This goes in your fridge, then it goes in your mouth


2014-07-29 20.46.40

This! Is not a pickle.

Inspired by pintrest post and eventually finding the recipe on Recipes We Love, I tweaked the recipe… I know, but you use what you have on hand.

Also if your preference for one type of ingredient is more than the other, go with it. Try it out. Get messy. As Neil Gaiman said, Make beautiful mistakes.

This is 2 sliced english cucumbers, 1 red onion, and one green bell pepper. 2 cups of rice wine vinegar, 3/4 cup of cane sugar, and for the spices…

Red Chili Flakes, Sesame Seeds, Sea Salt, Celery Seeds. I toasted them up a little in the pot before adding in the sugar and vinegar. As soon as it was all mixed up and came to a really low rolling boil, I dumped in a couple of handfuls of ice cubes to chill it down immediately. I could have added in whole peppercorn, but that will be for the recipe for pickling.

2014-07-29 20.46.48

I consider this to be a vegetable brining, and according to the website, the veggies will be good for 2 months. I got a little taste of the brine and cucumber while creating… and this will be a very good burger topping. As of 24 hours, it’s got a very good heat and flavour profile, reminiscent of a bread and butter pickle, but with more character. North American cucumber kimchi?

The lovely Laura McWriter put it in her salad. So, why not! Added arugula and spinach, little bit of shredded coconut, some shredded cheese, some chicken breast… mixed and it’s really damn good.

2014-07-30 17.35.59

Anyone else try out recipes and tweak them just a little bit?

Cheers!

Advertisements

Food Hack : Green Onions


Green Onions. Scallions. Spring onions. One of my favorite topping for so many meals. Toss some on salad, soup, dips, sandwich, eggs… So very versatile. Only problem is getting them fresh.

Green Onions

Green Onions

Solution, get about 8 of them, cut up, then grab a water bottle. Fill it up, then toss it into the freezer. No more throwing the soggy wilted spoiled ones.

Tacos! (Now with writing!)


image

Such a simple combination. The sizzle of the corn tortilla in the hot frying pan. A small burst of aroma from the fresh ground spices and meat. Watch the pan location, watch the heat. Watch the corn tortilla relax a bit.  Take that one side and gently fold it over the top.  Move the taco a little, check the browning on the underside. Gentle now. Do that careful little flip. Hear that new sizzle and smell that rich tortilla embrace the pan. Feel the stiffness of the tortilla and giving that little loving tap tap. That little bit of cheese that has melted.

You can’t help but smile.

Oh yeah, that little bit of cheese. It’s food cleavage. It’s there, and no one else is watching you. So you can’t stop looking at it. That delectable teeny morsel. You want to just get it, right there. That little bit of crackling right off the pan. But if you wait, that bit of crunchy cheesy goodness will make the entire taco experience amazing.

Sexy comfort food. Tacos.

I’m still here,

Pearce

 

P.S. I’m going to try and smoke some of the leftover taco’s on the grill. If there is any after the night that is.

Ginger Beer and Cancer


My stepfather has cancer.

It’s the type of cancer that is not going away.

He’s had it for quite a few years. It is treatable, but his prostate (with the cancer) is four times the size of a normal prostate organ. This makes it uncomfortable for him to sit, stand or lay down for any amount of time. It’s also created a couple of other types of cancer in the meantime while sitting in the toxic stew of chemotherapy and radiation. Those secondary cancers can be treated. As he has said for years now that it is not the cancer that will kill him. It will be the cure that kills.

After reading many other blogs, including Spider and Jeane Robinson’s daughter and her struggle with stage 4 breast cancer I decided to share some of my thoughts.

One of the biggest challenges is the lack of appetite. I remember this from my Great Uncle Ben, and the latter days of his fight. He had his final menu, and he managed to eat pizza, pickled hogs feet, and banana pudding. Just because it was the only thing that he could taste one last time. But during the fight, there comes a point when the body and spirit has a lack of will to consume any calories. This is due to stomach being upset from the chemotherapy, radiation, or both. Also from just being that tired and unhealthy.

There has to be a way to get the right calories in the body, and settle the stomach. I have to do something.

