10/14/14

Honk Honk

Mr has been out and about hunting this season, and he has had some success!

Hello Goose!

Aren’t these just gorgeous? So pretty to look at.

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How easy is it to break down a goose? Not so easy as the videos on the internet make it seem. That may be more a matter of being well practised and less a matter of the job being a difficult one, though.

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Goose Sausages

(recipe adapted from this recipe from Hunter Angler Gardener Cook)

1500 grams goose (I used meat from both the breast and the leg)

1000 grams fatty pork

1/2 tsp caraway seed

3 cloves garlic

2 Tbsp kosher salt

2 Tbsp marjoram

1 Tbsp black pepper

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 Cup red wine, chilled (you’re looking for something here with some red fruit and woodsy-ness to it)

Directions

  • First, trim away any thick silverskin or connective tissue that is opaque from the meats. The goose won’t have much, it’s the pork you’ll have to go over.
  • Cube up your goose and pork into small enough pieces that they will fit into the m0uth of your grinder. Lay out on a wide flat receptacle, I use a baking sheet, and pop into the freezer to chill. With the meat spread out over a large surface area rather than in a pile, as it would be in say a bowl, it will chill faster. I like to get the meat to a point where, if you pinch a cube between your fingers you can feel little ice crystals but the meat is still pliable.
  • Pop the wine into the freezer too! You want it to be quite cold when you add it to the sausage mix, starting to freeze around the edges.
  • While the meat is getting cold, give the caraway seed a bit of a bash in a mortar and pestle, or a brief couple of pulses in a spice grinder. The seeds just need to be opened up a bit to release their flavours, they don’t need to be pulverised.
  • At this time, I empty the caraway from the mortar and toss in the garlic cloves and salt. I use the pestle to grind the garlic and salt together into a paste. If you aren’t a mortar and pestle fan, a similar effect can be achieved by mincing up the garlic, sprinkling salt over top, and mashing it into a paste with the flat of a knife.
  • Once the meat has chilled, run it through a grinder on a medium grind (7 mm plate).

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  • Sprinkle over top the ground meat the garlic paste, caraway seed, marjoram, black pepper and Dijon mustard. Mix well to disperse the seasoning evenly though the meat.
  • Retrieve the wine from the freezer and pour it into the sausage mix.
  • Continue to work the sausage mix with your hands until it binds. You will know that you have achieved a bind when everything gets really sticky and holds to your hands.
  • Stuff the sausage mix into casings, and then twist off into links.
  • Let your sausages sit in the fridge for a few hours before cooking any up, this bit of a rest lets the sausages tighten up and all the flavours come together a little better. If you do not plan on freezing these sausages, eat them within a week. Freezing is a great option though, because you can take out and cook the amount you need as you desire.
  • Enjoy!

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Mr says:The goose sausage is particularly awesome for me, as I had never hunted anything successfully before. I’m glad it turned out so well. From the field to the plate in less than 48 hours.

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09/21/14

Chokecherry Syrup

Holy moly! The last few weeks have been a preservathon!

I’m starting to run out of jars to put things in! I will admit here that I don’t have  a giant collection of jars to begin with, but I still feel that having things in the majority of them is an accomplishment.  Especially since it is still September and there sill surely be some more things to put into jars.

I got the chance to make some chokecherry syrup, a delicious treat I’ve had the chance to enjoy a number of times, but had yet to make myself.

It’s pretty delicious stuff, so chokecherries grow in the area where you live, I would definitely suggest ear marking this recipe!

Chokecherry Syrup

(A recipe from the Mum-In-Law!)

Chokecherries

Water

Lemon juice

Sugar

Corn Syrup

Pectin

(Yes, I do realize that I haven’t specified amounts yet, but that’s because it really depends on how many chockecherries you can get your hands on. Don’t worry, read through and all will be cleared up!)

Directions

  • Rinse the chokecherries to wash away any dirt or dust.
  • Put the rinsed chokecherries into a large pot, and add water until the berries are not quite covered. When you start to see the water level rising up through the fruit, that is enough water.
  • Bring the mixture to a low boil, and simmer, stirring once in a while, until the chokecherries burst open. Remove from heat and let the mixure cool.

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  • Run the contents of the pot through a chinois or food mill, to separate the juice from the solids. Because this is a syrup and not a jelly, you can be a little more aggressive while pressing out the juice, because a little bit of sediment isn’t amiss here.

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  • Discard the remaining skins and seeds.  As a warning, chokecherries are mostly seed and skin, there will be a lot of leftovers to discard. Then measure the amount of chokecherry juice you have. For every 6 Cups of chokecherry juice use: the juice of 1 lemon (that’s around 2 Tbsp) , 5 Cups sugar, 1 Cup of corn syrup, and 3 1/2 Tbsp pectin (that’s one small packet around these parts). This is the ratio for the recipe, if you end up with more or less chokecherry juice, adjust accordingly.
  • Return the juice to the pot, and stir in the lemon juice, pectin, and corn syrup. Bring the mixture to a boil before adding in the sugar, and then boil for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Pour the syrup into sterile jars and then process.

