Month: February 2013

A Sad Interlude…

Poor Tulugaq 1

Apologies for the rather morbid picture in today’s post. I promise it has nothing to do with any bizarre culinary experiment, but, instead, captures something that left rather an impression on me.

For those of you who read my post ‘Tulugaq, Tulugaaq, Tulugait…’, you will know that I have something of a soft spot for the Ravens that are so ubiquitous in this corner of the world. Accordingly, the untimely death of the poor little bugger you see above not only gave me a nasty scare, it also caused me to witness something that was very curious indeed… Continue reading “A Sad Interlude…”

Foodstuff: Granadilla

Granadilla 1

This is an interesting little item I picked up at our local grocery not long ago. The name sounded vaguely Spanish to me and put me in mind of  the more familiar ‘pomegranate’, from which we derive the word ‘grenade’. As it happens, the name is indeed Spanish in origin, and a little bit of research revealed that the fruit is native to South America (although it is now cultivated in Africa, Australia and New Guinea). Apparently, there is another variety of the fruit which is purple in color and they are both sometimes known as ‘Passion fruit’, especially Australia, the UK and America. That name was somewhat familiar to me, as is the ‘Passion flower’, which apparently is part of the same vine-like plant that produces the fruit. In any event, is was very curious to see what this curious foodstuff might be like… Continue reading “Foodstuff: Granadilla”

Smoked Mussel Appetizers with Cream Cheese

Smoked Mussel Appy 1

Well, today’s post is not really a recipe as such, but rather a simple little idea that I play around with sometimes when my wife and I feel like a light little snack. Smoked oysters or mussels are probably a little passé as a formal hors d’oeuvre these days but having a few cans in the cupboard can be handy for putting together a little treat if you like getting a little creative with them…

I can’t remember exactly where it was that I was first served smoked oysters on top of cream cheese, but I have borrowed the idea as a basic theme quite often and quite frequently substitute one of the commercial chip dips for the plain old Philadelphia. On this occasion, I used a variety containing garlic and chives that my wife is fond of and I spread it on some nice little crackers made with a little depression in the center. For the garnish, I shredded a little lettuce and then tossed it with some of the oil from the mussel can mixed with lemon juice. Lemon works really well with either smoked oysters or mussels and I would imagine that some finely shredded lemon zest would make a great garnish all by itself. The last time I did an appetizer like this, I actually used some commercial Caesar salad dressing as a base (not having any cheese or dip) and found it very nice indeed.

Anyway, as I say, there’s not much of a recipe for you here today, but perhaps you might find this an interesting ‘small-plate’ theme to play around with…


Court Circuit to Pangnirtung (Pt.2)

Pang 2 - 1

In part one of this post about my recent court circuit to Pangnirtung, I opened with a photograph of the entrance to Auyuittuq Pass, which is part of the unique scenery visible from town. Here, you can see a slightly more distant shot of the pass which, by way of contrast, shows the same view in summertime. The building pictured in the foreground has the rather ‘totalitarian’ name ‘People’s Community Hall’ and is where Court is held… Continue reading “Court Circuit to Pangnirtung (Pt.2)”

Chicken Wings Steamed with Sichuan Pickle

Steamed Chicken with Pickle 1

A decade ago, I wouldn’t have thanked you for steamed or poached chicken in any fashion as I really disliked the texture of the finished product, especially the skin. Nowadays, after persisting with trying various Chinese recipes I have come to love it and I find that the wings are especially delectable treated in this manner.

For this experiment, I took as my inspiration a Cantonese recipe I came across in a book my wife bought me for my birthday. It steams a whole cut up chicken with a variety of ingredients, including mushrooms, white fungus, and Chinese Sausage, and it also includes pickled radish from Sichuan and some pickled Cabbage from Tientsin. I am just going to use some chicken ‘drumettes’ for this dish (the portion of the wing that looks like a little drumstick) and steam them with dried black mushrooms, a little scallion, and some of the very interesting Sichuan pickled vegetable I featured in my recent Korean-Style Beef Ribs post… Continue reading “Chicken Wings Steamed with Sichuan Pickle”

Court Circuit to Pangnirtung (Pt.1)

Pang 1 - 1

My colleague and co-defense counsel, Tamara Fairchild, just posted an nice article about our recent court circuit to Pangnirtung, a little hamlet on the east coast of Baffin Island. For those of my readers who haven’t still had a look at her blog, which I posted about yesterday, please go and have a look and (leave a welcoming comment, perhaps).