And I have to make it enjoyable. A labor of joy will carry through to the end result. It will also have to be done everyday. Even when I don’t feel like it. (Much like writing.)

For those of you who know me, I do enjoy beer. Brew my own anti-oxidant enriched toxic cleansing beer? Something that can be sipped, have a good taste on it and end nausea? By looking up more of the health benefits of ginger in general, a decision was made. (And those who are dear to me, know that I have been talking about this for quite a while.)

I’m brewing Ginger Beer.

For anti-nausea, ginger helps calm the stomach. (Don’t believe me? Ask the MythBusters ) Half the battle is getting the bad side effects temporarily relieved, then the hunger response actually has a chance to come through. A decent beer can also provoke and help induce a healthy appetite. It’s also a basic enough recipe that it could possibly be kept brewing on a regular basis, for minimal costs.

This also resonates with many other folk remedies that prove to work. Leeches? Apparently their anti-coagulation saliva also helps stitch together open wounds and clean out infections. Go figure.

Plus I’m going to brew some for myself, something about the Dark and Stormy recipe is really intriguing, must try it out and could possibly be my Beverage of Choice for the summer.

After reading a plethora of recipes, (Or myriad, wait, which one is organized? and which one isn’t? This is mainly showing random thoughts at this point.) I’ve distilled (pun, see how I fit that in?) information to the point where I think I can get a decent Ginger Beer started.

Much like a Mother Loaf, a SCOBY or GBP can be started and carried on, just about infinitely… if the conditions are right.

So, found a calculation on grated fresh ginger root and juice. And so it begins…

Got a small pot of water boiling, and then put the ginger root in, to help cleanse the skin, warm it up a little and get rid of any stray bacteria.

8 inches of ginger root, finely grated, pressed and strained into 600ml of room temperature dechlorinated water. With grating the root and getting everything prepared took about an hour. I now know why most recipes call for ginger powder. But this is a labour of love.

Added the juice of 2 lemons, which not only flavors and adds a citrus base, but also helps further dechlorinate water. (Found the easiest way to get more juice is to pierce the skin with fork, then microwave 20 to 30 seconds. After that, dig the fork back into the lemon breaking it apart, then squeezing it with hands. The seeds and pulp stay in, and you get a lot more juice and oils from the skin.)

Time to give the yeast something to eat. Added 3 tsp of fine sugar, 1 tsp of clarified honey, and 10 raisins. Huh? What? Why? Okay, the honey is also for health reasons, I know that raw honey would probably better, but that could possibly introduce a bad type of bacteria or yeast into the mix. I’ll try out raw honey on a different batch in the future. 10 raisins? Apparently, just more sugars for the yeast to eat, or is it? I’ve read on quite a few recipe and notes, that when the raisins float to the surface, then the GBP is ready to brew into the larger bottling. And the three different versions of sugars? Will give the yeast a variety to snack on. At least I tell myself that, give the yeast a buffet table of eatables.

Next step. Shook it up to oxygenate the water and dissolve the sugar and honey. Lot faster than stirring it. Took a smell, and it’s really lemony, grated up some more ginger root, about 5 inches worth. Another half hour later and put it through a strainer. At this point, the recipe is out the window and I’m doing this by nose and best guesstimate. From the smell, it’s half ginger half lemonade at this point. Pretty tasty on it’s own I’d imagine.

Added 1 packet of champagne yeast to the mix. (Don’t have my own SCOBY yet.) Watching it mix and cascade into the liquid. Smelled that great yeasty goodness, then loosely put the lid on, to allow for gas expansion. Then covered the jar over with a dishtowel. Can’t find information about the yeast, if it is light sensitive or not. I had a feeling it wasn’t, but guess I will find out. 1 entire packet? Excessive? Possibly. The good folks at the wine kit place said, best to add it all in, it will only produce so much alcohol anyways.

So for the next few days (7 to 10) constantly feed it 4 teaspoons of sugar and 4 teaspoons of ginger powder. Also kind of fun watching the yeast take the few parts of the shredded ginger lifting it up and bubbling away. I kept doing this, until the yeast became inactive. No more bubbling, distinctive alcohol smell coming from it. And the starter juice tasted so gingery it was hot on the tongue.

