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I may have mentioned my frozen duck braised a short while back - I put leftovers (not really leftovers, deliberatly set aside) in snaplock containers in the freezer. I've made duck empanadas; just a very simple recipe with the shredded duck and onions stewed in some of the duck fat (it doesn't take much); I also added some of the concentrated stock (fond) from the braise. Just a bit of cumin and oregano; I deliberately didn't make them spicy; there are hot sauces for those who want more heat.
No, I didn't make my tapas (dough rounds), though I certainly know how to do it; I bought them frozen at a shop around the corner from my place. I think that for a dozen it would not only take me a long time but also actually cost more to make them myself. They turned out very pretty this time. It takes some practice to fold the edge (repulge) artistically.
Just about everyone likes empanadas: actually you could make a corn dough if you have friends who are gluten-intolerant. A classic vegetarian kind is dry ricotta (or a similar cheese) and spinach. Or of course you could simply fill them with vegetables for vegans, but always make sure your mix won't become too liquid in high heat or they will leak and make a mess. They are a nice party food and would be a good item for people watching a sporting event on TV as they are a finger food, but with a bit of heft.
I make baked empanadas, not fried ones. They are plenty rich without frying.
Popcorn done in a pot using a bit of coconut oil turns out very well.
That's some good "out of the box" thinking.
We have an old air popper that I'm pretty sure I gave to my wife over 20 years ago. It's so old that it doesn't even have a polarized plug. Still spits out corn, though. I kind of like popcorn when I'm craving a salty snack -- it's cheap and easy enough to make, and depending on what I put on it, surely better than chips or whatever.
Mind you, when I'm in the mood to make the effort, here's what I kind of like to put on it. It's easy to do, and you end up with a bunch. Add some peanuts if you want homemade Cracker Jack.
I've made duck empanadas
I keep meaning to try making empanadas. I'll try to remember to look for the wrappers at one of the S.A. groceries in Kensington (at least until I feel up to making my own puff pastry).
There's a Columbian butcher in Kensington that sells empanadas, and most days they have 20+ different ones for sale. I'm kind of partial to their classic -- beef, olives and boiled egg -- but they have chorizo-filled, various meat and cheese combinations, some vegetarian, and even a kimchi empanada.
Now you've all got me thinking about Cornish pasties. Similar shape to empanadas...
There's a place called the Empanada Company, but they're in Etobicoke: www.empanada.ca
Empanada dough discussion at Chowhound, but old: http://www.chowhound.com/post/empanada-dough-713424 Most of the rest of the discussions, even specifying "tapas" or "dough" are about ready-to-eat empanadas. One of the strangest discussions was someone asking for the frozen dough, but IMPORTED from Argentina. There is a difference between the Argentine/Uruguayan and Chilean styles, but my corner grocery sells both.
Now you've all got me thinking about Cornish pasties.
Now those, I did make once.
Similar shape to empanadas...
Just about all of my "filled things" are a similar shape.
Around about the middle of every season my wife and I start to tire of timely foods and can't seem to agree on anything we're keen to eat. Too many roasts, but too early for BBQ, or whatever. But last night I got my crave on for chickpeas, and had considered perhaps a channa dhal and some naan bread or something like that, but I had an idea and googled for this.
Turned out to be super-easy to make, even starting with dry and hard chickpeas. Hit it with a bit of Scotch Bonnet sauce I've had for ages, and some chopped up cilantro and it hit the spot. Also, vegan.
★★★★☆ "Different, tasty, would definitely make again!!"
Thanks, that looks great. I have to try it.
I pulled out the Julia Child books last night and made Caneton roti a l'Alsacienne* (Roast duck with apple and sausage stuffing). It was sublime.
*Please excuse absence of proper accent marks. I'm lazy. ;)
That sounds yummy!
You had me at "duck".
Never hurts to throw in a little port and cognac, either! It was very good, and the book continues to not disappoint. I don't think I'll try the aspics, but there are so many beautiful meals to make. Onto more down to earth fare today - liver with bacon and onions. But I am trying sheep liver this time, which we got from a local farmer we ordered some lamb from. He says once I try it I'll never go back to beef liver. Guess we'll see!
