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Everything posted by rezcook

  1. So I'm assuming fat 'resists' curing more than meat and so a longer curing time? I'll give it another try. Thanks for the input.
  2. Howdy folks, I've been doing charcuterie for a few years, learning from old timers, books, internet, etc. Made plenty of sausage, mostly Italian. Dry cure maybe 20% of all I make. Also pepperoni, breakfast, boudin blanc, merguez, and coteccino. Made cured, smoked hams and bacon as well as Montreal style smoked meat. I was fascinated with lardo ever since reading about it in Bill Buford's "Heat". In part, I made a pilgrimage to Babbo to try Batali's charcuterie plate which had two slices of this very lardo. I followed Ruhlman's method for lardo; made the dry cure, added above and below the pork slab, weighted down for 12 days, turning a few times. Rinsed, air dried for 21 days. I tried it on Xmas day and it was pretty much tasteless, lacking any depth whatsoever. Anyone have hints on getting a more successful lardo? Thanks.
  3. Walking around the other night, we spied Pois Penche. Quite snazzy with the marble bar, seafood display, artwork, and open kitchen. I read this thread awhile back, but didn't connect it to the restaurant until yesterday. They've been open a couple of months now, anyone eat there for dinner lately? Your thoughts?
  4. Almost any of this stuff makes a great accompaniment when going to a party. Including the roast duck, chicken, pork, and boneless pig knuckle - they even slice it up for you. Only thing, he doesn't do cuttlefish, which you can pick up on St. Laurent. Voila, a last minute master platter!
  5. Or maybe a quality steame?
  6. Now that you mention it, I seem to recall that they did move, although my poor memory tells me it was to a fancier place on Parc (maybe it was indeed Cote de Neiges). When we tried them after the move, we were definitley disappointed never to return... Any suggestions of similar present day joints - maybe regional Vietnamese, something different than the standard pho, grilled meats, etc (which can be all be excellent, just looking for more)?
  7. That's curious, the thread below, marked eating Chinese in MTL discusses Momofuko pork buns at length, but you probably already know that... Since we're talking about something close to my heart, if you like Chinese Roast pork, may I suggest epiceree Sun Sing Lee (or some variation of those words). On the south side of Lagauchetiere between Clark and St. Urbain roughly across from the 7-day buffet. This guy does his own whole hogs. Just ask him and he'll proudly show you his brick-lined oven in the back. For our christmas party, I had ordered a whole one, deboned, chopped, and arranged on my supplied platters. Crispy skin, sumptious meat...ohhh boy. He also does ducks, chicken, pigs knuckles, BBQ pork, etc etc.
  8. BTW, loving pork belly so much, I thought the topic heading was actually "How do you say NO to pork belly in French?"
  9. I just fumbled over this thread and was surprised to find the start date in 2003... Anyways, it got me thinking (steamed buns aside). Chinese favorites can be so subjective and personal. Speak to a friend and they'll say something like "XXXXXXXX has the BEST chow mein cantonese", meanwhile, I'm cringing, 'cause I HAD XXXXXXXX's cantonese chow mein and, well, it was pretty bland. Meanwhile, I bring him to YYYYYYYYY and casually order the plate. Of course, to me, its simply the best in the city, hands down. The friend, though, says "its OK"...WTF? Is it just me? Or is chinese super subjective? And just one more thing. Does anyone recall a vietnamese restaurant, tiny, family run, that closed shop. I'm not sure of its exact location (its only been about 20 years), but I think it was on Victoria just north of Vanhorne, just around the corner from the small mall. They had a million hanging plants in the place, all in various stages of health. One thing is for sure, they had a killer whole fish with chili peppers....OK, if you don't recall this place, can you recommend a family run joint (nothing fancy) offering a similar dish? Just asking.
  10. If you have an Asian store with a meat counter, there will likely be a pile of pork bellies, for less than $4/lb. All you have to do is point ← KV on St Laurent just above LaGauchetiere (Kien Vinh, I think). Loads of pork products in the meat case (bellies, nice hocks, trimmed leg parts), cheap, and good. I've used a few bellies from here to make bacon. Oh, they don't care if you speak french or english (actually I don't think they understand either...not that this is a bad thing...).
