Thursday, September 17, 2009
about a month ago i got the chance to cook a 3 course meal for my good friends Zyanna and Gordie for their 4th anniversary. it was an honor that they would trust ME to be a part of their celebration. i really think they had a great time and enjoyed the food. i decided that i should go with what i know works and make what i would call my signature dish. Roasted Cornish Hen w. Herb and Garlic stuffed skin. This is a staple of Sunday dinner at my place when I have friends over and by far my fave way to cook a roast hen. I served it with some green beans and an onion and leak risotto with a rather refined fig sauce that i often serve with it. it was a great pleasure to give close friends such an intimate gift on such an auspicious occasion. I would like to thank both of them by dedicating this recipe to them.
PS Gordie (aka Gordon Ball) will be showing his latest set of wonderful pictures at the Sleeping Giant Gallery @ 789 Dundas St. West in Toronto starting Sept 18 (today) and going till Sept 25. i suggest that you go and buy stuff from him while its still affordable.
Cornish Hen w. Herb and Garlic stuffed Skin and Fig Sauce
2 Cornish hens, halved and cleaned
1/4 cup marjoram chopped
1/4 cup sage chopped
1/4 cup thyme leaves chopped
1/8 cup Rosemary leaves chopped
1 table spoon coarse sea salt
5 large cloves of garlic, chopped fine
very soft, but not liquid, butter... enough to coat the 2 hens
pepper to taste
8-10 dried figs
3/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup semi dry white wine
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons maple syrup
salt to taste.
couple nobs of butter
Cooking Directions - Hens
1. turn your oven to 400 and allow to heat up.
2. combine all ingredients in a bowl except for hens and butter.
3. using your finger, poke a small hole in the membrane between the chicken breast and skin. i find it best to do this where the breasts were cut apart at the meatiest part. you only want the hole big enough for you to stick your finger in and poke the stuffing around. using 2 fingers, put some of the herb and garlic mixture under the skin, and moving it around so it coats the flesh evenly. do the same for the thigh by making a similar hole where the thigh meets the back bone. you will have to use your finger to push the stuffing all the way to the leg. repeat for the three remaining hen halves.
4. place the hens on a rack in a roasting pan and using your fingers cover the hens with the butter. cook the hens for 45 minutes to 1 hour basting the birds every 10 to 15 minutes. they should come out of the oven a deep golden brown. remove from pan, cover with tinfoil and set aside.
1. using half of the chicken stock, de glaze the roasting pan making sure to scrape up all the brown bits with a wood spoon. poor into a bowl and reserve.
2. heat a sauce pan on medium heat and add one nob of butter. let melt and add the chopped shallot. cook until soft, about 4 minutes. add white wine and reduce to about half. add the chicken stock and the reserved pan drippings with the dried figs. using a potato masher, smash the figs to make sure they release all their flavour. reduce by half. add vinegar and maple syrup. and cook for an additional 2 minutes. by this time the sauce should be getting quite thick. remove from heat and add the final knob of butter.
3. take a fine mesh strainer and line with cheese cloth. pass the sauce through the strainer being careful to remove all the fig seeds. you should be left with a rich, smooth, and wonderful tasting sauce. re-heat and add salt and pepper to taste.
serve the dish with roasted potato's or risotto and spoon over the sauce. enjoy.
Posted by im not a player at 2:34 PM
Friday, September 11, 2009
so ive made a pretty big deal this summer about how many bbq sauces i tried. somewhere around 40 is what i figured the number was. like all good stories, i embellished and its prolly actually somewhere around 30. I was asked by my good friends at Tiger Distribution (who put some of your favorite brands like WESC, Brixton, Penfield, New Balance, and PF Flyer in the coolest stores across the country) to cater for a roof top bbq for 50 people. i had never done anything like that before and they wanted me to do it all from 1 small bbq. i had to bring my bbq from home too. it was a little hectic (not due at all to the fact that i was totally high on drugs and booze) but i got through it and the whole thing was a huge success. people loved it. i cooked some bbq veg, bbq broccoli, chicken drums, honey garlic shrimps... but the king of the bbq was the pork. a whole bbq'ed tenderloin dry rubed, slathered in sizzling bbq sauce, rested, then sliced. it is easily the best bbq dish i make and by some accounts, the best thing i have ever made.
i dedicate this post to the guys at Tiger who outfit me and all my clients (for those who dont know, im a manager for musicians, DJ's, and producers). Ian, Jesse, Leather, Banan, Ash, Shya, and everyone else there, thanks for all your support and free clothes!
