Asparagus officinalis has been cultivated and coveted by gastroristocrats since the days of Ancient Greece. Throughout history it has been prized as a difficult to grow, luxury vegetable. If you feel like flashing a little culinary bling you can razzle dazzle some guests with grilled asparagus doused in fancy-pants orange-enhanced Béarnaise. The grass doesn’t get any greener.
grilled asparagus with lemony Béarnaise
15-20 small to medium asparagus spears
3 egg yolks
3 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 pound cold butter
pinch of salt
2 sprigs of tarragon, leaves only, finely chopped
serve with a grilled porterhouse and some boiled new potatoes
Fire up barbecue and get it screaming hot. Boil some new potatoes while you get going with everything else.
To make the Béarnaise: Put the yolks, lemon juice and butter into a cold medium-sized pot. Get out your whisk and put the pot over medium-low heat.
Stir dilligently—you don’t have to stir hard, you don’t have to stir quickly, you just have to stir constantly. Don’t think you can walk away for a second.
You’ll notice the sauce starting to get smooth and creamy, but still quite thin and runny. Just be patient and keep stirring. It will start to thicken up.
When it is nearly the rich, velvety consistency of hollandaise, remove it (and keep it away) from the heat source.
Stir in the tarragon. Ideally you want to use it immediately, but if that’s not possible just make sure it doesn’t sit around for more than half an hour. If it becomes too thick as it sits, whisk in a couple drops of warm water to loosen it up.
Head over to the barbecue with your steak and asparagus. Drizzle the asparagus with oil and sprinkle with salt to season before you pop it on the grill. Roll the asparagus when it starts to get charred.
Grill the porter house to desired doneness, let it rest on a clean cutting board for 5-10 minutes and slice it nice and thin. Serve up the grilled asparagus, boiled potatoes and grilled steak all smothered with loads of lemony Béarnaise sauce.
Have a napkin handy so you can wipe it off your fingers and face and fancy dress clothing.
Here's a lovely napkin...
I'm going to a potluck this weekend. Not just any potluck... CHARpopLuck.
The ever-abitious Con and Jonnie (Connie DeSousa and John Jackson) at Charcut
have cooked up a crazy new event. A one-time pop-up potluck with 100 chefs cooking for 100 guests who paid big bones to help raise money for the Calgary Food Bank.
The money raised is big!
The only place to host a big party like this is the Calgary Farmers Market.
Food On Your Shirt designed the invite and donated some shirts for the food bank to sell at the event, they are limited editions just for CHARpopLuck.
The cooking skill level is high, so it will be hard to impress in a room of 100 chefs.
My plan is to undersell and overdeliver with a Green Jellied Salad. Which sounds like yak, but it's a damn fine jelly. A gin and tonic lime jelly with a cucumber, apple, cucumber, lime salad. It's bound to surprise and impress.
I was spreading the good word of the event and the virtues of jelly on CBC Homestretch... here's a replay.
Green Jelly Salad
1 cup clear apple juice or apple cider
1 cup sparkling water
3-4 drops of lime bitters
5 gelatin sheets (or 2 packs of gelatin powder)
2 ounces of gin or calvados (optional)
½ cucumber, peeled and seeded and sliced
1 green apple, peeled and seeded and sliced
10 green grapes, halved
10 fresh mint leaves, chiffonade
juice of 1 lime
zest of 1 lime
1 cup whipped cream, whipped soft
For the gelatin.
For best results follow the instructions on the gelatin package.
Place the gelatin sheets in cold water to soften for 5 minutes.
Place one cup of apple juice in a small pot over medium high heat.
Remove the softened gelatin from the cold water and place in the warm apple juice whisking to dissolve.
Add the remaining apple juice, stirring constantly to ensure the gelatin remains dissolved.
Transfer liquid to a vessel with a spout and whisk in the sparkling water.
Fill 4 clear glasses half full with the liquid. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for gelatin to set for at least 2 hours.
For the salad
Slice the grapes in half on a jaunty angle, cut the cucumber into long strips, then cut on a biase. Slice the apples into thin slices. Toss it all in a bowl.
Grate off the lime zest into a separate bowl with the whipping cream.
Whip until it is thick but pourable.
Whack the lime in half and squeeze on the lime juice onto the salad. Stir to combine and set aside to chill for 10 minutes whilst you whip the cream.
