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May, 2009:

Ribs With Legs I: The rub and the ribs

Barbeque season is here and for his birthday every year my cousin Chris has me make ribs.  Over the years I think I have worked out a pretty optimal cooking technique and I’m going to share it here in two parts.  The recipe is based on Alton Brown’s versions for baby back ribs from I’m Just Here for the Food and the Good Eats episode “Pork Fiction“.   Two recipes, one cook but they really are pretty different–perhaps because of copyright issues–and so we get the opportunity to pick and choose the best of both.

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Foraging for Dandelions

Last weekend at the cottage I braved the wet weather and went out hunting for mushrooms.  I had hoped that this slightly warm and very wet spring would mean an abundance of morels.  Either they aren’t out yet or I was looking in the wrong places.  I did find–you’d have to be blind not to–an abundance of one the spring’s most interesting wild treats: dandelions. 

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Tomato Cultivars Profiled

This will be my second year growing tomato plants from the Salt Sping Seeds 2008 Canadian Heritage mix.  For 2009 the mix is similar but they have replaced Canabec Rose and Montreal Tasty with Dufresne and Doucet’s Early Market Quebec.  I sowed the seeds way back on March 22nd and moved them up to six-inch pots on April 19th.  The five plants that are doing well are spending days outside either in the greenhouse or on a table in the backyard getting used to full sun.  I’ll put them into the ground in the garden at the cottage either this weekend (May 16th) or the weekend after.

I was frustrated last year when trying to gather infomation from the internet about these cultivars.  I think because these are all bred-for-Canada seeds they don’t get as much attention from the online databases that devote more space to American cultivars.  As well, cultivar information is usually gardener-sumitted so, obviously the smaller Canadian gardening community produces less information.  The Salt Spring Seeds site is alright but varies widely in how much information it gives and how this information is quantified (fruit size is sometimes “small to medium” other times “4 to 10 oz.”). (more…)

Review: Golden House

A friendly pub, a casual Italian trattoria, maybe a place with candles and tablecloths for special occasions; these are some of the eating establishments that a neighbourhood needs to make life enjoyable for foodies.  While not absolutely essential a local source of old school, westernised Chinese food is also something a neighbourhood can use.  Last week Kat and I ordered dinner from Golden House Chinese Food Restauant and hoped it would cross this item off our list.

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Conquering My Food Aversions

It’s strange that I don’t watch more Iron Chef America.  The host, Alton Brown, was an early inspiration for my choice to become someone who actively cooks.  Mario Batali is one of my favourite television chefs.  I think a lot of my negative reaction to the show has to do with its most frequent judge, Jeffrey Steingarten.  When in the judge’s seat he’s a curmudgeon, rude to the other judges and pretty much an all-round asshole.  To my surprise, over the past few months I have come to consider him one of my favourite writers about food.

In the first chapter (available here through the New York Time book review, log-in required) of his first book of essays The Man Who Ate Everything, Steingarten sets out to make himself a better food critic by wiping the slate of his phobias.   Obviously, I’m not writing for as wide an audience as Vogue reaches but I still think that it is a useful activity for those of us who write about food to identify what we don’t like (or just won’t try) eating to establish a context for our writing about food.

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