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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…)

Cooler Corn: A Better Way to Corn on the Cob

Cobs of corn in a beer cooler ready for boiling water.

Update: You can find this recipe — along with about 75 other beer-related gems — in my new cookbook, The Canadian Craft Beer Cookbook.

Every summer vegetable has its season and devoted fans. But peas, asparagus, or zucchini don’t get nearly as much cooking technique attention as corn does. Whether it’s what goes in the water–salt, sugar, and milk are all called for in different recipes–to how long passes between picking the cobs and when they hit boiling water. My newest method simply involves immersing the corn in boiling water inside a standard cooler and that got my attention both because it’s more convenient and more delicious. (more…)

Julia Child’s Vichyssoise for JC100

Potatoes and leeks for vichyssoise.

The idea that people would sit in their family rooms and watch someone cook food on television must have seemed very peculiar at one point. News, sports, and serialised drama all make sense on TV as the continuation of content from previous media but no one ever huddled around the ticker tape in a late 19th-century pub to learn whether a souffle had fallen or a cheesecake cracked. There were other trailblazers but no one is more responsible for making (the now dying art of) educational cooking shows popular than Julia Child. (more…)

Tofu Spanakopita

Spanakopita stuffed with tofu, feta cheese, and eggs.

I’d like to say that I have a mixed history with tofu, but that’s just not true. I can’t think of a single time that I’ve thought “wow, I’m glad that was tofu.” From the weird chew when it’s grilled to the sacrum-shaking (not in a good way) wobble when it’s served in liquid, I can’t take tofu.

But it’s healthy and a complete protein and cheap and it was never a cuddly-wuddly animal. I know, I know. Those are all (in vastly varying degrees) why I keep giving tofu another shot. This recipe makes delicious spanakopita and the tofu bulk them out, add health benefits, and because you use less feta cut the saltiness.

You could use fresh spinach but generally any time spinach is stuffing I prefer to use frozen and let someone else do all of the early steps. If you use fresh cut the boiling time for that step by at least five minutes. (more…)

Essential Pepin: Composed Salad

If you know where to look every style of cooking has something to offer the curious cook. The past year or so has really been largely about David Chang-style cooking for me but there is always an attraction to traditional French technique in that lingers somewhere in the back of my head.

I have to admit that I’ve always been a Julia Child kind of guy but was interested to try some of the recipes from Jacques Pépin’s new book, Essential Pepin: More Than 700 All-Time Favorites from My Life in Food. My friend Bonita from publisher Thomas Allen & Son offered just such an opportunity as part of a contest they’re running.

A recipe for a composed salad seemed like an ideal, easy introduction, and I was not disappointed. (more…)