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  1. Cooking with herbs

    November 6, 2011 by TheCanadianFoodie

    Herb & Spice Guide:

    Herbs

    Basil

    Available as - dried crushed leaves and stems.
    Color - light green
    Flavor - pleasant, mild, sweet, distinctive

    Use - All tomato dishes, peas, squash, string beans, potatoes, spinach; French and Russian dressing or sprinkle over salads; bean soup, pea soup, beef soup, Manhattan clam chowder; broiled lamb chops, venison, beef, lamb and veal stews, veal roasts; shrimp, shrimp Creole, boiled and steamed lobster; spaghetti sauce; scrambled eggs; soufflés.

    Bay Leaves

    Available as - dried whole leaves.
    Color - light green
    Flavor - very mild, sweet, distinctive

    Use - Pickled beets, beets, boiled carrots, boiled artichokes, boiled potatoes vegetable soup, fish chowders; lamb, beef, veal, venison, poultry, fish -stews; boiled or steamed shrimp and lobster; chicken casserole, boiled chicken; pickled meats; brine for smoked meats; pot roast; boiled pork; meat gravies; marinades.

    Mint

    Whole Color - green
    Flavor - distinctive, sweet aroma
    Flaked Color - green
    Flavor - same as above

    Use - Jelly, ice cream, custard, fruit salad, fruit compote; frostings; split pea soup; lamb and veal roast sauces; cottage cheese salad; white potatoes, cabbage, carrots, celery, snap beans; tea; mint sauce.

    Oregano

    Whole Color - green
    Flavor - distinctive, strong
    Ground Color - olive green
    Flavor - same as above

    Use - Pizza pie, spaghetti sauce, meat sauce; Swiss steak, beef stew, broiled and roast lamb, pork and veal, poultry; gravies; stuffed fish; cheese spreads; beef soup, bean soup, tomato soup; butter sauce for shell fish; cream and tomato sauces; vegetable juice cocktail; onions, peas, white potatoes, spinach, string beans.

    Parsley Flakes

    Color - green
    Flavor - distinctive, mild

    Use - Soups; salads; coleslaw; meat, stews, fish, poultry; sauces; all vegetables; omelets; potatoes.

    Rosemary

    Whole Color - green (looks like a pine needle)
    Flavor - distinctive, delicate, sweetish

    Use - Roast and broiled lamb, beef, pork, veal, game,poultry; salmon; deviled eggs; cheese sauces; sautéed mushrooms; boiled potatoes, green peas, squash; creamed seafood; chicken soup, split pea soup.

    Sage

    Whole Color - olive green
    Flavor - distinctive, positive

    Use - All pork dishes; meat, fish and poultry stuffing;brown sauces; cheese spreads; consommé, cream soups,fish chowders; salad greens, French dressing; Brussels sprouts, onions, lima beans, peas, tomatoes.

    Tarragon

    Available as - Whole and Ground
    Color - green
    Flavor - distinctive, fresh, pleasant

    Use - Marinades for meat, butter sauce for steaks; poultry; salads; omelets; fish and shellfish; vegetable juice cocktail; chicken soup, consommé, fish chowder, tomato soup; vinegar; broccoli, asparagus, beans, cabbage, cauliflower.

    Thyme

    Whole Color - gray-green
    Flavor - distinctive, pleasantly penetrating
    Ground Color - light olive green
    Flavor - slightly stronger than Tarragon

    Use - Fresh tomatoes, tomato spice, salads; poultry stuffing, croquettes, fricassees; fish chowders, gumbo, vegetable soup; shirred eggs; all meats; seafood sauces; artichokes, beans, beets, carrots, mushrooms, onions, potatoes.


  2. Cooking with spices

    November 6, 2011 by TheCanadianFoodie

    Would you like information on:

    Spices

    Anise: Seed Whole and Ground

    Color - brown with tan stripes
    Flavor - delightful sweet licorice aroma and taste

    Use - Coffee cake, sweet breads, rolls, cookies; fruit compote, stewed apples, preserved fruits, all fruit pie fillings; licorice candies, sweet pickles; beef and veal stew; cottage cheese.

    Cinnamon

    Available as - Whole, Ground

    Whole
    Color - light brown
    Flavor - distinctive, sweet, spicy

    Ground
    Color - light brown
    Flavor - similar to above, sweeter and slightly stronger

    Use - Buns, coffee cake, muffins, spice cake, molasses cookies, butter cookies, cinnamon toast; custards, tapioca, chocolate pudding, rice pudding; fruit pies, broiled grapefruit, apples in any form, stewed fruits, pickled fruits; heated spiced beverages, hot cocoa and chocolate drinks; sweet gherkins; sweet potatoes, pumpkin, squash.

