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July, 2009:

More Mead

One part honey and four parts water mixed in a food-grade plastic bucket that I got at Tap Phong

One part honey and four parts water mixed in a food-grade plastic bucket that I got at Tap Phong

This summer I’ll once again be following Sandor Katz’s mead recipe.  I wrote a post over the winter reminiscing about last summer’s successful experiment.   This time I remembered to measure the potential alcohol (about nine percent) of the water and honey mixture before the fermentation began.

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Wild Pickles

Two baskets of cucumbers from the Willowtree Farm stand at MLS farmers market

Two baskets of cucumbers from the Willowtree Farm stand at MLS farmers' market

I have obtained two of the necessary “ingredients” for another round of wild-fermented dill pickles this summer.  Also, I picked up the ever-important cucumbers today.  The Willowtree Farms stand at Mel Lastman Square had good looking cucumbers  at five dollars for one those (3L, maybe?) baskets.  Two of these (ten dollars worth) yielded 2670 g (almost exactly six pounds) of dark green, pleasingly bumpy cukes.  I couldn’t resist tasting a couple and was pleased to find that they have the crunchiness and complex slightly bitter, slightly floral taste that are always absent from the shrink-wrapped green torpedoes sold in grocery stores. (more…)

Pickled Daikon

This split root is not ideal but luckily only we only  had one like this

This split root is not ideal but luckily only we only had one like this

Apparently, daikon is not a widely recognised vegetable so first things first: daikon is a Japanese radish that looks a lot like a large, white carrot.  It is familiar to many as that noodle-like garnish on sashimi plates in second-string sushi joints (the best, I find, don’t bother with garnish and the third-string seem to prefer carrot).

This is the first year that we have grown daikon in the garden at the cottage. The unusual, but prolific leaves that these white radishes put out did an excellent job of controlling neighbouring weeds.  We are challenged because the backyard at the cottage only has a couple inches of soil above the bedrock. Many hours of digging and dozens of bags of garden soil have bettered this situation but soil depth is still a concern.  Luckily, unlike carrots, daikon seems to be alright with putting on growth above ground once they run out of room. (more…)

Jack Astor’s: My Guide to Surviving Chain Food

The infamous Cheese Garlic Pan Bread

The "infamous" Cheese Garlic Pan Bread

My “to-try” list for the next few weeks includes the Stockyards (a place can only garner so many perfect reviews before I want to see for myself) and the new chef at the Rosebud.  But sometimes a subway/streetcar/bus trip to St. Clair and Christie isn’t in the cards, reservations aren’t made and convenience trumps all other considerations.  That’s how Kat and I ended up at the Yonge and Bloor Jack Astor’s last week.

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CooksIllustrated.com

Six back covers from Cooks Illustrated in Ikea frames on our kitchen wall

Six back covers from Cook's Illustrated in Ikea frames on our kitchen wall

Cook’s Illustrated has played a large role in my search for great recipes over the past five years.  I have subscribed to the magazine for a long time; I have serveral of their cookbooks; and I have watched the PBS show a few times but I have to say that the best resource produced by the people behind Cook’s Illustrated is their online site. They have loaded the site with all of their magazine recipes; many of their cookbook recipes (possibly all); as well as the excellent equipment reviews.  I’d now rather search here for a recipe than wade through the glut that google spits out.

The magazine still has some uses, though.  For instance, I have turned six of the best back cover illustrations into kitchen wall decoration.