Lamb's liver is delicious; I've never had liver from an adult sheep, but the lambs I see (yes, quite literally) at the nearby Moroccan butcher are quite large, not the little milk lambs.
I don't think it is a bad thing to see where meat comes from, if one does eat meat.
I guess it technically is lamb - we ordered a butchered lamb and the farmer asked me if I wanted liver. Some of his clients don't. It was quite nice. Not very different from beef liver.
I find the flavour much more delicate than beef liver. Yes, of course you want the liver. And the kidneys. And the heart.
My local No Frills (both of them, I think) sell lamb plucks all the time. Basically all the goodies north of the diaphragm -- heart, lungs and liver, and maybe some inedible stuff attached. Unsurprisingly cheap, too.
So I made this last night. Ordinarily I hate "video" recipes, unless it's something that I genuinely have to see with my own eyes (e.g. how to debone a chicken), but Ramsay's videos are quick and terse and kind of entertaining.
I know that for some folk, a shepherd's pie (or a cottage pie) are common and easy staples, but the times I've given them a whirl they ended up underwhelming. Just ground meat and potatoes, but lacking somehow, in a big way. And the funny thing is that my parents (read: dad) used to make cottage pie all the time, and as I recall, it was good. But mine typically aren't.
This worked out really well. Tasty, moist, flavourful. Could have been a bit more brown on the top, but I'll work on that the next time.
I also made up a batch of these yesterday. Another thing that's possibly old hat for some bakers, and in fact I've made this recipe a half dozen times now and enjoyed some success each time. There could be better recipes out there, and better bakers than I am, but it's a nice simple recipe for anyone who wants to give it a shot, and as an added bonus, it's vegan. Mind you, I substitute whatever I've got, so mine isn't always vegan, but I think it's got legs either way. Just don't get chintzy with the cinnamon.
Currently just finishing off this. Does it even count as cooking? It's pretty awesome either way.
Love the Ramsey videos! Tried his video on doing steaks in a pan, and they were perfect.
This is my favourite take on shepherd's pie: http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/cuisine/european/english/shepherds-pi...
I use a fair bit of vegetable, the tomato sauces (just a touch is lots!) gives it a bit of zing and the leeks on top are very nice. It's a regular meal at our house, also freezes well for leftovers.
I use a sweet roll recipe from Edna Staebler's More Food That Really Schmecks for cinnamon rolls. There's the basic dough, and you can turn it into rolls, cinny buns, doughnuts, whatever. Very nice texture to it. I don't do the icing, but I use demerarra sugar so they're nice and gooey.
Tried his video on doing steaks in a pan, and they were perfect.
When I was young, a fried steak was a Sad Bachelor meal, and was only permissible if:
1. you were a Sad Bachelor
2. you used one of those crummy, mechanically tenderized "fast fry" steaks from the cheap section of the supermarket
3. you genuinely had no access to fire
But decades later I enjoyed a few really, really good pan steaks -- or "bistro steaks" as I've heard them called -- and my opinion of them did a 180. Now I own and use a nice 10" cast iron grill pan, just big enough for two flatirons or bavettes or striploins. I find it's pretty easy to guarantee a nice tender rare on it, but admittedly it's still grill all the way in the summer.
There's a small chain of cheeseburger joints in these parts called "The Burger's Priest". They get rave reviews, and the occasional celebrity endorsement, and their secret is (besides grinding their own beef fresh) that they ONLY cook their burgers on a griddle. A GRIDDLE.
I haven't tried them yet, but I have to admit that seeing as they're using the most lowbrow cooking method available and wowing people, I'm pretty curious. Must be something to it.
A griddle is what, a flat cooking surface? La plancha?
I bought a HUGE cast-iron skilet for fifty cents at an unusually cheap charity sale (it is run for people in a long-term care facility, basically by their already oldish children). I gave it to an Argentine friend and she makes GREAT steaks and other red-meaty things on it. I do have a similar skillet that may have cost me a couple of dollars (don't remember, but it was cheap) but it is much smaller, perhaps 10 inches.