The concoction then gets strained, the yeast sediment left behind can get reused! (Much like a Mother Loaf/Friendship Loaf/sourdough. But with the straight champagne yeast it didn’t get strained out at all.)

Time to get the simple syrup/bottling solution ready. Start off with 2 or 3 gallons of dechlorinated water, boiled with sugar and honey. Tasted it, as the best recipe I found said, ‘so it is sweet like juice’. Kept adding in more sugar, and honey.

Now a very fun tricky part. In order to keep the remaining yeast in the starter juice active, I have to get the bottling solution to the same temperature. So, filled sink with ice and then lowered the pot of the bottling solution in to cool it down. Once they both got to room temperature, it was time to do some magic.

Add in the starter juice to the bottling solution. Then ladled into 1L plastic bottles, put the plastic caps on. I filled the bottles up about 75 percent, then squeezed as much as it can to remove all the air out of the bottle. Place the bottle in a nice warm place, and check them every day. If the bottles are tight in plastic, then release the excess gas and retighten the cap. I placed the bottles into a large tupperware bin in shower stall.

Why?

BIG NOTE HERE! No glass here, possible flying shards of death, as the yeast will be still active and producing more alcohol. Also read on many blogs, about people having exploding bottles, cleaning ginger beer off the ceiling, and similar events when they first open up their brew.

It is suggested that after 4 days (once again reading from many websites) place the bottle into the fridge to cool. That will trigger the yeast to stop producing alcohol and then overnight it will be ready to drink.

Well, that was the plan.

Two weeks of waiting. Squeezing out the C02, twice a day from the bottles. The yeast was still very active eating up the sugars. But the biggest difference was between day 13 and day 14. Too sweet on day 13, nice and gingery on day 14. Put all the bottles into the fridge.

And even so, the yeast still continued to eat up the sugars. But it was a big success.

At a beer tasting, I brought 1 liter of the brew. And we had it mid-way through the night. After switching between lagers and ales, and then into stouts we needed a change of pace. And it was a really nice cleanser, too many hops and too many malts at one point. And yet, I think that the brew could have sat a lot longer. It would be a very good addition to have with sushi, as it would cleanse tastebuds with every sip between bites.

Oh yes, and reports back from my step-father that it does help his stomach relax, but he has to watch how much he can have. The new pain killers are definitely not alcohol friendly. But he can fit in the occasional sip here and there.

And that’s all it takes. That one little bit. Overall cost? About 30 dollars, including the 1L bottles, ingredients. And the payoff was my step-fathers gleeful chuckle as he first tasted it.

Join team #effcancer on twitter.

I’m still here,
Pearce

P.S. Batch # 2 is aging, went with just shredded and juiced ginger and demurred brown sugar. After two weeks, the batch tastes a little watery and does not have the huge ginger profile as the first batch. I am hoping to get carbuoys and an actual Ginger Beer Plant for batch three, using ginger powder, juiced and shredded ginger. If anyone has an actual Ginger Beer Plant they’d like to part half with. Please do leave comment.

We Call Them Food Misdemeanors, Not Food Crime


I know its been a while since I’ve blogged. I have been busy. I know that is no excuse for not writing here. Except for oscar picks… which I lost the bragging rights to.

On with the foood! I had a brainstorm earlier this week, recalling a conversation and making a combination. Apparently the best burger combination includes 80 percent beef, 10 percent pork, and 10 percent lamb. Combinations there of can be tweaked as per recipe and who is cooking it. Personally, one of the best burgers I’ve ever had was ostrich. The beef and pork combination got me thinking about how to apply it with chili. Then it hit me.

Bacon.

I started off with white mushrooms sliced, one green pepper, one large jalapeno pepper, some diced tomatoes and onions, and 10 slices of thick cut back bacon. Add some oil and slow simmer in pan to get things going. I let this combination cook for a couple hours in my ultimate gigante frying pan, cast iron, porcelain coating. Couple of hours on low did the job, then… overnight in the fridge.

Then into the slow cooker first thing the next morning with brown beans and some hamburger. Stirred up every 4 hours, finally finished up after 14 hours for… Ze uber chili.

