Spicy Goat Curry

Recipes

As a huge fan of food from the Indian subcontinent, spice, and goats, it makes sense that I would eventually learn how to make a goat curry.

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If you’ve never had it before, think: gamey, rich, greasy, spicy and intensely flavoursome. Various cuts of mutton, ranging from ribs, to shank, to chops, stewed together until the meat falls off the bone and the connective tissue turns soft and gelatinous in a vat of aromatics, spices and ghee. Best eaten with your fingers and a heaping pile of warm naan.

The following recipe is a combination of a few recipes that I had used before, with a few modifications to keep things interesting.

Oh, and to ensure the flavors are all there, I invited a few friends over for a test batch to make sure the taste stayed authentic.


INGREDIENTS

Feeds 10

Takes 3-4 hours

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You’ll need these things.

  • 6 pounds of mutton chunks (preferably all cuts of the goat)
  • 5 medium red onions
  • 4 inches ginger root (minced)
  • 3 heads garlic (minced)
  • 1 liter plain, whole-fat yogurt
  • 1.5 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1.5 tablespoons ground cardamom
  • 2.5 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 15 whole cloves
  • 10 bay leaves
  • 1.5 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 4 tablespoons red pepper (I used korean red pepper flakes for some dry heat)
  • 1.5 tablespoons ground szechuan peppercorns (trust me, adds a faint tingling spiciness, enhances the heat from the chilies)
  • 10 de-seeded red chilies (adjust for your own spice tolerance, include seeds for extra kick)
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup ghee
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (plus extra for marinade)
  • 6 cups water (or stock if you want to be extra fancy)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch (mixed into slurry)
  • 1 bunch chopped fresh coriander

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Marinate mutton chunks in 2 teaspoons of coriander, turmeric, cumin and chili flakes with enough oil to lightly coat the meat. This could be done overnight, but an hour should suffice.
  2. Food process (or finely chop, if you’re some sort of masochist) 5 onions. We want a rough, paste-like consistency.
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Before

  1. Finely chop (or food-process) ginger and garlic to a paste.
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This should do.

  1. De-seed and finely chop chilli peppers.
DSC_1190

Like so.

  1. Add remaining oil to heavy pot over medium heat, add all remaining dried spices. This allows the oils in the spice to diffuse into the vegetable oil and makes things a bit more fragrant. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until you see a slight change in color and increase in aroma.
DSC_1192

I didn’t heat the oil enough 😦

  1. Add onions, garlic, ginger and hot peppers, fry out until onions are translucent and begin to take on a very light brown tint.
  2. Add crushed tomatoes and cook out for 3-4 minutes, this takes away the astringency of the raw tomatoes.
  3. Add 6 cups of water, bring to boil.
DSC_1193

Trust me it gets more appetising.

  1. Add all of the mutton. I know what everyone is thinking. “Oh no, he didn’t sear the goat, where’s the maillard reaction, where’s the flavor??”. Just stop. If you would like, feel free to sear off 6 pounds of fucking goat meat. While you’re at it, you can have your friends pick up some polysporin for your numerous grease burns and a lifetime supply of fabreeze to get rid of the goat stink covering literally everything you own.
    1. But seriously,the bone-in cuts of mutton, combined with the volume and intensity of the aromatics and spices provide enough flavor. The searing would be a marginal improvement for a whole bunch of extra effort and pain.
  2. Stew for 1.5 hours on low-medium heat, stirring regularly to prevent burning.
DSC_1196

Getting better.

  1. Add yogurt, ghee and cornstarch slurry, continue to stew for roughly an hour and a half.
    1. At this point, the curry is done and the remaining cooking time is completely up to you. Personally, I like a thicker, sauce-like consistency and prefer to boil the curry down until it’s almost a paste. Others prefer soupier curries (perhaps served over rice).
  2. Salt and pepper to taste.
DSC_1197

Note how the oil separates. Roughly 1 hour from completion.

  1. Serve with warm naan and chopped coriander.
DSC_1198

The lighting was off, OK?

  1. Stuff your fucking face.
DSC_1200

!!!


RANDOM TIPS

I like my curry with naan, and I’m way too lazy to make my own, so to recreate restaurant-quality naan, just brush some water and ghee on your store-brought stuff and toss it in a 400 degree oven for a minute and a half.

Like anything stewed, the flavors intensify the longer you keep it in the fridge (until it goes bad), so this is great for Sunday meal-prep. It microwaves well, but if you’re planning on re-heating over the stove, add a bit of water or stock to keep the consistency.

Shitty cuts of meat are the best for this recipe. Since the meat is stewed for so long, the fat has time to render, and the collagen in the gristle and connective tissue denature into gelatin. I find that the bone-in cuts also provide a thicker and tastier curry as you can stew all the goodness from the bones. Oh, you also get the amazing bits of thigh/shin bone with a perfect, buttery bit of marrow in the middle. Just trust me on this one. Save your lamb chops for something else and get the shitty cuts.