I bought a lamb pluck and we did all but the lungs on her big skillet - it was great. What on earth does one do with the lungs?
I use a heavy- bottomed stainless pan for steaks so I can use the browning for peppercorn sauce. I have two griddles that came with my gas range, one non-stick and the other cast iron, the latter two- sided so you can opt for ridged or flat surface. Very handy items.
mix with oatmeal and stuff it into the stomach then cook it lagatta... never heard of haggis?
Of course I've heard of haggis, and even eaten it, but I confess I've never cooked it. And like andouillette, I don't really like it very much. Actually, andouillette is (IMHO) much worse than haggis.
Exactly. It's what your eggs will be cooked on if you go to a greasy spoon.
They're actually kind of neat, at least in a restaurant setting, because they're very consistent. And if they're large enough, you can have one "hot" side and one "less hot" side.
Of course I've heard of haggis, and even eaten it, but I confess I've never cooked it.
And you can't cook it now, because while you've got the lights, you don't have a stomach to stuff them in. Darn your luck!
Beyond haggis, my best guess for lamb lights would be chopped fine and stewed, probably with other meats or sausage.
Personally, I've never tried haggis, but I would if I had the opportunity. I don't think I'd be turned off so much by the organ meat as by oatmeal in a savoury dish. Back when my wife used to eat a lot of oatmeal, she one day got the not-unreasonable idea of making it with broth instead of water -- savoury oatmeal, right? -- and mere words can't describe how horrible it was. :0
Since I'm currently looking for work and am on a tight budget, my food choices have been rather plain and budget conscious. Generally whatever cheap goods I can throw in a pot and eat. Mostly soup with either yellow split peas or red lentils with some brown rice, or potatoes with carrots and peas (I'm a vegetarian).
Recently I bought a bag of 1/2 price rough-looking kale from No-Frills. While I'm not familiar with kale, I figured I'd try it. I read that while the stems are edible, most people don't eat them. In looking at the kale I bought, it seemed over half of it was stems. So, waste not want not. I separated the leaves from the stems, chopped the leaves, then chopped the stems, and in it all went with the potatoes, carrots, peas, onions, beets, garlic powder, coriander, cumin, red pepper flakes, salt (sometimes I'll use different spices -- depends what's lying around and/or what I'm the mood for), and some canola oil.
Tasted fine. I mean, kale leaves are kinda disgusting, but I didn't really notice anything much. And the stem bits were fine -- sort of like little bits of tasteless fiber like celery, in my opinion. I may try frying chopped kale stems for snacks in the future. Maybe with sesame seeds, kale leaves, red pepper flakes, and garlic. Any food, even kale, can be made palatable with red pepper flakes and garlic, I feel.
Palatable, perhaps, but there is no way I could digest mature kale stems. I don't throw away things like that I can't digest; I freeze them and save them to put in the stockpot.
Well, I just ate the stems in the soup a while ago. Time will tell what effect on digestion it has.
I find kale edible, in a survivalist sense. I'm personally not sure why it's the belle of the ball these days, but people must have the sense that if something is like eating green J-cloths, it must be good for you.
That said, it can be made very tasty indeed when used for Caldo Verde (or sometimes called Sopa Verde). Just ignore any chorizo in the recipe, and make sure you shred that kale as finely as you can. No rustic "rough chop" stuff.
If you're vegetarian, on a budget, and shop at No Frills, then next time they have the one pound bars of cheese on deep discount, pick up a bar of old white cheddar and try this. You can make it with margarine too, and if you don't have milk -- like I never do -- you can substitute some watered down coffee cream, or any dairy you do have (e.g. I'll sometimes mix yogurt or sour cream 1:3 with water when a recipe demands milk).
For the breadcrumbs -- which I advise you not skip -- a few stale heels of bread, or an old roll can work just fine. Wait until it's hard and dry and run it across a box grater, or chop it finely with a knife. The important part is the frying, to brown it up.