The jalapeño brought out more of a bold juicy flavor that countered the onion flake that in the herb and spice mix. The beauty of cooking chili longer is that the flavors mellow and blend. I push for 10 hours on slow cooking. Some say that cooking chili that long maybe overdoing it. I say the blending of the flavors makes an extremely different meal each time you cook it.

Plus I was really busy and slow cooking rocks. Put everything in, come back and stir at 6 hours.

Next time, I think I will do the equivalent of a half/half. Beans, hamburger, chili + spices, and chocolate stout cooked up. Then an hour before serving, just stir fry up the bacon, jalapeño, onion and then deglaze with harp ale. Mix it up… now that’s a food misdemeanor.

I’m still

Wait! BONUS! Since it’s been so long since I’ve blogged in a while, might as well do another great post on cooking.

Ultimate French Toast via Nutana Bakery.
Basic recipe for french toast… which isn’t french cooking at all. One of the original recipes calls for stale bread, wine, orange juices and sugar, which is leaning towards an interesting bread pudding in my opinion.

Two different styles of french toast, dessert style with vanilla and regular style for ultimate sandwich making. Dessert style involves sweeter combinations like powdered sugar, favored in the southern states of the US. Or skip the sugars and vanilla, just use bread and egg and then place slices of smoke ham, turkey, and swiss inbetween two slices for a Monte Cristo sandwich.

But my preferred, style of french toast is getting a cinnamon loaf from Nutana bakery. Per slice of bread, one egg, and just enough milk to coat the yolk.



If you are in Saskatoon, do stop by Nutana Bakery and get one of their double chocolate doughnuts. It is truly a brilliant art they perform there, some of the best baking you can find in western Canada.

I’m still here, burp,
Pearce

Christmas! Food Misdemeanor! Silly Wrapping!


Feliz Navidad! Merry Christmas! Happy Ho Ho! And whatever you celebrate!

I have many amazing hats.

As usual, the food fest for Christmas was huge! But I got a little creative on the wrapping for gifts.

Ho Ho Ho! It's Santa Time, Bitches!

And more…

Ho Ho Ho! Look at my enormous sack!

And another…

Ho Ho Ho! Stand back! I only come once a year!

It’s true… Santa has an enormous sack and he only comes once a year.
(Just remember, 32 percent of people suffer from a dirty mind, the other 58 percent enjoy it.)

Tree!

Tribute to saturnalia and walls of plants everywhere...

 

Unusually full of decorations this year. Usually my mother goes for the simple decorative version, elegant, but this year, everything was loaded up, including the antique birds from 2 generations back. Somehow, it balanced and didn’t come across as gaudy or overdone.

And now onto the Nom-Fest of Food Misdemeanors!

Warning : Carnivore friendly pics ahead.

The usual slice of coldcuts, but with a little more care…

Chunks of Ma’s garlic roast chicken, ham sausage, smoked ham slices.  All ready for devouring with fresh baked buns.

Which lead to desserts and Veggies! Round 2 of stuff that was brought out…

More food... will it ever end?

Photo courtesy of Tim Holtorf, check his stuff out at the following websites. WordPress here and Tumblr here.  Home made poppy seed and lemon loaf, plate of desserts, chocolate chip cookies, PICKLES! veggies and dip, and…

Enough shrimp to choke a lower suburb of smurfs.

 

Now onto the really fun stuff!

Deceivingly good, and spicy hot popcorn.

I call this popcorn insidious… deceiving, and almost too good to feed your children. My mother made candy popcorn by melting butter, sugar and corn syrup together, then lightly drizzled it over the popcorn. I know, not that interesting, so what… it’s just candy popcorn right? WRONG! She dusted the popcorn with finely ground cayenne pepper. And that addition makes a world of flavor difference. The heat and spice from it makes you want to get another shot. The sweetness of the sugars plays off the heat.

 

So very good… but as per a high protein household has, I cannot omit the inclusion of the bacon.

So much goodness right there. Hotter jalapenos this round, must be from a different batch.

And a variation from a Kraft recipe.

