My wife and I have done our fair share of dinner parties as well as catered quite a few friends’ weddings and the number one most requested item by far is Crystal’s patented chilli. The fact that I’ve been producing high-end catering/resto food for almost fifteen years doesn’t ever factor in. If we’re showing up to the pot-luck you can bet we’re bringing chilli. Read More
New ingredients are like amphetamines for kitchen creativity. From the moment I get home from a farmer’s market or an afternoon of foraging or hell, just back from a regular ‘ol grocery shopping run I’m jacked up! What is this crazy looking-stuff? Where did it come from? How do I process it and what can I do with all the bits? My mind is vibrating in a million different directions at once!
Last week I got a hold of some burdock root at the market in Courtenay and had just such a moment. These rough-looking tubers looked more like something dug out of a cat box than anything I’d serve for dinner, but The lady I bought ‘em from was insistent that they were a delicious spring delicacy! So yeah, I got ‘em home, mind ablaze and immediately starting hunting through my cookbooks for more info. Read More
My two greatest culinary passions are a) methods of preserving food- the simpler and more flavourful the better – and b) duck! The former being a tether to the distant past when salting and fermenting meant survival for crafty cooks and the latter being the tastiest damn animal know to man.
Now I know I’ve already done a ton of duck recipes, including the great-granddaddy of all preserved duck dishes: confit du canard, but bear with me one more time ‘cause this one’s a keeper. It’s a technique for preserving breasts that results in a semi-cured, dense and beautifully salty-sweet taste reminiscent of prosciutto de parma. It’s dead-easy and a great entry-level way to get into more serious charcuterie. Read More
Maitre D: “And finally, monsieur, a wafer-thin mint.”
Mr Creosote: “No.”
Maitre D: “Oh sir! It’s only wafer thin.”
- Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life (Don’t Youtube it… You’ll lose your appetite!)
A tuile is not a mint, but it is the very definition of “wafer thin”. Half way between a cookie and a cracker the classic tuile is a sugary almond snack from France (“Tuile” means “tile”) that looks exactly like a Pringles potato chip and is traditionally served with sweet cream. Nowadays tuilemaking embraces both sweet and savoury flavours and is molded into a wide variety of shapes for stuffing, decoration or just eating out of hand. Read More
Mother Nature has finally pulled herself together and ended the treachley tyranny of wind and rain that we West coasters call winter. Now that the sun’s out the world becomes a psychedelic dreamscape of bright pink cherry blossoms, purple crocuses, and deep green salmonberry shoots. I roll back the rock and stumble blindly, yet eagerly out of my cave and into the backyard with a pair of gloves and a plastic bag to collect the first edible greenery of the year: The mighty Stinging Nettle! Read More