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Kerry Beal

eG Foodblog: Kerry Beal and Anna N (2012) - Mixing it up in Manitoulin

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Morning all - it's a lovely temperate morning here in Little Current on lovely Manitoulin Island. Anna's in the kitchen making something - I'm sitting enjoying my first very large mug of tea of the day.

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This is my brown betty in it's dutch tea cosy - the better to keep my tea nice and warm for a number of hours.

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My tea - in the largest mug I could find at the Value Village in Sudbury a couple of years ago. I love my tea, but I'm lazy and don't like to go back and forth to the kitchen several times to get enough - so this is a ceramic beer mug and holds the equivalent of several cups. I can get about 2 1/2 of them out of my 6 cup brown betty. And don't let the 'fabulous father's hall of fame' fool you - I'm female. (I find on eG it's sometimes hard to figure out who's male and who's female based on their names and mine's a boy's name anyway)

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My view off the balcony while I post.

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So I was in the kitchen making my breakfast. Lovely farm-fresh eggs (sorry one got broken when I tried to get it onto the plate!) and a sliced portobello mushroom. Drink of choice is coffee from my single serve Keurig.

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Will have much more to say as I become fully awake and coherent.

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I come up to Manitoulin to work a few times a year these days - and Anna decided to join me this trip. It's an opportunity to cook relatively uninterrupted unlike at home. Hubby and child are fending for themselves (well with two weeks of food prepared before I left).

Sorry the teasers were a little misleading - we figured if we posted chocolate or calamari that everyone would get it in one - but there is significance to the pictures.

First the egg cartons - for anyone who has noticed that we sometimes post about the food we are cooking when I'm up here - there are always wonderful farm fresh eggs involved. One of the public health nurses brings me eggs - usually as many and as often as I like. Apparently racoons got into the henhouse recently and she lost a lot of chickens and has a number now suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and failing to lay well - so eggs are a bit more scarce - but she was able to bring me 6 dozen the day after I arrived. We have been saving egg cartons at home for her - after a couple of dozen uses we find the egg cartons just don't hold up like they should!

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I think the chickens that lay my favourite green eggs must be slow runners.

I grabbed a copy of Momofuku for Anna a couple of months back - and to her surprise she was totally taken by it. I had been eyeing the Milk Bar Cookbook for a while and we decided that this trip she'd cook from her book and I'd cook from mine. It seems to be the way anyway - Anna doesn't really like to bake the way I do.

Of course a trip to Manitoulin is never complete without bringing along a few kitchen toys to try out that I haven't gotten around to firing up in the city. So this trip we have the new ultrasonic to play with Nathan's french fries. I also have a little cotton candy machine that I bought at a store that was relocating in Buffalo - so we can have a little fun with that too.

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Hello Kerry and Anna,

I'm looking forward to reading what the two of you cook up. And I'm curious about your new cotton candy machine. Used to love cotton candy when I was a kid. Should be a good week. :smile:

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Of course we always bring up a bunch of cookbooks along with the various toys - this trip I brought the Gentleman's Companion Volumes 1 & 2. This is the first chance I've had to read them even though I bought them last year some time and I'm finding them terribly amusing. I'm getting some great ideas for cocktails and trying to figure out if there is anything in the 'Exotic Cookery Book' that I can make while here. So far a Honey Mousse looks doable - requires half a dozen fresh eggs and some quality dark honey to which I have access. (Got to try to avoid ending sentences with prepositions!)

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Of course we always bring up a bunch of cookbooks along with the various toys - this trip I brought the Gentleman's Companion Volumes 1 & 2. This is the first chance I've had to read them even though I bought them last year some time and I'm finding them terribly amusing. I'm getting some great ideas for cocktails and trying to figure out if there is anything in the 'Exotic Cookery Book' that I can make while here. So far a Honey Mousse looks doable - requires half a dozen fresh eggs and some quality dark honey to which I have access. (Got to try to avoid ending sentences with prepositions!)

Never tried anything out of the GC but it IS a really fun read. Interested to hear reports!

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After breakfast I vacuum packed meat that we bought yesterday. Some went into the freezer but the rib steaks found their way directly into our sous vide set up:

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Here is the refrigerator when we arrived:

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And this morning:

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Shortly I will post the photos of the kitchen as we arrived and once we settled in!

Edited to fix typo.


Edited by Anna N (log)

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A couple of weeks ago the Ladies Who Lunch found this little pressure cooker at Value Village. The price was $9.99 and we had a 30% off coupon for anything we bought that day!

Handle was loose and when I fired it up it was clear that it wasn't working as it should - so a couple of days ago we took the handle off and discovered that it was seriously gunked up with something akin to the greasy stuff that forms on the bottom of cast iron frying pans. We put the ultrasonic cleaner to work on some bits, but without any good solvent it only helped a bit. So we resorted to boiling some of the bits with dishwasher detergent and then elbow grease. It is a european pan made by Fagor so I'm hoping I can get a new handle for the top somehow. It's working but it steams more than it should and it loses pressure really quickly when it comes off the heat.

