Notable Nosh: Buffalo Steak

Buffalo Steak

I probably wouldn’t have done a post featuring this particular meal except for the fact that this is the first time I have ever eaten ‘Buffalo’ and I thought it might be interesting to share the experience.

First, I used quotes around the ‘Buffalo’ because when you encounter it on a menu in North America it almost invariably means the animal more properly called ‘Bison’, which, I gather, is only distantly related to the true Buffalo. Buffalo is eaten in some parts but I have yet to see it on a menu here, or in stores either, for that matter.

The cut I was served here was the rib-eye. I won’t comment on the vegetables except to say that the roasted carrot and green beans were unremarkable and the braised red cabbage not at all well-executed. The steak, however, was very nice. The cut was not perfect, a bit gristly in places but it was cooked to a good medium rare as ordered. I was surprised that it was as juicy as it turned out to be. Being largely grass-fed and relatively lean, I had been expecting something a bit drier, but it turned out to be quite as succulent as many a good beef steak I have had. I have read where others describe the meat as being a bit sweeter than beef but I didn’t really get that at all. It did, however, have a pronounced earthy taste that I really enjoyed. Beyond that though, had this been served to a beef, I wouldn’t have cocked an eye and would have accepted it as such. In short, I would happily order a Buffalo/Bison steak again and I can pretty confidently state that you could substitute the meat in any recipe calling for beef without changing the result over much.

Lamb with Parsley-Jalapeno Sauce

Lamb with Parsley-Jalapeno Sauce

When I prepared my Parsley-Jalapeno Jelly  a little while ago, I mentioned that I also planned to use it as a cookery ingredient as well as a condiment. This is one of the uses I came up with…

The meat here is stewing lamb and almost all the pieces you see contain bone (vertebra pieces, I would say), and so they can function a bit like riblets. I prepared mine by first baking them until nicely browned and then I cooked them again in a sauté pan with some shreds of onion. I seasoned with a little garlic salt and then, at the end, I stirred in a couple of tablespoons of my jelly along with just a tiny splash of sherry. The result was delicious and I ate it just as you see without any sides at all. It makes a nice Tapas style dish but it could also be the centerpiece for something with veggies and maybe fried potatoes.

Foodstuff: Passion Fruit

Passion Fruit 1

Ages ago, I published a post featuring a little South American fruit known as the Granadilla and I mentioned, not only that it is sometimes called the Passion Fruit, there is also a smaller, purple fruit (also from South America, that goes by the same name. I came across these just recently and I was curious to see how they compared…

The purple Passion Fruit is a bit smaller than the Granadilla and a little less elongated. Inside, it has the same cluster of small black seeds (which are edible), but the rest of the pulp is different. In my post on the granadilla, I mention that the soft material had a custard-like texture but a rather off-putting, gelatinous appearance. Here, in the passion fruit, this soft equivalent  has an opaque yellow appearance and this gives it an even more custard like quality.

As with the Granadilla, the taste is both tangy and sweet but the Passion Fruit has a slight bitterness in the background. I described the Granadilla as being somewhat like Kiwi Fruit but the best way I can describe the taste of this fruit is as a cross between strawberry and grapefruit. I far prefer this to the Granadilla but I also will not be buying them often. Each cost about four dollars which means the experienced worked out to about two dollars per tablespoon. It’s good… just not that good!

 

Alligator Bites

Alligator Bites 1

Today’s dish is my own rendition of the way I have most commonly been served Alligator in restaurants… that is to say, deep-fried with Cajun spices. Sometimes, I have had appetizers with chunks of Alligator meat that were first battered but I prefer to have them very lightly breaded as I have done here. The process is not difficult, and the result is very nice indeed… Continue reading “Alligator Bites”

Foodstuff: Bothwell™ Horseradish Cheddar

Bothwell Horseradish Cheddar 1

I can’t say I have ever thought about pairing horseradish with cheese before so I was curious to see what this product might be like. I have tried quite a few different Bothwell brand cheese products and, so far, they have been pretty good. I have to say, though, that this particular idea didn’t work that well.

