Month: August 2013

A Greenhouse Bok Choy Stir-Fry

Greenhouse Bok Choy Stir-fry 01

Today I will be showing a little stir-fry dish I threw together using some of our homegrown Bok Choy but this post is really more of a Greenhouse Project update. The produce we have is mostly doing pretty well, and you can see our Bok Choy pictured above, but I think the season is going to be over soon as, three days ago (August 27th!!), we had snow …  Continue reading “A Greenhouse Bok Choy Stir-Fry”

Perfect Roast Pork Crackling

Crackling Pork 1

When I was a kid, both of my parents had the unerring ability to produce perfect crackling on a roast of pork. It was delightfully crunchy and crisp on the surface, with a terrifically toothsome chewiness beneath, and the soft, unctuous layer of fat underlying it all was incredibly sweet and salty at the same time.

Sadly, the ability does not appear to get passed down genetically for I have tried for years to produce the same results with only poor to middling success. I have, I must confess, only, been able, thus far, to achieve the right degree of crispiness in a small portion of the skin, while leaving the rest either burned, or else woefully flabby and underdone. The failure has been a sticking point with me since my earliest attempts in the kitchen.

The other day, I picked up a lovely roast complete with rind (something that only rarely appears in these parts) and I decided that it was time to solve this problem for good. After many hours of searching through dozens upon dozens of recipes on the subject (no two of which seemed to be alike) I managed to synthesize a procedure from all that information that finally seemed to work. I was so amazed, not to mention thrilled with the result that I had to share it with you here… Continue reading “Perfect Roast Pork Crackling”

Clams from Qikiqtarjuaq

Qik Clams 01

A couple of days ago, I mentioned that my wife had purchased some clams that were harvested offshore from the tiny community of Qikiqtarjuaq. She bought two bags, totaling about 50 clams or so, and you can see one bag, and a few of the clams, in the above picture.

Most people are not aware of it, but the term clam is not a precise zoological name for a particular species but is rather a very broad general term for a whole range of similar, but not necessarily closely related, type of shellfish. I have no idea what particular species is harvested up in Qikiqtarjuaq. The variety has a very pronounced (and rather phallic looking) extension that is sometimes called the ‘neck’ but which is, in fact, a siphon by which the clam ingests seawater and extracts the plankton which makes up its diet. In this feature, it is very similar to the Geoduck (pronounced ‘gooey duck’) and the Horse Clam (or ‘Gaper’), but both these species are native to the Pacific Coast as far as I know and so that would seem to rule them out. I rather thought, after doing a little research, that these clams may be a northern variety of Quahog know as Arctica islandica, but they have the same sort of thin very fragile shell that is called a ‘soft-shell’ (in contrast to the hard shell quahogs), so I really am at a loss. In any event, these clams are sufficiently representative of the whole broad class that we can make some pretty good observations about clams in general… Continue reading “Clams from Qikiqtarjuaq”

Foodstuff: Azami™ Soy Sauce

Azami Soy 1

This brand of say sauce appeared on our local grocery store shelves recently and decided to check it out. Despite the Japanese name and the Chinese characters on the label, the name is trademarked to Loblaws, a Canadian grocery-store chain. However, when I tried to research the brand, Loblaws’ web-site had no entry for it and the only information I could find elsewhere was the same listing of the nutritional information found on the label. Naturally, I was a little intrigued… Continue reading “Foodstuff: Azami™ Soy Sauce”

Weathered in Pang …

Weathered in Pang 01

As I write this, I am comfortably at home on a Saturday afternoon after a particularly trying Court circuit in Pangnirtung. I almost didn’t make it here, though, as the weather, which absolutely beautiful during the whole time I was working, turned nasty after I concluded my last case and remained so for two days…  Continue reading “Weathered in Pang …”

Bangkok Fried Noodles with Shrimp

Bangkok Noodles 1

Aficionados of Thai cuisine have almost certainly eaten the popular specialty known as Pad Thai at one time or another. This dish, often regarded as one Thailand’s national dishes, essentially consists of stir-fried rice noodles in a sauce that combines the flavors of sweet, sour, salty and spicy-hot. Vegetarian varieties exists but, typically, some meat or shellfish is included, as are eggs in many cases. Today’s recipe is a very loose interpretation of the basic idea as I will be using lemon juice for sourness, rather than the more common Tamarind, and the standard beansprout component is replaced with zucchini and green peppers… Continue reading “Bangkok Fried Noodles with Shrimp”

The Wife Sprouts…

Sprouting Project 01

My wife has grown her own bean sprouts in the past; usually on paper-lined trays or else in old Mason jars. Just recently however, she came across these useful sprouting trays that are especially designed so that they maintain the right moisture level for keeping the seeds properly hydrated, but not waterlogged. On my recent trips to Ottawa and then Yellowknife, I was deputized to bring back a wide selection of grains and legumes so that she could test them out in her new acquisition. Thus far, she has tried alfalfa, mung beans, and daikon radish sprouts, and, in the above picture you can see the seeds just after they began to germinate… Continue reading “The Wife Sprouts…”

Review: Sam’s Monkey Tree Pub and Restaurant

483 Range Lake Rd, Yellowknife – 867-920-4914 – Website

Sam's Monkey Tree 1

Date of Visit: August 1, 2013

When I first saw the outdoor sign for Sam’s I thought it must be a family restaurant but it is, in fact, primarily a pub with food. After a rather mediocre experience at the nearby ‘Hot Shots Pub and Grub’ the night before, this place turned out to be very pleasant and well worth the visit… Continue reading “Review: Sam’s Monkey Tree Pub and Restaurant”

Foodstuff: Dried Hibiscus Flower

Hibiscus 1

I first purchased Dried Hibiscus Flowers a year or so ago after reading that they make a nice addition to various tea and tisane blends and, since then, my wife and I have made them a frequent addition to our evening pots of tea. After a little further reading, I subsequently learned that the flowers are used as the primary ingredient in a number of beverages and can even be used in more substantial culinary preparations as well… Continue reading “Foodstuff: Dried Hibiscus Flower”

Foodstuff: Japanese Giant Red Mustard Greens

Giant Red Japanese Mustard 01

There are dozens of varieties of Mustard greens used for culinary purposes. The descriptive appellation ‘greens’ is sometimes not entirely accurate, however, as the range of coloring varies from  very pale light green to a deep purplish-red, with all sorts of simple and variegated gradations in between. The variety you see above is one of the Brassica juncea sub-types which, although it is actually native to China, is most commonly known as Japanese Giant Red Mustard. These plants, pictured here, were grown by my wife as part of her current greenhouse projectContinue reading “Foodstuff: Japanese Giant Red Mustard Greens”