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Nova Scotia’s Traditional Foods


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First thing is to place them in minimally salted water, then steam them just open.

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Then make a nice aromatic broth.

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Then sort out the flavours. They all will spend the night in the fridge with pickling syrup, each with a little extra . . .

no.1 jar gets a shot of cooking Porto,

no.2 gets a shot of Thai fish sauce,

no.3 gets a shot of Sriracha from Malaysia,

no.4 gets a few drops of liquid smoke from Medford, NJ, and

no.5 is a control.

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Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

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

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Moe Sizlack

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Sounds like a great experiment! Too bad I'm allergic to mussels ... I've never tried pickled oysters, perhaps I'll try a similar experiment over the christmas holidays when I have ad lib oysters...

Martin Mallet

<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

www.malletoyster.com

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None of those pickled mussels failed from a flavor point of view as far as I can tell. The ones I liked best had liquid smoke, sriracha and fish sauce. The unadulterated control was adequate but it lacked pizazz, and the one with with port wine was surprisingly lame.

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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None of those pickled mussels failed from a flavor point of view as far as I can tell. The ones I liked best had liquid smoke, sriracha and fish sauce. The unadulterated control was adequate but it lacked pizazz, and the one with with port wine was surprisingly lame.

The pickled mussels were fine for a week or so in the fridge, they get less palatable after that and start to look like lab specimens. I was expecting the mussels to taste less like the fresh-steamed kind and more like the canned variety, all smooth and spreadable on toast. Not the case -- I imagine it takes a long time in a can for seafood to undergo that magical transformation.

An unexpected bonus: when the mussels are barely steamed until just opening, the little white nub adductor muscle (like a mini scallop) isn't overcooked and remains tender and tasty.

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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On that note, the adductor mussel on oysters is super-tasty when raw. Next time you shuck some oysters scrape off the bits on adductor muscle left on the upper shell and taste it, it's impossibly sweet.

Martin Mallet

<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

www.malletoyster.com

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An unexpected bonus: when the mussels are barely steamed until just opening, the little white nub adductor muscle (like a mini scallop) isn't overcooked and remains tender and tasty.

Here's what I'm calling the little white nub adductor muscle:

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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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  • 2 months later...

Have a Heart

A neighbor of mine dug up an old hand-written recipe collection from a box in her garage. She thinks it belonged to her great mother-in-law who's last entry is dated 1939. Between the paper quality and penmanship, it's generally hard to read but the contents are interesting. There's something called "black soup" that, as far as I can tell, uses burnt flour as the base for the soup. There are recipes that over-cook fish and vegetables in a variety of ways, and a few that use offal. The one I'm going to use calls for a pair of lamb hearts to be "stuffed and stewed" . . .

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Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

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So here's the plan:

- trim the hearts of fat, sinew, valves, etc.

- sweat some chopped onions in butter

- mix onions with breadcrumbs, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper

- stuff the hearts, wrap in cheesecloth

- to the the small pots add butter, chopped carrots and mushrooms

- in go the hearts, fill pots up with chicken stock

- 325 F oven for two hours

This is somewhat faithful to the pre-WWII recipe, except I didn't wrap them with bacon, and I used two different breadcrumbs -- one with white and one pumpernickel.

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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? . . .

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Moe Sizlack

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Cool! I find the recipe for black soup especially interesting given the potential Cajun connection (it's the only other cuisine I know of which uses burnt roux, but I confess to not having researched the topic extensively).

I have some pork hearts in the freezer: this seems like a pretty good treatment for them.

Martin Mallet

<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

www.malletoyster.com

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I have some pork hearts in the freezer: this seems like a pretty good treatment for them.

Pork hearts are definitely on my to do list. Many offal cooks talk about the thymus as the best part, but I think a good case could be made for the heart. I'd be curious to compare the taste of a calf heart to that of a cow or steer. One benefit of a larger heart is the ease of trimming out pure red muscle. These small lamb organs scream "cook me whole".

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 have some pork hearts in the freezer: this seems like a pretty good treatment for them.

Pork hearts are definitely on my to do list. Many offal cooks talk about the thymus as the best part, but I think a good case could be made for the heart. I'd be curious to compare the taste of a calf heart to that of a cow or steer. One benefit of a larger heart is the ease of trimming out pure red muscle. These small lamb organs scream "cook me whole".

Speaking of hearts, here's a beef heart photo from this week. The meat is finely cubed, dusted with flour and browned with onions and mushroom. Served on riced russet potato with smoky paprika and black pepper, and dried black trumpet garnish. The trumpets were a bit chewy, I just couldn't bring myself to grind them up. Maybe for Valentine's Day.

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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? . . .

