash with the leftover stuffing until evenly incorporated and then spoon the mixture back into the squash shells. Sprinkle with some grated cheese and bake the squash for another 20-25 minutes and it reaches an internal temperature of 74°C. Yields will vary depending on amount of people vs leftovers.

 

 

 

Turkey Pot Pie

 

Ingredients:

1/2 pkg frozen rolled butter puff pastry, thawed

1 egg, beaten

2 tbsp. butter

1 onion, diced

1 rib celery, diced

2 cups acorn squash, peeled and cubed

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups chicken stock or white wine

3 cups shredded cooked turkey, white and dark meat

1 tsp. dried sage

1 pinch nutmeg

2 cups fresh baby spinach coarsely chopped

1/2 cup 10% cream or milk

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Method:

On a parchment line baking sheet, unroll the pastry and cut it into 4 equally sized pieces. Brush the pastry with the beaten egg and then bake them at 400°F until puffed and golden, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and stir in the onion, celery, and squash. Cook the vegetables until the squash is tender. Next stir in the flour and let it cook while continuously stirring for  a minute or so. Gradually stir in the stock and bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Reduce heat let the sauce simmer until it has thickened. Stir in all remaining ingredients and serve once all ingredients are heated through. Season with salt and pepper, ladle into bowls; top with the cooked puff pastry. Feeds 4

 

Gastronomically yours,

June 6th, 2016
One Roof Community Diner is worthy of your support!

One Roof Community Diner is worthy of your support!

 I choose support local efforts and initiatives that I believe in.

One Roof Community Diner is just such a cause.

They were very gracious for our support

and gave us more than our share of attention

via social media and their website

for which we are truly grateful.

HOWEVER

it’s those individuals who volunteer and have dedicated themselves to the One Roof Community Diner and its daily operation who deserve the praise and attention so please check them out and step up to give them a hand at

https://oneroofdiner.wordpress.com/about/

 

OneRoof1

JUST GET INVOLVED!

Thank You, Chef Brian Henry

 

Dear Diners,

The piece below was posted on Facebook on June 3, 2016.  We think it is important that it reach our website as well, so you are going to see it twice.  Here it is from Casey:

Chef Brian Henry popped by One Roof today. You may recall we asked for a couple whiteboards. Today, Brian dropped off a 20′ roll of whiteboard material for us. And six bags of spice and herb combinations for our meals! Lucas and Casey couldn’t resist opening them up and smelling and tasting them.

It was fun imagining the pastas, curries, rubs, sauces and other dishes we could make with these flavours. They are amazing and we’re excited to play with them and share them with our guests. It was great to see you today, Brian. We appreciate all your support. Hope to see you again!

Brian is a private chef who does a lot of private lessons, cooking and catering. He also produces thousands of meals through Emergency Preparedness Management and Mobile Emergency Food Services to those evacuated and effected by emergency and disasters. And has a line of spices and rubs. Check outhttp://www.chefbrianhenry.com. — Casey Watson, Facebook, June 3, 2016

Thank you again, Chef Brian Henry, for your generosity and encouragement!

Gastronomically yours,

June 6th, 2016

The smell of spring or why your piss stinks!

 

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.

Asparagus!

Asparagus!

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.

 

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Grilled asparagus dusted with The Spice Co.’s Italian Scallion and crumbled feta cheese!

order online at www.chefbrianhenry.com

order online at www.chefbrianhenry.com

Asparagus Flowers

Freshly harvested asparagus is truly a thing of beauty with contrasting hues of purple and blue that look like frosting on the tips of the plants rich green stems is spectacular.  I prefer the new crops of asparagus that provide stalks that are about the size of your baby finger which in my opinion is the best size to work with as they are quite firm but not too woody like the larger stalks tend to be. Asparagus is a perennial member of the lily family is relatively expensive compared to other vegetables as it can only be harvested by hand. Early harvested asparagus is sweet and juicy and can contain up to 4% sugar. This natural sugar content is most noticeable within the first 24 hours after the stems have been harvested. After that asparagus like other vegetables will begin to consume this sugar for its continued growth and survival. If stored for too long or exposed to light and warm temperatures the asparagus will start to loose its moisture and sweetness. Prolonged storage will see the entire stem grow more fibrous as the plant will consume itself for survival. Some of the effects of storing asparagus can be minimized by simply treating the asparagus like fresh cut flowers. By simply cutting an inch off of  the bottom of  your asparagus and standing them in sugar water your asparagus will hold well in the refrigerator for a few days if need be.