Close all your bedroom doors, close the closets, lay down some scrap paper on the stove/near the counters. This stuff stains like none other and the smell really sticks to fabric.


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“It tastes like my mom’s mutton curry”

:,)

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Chilly Days and Chilli Crab

Recipes

So as of yesterday, winter has officially begun.

Of course, nobody living at my latitude cares much about the ‘official’ start of winter, as it has already been cold and snowing for about a month and a half.

The wind bites at you when you walk outside, and any exposed appendages sting, and then quickly become numb. The sun rises at 9 and sets at roughly 4, leaving precious few hours of daylight.

But as miserable as it may seem, it’s not all bad.

For those of you contemplating your spirituality or practising meditation; try a solitary winter walk.

Bundle up. Find someplace deserted and snow covered, pick a direction and just walk.

With the cold comes an almost preternatural stillness. It’s hard to describe, but with the blue skies and coldly brilliant sun and still air, everything seems.. clean.

Winter Road

Photo Credits – Jens Prenhaw Photography

Quickly, your entire world shrinks to the little bubble of warmth that you carry around yourself. The stinging of the cold gives something tangible for your thoughts to crystallize around, and previously hazy thoughts suddenly become clear.

The cold weather also permits for traditional, greasy and hearty winter recipes, or in my case, spicy things.


CHILLI CRAB

A Singaporean/Malaysian dish dating back to the 50’s, chilli crab is perfect for when you want to spend an hour and a half picking through fiery, saucy bits of carapace and licking your fingers.

Here’s how I make it.

INGREDIENTS

DSC_0822

Hard Mode: Don’t read the list, use the picture as reference for ingredients.

  • 2 large mud crabs (or Dungeness if you don’t live in South-east Asia)
  • 1 egg
  • 5 Thai chilies
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 250 ml tomato puree
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 large onion (or two small ones…)
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • half inch of sliced ginger
  • 1 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp salt (to taste)
  • 3 tbsp neutral cooking oil
  • Cilantro to garnish

STEPS

1. Roughly chop the onion(s), de-seed chilies, peel garlic and ginger.

DSC_0827

Aromatics in!

2. Toss the onion, chilies, garlic and ginger into the food processor and puree. When you open the lid on the food processor, stick your face/eyes right in there and see how much it burns. If you’re getting tears, it’s probably hot enough. Or you could just taste it, but that’s no fun.

DSC_0828

Sinus-clearing goodness!

3. Slay your crabs and chop each crab into 6-7 bits. Discard the shell and the little frond-like bits. For more depth of flavor, try cracking open the claws/legs so the sauce can seep in. This is very messy, and you will get crab bits everywhere.

DSC_0824

Spared you the gruesome bits.

4. Heat your oil in a wok/deep frying pan and add your puree’d aromatics. Cook for 6-8 minutes on medium heat, or until the the mixture is noticeably drier and takes on a light golden colour.

DSC_0829

“Light golden colour” sounds way better than “sorta yellow”.

5. Add fish sauce, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, salt, tomato paste, and tomato sauce. Cook down the mixture for an additional 5 minutes to remove the raw tomato taste from the paste/puree.

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Not much to say here.

6. Combine the cornstarch with a quarter cup of water and add to mixture.

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Cocktail sauce consistency

7. Toss in crab and cook, covered for 8-12 minutes on medium-high heat. Stir occasionally.

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Sans egg.

8. Right before the crab is cooked, break an egg into the wok and combine to coat the crab. This thickens the sauce and tempers the spice.

9. Roughly chop cilantro and garnish. Rule of thumb: more is better, especially if you can’t handle spice. The cilantro cools down the dish significantly.

DSC_0838

Yessssssssssssssss…

  1. Dig in and make a giant fucking mess.

 

From my experience, this tastes pretty damn authentic. Feel free to tweak the amount of spice/aromatics. Some even prefer ketchup as opposed to tomato paste/puree and sugar.

I prefer my spicy dishes to be nearly-painful, so this may be a bit spicy for non-masochists. Ideally the dish should have people flushed, sweating, inhaling sharply, yet unable to stop eating.

DSC_0836

Nomnomnom

If you have significant experience cooking chilli crab and I’m missing something, please let me know.

I wish everyone Happy Holidays, filled with family, friends, good food and better memories.

See you all next year!

How to Roast a Turkey That Doesn’t Taste Like Dry Shit

Recipes

Coming from an immigrant family, the custom of roasting a huge, tasteless bird was lost upon my parents for the first decade of being in Canada.

Thus, the responsibility of learning and enabling this proud, time-honored tradition fell upon on my shoulders.

This seemed relevant

This seemed relevant

Poultry skills honed through countless residence socials and frat parties, I’ve been told that I can roast a pretty good bird.

