Month: June 2017

Foodstuff: Alligator Meat

Alligator Meat 1

I have eaten Alligator meat many times. The first time was at a roadside stand just outside ‘Gator World’ (I think it was called) in Florida about twenty years ago and, since then, all my other experiences have been in restaurants, most of which, as best as I recall, were of the ‘Cajun variety. Alligator meat has yet to appear in local stores but I was recently in Rankin Inlet over on the eastern shores of Hudson’s Bay and I came across a half-dozen packages in the freezer section of a nearby supermarket. Luckily, my hotel room had a fridge with a freezer and I was able to grab a couple to bring home with me… Continue reading “Foodstuff: Alligator Meat”

Three Flavoured Zucchini

Three Flavored Zucchini 1

Today’s offering  is inspired by a Sichuan dish that features flash-fried green beans combined with ground pork, plus chilli and other typical Sichuan seasonings. The dish you see above departs from the basic theme by using zucchini, and the ‘three flavoured’ appellation stems from the fact that three different taste components are represented. The dish is spicy hot with homemade Simple Chilli Oil, salty, from Preserved Radish, and rich in the umami flavour of Chinese Dried Shrimp. Anyway, I have to apologize that I managed to lose my notes made whilst making this preparation but I think I can describe the basic idea as follows:

Reconstitute and then finely chop dried shrimp reserving the soaking water. Chop a similar amount of Preserved Radish finely.  Fast fry batons of zucchini at very high temperature to sear the surface but leaving the flesh still crisp tender. Fry a little ground pork, separating the meat into ‘crumbs’ then add some minced ginger, white pepper, and garlic salt, followed by the radish, chopped shrimp and the soaking water. Add a little rice wine and cook until the liquid is almost gone. Add the zucchini and sauté until heated through then stir in some chilli oil (including the solid chilli flakes) and serve hot

I think you should be able to get the basic idea from the above. In any event, the result was really delicious…

Spicy Coleslaw

Spicy Coleslaw 1

I have been eating a fair bit of coleslaw these past several moons. Not just because I like it, but, as long as it is homemade, and doesn’t use any of the commercial coleslaw dressings that contain a fair but of sugar, it fits quite nicely into my diet. There are generally two types of slaw; the vinegar dressed sort, and the creamy type based on a mayo dressing. I like the latter but I also like to jazz it up a little by changing the usual sort of dressing recipe. This particular one uses some of the fresh Horseradish Root I posted about recently, and also some of my Spicy Pickled Bell Pepper (although, if this is not an option for you, you can just use the standard slivered or grated carrot instead)… Continue reading “Spicy Coleslaw”

Omelet with Salted Radish and Conpoy

Omelet with Preserved Radish and Compoy 1

This omelettes, or egg-cakes, picture here contain Preserved Radish and Conpoy and are thus quite Chinese in character, although I don’t know if this particular combination has actually ever been tried before. I had first thought of serving them with the typical ‘brown sauce’ that was once common on westernized versions of ‘Egg Foo Yung’ but, instead, I went a little Japanese and just drizzled them with a little ‘Eel Sauce’, sweet condiment rather like Chinese Oyster Sauce, that one often encounters topping the Japanese ‘pizza’ known as Okonmiyaki. If this is not something you have on hand, you could substitute a little Oyster Sauce with a little rice wine and sugar added… Continue reading “Omelet with Salted Radish and Conpoy”

Bothwell Brand® Maple Smoked Cheddar

Bothwell Brand Maple Smoked Cheddar

I have been seeing quite a few different varieties of Cheese from this Manitoba based manufacturer recently. I haven’t, as yet, seen Gruyere or Emmental on local shelves, which is a pity, as it is the cheese I most commonly buy for snacking, but this type looked interesting.

I was rather suspecting that the ‘Maple Smoked’ quality of the product would be an artificial flavour. However, the ingredients list states ‘Natural Wood Smoke’, and while this is not conclusive (Liquid Smoke is made using the oils from smoke and could be an additive here), it is possible that the cheese is actually smoked. In any event, the very clear aroma one gets on opening the package is, not exactly maple smoke, but rather the richness of bacon… sweet, maple smoked bacon.

The texture is very nice and creamy and the normal bite of aged cheddar is apparent. It is also dominated by the same very rich bacon quality as in the aroma. Thus far, other than eating it cold, I have only had it melted over rounds of ham sausage and garnished with caramelized onion, but I think it would be a great burger cheese. Indeed, one could almost have a bacon cheeseburger without using bacon. I wasn’t expecting a great deal from this product, to be honest, but I have to say that it is worth a try…

Tiger Peppers (hu pi jian jiao – 虎皮尖椒)

Tiger Peppers 1

It has been years since I last made Tiger Skin Peppers (as many as twenty, maybe). For a long while now, I have wanted to prepare the dish for my blog but I waited in vain for the right sort of peppers to turn up in local stores and it wasn’t until this past week that some finally appeared. I grabbed a good quantity of them and will devote a small portion to this present offering.

The origin of this dish is, I believe, Sichuan, but it is very popular elsewhere. It is so named because the characteristic patterns formed on the chillies when seared at very high heat in a wok or other pan gives it a ‘tiger skin’ like appearance. Personally, I actually think that ‘Leopard Skin’ might be closer but I won’t quibble.

Anyway, once seared, the chillies are finished with a simple sauce composed of Chinese Black Vinegar, soy sauce, and, usually a little sugar. I am rounding that out with a little chopped garlic here (which is sometimes, though not always, used) but, in any event, the result makes for a very nice appetizer or side-dish… Continue reading “Tiger Peppers (hu pi jian jiao – 虎皮尖椒)”

Foodstuff: Eel Sauce

Eel Sauce 1

Eel Sauce is a Japanese preparation sometimes known as ‘Nitsume’ or ‘Kabayaki Sauce’. While it is quite commonly used as a glaze for grilled eel dishes (indeed, the ‘Unagi’ on the bottle label means the freshwater eel commonly appearing on sushi menus), the name arises because it was traditionally made by making a stock by boiling eels and reducing it to a syrupy consistence. Nowadays, sugar, Mirin, sake and soy sauce are all commonly used in the basic recipe and Dashi often replaces eel stock.

I often think of Eel Sauce as being the Japanese equivalent of Chinese Oyster Sauce and the two can be used almost interchangeably. Indeed, the taste is very similar, although, some varieties, especially those made with Dashi, have a slightly smoky taste that goes very well with grilled foods… Continue reading “Foodstuff: Eel Sauce”