The cheese itself is very good. It has a very nice texture that is a bit creamier than many cheddars and the basic cheddar flavor is apparent, albeit quite mild. Unfortunately, the horseradish component, which is plainly identifiable, gives a very harsh, bitter note to the overall taste. I don’t want to discourage others from giving the product a try, but I didn’t care for the effect overmuch.

To properly assess the product, I also tried cooking the cheese. I added small squares to pre-grilled rounds of zucchini and then put these under my broiler until the cheese was melted and a few brown spots were beginning to appear. When the cheese was very hot, there was no horseradish taste that I could discern (and the normal cheddar notes were diminished), then, as it cooled, both the signature cheddar flavours and the harshness reasserted themselves.

In all, this was rather an interesting idea but I can’t say I will bother with this particular product again…

 

Pan-Asian Lamb

Pan-Pacific Lamb 1

I’m really not sure how to classify today’s dish… It draws heavily on the Rendang style of curry in that the main ingredients are cooked in coconut milk which is reduced to form a very thick sauce but beyond that, it has a little bit of India and other parts of east and south-east Asia. The name, admittedly, is not very inspired, but it turned out nicely… Continue reading “Pan-Asian Lamb”

The Instant Pot® Immersion Circulator

Instant Pot Immersions Circulator 1

I am the sort of cook who would generally prefer the traditional simplicity of open fire cookery over the hi-tech methods of molecular gastronomy, but I have been reading so much about Sous-Vide cookery over the last few years that I have been dying to give it a try. The basic idea, I was surprised to learn, has been around for over 200 years but it only seems to be in recent years that it has become widespread, not only in restaurant but home kitchens as well.

Although interested in this form of cookery, I was not quite ready to throw my heart and soul into it and so I limited my expenditure to just the ‘Immersion Heater, which is essentially the device that keeps the sous-vide water bath at a constant temperature and creates a current of circulating water. One can, of course, buy vacuum-sealing equipment and other bits and pieces, but the home cook can make do without these well enough without these and I decided to keep my purchase to the basics. The Instant Pot® model Accu SV800, which you see pictured above, is a Canadian product and retailed at Amazon for $199.95… Continue reading “The Instant Pot® Immersion Circulator”

Chilli-Basil Lobster

Chilli Basil Lobster 1

I bought some frozen cooked lobster back at Christmas-time to use in a seafood stew and I kept a couple for future use. As the ‘keep-until’ date is drawing near I decided to use one of them in the little appetizer dish you see above. In some ways, given the use of both chili and basil, the dish has a Thai flavor to it but, aside from this, it could easily be incorporated into a more western dinner menu.

After chopping the tail, claws, and main ‘arm sections’ into small pieces, I made a stock using the body and little legs, then reduced this to a very concentrated liquor of no more than a quarter cup or so. After, I fried some garlic puree in a little oil and added the stock along with a splash of sherry and some Sriracha sauce. When this was steaming, I added the lobster chunks and cooked for a few minutes until the sauce was almost a syrup then added chopped basil leaves, plating as soon as these were wilted.

This turned out to be a really nice dish. It was a bit messy to eat but sucking the sauce from the shell before teasing out the flesh from within was delightful. In a future evolution, I would like to try doing this with fresh, raw lobster as I think the result would be even more succulent than this…

Review: New Mitzie’s Restaurant

179 East Pender Street, Vancouver

New Mitzi 1

Date of Visit: July, 2017

New Mitzie’s is almost dead-center in the middle of Chinatown. It has a large menu that is pretty well equally divided between Chinese and Western cuisine and the Chinese selections are largely the sort you find in any westernized Chinese restaurant across the country. While perusing restaurants online, I saw that they have General Tao’s chicken listed and, having still never had this popular favorite yet, I gave the place a try… Continue reading “Review: New Mitzie’s Restaurant”