To serve, top the set gelatin with green salad and a tiny little dollop of whipped cream.
Garnish with mint chiffonade and some more fresh lime zest.
Creamy Avocado soup
as seen on Breakfast TV
1 avocado, ripe
2 cups of light chicken stock, heated
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt to taste
diced cherry tomatoes
In a small pot, bring the chicken stock to a boil over high heat.
Half the avocado and remove the pit. With a spoon scoop out the green meat and plunk it into a blender, add the lemon juice.
Transfer the hot chicken stock to a heat proof container with a spout. Pour enough hot stock to cover the avocado.
You need to carefully blend it while it is hot to make it smooth, but you also have to be careful not to blast molten lava-cado all over your kitchen. Remove the little plastic thingy from the lid, and cover the hole with a tea towel. (This stops it from being airtight, which would cause an ugly kick at the start—although the steam can sometimes get hot on your hand.) Start on low, and build up the speed incrementally.
When the soup is looking smooth, turn it off. Add more stock if needed to make it pourable. Pour the hot soup directly into the bowls. Don't reheat the soup or you will lose all the lovely green colour.
Now top the soup with the finest tex mex selects.
This soup is like an all inclusive tropical holiday.
Here's the video.
Here's the awesome Carne shirt I was wearing during the segment.
Here's the Free Range Turducken
Turducken is a freewheeling monstrosity that requires a sauce that is awesome enough to stand up to the beastly flavour of a full throttle bird.
Rev it up with cranberries for the turkey, fire your pistons with orange for the duck and put the pedal to the metal with thyme for the chicken.
Head off road with this awesome sauce that can handle a free ranged turducken.
All terrain cranberry sauce for turduckens
3 cups fresh or frozen whole cranberries
1 cup of marmalade
1 cup of water
big pinch of salt
1 shallot, finely minced
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
Get a medium pot on the stove over medium heat. Pile in all your ingredients and bring the whole mess to a boil. Don't worry about the thyme twigs, those are easy to pluck out later.
Stir it all about to break up the bits of marmalade.
Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook it out nice and slow so the cranberries start popping and the sauce thickens and reduces for 30-45 minutes. Serve it up nice and hot or let it cool to room temperature before you serve it with the 'bird'.
This stuff keeps for ages in the fridge, so it'll last as long as your leftover bird bits last.
Here's the shirt that goes with the sauce that goes with the bird.
Halloween is over but that doesn't mean pumpkins are gone for good. Celebrate the life and times of your pumpkin by making pumpkin chili with lots of piggy parts to make it extra tasty.
Instead of just using the tattered zombified remains of a carved out pumpkin carcass, I used these awesome little pumpkins from Innisfail growers
. The chilli will warm your chili bones and bring life back to your candyfried brains. Also, there's a totally awesome Dia De Los Muertes Bacon Warrior shirt to go along with the recipe.
Dia De Los Muertos Chili
- 1 pumpkin quartered, large cubed, cleaned and roasted for 45 minutes at 350F
- 3 slices of bacon, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp of chili powder feel free to use whatever flavour you like
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 3 pork or chicken sausages of choice, removed from the casing
- 1 large can of chick peas, drained
- 2 cups of chicken stock or water
- thick yogurt or sour cream
- Preheat the oven to 375˚F.
- Cut up your little pumpkin and scoop out the guts. If you feel like sorting through the gunk, you can go for it and keep the seeds for roasting.
- Roast the pumpkin for 45 minutes until softened.
- Get a large pot on the stove over medium heat.
- Sautée diced onion in butter with the bacon.
- Sautée until the onions are caramelised.
- Add the sausage meat and break it up into little pieces.
- Add the garlic, chili powder, chickpeas, tomato purée and stock.
- Bring it all to a boil and simmer until the sauce reduces, about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile scoop out the soft pumpkin meat and get rid of the tough skin (if the skin is soft enough to eat, then you can eat it). Break up the pumpkin meat into pieces and plop it in the stewing chili.
- When the sauce is nice and thick, it's almost ready to serve. Add salt to taste and then get a big bowl out for serving.
- Scoop a big old steamy pile into the bowl and top it with a creamy slop of sour cream or thick yogurt and sprinkle on some finely chopped cilantro and cheddar cheese.
- Finish it off with a crunchy pile of pork rinds.
