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eG Foodblog: Kerry Beal - ChocDoc in the Land of the Haweaters

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#1 Kerry Beal

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Posted 17 September 2006 - 09:01 PM

Good Morning fellow eGulletiers. Kerry Beal, the Chocolate Doctor, here blogging at you from beautiful downtown Little Current, Ontario. Little Current is on the north side of Manitoulin Island, the world's largest fresh water island. Manitoulin is located in the Great Lakes, with Lake Huron to the south, and Georgian Bay to the east.

Manitoulin Island itself contains 108 freshwater lakes. The population is 12,600 which increases greatly in the summer due to the influx of tourists who come in by car, plane and boat. A swing bridge brings traffic across from the mainland here in Little Current and a large ferry, the Chi-Cheemaun, brings traffic to South Baymouth at the south end of the island.




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Here is a view of Little Current from the vicinity of the swing bridge that brings you on to the island from the north. After crossing the swing bridge you pass the only stop light that you will find on the island.


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A spot not far from where I am staying.

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Looking out over Georgian Bay from the east side of the island.

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A typical Manitoulin view, this is cattle country.

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Typical rock formation on parts of the island.

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West of Little Current is the village of Kagawong, with it's stunning views.


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More Kagawong views.


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The Manitoulin Chocolate Works, that we will visit later in the week.



So I guess I should tell you why I am here. Most of the year I live in southern Ontario, however a couple of times a year, for between 2 and 4 weeks, I come to Manitoulin to work as a locum physician, which allows the full time family physicians in Little Current the opportunity to take some time off, attend conferences, etc.

I stay in a condominium overlooking the water that is owned by one of the family docs here, and I spend the time I am here cooking, baking and entertaining. Back home I don't do much entertaining, and I'm hard pressed to find as much time as I would like to cook and bake, but here in Manitoulin it just seems to work.

I have been coming up here to work for about 6 years now, and I just about have the kitchen in the condo equipped the way I like. I pick things up at thrift stores to add to the kitchen, so right now I have a cuisinart food processor, an old Mixmaster mixer, a hand crank pasta roller, every imaginable loaf pan, baking pan, baking sheet and cooling rack you can imagine. This trip I brought up the dutch tea cosy that I showed you on the thrift store thread, some steak knives (cause someone nicked the last ones I brought) and a foodsaver vacuum sealer (which I've just discovered doesn't work - so I'll have to take it apart tomorrow).

I come up with my daughter Kira and her nanny Malou. Hubby stays at home to continue the renovations which have been ongoing for a number of years. Kira's 6th birthday is Tuesday, so we will have over a few of the neighbourhood kids and adults to eat hot dogs, hamburgers, finger foods and - most importantly - chocolate cake.

We bring some foodstuffs with us, things we know we might have trouble procuring here. So the car contained shallots, fresh ginger, brown sugar candy, fish sauce, several cheeses and a number of spices that needed replenishing. On the way up we stopped at the farmers market in Owen Sound and picked up tomatoes, garlic, a fresh basil plant, corn and some farm fresh eggs. Oh yeah, and I've brought about 12 1/2 kg of chocolate with me this trip, along with my compressor and airbrush. Much better to experiment with an airbrush and chocolate in someone elses kitchen.


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The fridge on our arrival.

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A few things in the door, enough relish to last several trips.


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The fridge the day after our arrival.


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The pantry after adding a few things on arrival.

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The pantry one day later.

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My spice cupboard. And on occasion I still can't find the one I want.

So in my intro line, I mention that I am in the land of the Haweaters. Anyone born on Manitoulin is a Haweater, which refers to the hawberries which grow well on the alkaline soil of the area. These are the berries of the hawthorn bush. Not edible as they are, they are made into jellies, jams and syrups. I have not tried any of these products, mostly because the locals have told me not to bother. Maybe this trip I should try them.

I haven't really planned out this week too thoroughly, I think it might be more fun to just see where the week takes us. I know I want to take you to the Manitoulin Chocolate Works perhaps on Wednesday and we might get to Sudbury to do a little thrift store shopping on Sunday. I'd like to take you to Rocky Racoon's, a restaurant in Gore Bay, who's chef/owner makes some fabulous ribs, but I'll have to check on their hours first this late in the season.

I'm on call today (Monday) which means that for 24 hours I am responsible for things in emerg, so I'll be in and out of the house all day. I hope to get Kira's birthday cake made, as well as the finger foods for her party between trips in to the ER. With any luck I'll get some sleep Monday night, and be fresh for the party. We are planning to have Vietnamese chicken thighs for dinner tomorrow (hence the need for shallots, ginger, brown sugar candy and fish sauce), put together between trips to the ER.