Oh, and if your No Frills is like either of mine, they ALWAYS have small containers of pre-grated Romano cheese for $1. Sure, it's the dry, powdery stuff that's never going to make an awesome Alfredo, but it's fine for this (though like dried herbs vs. fresh, I'd use less). It also rocks on popcorn.
PA Supermarket, that Greek place I often mention, often has deep discounts on cheeses, as does the sometimes even cheaper Segall, known as "the stinky store" or "the United Nations of Rudeness".
I'm fine with caldo verde (in a fine julienne) but don't eat the stems of the kale. By the way, Tuscan or black kale, also known as lancinato, is much less tough. It isn't black when cooked; it is a pretty dark green.
I know very well what effect eating the stems would have on my digestion (euphemism).
Sounds like Québec has some pretty cool and quirky grocers. But what did you share with Ontario? Metro.
Toronto, of course, has lots of awesome foodie meccas as well, but unsurprisingly, many of them have become just a bit too swank for a shopper on a budget. St. Lawrence Market's the most amazing food place there is, but there aren't really a whole lot of bargains left.
Lately I've been enjoying places like my two local Portuguese butchers -- Nosso Talho and Pavao -- their stuff is top drawer, but their prices are also reasonable (or better). And I'm not just talking about meat. And of course Chinatown is still amazing for produce.
We'll be getting a new grocery store soon. A "condo"-type development at College and Spadina promises a new store at grade, but they haven't actually said which one yet. My money's on Sobey's. I guess I'll check them for sales, or whatever, but I'm not likely to buy a $3 cabbage there when I can walk a few more blocks to Hua Sheng and get the same cabbage for a buck. Funny thing, too, is that many of the small merchants of Kensington Market are apparently very concerned about Big Grocery moving into their neighbourhood, but they seem to survive just fine even as Chinatown, two streets over, undercuts them on a million things.
Yes, Metro was originally from here. Actually, Metro has bought up the Lebanese Adonis chain, which has expanded to the GTA (Mississauga and now Scarborough). I consult the flyers (online) for Metro and IGA (Sobeys) and even the Loblaws banners, for loss-leaders and other specials, but their produce is usually ridiculously expensive, and I have a Vietnamese supermarket closer.
Even Jean-Talon Market has become far more posh than when I moved into the area, and Atwater, which is more similar to St. Lawrence Market, even physically, much more so.
Do your Portuguese butchers have good frozen fish? That is very handy especially for single people. Some even have mixes of fish and seafood to make a Portuguese fish stew.
I'm a short distance (well, I drive, but give me a break, I live in Winnipeg, after all) from Sobey's, Co-op, Safeway, Price Chopper and a Superstore. What made me decide on this neighborhood, though, was the small grocery only a few blocks away. It's part of a chain of small neighborhood groceries, Food Fare - full service butcher counter, good selection, nice produce and competitive (or better) price with the big chains. There's also a really good butcher shop at about 7 or 8 blocks away, a gourmet fancy-schmancy food store about 10 blocks from us. We really love the little grocery, though, and do a lot of our shopping there.
The one thing we don't have is a good regular-fare bakery. There's a fancy goods bakery, a french bakery that has lovely pastries and baguettes, but a bit pricey, and a hipster bakery that just opened. For $7 a loaf they'll sell you a wonky-shaped loaf that is poorly risen, scorched on the outside and not quite done on the inside (wood oven is too hot, and the "artisanal, all-natural wild yeast" hasn't been given enough of a head start to do its thing). I made better on my first attempt at a whole wheat loaf when I was 14.
Is a simple, moderately dense loaf of whole wheat really so much to ask for?
(Don't tell me to bake my own, haven't got the time these days...)
Oh dear, that hipster place sounds deplorable. It couldn't survive here without being able to bake decent breads.
I won't bore you with how many bakeries I can walk to. Not just French and Italian - I'm not far from a good central European kosher one, on the edge of Park-Ex, and of course Arabic (Maghrebi and Lebanese) bread bakeries, and a Moroccan grocery/butcher shop that has great packaged breads.
No good bread (even sliced) at that good walkable grocery store?
