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October, 2011:

Beefy Goodness

Today was a great day for me and beef. I had the pleasure of attending a workshop put on by Canadian Beef Inc. in the lovely Nella demonstration kitchen on Bathurst. It got me thinking in a few different directions and I’ll be posting more about the workshop and what I’m thinking about but for now here’s a round-up of the highlights of my (many) posts involving beef.

I opened by introducing myself as the guy who has cooked steak in a beer cooler. It’s a really useful technique–I repeated it for a chilli competition I entered–that I’m going to be trying to work other parts of the cow into. If you have any suggestions please leave them in the comments.

All the tools needed for cooking steak in a beer cooler.

All the tools needed for cooking steak in a beer cooler.

Burgers, steaks, and roasts are all great but we have to remember that for every two spinalis dorsii (the pinnacle of beef) there is a heart. Literally. Here’s my post about cooking the beef offal that tastes most like steak. (more…)

Contest: $50 Gift Certificate to Chez Cora

After being asked to participate in the Egg Farmers of Ontario’s World Egg Month promotion I’ve done some more reading about this food staple that I think a lot of us take for granted. I’m working some posts on the topic but in the meantime you can read my French toast post and today I have a giveaway contest.

I’d like to spread the love (and the reading) around a bit and have a $50 gift certificate courtesy of Egg Farmers of Ontario good at any Chez Cora restaurant to give away.

Head over to the EFO’s web site and do some clicking around and find a fun fact on the different types of eggs. Post a comment with a brief summary of the differences between conventional, free run, and free range eggs.  A winner will be randomly selected from the correct answers. (more…)

Essential Pepin: Tarragon Chicken

In my first post inspired by Jacques Pépin’s new cookbook, Essential Pepin, I said I was more of a Julia fan than a Jacques fan. But really they are two points in the same timeline and were close collaborators and friends. They  both were immensely popular during that age of food television (before sunglasses came in back-of-head models) that was about helping viewers become better home cooks.

The videos attached to this New York Times piece show Jacques Pépin at his best: explaining traditional techniques with much more than just an automatic reliance on dogma. For instance, eggs should be cracked on a flat surface when making an omelet and not on the lip of the bowl so that broken pieces of shell aren’t forced into the egg where they can break the yolk or introduce bacteria.

For my second shot at an Essential Pepin recipe I chose the tarragon chicken. This one used two traditional techniques that are not often found in contemporary recipes but that work excellently here. (more…)

Burger’s Priest vs. Holy Chuck

Religious irreverence, squishy buns, American cheese, high-quality freshly ground beef apparently this is what makes a top burger joint in Toronto these days. Reader, I’m sure we both have other favourites. The Drake, Marben and Allen’s all make excellent pub style burgers. The Stockyards has a griddled burger that is pretty close but Holy Chuck Bugers and Burger’s Priest are clearly not just fighting in the same weight class but they’re wearing different shades of the same colour of trunks.

Critics of the lineups be damned, the Priest is clearly the one wearing the title belt.

Now some of you will take their similarity as license to accuse Holy Chuck, who opened this September, a year and a half after Burger’s Priest of being a knock off. To which I say: Calm down. The (modern) burger was invented within a hundred miles of New York City and perfected at drive-ins across California half a century ago–not last summer on a distant stretch of Queen Street next to a KFC. Not to mention that while the beef should be top-quality both American cheese and Wonder Bread style buns are clearly products of standardised, industrial production. (more…)

Delicious Food Show

Acadian Sturgeon caviar

This weekend the CNE’s Better Living Centre will be taken over by the first annual Delicious Food Show. The show is sponsored  by Food Network Canada and features food and wine vendors, demonstrations, and celebrity appearances.

The Twirlees Truck moves indoors for the Delicious Food Show.

The Twirlees Truck moves indoors for the Delicious Food Show.

Cold weather and snow will mean more of an uphill battle for our growing food truck scene. But, parked inside, the delicious soft serve from Twirlees (I had the Iced Cappuccino flavour) really hit the spot, especially for $2 a serving.

The ratio of good stuff to line-ups is always highest in the first year for one of these events. And this mostly applied on the very first night of the Delicious Show even if casual observers claimed that the lines were following me around. (more…)