Monday, July 7, 2014
I am no longer chef of Bistro 7 1/4. Its been a fun and exciting 8 years, but its time for new things. During this time I have met lots of great people, made some good connections and cooked some good food. I like to think that my our little bistro has had a positive impact on the Winnipeg food scene.
I'd like to thank all of you who have supported the bistro over the years. I especially want to thank my friends, my family and especially my lovely wife, BistroGal.
I wish the new owners great success.
I have a new opportunity starting up soon, but I can't talk about that yet. Stay posted.
Thanks and Farewell,
You can follow me on Twitter @ChefAlex
Saturday, March 29, 2014
I am getting in a hullabaloo with MAFRD (Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development) over the way they seem to be targeting small, artisanal food processors. I will write more about this in the future, but for now, I just want to post a copy of a letter that the Harvest Moon Food Society sent their friends and customers. This group of farmers, to my mind, exemplifies the ideal way to approach farming and eating in a sustainable, humane and socially responsible way. Yet, because they don't fit into one of MAFRD's narrowly drawn categories, their ability to market eggs and chicken has been cut off.
Here is the letter they sent:
Dear Harvest Moon Local Foods Supporter,As you navigate our web site to place your order this month, you are likely to notice that several items you are used to purchasing are no longer listed for sale. This letter is provide you with some background information on the reasons why we have had to remove some products.
In Manitoba, the 2 most common ways for farmers to sell their products directly to consumers are through a farmer’s market, or from the ‘farm gate’. Each method of selling has certain rules on what can and can’t be sold.
We have always believed that Harvest Moon Local Foods most closely aligns with Farm Gate sales, but because of our unique approach to selling food direct from farmer to customer thorough a web site alongside other farmers, there has been a lack of clarity on whether or not this is the case.
Our web site makes it clear which farmer a product is being purchased from and that farmer packs and delivers the product to a central point where it is delivered to the city on a single vehicle with products from other farmers.In addition to these ways of selling, there are also different classifications of products depending on how they are processed. These products can only be sold farm gate.
- Ungraded Eggs are eggs that have not been processed through a federally licensed grading facility. All eggs that were previously sold through Harvest Moon were ungraded.
- ’Uninspected’ Poultry - this refers to poultry that has been processed at an abattoir that is a licensed food handling facility, but does not have provincial meat inspector on site to inspect the carcasses. There is currently only one abattoir for chicken in the province providing this inspection service that is accessible to small farmers. This facility is in Niverville, several hours drive from most Harvest Moon Farmers.It is important to note that provincially inspected abattoir facilities for meat such as pork, beef and lamb are far more common and easy to access. All of these types of meat products for sale on our site come from inspected facilities and all our producers possess a ‘meat hawkers’ license.There are a separate set of regulations that govern Farmers Markets. Some products found on our web site (processed foods such as jams, jellies and preserves that are made in a home kitchen) are able to be sold through farmers markets. Several of our farmers sell the same products that are available on our web site at Farmers Markets.Earlier this year, we engaged provincial health inspection officials to seek clarity on our status. After reviewing each farm and what was for sale on our website, we were told that we did not fall under the ‘farm gate’ category and items such as ungraded eggs and uninspected poultry could no longer be sold. We have also been informed that we are also not considered a farmers market and therefore items such as the jams, jellies and preserves not produced in a commercial kitchen cannot be sold, even though these same products are able to be sold at farmers markets.Here is our take on this outcome:
Our plan moving forward:
- The inspectors are doing their job by interpreting regulations as they are written. While we disagree with their interpretation, we will respect the decision and hope to continue a constructive dialogue with them going forward.
- The current regulations, in particular the definition of farm gate sales, have not adapted to ways of doing business in the 21st century. They present a barrier to small farmers and consumers who wish to do business directly with each other, they limit consumer choice in food purchasing and undermine the development of strong, sustainable local food system. Regulatory barriers such as these also discourage the entry of new small farmers into the market.
- Food safety is a paramount concern for each of our farmers. No one in our group would ever compromise the well being of their customers or their own livelihood by improperly handling food or providing substandard product.