The formation of lignin or the woody fibrous texture found in the lower portion of asparagus has been dealt with in the same manner for centuries by cooks who simply bend the asparagus stalk end to end. This stress causes the asparagus to snap on the border between the tough and tender parts of the stalk.

Asparagus  contains asparagusic acid which is a substance high in sulphur and is classified as a relative of methanethiol. Methanethiol is one of the active ingredients in skunk spray. Within half an hour of eating asparagus our digestive system turns the sulphur into methanethiol. This derivative of asparagusic acid ends up in our urine releasing an aromatic odor. Almost all individuals produce this odorous compound after eating asparagus, but oddly enough only about 40% of us have the autosomal genes required to smell it.

As with most things in life I like to keep my food simple and allow for the natural flavours to come forward and speak for themselves. This is why I chose to simply sauté my asparagus for this week’s recipe.

 

Sautéed Asparagus

Ingredients:

1 pound of asparagus cleaned

One quarter pound shiitake mushrooms

2-3 tbsp. butter at room temperature

Juice of one lemon or a splash white wine

Salt and pepper

Method:

Over medium-high heat, pre-heat a sauté pan. Add the butter and swirl it around the pan. Add the asparagus and shiitakes. Keep your sauté pan moving constantly. Sauté means to jump so keep things hopping. After two to three minutes has passed remove the pan from the heat. Add the lemon juice and let it simmer for about a minute. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Gastronomically yours,

April 17th, 2016

How to give your BBQ a spring tune up!

Spring is here even though it is still some six weeks until the May long weekend. Clearly we are not out of the snow laden woods yet.  Reflecting on how mild this past winter was, many of us took advantage of it by barbecuing in comfort through the winter. The added wear and tear on our barbecues might mean that a spring-tune up is in order.

No matter the brand, the size or the price that you paid for your BBQ, a spring tune up is easy to perform and may resolve some problems before they arise with the upcoming barbecue season. Essentially we need to give our outdoor grills a thorough cleaning and inspect of all of its components. The main cause of flare-ups and those nerve wracking explosive starts to your system can usually be traced to a blockage in the venturi tubes on your BBQ. Warning signs of a gas blockage include any of the following; the burner doesn’t light, the burner flames are yellow or you’ve lost an eyebrow during ignition.

Reggae Rub Wings are best when grilled over charcoal!

Reggae Rub Wings are best when grilled over charcoal!

Insects are attracted to the smell of gas and often will take up residence in the tubes used to carry gas from the tank to the burners. Using a venturi brush you can clean the bugs and their nests out of the venturi tubes. Slowly insert the venturi brush no more than an inch at a time, slightly turning it using it to pull the cobwebs and debris out of the gas lines, do this with a patient frame of mind, otherwise if you get all rammy on it you will only  compact any debris into the line.

You will also want to do a soap water test on the gas line and its connectors to ensure there are no gas leaks. Repair or replace any defected parts that you may find. Any of the metal parts within the firebox can be cleaned with a metal brush this will ensure that all of the burner ports are free of debris. Do not make any modifications to your system. You can also use a vacuum with and appropriate filter to remove the dust and debris.

Now fire it up, preheat your BBQ gently, as you do not need to re-temper any of the metal which might cause it to warp or bend. Use a damp cloth and set of long handled tongs to wipe the grilling surface. This will help remove excess dirt and metal bristles from your grilling surface.

Now it’s time to get grilling! I suggest making some burgers up but with a bit of a twist by adding some new flavours to them and using ground pork instead of beef. Pair your burgers with kimchi or a spicy coleslaw.

BBQ Cooking Classes offered year round!!

BBQ Cooking Classes offered year round!!

Asian seasoned pork burgers

Ingredients:

¼ cup hoisin sauce

¼ cup barbecue sauce

2 pounds ground pork

½ cup minced green onion

1 tbsp. minced ginger

1 tsp. minced garlic

 

Method:

In a small bowl, whisk together the hoisin and barbecue sauce and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the pork, minced green onion, ginger, garlic and 3-4 tablespoons of the hoisin-barbecue sauce mixture. Mix the ingredients together with your hands and then shape the meat into 6 equal-sized patties.

Preheat your barbecue into the 450-500 Cook the burgers on one side for 6 minutes, then flip, brush with the hoisin-barbecue sauce and continue cooking until cooked throughout.

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Chef Brian for Hire
The Spice Co.