BBQ Pork Tenderloin
4 pork tenderloins about 1.5 pounds each, cleaned. (i dont cut off the small tale, i keep it for people who like their pork well done)
equal parts: dried onion, dried garlic, dried ginger, black peppercorns, fennel seed, mustard seed, ground into a course powder in a mortar and passel.
salt to taste
2 cups katchup
juice of half a limon
3/4 cup lousiana hot sauce
1 table spoon worchestershire sauce
2 table spoon dark soy sauce
1 table spoon light soy sauce
1/3 a cup fancy molasas
half cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 a cup maple syrup
3 heaping tables spoons of whole wet mustard
1/8 cup of white basalmic viniger
1/8 cup apple cider viniger
one small pinch cheyeanne pepper
1. Add the rub to a baking dish that is large enough to use to roll the tenderloins in. take the tenderloins one at a time and roll them in the rub. the rub should cover every red inch of the pork. roll it, press it, sprinkle it. whatever you have to do to get the rub on there. set asside for 30 minutes to an hour.
2. combine all of your ingrediants for the bbq sauce in a bowl and mix with a wisk until completely combined. set asside. turn your bbq on high and allow to heat up.
3. once the BBQ is well hot, take the tenderloins and place them on the grill. you want to cook them untill you see some char and then turn them, repeating this process on all sides. once the rub is nice and cooked lower your temp to medimum and put a generous helping of BBQ sauce on all sides. close the lid for 2 or 3 minutes and then turn and repeat. do this untill the pork is cooked to medimum, about 4 or 5 turns or 15 or so minutes. you should have a thick layer of bbq sauce and rub on the ouside of the tenderloin.
4. let the tenderloin sit for 5 or 6 minutes. this will cook the meat till it is medimum well (just a little pink in the middle). slice into 2 or 3 inch peces and serve with mashed potato's and corn on the cob. enjoy
**sorry for the shitty pictures of this one. i will be having one last bbq in a couple weeks, so i will try to get a good one there.
Posted by im not a player at 2:54 PM
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Sunday, September 6, 2009
there are two reasons that i like simple recipes on this blog. 1) it takes a long time to write these posts. im not a chef, or a particularly good writer (as if you hadn't noticed), so i do a lot of checking, fixing, rechecking, re fixing. i also do them late at night, after work and some funny cigarettes and that doesn't really help the process much. 2) i like the fact that food can taste very good, without much being done to it. now, i like to make fancy meals some times. i would like to think i am pretty good at it. but what really satisfies me is the taste of a good ingredient. some more advanced cooks might think that some of the recipes i post are a little basic, but they are also very very tasty. That is, after all, the goal here. not to showcase my skills as a cook, but to show people out there that there is highly accessible food that can be used on a very high level with simple applications.
yesterday was my good friend Rob's birthday and i had him over for some food with another friend of ours. I made some corn chowder, roasted cornish hens, and a heirloom tomato salad. Shout outs once again to the Jean Tallon market for coming correct. if you don't know what a heirloom tomato is, look it up. there are many other places that can explain it better than i can. they were ripe, sweet, tart, of all different shapes and colors. so f***ing rad. seriously. above, i posted some food porn that i shot at my crib afterwords. this is another simple simple recipe that you can apply to any number of dishes as a side, a starter salad, or a lunchtime meal.
Heirloom Tomato Salad
6 or more ripe heirloom tomato's of different varieties and sizes cut into 4 or 6 segments, depending on size
2 or 3 tablespoons of good quality white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons of fresh chopped flat leaf parsley or fresh basil
sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
a healthy drizzle of good quality olive oil
1. combine all ingredients in a bowl and gently toss until everything is covered. set aside for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to merry. enjoy
i would like to dedicate this post to my good friend, and one hell of a guy, Roberto Ckarke.