- Our system is a model of cooperative marketing and pooling of resources that efficiently links farmers and eaters in a way that would be difficult for individual farmers to accomplish on their own. Instead of 15 farmers individually delivering products to the city or hundreds of eaters travelling to farms to purchase products, one vehicle travels to the city on one day.
- The sale of product through the Harvest Moon web site and the transport of farm products in a single vehicle in no way compromises food safety, nor the transparency of which farmer the product was purchased from.
- With over $120,000 in sales over the last year, our model promotes community economic development in rural Manitoba, the growth and stability of small farms and the promotion of local food choices. 2014 is the International Year of Family Farming and government should doing everything in its power to facilitate the growth and development of small family farms.
- For the time being, products such as eggs and uninspected poultry (any chickens that are for sale will be inspected) will not be available for sale from our web site. We strongly encourage you to contact farmers directly if you wish to purchase these products as they are still available from the farm gate.
- We intend to work with government to modernize the existing regulations to accommodate these new ways of doing business.
- We will keep you up to date as we make progress in our efforts.
Sunday, December 1, 2013
Those of you who know me, know I like beer. All beer, any beer. I can be all sophisticated and sip wines that have been expertly paired with the meal I am eating, but if I had to choose, I'll always choose beer. I like cold, crisp clean beers on a hot summer day and I love rich, dark malty beers on a cool winter evening. I love them hoppy, bitter and strong. I love the skunky smell you get from some beers and the citrus kick from others. I love them all.
I feel pretty happy at the bistro these days. I have a lovely selection of beers on tap. We have two perennial favourites from Half Pints, the St. James Pale and Bulldog Amber. We have a tasty bitter from Russel Brewing, the Blood Alley. I have a tasty wheat beer for the wheatiest province in the confederation, the Saskatcheweizen from Paddock Wood. And the newest member of our craft beer family, we have the Paper Maker Pilsner from Lake of the Woods Brewing in Kenora, ON. This is a German style Pilsner made in the Krozenen (sp?) style which makes for a particularly smooth beer through an extra round of fermentation.
Today, December 1st, I am particularly lucky. My lovely, and thoughtful wife, gave me a Craft Beer Advent Calendar. So, for the next 24 days, I get to enjoy a variety of Craft beers from Across North America. And you know what, I am going to share them with you.
Well, not actually share them. I like you just fine, but not that much. I am going to drink the beers all by myself, and then tell you all about them.
Day One: Maple Porter from Nickel Brook.
I am excited for day 2.
Day 2: Kudzu Porter from Back Forty Beer Company.
Back to back porters, this is probably the first beer I've ever tried from Alabama. It's fun to compare these two porters side by side. This one still has the burnt sugar, molasses tastes, but is a much lighter/thinner beer than the Nickel Brook. Only half a percent less alcohol at 5.5% than the maple stout, this beer goes down much quicker. Although I think I prefer the richness of yesterday's beer, this one I could drink a couple where yesterdays I would stop at only one. In addition to the dark caramel notes, the Kudzu has a nice toasted nut flavour as well as a hint of orange zest. Very enjoyable, this makes me want to try other Back Forty Beers with great names such as Truckstop Honey and Naked Pig. While yesterday's beer had an excess of creamy "Guinness style" froth, the Kudzu poured with almost no head. Kudzu is a very tasty beer, can't wait till tomorrow!
Day 3: Cucapa Obscuro
They describe this beer as an american brown ale. It actually reminded me of our own Fort Garry Dark. It is dark in colour, but not overly heavy in taste. It is quite easy drinking, not very bitter, and quite refreshing. The Obscura has some pleasant nuttiness, some brown sugar and a nice woody finish. The bottle describes it as "cerveza robusto de cuerpo mediano". They describe their beer as the "only Mexican beer that doesn't need a lime to taste better." I didn't need a lime to enjoy this one.