Don’t take my word on it though, try the recipe out the next time you need to feed a dozen people.

I promise you won’t be disappointed.


To properly deal with the turkey, we must first come to terms with the fact that turkey is inherently a bland and unpleasant animal.

Ugly fucker too.

Ugly fucker too.

The meat is incredibly lean, which does not lend itself well to roasting, and an average bird is roughly 15 pounds, which means that if you want a safe internal temperature, the exterior is going to be bone dry.

To top this all off, there is a disproportionately large amount of white meat, which is only made edible through submersion in gravy and cranberry sauce.

But hey, a tradition is a tradition, so we can learn a few tricks to make turkey less gross.


INGREDIENTS

  • One turkey, 12 pounds
  • One large onion
  • One large carrot
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 1 bunch fresh rosemary
  • 1 bunch fresh sage
  • 1 pound salted butter
  • 1 pound thickly sliced bacon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning and brine

People who are delegated turkey duty during the holidays generally know of a few methods to infuse the meat with some semblance of flavor.

The most popular methods include brining, basting and stuffing butter under the skin.

I do all three, because why not.

STEP 1

The Brine

This one is easy.

Don’t be a lazy fuck like me and get your turkey a week or so in advance so you can defrost it in time.

Get a big bucket or clean out your sink really well.

Put your defrosted turkey inside the container, remember to take out the giblets and such.

Submerge the turkey and add one cup of salt for every two gallons of water. If you’re bad at eyeballing measurements, just add the salt to the water beforehand.

There you go, leave the bird in the brine for at least 8 hours.

If you want to be extra-fuckin’ fancy, toss in some herbs. You can convince yourself they add to the flavor, but nobody at the table is going to taste a fucking thing under the gravy anyways.

STEP 2

The Buttering

This one gets messier.

Chop your veggies into one inch cubes.

Finely chop the herbs and mix thoroughly with the butter. Once again, if you’ve forgotten to set out the butter at room temperature, cut the brick into thirds and microwave it for 30 seconds.

Salt and pepper the inside and outside of the bird. Fill the cavity with the chopped vegetables, scatter the rest around the bottom of the roasting tray.

I buttered it first

I buttered it first

Fold the wing tips under the bird and tie the ankle-stumps together. This maintains a more presentable shape for the finished product.

Now for the fun part. Lift up the skin near the bottom part of the breastbone and slowly separate the skin from the meat. There’s an elastic membrane below the skin that is quite durable, so don’t be afraid to really get in there. You want all of the skin intact at the end of the process though.

Then I added the vegetables!

Then I added the vegetables!

Once you have a cavity, stuff the space between the skin and the meat with the herb butter. You can press down on top of the skin to smooth butter into the nooks and crannies.

Spread the remaining butter on top of the bird, drizzle olive oil over the top to prevent the skin from burning.

As a final safeguard against a dry turkey breast, lay out your bacon over the breast.

Like so.

Like so.

STEP 3

The Basting

Oven at 360 degrees Celsius. Bake for 13 minutes per pound.

You can baste two to three times during the roasting process. I usually remove the bacon around the hour and a half mark otherwise it gets burnt.

Reserve bacon for gravy making or topping potatoes/side dishes (or just eat it on the spot, you pig).

Due to the vegetables used as a stuffing, you’ll be left with a pan full of buttery roasting juices which is wonderful for gravies, soups, and anything that needs turkey broth.

Aaaaand the end result.

Aaaaand the end result.


THE SAUCE

Now this is painfully easy.

I followed this recipe, so I won’t bother writing all the steps (or any of them).

Have some pictures though.

Just toss everything in the fuckin' pan.

Just toss everything in the fuckin’ pan.

As a note, if you plan on making your own sauce, make sure you crush all the berries in the pan as they cook down. Unbroken berries are incredibly acidic and can ruin an otherwise pleasant mouthful of turkey.

Then you boil it until it looks like this.

Then you boil it until it looks like this.

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE GRAVY!?

I shit the bed on the gravy this year. Don’t ask.


With the magic of grade-school reading comprehension and basic problem-solving skills, you won’t need to subject your Thanksgiving guests to the awkward dance of having to pretend that your turkey isn’t, in fact, disgusting.

You’re welcome.

Jerk it Out

Recipes

Fuck yes, tax season is over.

This may not mean much to you, casual reader, but this means I get my life back.

To commemorate this occasion, I’ll drink whiskey and write about food.

This one, if anyone cares.

It’s not actually rare. That’s just a bold-faced lie.

My life is thrilling isn’t it?


Jerk Chicken, Fried Plantains, Rice and Peas

I felt like making something ethnic and non-time consuming.

To get everyone in a tropical mood, I have taken the liberty of providing a carefully selected song for you to listen to as you read.

Thank me later.

So jerk chicken. What exactly is jerk chicken?