    Cloves

    Available as - Whole, Ground

    Whole
    Color - dark brown
    Flavor - distinctive, spicy, sweet, penetrating

    Ground
    Color - rich brown
    Flavor - sharp, spicy, pungent

    Use - Ham, boiled tongue, pork roast; pickled fruits; preserved fruits; stewed fruits; apple, mince and pumpkin pies; beets, baked beans, candied sweet potatoes, squash; hot spiced wines, hot tea; spice cake; sweet gherkins; rice pudding, chocolate pudding, tapioca; bean soup, beef soup, cream of pea soup, cream of tomato soup.

    Crushed Red Pepper: Spice

    Color - bright red to orange
    Flavor - hot

    Use - Pizzas; sausages; Italian specialties; wherever heat and spot color are desired.

    Nutmeg

    Ground Color - copper
    Flavor - distinctive, exotic, sweet

    Use - Doughnuts; eggnog, custards, puddings; whipped cream, ice cream; fried bananas, stewed fruits; spice cake, coffee cake, cookies, pumpkin pie; steamed and glazed carrots, cabbage, spinach, snap beans, squash, onions, sweet potatoes; meat loaf.

    Paprika

    Ground Color - red
    Flavor - distinctive, very mild

    Use - Poultry, ham, goulash, fish, shellfish; salad dressings; vegetables; gravies; cheese, Welsh rabbit; canapés; deviled eggs; stuffed celery, cream soups, chicken soup, chowders.

    Black Pepper

    Whole Color - dark brown
    Flavor - distinctive, pleasant spicy bouquet with palate-tingling flavor and enduring after-taste.

    Ground Color - varies from cream to black
    Flavor - same as above

    Use - Almost all foods, except those with sweet flavors. If you are preparing a non-sweet dish that “needs something” try a little pepper first. It is used universally to add sparkle to foods, including: Pickles; soups; poultry, meats; fish; shellfish, game; sauces, gravies, marinades; salads; eggs; cheese spreads; vegetables; spiced vinegar.

    Saffron

    Available as - Whole and Ground
    Color - predominantly maroon
    Flavor - distinctive, exotic, concentrated (not strong, yet a little goes a long way)

    Use - Rice; rolls, breads, buns; fish stew; bouillabaisse chicken; chicken soup; cakes.

    Turmeric

    Available as - Whole and Ground
    Color - orange (used mostly for its color)
    Flavor - mild, slightly bitter

    Use - Pickles, relishes, prepared mustards, salad dressings; creamed eggs, fish, seafood; to color rice dishes where saffron is not used.


  3. How to Roast Garlic

    September 4, 2007 by TheCanadianFoodie

    My summer experimentation with Garlic continues! Unfortunately, due to a frustrating lack of rain (from March to September we didn’t see more than 10 consecutively rainy minutes once!) our pickings from the CSA farm where we have shares (just outside of Barrie, Ontario) has been a little meager. But one thing we have had lots of is Garlic (and Garlic Scapes)

    Garlic – Italy’s National Flower

    Earlier in the season we used heaps of Garlic Scapes in a number of different recipes, including Steamed Garlic Scape, Garlic Scapes Diced in a Salad, and even Garlic Scapes as a Tasty Addition to several dishes, like stew and chili!

    Now, we’ve seen the end of the Garlic Scapes, but we have heaps of Garlic.

    What to do?

    *QQ “Fight Mouthwash … eat garlic.” ~Lloyd J. Harris, The Official Garlic Lovers Handbook

    Well, tonight we decided on Roasted Garlic! I don’t know why but this was a first for me. Strangly, even loving Garlic as much as I do I’ve never tried this one out.

    I’ve been meaning to for years, but suppose I wasn’t really sure HOW to Roast Garlic.

    I am happy to say that it was incredibly easy.

    Also, it is fortunate that my wife likes Garlic as much as I do… Because it really doesn’t help a relationship when Garlic loving is one sided!

    *DYK Studies show that eating Garlic regularly provides a number of incredible health benefits; from lowering blood pressure to fending off vampires!