Day 4: 39 1/2 Foot Pole by Yukon Brewing
Named after a line from the Grinch Who Stole Christmas, "I wouldn't touch you with a 39 1/2 foot pole", this seasonal ale is infused with black currant. What I like about it, is that the black currant is subtle. I am not usually a huge fan of fruit beers, but Yukon Brewing handles this well. You catch the fruit in the nose and in the first sip, but then it fades away to clean beer flavour. I like the brightness of this beer with refreshing acidity and just a hint of sweetness. Although it is a strong beer, at %6.7 it goes down real easy. This beer will warm your heart, even if it is two sizes too small.
Day 5: Hurricane Amber Ale from Newport Storm
Remember when Starbucks first came to town and we all got excited because finally a chain coffee shop was providing us with the rich flavour of a dark roast coffee? And then we realized they were over-doing it, the coffee all tasted burnt. I feel the same way about the new trend towards super hoppy IPA's. We are all happy that they are taking us away from ice-filtered cold-brewed beer with no beer flavour beers, but sometimes I feel they are just overdoing it. I can enjoy one, but i feel its just too much. This is why I really enjoyed this amber ale from Rhode Island. The Hurricane, their flagship beer, was their first and still their best seller, is an exercise in balance. It has enough hoppy bitterness to make the IPA fans happy, but it balances this with the creamy maltiness of a great british ale. I really enjoyed this beer. On a cold winter day, I feel that a nice malty beer, resplendent with caramel and toasted nutty notes, is like a warm blanket beside the fire. This beer, would definitely provide shelter from the storm.
Day 6: Moose Knuckle Winter Porter
Okay, once you get past the funny name, this is a serious beer. This seasonal beer is from Grizzly Paw Brewing in Canmore, Alberta. Grizzly Paw started its life as a brew pub, and quickly became a microbrewery, outgrowing its space a couple of times in a quest to keep up to its demand. This almost black porter is rich with lots of dark roasted flavours; Dark coffee, burnt almond, bitter chocolate. I would have liked a little more weight to it and a little more creaminess to adhere to all those nice roasted flavours.
Day 7: Existent, American Farmhouse Ale
Probably the only beer that quotes Nietzche in its description, "and if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you". At %7.4 this is a strong beer from Stillwater Artisanal Ales in Baltimore, Maryland. This beer is quite dry, has some dried fruit notes, toasted malt and just enough hops.
Day 8: Spark House Red Ale
So far, I think this is my favourite beer in the set. I really enjoyed this beer, from first sudsy sip to the bottom of the glass. This Irish style red ale brewed by Lake of Bays Brewery in Baysville, On. This beer pours a rich dark red colour with a thick creamy head. This ale has a subtle smokiness, delicious english toffee, a pronounced malted barley balanced with hoppy bitterness. This is definitely a beer I will try to find more of and I would like to try more beers from Lake of Bays.
Day 9: Tap It India Pale Ale
This craft brewery out of california sponsors a nascar car. That should be enough to earn it some cool points. The website is loud and agressive and could probably cause seizures in some poeple, but the beer is easy to drink. Tap It IPA lands right in the middle between the aggressively hoppy IPA's the hipsters and beer geeks love and the bland, but easy drinking IPA's that some people refuse to even call IPA's. (I'm looking at you, Mr. Keith) The hops in this beer take on a more citrus flavour, with orange and grapefruit notes. The citrus taste, makes this beer go down easy. But its not a simple beer. It has enough bitterness and complexity to make beer lovers happy.
The Problem with writing a nightly blog about beer is I find I am running out of ways of saying "toasty" or "hoppy". I feel that all good beers display similar characteristics. The best beers are made from the same few ingredients, hops, barley, yeast and water. They employ different types of hops and different yeasts, how dark they malt the barley, how they ferment or how long they age the beers, these factors all effect the taste, but they are still using the same basic ingredients and the same basic technique. So, in describing the beers, I find myself repeating the same words, over an over again. This does not make for good writing. However, what I find most fascinating about this project, is that even with this limited palette of ingredients and techniques, the craft brewer is able to make wildly different beers. In each beer, the way in which the small set of flavours interacts, is what makes the beers unique. Each beer on this list, has been wildly different, even though they all contain the same ingredients and the same tastes. So, I guess its a failure of language, or my ability to use language, so my best advice, is to seek these beers out and try them for yourself.
