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Everything posted by Magictofu

  1. Wow... I've never seen monkfish so cheap around here! I love the wood wrapper!
  2. Brilliant! I had no idea, and neither did the search engines I tried. I wonder what the origin of the word is . . . anybody? ← Ask and ye shall receive! According to my Dictionnaire des canadianismes, the word "poutine" comes from the English "pudding". This doesn't seem to make sense at first, until you consider that there are three food-related definitions given, and the first is "Generic term applied to a wide variety of desserts". And if you look in Anita Stewart's A Taste of Canada, there is indeed a recipe for an apple-based dessert called poutines à trou. (The other two definitions given in the dictionary are for poutines râpées, which are the Acadian dish we've been discussing, and which can be bought canned around here, and the well-known Quebecois French fry-based... uh... delicacy.) I'd just like to add that I look forward to following your blog. I've been living in New Brunswick for a couple of years now, and Halifax has been something of an oasis of food for me during that time. I'm moving back to Ontario in a couple of weeks, but I'll be intrigued nonetheless to see your perspective on the Nova Scotia food scene. ← When you think about it, poutine râpée is a kind of pudding: a ball of dough cooked in a liquid. But I would like to add that the word poutine was used by some people in Quebec to describe weird mixtures before the creation of the Quebec fast food dish. My guess is that the Acadian use of the word predate the more widely known Quebec poutine... the meaning probably got lost between the Acadian peninsula in New Brunswick and the Bois Franc region in Quebec. The funny thing about poutine is that I have seen some interesting regional adaptation including a lobster poutine in the Gaspe Peninsula... After all that talk on poutine, maybe Peter will create his own local version...
  3. I was not aware there was a special Acadian poutine, but its such a "grassroots" food I shouldn't be surprised. The story I know is that poutine was invented somewhere near Montreal like 50 years ago. For me, classic poutine is, from the bottom of the bowl up: 1. rough cut french fries 2. fresh white cheddar cheese curds 3. thick chicken-based gravy 4. black pepper and ketchup pretty decadent if you ask me! ← Sorry to interrupt your blog. Acadian poutine has nothing to do with the poutine from Quebec. It is generally made with a mixture of mashed potatoes and grated potatoes, often contain a piece of stewed meat. It is ball shaped, boiled and served with broth. Nothing like its Quebec fastfood cousin. You can find it on the Acadian coast of New-Brunswick but I don't think it is widely available elsewhere. Ha! now we can get back to your blog!
  4. Since I bought all those vanilla beans for the vanilla extract experiment, I am thinking a lot about using them in savoury dishes. One dish I would love to try is simply fried scallops topped with vanilla sugar... I have the feeling it might work. Otherwise I really like the idea of combining vanilla and mushrooms together.
  5. Soak the filets in low fat milk for 24 hours changing the milk after the first twelve. Use a standard Tempura batter and the Pike will be sweet and firm. I see you're from Ottawa-I grew up north of North Bay where Pike are always sweet except in July/August-that's when we used the low fat milk trick. ← Thanks for the tips! If I have the chance to go fishing over the next months, I'll definitely try using milk.
  6. Ferran Adria, In his Spanish home cooking show (not the molecular gastronomy stuff), presented a simple vanilla-parmesan pasta dish. The idea is simple: cook the pasta, add olive oil in a pan and scrape a vanilla bean in it, toss in the pasta and add a little bit of the pasta cooking water. Grate a little parmesan, stir and eat. I tried it and it is quite tasty... here's a picture of my first attempt at the recipe.
  7. I found most of them along trails but also near ponds (not affected by this spring dryness?). The lighter yellow ones were all found under poplar trees. Around here, morels tends to grow under poplar trees... not elm trees... or at least I have never found them under elm trees. As for black morels, they are harder to find but here they seem to prefer fir and spruce trees. This is only my third season so my experience is limited... there might be other good places to look for them.
  8. Magictofu

    Ramps: The Topic

    I wonder what Canada Goose foie gras would be like. Lets be honest, they are in the same rank as pigeons, seagulls and starlings when it comes to overpopulated birds. ← Never tried starlings and seagulls but pigeon taste fantastic . I have been told that Canada Geese are less fat than their domestic cousins but are nonetheless very good... I am not sure I'd like to catch one to force feed it though since they are a bit too agressive for my delicate skin.
  9. For pike, I suggest to send it back in the water... I have never been able to get rid of the muddy flavor of their flesh... and anyway they are full of bones ← Here in North Dakota or in Northern Saskatchewan the pike have a very clean taste. From what I have seen people prefer the pike (when they dont know which is which) I prefer pan blackening them, best damn sandwich ever. My father is kind of a local fishing celebrity here and did a segment on Tony Dean Outdoors on how to remove the "Y" bones. But I dont know how to still. Lake trout and whitefish are quite good smoked. Whitefish especially is great any way its prepared. ← I have the same experience. I don't think I've ever had a muddy tasting pike. The y bones are a pain though. ← If the fish taste muddy it's from a muddy bottomed lake. One of the reasons canadian, northern minnesota, north dakota, or nothern wisconsin (my only experiences) walleye are more coveted is the sandy bottomed lakes. ← Maybe I should give pike a second chance...
  10. It wasn't so much the taste, but the texture that really caught my attention. I will have to look out for fresh ones now. ← King oyster mushrooms have a similar texture... they might be easier to find. I love these mushrooms!
  11. Thanks google! I found it! It is a kind of oyster mushroom (pleurotus ferulse).
  12. They look like large oyster mushrooms. And if these are what I once tried in Chinatown, they also taste like oyster mushroom! Can someone find the latin name? I'd like to verify my guess.
  13. I finally went to my usual spots today and found a few morels, some huge ones. Most of my yellow morels spots were either non-producing or are very late. Spring took its time to arrive and was fairly dry. I am hoping to find more soon.
  14. For pike, I suggest to send it back in the water... I have never been able to get rid of the muddy flavor of their flesh... and anyway they are full of bones
  15. This is sad because the row is very tasty ← I think you mean "roe." But I agree! ← Oops... thanks
  16. For a soft ball game, you need something that goes well with beer! You might also want something that can be eaten with one hand so that the other one can be used to cheer or tap on the shoulders of your teammates. I personnaly think that some kind of giant sandwich made from a large baguette or even a large round country bread sliced like a pie is ideal. You can add all kinds of deli meat, or roast chicken... top it with cheese, roasted veggies or anything you fancy. A pot of pickles makes a great sidedish. A large spanish omelet stuffed with sliced potatoes could be very nice too and you can serve it cold or better, room temperature. I am a bit fan of white bread, butter and radish sandwiches or cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches for putluck in the summer but I am not sure it would go that well with beer Sometimes, a watermelon is just what you need for a great potluck.
  17. This is sad because the row is very tasty
  18. Magictofu