    How To Roast Garlic

    1. Pre-heat your oven to about 400°F.
    2. Peel the outside skin off your Garlic bulbs, leaving the skin on the individual cloves inside. It’s okay if some of the skin comes off the individual cloves but leave all the cloves attached!
    3. Nip off the top 10% of each clove with a sharp knife. I throw the tops into a salad usually.
    4. Pack the whole bulb into Tin Foil, but leave it open because you’re not quite done yet!
    5. Drizzle a good oil over the top of your Garlic Cloves. You should use a couple of teaspoons worth but basically just coat your Garlic Bulb.
    6. Sprinkle on some Basil.
    7. Seal tinfoil.
    8. Put Garlic in oven for 30-35 minutes.
    9. Allow to cool enough to handle with your fingers.
    10. Enjoy!

    How to Roast Garlic

    (click image to enlarge)

    You don’t NEED the oil, the garlic turns out great even without it, but the oil caramelizes, with adds a wonderful element to this simple appetizer.

    *QQ “Do not eat garlic or onions; for their smell will reveal that you are a peasant.” ~Cervantes, Don Quixote (1614)

    Also, if you’re worried about eating that much garlic at one sitting, don’t be! After roasting for 30 minute, a Garlic Bulb loses most of it’s intensity and you’re left with an incredible mellow earthy (almost nutty) flavor.

    I loved eating the garlic , but I’ve been told you can spread it across bread for a nice Garlic Bread treat too and I intend trying this out next.

    If you have a differnt method of Roasting Garlic, or another good idea of what to do with the finished result (e.g. Garlic Bread Spread) please share! I have a ton of Garlic left and would love to learn more ways of How to Roast Garlic!


  4. Cooking Scallops

    August 18, 2007 by TheCanadianFoodie

    Scallops are expensive, so they should be treated with some class. But then, I suppose that every creature that gives his life for our table should be treated with class.

    — Jeff Smith (The Frugal Gourmet)

     

    Did you know the word Scallops is derived from the old french word for shell? Scallops, a close relative to mussels, oysters, and clams, have been a staple diet item in many cultures for thousands of years, and even appear in literature in the west as early as the 13th century!!!

    Today, thanks to people’s love of Cooking Scallops, it’s developed into a huge industry worth millions of dollars every year divided by three main markets:

    1. Bay Scallops – The sweetest of the three!
    2. Calico Scallops – Generally tougher than the other two types
    3. Sea Scallops – The most commonly available (at least here in Canada)

    My sister, a fitness coach and body builder introduced me to scallops a number of years ago. She included them in her diet because they are so high in protein (88 percent!) and low in both fat and carbs.

    Checkout my famous Prosciutto-wrapped BBQ Cooked Scallops. I’ll be adding more recipies for cooking scallops over the coming weeks, so check back often!


  5. BBQ Beef Tips…

    July 13, 2007 by TheCanadianFoodie

    The summer is heating up and, going into a nice weekend my thoughts are on my BBQ so I thought I’d share a few hints that will come in handy if you plan on Grilling up some Beef this weekend:

    • Choose choice or prime cuts for the BBQ. The more abundant marbling adds tons of flavour after sizzling on a grill
    • Always marinate less tender cuts of beef before grilling. In order to properly tenderize, your marinade must contain an acidic ingredient.  Good additions to a tenderizing marinade include fruit or vegetable juice, yogurt, wine or a vinegar
    • For a really tender and juicy steak, let your meat sit at room temperature for 30 – 45 minutes and then salt it just before grilling
    • If you are the kind of BBQ chef who likes to deliver a side of beef with perfect grilling lines charred into your meat, try lightly brushing your next steak with an extra-virgin olive oil just before placing it on the BBQ

  6. Garlic Scapes / Flowers

    July 5, 2007 by TheCanadianFoodie

    We steamed up a bowlful of Garlic Scapes for dinner last night (for $2.50 we picked up an entire grocery bag stuffed with them at the Orillia Farmers’ Market) and were very happy with the results.garlic-scapes2.jpg

    I’ve never had Garlic Scapes before to my knowledge and this was a really simple-to-prepare treat.

    I wasn’t sure if you could eat the flower bulb or not so decided to cook the scape in its entirety. After washing about 1/4 of the grocery bag (approximately 7-10 Scapes per person) I stuffed them into our vegetable steamer and set the timer for 30 minutes (about the same as I would cook asparagus).

    Once the timer was up, I sampled one and found the top to be relatively non-edible (from the bulb to the pointy tip) as it was still very ‘woody’. Removing them though was easy; simply grasp the bulb in one hand and gently tug the tip which should pop right off.

    I tossed all the Scapes in a bowl with butter and liberally sprinkled Ricotta cheese.