According to wiki-fuckin’-pedia:

Jerk is a style of cooking native to Jamaica in which meat is dry-rubbed or wet marinated with a very hot spice mixture called Jamaican jerk spice. Jerk seasoning is traditionally applied to pork and chicken. Modern recipes also apply jerk spice mixes to fish, shrimp, shellfish, beef, sausage, lamb, and tofu. Jerk seasoning principally relies upon two items: allspice (called “pimento” in Jamaica) and Scotch bonnet peppers. Other ingredients include cloves, cinnamon, scallions, nutmeg, thyme, garlic, and salt.”

For those too lazy to read three goddamned sentences, jerk chicken is chicken cooked with a marinade or rub of Jamaican spices.

As my knowledge of Jamaican culture and food is limited to shitty music and wikipedia, I used this recipe for the chicken and barbecue sauce with minor modifications.

Emeril's got my back.

My n*gga

Instead of scotch bonnets, I used equally spicy, tiny green thai peppers and instead of spring onions, I used shallots.

Oh, and I didn’t wash down the chicken with vinegar because what the fuck.

Without going into too much detail, the chicken was great and the barbecue sauce was literally the best I’ve ever had.

The end product.

The end product.

Fried Plantains

Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Plantains
  • Salt
  • 5 Cloves garlic
  • Water

So this is the first time I’ve ever made plantains and apparently it’s not too hard.

Get some plantains (the blackened ones are the ripe ones, no joke).

Cut plantains into 1 inch slices.

Fry plantains in low-medium heat until browned.

Remove and crush into medallions.

Like so.

Like so.

Drop medallions into cold water with crushed garlic and salt.

Completely necessary.

Completely necessary.

Remove after 5 minutes.

Dry on cloth.

Re-fry until puffy and golden.

Tell your friends it's a potato.

Tell your friends it’s a potato.

The taste is hard to describe. It’s like a garlicky, sweet, tart, crunchy fried banana.

Strange, I know, but quite good and definitely worth a try.

Rice and Peas

Once again, having little knowledge of traditional Jamaican cooking, I referred to the internet.

See recipe here.

I didn’t use any hot peppers, and used a 13 oz can of coconut milk as opposed to coconut cream.

I also used a rice cooker because, lets be honest, why would you ever make rice in anything but a rice cooker.

It turned out OK.

Would’ve been better if I bothered to read the can of kidney beans before dumping it into the rice cooker.

Chili spices and coconut milk do not go well together.

Fuuuuuuuuuck

Fuuuuuuuuuck


Overall, dinner was great.

Brown is a predominant theme.

Brown is a predominant theme.

The food was uncomplicated, hearty, and intensely flavored.

Give it a try if you have the time, it’s not hard, and you’ll have some amazing barbecue sauce left over for various culinary shenanigans.

Who am I kidding.. I ate it all with leftover popcorn shrimp.

I’m disgusting. I know.

Traditional Gender Roles and Beouf Bourguignon

Recipes

Sometimes, when I miss my bus home after work, I’ll wander around the local Safeway for shits and giggles.

I’m really cool.

Can't handle my swag

Can’t handle my swag

Long story short, I impulsively purchased a prime rib roast, and now I have to make something out of it before it goes bad.

But what to make?

It seemed like a pity to toss such a great cut into the oven and dry the ever-loving shit out of it, and cutting the roast into three steaks seemed like too much effort at the time.

So I made beouf bourguignon.

Julia Child’s beouf bourguignon.

My hero.

Can’t handle HER swag.


BEOUF BOURGUIGNON

Total time: 5 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 3 pounds quality beef (chuck or prime rib preferred)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • Large handful of parsley
  • 6 strips of bacon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 bottle pinot noir
  • 500 ml beef stock
  • 250 ml chicken stock
  • 1 pound quartered mushrooms
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1.5 pounds of pearl onions
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt/pepper
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar

Start the recipe by writing off the rest of your day.

Seriously.

Clear your schedule and tell your friends to fuck off, this is going to take a while.

Great, now that’s out of the way, it’s time to start.

Because my meat came in a giant chunk with bones attached, I needed to do some last minute ghetto-butchering.

I only took one in-between photo because my hands were greasy :(

I only took one in-between photo because my hands were greasy 😦

Basically, you want your meat in 2 inch by 2 inch cubes. This may sound like fairly large pieces, but trust me, the meat will shrink, and you want the meat to keep its integrity through cooking.

Now, slice the bacon into lardons (small bits) and blanch for 1-2 minutes in boiling water. This apparently gets rid of the smokiness of the bacon and some of the salt as well.

Transfer bacon into skillet and fry until golden brown, fish out the actual bacon and set aside.

Bacon and other things you will eventually need.

Bacon and other things you will eventually need.

Now add the olive oil to the bacon grease and set the heat to medium-high.

Sear the meat until browned.