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The first thing I cooked in it were some lemons - Alex and Aki at Ideas in Food blogged about Pressure Cooked Citrus a while back and I decided this would be a good thing to try. I took a couple of nice lemons, added a bit of water and cooked until they were pooped and the liquid was starting to thicken up. I then made a puree with this in the Thermomix.

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So breakfast for me this am was some plain Liberté Méditerranée yogurt with a bit of the lemon puree and drizzle of some nice honey. I couldn't find any grape nuts or anything in the cupboard to add a little bit of crunch.

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Here are some photos of the kitchen in pristine condition when we arrived:

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There is always a gift basket waiting for us. This one contained a gift certificate to a coffee place, a loaf of fruit and nut bread, a hard-ripened goat cheese (not yet tasted) and a jar of baked cherry tomatoes from Spain. Not sure how we will use this yet!

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And today:

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Edited because I was too fast on the trigger and posted before it was complete. Might have something to do with my Sunday morning coffee with its cognac spike.


Edited by Anna N (log)

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The other day I started on my first Milk Bar Cookbook recipe - the Blueberries and Cream Cookies.

Not a resounding success!

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The dough was very soft and did not look anything like the picture in the book - and of course RTFM is not in my vocabulary so I neglected to see where it suggested an overnight refrigeration.

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First baked tray.

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Tray from overnight in the fridge - still not what I would consider a success. They got eaten quickly at work - but I found them too cloyingly sweet and I was not happy with the texture.

Today I'm working on a batch of the Corn Cookies - brought up a big can of freeze dried corn that I picked up from a survivalist/camping store in Mississauga. Yummy stuff eaten right out of hand!

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Ground it in a coffee grinder.

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This is just my egg, butter and sugar mix - this is one of the fresh eggs - the yolk was like a Manitoulin sunrise! I must confess to having started to change the recipe already - I feel it is fair because I've made one of her cookie recipes before! So I cut back the sugar to 2/3 of the original and added 6 drops of lemon oil to the dough. The dough tastes great.

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I'm actually going to put these in the fridge for at least an hour before baking as per the instructions - though looking at the stiffness of this dough I suspect I could bake them right away. I've added some of the freeze dried corn kernels to a couple of the dough balls - I suspect they will prove quite interesting in there.

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I spotted the ThermoMix. Im hoping to see how you use it.

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Those who have helped us out on our Help for a Couple of Cocktail Novices thread will recognize the first two pictures. These are the bottles we started out with up north last summer when we were cocktail naive.

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We have branched out a little - this is what we have available to use now.

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Don't be disturbed by the specimen bottles - they all started out clean and sterile! They contain small amounts of such things as Vya, Carpano Antico, curacao and falernum.

Note the bottle of Lakka - Finnish cloudberry liqueur. We picked this up at the LCBO in Pointe au Baril on the way up. I'd never seen it before - and my internal magpie kicked in. It's quite yummy - not sure if I can describe the flavour - it's unlike any other liqueur I've had before - but having eaten salmonberries before when I lived in the Queen Charlotte Islands there is a familiarity for me. We are working on a couple of cocktails with it - coming up with names then working backwards to the cocktail.

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I think it's fair to say that these cookies didn't really need time in the fridge. And they probably needed to be flattened as well (oops - just RTFM and apparently I was supposed to flatten them). The second tray I did flatten and let warm up a bit before baking and they were a bit better - but still not as pictured in the book.

The book is quite specific about how long the butter, sugar etc should be beaten - I wonder if perhaps that might make a difference.

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Anna sous vided (sous ved) the rib eyes we picked up at Costco in Sudbury yesterday. I gave them a quick brown in the nice hot mini Big Green Egg. Anna also roasted some green beans in the oven for a nice crunchy side. Of course since this is lunch - part of the steak will be saved for tomorrow's lunch munchies - but the all important photograph must be taken first.

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Funny how that happens with the booze cabinet. I swear they breed in there, surely I didn't buy as many bottles as I seem to have now.

I haven't been too happy with the Milk Bar recipes I've tried. They sound good on paper but never seem to deliver what I think they should.

Anyway, look forward to seeing what you two get up to this week.

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Terrific photos. I'm really looking forward to this week. Those eggs are lovely.

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So excited to see this blog! How the heck do you get through six dozen eggs before they go bad?

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So excited to see this blog! How the heck do you get through six dozen eggs before they go bad?

Eggs go bad?

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So excited to see this blog! How the heck do you get through six dozen eggs before they go bad?

Eggs go bad?

I'm wondering about that also. I have some jumbo eggs in my fridge from late February, still good, used some this morning.

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Well, that small Green Egg is interesting.

What's the diameter of it? Green to Green?

many thanks!

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Eggs definitely go bad! I speak from unfortunate experience!

That steak looks soooo good! I'd use the leftovers to make yum neua. I've had a craving for it forever, but have yet to make it.

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Well, that small Green Egg is interesting.

What's the diameter of it? Green to Green?

many thanks!

The mini has a 9 inch grill - think green to green is probably 13 inches or so.

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Eggs definitely go bad! I speak from unfortunate experience!

That steak looks soooo good! I'd use the leftovers to make yum neua. I've had a craving for it forever, but have yet to make it.

Yum neua?

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