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Moe Sizlack

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here's what one of the lamb hearts looked like on the plate. The meat had a tender and fine texture, the veg was perfect and the stuffing mostly disappeared into the liquid. All things considered, I think prefer the beef heart.

lamb heart.jpg

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

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

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

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Moe Sizlack

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Bite-Sized Seafood Brunch

We had a gang come by after two hours of tobogganing at The Granite Springs golf course down the street. Many cups of tea, coffee and hot chocolate were consumed. The hungry bodies outnumbered the chairs so I made some seafood finger foods.

Smoked salmon and cream cheese on a piece of toasted bagel.

Atlantic shrimp with tomato horseradish sauce on a piece of toasted bagel.

Digby scallops and lime avocado on a piece of toasted bagel.

Lobster and aioli on, you guessed it, a piece of toasted bagel.

Four of these square plates got cleared off pretty fast. It would have been a better idea to have just one variety of snack on each plate in order to avoid cross-seasoning. For example, the shrimp is on a horseradish/lemon juice/ketchup sauce with a slice of grape tomato for garnish, along with microplaned dry horseradish which didn't really belong on the neighboring scallops. The smoked salmon didn't need any more salt, and not everyone likes the cracked black pepper as much as I do.

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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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  • 1 month later...
A neighbor of mine dug up an old hand-written recipe collection from a box in her garage. She thinks it belonged to her great mother-in-law who's last entry is dated 1939. Between the paper quality and penmanship, it's generally hard to read but the contents are interesting.

Scotch Bap and Split Pea Soup

This is a good meal to make as the end of winter approaches. The freezer pork is almost all gone save for a few chops, ribs and a nearly-finished ham bone. The old recipe card says to simmer the ham bone with an onion for a few hours, cool & strain, then put the meat aside and use the stock to soften dry yellow split peas. Pretty basic.

The bap is a small, flat dinner roll made with flour, milk, water, yeast and salt. It gets baked with a generous dusting of flour to keep the tops soft and powdery. It's a practical accompaniment for a thick soup or stew -- I don't think I even used the spoon.

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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? . . .

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Moe Sizlack

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Scotch Bap and Split Pea Soup

It looks mighty fine. What is the method for the baps ? I've an occasional acquaintance with 'morning rolls' (as seen, for example, last week in The Bread Topic).

Nice buns, Blether. Your Scottish Morning Rolls look lighter and fluffier than my baps. My yeast was near the expiry date on the jar, which is not ideal. Keep in mind I was using a personal recipe from a hundred years ago which, frankly, lacked some detail. My mystery baker says the dough rises for an hour, gets punched down and rested for ten minutes. Shape into flat ovals, brush with milk, sift flour on top, proof until doubled in size, poke a thumb well in each centre, and bake at 400F for 15 minutes.

Evidently, this dough can be used for Kent Huffkins. Make smaller balls with a bigger indentation, then once they're baked you add jam and thick cream to the well! They look real good.

In fact, if I were to legally change my name . . . I'd go with Kent Huffkins.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

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

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

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Moe Sizlack

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In fact, if I were to legally change my name . . . I'd go with Kent Huffkins.

Jings, everyone's being silly these days :biggrin:

Yours sounds pretty much like the method in English Bread and Yeast Cookery, which also references Victor MacClure, Elizabeth Craig and Marian McNeill. I just don't see how anyone can get a big, open crumb without a long rise in one form or another. That said, with the very strong flour courtesy I think of your Manitoba wheatfields, for all the open texture, mine weren't all that light.

English Bread and Yeast Cookery doesn't mention Kent Huffkins - but if you did change your name you could start a hockey team called the "Sussex Plum Heavies".

Edited by Blether (log)

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Whole Flounder

From an anonymous letter sent from Halifax to Billingsgate, London, dated August 21, 1749:

"A man may catch as much fish in two hours as will serve six or seven people for a whole week, such as cod, halibut, turbot, salmon, skate, haddock, herrings, smelts and lobsters."

Sadly this isn't true today, and sadly there's no mention of flounder. They always seem to take a backseat to halibut and other flatfish. The one shown below is a Pseudopleuronectes americanus or winter flounder, also known as black back or lemon sole. Sometimes they're misleadingly sold as sole or fluke. As far as I know, real sole is dover sole, and the unpalatable word fluke refers to summer flounder. So how do you tell apart the winter sole from the summer sole, since they're both caught year round? They start out life looking like regular fish, then one eye migrates to the other side of the head during a period of lopsided swimming, and before long they become flatfish with two left eyes, in the case of summer flounder, or two right eyes, in the case of winter flounder.

Small flounders like this one are very hard to clean and fillet, for me at any rate. Bigger specimens can be chopped up into steaks, which is how halibut usually appear at the market. This one weighed around 3/4 lbs whole and uncleaned. I gutted it, trimmed the fins and scraped off the scales from the up side. It was baked at 350F for 10 minutes, a few more under the broiler, then served whole, one fish for one person.