The original recipe called for blue cheese, almond slices wrapped with bacon then baked. I could see how this would work for a single taste with a really good red wine to counter the taste… but in other testing of this version, it was “Like eating hot mould that ruined a good piece of bacon.”

So the variation above was brought up, with the maple bacon, the inclusion of honey or syrup is a natural progression. So the maple bacon was wrapped around honey date, but it seemed too sweet and needed a tangy counterpart, the addition of 5 year sharp cheddar stuffed into the date made the absolute perfect combination. Bake and watch as these are so small you could almost get away with prebaking the bacon, then using the hot pan to heat through. Smaller than the size of a golf ball, all you need to satisfy flavor crave is one or two of these AMAZING morsels. Can substitute maple bacon for smoked bacon if the honey and maple doesn’t suit your tastes.

And so with last nights food fest came to a close. Late night as well, talking about other things. More Christmas moments including my stepsister complaining to her father about his threadbare shirts and how it was nice to have a Christmas without having to see his nipples. Also the inevitable end of jokes about Uncle Joes Mint Balls.

And hence after all that, food hangover… We didn’t eat all of it, there is a lot of leftovers, enough for a week.

This morning, I ran my daughters backpack over to her, got a hug (best christmas present out of all the swag I got) then got back home to have my coffee in my DAD mug, enjoy my new Pook and start the recovery from last nights foodfest. Tonight, it’s rumored that there will be beef wellington… I must nap this afternoon.

Coffee in Dad mug, Pook, and Food Hangover

Oh yes, I’ll be doing a lot of geocaching on foot in the next few weeks. As long as the weather holds out. So be on the lookout for new blog postings…

One more blog post for the year, and it will be a little different, so stay tuned!

I’m still here. To you and yours, I raise my mug,
Burp,
Pearce

Food – Taco feast


A long time tradition in my family is to have these taco feasts. These are the same types of feasts that the lords of Rome would have hundreds of slaves scouring the countryside for food and bring them into a large pile, gorge themselves, then go to the vomitorium, then repeat.

Well… not exactly like that, but there is mass consumption of tacos.

Out at the lake there is a cabin, all afternoon long, there would be preparation of corn tortillas, hamburger, cheddar cheese, large baking sheets of these tacos all nicely laid out. Like yummy bundles of crunchy carb wrapped goodness.

I got a craving for them, and never prepared them myself, only in the mass consumption. So off to the grocery store I went. Here’s what you would need to complete your taco feast… short 3 or 4 retired nurses who like to cook way too much.

1 small package lean hamburger
1 package CORN tortillas (12) These should be about 7 – 8 inches in size
1 can beans
1 lettuce head
Salsa and Hot Sauce

Brown up the hamburger, add pepper and salt, sprinkle some chili or chili flakes. Now in the other frying pan, (yes I do this, to make sure you read the whole thing first before going ahead and cooking like madmen) you want to get a teaspoon of oil heated up per tortilla.

Put the corn tortilla in the hot oil, add some hamburger, sprinkle some cheese on it. Now watch it. As soon as the sides of the tortilla start to curl up, you want to flatten the taco over into half. Squishing it in half actually help harden up the sides.

NOM

Corn Taco

Apply even pressure to help cook

So imagine if you would, 2 large cast iron pans on medium heat, frying up these tortillas for a couple of hours. And it doesn’t take a long time to get them fried up. Have a baking sheet at the ready with some paper towel. That will suck up the extra oil that will be on the tortillas. If you are making these in mass quantities have 2 at the ready. One with paper towel to rest, and another to put on a pan to keep warm in the oven.

Tacos resting after a hard days work in the frying pan.

Just like that.

So then, it’s time to plate up your own.

Voila! Arriba! Tacos!

Of course by this time, once I had this already to eat, I wasn’t hungry, as I had been tasting and sampling and snacking all afternoon long… They are still good for leftovers.

Food misdemeanor activities for next time I’m doing these :
Sunflower oil with jalapeno infusion for frying up the tortillas. Extras to add onto it, fried green and red peppers, smoky beans, more salsa and hot sauce.

I’m still here,
Pearce

Next food coming up… Bacon Jalapeno Poppers

Oh yeah, this is food too good for your own children

Bacon Jalapeno Poppers