Food Photos

KevinBig Game, Elk, From The Wild, MooseLeave a Comment

fried calf moose meatballs with parmesan and olive oil
calf moose top sirloin in butter and red wine reduction on porcini risotto and spinach.
cherry-smoked elk and calf moose sausage

chili sauce art

A memorable food day

KevinBig Game, Charcuterie, Elk, From the Cellar, Moose, SausageLeave a Comment

I made and smoked sausage today, and am happy with the product for the first time. I’d tried with goose meat prior, and it smelled and looked the part, but tasted awful. This time I blended calf moose, elk, and pork, and it looks, smells, and tastes great. Thank god.

While making the sausage, I couldn’t bring myself to grind up all the calf moose I had out – it was a rather nice cut [top sirloin]. So I cut a couple ‘steaks’, and did them as I normally do in salt, pepper, and butter. Deglazed with a little red wine and reduced. The memorable part though was pairing it with a porcini mushroom risotto. Pam’s idea, not mine. I bought a bunch of dried porcinis at Costco, and hadn’t used them much, but they’ll get used up now. Risotto is underrated. And overpriced in restaurants.

Anyway…the camera came out twice today to take pictures of food. Hopefully I’m together enough to post pictures to accompany this post by tomorrow.

Party season

KevinCharcuterie, Odds and EndsLeave a Comment

Time for our 3rd annual winter party. I was hoping to make it an annual event back when I did my first one, and I’m really pleased to be at the third already! I’m going to try a couple recipes from my charcuterie idol, Michael Ruhlman. Oh. I diverge. I emailed the guy, I think I mentioned this. Well he emailed me back, being a nice guy, apparently. I realized recently – this guy knows Anthony Bourdain, Gordon Ramsay, Mario Batali, Thomas Keller, and other massively famous chefs in the US and UK. That weirds me out. Travel shrinks the globe everytime, but odd things like this tighten it up a little more. As I said, I diverge. I’m going to be giving a Venison Terrine with Dried Cherries and a hot-smoked venison sausage. I’ve learned an important lesson, or a few for that matter, and will follow his recipes to the letter. I’ve found from experience that making charcuterie is a little like baking, in that winging it isn’t always a very good idea. Not if you want to enjoy eating it, anyway.

The second party pending is the second annual game dinner for the guys that take me hunting. Last year was a gongshow, in a good way. It was a seven course tasting menu, 6 of which featured a different game animal hunted that year. I’m not creative enough to come up with an enjoyable dessert using a game animal. I’m not going to work on it either. This year it will be more focused on things I know I can knock out of the park. I’m also thinking of cracking some fine burgandy for the event.

Last year I cooked for too many parties. We plan on throwing a big one soon after the arrival of the little one, so these will be it for me until summer. Then I’m going to have to get good at puréeing everything. I think I can handle that.

Chinese Food?

KevinMulti-culturalLeave a Comment

We had the worst chinese food of our lives last night in chinatown. It was a horrible restaurant experience of epic proportions. We have a ‘usual’ place we enjoy for good chinese, to which I can compare the place we visited last night. The difference? Prawns the size of your thumb vs the size of a peanut. Fresh baby bok choy, carrots, onion, celery cooked properly vs… bean sprouts. Shitake mushrooms vs. tiny minced button mushrooms. Loads of great noodles vs. noodles hardly discernable as such. And to top it off, the sauce was basically soy sauce. Fascinating. A novice chef who had never made such a dish could do better. How sad is that. You’d think that a chinese restaurant in chinatown cooked by a chinese person who has eaten this typically chinese dish before, with ready access to cheap, fresh, chinese ingredients, would not only be able to exceed a newbie chef, but would likely make something noteable. Well. Okay. It was noteably shit.

No dice

KevinBig Game, Elk, From The Wild, Hunting, OtherLeave a Comment

I just got back today from the last big game hunt of the year. We spent a couple days hunting elk, and a day hunting boar. I saw wild boar track for the first time and saw how they fed under 2-3 feet of snow. Interesting stuff. I also saw three bull elk, a cow elk, a bunch of cow and calf moose, and lots of deer – many of which were big bucks. I got to spend my days on a sled behind a snowmobile riding through the bush along the smokey river, and had many hours by myself to listen to the wind in the forest. Ah, zen. So all in all, despite the lack of food generated out of the deal, it was good fun.

Last hunt of the year

KevinHuntingLeave a Comment

I leave first thing tomorrow morning on an elk hunt. It’s a strange time to go hunting. We may be butchering days before Christmas. That’d be a first. I have an antlerless elk tag, and am hoping to have a chance at a calf. We’ll see. There’s so much snow now that the only way to hunt is by snowmobile, which my dad just acquired. So I’m going to spend a few days riding around the north on a mush sled behind a ski-doo. One of those things you don’t picture yourself doing.