I generally bake something each day while I am here to take for the staff. On our trip in to Espanola today to procure more groceries we found wild blueberries and bought a 3 quart basket. We had a wonderful blueberry buckle for dessert tonight and I'll be making blueberry oatmeal muffins first thing when I get up to take in and feed the staff at rounds.

I'm off to bed now, hope you'll join me in the morning for some nice muffins to start the day.

#2 Pam R

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Posted 17 September 2006 - 09:32 PM

What a nice surprise! Gorgeous scenery - and a nicely stocked kitchen. Can't wait to see what you get up to with the chocolate! Looking forward to your week.

#3 snowangel

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Posted 17 September 2006 - 09:39 PM

Kerry, fish sauce and a compressor. My kind of woman! Blog on, and enjoy us. And, tell the child that when the blog is done, ou won't insist on photoing every meal!

BTW, our cabin comes equipped with fish sauce, and much of the Odd Stuff, courtesy of me. Should it ever go on the market, someone would wonder "just what sort of person came here?"
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#4 mizducky

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Posted 17 September 2006 - 09:51 PM

Wow, I was reading about Manitoulin Island just the other day, totally at random! Maybe I had a premonition! :laugh:

I'll be looking forward to yet another virtual vacation to a place I have not yet had a chance to visit. Oh yeah--and a vicarious chocolate splurge. :biggrin:

#5 Anna N

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 01:01 AM

Great to see you blogging, Kerry. I hope you will share your recipe for Vietnamese chicken thighs. We eat a lot of these (cheap and tasty!) and a new preparation would make a nice change.
Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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#6 prasantrin

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 01:39 AM

When I first saw the teaser pictures, I thought the next blogger might be somewhere in Ontario!

I'm really looking forward to this--I can't wait to see what sweets you make up this week! (Still too humid in Japan to do more than just watch in envy!)

#7 Sugarella

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 03:31 AM

Yaaayyy !!! It's great to see a local blogging, and I can't wait to see inside the Chocolate Works. :smile:

#8 Kerry Beal

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 05:18 AM

First the obligatory cat pictures. Of course the cats are back home with hubby.


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Widget, loves to sit in anything kid related, the smaller the better.

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Sam and Toby, friends now, bitterest of enemies before.


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It was raining overnight, this was the view from my balcony first thing this morning.


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The remains of the basket of blueberries I bought, after the 4 cups required for the buckle.

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Blueberry oat muffins ready to take to work.



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My quick cup of tea before work. This was the largest cup I could find at Value Village a couple of years ago. I need a decent sized cup in the morning. Actually I drink about 3 six cup pots a day, this cup holds about half a pot.

I'm off to work now, rounds start in 10 minutes. I'll post some pictures of the nanny and the rug rat later.

#9 CaliPoutine

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 05:30 AM

Wow, the leaves are really changing up there. I'm excited to see you blogging. I've been as far north as Tobermoray, which I absolutely loved.

What's the population up there?

#10 Kerry Beal

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 07:40 AM

Wow, the leaves are really changing up there.  I'm excited to see you blogging.  I've been as far north as Tobermoray, which I absolutely loved. 

What's the population up there?

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The population of Manitoulin is 12,600 at last count. But unlike in the city, there are a lot of babies born here.

That picture was actually from last year, so it would have been 2 or 3 weeks later than now, however the leaves are starting to change. I noticed the further up we came the more the change.

#11 miladyinsanity

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 08:31 AM

Do we get piccies of your little girl?

What are you planning to do with all that chocolate?
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#12 Flocko

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 08:45 AM

Hi Kerry:

Great blog. What terrific scenery..............kinda different from my neck of the woods :wink: .

Blog on,

Bill

Edited by Flocko, 18 September 2006 - 08:46 AM.

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#13 MarketStEl

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 08:57 AM

Neat trick, producing the first nearly empty fridge shot in eGullet Foodblog history!

I like the "starting with a clean slate" message that sends.

I also like fish sauce as a seasoning but cannot use it much any more. Partner's high blood pressure pretty much rules out anything but very sparing use of this sodium-laden condiment.

Looking forward to seeing your water-filled landscape after a week spent amidst very little of it. :wink:
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#14 Abra

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 09:08 AM

Cool, I didn't know you were a doctor doctor as well as a chocolate doctor. And a remote and watery part of the world really appeals to me - this should be a great blog. And please do show us how you do the Vietnamese thighs, as I'm another one that would like to make them.

