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Murkey Recipe for Christmas

Adapted from Ruth Goodman's recipe on Wartime Farm my recipe for Murkey.

Alton Brown taught us that stuffing is evil. He awkwardly and half-heartedly rescinded the blanket prohibition against putting bread inside your bird with a well-if-you-really-must episode that involved a pre-roasting turn in the microwave and then a cloth bag and then in to the cavity. That doesn’t sound fun to me, does it sound fun to you? (more…)

Pancakes with Kentucky Fried Chicken

Bits of fried chicken skin in a stack of pancakes.

Fried chicken and waffles, like they do it at The Stockyards, are a classic duo that I wanted to see if I could improve upon. It’s pancake Tuesday this week and waffles would be a fine stand-in–whether as a last indulgence before the deprivation of Lent or just for the breakfast-for-dinner thrill–but I’m not sure they’re an ideal pair. Perhaps weekly eaters of fried chicken and waffles have developed some especially delicate approach. I haven’t and halfway through the meal it looks like a toddler has had an especially vigorous food tantrum.

Also waffles are light and crisp and need to be eaten quickly. Fried chicken has bones and is a finger food and that doesn’t match well with waffle’s buddy syrup.

Not only do I think pancakes would be a better match but I wanted to find a way to make fried chicken (of all things) more indulgent. Why not take the work out of it and focus on the best part by crusting and frying only the skin? A gluttonous version of popcorn chicken. (more…)

Bone Marrow Butter

Bone marrow butter on pasta with bacon, parmesan, and milkweed pods

I love the deeply meaty flavour of bone marrow. It tastes to me like that connection of grass, butter, and animal smells that fill the kitchen when a really nice steak hits a cast iron pan. It’s a bit of a production to clean, roast, and serve bone marrow, though. A special spoon is sometimes used–no one buys these except restaurants and gift givers–and the most popular presentation usually has bone marrow stand on its own with just bread, salt, and parsley as complements.

Sometimes this ritual is what’s called for but bone marrow has such a luxuriously beefy flavour that it seems a shame to not use it more often. Of course there is always Bordelaise but the thought of making a demi-glace before even beginning the red wine reduction or poaching the bone marrow is enough to discourage all but the most well-equipped restaurant chefs. I can’t think of a preparation better suited to spread great flavour over several weeks than compound butter. (more…)

Roast Bone Marrow

Bone marrow roasted with my adaptation of Fergus Henderson's recipe.

Bone marrow roasted with my adaptation of Fergus Henderson's recipe.

As with so many other things (lamb’s brains for instance) I tried bone marrow for the first time at the Black Hoof.  On our first visit it was offered as “St. John’s Bone Marrow” or paired with the lone vegetarian option on the menu, the cauliflower soup.  St. John is Fergus Henderson’s London restaurant and in his cookbook The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating offers a recipe for the quintessential bone marrow preparation.

I try to stay away, at least in this space, from debating the health benefits of what I cook and eat.  I’m not a doctor and I don’t have the time or training to sift through clinical studies and determine which side has the balance of evidence behind them.  The other problem is that evidence–or at least the accepted consensus–seems to swing like a pendulum.  Everyone remember the high-carb craze of the mid-nineties or the equally ludicrous Atkins claim that heavy cream in your coffee every morning was a healthy choice?  My general philosophy is that if we eat what our grandparents (or an ethnically diverse cross section of our friends’ grandparents) would have recognised as food seventy years ago only very small marginal health benefits can be gained from sweating each new study.  If you care, here is what Chowhound has to say about the health benefits of bone marrow. (more…)

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…)