Work’s been really stressful for the last couple months, and I officially burned out, so I need the break. I’m looking forward to only having a couple days of work until the new year.

Fresh Yeast

KevinBakingLeave a Comment

After keeping an eye out for it for, well, years – I finally have a source for fresh yeast. I normally use active dry yeast, which keeps forever in the fridge and is dirt cheap if bought in large quantities. It works fine, but the speed and volume of rise out of this fresh/compressed stuff is incredible. Last night I made a large ‘boule au levain’ with far too much ‘levain’ or ‘starter’. I like funky ‘off’ smells in cheese, but not in bread apparently. So this morning I’m making a straight lean dough boule with 1/4 whole wheat flour, and again, it’s rising like crazy. The problem with fresh yeast is it goes bad, and for a dollar or so, I get enough yeast to make about 23 loaves of bread – or about 46 baguettes. So it will go bad before I’m done with it. But big deal – it’s a buck and change…

If they sell toilet paper, do not buy their cheese.

KevinCheese, PhilosoFoodLeave a Comment

First off, I can’t believe I’ve never written about cheese before. Great cheese is a perfect example of why I can’t, and will likely never be okay with the ‘I can’t cook’ approach to eating. With the quality and diversity of food available, if you can’t serve nice food most of your problem is you just don’t know how to shop. I know, not everyone is going to go spend an evening in a specialty food store exploring what cool things they stock [like me…]. But it’s not necessary. Neither is super-specialized ultra-pretentious knowledge of niche items that make you awesome. What is required is a great source for quality cheese.
You’ll know you’ve found one when there is no hesitation when you ask ‘can I try some’. Easy measure. If they let you try it, I approve. And odds are, the cheese guy/gal knows where to get some good bread, and likely some great cured meats or other cool charcuterie or deli stuff. But you have to ask. Ask. Ask for their boring cheese. Ask for their nastiest cheese. Ask what their favorites are. Do whatever. Just talk to them, give it some thought and care, and it will reward you. Another clue: this place likely is not your local box grocer. If they sell toilet paper, do not buy their cheese.
I have moments of clarity off and on with food – ‘aha’ moments, as a university proff of mine put it. And I had one tonight, with cheese. I’ve been to Neil’s Yard Dairy in London and the most exclusive cheese shops in Paris. I’ve been to specialty shops in Tuscany that load their sheep cheese with white truffle, and I’ve visited small niche sheep cheese’ producers there as well. I’ve eaten local cheese in nearly every european country. And I finally, after many years, found a cheese that brings a piece of rural Italy to my table. It’s name will remain top-secret for now. It smells of old-world nastiness, like cheese gone bad that’s sat in someones old stone cellar for too long. It’s awesome. I can now eat it as is, grate it over pasta, or put it in a cream sauce for a game dish and I’ll look like a culinary genius – simply because I have a good source for good cheese.

Butchering #4 – Whitetail Deer

KevinBig Game, Butchering Game Meats, Deer, From The Wild, Hunting1 Comment

Butchered the fourth big game animal of the season this morning. A white-tailed deer. Looks big, but cut weight was just under 40 lbs. For context, my calf moose was 100, and Henry’s 2 or 3 year old bull moose was 240. My dad’s cow elk was high 100s-200 I think.

So my adventure in cooking venison begins. First lesson for me is the vast variation in size. The pack of tenderloins in my hand weighs 350g. The same thing from my calf, unpackaged, was 965g. A beef tenderloin is about the size of the thickest part of my forearm. I look forward to the verdict on flavour profile and texture relative to other game meats – and will share my findings when the time comes.

Indian food

KevinMulti-culturalLeave a Comment

It is rare that a restaurant really impresses me, especially when I have pretty high expectations. Our first visit was prior to my wife’s pregnancy-related aversion to indian food. So I waited for months to go back. Months of anticipation, expecting great food. And it did not disappoint. If you’re into Indian, this place is wicked and is a buffet style place. Yeah, I know, buffet – normally bad news – but here it’s a good thing. You get to try a whole bunch of well prepared dishes, and I can’t imagine there’s much room to improve on their nan – it’s extremely good. It’s the usual butter chicken, lamb masala, lentils, chick pea type fare – roughly a dozen choices or so. Today I tried a fresh cheese curry, and a soft cheese donut-like cake in a warm syrup with a cold rice pudding. All excellent. And the service is excellent – very attentive about drinks and nan and generally making sure you’re happy. The booths and chairs are cool. Lunch buffet 7 days a week $9.95, evenings $13.95 [open at 11:30]. Bargain.

Dawat Haute Cuisine Of India
9250 34 Avenue NWEdmonton, AB T6E 5P2
(780) 469-3517