#15 Megan Blocker

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 09:11 AM

Wow. That scenery is amazing...I especially love that picture of the crumbling old stone house...beautiful. This looks like my kind of vacation spot - water, but cool, and not a thong bikini in sight. :wink:

Those muffins look tasty, too!
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#16 lexy

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 09:22 AM

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Looking out over Georgian Bay from the east side of the island.


Oooh, don't you just love fall in Ontario? :wub: I never thought I'd miss Canadian weather when I moved to England, but now (somehow) I'm even missing the winters.

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Is that a sort of extra-padded tea cosy?
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#17 Kerry Beal

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 10:25 AM

It was a rather busy morning in emerg. I must have seen 5 people with eye problems today. Interesting how things seem to come in batches.

First in answer to questions - what am I going to do with all that chocolate? Well, that remains to be seen. I have brought about 6 polycarbonate molds, as well as 3 metal figure molds, a monkey, a pig and a cat. I brought them because they are smooth molds and I want to try a few effects with the airbrush. If you airbrush chocolate onto a frozen figure you get fuzz. If you airbrush onto a room temperature figure you get shine.

I plan to get together next week with Beth from the Manitoulin Chocolate Works and do some development work. She wants me to come up with a recipe for a peanut butter chocolate and she wants to learn some new techniques, so we will likely spend a day doing that.

For the birthday party tomorrow, if time permits, I might make a few chocolate dipped things for the kids. I've noticed that chocolate always goes over well (and with the adults).

That puffy thing is a dutch tea cosy. You can find one at any dutch store. It keeps the tea warm forever.

Megan, I have never seen a string bikini on Manitoulin, and I'm sure if I did they would be wearing a plaid lumberjack jacket over it to keep warm.

It's hunting season coming up later in October. I always try to get out of here before then. No fun in the ER when they start shooting each other. "I thought he was a deer..."

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I forgot to this pic post earlier, this was my breakfast before work. Just a toasted english muffin, a bit of well aged cheddar and some apricot jam. In the city I would normally have a Tim Horton's everything bagel, double toasted, with plain cream cheese on the side. And not cut it in half again if I can get to them before they do it.

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Lunch today. Leftovers from dinner last night, some rice, with pork tenderloin done on the BBQ with some home made BBQ sauce.


Ok, the kiddie photo's. This is Kira, aka 'the toad' or 'bug'. Kira will be 6 tomorrow, but she has very significant developmental delays, so she isn't where the other kids her age are. She doesn't walk, talk or sit, but so does do looking gorgeous very well, I'm sure you'll agree. Maybe she can make her living as a model, as long as standing isn't a requirement. She has no official diagnosis, which of course makes the school unhappy, as they like to be able to pigeonhole each kid.

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Kira on the couch.


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Waiting patiently for breakfast.


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Kira with her nanny Malou (short for Maria Louisa) listening to her Samonas CD. Prescibed by an amazing occupational therapist she has seen a couple of times. Unfortunately the OT lives on Vancouver island so we don't get to see her much.


Now I'm going to try to start making a few things for tomorrow until I get called back in to work. Malou is making filipino spring rolls this afternoon for the party, so I'll post pictures of those later too.

#18 Susan in FL

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 10:39 AM

Welcome!
It sounds like so much fun to start with a shiny-clean almost-empty fridge, stock it and the rest of the kitchen, and go to it! Food, with a back drop of such beautiful scenery again... We blog fans are blessed!
Enjoy. :smile:
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#19 sanrensho

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 10:41 AM

For the birthday party tomorrow, if time permits, I might make a few chocolate dipped things for the kids.  I've noticed that chocolate always goes over well (and with the adults).


Chocolates goes over well with kids? You don't say.:laugh:

All joking aside, I think it's great that the kids are getting good quality chocolate, rather than the junk that usually gets stuffed into treat bags.

May I ask what you usually give out to during Halloween?
Baker of "impaired" cakes...

#20 Kerry Beal

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 10:53 AM

For the birthday party tomorrow, if time permits, I might make a few chocolate dipped things for the kids.  I've noticed that chocolate always goes over well (and with the adults).


Chocolates goes over well with kids? You don't say.:laugh:

All joking aside, I think it's great that the kids are getting good quality chocolate, rather than the junk that usually gets stuffed into treat bags.

May I ask what you usually give out to during Halloween?