You can try drying off the meat with a paper towel to avoid splattering, but to be honest, it won’t matter too much.

You will get burning hot oil all over your arms and hands, you just need to deal with it.

This works best in small batches, if the meat is too crowded, it won’t sear properly.

Transfer to a dutch oven/casserole dish afterwards. Toss in cooked bacon bits as well.

Suck it up princess.

Suck it up princess.

Salt/pepper the meat.

Pour out all but 1-2 tablespoons of oil and add the carrots and onions. Sauté until the onions are translucent and the carrots slightly browned.

Now dump in the entire bottle of wine, the beef stock, the herbs, garlic and the tomatoes. Stir up the bottom of the pan to make sure you incorporate all of those brown bits into the solution.

Appetizing, right?

Hard to make this step look good..

Simmer for 2-3 minutes and pour the slurry into the casserole dishes. You want to almost cover the meat.

It gets better.

It gets better.

Cover the dishes with some tinfoil, or just put your dutch oven lid on, and place in an oven at 325 for 2.5 hours.

In case you didn't know what tinfoil looked like.

In case you didn’t know what tinfoil looked like.

30 minutes before you need to take the beef out, peel yourself some pearl onions.

Onions n' stuff.

Onions n’ stuff.

I’m a dirty pleb and could only find boiler onions, so any small onion will do.

Oh, and also, peeling small onions is just the biggest pain. The skin is super thin and breaks off in small pieces.

It took me something like 20 minutes to peel all my onions. And it turns out that onion size has nothing to do with their ability to make you cry like a little bitch.

Right.

Get your onions into 1 inch pieces if you’re using boiler onions, or keep them whole if you have pearl onions.

Now toss 3 tablespoons of butter into a frying pan and get some color on the onions.

Add the cup of chicken stock, sugar, salt and pepper, and simmer at low heat while covered. The onions should absorb all of the liquid, and if not, discard the rest.

By now your meat should come out of the oven.

Pick out all of the meat and set aside.

Yessssssssssss

Yessssssssssss

Strain the liquid into a pot, make sure to press the veggie mush to get all the juices out.

Simmer and reduce the liquid until you have roughly 3 cups of liquid left.

Turn off the heat, grab a spoon, and skim the fat off the top of the liquid.

I managed to get a solid cup and a half of beef oil off mine before giving up.

Save the fat as it has many uses inside and outside the kitchen. Some uses include hardwood polish, hair product and ‘intimate lubricant’.

Pure beef fat. Delicious.

Giggity.

Now take 2 tablespoons of butter, microwave it for 10 seconds to soften, and mix in 3 tablespoons of flour to make some sort of butter paste. This is apparently called beurre manié.

"beurre manié"

“beurre manié”

Whisk that shit into the braising liquid over very low heat to give it the consistency of a milkshake.

A beef milkshake.

A beef milkshake.

2 tablespoons of butter into a frying pan, cook your mushrooms for 3-4 minutes on medium high heat.

Mushroom Mushroom.

Mushroom Mushroom.

Add the meat into the sauce, add cooked mushrooms, add braised onions.

Stir gently (you don’t want to break up the meat) and simmer for 5 minutes.

There you go.

Serve it with whatever the hell you want, I’m not your mother.

I know, it's a Rosé. Don't hurt me.

I know, it’s a Rosé. Don’t hurt me.


How was it?

Fucking amazing.

We had it with some Mediterranean parsley/olive/cheese loaf and it was absolutely wonderful.

This.

This.

The beef practically disintegrated when you touched it and the sauce was rich and velvety. The braised onions helped cut through the richness of the stew with some much needed sweetness.

The only thing that wasn’t amazing were the mushrooms. This might be because I’m not a fan of button mushrooms, but they just didn’t seem to add much.

All in all, absolutely delicious, and a great recipe if you have 6-8 hours of free time on your hands.


Here’s a breakdown of how long everything took.

Trimming meat – 20 minutes

Searing meat – 30 minutes

Braising meat – 2.5 hours

Cooking veggies – 20 minutes

Braising onions – 30 minutes

Veggie prep – 30 minutes

Cooking mushrooms – 5 minutes

Spooning fat – 15 minutes

You get the picture.

Definitely not something to make after you get home from work, unless you’re one of those people who happen to eat dinner at three in the morning.

But how did they do it in France? Or in the 1960’s and 70’s when Julia Child was teaching America how not to be dirty culinary troglodytes?

ME COOK. ME WATCH AMERICAN FOOTBALL.

ME COOK. ME HAVE SHIT FOREIGN POLICY.

Well if you think about it, it has more to do with the social and cultural environment at the time.

This was when one-income families were the norm, and women were generally expected to be home-makers and cooks.

Now as we’ve moved into the 21st century, dual income households are becoming more and more common, and focus has shifted from dishes that required lengthy preparation, to “20-minute meals”.