Day 10: Truck Stop Honey
Nothing complicated about this beer from Back Forty Brewing. Tasty, easy drinking. You can taste the honey, but it doesn't make it sweet. Nice barley flavour, this medium brown ale tastes like a beer should taste.
Day 11: Newport Storm IPA
Another very tasty IPA, but I can't figure out why they called it India Point Ale instead of "Pale" ale. I checked their website and I tried using the google, but no luck. If you know, please comment. This one is nicely balanced with a good hop presence. Perhaps the most remarkable feature, was the nose of this beer was filled with flowers.
I did learn something interesting the other day from the bartender at Barley Brothers. Apparently this style of beer originated when British brewers needed to export their beers to India. In order to survive the lengthy journey, they fermented almost all of the sugars out of the beer, and over hopped it as a way of preserving it. Today, in England, the term IPA is generally used for beers with lower alcohol content. In Canada and the US, the tradition of hoppy IPA's has survived and these days are the biggest trend in craft beers. There is a style difference between the east and west cost IPA's. East coast IPA's have a stronger malt presence, where on the west coast, they go heavy on the hops. North American IPA's tend to use american hop varieties.
Day 12: Cameron Auburn Ale
This beautifully red brown ale is brewed in Oakville, ON. Their website claims it is "Brewed by a connoisseur, not an accountant". I suppose that might be the very definition of a craft beer. I've enjoyed this brewers Deviator Dopplebock before, but this auburn, their flagship beer, was new to me. It was exactly what I want in a beer when I am sitting down for a little relaxation. Well balanced, nicely malty, but with enough going on to keep you entertained. Citrus notes and toasted nutty notes trade places as you sip this beer. No rough edges here, this beer is smooth.
Day 13: Peak Organic
Sometimes a label oversells a beer that under delivers. This is a righteous beer, fair trade certified, organic, you can feel good about drinking this beer from Portland, Maine. And although it wasn't a bad beer, it wasn't a great beer. Medium body, medium colour, the promised espresso flavour tasted more like diner brewed coffee. The coffee, instead of adding a richness, like it does in Mill Street's Coffee Porter or Half Pint's Stir Stick Stout, just gave the beer a harsh edge. This brewery has a wide range of products and I would like to try other beers in their family.
Day 14: Bolshevik Bastard
My teenage rebellion was to claim I was a bolsheviek. My family had to flee their homes when the Russians marched in, so being a communist was probably the worst thing I could be. Although I still lean left, the longer I am in business the more I tilt right. My uncle would be proud.
This beer, from Nickel Brook, is aggressive. It is thick like molasses and strong. It is called an Imperial stout, which I have learnt means double fermented. This accounts for it's high, %8.5, alcohol content. Getting through this beer requires stamina and moral fortitude. I enjoyed it, I am always up for a challenge, but I would only ever want to drink one of these bastards. This beer makes Guinness look like bud light.
Day 15: Hollow Point
My first reaction to this beer's guns and ammo motif was that it was quite funny. Then, maybe when I realized that this brewery was in Connecticut, I started to wonder whether such a motif was appropriate coming from a place so recently dealing with a tragic act of gun violence, coming from a society that seems to be plagued by daily acts of gun violence.
However, I didn't let my political musings prevent myself from drinking this beer. Neither do I believe that the brewers are making any pro-gun statement in how they label their beer.
This is the strongest beer in the set so far. At 10% alcohol, this beer has fumes coming off of it when you inhale. Hollow Point is quadruple distilled; I have never heard of that! This beer tastes like someone dropped a shot of whisky in it before they handed you the glass. Don't drink this beer on an empty stomach, it will burn.
When I first tasted the beer, I used the whisky analogy to describe the strength of the beer, but as I sipped (and it is a sipper), I began to feel that this is a beer that tastes like a whisky. More rye than bourbon, this is a beer for whisky lovers.
My friend Kevin Bailey (www.kevskitchen.com) said that this was "easily the most impressive beer so far in the #AdventBeerBox".
