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June, 2012:

Grilled Cheese for a Hangover

Kale with bacon makes the perfect filling for a grilled cheese sandwich on "one of those mornings."

The Art of Living According to Joe Beef: A Cookbook of Sorts is easily one of the most widely-recognised cookbooks of the last year. It won an IACP award, was nominated for a James Beard Book Award, and won the carefully-judged and competitive Piglet tournament. I cook from its recipes a couple times a month and hear people talk about it just as much. And when they do the recipe that comes up all the time is the Kale for a Hangover. (more…)

Strawberry Rhubarb Banana Shortcakes

Frozen banana slices add sweetness and cool-temperature contrast to this classic dessert.

Is there anything new to be written about strawberry shortcake? It’s where the simple flavour of the tastiest fruit with its seeds1 on the outside meets a composed preparation. Eating just the tips (those are the sweetest part) and throwing the rest over your shoulder works in your garden but not for a dinner party. Strawberry cakes, tarts, and ice cream involve a lot of work but very little flavour reward. (more…)

Wild Pickled Turnips

The purple-hued pickles are at about the halfway point when this was taken.

The purple-hued pickles are at about the halfway point when this was taken.

I’m fascinated by the idea of preserving food by wild fermentation so I decided to give pickled turnips a shot.  Most natural pickling calendars start in early August when the cucumbers come in and then really pick up steam through September when the rush is on to make kimchi and sauerkraut from the year’s cabbage and radish crop.

(The quick review: vegetables–whole or cut–are submerged in a salty brine and kept at room temperature. Over the course of days to a few weeks the lactobacilli from the air, water in the brine, or the vegetables themselves consume the sugar in the vegetables and convert it to lactic acid. The salt in the brine and the this acid both protect the vegetables from spoiling and make them much more delicious.) (more…)

Iced Coffee Experiments

Cold and Hot Brewed Iced Coffee served with milk

I would drink a lot more iced coffee if it only tasted better and were more convenient. On those particularly hot summer mornings (like today) when I can’t bear the thought of a hot cup of coffee I have in the past made usual-strength French press coffee and poured it into a glass jam-packed with ice cubes. The result is barely tepid, watery, bitter.

Thanks to Twitter (@mattmark in particular) I came across this really interesting process for making iced coffee in large batches that stores and is not nearly as bitter or diluted as hot coffee poured over ice. Follow that link. It’s way beyond my understanding of the chemistry involved in coffee making and the original is intensely detailed. (more…)

Julia Child’s Chocolate Almond Cake for JC100

Julia Child's Chocolate Almond Cake

As we make our way through the one hundred days of the JC100 programme I’m reminded how much more sophisticated recipes sound when presented under their French name. Last week it was vichyssoise–much better than the dreary-reading “potato leek soup”–and the pattern continues this week with Chocolate Almond Cake dressing itself up as reine de saba.

What I like best about baking from Julia Child’s recipes is that she doesn’t assume that every household will have a $500 piece of equipment (a stand mixer) that they use to mix $5 of ingredients together, three or four times a year.  We’re asked here to beat egg whites to stiff peaks and that could be done with whisk but a $50 hand mixer is all that’s really needed to make the process easy. (more…)