Anybody who has ever spent any time in this very scenic location will have the above-pictured scene forever etched in their memory, as it has been included in thousands of photographs, paintings, prints and tapestries. The view is of the entrance to Auyuittuq Pass and the odd tip-tilted mountain top on the left is so uniquely memorable that I could instantly recognize it in a rudimentary pencil sketch from 50 feet away.

Anyway… Tamara beat me to the punch in posting about our trip and I see that she has chosen to do her post in two parts. I’ve decided to do the same so that I don’t duplicate anything she writes, and also so that I can maybe supplement what she has to say with some other pictorial views and a different perspective…

Continue reading “Court Circuit to Pangnirtung (Pt.1)”

Another Arctic Lawyer hits the Blogosphere!

Pang Feb 2013 16

The person you see pictured above is not only my colleague, but also the very same creative soul who managed to repair a modem using chewing gum and duct tape as described in my recent post entitled ‘Court Circuit to Sanikiluaq’. Tamara Fairchild (said colleague) is one of the latest additions to the Legal Aid staff here in the Baffin region but she is not exactly new to the North, having spent two years over in the law clinic in Cambridge Bay over in the western arctic…

Since moving here, Tamara has recently begun her own blog entitled ’52 words for snow’, and, in the two most recent posts, covering her first two court circuits as a defense lawyer, her mention of co-counsel refers to none other than yours-truly. For those of you who have enjoyed my reports on life here in Nunavut, you may wish to go have a look at Tamara’s blog for a really new and interesting perspective…

Foodstuff: Tom Yum Soup Paste (Jack Hua Brand)

Tom Yum Paste 1

After sampling the Tom Yum soup at Bangkok Thai Garden in Ottawa back in December, I remembered a commercially made soup paste that I used to purchase quite frequently and, on an excursion to Chinatown, I managed to find it again. I couldn’t recall the brand name but I recognized the jar immediately and was surprised to see that the manufacturer is the same as for the Thai Crab Paste I featured in another ‘Foodstuff’s’ post last year. Anyway, while I enjoy Tom Yum soup well enough, I don’t make it that often but I discovered, in past culinary adventures, that this paste is extremely versatile and can be used in all sorts of preparations beyond the basic soup… Continue reading “Foodstuff: Tom Yum Soup Paste (Jack Hua Brand)”

Mussels Steamed with Black Beans

Steamed Black Bean Mussels 1

Steaming Oysters with a sauce made from Salted Black Beans is a favorite Cantonese preparation, and one I have enjoyed many times. Unfortunately, fresh oysters are just about impossible to come by in this part of the world and so, for this experiment, I  am going to improvise using some lovely New Zealand Mussels I happen to have in my freezer. The variety, somewhat erroneously sold as ‘Kiwi Clams’, is the same type I used (and photographed) for my Bouillabaisse experiment over the Christmas holidays and they should work very nicely with the rich, umami flavor of black beans paired with garlic and chili… Continue reading “Mussels Steamed with Black Beans”

Spice Blend: Homemade Sambal Oelek (Simple Chili Paste)

Sambal Oelek 1

Chili pastes of one stripe or another are common in many cuisines. Some are fairly straightforward, containing little more than chili peppers, while others are considerably more complex and include a variety of other ingredients, such as garlic, ginger, or other spices. Not that many years ago, the Indonesian variety of simple chili paste known as Sambal Oelek (or Sambal Ulek) was relatively unknown in the west but this has changed in the last decade or so and one brand or another can be found in most supermarkets nowadays, with the Cock Brand, by Huy Fong Foods (makers of the popular Sriracha Sauce), being one of the most common.

Sambal Oelek is a very versatile paste that keeps well and is very easy to make. Strictly speaking, the basic version is nothing more than ground fresh chilies, but salt is also generally added, [particularly if the resultant paste is not to be used immediately). If you scan for recipes on the Internet, you will find many that include other ingredients as well but, since there are a myriad of Indonesian Sambals, all with different names, those that contain additional spices are not, in my opinion, true Sambal Oeleks. Vinegar (or even lime juice) is often included, particularly in commercial preparations, but, while this does enhance the shelf life somewhat, it also changes the finished product considerably. It also, to my mind, detracts from and diminishes the fresh chili taste, which, with just a little salt to act as a preservative, keeps surprisingly well in the fridge. For the version I will be sharing with you here, we will be using nothing more than fresh red chilies, salt, a little sugar to round out the tastes as the  pastes ages, and some oil for grinding and preservation… Continue reading “Spice Blend: Homemade Sambal Oelek (Simple Chili Paste)”