Day 16: Crosswind Pale Ale
Another beer from Baysville, ON. This is the lightest beer we have had so far. When you pour it out, it looks like a Keiths or a Standard. However, looks can be deceiving. This beer is far from simple. This beer has a strong hops presence that moves from citrus to earthy to floral. Not overly aggressive, this pale has enough bitterness to keep the beer geeks happy, but is definitely sessionable and would not feel out of place in an ice filled cooler on a dock by a lake on a beautiful summer day.
Day 17: Hedonism Red Ale
Ruckus brewing makes three beers, Hedonism, Euphoria and the brilliantly named "Hoptimus Prime". This brewery makes no bones about the fact that they are all about hops. This is a red ale, made in the Irish style, with a nice creamy head, but has a solid kick of bitter hops. Red or amber ales tend to have a little sweetness and creaminess, this one, kicks all that out of the way and showcases hops to rival any craft IPA. If you like lemon peel, not the nice yellow zesty part, but the nasty white pith, you will love this beer. I also catch some burnt almond. The bitterness is like the bitterness of radicchio. This is not a beer for everyone, but if you like bitter hops this is the beer for you.
Day 18: Cameron's Cream Ale
Another fine beer from Oakville Ontario, this one a tasty cream ale. Light in colour this beer has a thick creamy froth. There is nothing particularly remarkable about this beer, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with it either. Enjoyable, went down in about 2 sips.
Day 19: Newport Storm Blueberry
I have to admit when I saw the word "blueberry" on the label I panicked. I am not a big fan of fruit flavoured beers. (unless its that crazy grapefruit beer that goes down super quick on a hot day on the beach) I was also a little disappointed to see another bottle from Newport Storm. Its not that I dislike the brewery, in fact I have enjoyed the beers from Newport very much. However, with the number of craft breweries available in North America I am not sure why in a twenty four beer collection we have to have repeats. They should have been able to find twenty four distinct breweries. I get the feeling that this calendar was put together by a broker and the beers are all beers he represents. But anyway, back to this beer.
So, its a blueberry beer. I was surprised how light in colour it was, I expected it to be a little more... well... blue. The nose was incredible. It was like sticking your shnozz into a basket of freshly picked blueberries. The blueberry flavour was a lot more subtle. Which I appreciated, and the beer was not at all sweet, which I also appreciated. But you kept coming back to this incredible blueberry aroma. I must say this beer was well done.
Day 20: Lighthouse Winter Ale
This beer from Victoria BC is made in the classic british "Winter Warmer" Style. Dark and smooth, this beer has christmas-y flavours without being overly "spiced" and has notes of dark rum. There are enough nice figgy dried fruit flavours to make you feel like you are having a piece of christmas fruit cake. I would have liked it if it were a little more frothy. This brewery uses sustainable brewing practices.
so... christmas happened and I dropped the ball... 4 beers to go!
Day 21: Hop Noir by Peak Organic
This was a much better offering from Peak. A rich, malty black ale with a very thick and creamy suds. Heavily hopped, this beer is balanced out with a delicious roasted sweetness. I was catching all kinds of interesting spice notes. You know those flavors that you recognize but "just can't put my finger on it?" This beer was full of those.
Day 22: Tap it American Ale
Just not very good at all.
Day 23: Evil Twin, Low Life
Under-promise, over deliver.
"A clever woman once said; ‘fair is foul and foul is fair’. On that note we threw in a young, unacknowledged hoppy pilsner gave it a limp, wrinkly flavor and finished it off with an insulting high price that will give you a foul feeling in your mouth. That’s why we name Evil Twin Brewing’s Low Life the Golddigger of Beers."
It was actually very tasty. It was like the craft beer version of a "standard". Tasty and fun.
Day 24: Dunham Black IPA
Seriously people, Black IPA? Who thought up this name? Black India PALE ale. Clearly, a contradiction. Maybe the first person to do this thought it was funny, but the second person? I get it, it is a black ale made in the hoppy style of an IPA, but couldn't we call it a India-style Black Ale?
