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November, 2012:

Second Draught: a smoked beer from a German brewery

Some people (including some whose opinions I greatly respect) don’t really like this beer because they think it tastes like a campfire. Well, I like it. The smoky taste makes it taste more than a bit like bacon in a glass. No one’s suggesting you polish off five of them in one night but this typical, German smoked beer is worth adding to the rotation every so often.

Also, an update on the First/Second Draught from a couple weeks ago: GLB’s 25th Anniversary Imperial Black IPA has been in LCBOs for a short while but supplies are already running low. Only 17 locations have ten or more bottles and 14 more are down into single digits. (more…)

Rice Bran Oil

About a year and a half ago I ordered a book called Ideas in Food: Great Recipes and Why They Work that has become one of my staple cooking references. Their recipe for cold-smoked fried chicken sent me on a bit of a wild-goose chase for rice bran oil because at that time it wasn’t carried very widely in Toronto grocery stores. The Hansells Group and their Alfa One brand of rice bran oil is now working to change that.

From the preview event they held a couple weeks ago at the Sub Zero & Wolf Showroom in Toronto I took home a sample of the product. They were demo’ing examples of the oil used for sauteeing, baking, in a salad dressing and as part of the sauce for Thai curry mussels and everything tasted but I wanted to test the oil out at home.

Eggplant fritter frying in rice bran oil.

Eggplant fritter frying in rice bran oil.

On our trip to Spain last April we managed to develop a low-level addiction to fried eggplant fritters with honey. Since we’ve been back we’ve made them at least once a month. Most recipes like the berenjenas con miel in Claudia Roden’s The Food Of Spain call for soaking eggplant slices in milk, dusting them with flour and then frying in sunflower oil. Because the coating is so light and the other flavours are so neutral this seems like an ideal situation for a side-by-side test. (more…)

Green & Black’s and Pangaea Restaurant

Green & Black's Pangaea 1

Ten courses at lunch. All with chocolate. Cooked by Chef Martin Kouprie and his team at Pangaea Restaurant. You know what? There is absolutely nothing there that I can complain about.

Obviously, I was happy to be invited to Green & Black’s Organic Chocolate extravaganza but I have to admit I went in with a bit of skepticism. Chocolate has a pronounced, sometimes bitter flavour. It’s fans are so devoted–eyes open wider, mouths salivate more possibly only for bacon–that it can sometimes be stretched beyond its comfort zone. New packaged food items need to break into the all-important bachelorette party market with something-and-chocolate parties, after all. (more…)

Second Draught: Great Lakes Brewery’s Imperial Black IPA

Simply put this is a really excellent beer. For some reason IPAs are often released as a spring seasonal but I’m happy to see GLB give me an excuse to drink one of my favourite styles well into the autumn. (more…)

Whisky Rocks with Forty Creek

Forty Creek Copper Pot Reserve

Last Thursday I made my way to Barrie for the Whisky Rocks concert featuring The Trews. This annual event is a cornerstone of the LCBO’s seasonal whisky promotion. (more…)