You motherfucker...

You motherfucker.

While evolving past antiquated gender roles is generally a good thing, I can’t help but think that this is part of the reason why North American children are growing up on Chef Boyardee and frozen chicken tenders, which, in turn, leads to people being ok with shit-tastic restaurant food.

On a similar vein, this is probably one of the reasons why North Americans are becoming increasingly obese (35.7% of American adults and 17% of American children were obese in 2010).

It’s much easier to bring home a bucket of fried chicken and eight cheesecakes than it is to cook.


So there we have it, childhood obesity and culinary in-education fixed in one fell swoop.

All we need is to get women back in the kitchen.

Problem: Solved.

It was a simpler time.


Canard Rôti avec Pommes de Terre Salardaises

Recipes

Pardon my french.

I made duck, potatoes and a salad last weekend and I’m just getting around to writing stupid things about it.

Why am I taking so long to write posts you ask?

Fuck tax season, that’s why.

If anyone from KRP is reading, you have a lovely office and I’m loving every minute I spend there.

Please don't fire me.

Please don’t fire me.


Why duck?

Because duck (like lobster), has an air of sophistication, and is often reserved for celebrations or fancy date nights at overpriced, dimly-lit french restaurants.

But instead of paying 40 dollars a plate for some dirty Quebecois asshole to subtly insult you throughout dinner, why not make duck at home?

This guy is actually a waiter.

This guy is actually a waiter.

Because, to the majority of Canadians, duck is unfamiliar, and unfamiliar things are scary and intimidating.

I grew up eating duck, so I made this duck my bitch.

Take it

Take it


ROAST DUCK WITH ROSEMARY AND HONEY GARLIC SAUCE

Total time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients:

1 Duck

2 Fistfuls fresh rosemary

1/2 Cup honey

2 Tablespoons light soy sauce

4 Cloves garlic

1 Red onion

1 Knob butter

Salt/Pepper to season

Start off by placing the bird on the cutting board. Grab a pair of eyebrow tweezers or a similar hair-removing implement, and go to town on those gross little white feather stubs still stuck in the skin.

This is kind of disgusting, and since they’re pretty much the same color as the duck, you need to get your face in there and smell the dead bird.

Delicious.

Delicious.

Once you’ve gotten rid of the quills, grab that sack of giblets and toss the neck, heart and gizzard into a saucepan and just let it sit there for a bit while you deal with more pressing matters. Save the liver (big, flat floppy purple bit) for later, shit’s delicious.

With this done, take a very sharp knife and score the skin in a diamond pattern, with lines roughly 1 inch from each other. If you don’t have a sharp knife, take a toothpick (or 5) and viciously jab the skin all over.

I did both.

Chop up some rosemary and rub that into the bird. Salt/pepper liberally. Season the inside as well because why the hell not.

Place on roasting rack on top of an oven-safe container with a lip. This is important.

I didn’t have a roasting rack so I ghetto-rigged a roasting rack out of two cooling racks.

Fuck tha po-leece.

Fuck the police.

Preheat the oven to 320 and toss that sucker in for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, take it out, and carefully pour all of the accumulated grease into a jar (you don’t really need to be careful, grease burns are all the rage this season). Save this for potatoes and other delicious things.

Flip the bird over and put it back in the oven for another 30 minutes.

Round 1.

Round 1.

Flip again after 30 minutes and crank the heat to 400, and roast for another 15 minutes or until the skin is a nice caramel color.

Reverse-Reverse-Duck!

Round 2.

There you go, you made a duck, it’s probably going to be delicious.

Oh my...Wherever did that cutting board and rosemary come from?

Oh my…Wherever did that cutting board and rosemary come from?


You probably want something to go with the duck, so make some sauce.

Turn this stuff into sauce.

Turn this stuff into sauce.

Toss a roughly chopped onion and some rosemary into the pan with the neck and other bird bits. Pour in four cups of water and simmer until you have roughly half a cup of liquid.

Kinda gross looking.

Kinda gross looking.

Meanwhile, heat the butter in a pan over medium heat and cook the garlic until it turns golden brown, discard the garlic and add the duck stock. Reduce further at low heat until you have roughly a quarter of a cup of liquid.

I’m going to be honest, I made up the recipe as I went along, so in hindsight, you can do a few more optimal things here. If you want to stick to a more traditional, french duck, add roughly a tablespoon of flour to the butter and cook until all the flour is incorporated (yay, you just made a roux!) and add the stock. Salt+pepper and you’ve made a delicious duck gravy.

Personally, I added soy sauce and honey. The sauce still tasted pretty goddamned good, but it mainly just tasted like soy sauce and honey, which kind of defeats the purpose of cooking down and straining the stock.

Mmmm. Sauce.

Mmmm. Sauce.

Whatever floats your boat man.

Now since we’re not filthy degenerates, we’re going to make some more stuff to eat with the duck.