Anyways, this Black IPA was delicious. Maybe the best Black IPA of the set. Ridiculously creamy, thick and frothy, toasty malty notes. I enjoyed this in the middle of the afternoon before heading off to church for the Christmas Eve service. It was the perfect little respite in a the busy maelstrom of Christmas.
This Beer Advent calendar was lots of fun. On the whole, lots of very tasty beers. It was so much fun to discover a different little gift each day. It also made me want to change the way I enjoy beers. Instead of sitting down with a six of Lucky, I want to make each beer I enjoy a special moment, a new experience. So now, when I go to the LC, I pick out a couple nice craft beers and really savour them. (ok, sometimes I'll still grab a six of lucky)
I suggested that my next blog would be 365 Beers: A year of tasting craft beers. This plan was vetoed.
Looking forward to next year's Whisky Advent Calendar.
Friday, July 27, 2012
So, as if someone wants to test my faith in teens, I have a few new stories over the past few weeks.
I had an employee take a personal check off my desk and write himself a check. He had another buddy cash the check at a bank machine for him. When the check didn't clear, cause it looked sketchy (he even got the date wrong) his buddy was out $450.00. Screw your boss, sure, but screw your buddy as well? Then I had one of my recently released teens bust into my restaurant one night to steel the cash from the cashouts. Silly boy, didn't realize that these days no one pays with cash. busted into the bistro but left empty handed. Then, sunday night, one of my cooks and two of my former dishwashers let themselves in to the bistro, drank my cooking tequila and took my truck for a joy ride. Monday night, someone, busted the windows of two cars, busted the door of the apartment next door, started to bust my door open. They vandalized, but didn't take anything.
I never thought I would have camera's in my restaurant, but I am giving them some serious thought.
So, I am looking for some new cooks. Responsible adults only please.
I am officially fed up with teenagers.
Friday, March 30, 2012
Bees are highly evolved creatures,
with intricate social structures,
they build complex buildings
they have elaborate systems to collect, store and distribute resources,
yet they are defeated by window panes
I was sitting on the front balcony of our little casita
the balcony overlooked the beautiful Bay of Banderas
thick foliage of palm branches, banana trees and vines partially obscure the view.
there is a high wall dividing our house from the neighbour’s.
covering the wall is a thick tangle of vines
decorated with large, open, purple flowers
which may or may not have been morning glories.
I was sitting on the balcony of our little casita
coffee in hand, watching a honey bee.
The bees down here are much bigger than we have at home.
This one had the body of a honey bee, but was bigger than our native bumble bees.
I watched her as she flew from flower to flower collecting nectar
she would approach a flower, give it a sniff,
If it was a good one, she would crawl in and drink in the sweet nectar.
only one in about every five blossoms was good enough for her.
I know from school that she would then take the nectar back to her hive
it would be stored in wax containers that other bees had built
the nectar would be sorted, stored and distributed as needed
I know that there is an intricate social structure
which is rigidly maintained to preserve the hive.
I am thinking about this as the bee flies through a wide open door into my room.
When the bee turns around, she bumps into a clear window pane.
She keeps bumping and buzzing into the window pane trying to get through
less than 3 inches from where she is flying, there is a wide open door
which would allow her to escape.
yet this bee keeps hitting the clear glass
not understanding what she is hitting
not understanding how to get away.
Bees are highly evolved creatures,
with intricate social structures,
they build complex buildings
they have elaborate systems to collect, store and distribute resources,
yet they are defeated by window panes
I wonder, if there was someone watching us from a distance
would they think they the same thing?
Would they think that we are a highly evolved species
with a well developed civilisation
with intricate social structures
that builds complex buildings and cities
with elaborate systems to collect, store and distribute resources,
yet we keep flying into a window pane.
Would this observer wonder why we don’t see the window pane?
Why do we keep buzzing and bumping into the same window pane?
I wonder, what is our window pane?
Why can’t we see it?
why do we keep bumping into it, not understanding what it is?
I am thinking all these “deep” thoughts as I go down for breakfast
Bruce has made poached eggs on tortillas with
refried beans and salsa verde.
I offer to do the dishes after breakfast.
As I wash up, I am drafting this piece in my head.