We can make due with an okay rye bread from a largish local commercial bakery from there, but we like bread we slice ourselves. There are a couple of bakeries that make the sort we like, but they're both a bit of a drive for us. The "hipster bread" puts me in mind of the dwarf bread from the Terry Pratchett Discworld series - you could do battle with it! ;)
Do your Portuguese butchers have good frozen fish? That is very handy especially for single people. Some even have mixes of fish and seafood to make a Portuguese fish stew.
There's plenty of selection, but the prices aren't always that enticing. There's a wee little grocery very near us, so wee that we call it "the Portuguese variety store" and even they have frozen fish, including the ubiquitous frozen octopus. My two No Frills, as well as my nearby Metro, also have a goodly selection of frozen fish. Those times that I snag up frozen fish I'll usually go to Chinatown, where the grocers all feature frozen, fresh and live fish, and I can get maybe a pound and a half of basa fillets for three or four bucks.
One of the groceries is slightly "downstairs" and also a bit downmarket -- we call it the Chinese No Frills -- has a sign near their live tanks asking customers to please not wash their hands in the fish tanks. :0
As for bread, there are several different bakeries nearby, most of them combination bakery/cafe. Lots of various treats, including the classic custard tarts, but also loaves and buns of many shapes and sizes, all nice and fresh and cheap. I recall a few years ago, seeing a modest-sized round loaf of fresh crusty bread for sale at a mom-and-pop convenience store at the bottom of my street, and being so taken by the look and smell of if that I decided to splurge on it -- it turned out to $1.35.
I'll do that at the French bakery - they have lots of variety that way and some nice specials, but not quite so cheap. Baguettes are pretty affordable if I remember to go early enough in the day - if it's much past noon, they'll be sold out most days. They're also a cafe and have a great brunch menu for Sunday - crepes! So there is some availability but I need a regular type loaf on hand for sandwiches and packed lunches. I keep hoping we'll get a more down to earth bakery nearby.
Because we did a crapload of easter eggs this past weekend, there will be much egg salad this week. I make mine with some chopped apple, celery, green onion, dill, mustard and mayonnaise. I'll also grate some egg for a spinach salad topping. And I'll feed some of them to the dog to fatten her up.
Crêpes are really easy to make, if you can enlist some of your teenage labour ... which might not be so easy.
Actually, the girls both love to cook. Thing 2 is an expert cupcake baker, even does fancy icings. She's off school this week and wants to make us a stew from a cookbook she found in Norway. Thing 1's specialty is jambalaya.
Thing 2 visited Norway??? Family, I presume?
The reason I mention crêpes is that they are fairly cheap - the most expensive ingredient is eggs; actually buckwheat galettes can be made without them, and were, but I think that was more an example of poverty on the Celtic fringe than a gastronomic choice. I actually like the extra nutrients from eggs. And they are very impressive to serve to guests - a great thing for students to know how to make. It is just a matter of getting the hang of them, and yes, you are likey to "wreck" your first tries, but they'll still be edible. You can even freeze a stack of them - better with cooking paper or something between them.
I cooked a traditional turkey dinner for the gang over the long weekend, featuring a turkey of course, with garlic mashed, mashed turnip, carrots, corn, beans, two types of turkey dressing, one with savoury, one without, gravy, and for after, pecan pie and ice cream.
Sounds lovely. Gang didn't do anything this weekend (some parents and granparents were busy with rugrats) but we'll be doing that next weekend. Person hosting (as in at her house, not that she is doing everything) is making goulasch - I think I might make red cabbage as it is still wintry enough for that, but perhaps also green salad. I don't know whether i'll have the energy to make a Pasqualina: http://www.visitgenoa.it/en/torta-pasqualina-easter-tart (note that this recipe is in several languages). You can also add or sub spinach - traditionally there are many seasonal greens, some wild. No, you won't find the cheese they specify, but good ricotta (like the Skotidakis kind) or the dry cottage cheese for cooking, mixed with some other creamier cheeses, would also do. I use the ricotta.