    The result was a pleasant and unique side veggie dish.

    It looks like Garlic Scapes are fairly hardy and should last in your fridge (or even in a cool dry location) for quite awhile as I’ve had a few Scapes sitting in the bottom of my fridge since my first CSA farm visit and they haven’t wilted in the least.

    I mention this because, as much as I enjoyed our Garlic Scape dish, I think I’d prefer to use them as embellishment to other veggies more often than as a primary vegetable dish.

    The mild garlic flavour would be a nice addition to most dishes!


  7. Garlic Scapes

    June 25, 2007 by TheCanadianFoodie

    Ok, glad I looked the Garlic tops up, I would have gone and cut them up into a salad (which may actually be pretty good too) but this sounds so much better!

    But instead, tonight in Barrie we’ll have Garlic Scapes in butter!

    Garlic Scapes

    Image found here

    Content below is from: Boundary Garlic Farm’s site
    Garlic Flowers

    Hard neck varieties produce a central stalk which goes straight up and then usually makes one or two loops. The garlic top is called a scape, garlic flower or top set, and contains a bulge where bulbils will form. If you want all the plant’s energy to go into producing a large bulb, snip the scape off after it has made one or two loops. If you want to use the bulbils to propagate more garlic, leave them in place until harvest time and then dry them separately from the bulbs.

    Tip

    Steam or Stir Fry Garlic Flowers

    The garlic tops, called flowers or garlic scapes, are a gourmet delight! Steam them whole and serve with melted butter like asparagus. Cut them into short lengths to add to a stir fry. They have a delicate garlic flavour which gives a subtly different and delicious flavour to the sauce.

    Serve like asparagus! Yummy. I’ll let you know how it turns out.


  8. On the Path of Sushi Master

    June 7, 2007 by TheCanadianFoodie

    Meal Rating:
    Time – 2
    Complexity – 4
    Food – 6
    Overall Success – 4 out of 10

    I’ll be frank right up front… this was not one of my better meals.

    It wasn’t bad, but I think Sushi will take some getting used to, both learning the best recipes and the actual preparation which is quite a bit more difficult and time consuming than this deceptively simple food suggests.

    I’m beginning to understand why a real sushi master apprentices for many years! (if you live in LA you could fast track!)

    Ingredients:

    Nori
    Veggies (carrot, cucumber, avocado, bean sprouts, eggplant, be creative!)
    Meat – optional (tuna, salmon, butterfish, crab, etc)
    Rice Vinegar
    Wasabi
    Soy Sauce
    A variety of Japanese Sticky Rice
    Pickled Ginger (optional)

    Tools:

    1 Bamboo mat
    1 Hot-off-the-Grinder SHARP knife (for the fish & cutting the rolls)
    1 Bowl of water close at hand (the rice is STICKY!)

    Sushi Ingredients

    One thing I will say about Sushi is the time it takes to make… especially the first time you try tackling this dish. I spent close to 4 hours planning, preparing ingredients and rolling/cutting my sushi rolls! I will never again complain about wait times at AjiSai!

    And before you even think about getting started preparing this meal, you’d better put a little thought about where you’re going to get your ingredients!

    At the end of the day, I had to pick up my supplies from 3 different locations:

    a local Grocery Store (zehrs)
    a Fishmongers
    an Asian Grocers

    Depending on where you live you may be able to pick up everything at one location. For instance, a local grocery store (Zehrs on Bayfield st for any Barrie, Ontario readers) has a sushi bar so you can pick up pretty much everything I went to the Asian Grocers for. But the fish is a little trickier since you aren’t going to cook it. Some Grocery stores will carry sushi quality fish while others will refuse to sell you any fish at all if you even mention Sushi!

    Generally I found that a lot of Grocery stores WILL sell sushi quality fish, but only on one (or two) specific days of the week (delivery days)

    Instead of messing around I went straight to the best fishmonger in town, Johnny’s Fresh Fish & Seafood Market (516 Bryne Dr for Barrie readers), and picked up a fresh Atlantic Salmon Fillet and a Flash-Frozen Tuna Steak (see ingredients picture above)

    The Best Roll

    Advance Setup:

    Cook your rice and gently fold in a little rice vinegar (to taste)
    Prepare your wasabi (if you bought powdered)
    Slice your fish THINLY
    Chop your veggies into small sticks

    After setting out everything you’re going to need, place some nori in the folds of a damp towel to make it more pliable; it doesn’t take long.

