Fresh Pasta

I’ve been making fresh pasta on and off for about two years now. It’s been a long, steep learning curve with a lot of lumpy, feathery or overly-elastic balls of dough destined for the trash bin. Many weekends I would despair that the process is too arcane to be learned from a book and that the tactile magic required to make it like some Piedmontese nona would require a bankrupting trip to the motherland, or at the very least a couple of weeks worth of classes.

But I kept at it, spurred on by the near-pornographic descriptions of fresh pasta making and eating found in audiobooks like Bill Buford’s Heat and Pasta, Pane, Vino: Deep Travels Through Italy’s Food Culture by Matt Goulding. Little by little I got better, mostly by scaling back my efforts to just the simplest recipes and easiest shapes and focusing on my technique, checking at every stage to make sure the texture of my dough matched the descriptions I would read in The Pasta Bible or the fantastic Cooking By Hand by Paul Bertolli.

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Tojo’s (Vancouver, BC)

Tucked into an unassuming block of office buildings on Broadway, one of Vancouver’s busiest thoroughfares is a Tardis-like temple of Japanese gastronomy run by one of the planet’s most famous sushi chefs. This itamae titan is Hidekazu Tojo and unlike a lot of chefs with half a century of experience tucked under his apron he can be counted on to be at his restaurant nearly every day with a big smile to greet guests.  

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Kami In The Kitchen

“Friends, let us join together here in the pits of sweltering madness where we cast our bodies and unheard voices into the void of fire and toil. Look upon the wasted works of our brother and pray that his clearly overcooked roast has a slightly pinkish interior so that bits of this beautiful and costly beast haven’t completely gone to waste. Oh Kitchen Gods!  Please bless our ovens so they may produce another piece in a most timely manner… Because if that doesn’t work, I don’t know what the f@%$k we’re going to do.” 


– Prayers To The Kitchen Gods 3:32 

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Pork and Chicken Liver Pâté

It’s long past New Year’s and I’m not into resolutions, but I was inspired over the holidays to try my hand at more charcuterie and I’ve decided that trend will continue into 2019 as part of my weekend kitchen routine. The sausages we made over the break (more on that in a bit) were not the first bit of salted meat I attempted and my first foray into this exciting new realm of grinders and guts was quite a hit at our holiday table.

Call it pâté, terrine or fancy meatloaf the concept of salted, pressed, finely ground fat, flesh and offal that is shaped into a mold then slow cooked and served cold is about as old as the concept of “cuisine” itself. If you didn’t pick up the accent, this dish is French, unapologetically oldschool French in the same way that quail with grapes or veal tripe in white sauce is. The process has been streamlined since the days of Grandfather Escoffier, but it’s still got that that slightly fussy way about it that both makes it a joy to execute and a hell of a story for your guests when you drop it on the table.

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2018 Holiday Guide: Gifts for Sausage Making at Home

My wife and I have somehow found ourselves with a bit of time off this holiday season and have decided this is the year to indulge in our strange, shared desire to make sausage. Don’t laugh; I’ve wanted to craft tube meat since I attended the NVICA event back in April and Crystal’s been saying we pay too much for prefabs forever.

So we pooled our meager pre-Christmas funds and went in on a sausage stuffer, not knowing that it takes a wee bit more gear to actually get stuffing. A quick peek through all the charcuterie books on my shelf and a couple eleventh hour Amazon orders later we now have a complete kit for sausage making ready for a holiday sausage party. (more…)

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