POTATOES WITH DUCK FAT

Ingredients:

Duck fat

Potatoes

Rosemary

Garlic

Salt/Pepper to taste


Alright people. This shit ain’t difficult.

Slice potatoes into 1/2 inch thick slices.

Wash potatoes 2-3 times in cold water until water runs clear.

Heat up 2-3 tablespoons of duck fat in a frying pan over medium-low heat, and toss the potatoes in. Flip when one side is golden, toss in some garlic and rosemary. Fry other side until golden.

Seriously, they're potatoes, it's not hard.

Seriously, they’re potatoes, it’s not hard.

Rinse and repeat with remaining potatoes.

Toss with salt/pepper.

Yep. Still potatoes.

Yep. Still potatoes.


APPLE AND WALNUT SALAD

Duck is fatty and the potatoes you made with duck fat are pretty greasy too. To fool ourselves to think that we’re eating healthy, we can make a salad!

Granny Smith apples are perfect because they add a nice crunchy texture, while walnuts round it out so the acid from the vinaigrette and apples don’t become too overwhelming.

I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this salad at Wendy’s or something, but let’s just pretend I came up with it.

Ingredients:

1 Head lettuce

1 Granny Smith Apple

1/2 Cup shelled walnuts

2 Teaspoons dijon mustard

2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar

2 Tablespoons finely chopped red onion

1/2 Teaspoon salt

5 Tablespoons olive oil (but it’s GOOD fat, so it doesn’t count as calories)

1/2 Teaspoon black pepper


For the culinarily-challenged, I’ll write out instructions on how to make a fucking salad.

Mix the onion, salt, pepper, olive oil, mustard and vinegar in a bowl.

Slowclap

Slow-clap

Julienne apple (chop into tiny little sticks, for all you filthy peasants).

Wash/shred lettuce.

Salad stuff.

Salad stuff.

Now take everything you’ve prepared and dump it all into a salad bowl.

Maybe toss it or something.

I dunno.

Carefully arranging apple on top so the picture doesn't look stupid: Optional.

Carefully arranging apple on top so the picture doesn’t look stupid: Optional.


How did it taste?

As much as I’d like to jerk myself off, I take pride in my journalistic integrity (or whatever the food blogger version of that may be), so I’ll be honest.

The potatoes could only be fried in small batches, so the older potatoes got soggy. I’m pretty sure I used the wrong kind of potato as well, so they didn’t get the nice crispy edges. Not amazing.

I personally over-cooked my duck so I adjusted the recipe for you people so you won’t make the same mistakes. Besides that, the seasoning and the sauce were both on point (if not a little bit confused).

The salad was kick-ass. But then again, I’ve never eaten anything with 5+ tablespoons of olive oil that I didn’t like.

C+

I bring shame to my famiry.

The Culinary History of Edmonton and Lobster Pasta

Recipes

Edmonton, Alberta.

Otherwise known as the frozen, puckered butthole of the culinary world.

Sandwiched between the Rocky Mountains and the equally frozen and buttholish prairies of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, Alberta is an interesting place.

After the methodical eradication of the indigenous peoples and culture, Alberta was mainly settled by various hardy European cultures who brought with them potatoes, Catholicism, and civilization. And here within lies the problem… Have you ever celebrated Ukrainian New Years before?

Well if you haven’t, let me paint a picture in your mind. Pickled herring. Potatoes. Bread. Cabbage. Sadness and despair brought on by centuries of bitter winter and war. This is the foundation upon which Edmonton, Alberta has built its gastronomic profile.

Originally known for potatoes, perogies, potatoes, sauerkraut, potatoes, beef, and potatoes, Edmonton has gone through a vast change in the past decade. With the magic of trickle-down economics and stupid amounts of oil money, we now have a horde of nouveau riche willing to spend money on gigantic lifted pickup trucks, facial tattoos, and nice food. So the enterprising Edmontonian chefs worked with what they knew, and the Edmonton culinary scene was born. With microgreens, balsamic glaze and the most pretentious of dirty hipster wait staff, these new restaurants took Edmontonians by storm.

The oil rig bourgeois, so used to potatoes and boiled meats, now have a choice! A drizzle of truffle oil! Fancy French words that they don’t know! Italics in menus! Unable to contain themselves, they flocked to these new restaurants in droves. However, incapable of distinguishing between a roux and a sack of bricks, they were lost in this strange new culinary world.

Whatever could they do?

I don’t want to look uncultured in front of my friends – they thought..

If I say it tastes bad, does this mean I have the palate of a vulture? – they mused..

And so they thought of the perfect idea…

IT’S AMAZING, they exclaimed in unison, each unwilling to appear uncivilized in front of their friends. Glowing reviews were posted onto Yelp and the most Urban of Spoons, regardless of the actual quality or taste of the food. Trendy decor, music ripped from 8tracks stoner playlists, and waitresses with half their head shaved were all that restaurants needed to charge $40 for a plate of quinoa and cat vomit.