  11. I live in a small town with two small rival grocery stores. Being a corner store type of operation, they cannot compete with the big guys in the surrounding larger towns pricewise. One of these guys prided themselves in superior cuts of meat (as perhaps compared to the top chains...) They put a commercial on our local 100 watt community radio station which ended with their slogan "you may beat our prices, but you can't beat our meat." This was maybe 20 years ago, but it still comes up at parties...
  12. I always got a kick out of the Squirt sofdrink. Especially their motto: "Drink Squirt"... And theres a whole line of Cock brand products, like COCK BANANA IN SYRUP close Product Code: 01800 | 24*565G CAN | Cock or Cock Bamboo Sliced (bag)
  13. It was a couple days after halloween and I took the dummy off my front porch. Put a hangman's noose around the neck and hung it by the top tier of the walk-in freezer rack. Scared the bejusus out of the staff one by one. Suckling pig head as delivery guy hood ornament. bit of tomato stem (the green/black crown thing) looks insect-like, so I fold it just under my sleeve. "Hey Mel, somethings been itching my arm. Can you take a look and tell me if you see anything?" So Mel, female line cook, gets up close and personal just as I unfold the bit of sleeve and out pops the stem. She's afraid of spiders. She freaked... I would have been gutted had she a knife in her hand. Funnier yet was John, 50 year old steel worker turned cook. I had whispered "John, watch this" just before turning to Mel. When the stem pops out, he gives a school-girl scream and does a little dance of horror - he's afraid of spiders too! 20oz styro bowl plastic wraps, tubelike and about 30" long. I tell the dishwasher new regs require him to wear the plastic on his arms, like a giant condom, when handling the trash. We let him go for a week and a half on that one ("wheres the extra arm condoms?"). breaded deep fried chicken livers. "Hey whats this?" ask staff as they saunter in to work. "Chicken...its for staff" I reply in all honesty. They grab one, pop it into their mouth and promptly go "yeccchhh", spitting it into the garbage. (except chicken boy #11 who enjoyed 'em and finished them up). and the 'pretend to be electrocuted' gag when moving the toaster is always fun with newbies. not so much a practical joke, but fun nonetheless. I always kept a bottle of high octane hot sauce, like Blair's or The Bomb or Ground Zero for the loudmouth customer who wants "the hottest you got". Dishwashers and waiters generally think Tobasco is the hottest sauce around, so trying to educate them, I offer some of the heat on a toothpick. With a proper warning, of course, but they always accept... fun to see their eyes bug out and visit the ice machine every 5 minutes for an hour.
  14. My Italian friend showed me how to make cotechino; when preparing pork for the grinder, simply save the skin and remove as much fat as possible. Pass the skin through the grinder and mix with the ground pork. Ratio of skin to meat mixture is a personal preference, but I like 50/50. Seasoning can also be varied, I use the same spice mix as with regular Italian sausages. Stuff the mixture into casings and there you have it. My friend said this had to be cooked for a long time and in a certain way. My favorite is to simply braise it in a tomato sauce. The flavors impart both ways into the sausage and into the sauce. I've seen commercial cotechino which look considerably different than my homemade version - looks like you have to boil it in the bag. Just my 2 cents.
  15. We eat steamed mussels quite a bit and every so often get a pearl. Not the $3000 type of the news story, mind you, but contorted, miniature, cigar shaped curios. We also came across some larger ones in chinese restaurants serving steamed giant oysters with black beans. Ahhh Mexico... First time there, we decided to abandon our fears and eat at plenty of Mayan run street vendors. Killing time while the wife called home, I was peering down a side alley, spying a stray dog sniffing around. The dog squatted and took what I believed to be a leak. Upon further examination, I realized it was not urine, but rather a pencil-thick stream of liquid doodoo. "My god" I thought, "if the local dogs get Moctezuma's revenge, WHAT AM I IN STORE FOR?" (OK, a little off-topic, but slightly appropo) Squiggly things? One of my first forays into homemade ceviche was with fresh cod (I know I know...). As the pieces were slowly turning opaque, I popped one into my mouth. As I was turning it over along the roof of my mouth, I happened to look into the bowl of chopped cod with lime juice, tomato, onion and cilantro. Something was amiss...something(s) was moving... Spitting the piece out and examining the bowl closer, I witnessed many worms, apparently quite agitated over the new acid levels, coming out of the fish and squirming like hell. Check out the spit out piece. Yep, theres a sucker as well. It was JUST IN MY MOUTH!? Yeeesh. Moral of the story; don't use cod for cevice.
