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eG Foodblog: Peter the eater - Nova Scotia Eats


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Peter, I may have missed this, but what does a fiddlehead taste like?  It almost look like it is related to broccoli?

I would say its a bit like asparagus: buttery, mellow, recognizable.

I have only had them fresh in the spring although they might be available frozen later on. They may not be the runaway no. 1 for flavour but, like a crocus, its more a sign of things to come.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Peter,

With the East Coast fiddleheads, are you boiling them just to kill the bacteria, or do they come with some toxicity that has to be heat treated like the West Coast variants.

Fiddleheads are a flavour I miss. We used to get them from the old Korean grannies that would scour Central Park in Burnaby for them.

Cheers,

peter

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Peter,

With the East Coast fiddleheads, are you boiling them just to kill the bacteria, or do they come with some toxicity that has to be heat treated like the West Coast variants. 

Along the same lines, are the fiddleheads you get in NS from ostrich ferns? Are fiddleheads from bracken fern (more toxic) ever picked in your area?

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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Hi Peter, great blog so far, I'm eagerly anticipating the rest of this week.

Dulse is (or was) traditionally eaten a lot in Ireland (long ago I worked there as a nanny for about a year or so...). Older people chewed the dried stuff, much like you would tobacco. For eating, you can do various things with it, like adding it to stews and soups- rinsed thoroughly and chopped finely. An Irish classic is champ, a dish actually quite similar to the dutch stamppot. For the dulse version, you soak the dulse in cold water for about 4 hours, rinse it, barely cover in milk and simmer until tender (2-3 hours). Drain and reserve the milk. Then boil about 5 times as much potatoes (eg 100 grams dulse to 500 grams potatoes), drain well and mash with the warm milk and salt and lots of black pepper. Finally, beat in the dulse bit by bit. The end result should be a creamy mash. Serve on individual plates and top with a good knob of butter that will melt into the champ :wub:

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Peter,

With the East Coast fiddleheads, are you boiling them just to kill the bacteria, or do they come with some toxicity that has to be heat treated like the West Coast variants. 

Along the same lines, are the fiddleheads you get in NS from ostrich ferns? Are fiddleheads from bracken fern (more toxic) ever picked in your area?

Our fiddleheads are sprouts of the ostrich fern. Unlike the western kind there have been no "official sickness" as far as I know, just one anecdotal case from a friend.

The following is from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Bulletin #4198:

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has investigated a number of outbreaks of food-borne illness associated with fiddleheads. The implicated ferns were eaten either raw or lightly cooked (sautéed, parboiled or microwaved), which was what caused a food-borne illness outbreak in British Columbia in 1990. Although a toxin has not been identified in the fiddleheads of the ostrich fern, the findings of this investigation suggest that you should cook fiddleheads thoroughly before eating (boil them for at least 10 minutes).

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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I purchased a Nova Scotia cheese while there by the name of Dragons Breath  that was just wonderful.....I got it at Pete's as well.

Each Christmas we get a Dragon's Breath and gobble it up with a bottle of ruby port!

I don't have a picture but it is a dark waxy cylinder (shaped like a soup can) with some seriously stinky blue cheese inside. Nirvana.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Hi Peter, great blog so far, I'm eagerly anticipating the rest of this week.

Dulse is (or was) traditionally eaten a lot in Ireland (long ago I worked there as a nanny for about a year or so...). Older people chewed the dried stuff, much like you would tobacco. For eating, you can do various things with it, like adding it to stews and soups- rinsed thoroughly and chopped finely. An Irish classic is champ, a dish actually quite similar to the dutch stamppot. For the dulse version, you soak the dulse in cold water for about 4 hours, rinse it, barely cover in milk and simmer until tender (2-3 hours). Drain and reserve the milk. Then boil about 5 times as much potatoes (eg 100 grams dulse to 500 grams potatoes), drain well and mash with the warm milk and salt and lots of black pepper. Finally, beat in the dulse bit by bit. The end result should be a creamy mash. Serve on individual plates and top with a good knob of butter that will melt into the champ  :wub:

That is very interesting to me, champ is not uncommon in eastern Canada. I didn't know there was a dulse version but it makes sense. In Cape Breton (northern island part of Nova Scotia) there are communities that speak (Scottish) Gaelic and eat the traditional foods but I haven't encountered recipes with dulse. I think I need to do some research!

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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I've noticed a large influence of Asian cuisines so far in your blog.  Any part of Asia in particular?

I don't know what to say, Asia is like 4 billion people. Being originally from Toronto (an extremely multicultural city) I believe I have had some pretty authentic Asian foods without actually going there, but that is just scratching the surface. I'll say India (please don't ask me to be more specific, I'd ramble on forever) and Thailand and Japan and China and Viet Nam and, well you get the picture.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Okay - here are a couple of shots where I am learning the basics of food photography.