Get lost in a London Fog. The blend of a perfectly brewed cup of Earl Grey tea with steamed milk and a touch of sweet vanilla will fog your glasses and warm your heart. This recipe is a sweet twist on the classic. Wrap yourself in the creamy comfort of the Earl Grey vanilla scent with this light and delightful cheese cake in a glass with Earl Grey shortbread crumble. It's a perfect finish to a heavy meal.
And here's a really delightful tea time t-shirt.
1 earl grey teabag
½ cup water
¼ cup sugar
2 cups of whipping cream
1 cup of cream cheese
1 cup icing sugar
1 vanilla pod
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Make the shortbread. On a clean work surface bring together the sugar, earl grey tea, butter and flour to form a dough ball. Roll out the dough on a piece of parchment paper and slip into onto a baking sheet. Bake the sheet for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Let the cookie sheet cool to room temperature on the counter.
In a small pot combine ½ cup of water and ¼ cup of sugar. Bring to boil until all the sugar has dissolved. Add earl grey teabag and leave it on the counter to cool to room temperature.
Use a beater attachment to whip the whipping cream into floppy peaks. Add the vanilla seeds, half the icing sugar and keep whipping until incorporated.
In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese and 2 Tbsp of the earl grey syrup until it is softened. Add the whipped cream a tiny bit at a time until it is lightened up and nice and smooth. Fold in the remaining whipped cream and set aside in the fridge.
Fill a small glass with some of the crumbled shortbread cookie. Scoop or pipe in the cream cheese mixture. Drizzle on some syrup and a little more shortbread crumble.
Bread is happiness.
There is nothing that doesn't go with bread. Everything goes with bread.
Probably the best sandwich on earth is the crouton sandwich. It's redundantellizing.
This amazing bread comes from an awesome local baker named Aviv at Sidewalk citizen bakery. Aviv and his wife Michal gave up their life of sciency big bucks and cashed in on the happiness of working with bread. They had a knead to be happy.
Here is an awesome sandwich. But it's only an awesome sandwich if it's on awesome bread, otherwise the best it can hope to be is meh.
Here's our best bread shirt, it makes me happy. It makes me even happier when I wear it and eat a happy sandwich.
2 slices of awesome bread, like Sidewalk Citizen sourdough
mayonnaise or butter
leftover roast chicken, turkey or pork roast
some lettuce leaves, nice and bitter and punchy
slices of perfecto tomatoes (sliced cherry tomatoes are super yummy too)
Chives, fresh basil or thin sliced red onion
Crunchy, yummy expensive salt, preferably from an ocean or a nice mountain
Cracked black pepper
Start with a slice of bread. If you cut it with a serated knife it will probably be wonky with one end fatter than the other. That's awesome. Don't worry about trying to achieve a wonky slice of bread, it'll happen. Just let it make you happy.
Slather on soft butter or a smear of great homemade mayonnaise.
Dismantle your roast chicken, turkey or pork roast and reassemble the pieces on the slice of bread.
Place some cheeky bits of leafy lettuce and hold them down with heavy slices of juicy tomato. Toss on some herbs of choice and scatter on some crunchy salt and cracky pepper.
Eat it open faced and enjoy it as your own face opens up to a smile.
Start a little 'manger a trois' at home with a some sexy and delicious food porn.
BLT Kama Sutra
6 strips of bacon
12 cherry tomatoes
assorted microgreens of choice
mayonnaise as needed, I used Kewpie
Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
Arrange the bacon on a baking sheet, but make sure you twist and turn the bacon into all kinds of contortionist positions.
When the oven is hot, fire in the bacon and bake until crispy and brown. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and let it cool and firm up and get crispy.
Once the bacon is crispy you can carefully break it into 1/3 strip pieces. The more curves the better.
Slice your tomatoes using jaunty angles and fun oblong shapes. Symmetry is not sexy.
Now comes the fun part. Just like having a threesome, you need to let your inhibitions go and play with it until something starts to work. Use the mayonnaise to adhere things together. Playfull lay all the ingredients against each other in a wild and fun assortment of ways. Serve them arranged on a platter and obviously you're going to be eating them with your hands.
Oh, and here is the BLT Kama Sutra shirt.
When Kitchen Scraps first came out I was trying to come up with fun ways to promote the book. The BLT Kama Sutra was the cookbook equivalent to releasing a sextape.