  16. I've heard and read mixed reviews of Pesca in Montreal's Little Italy on St Laurent, but haven't been there myself. Anyone care to share their thoughts?
  17. Just my 2c, I think you should stay away from freshwater fish ceviche. When I think walleye (AKA dore in Quebec) I think nugget. This may appear to be lack luster, but you put a pile of walleye nuggets (simply tossed into seasoned flour then fried golden) in front of a crowd and they disappear FAST. Maybe incorporate a nugget into an amuse? One of my all time favorites (personally as well as customer based) is grilled prime rib. First carve the rack of bones off the roast. Next rub plenty of steak spice on the surface where the ribs just were. Tie the ribs back to the roast and rub the entire hunk with steak spice, wrap the entire thing in plastic and refrigerate overnite. This is the first building block of flavor. Next day, let the meat come to room temp, then place it on a rack in a hot 525 degree oven for an hour. This sears the meat building more flavor. After it cools somewhat, cut the strings, removing the rack of ribs. All of this can be done 2-3 days in advance. Just before service, let the meat come to room temp again (its been wrapped in the 'fridge) slice portions and finish on the grill, adding even more flavor. Oh baby, pure joy. You can also cut the rib bones individually, grill 'em, and serve them to some lucky recipients. But thats just my suggestion for prime rib. I think you should provide two dishes, beef or chicken, rather than incorporate the two on one plate. Again, only my opinion. GL and keep us in the loop.
  18. Hello, Folks, Just seeking advice. I regularly make fresh sausages (Italian, breakfast, merguez), air dried sausages, bacon, and brine cured ham. I would like to make Lonza (not sure if I spelled that right) an Italian air-cured boneless pork loin but I'm getting different suggestions from different people. Should I brine cure first? Should I simply rub with salts/spices and hang/air dry in a stretchy netting? Should I stuff into a man made casing (this was suggested by someone who makes plenty of lonza, but I'm worried about the casing being a moisture barrier and air curing being slowed). Should I weight down the loin during a first stage of curing? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks Chad
  19. rezcook

    squirrel meat?

    I live in Canada and used to hunt quite a bit when I was a teenager. I turned to hunting squirrels 1. because I read how they enjoy 'em in the south and 2. whenever I was empty handed in the grouse/hare/cotton tail/fowl department. (I also turned to frog, wren, and brown bird at times...) Cleaning a squirrel is a bit of a pain mostly because of the high work vs meat ratio; its pretty much the same amount of work as with a rabbit, but with far less meat. My cooking skills were rudimentary at the time. Although the meat was not bad, it was not very memorable either. I always I quartered them before cooking 'em. First attempts were roasting, but they were so lean that they tended to dry out. Next I tried various oil or mustard or BBQ sauce based rubs along with oven-roasting. This helped the moisture problem as well as infusing hints of other flavors. My favorite, however, was first browning the pieces quickly then adding them to a flour based vegetable stew (similar to chicken stew, or chicken pot pie filling). The squirrel flavor would infuse into the broth. The meat, being somewhat braised, would become quite tender. They are rodents, yes, but I wouldn't necessarily hold that against them (so are beavers and plenty of people eat these along with nutria, guinea pigs, and musk rats). I wouldn't trust eating any animal from a city environment, though. I think your best bet would be to talk to many of your friends. They may have relatives who live on farms or in rural areas. These people often times have shotguns which would be pretty handy... I'd send you some, but the logistics seem kinda difficult... If you do get your hands on a whole carcass, beware of the claws; they're razor sharp and can shred your fingertips. Also inspect the liver - if its spotted, the animal was diseased. You should properly dispose of the entire thing (burying is recommended so other animals won't eat it) and disinfect your hands.
  20. Just thought I'd pass along a small tidbit along these lines... While vacationing in Mexico last year, we were drinking beer in the pool and started talking to the people around us. One couple was from Nunavit and another couple, from the US asked where that was. It was explained as part of northern Canada. "Next to Alaska?" they asked. "Well kinda, but more north." "NORTH of Alaska?...I didn't know there was a "north of Alaska"... " I asked the young couple (early 30s) how they cope so far north as in fresh vegetables, meats, etc. They could buy it in a store, but transport costs make many items prohibitively expensive. They simply go without at times They do rely heavily on drygoods and cans. And as with the majority of households, they purchase a year's worth of stuff and have it barged in during the summer. This task was undertaken by the lady of the house. She's been doing it for so long, it doesn't really phase her. I've since tried to imagine the reality of writing a year's worth of a shopping list. Not something I'd look forward to.