    Place a sheet of nori on your bamboo mat, shiniest side down, and rub a few spoonfuls of rice across it. You won’t need very much and keep the rice away from all sides (quarter inch on the sides and a half inch or more on the top and bottom)

    Rice on Nori

    Rub a line of wasabi (to taste) across the rice and top with your preferred sushi vegetables, again making sure to keep away from the edges:

    filling a Shushi Roll

    Now for the tricky part…

    Rolling your Sushi

    Figuring out how to do this well is a little tricky, but by the 5th or 6th roll I pretty much had it down to a science and started producing pretty good Sushi Rolls:

    Sushi Roll

    My best suggestion is to keep a lot of pressure on the roll and bamboo mat as you’re rolling. Other pointers:

  9. Try to loosely fold the mat and nori over whatever filler you’ve used and then pull the filler back, squishing it into the roll
  10. Small turns of the mat
  11. Push down on the top of the roll every turn of the mat
  12. Once you have your roll almost complete, wet the last piece of Nori to make it stick to the rest of the roll
  13. Once you have your rolls, simply cut them up into bite-sized pieces (7 or 8 per roll usually) and serve with Wasabi, Soy Sauce, pickled ginger and wine, beer or of course, green tea (which is supposed to help with digestion).

    I have seen Sushi served with either red or white, but don’t think you are being smart by serving Saki which generally isn’t served with sushi. Essentially the reason is because Saki is produced from rice and it’s believed that a rice wine cannot properly compliment a rice dinner, so stick to something else.

    That’s about it.  I did get approval from the boss so the meal couldn’t have been that bad…

    Critics Approval

    Summary:

    This is a difficult, time-consuming meal to make. I will keep trying to improve my Sushi skills, but in the mean-time you should see me at the Sushi-bars in town on a regular basis. Actually, all this talk about Sushi is getting me hungry, and I just heard that the Monsoon Lounge downtown offers some decent Sushi…

    mmmmm… Sushi…

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  • A Guide to Spices

    June 3, 2007 by TheCanadianFoodie

    I added a new section under the Food Guide heading on the sidebar called Spice Guide.

    While it’s still pretty basic so far it will be further developed over the next week or so, so stay in touch and check back often!

    Also, we made a trip to the Barrie’s Farmer’s Market this morning and I will try and get some pictures and a little information up for tomorrow!


  • Quest to Become a Sushi Master…

    May 17, 2007 by TheCanadianFoodie

    We have a word for Sushi in Canadian… Bait!

    Or so I thought a year ago.

    I’ve never been much of a fish-lover, so avoided sushi the odd time opportunity reared it’s scaled head… But then something changed.

    Like Sam’s unnamed almost-nemesis in Green Eggs & Ham, my very first bite of Salmon Sashimi opened up my eyes. Shocked that raw fish could taste better, and less ‘fishy’ than the cooked varieties I was used to, I’ve been a Sushi lover ever since.

    I love food… all different kinds of food; home cooked, eating out, Indian, Mexican, Italian, Thai etc, I love food. But until I started eating Sushi, I’d never experienced the fervently zealous and consuming cravings that I’ve been experiencing lately… for raw fish.

    As Homer would say:

    “MMMMMMM… Sushi…”

    Now I find myself trying to justify eating out all the time (all you can eat sushi for $12 IS a good deal!)… Whenever hunger shows it’s claws I catch myself wondering if I could squeeze in a trip to Aji Sai (hmmm, they have no site that I can find)…

    I think I’m hooked…

    And now it is time to take the next step…

    The Sushi Mat

    So today a friend, taking pity on me and my vampiric like cravings, introduced me to a local Asian Grocers that can supply me with a steady stream of sushi making ingredients. Rice Paper, seaweed, wasabi, a mat, chili sauce, wine vinagar, misou soup paste…

    I’m almost ready.

    Now all I need is to find a good place to buy sushi quality fish… 3000 kilometers from the nearest ocean!

    Anyone know of a good fishmonger in the Barrie area?

    In the meantime, I will do a little learning and research, and practice rolling on my new mat.

    I came across an interesting list of Sushi eating Etiquette, much of which kind of goes without saying… but there were some interesting bits, like:

    • Which pieces of Sushi it’s okay to eat with your hands
    • Which side of your chopsticks you take pieces of Sushi off the communal plate with
    • And how you should never rub your chopsticks together! (although it doesn’t say why)

    I’ll keep you posted on my first Shushi Making Experience! In the mean time I think I’m going to have to do a little more research on sites like this!


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