The sides are a baked russet split with butter, diced carrots and turnips with maple butter, warm greens, and cranberries. It's like a seafood Thanksgiving. The fish flesh is white and delicate, and as always, tastes best cooked on the bone.

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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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English Bread and Yeast Cookery doesn't mention Kent Huffkins - but if you did change your name you could start a hockey team called the "Sussex Plum Heavies".

I can see the logos on the jerseys . . .

Strictly speaking, I should've called them Kentish Huffkins. I don't think I'll change my name (it was the espresso talking) but still, Kent Huffkins sounds to me like a BBC reporter.

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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Nice flatfish, nicely done. A dollar 69 ? I wish we could get sole/flounder for that price here (You're looking at about 4.50 and up). I bet Halifax is a discerning fish market, too.

Edit to add: oh yes, and here we have "hirame" (left-eyed) and "karei" (right-eyed).

Edited by Blether (log)

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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I bet Halifax is a discerning fish market, too.

I suppose. Like most port cities, there's lots of good seafood available. The population of Halifax is around 350,000 and I would say most fish buyers are quite traditional and slow to adopt new options. The biggest sellers at the markets are salmon, haddock, lobster, scallops, mussels, and then all the rest. Most shoppers want easy fillets that have been cleaned and boned. That's probably why a whole flounder is such a deal.

It amazes me how one man's delicacy can go straight into another man's compost bin. When my market gets monkfish, it's because it's a by-catch of the halibut fishery. They chop off the tail and chuck the rest, liver and all. One of these days I'll get a big one for a backyard barbecue and shock the neighbors.

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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  • 2 weeks later...

Seafood Barbecue

Actually, it's a gas grill this time -- barbecue just sounds better.

There's been plenty of mackerel in this topic already but it's always been the Atlantic mackerel (Scomber scombrus). Today I bought my first Atlantic Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus maculatus). It's a little larger than what I'm used to, and it's got a green back with cool orange spots down the sides. Those are the only real differences. A breeze to clean, firm oily flesh, affordable. My fish guy said they were "pretty local" but other sources say these mackerel never come north of Cape Cod.

I've got a specialized rack for cooking fish outdoors, never been used. It was a good fit for the Spanish mackerel once the head was gone. It wasn't completely necessary although I suppose it does help keep the grill clean.

Lobster tails were six bucks for a two-pack at the grocery store. They got skewered and grilled, then cracked and filled with garlic butter.

Mashed potatoes and steamed spinach. More garlic butter.

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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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Those lobster tails, along with the fish and sides, fed four adults and three kids. The leftover Spanish mackerel will likely reappear in fish cake form.

Lobster off the grill is quite different from the more common methods of steaming or boiling. The skewer is there to prevent the tail from coiling up, just like a big shrimp. The lobster shell turns an amazing rich color, like a mottled combo of pink, orange, gold and black. The flesh gets some of that barbecue flavor while it steams up inside the shell. It's saltier tasting off the grill, and the timing is more difficult. Steam or boiling water is always around 100C and it penetrates well, while an outdoor grill is much more variable. By the time the center of the tail is grilled through, the cut end with the exposed meat gets a bit overdone and a little tough. For me, steaming is still the preferred method.

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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Fish Cakes

Fish cakes are made all over the world in all sorts of ways. Wherever people live near water, there are recipes for fish cakes nearby.

In Atlantic Canada, a fish cake is generally round, flat and fried. Salt cod or left-over haddock is a good starting point, along with mashed potatoes, onion, flour and eggs. Using milk and breadcrumbs isn’t unusual, and whatever herbs you’ve got on hand. Some fine restaurants have elevated the fish cake to an art form, and it’s a popular item at casual diners and breakfast spots.

The fish cakes below are made, believe it or not, with left-over Atlantic Spanish mackerel. I like a thin crisp cake with tons of flavor, and I like to use my potato pancake approach shown here on post #150 of eGullet Recipe Cook-Off #16: Potato Pancakes.

If you grate a raw potato then microwave it, it will be cooked and gooey, and it will really help hold things together. Beat an egg, add the boneless and broken mackerel pieces, mix in the potato and enough bread crumbs and flour to get a manageable moisture level. I used a cup of pumpernickel crumbs straight from the freezer – they add dark color and strong flavor. Salt and pepper, smoked paprika and cayenne powder are also added. The patties get formed and dusted with more flour, then shallow-fried in minimal veg oil. They get even flatter and thinner in the pan, then they’re racked and cooled for later.

Now that I'm seeing the posted photos, I'm thinking they look more like fish cookies.

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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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