  21. I read this thread and was enthralled. Just a note of caution... I know where you're coming from, its a pride thing. I ran a restaurant for 16 years and when I first started out, I wanted to create THE BEST (of everything on the menu). In some instances, my idea of THE BEST was simple enough, but when sales increased, the logistics of this became a nightmare. Such as making various sauces in small batches - I was making "small batches" twice a day. Or skin-on fries - I was washing a half a ton of potatoes a day. I would assume the same would go for grinding your own meat. Sounds simple enough, but it may get out of hand. I don't want to throw a wet towel on these great ideas, I just want to say that as volume increases, it is difficult to keep it in house. On another note, as you may see as you get further along, to be successful, you don't have to be necessarily THE BEST, but simply better than the next guy. (I know, I know, your not talking about success, but instead creating the best). Keep us in the loop!
  22. These are all very good points on a very interesting thread... For me, the Chinese test is Chow Mein Cantonese: how are the noodles done, what is the variety of vegetables, meats, shrimp, hows the sauce, etc. For more generic restaurants, I guage the daily soup. Generally, if the soup is a good, homemade concoction, the other items are generally good as well. I find steak another good indicator: is it rare as I asked? If yes, the cook is paying attention. Is it high quality? If yes, the buyer knows his stuff. Is it BIG? If yes, the owners want you to have large portions. These characteristics may spill over to other plates as well. Mexican? I agree with Toliver; if a place has mole on the menu to begin with, it means something. If its good mole, it says volumes. I frequent seafood joints occasionally and I always guage them on their prep of a whole fish. If they do this well, they are good in my books. Do I use this guage to rule out restaurants? No. I simply use it as a comparison and a general feeling to a new joint.
  23. First, take a glass of cold water out to the grill to dip your finger in before you poke the meat. I do this because I am a wuss. Best way I ever heard this described was the 'face' method. Dip your finger into the water, then poke the steak. If it feels like the middle of your cheek, it's rare. If it feels like your chin (soft but with some bounce-back), it's medium. If it feels like the tip of your nose, it's well-done. I've heard the same thing about using your face for reference, but I've always used my earlobe to judge a rare steak - I find it works better since my cheek feels different every time I poke at it. ← ← I think the photo may seem misleading. To my understanding, take your right hand*, palm up, then touch your index fingertip to your thumb tip (like the OK sign). With the fingers of your other hand, feel the largish muscle just below the thumb. This is the "give" of a rare steak. Now switch from the index to the middle finger. The muscle firms up a bit more, feeling more like a medium rare steak. Next switch to the ring finger. More firm is similar to a medium steak. Finally, touch the small fingertip to the thumb tip. That thumb muscle is now quite hard, feeling similar to a well done steak... Although I find this interesting, I never found it to be very accurate. Not only do I get the feeling from my left finger touching the somewhat firm thumb muscle, but I also experience my thumb muscle being poked by the fingers of my left hand. My brain processes both at once and I then have a difficult time to parallel that to the steak thing... *note to left handed people: start with your left hand palm up...
  24. It seems that you guys are at a crossroads and aren't sure of which way to go. I was a cook/owner of two different restaurants for 16 years. I'm 42 and have been out of the business for 2 years. There is nothing wrong with the restaurant business per say. But I do feel that most people who are not intimately involved in the industry have overly romantic notions about the business. The reality, as mentioned above, are long hours, low pay, and no social life. I basically lived in a kitchen for 15 hours a day then blew off steam in the bar - so you don't have to be chained to a desk to become "rotund" either (I've lost 40lbs since). Don't get me wrong, belting out 250 dinners in a night, working with others ass-to-elbow in a boiler-making stress induced high can be quite fulfilling. Its all the other stuff (personnel, customers, ordering, breakdowns, mortgage, bookeeping, etc) that can drive you nuts! My suggestions? Culinary instruction may be a good idea, if only to introduce you to a "stage" or two or three. A placement in a working kitchen where you work for free in exchange for experience. This'll give you a good feel of the environment. Maybe hook up with someone with similar interests and maybe more kitchen experience - join forces and start something small.
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