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Unfortunately I have to give out the same crap that everyone else does at halloween. Back when I was young and naive I gave out home made candy one year. Kids had been trained not to take it. So only the daring ones got good stuff that year.

Oh course I'm popular at adult halloween parties. And I'll made thing for the kids at preschool cause their moms all know my stuff. The odd one trades their child for crap candy and keeps my stuff for themselves.

#21 srhcb

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 11:06 AM

Megan, I have never seen a string bikini on Manitoulin, and I'm sure if I did they would be wearing a plaid lumberjack jacket over it to keep warm.

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Q: How can you spot Ms Canada at the Ms Universe competition?

A: By her plaid flannel swimsuit! :wink:

SB (alternately, you might catch het putting vinegar or gravy on her french fries)

#22 sanrensho

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 11:19 AM

Unfortunately I have to give out the same crap that everyone else does at halloween.  Back when I was young and naive I gave out home made candy one year.  Kids had been trained not to take it.  So only the daring ones got good stuff that year. 


Your stuff looks so professional that I don't think anyone could distinguish your chocolates from factory-produced stuff. If it were my kids, I'd be sending them straight to your door to ask for the "good stuff."

Halloween is a real dilemna. I just hate giving out crap that I wouldn't feed to my kids, and chips are no better. Maybe I'll have to spring for that case of Pocky...
Baker of "impaired" cakes...

#23 racheld

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 12:02 PM

From sandy, rosy mountains to blue shiny sea overnight---this is just the most amazing site on all the 'Net!

What an exciting, busy life you lead, and with time to make chocolate :wub: as well. This is gonna be wonderful.

And I'm already lost in those gorgeous brown eyes.
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#24 Sugarella

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 12:19 PM

Oh course I'm popular at adult halloween parties.  And I'll made thing for the kids at preschool cause their moms all know my stuff.  The odd one trades their child for crap candy and keeps my stuff for themselves.

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You mean they trade their child for the candy, or they trade with their child for the candy? :wink:

Cute little girl you've got there. :smile:

#25 Kerry Beal

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 12:29 PM

Oh course I'm popular at adult halloween parties.  And I'll made thing for the kids at preschool cause their moms all know my stuff.  The odd one trades their child for crap candy and keeps my stuff for themselves.

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You mean they trade their child for the candy, or they trade with their child for the candy? :wink:

Cute little girl you've got there. :smile:

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Good point. I have had a few offers to take other peoples kids, but I don't think they were completely serious.

#26 KatieLoeb

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 12:40 PM

Wow - another great blog and blogger, from another part of the world I know nothing about. :cool:

Your daughter is an astonishingly beautiful girl. :wub:

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#27 CaliPoutine

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 12:46 PM

In the city I would normally have a Tim Horton's everything bagel, double toasted, with plain cream cheese on the side. And not cut it in half again if I can get to them before they do it.


I take my bagel the same way. Sometimes I ask them to scoop out the middle before toasting. You'd have thought I asked them if they carried Starbucks Coffee the way they looked at me.

#28 saskanuck

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 12:56 PM

What an interesting blog this will be! It would be wonderful to be both a chocolate maker and a physician.

Your daughter is beautiful. The first picture of her in closeup is just lovely.
I don't mind the rat race, but I'd like more cheese.

#29 tammylc

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 01:25 PM

Q: How can you spot Ms Canada at the Ms Universe competition?

A: By her plaid flannel swimsuit! :wink:

SB (alternately, you might catch het putting vinegar or gravy on her french fries)

View Post


Or both. Or, in my high school, vinegar, gravy AND ketchup. Frequently topped with a generous amount of black pepper.

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#30 Kerry Beal

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 06:11 PM

Vietnamese Chicken Thighs

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Take 2 planks of chinese brown sugar candy. Put in small pot with a couple of tablespoons of water.







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Cook until it caramelizes. Deglaze with 1/2 cup of water. Add 3 tbsp fish sauce, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp of sirracha sauce or a few drops of other hot sauce.


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Saute 1 medium shallot sliced, and 1 1/2 ounces of ginger root, julienned until softens in 1 tbsp olive oil. Set aside.


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Add another tbsp of olive oil to pan, brown about 3 lbs of chicken thighs. Add the caramelized sugar/fish sauce. Cook for about 20 minutes.


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Remove the thighs from the pan and reduce the liquid until nice and syrupy.

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Add back the thighs, the shallots and ginger. Cook together for a couple of minutes. Serve with rice and garnish with spring onion.

Edited by Kerry Beal, 18 September 2006 - 06:25 PM.






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