Beef Tongue on Toast

Beef Tongue on Toast at the Brother’s Beer Bistro

When I saw tongue on the menu at Brothers Beer Bistro in Ottawa a while back, I racked my brain trying to remember if I had ever eaten beef tongue before. I have had an appetizer of Grilled Duck Tongues, and I may have had beef or pork tongue in Pate’s and the like, but I have certainly never cooked it myself, as yet. In any event, the dish I was presented here was tasty enough, but not especially exciting.

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Asiago Stuffed Chicken Rolls

Asiago Stuffed Chicken Rolls

For a long time, I just made these rolls as the focus of a main meal, along with a starch, usually Saffron rice, and some vegetables of one sort or the other. They do, however, make a very nice starter dish, and may be wrapped in Bacon, Pancetta, or, as in this version, slices of Prosciutto.

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Bao Wows at Tomo

Bao Wows at the Tomo Restaurant in Ottawa

The rather cutely named items you see pictured above were actually not served at a Dim Sum restaurant, but rather at a little place called Tomo in Ottawa’s Byward Market. Tomo is primarily a Japanese restaurant, serving sushi, and other favorites, but they also do a number of non-Japanese items, including these ‘Bow Wows’, which were a rather interesting interpretation of the traditional Dim Sum favorite known as ‘Baozi’.

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Beef with Eggplant

Beef with Eggplant

I very much love eggplant, but I tend to prefer the long slender Asian varieties much more than the fat, egg-shaped types more commonly used in the West. Here, batons of fresh eggplant are paired with tender strips of beef in a rich sauce made tangy with the Chinese Chinkiang Black Vinegar.

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Beef Tendon Stewed

Beef Tendon Stewed at the Beaver Sailor Diner in Halifax

The curiously named ‘Beaver Sailor Diner’ didn’t manage to survive Covid-19 but, before it closed its doors in Halifax, I was able to sample the Beef Tendon dish you see pictured above. Tendon is not one of those animal parts that are consumed widely in the west, but they are well worth trying, if you haven’t had the opportunity before, and the Beaver Sailor version was very enjoyable indeed.

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Basic Beef Tataki

Basic Beef Tataki Recipe

You could probably call this a Japanese Carpaccio, but the proper appellation is Beef Tataki, where the ‘Tataki’ is actually the name of the specific cookery technique involved.  This technique was originally used specifically for steaks of Bonito Tuna but has now been widely adapted for beef as well.

Essentially, the technique involves grilling beef very briefly over high heat to sear the outside and then cooling it rapidly to prevent further cooking. This results in an umami rich dark surface with an interior that is almost raw. The result is most commonly served sashimi style, much as you see pictured above, but a prepared pieces of Beef prepared this way be easily put to other uses as well. In either event, the technique is one well worth having in your repertoire…

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Lemongrass Chicken Wings

Lemongrass Chicken Wings

This dish was inspired by the description of a dish of ‘Lemongrass Chicken’ a friend of mine once tasted and liked very much. I decided to use just wings for this recipe and make it more of an appetizer than a main dish of larger chicken parts as was described. Lemongrass is the dominant aromatic component here but, with the amounts I have used, it comes through as more of a delicate highlight rather than an in-your-face flavoring.

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Steamed Beef Balls at Urban China

Steamed Beef Balls at the Urban China Restaurant in Edmonton, Alberta

I wasn’t all that impressed with most of the dishes I was served at the Urban China Dim Sum Restaurant in Edmonton, but the Steamed Beef Balls you see pictured above were fairly decent. Not the best I have had, mind you, but still better than many others

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Forms of Katsuobushi

Katsuobushi – An Introduction

The curious brown item at the top of the above picture may resemble a chunk of aged wood, but it is actually Katsuobushi, a dried fish product essential to Japanese cuisine. This, together with the derived products ranged below it, represent one of the primary Umami-components in many, many Japanese dishes. Indeed, if you have ever eaten in a Japanese restaurant, it is highly likely that you have encountered Katsuobushi in one for or another. If you would like to learn more about this fascinating product and how it is used, read on…

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Beef Tataki at Izakaya

Beef Tataki at Izakaya in Ottawa

For many years, one of my favorite restaurants in Ottawa was Big Daddy’s on Elgin Street. I was sad to see it go, but it ended up being replaced by the Izakaya Japanese Restaurant, which was every bit as good. Unfortunately, it only lasted a couple of years and I didn’t get to enjoy more than a couple of meals there before it closed its doors too. One dish they did particularly well was their appetizer serving of Beef Tataki.

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