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toweringpine

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    Six Points, Etobicoke, Ontario
  1. I tried only the Bacon Poutine so far. I ate the whole bag so I must have liked them well enough but I found the gravy to be the only pronounced flavour. I didn't really notice the cheese or bacon. I bought the Tatziki too but haven't tried them yet. I will probably try the Jalapeno Mac and Cheese ( I can't quite figure out what the macaroni will add - perhaps just Jalapeno and Cheese would have been simpler ) but I can't quite see myself buying the Cinnamon Bun style. I guess since it made the short list it must have impressed a few people and I should broaden my horizon but it just sounds wrong to me. I am annoyed though. I submitted an entry for Bacon Poutine flavour. I was surprised when I saw it in the store with someone else's name on it. At this time I am OK but if this imposter wins the big prize I will have to change to Pringles! On the other hand I already have my flavour idea for next year's contest so I guess I can't write Lays off just yet I can take some personal satisfaction that my flavour made the cut even if I didn't get the credit for it. My wife just can't believe that her Spicy Samosa entry didn't make the grade. I thought hers was a pretty good flavour too.
  2. Perfect timing Canadian Thanksgiving is coming up and my Thanksgiving table is not complete without a tomato aspic with cocktail shrimp, hard boiled eggs, celery and green peppers. It was always part of Thanksgiving dinner ( and Christmas too ) as a kid. No one liked it but my mother and myself ( my sister is allergic to shrimp but it still went on the table ) and now no one likes it at my home but myself but I still put it out there. I have never found a recipe that seems to contain all the same stuff that my mother put in. Pure nostalgia in a metal bowl. No fancy molds here. The Thanksgiving plate just isn't the same if I'm not mopping up the melted aspic with some mashed potatos at the end.
  3. toweringpine

    Beers to Age: A List

    ??? I was under the impression that hops are a preservative and, in particular, IPAs were originally highly hopped specifically for aging on the voyage to India. Was I misinformed? You are correct that hops are a preservative and that IPAs were highly hopped to help them on their trip across the ocean to India. The time it took for beer to get from England to India is months which is quite different from cellaring a bottle for years. IPAs many be stronger than most mainstream brews but are still usually not more than 6-7% which is not really high enough ABV to keep a beer good for years. Todays IPA and IIPA brewers are going for the high Alpha Acid hops which add so much fragrance and upfront citrus and floral notes in that style but these qualities fade quickly meaning these will change quickly after a few months in the bottle. The IPA of a hundred years ago bears little resemblance to today's American IPA. Many good beers for cellaring start off with a noticable and often harsh alcohol taste and by aging them this harshness tends to mellow and allow some of the more complex flavours contained in the beer to shine through. A high ABV beer will start with lots more malt than a standard brew and after the alcohol taste fades the other flavours produced by all that malt comes alive.
  4. The term 'small beer' refers to the strength of the brew. Small beer was generally below 3% alcohol and was commonly drank with breakfast in times when the water was less safe to drink or by children at any time of day.
  5. I think it was around January that I planted the ginger and it must have been late May or early June that I put it outside. I never expected to actually get any ginger from this project. I just wanted to see what the plant looks like and at the end ofthe season see just how much ginger was produced. I will be pleased if there is enough to make a small pot of chai! Ginger is so inexpensive that I really can't justify buying any equipment to grow it nor can I devote any of the small apartment ( other than a half a square foot of balcony that was already taken up by a pot full of dead plant ). I'm not sure what it goes for in the big grocery stores but if you go to the small Asain markets you can get a ridicolous amount of it for a pittance. Besides, my wife knows me far too well to ever believe that I could really be planning to use a grow lamp for ginger. Funny enough my first outdoor crop of ginger looks like it will produce about as much as my first outdoor crop of... ( I got better with practice! )
  6. You may enjoy this blog from eG member The Old Foodie... http://www.theoldfoodie.com/
  7. After making a batch of candied ginger from Andie's method I took a few left over knobs of ginger and poked them into a large pot of soil whose last resident had died. With the occasional dose of water they are all growing nicely. I get only late afternoon sun on my balcony so they will never get to a large size but I am looking forward to seeing what can be harvested in a couple months.
  8. toweringpine