    Ramps: The Topic

    Wow what a dish - those are three items I have never had but am thinking a lot about recently. Why don't you just shave some white truffle on top and call it a day! ← You are probably in the middle of the morel season in Nova Scotia right now... you might find yourself lucky if you go for a walk (look under poplar trees). I pick them so it is not necessarily a luxury ingredient to me (and those were from last year). Ramps are fairly cheap in the market here. Foie gras is a little bit more expensive but we only bought a small amount (not a whole liver! ). As you can see, I cooked everything in a very simple manner... nothing too fancy
  19. Magictofu

    Ramps: The Topic

    I have been a very non-ethical cook recently... for my partner's first mother's day (we have a one month old baby) I cooked an appetizer of foie gras with ramps and morels.
  20. Walleye does not need much... it is probably the best fresh water fish of North America with brook trout. In general, butter does magic will walleye... many people coat them in batter but I am not a great fan of this technique. One of my uncle keeps the cheeks in the freezer in a ziploc bag until he has enough for a fish fondue... hummmm!
  21. I am sorry to read that Orlando is that bad. I do think that good food writters have a positive influence in places where there is already a healthy dose of competitivity among restaurants (although in small places where you can only find one or two writters I guess they can also impose their taste). I don't think however that they contribute greatly to the development of a great food culture. I might be wrong again since it seems that there is a growing media driven interest in food these days. As for culinary schools I am a bit skeptical about their true role in forming restaurateurs and cooks. I always thought that this business was carried forward through traditional apprentiship where young cooks learn from established chefs by working with them. I have a question for you... how is Orlando physically built? Mostly suburbs or does it has a few of what I called urban neighborhoods in my previous message? What is the socio-economic make up of Orlando?
  22. Magictofu

    Ramps: The Topic

    Holy Heck! I had no idea. The "Ramp Lady" in the market in Ottawa has her stand only Thursday, Friday and Saturday so maybe she's spending the rest of the week gathering the endangered little busters. But in no way does it seem to be on the a list here in the Ottawa Valley. In fact we bought more today and sauteed them with quick-blanched fiddleheads in beaucoup butter. It made me think that may not be such a terrible thing. ← I believe it is a criminal offense to pick these in Quebec... It is clearly not in Ontario as I have seen them sold at the By Market in Ottawa, the St-Lawrence Market in Toronto and in another small market in Kingston. A few decades ago, people were pickling them in Quebec and selling them in farmers' markets. Since it can take 7 years for these plants to reproduce, they went alomost extinct in the south of the province. I have heard that things are much better now.
  23. This is the kind of question I often ask myself regarding the city where I now reside: Ottawa. In North America, it seems, it is not the amount of people with a decent budget that makes a city culinary attractive. My own little theory can be sumarized through this simple equation: Great culinary city = f(Immigrantation) + f(large income differential) + f(urban neighborhoods) This means that a city with a lot of immigrants, large income differential between the rich and the poors (as opposed to simply have rich people; here the smaller the middle class the better) and the more urban neighborhoods (as opposed to business districts and suburbs) will generally have a lot to offer in terms of food quality and culinary diversity. Immigrants often brings new products or a taste for non-industrial food, poor people will be willing to spend hours behind a stove if a rich person pays them and urban neighborhoods will simply bring immigrants, poor people and richer ones together. You will notice that I left out the availability of quality local products but I am in the impression that the availability of product is generally the outcome of a local food culture. There are exception to this of course since some regions have a long established food production tradition. Here, in Ottawa, we have few immigrants compared to other North American cities, we have a very healthy middle class thanks to government jobs and very few urban neighborhoods. In Canada, Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto are much more exciting and all receive a lot of immigrants, have great income differential (perhaps with the exception of Montreal) and a lot of urban neighborhoods. Quebec City, where I grew up, is somewhat of an exception: it has tons of restaurants which is explained by the large amount of tourists going there and a lot of cool local producers which is mostly explained by history (the agricultural lots in many surrounding areas are small which forced many producers to specialize and acces niche markets over the last decades). I might be totaly wrong here but this was my humble theory on North American culinary destination.
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