Friday, November 14, 2008


What is it? One of the best pork products yet! I picked it up from Oyama on Granville Island ~ I just cannot resist fatty hunks of pork and since my recent cholesterol test was mindblowingly good (the doctor laughed in surprise at the results), I figure I can give in to the occasional pork whim.
I googled guanciale before I went to write this post. I stumbled across a website called FXcuisine which discussed the magic of the pig jowl along with how difficult it is to find outside of Italy Now I feel really lucky!
Basically, Guanciale is a cure pigs cheek. It isn't smoked and the flavour is pretty incredible and porky. I have already explored several different uses. One was slicing it like bacon and serving with eggs sunnyside up for a lazy Sunday breakfast.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Delicious Duck

Remember that foie gras with cherries and Apricot Nectar? Well, I saved some of the sauce and the fat from the pan of foie gras. A week later, seared duck breast with the sauce spooned over it, wild rice and yellow beets with honey and cardamom.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Much debated Foie

Rob loves his foie gras. I enjoy it as well, but I can only eat so much of it, but Rob could probably gorge himself on it until his own liver resembled it! It is one of those hotly contested foods; considered cruel and disgusting by some, pure joy by others. I recently watched an episode of The Wild Chef where he travelled (yes, Em, if you are reading, that is how we spell it here)to a duck farm to check out production of foie gras. I am not going to rationalise or demonise the eating of foie gras, nor will I be swayed from my own personal take on it. Just this.

Brandy. Dried Cherries. Apricot nectar. Crisp brioche. A treat for Rob (I passed this time).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lest We Forget...

A day to remember those who have fought and are still fighting in service of their country.

Monday, November 10, 2008

For Mindy

Here, as requested, photos of a Westcoast fall. And Aggie, of course.


Sunday, November 09, 2008

Congee Success

I admit it. I am obsessed with congee. Whenever I am at Hon's, I order it for lunch ~ there is something so comforting about the warm rice "porridge" loaded with fresh ginger and green onion. At the Hon's in Chinatown, they add tangerine peel as well. And I always get it with chicken added ~ I should really try branching out...
Anyway, I always suspected I was capable of making my own version of congee, but never sure where to start. I have been battling a cold and Nov 4th found me at home with a box of kleenex, the US election coverage and a vat of chicken congee ~ homemade.

I started the day before by removing the breast and thighs from my chicken and throwing the rest in a pot with dried mushroom, onion, garlic and ginger and water. I made a stock which I then used as the base for my congee; 8 cups of liquid to 1 cup of shortgrain rice. I also threw in julienned fresh ginger, dried chinese mushrooms and some dried orange rind.
After simmering for about an hour (it may have been more) my desired texture was reached. I added strips of raw chicken and simmered till they were cooked through.
The first bowl was pretty good that night but the best was saving for the next day and reheating it. The flavours had mellowed and developed and I ate nothing but congee that day. Well until the results poured in and I broke down and had a celebratory glass of wine.