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March, 2013:

No-Knead Bread: The Burnt Bottoms

No-knead bread with a beautiful crust.
I know, I know my recipe crush on the Lahey-Bittman no-knead bread is glaringly obvious. Hell, I’ve even gone as far as making a stop-motion video homage to it. But, this obsession goes beyond an appreciation for the concept that great bread can be made with very little effort; it’s something that I actually do two or three times a week.

A detailed description of the method probably isn’t necessary since: a.) the original youtube video has been played about 1.75 million views, so I’m guessing it’s fairly widely known; and b.) I’ve gone into some detail in previous posts. Today’s post has a special focus so let’s say that a sufficient summary of the recipe is: mix dough, ferment overnight, allow a second countertop rise while the over heats with a Dutch oven inside, bake inside the closed Dutch oven for 30 minutes, and then remove the lid and bake for 15 to 20 minutes more. (more…)

Probiotic Salad

A probiotic salad of sauerkraut, dill pickles, and a yogurt dressing.

The recipes I share here on Food With Legs vary along a spectrum that runs from Old Favourites straight to What the Hell Experiments. This one happens to fall much closer to the latter end than the former. I was having friends over for dinner, had plans for rich and meaty pasta and main courses and wanted to start with a salad. I figured I could lay down an acid base and get everyone salivating for what was up next. And that’s how the “probiotic salad” that combines both my wild-fermented dill pickles and spicy Sichuan sauerkraut was conceived.

I am being a bit tongue-in-cheek by using that word “probiotic” in the title. Yogurt companies have adopted it–along with belly-dancing models and stomach-shapes lines–to make a back-handed claim about their products’ health benefits. The connection between live bacteria in food and the digestive health of those who eat hasn’t been definitely established, but I’m willing place a tentative bet that it will pan out–especially when the probiotic food is cultured with more than just a yogurt companies patented strains of lactobacilli. (more…)

Second Draught: Chaman, a hoppy and aromatic imperial pale ale from Quebec

Green beer annoys me. It’s a gimmick and another plank, roughly patched over a hole in the leaky SS International Pale Lager. I guess the hidden irony here is that DDC makes some of Canada’s best stouts. Many of them are good options for St. Patrick’s Day; better some would say than the Irish stouts we get here.


Second Draught: an American-style IPA from Kensington Brewing Company

Even after talking to about a dozen of the founders of Toronto’s new craft breweries I’m still surprised how they each took a slightly different path into the industry. Some were homebrewers, or worked at big breweries, and others start with just a business and marketing plan. ┬áThe unique aspect of Kensington Brewery Company’s history is that they built their base in the back of The Burger Bar, a successful restaurant in Kensington Market. (more…)

Second Draught: Nostradamus, a Belgian strong ale that’s perfect for winter stews

Rather than just (re-)introducing this beer I’m going to offer a relevant and quick lesson on reading the LCBO website. The product page for the Nostradamus Belgian strong says that it’s discontinued, but the inventory page shows 1,800 bottles (a very rough estimate) spread across 65 stores. That’s a hell of a lot of beer for a special season release. For regular listings the discontinued notice means that the LCBO no longer adds to their inventory of that product, in that packaging format. For the seasonal release beers or brewery feature beers it seems to just mean that a product is from the previous cycle. In this case, Nostradamus was part of the winter release and the spring release has started to roll out.

Beer is a fragile product, so the discontinued notice might often be a good indicator to steer clear. With its higher alcohol and low hop bitterness I’m less concerned about the Nostradamus and may pick up a few bottles myself for some cellar aging.