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Paul Bertolli

Food Bloggers of Canada Featured Blogger

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It’s my pleasure to share the news that I am the Food Bloggers of Canada featured blogger this week. I’ve been an FBC member since the early days of the organization, so it’s good to see their activities expanding and I’m honored to be in their spotlight.

FBC has been kind enough to run a giveaway with my book as the prize, but the main perk from this accolade is that they have posted a profile of me on their website. The blog post focuses on a questionnaire I filled out for them last month. There are some good questions on there that made me think and had me digging through the Food With Legs archives for inspiration.

I thought I would come up with a few extra questions and pose them to myself here as a sort of director’s cut, bonus content. (more…)

Smoky Goodness

The bacon I have made over the past couple years has been really delicious. If I had to name its one weakness, though, it was with the smoking stage. I used lump charcoal and built small towers of pork belly on top of my Cobb BBQ but still fell short of total excellence. I’ll get to a description of the solution for this stage (though the pictures should make it obvious) but first a few words on the meat and the cures I used.

Basic cure on the left, Bertolli's tesa cure on the right.

Basic cure on the left, Bertolli's tesa cure on the right.

Cinnamon bacon went into my bacon blondies but otherwise I’ve kept pretty close to the basic bacon cure from Ruhlman and Polcyn’s Charcuterie. I wanted to stretch my bacon-y wings this time and try something a little more complicated. Few cookbooks are better for that sort of thing than Paul Bertolli’s Cooking by Hand. Just today Corey Mintz referred to the gazpacho recipe here and for a while it was Grant van Gameren’s only recommended cookbook on the old Black Hoof blog. (more…)

Tomato Conserva

The main haul of tomatoes from our garden at the cottage

The main haul of tomatoes from our garden at the cottage

Tomato harvest day at the cottage came on September 19.  All summer we have taken what we needed as we needed it from the garden but with the passing of the halfway mark in September frost is a possibility and the determinate tomatoes are ripe and a couple are showing possible signs of blight.  It has been easy to find delicious uses for the six to ten tomatoes we have gleaned over the past few weekends but this time I brought home about sixteen pounds of tomatoes.  Roughly a third of this haul was not quite as ripe as I’d like so they’ve been wrapped in newspaper and stashed in a warm, dark room to ripen.  The other two thirds needed to be preserved before they spoiled.

Last summer I made a simple tomato sauce with the extra garden tomatoes and froze it.  This was a good sauce and it made for a meal in February (with some homemade pasta) that did an excellent job of reminding us of summer.  The downside was that while we kept a large brick (about the size of medium-size cookbook) of tomato sauce in our freezer for months we only got to enjoy it with one meal.  This year I wanted to find a way to spread the flavours of August over more time.  Paul Bertolli’s Cooking by Hand–a well-respected cookbook that along with the works of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Michael Ruhlman are often referenced on my favourite food blogs–has an extensive tomato section that includes a recipe for tomato conserva.  It is tough to describe the difference between tomato paste and conserva–they can be used in much the same way to enrich tomato or meat dishes–except to say that they deserve their individual names.  Tomato paste tastes like something that should be called “paste” while conserva earns its more exotic Italian name. (more…)