I decide to make pozoles.
I have been trying to think of how to connect the pozoles
with the bee. I felt that I should write about them together, but having written,
I don’t know why they are connected. Maybe it is about how I sort out the panes of glass in my life. No matter what is going on, how stressed out I become or how difficult life gets, I can always find solace in cooking. Cooking is therapeutic. But more than that, cooking is how I work stuff out. Cooking makes connections for me, gets my brain working in different ways, helps me see all the different levels and structures in my world. I am not conscious of it, but cooking is how I think. Maybe making pozoles is how I will see and understand the window panes in my world.
Corn and No Meat Pozoles
I figure a pot of pozoles on the back burner would be a good thing today
we decided we would stay close to home, saving energy to party on the Malecon tonight.
Sunday night is the night when the locals enjoy the boardwalk.
I read the bag of corn for the pozoles, the recipe calls for 1kg corn and 2 kg of meat.
Because we are staying with one vegan and two vegetarians I decide to make a vegan version. The pozoles itself is corn, but not like the corn we know from home. It is hard and woody. It is the type you would grind to make tortillas. It is treated with lime to break it down to make it edible. This corn came in bags, pre cooked, and stored in plenty of the water it was cooked in. This preserves the starch from the corn that will thicken the soup. The closest you will probably find to this in canada, unless you have a really good latin grocer, is canned hominy corn. Feel free to use canned yellow corn, or corn fresh off the cob for this recipe. In this recipe I used a local squash that looked similar to a zucchini, but was considerable woodier. It held up well in the soup. Use zucchini or whatever squash you have available. I used 1 whole ancho and one whole guajillo chilie. These are both fairly mild. Feel free to use whatever chilies you prefer, just be aware of their different properties and levels of heat.
1 tbsp olive oil
4 small spring onions with white bulbs and greens, sliced. (or one white onion)
2 cloves garlic, chopped coarsley
1 jalepeno, minced
2 carrots, slices
2 zucchini like squash, diced
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 dry ancho chile
1 dry guajillo chile
1 kg pozole corn (hominy corn) with liquid
1 litre of water
salt and pepper to taste
lime and cilantro to garnish
- in large heavy pot, sautee onions in oil. add garlic and jalepeno. sautee.
- add carrots, zucchini and saute some more.
- add tomato, corn, water and chilies. bring to a boil.
- reduce heat and simmer for an hour, add salt and pepper to taste
- serve with lime wedges and fresh chopped cilantro.
A note on authenticity:
As I am writing this recipe, I can hear all the food purists out there questioning its authenticty. There are people out there who feel there is only one right way of doing things. They feel that authentic is more inportant than tasty. This recipe may or may not be authentic, I don’t really care. I am comforted by Bruce Springsteen’s words from his speech at South by Southwest: “We are living in a post-authentic world” “There is no one right way of doing, no pure way of doing, there is just doing.” Having said this, this recipe is as authentic as the recipe of any grandma in any village in Mexico, because like the grandma’s pozole, this one was made with love.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Bistro 7 ¼ Braised Beef Shortribs
2 tbsp canola oil
1 large onion, diced
1 dark beer (I use fort garry dark)
1 tbsp chili powder
2 cups beef or chicken stock (you can use canned)
S+p to taste
- season short ribs with chili powder
- brown on all sides in canola oil
- add onions, cloves, beer and stock.
- cover and roast for 6 hours at 225F (or put in slow cooker)
- cool in the liquid.
- Skim fat, reheat in liquid. Reduce liquid until it is saucy. Check seasoning.
Serve with mashed potatoes and vegetables
White Bean and Chorizo Soup
1 chorizo or other spicy sausage
1 small onion, diced
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 clove garlic minced
2 l chicken stock
2 cups cooked white beans (or one can)
1 potato, diced
2 cups chopped kale, or spinach or any other dark leafy green
1. 1) slice the sausage, sautee
2. 2) add the onion , celery and garlic
3. 3) add stock, potato and beans, bring to a low boil. Simmer until potatoes are cooked
4. 4) add greens and simmer until cooked. (kale will take a few minutes)