    Fire Pit Recipies

    Cornish hens on a spit
  9. Camp cooking ( and its planning ) is my favorite part of the trip!! I usually do canoe tripping but since I now have a young daughter I can see a few car camping trips in my future. We have had great success doing cornish hens on a spit. Biscuits in the coals ( I have created an 'oven' by using tin foil pie plates; two on the top and two on the bottom with small clips to hold them together ) that works quite well. I have found that savory biscuits work better than cinnamon & raisin ones as the sugar will burn if the heat gets too much. Fajitas work really well on a fire. Tortillas don't crush no matter how many times the pack gets tossed around but they seem even tastier if you make them fresh out there. Bring lots of foil... toss a few heads of wrapped up garlic in the coals for roasted garic with almost any meal. Cut some sweet onions into quarters stopping short of cutting all the way through , drizzle some beef bullion and melted butter into them, wrap them up and let them sit in the coals for a half hour. Almost anything you like to eat at home can be made over a campfire. Have fun!!
  10. toweringpine

    Old Bay seasoning

    I couldn't find it either but picked some up in Buffalo a few months ago. Found it in a Walmart Supercenter a week later!
  11. I put about half of the pound of beans I bought into a large bottle of cheap vodka in January. It certainly went through the industrial smell stage Fat Guy mentioned but has now started the smell is very vanilla and pleasent. I have been collecting different strengths of the same spirit and today started three small jars with rum and two chopped up beans each. I have one with Bacardi (40%), one with Wray and Nephew Overproof (75%) and the last is a sample of straight rum from a distillery in Jamaica that is directly from the still. Although it is unlabeled I can tell it is clearly stronger than the "overproof" bottle. It will be interesting to see if there are differences inthe final flavour, or the time it takes to get there or who knows what other differences. What fun!
  12. I am not sure about the laws where you are but in Canada it is illegal to give someone a hard time about their sexuality on the job. The boss should deal with it but you could always go to the human rights commision if they won't. Incompetent workers are no fun to work with but no one has to put up with personal attacks on the job. I realize this can be like using a sledgehammer to drive a nail but it is a nice backup plan.
  13. toweringpine

    Salty? Fluffy?

    Bacon parmesan potato souffle
  14. toweringpine

    Hop oil

    I was given a small bottle of hop oil for my birthday. I have added a few drops to some otherwise bland beer and been quite pleased with the results. It adds a terrific floral aroma and lends some bitterness to the brew. It definitely adds more scent than flavour. Does anyone have any ideas on what culinary creations could benefit from a little hoppy aroma and bitterness? I keep thinking I want to try cooking with it but have no idea what to use it in. Thanks for any suggestions. Tom
  15. How much variance can there be? Taking the order, bringing the cutlery, food and drink in the right order and at the right temperature, clearing the plates all with reasonable timing has few options for variance, only incompetence. Especially if the food is pre-plated in the kitchen. I don't want my waitperson to sing, dance, provide advice, perform a psychoanalysis or otherwise exhibit variable behaviour. They are not part of the entertainment; they are a mechanism for ordering and delivering. I don't want to form a long term or even a short term relationship. I just want them to moderately competent at their job. ← There are a lot of ways that good servers have improved my experience at restaurants. If I've been to a place often enough that the staff recognizes me and does little things like bring out extra amuses or sets up my tasting menus to be more weighted toward new dishes and other dishes I haven't tried before. Even on a first visit, a good server can distinguish himself by noticing, for example, that I'm taking an interest in the food and making more of an effort to tell me about the food. That aside, though, I've personally gotten quite a lot out of at least getting some sort of relationship with the staff at places I go to regularly, and I leave larger tips accordingly – it is not that I was unsatisfied with the experience I had when initially visiting the restaurant, but more that on subsequent visits, I had an even better experience. That is due to the service. ← All the things taion mentions are the things that a good server should be doing as part of their job, not because they have learned that you are a good tipper therefore worthy of their effort and attention. Servers should get paid a decent wage and these perks or extras should be expected for all customers.
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