Posted by im not a player at 10:06 PM
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
despite me telling myself that i wouldn't let this happen, i haven't posted in some time. life's been a bit crazy though, so i hope my three followers will be forgiving.
one of the crazy things that has happened recently is that i finally got the stereo system from my parents house in Brampton. it was decided i should have it after dad passed away and i finally pried it away from the home of my sister (love you, suesy). its a beauty. all vintage gear from 1979 - 1982. its quite sharp, and it got me to thinking about my dad and whatnot... he was a great cook. he would make things like baccala stew and Guyanese pepper pot - a dish made from ox tail, pig tail, beef shoulder, and a concoction of secret spices that included something called cazrip; a fermented syrup, that is black in colour, made from the root of a cassava (yucca) plant. i don't know how to make those things, only he did (although, my mom makes a pretty good pepper pot these days). the only problem is i didn't get a chance to learn those recipes from him. you see, all those dishes took a VERY long time to make. in the case of pepper pot, its 3 days of cooking, seasoning, skimming fat, and adding liquid... at 18 i was more interested in quick, yummy, not so good for you meals like bbq chicken. i did however learn how to make one thing my dad made; split pea soup. i know, it doesn't sound like much but when i was growing up it was a winter staple at my house for its ability to "stick to your ribs" (not to be confused with porridge, which "puts hair on your chest"). the only thing i really remember my dad doing was cooking the garlic. he would take about 4 to 6 cloves of garlic and chop them until they were very fine. he would then take a steal soup ladle and fill it with the garlic and enough oil to cover the garlic plus a little more. then he would put the ladle right over the burner on med-low heat and cook it until it was dark brown. he would then dunk the whole thing right into the soup pot and it would let off a very dramatic and violent bubble and sizzle. as a young kid, it was pretty cool to watch go down. now, i dont recommend you do it this way, because dad once set the kitchen on fire using this method. i suggest doing it in a very small pot or a pan and just dumping the garlic in the soup. it really gives the dish an earthy smokeyness that goes great with the rest of the smells and flavours in the dish. this is a slight variation on the dish. i use red lentils and smoked turkey thighs instead of green split peas a ham bone. you can substitute the turkey thigh with the ham bone, but the lentils and split peas would be in different measurements, that i don't have at the moment. although i have changed some of the ingredients slightly, i would still like to dedecate this post to my old man, Colin.
Lentil Soup w. Smoked Turkey
1 smoked turkey thigh, bone in or bone out, whichever you prefer
2 cups red lentils
1 liter chicken stock
.5 liters water
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
2 stock celery, diced
4 large cloves or 6 medium garlic. get the freshest, most pungent garlic you can find.
few sprigs fresh thyme
2 dried bay leaves
oil for cooking veg
lots of olive oil for cooking the garlic
salt and pepper to taste
1. to prepare the turkey, remove the skin and scrape with a knife, all the fat on the underside of the skin. roll it up and tie it with butchers string and reserve for the soup. with a butter knife, scrape ll the fat off the turkey thigh
2. put a large stock pot on a med-high burner. add oil to the pan and allow to heat through. add the onion and cook for 2 minutes. add celery, carrot, thyme, and bay leaf and cook until just soft. add the lentils and cook for another 1 or 2 minutes. you should see a little brown developing on the bottom of the pot. that's what you want.
3. add the stock and water and allow to come to a boil. add smoked turkey the turkey skin. reduce heat to low and simmer for 1.5 hours, string every 15 minutes or so. the consistency should be very smooth, with no hard bits of lentil at all.
4. turn another burner to medium and place a VERY small pan to heat up on top. add enough olive oil so that there is a 1/4 inch of olive oil on surface of the pan. once the oil is heated through, add the garlic. cook it until it is a very dark golden brown. DO NOT BURN THE GARLIC!!!! poor the garlic and oil directly into the soup pot. it spits up a lot and makes a hissing noise, so watch out. cook soup for an additional 30 minutes. check for salt and pepper and adjust to taste.
5. remove from heat and let sit for about an hour. this will help with the consistency of the soup. it should be thick, and uniform, but not gloppy. if it is, add a small amount of water. remove the turkey, turkey skin, and reserve. i like the skin, but it is an acquired taste. remove the bay leaf and thyme stems if you can find them.
6. stir the soup once more and serve hot in large bowls with a piece of the smoked turkey in the middle. enjoy :)
Posted by im not a player at 1:07 PM