Month: June 2013

Bengali Potato and Greens

Bengali Potato and Greens 1

Today’s dish is a simple little production using the Bengali five-spice blend known as Panch Phoron that I posted about not long ago. The blend works very nicely with both greens and potatoes and since I had some kale on hand I thought I would combine the two as a side dish for pork curry leftovers I had planned for supper… Continue reading “Bengali Potato and Greens”

Notable Nosh: Caribou Stew

Caribou Stew 1

I’m not actually sharing a recipe with you today but I thought some of my readers who are not familiar with caribou might like to see this dish made by my wife the other day.

Those of you who have been reading my blog over the past week or so will know that my wife has been very busy with a computer camp she organized for kids recently. They all required being fed lunches during the week and this particular task was taken up by my wife as well. They had one feed of Mac ‘n’ Cheese (a huge vat of which was made by yours truly), as well as a do-it-yourself sandwich affair. Since the students were all local Inuit children, my wife also included a traditional meal for them in the form of the caribou stew you see above.

Many of my readers will not have seen (or maybe even heard of) the Caribou before but you will likely be familiar with Reindeer. Caribou is just the name commonly used in this part of the world for the animal closely associated with Christmas all around the world. A while back, my wife put up a whole caribou in our freezer, one cut of which went to make the stew. We are down to just a few packages now and it has just struck me that Santa may well be stuck with just 7 reindeer pulling his sleigh this year… Continue reading “Notable Nosh: Caribou Stew”

Foodstuff: Chinese Dried Black Mushrooms (Shiitake)

Black Mushrooms 1

When I first tasted Chinese Black Mushrooms back in the mid 1980’s, they were not at all well known in my corner of the world. They were introduced to me by a Chinese room-mate I had in my second year of law school and it is quite a few years before I ever saw them for sale in local stores. Since then, though, they have become a staple in my pantry and I would say that rarely a week  passes that I do not include them in at least one meal or another.

These days, the dried, and even the fresh variety, are fairly easy to come by and most people are somewhat familiar with them,  albeit usually by the Japanese name, ‘Shiitake’. Still, although the mushrooms are almost ubiquitous, and the number of people who have never tasted them is diminishing, they don’t yet seem to be common in the kitchens of non-Asian Canadians. This is a shame really, as, aside from being extremely versatile, these little fungi, in their dried form, pack an umami punch that is nothing short of amazing… Continue reading “Foodstuff: Chinese Dried Black Mushrooms (Shiitake)”

The June Cookout

June Cookout 1

Well, Sunday’s cookout at Sylvia Grinnell Park turned out far better than I expected given the nasty weather the day before and an unfortunate turn of events with the chicken I planned to do on the barbecue. The day actually dawned pretty nicely, as it turned out, although there was a brutal wind in the park which made the cooking just a little bit tricky.

Still, the view from the rocky heights where we had our feast was pretty darn gorgeous. Somewhere, under all the ice you see in the picture above, lies the Sylvia Grinnell River (although it is considerably narrower than the valley would suggest). In about a month from now, all the ice will be gone and people will be fishing for Arctic Char in the swift-moving waters… Continue reading “The June Cookout”

Pork Piccata

Pork Piccata 1

A while ago, Stefan, over at Stefan’s Gourmet Blog, whipped up Veal Picatta which I thought looked absolutely terrific. Basically, a Piccata is a dish of Italian origin in which thin slices of meat (chiefly veal but occasionally turkey or chicken) are sautéed and then finished of a light sauce containing white wine and (in most modern versions) lemon juice. Veal is all but impossible to come by in my neck of the woods but it struck me that the very light, lean meat from good quality boneless pork chops might work very well instead… Continue reading “Pork Piccata”

Snow .. Oh, Yay!

June Snow 1

It’s almost the end of June… barbecue season, supposedly… and here it is snowing.

I took this picture an hour ago from our front door looking towards the almost thawed ‘Dead-Dog Lake’ and now I am having some misgivings about a planned cook-out tomorrow. I’ve already had a bit of bad luck in that two packages of chicken I had in the fridge ready to marinate today turned out to be decidedly ‘iffy’ smelling when I opened them. Now, I have to do a sudden quick change of menu at the last minute (sigh).

Readers of my blog will recall that I have never been entirely sure what it is that my wife does for a living with all the travelling she does. I have long suspected that she might be an international assassin and, tomorrow she is hosting a group of ten people up from Toronto who, she tells me, are from IBM. Personally, I think they are actually CIA but, in any event, I have been dragooned into cooking a couple of dishes for an ‘al fresco’ meal at the nearby, and very beautiful, Sylvia Grinnell Park.

Things are not boding very well so far so I hope those reading this will keep their fingers crossed for me. If everything does come off alright, maybe I will have some nice pictures for you in a day or so…

Foodstuff: Asian Pear

Asian Pear 1

Asian pears have been appearing fairly regularly in our local Co-op lately. I am not a huge fan of pears generally, although I enjoy pear juice, and I rarely buy or eat the western varieties. I have eaten an Asian pear once before making this current purchase, but it was many years ago and I really can’t now recall my initial impressions (which suggests they weren’t particularly strong, one way or the other). Anyway, after having passed them by several times without being tempted, I decided to pick one up to re-acquaint myself with the fruit… Continue reading “Foodstuff: Asian Pear”

The End of the Road… to Nowhere.

Road to Nowhere 1

Longtime readers of my blog may recall that I live on the aptly named ‘Road to Nowhere’ here in Iqaluit. When I first moved here back in 2000, the name was just an informal one for a dirt track that meandered out of the city for about 7 kilometers before ending abruptly in the middle of, well… nowhere.

Nowadays, the first 2 kilometers or so are paved and built up into a residential subdivision (where I now sit as I write this), and the name became formal when the city adopted actual street names about 4 or 5 years ago. Most street names are rarely used actually, often unknown even to people who live on a given street, but everybody knows the name of this one. Taxi drivers, however, usually abbreviate it when reporting to their dispatchers, as in ‘I’m going Nowhere’.

Yesterday, after the idleness of winter, and with nothing pressing to do, I arose early and decided that I would walk to the end of our road… Continue reading “The End of the Road… to Nowhere.”

Gomanchala Pork Curry

Gomanchala Curry 1

Gomanchala is one of the historical names for the state of Goa in western India where the popular curry known as a Vindaloo has its roots. Today’s experiment is not exactly a Vindaloo (and I will be looking at the traditional dish in a future post sometime), but it does share some basic features with the traditional preparations. Accordingly, I have decided to call this creation a ‘Gomanchala Curry’ in salute to the common origin… Continue reading “Gomanchala Pork Curry”

My ‘Shanghai Chicken’ Challenge Entry

Shanghai Chicken 1

Well, here it is … my entry for the International ‘Shanghai Chicken’ project proposed by fellow blogger Stefan.

Stefan’s ‘rules’ specified that the dish could be an existing traditional recipe, or one created for this project, but it ‘has to include chicken, chilies of some sort, vegetable greens, and nuts’. My creation conforms to the basic theme but with just a tiny bit of a twist…

Basically, I aimed for a dish that somewhat resembled the one giving rise to the project… I also used cubed chicken but I substituted cashews for pine-nuts and incorporated the chili component into a sweetened tomato base. For the greens, I also deep-fried this particular component but – and this was the major flight of fancy – I looked to the sea for my green vegetable and used a dried seaweed popular in Japanese cuisine known as ‘Wakame’.

Read on if you would like to see a few more details and my verdict on the final product…  Continue reading “My ‘Shanghai Chicken’ Challenge Entry”