If you’ve ever eaten a chokecherry off of the bush, you may be feeling a little doubtful of me, because they are so bitter, sour, astringent on their own. But with a little bit of the time, and the help of quite a bit of sweetener you end up with a perfectly puce syrup that still has a little bit of pucker that makes it a treat.

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Most of the times I’ve had chokecherry syrup we have poured it over top of waffles. I’ve been working on my crepe making technique, and discovered that the chokecherry syrup is quite a treat on them as well. I imagine it would be tasty on vanilla ice cream too, but have not tried that quite yet.

Mr’s favourite way to eat chokecherry syrup is with buttered toast, soaking the syrup up with the non-buttered side. Though, he mentioned, if you don’t butter your toast, you can soak up the syrup with both sides of the bread!

This time last year: Merguez Sausage

Two years ago: Tapenade

Three years ago: Roasted Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart

Four years ago: Kettle Corn

08/25/14

Gravlax

Let’s talk gravlax!

Are you familiar with this lovely stuff?

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Scandinavian by heritage, gravlax is a type of cured salmon.

This delectable treat is not to be confused with smoked salmon, because there is no smoking in the process.

Gravlax isn’t lox either, though I would say that they’re pretty much cousins. Lox, a Jewish staple from what I hear, gets it name from the German word for salmon, lachs. Gravlax gets it’s name from the Danish, Norwegian, Swedish term for salmon, lax. (The gravad prefix means grave, because back in the day part of the making of gravlax involved burying it in the ground! But that’s just a ghoulish side note!)  The difference between the two, though, is in the cure. Lox is salt cured salmon. In my reading, it is somewhat disputed as to whether or not sugar is to be allowed in the cure even. Gravlax on the other hand, is known to include the sugar as well as other seasonings like dill, black pepper, aquavit, caraway, or juniper.

Take notes guys, I can’t be the only geek who wonders about this stuff, and who knows, maybe one day I’ll post a quiz!

How to make it:

Gravlax

(a recipe in ratios!)

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For every 500 grams of salmon, please use:

30 grams kosher salt

25 grams sugar

5 grams cracked black peppercorns

and a big bunch of dill

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Directions

  • Examine your salmon for any remaining pin bones. If they are present, remove with some clean needle nose pliers or tweezers.
  • Combine the salt, sugar and dill.
  • Lay out a fairly large sheet of cling film.
  • Set down a layer of dill fronds about the size of your piece (or pieces) of salmon.
  • Apply the cure to both sides of the salmon, half to each side.

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  • Top the salmon with an additional layer of dill.
  • Seal up the cling film packet. Double wrap if you’re feeling like it isn’t sealed up really well. It is extremely unlikely there that the package won’t leak at least a bit through the curing process, so pop the curing packet into a container.
  • Pop your soon to be gravlax into the fridge, preferably at the bottom of the fridge, where it will stay coolest.
  • Cure for at least two days. Some people will cure for up to a week, or longer, but the longer you cure for the more intensely flavored your gravlax is going to be.
  • Strip off the layers of cling film, peel away the dill and discard it, and rinse your gravlax thoroughly with cold water.
  • Slice thinly on the bias and eat. The gravlax will be much easier to slice if you slice towards what would have been the tail end of the fish.

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On first taste, I found gravlax almost too intense. I packed it back up into the fridge and had to think on how I was going to eat it.

The combination of bagel and lox, emphasis on the cream cheese used on the bagel, was developed because lox is often bracingly salty and the dairy cuts come of the intensity from it. So, I followed the knowledge of the New York deli, toasted up a mini bagel, doctored up my cream cheese schmear with some horseradish and a little bit of leftover dill and sliced up some gravlax. (Bagel and grav-lox mashup anyone?) Boy that was delicious.

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By the time I had come up with that idea, a few days had passed, and the gravlax seemed to have calmed itself in flavor. I cannot really say if this was a change in how I was percieving it, or if it actually mellowed a bit once taken from the cure and rinsed. Either way, I liked it a lot better. So to be honest, a good portion of it has been eaten out of hand, just like this:

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(Or you know, if we’re feeling civilized sliced onto a plate, and then eaten out of hand.)

The next time I get a hankering to make some blini I know what I’m going to be draping over top of them.

A word on the salmon you are using: yes, this fish is cured but never cooked. Fish can sometimes carry parasites that can make people sick. Generally, when a fish is alive, any parasites would be using the fish as a host would be found in it’s digestive tract. Once the fish is, ahem, dispatched the parasites may start to migrate into the meat, the parts of the fish that we would eat. This is why fish are gutted quite quickly once caught. Most parasites that live in fish do not also infect humans, but some do. Almost all of fish sold as fresh in North America (hey, it’s where I live!) has been flash frozen to -35º C to kill any parasites that may have been present. So the fish you buy should be perfectly fine to make into gravlax. If you are still feeling nervous, fellow scaredy cats,  purchase farm raised salmon, studies show that it is much less likely to carry parasites than wild salmon. For your reference!

This time last year: Squash, Sage, and Chili Honey Tart

2 years ago: Drunken Cherries

3 years ago: Plums Under Meringue

4 years ago: Sushi Triangles