I don't have anywhere to cook a whole turkey - my stove died a few years ago and since then I've been using a countertop convection oven. I can cook a chicken in it, or turkey parts. I also like to braise turkey thighs. But for this meal I'll make non-meat stuff, as at least one of the guests is vegetarian, but not vegan, so he can eat the Pasqualina.
lagatta, we did a roots tour to Norway the summer before last - we visited the farm the blond guy's paternal grandfather was born on just outside Lillehammer (the farm is literally next to the Olympic ski jump), then north to see where his maternal branch was from in the Steinkjar (Stane-chair, not stink-jar!) area in central Norway, then a few days in Oslo, Stockholm and Copenhagen respectively. We learned to love a lot of Scandinavian dishes, particularly reindeer.
SJ, your meal sound lovely!
lagatta's easter tart sound tasty as well.
Speaking of goulash, here's something the blond guy made the other day. REALLY good!
We do have reindeer, but it is wild. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reindeer Reindeer and Caribou are the same species, though there are sub-species. Evidently they are reared/ranched in Canada, but I've only eaten wild caribou, and it was a gift from Northern Indigenous colleagues (Inuit, Northern Cree, Innu)...
I'll probably have to sub in something else for the stew this week. Maybe venison or elk if I can find it. Bison? Might be too dark. We'll see.
Venison or elk are much closer to caribou/reindeer. Bison is of course a bovine.
Did you actually make the pecan pie??
I tried it once... pretty good, though a bit runnier than I recall from childhood. When we ate at a restaurant, and they had pecan pie, I got pecan pie, every time.
I think that technically, "venison" can also refer to moose and elk, though I think it's generally specified (e.g. "moose venison") when it's not plain ol' deer.
Sadly, hunted game of any sort is illegal to sell in Canada (I think... or maybe only Ontario), so when you buy venison of any sort, it's farmed. It's evidently legal, however, to butcher it (so lots of rural butchers earn a few bucks around hunting season by breaking and packing) and I'm not sure of the legality of giving it away, but I think every single hunter in Canada does anyway. When I was a kid, my dad always seemed to know someone who'd just shot a deer or moose, so we ate both with some regularity.
I grew up on wild game. Venison, deer sausage, most years. The years Dad got a moose or elk license, we filled the deep freeze and ate that for a year. Antelope, one year. Birds in season - duck, goose, Hungarian partridge, prairie chicken. I don't know anyone who hunts anymore, so I haven't had wild game in a long time. Farmed is fine, though.
Antelope, one year.
Do you mean a pronghorn?
For good or bad, nobody in my family hunted. But we all fished when we could. An aunt and uncle of mine actually bought a wee boat and a wee trailer, kept on a wee plot in a wee campground on Mitchell's Bay, and they'd fish pickerel all summer. Whenever we went to visit them we'd come home with a few cleaned pounds out of the hundred or so pounds they had laid up. They caught so many that every fall they'd have a whole meal of JUST pickerel cheeks. For those unfamiliar, imagine a piece of fish a bit bigger than a kidney bean, two of them per fish.
Yup, pronghorn! Basically, they're a wild goat. Pretty tough and gamey, so we didn't do it a second time.
We also fished. Dad, who liked forage fishing and tournament fishing, referred to himself as The Walleye King. After he died, the tournament guys instituted a special award for sportsmanship in his name. The winter before he died, he invited me to join him for an ice fishing tournament. It was a lot of fun. I don't think we caught anything, just sat out on the lake, drank schnapps and laughed a lot.
Urgh, a little verklemt, here.
Anyway, fall meant tramping around various sloughs, ravines and valleys, spring and summer meant a lot of time in the boat. Pickerel, sometimes jack, we knew where to find perch and even lake trout. Nothing like fresh pickerel or lake trout. And we even had pickerel cheeks. :)
Growing up we'd eat moose, caribou, grouse, rabbit, turr, trout, squid, salmon, seal, cod, caplin, mussels, herring, beef, chicken, pork, and bologna.
Did you actually make the pecan pie??
No, there's a local bakery that makes a good one. Never made one myself. Off the top I've only made apple, rhubarb, pot pies, coconut cream and lemon meringue.