As you can see my "produce wranglers" are very enthusiastic.

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Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Monkfish!

Also known as frog-fish, sea-devil, anglerfish, goosefish, and allmouth it is a remarkably unattractive fish.

It may actually be the ugliest fish in the ocean - I have never seen its giant flat head in person because it’s always removed prior to display at the market. The tail fillet is shaped a bit like a pork tenderloin but the taste and smell is unique. It’s sweet and juicy with a luxurious texture not unlike lobster.

Its one of my all-time fish faves and at $11 per kg this 250 g piece could serve two easily for under 3 bucks:

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Partly enticing, partly grotesque:

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What's this:

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Cherrywood veneer from the woodshop, soaked in water:

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Rolled up and tied with string:

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And smoked on the grill:

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Open it up:

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Juicy medallions are plated:

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I’m usually too lazy to clarify butter for a proper beurre noisette. I added coarse black pepper and garlic powder anyways so there are lots of tiny flavor particles visible in the sauce. A few capers on top, some lime wedges in the middle, and bob’s your uncle.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Adorable produce wranglers! So do they like fish as well?

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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Peter, my husband is one to keep "inventory" which can range from spare screws and nuts and bolts to the odd pieces of wood and veneer. I'm forever giving him grief about these odd bits and pieces, but when I showed him your monkfish, he got endless satisfaction of knowing that some of this inventory can be used in the "kitchen" for something other than home improvement!

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Illnesses associated with fiddleheads are unheard-of in Japan.

sanrensho, are you referring to zenmai?

I was thinking of warabi (bracken fern fiddleheads), which is what the Korean community picks in my immediate area. I have looked around, but haven't found any kogomi (ostrich fern fiddleheads), although I'm no expert.

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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That monkfish looks delicious! I can't get over how cheap it is... It used to be that cheap here - the story goes that it used to be substituted for scampi (breaded and deep-fried, served in a pub, who's going to know the difference?), but now, of course, is much more expensive than the scampi it used to impersonate.

I've never eaten dulse, and never even heard of champ made with it... I love the idea of dried, chewy sea-tasting snacks, though. (although Kerry's description of the aftereffects is somewhat offputting).

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Is this a common method to prepapre monkfish in your area/country?

Do you ever eat monkfish liver (ankimo in Japanese) in your area/country?

This is not traditional at all, in fact I have never seen anything done this way. I was looking for my stash of cedar shingles in the shop, saw the veneer and had a "light bulb moment".

I have not (knowingly) had the liver.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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That monkfish looks delicious!  I can't get over how cheap it is... It used to be that cheap here -

I don't usually see monkfish at the fish market so I cannot say if this price is typical. I know it is a by-catch that comes with other more plentiful groundfish. It often shows up on the restaurant menus though.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Hi, Peter. I'm really enjoying your blog. I'm moving to Halifax for the summer (June/July/August) having been away from Nova Scotia for about a year. I'm from Toronto, but my heart is in Halifax. It will be great to get back in to the east coast food-swing-of-things by following your blog!

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What gorgeous kids you have! And, what a beautiful monkfish dish. I hope to see more of them in your blog -- what they eat, and what they do with what they don't eat. :wink:

(BTW, thank you for being so kind about the distance between Acadia in Maine, and in N.S.! I admit I'm geographically challenged, and not 'cool' enough to lie about it -- so this is an education for me as well.)

BTW, Poutine is in the NYT Food Section today...

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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I don't have much to add, but I'm loving the blog - a good part of my family lives in Halifax and you're making me long for summer vacations in Halifax and down on the South Shore.

Do you go in for maple products much? I was thrilled to check my post this morning and find a huge brick of maple cream from my grandmother. Aside from putting it in my porridge I'm not quite sure what to do with it (well, eat it straight-up obviously, but much as I love maple cream that tends to make me feel a bit ill after more than a little)

Edited by lexy (log)

Cutting the lemon/the knife/leaves a little cathedral:/alcoves unguessed by the eye/that open acidulous glass/to the light; topazes/riding the droplets,/altars,/aromatic facades. - Ode to a Lemon, Pablo Neruda

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...

I had to keep reminding myself its not California - all those jars with no door or shelf-lip.

...

Are you referring to seismic features?

Yup! You'll note that dockhl comes from California too.

Cute kids, with the good sense to enjoy avocado, the wonder food (from a parental point of view. Its a fruit AND it keeps 'em full for a reasonable amount of time. I love that high fat content!)

The monkfish meal looks beautiful. I've never seen fiddleheads on a plate before. Read about 'em, never seen 'em. Thanks!

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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