And that, my friends, is how Edmonton’s restaurant scene came to be.


Now where do I come into the picture?

Well, for the most part, I’m going to go to overpriced, “trendy” restaurants and (if warranted) bitch incessantly about the poor quality of the food and bad service.

When I’m not bitching about food. I may talk about things. Life. Existential Crises. Music. You know, things.

And as I read on a bottle of barbeque sauce one time, “If you like to eat, you learn to cook”.

So I’m going to cook.


What better to start off a food blog than a live sacrifice to the pagan gods of food?

Well.

I killed a lobster.

Here’s how I did it:

LOBSTER PASTA

Serves 4 – Total time 1 hour

Ingredients

1, 2-2.5 pound lobster, preferably live

1 fistful of tarragon, finely chopped

1 fistful of thyme sprigs, de-leafed (you want the leaves)

1 fistful of parsley, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/3 cup white wine

1.5 tablespoons white wine vinegar

4 cups 35% cream

4 large canned san marzano tomatoes, chopped

1/4 cup tomato paste

3 tablespoons olive oil

750 grams of fettuccine

Salt and pepper to season

Now to make food.

To start, here’s a picture of most of the ingredients (got lazy, don’t judge me).

I used these to make pasta.

Oh look, ingredients!

The lobster came from our local fishmonger (read: Superstore) and was fairly lively, even after being bagged for 2 hours. The beer was there to calm my nerves.

Just kidding. I just wanted a beer.

Get a big pot and boil 3/4’s of a pot of salted water. Once the water is at a rolling boil, chant something ominous sounding in latin and dunk that sucker in head first. Try not to think about the life you are snuffing out of existence. Let the lobster boil for 10-12 minutes depending on size.

Goodbye Friend

I most definitely did not forget to remove the rubber bands before cooking

After boiling, place in large pot of cold/iced water to stop cooking process. Let cool for 5 minutes.

Lobster. Cooked!

Yep, It’s definitely a lobster.

Now for the hard part.

We need to remove the actual edible lobster bits from the lobster shell itself. I did so with a pair of pliers and the blunt side of a meat cleaver. If you have some sort of lobster shell cracker, good for you, I didn’t.

Once all the meat has been removed from the tail, claw and arms, chop meat into bite sized chunks and set aside.

Separated Stuff

20 minutes later.

Scoop the green viscera out of the lobster body and discard. Chop the shells into 1.5 inch chunks and saute in deep pot with the olive oil for 3-4 minutes at medium high heat.

Add white wine and deglaze for 1 minute.

Add tomatoes and tomato paste, stir 1 minute.

Add all herbs, garlic, white wine vinegar, stir 1 minute.

Add cream.

Now if all goes as planned, your pot should look something like this:

Beginnings of sauce.

Mmmm… Lobster shell chunks.

Here’s where the path to lobster pasta may diverge. Depending on your tolerance for extremely goddamn creamy things, you may want to simmer the sauce for different amounts of time.

Personally, I made a mistake and wanted a thicker sauce, so I let the sauce simmer for 40 minutes uncovered on low heat. This produced a velvety concoction, but I’m pretty sure I gave myself high cholesterol.

To avoid my fate, try simmering for 20 minutes covered, or use half and half cream.

Stir occasionally.

Now boil the pasta. Salt and oil the water. The salt flavors the pasta. The oil.. well I saw Jamie Oliver do it once, so why not.

Strain the shells out of the sauce, mix lobster chunks in sauce at low heat for 3-4 minutes, and toss with pasta (in the pot).

Serve with some crusty bread, the same wine you cooked it with (because let’s be honest, why would you open another bottle of wine) and some antacids for dessert.

If all goes well, it should look something like this:

The cutting board makes it taste better. Trust me.

The cutting board makes it taste better. Trust me.

So the question is, how did it taste?

Well. The flavor was nice. The shells imparted a nice delicate lobster flavor into the sauce, which was only improved by the actual lobster itself. As a note, always err on the side of undercooking a lobster instead of overcooking (you can always finish cooking in the sauce afterwards).

Anyhow.. the tarragon and thyme are definitely noticeable and the san marzano tomatoes give it a nice tang. But the one thing I cannot get over is how incredibly goddamned creamy this was. It’s almost like the noodles were covered in lobster flavored cream cheese. See that picture up there? Yeah, that’ll probably feed a family of four, or a small Latvian village.

Would I make it again?

Maybe? To impress a date that’s super out of my league and into Italian food?

Why is lobster even considered romantic anyways?

“Oh yeah, we’re having freshly murdered spiny sea beast for dinner tonight!”

*Sploosh*

It boggles the mind.

I digress.

All in all, not a bad way to eat a lobster… or to start a blog!