So, I used the original inspiration and added several other sexy positions for the trio to explore and have fun with. Enjoy!
Happy Oktoberfest from Thor, the god of Thunder and Wiener Schnitzel!
Most people are not aware that Thor is of Germanic descent and that his mighty hammer, Mjollnir, is not only a powerful magical weapon, it also makes exceptional Wiener Schnitzel. What would Thor do during this time of celebration? Well, he would put on some song trousers, tip back a few biers with his fraus, grab his meat hammer and pound some meat to make a polka-inspiring pile of Wiener Schnitzel. For all you mere mortals out there, it can be just as easy to pound out your own Wiener Schnitzel to celebrate. Just grab your meat hammer and before you know it, you’ll be pounding out Wiener Schnitzel faster than you can pound back a massive frosty jug of golden brew. Raise your jugs and your hammer to Nowemberfest, let’s make it last straight through Decemberfest!
4 pork chops (between 1/2 -3/4 inch thick)
1 cup flour
3 cups bread crumbs
½ cup melted butter
2 lemons, cut into wedges
It’s traditional to use veal for this recipe, but you can also use chicken or my personal favourite, pork chops.
Get a big piece of plastic wrap flat on your counter.
Place one pork chop on the plastic and cover with another large piece of plastic wrap. Not even Thor can pound out a schnitzel with one swing. It takes some time and patience to hammer out an evenly flat piece of schnitzel.
Here are some tips for the novice meat hammer handler.
Use the flat side of your meat hammer and pound away on the entire pork chop surface to start tenderizing it.
Don’t just wail on it or you’ll tear the meat.
Hammer it evenly all over the pork chop.
Work around in a circle and make sure you are hitting it squarely with the flat surface of the hammer.
Keep pounding until you have a great big wide pork chop that is a mere ¼ inch thick.
Keep it in the plastic and set it aside while you hammer out the rest of the chops. You’ll get the swing of it.
Now get three big plates or shallow baking dishes ready for breading the schnitzels.
On the first plate you’ll put the flour with a good sprinkle of salt. On the second plate beat the eggs with a fork and a pinch of salt. On the third plate put one cup of the bread crumbs and spread them nice and even.
Get your biggest frying pan on the stove and heat it up over medium heat. Keep the pan dry (no oil) while it heats up. Pick up your first chop and dip it in the flour so it gets a nice even coating all over.
Transfer the beaten meat to the egg mix and make sure it is covered thoroughly with no dry spots. Now shake off excess egg goop and dip it in the breadcrumb mixture. Make sure it is thoroughly coated and put the breaded chop on a clean plate while you bread the others.
Finish the rest of the chops adding more breadcrumbs to the third plate as needed. Now your pan should be nice and hot. Pour in the melted butter so there at least a 1/8 inch covering the bottom of the pan. Put as many schnitzels as you can fit in and fry them until they are golden brown. Flip and finish cooking on the other side. You may have to up the heat, depending on your stove and how well the Schnitzels are browning. Serve them hot and crunchy from the pan with a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
Serve with boiled potatoes and sautéed mushrooms finished with white wine and cream and a couple of frosty stein of the god of thunder's golden brew
Some things never go out of taste style, and for me that's a perfectly squashed juicy beefy book binder's sandwich! And, it's a perfect sandwich to eat with our beefy tee, Well Done, Done Well.
That's me acting beefy in our latest design...getting ready to drip some juicy beef on my shirt.
Make it as beefy as you like, serve with pickles and you've got yourself a classic.
the book binder's sandwich
Excerpted from Escoffier!
Cut off the crusts from the ends of a sandwich loaf leaving at least 1/2 inch of bread on them. Grill a thick steak, well seasoned with salt and pepper; allow it to cool then spread it with mustard and horseradish.
Butter the crusts, put the steak between them and tie up with string. Wrap it in several sheets of clean absorbent paper, place in a press and tighten it gradually before leaving it for 30 minutes. When removed it will be seen that the inside of the sandwich will be saturated with the meat juice which the outside crust has prevented from escaping. The string and paper are removed and the sandwich is then wrapped in greaseproof paper or placed in a box with a lid.
Don't have a book binder's vice from the 1500's? No problem. Here's my homemade 'book binder' sandwich squasher, filled with water for weight.