Thursday, July 23, 2015

Smoked Brisket Poutine with Chimichurri

Notice that I had to steal a piece off the brisket before the picture was even taken... this was after few tester pieces already!
One of my best friends recently purchased a Smoker and we decided we should make a brisket on it. It's been a busy summer so far, and so when there was a free day in my weekend I decided to take full advantage of it.
Not wanting to just have a huge chunk of meat, we decided that a good place for the brisket would be on poutine. I was in charge of the fries and chimichurri. He got the brisket and picked up some authentic Quebec cheese curds and sauce/gravy, (from a Quebec specialty store at the farmers market).
This was obviously mixing a dangerous level of different cultures/foods into one dish but it ended up being amazing!!! The 15 hrs spent slow smoking the brisket yielded juicy tender meat with the perfect smoke flavor and crust. The chimichurri added a little acidity to cut through the heaviness of the cheese and sauce. The fries ended up being fluffy on the inside with perfect crunch on the outside.
I won't go into details on actually smoking the brisket because I wasn't there and don't have any photos, (all I know is that my buddy put it on at midnight and checked it at 5am).
Here is the rub recipe for 6 lbs of brisket:
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt (kosher or sea)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  1. Massage brisket with well mixed rub
  2. Let it sit in the fridge with the rub for 2 days.

I went with a double fried recipe for the fries.

  •  5 lbs bag of russet potatoes cut into fries
  1. Rinse the cut potatoes in a large bowl with lots of cold running water until water becomes clear.
  2. Cover with water by 1-inch and cover with ice.
  3. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. 
  4. In a large pot fitted with a candy or deep-frying thermometer, (or in an electric deep fryer), heat oil over medium/high heat until the thermometer registers 325 degrees F. Make sure you have about 6 inches of clearance from the top of the pot to the oil.
  5. Drain ice water from cut fries and wrap in a clean dishcloth or tea towel and thoroughly dry.
  6.  Add fries, a handful at a time, to the hot oil.
  7. Fry, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are soft and limp and begin to turn a blond color, about 6 to 8 minutes.
  8. Using a slotted spoon, remove fries from the oil and set aside to drain on paper towels.
  9. Let rest for at least 10 minutes.
  10. When ready to serve the French fries, reheat the oil to 350 degrees F.
  11. Transfer the blanched potatoes to the hot oil and fry again, stirring frequently, until golden brown and puffed, about 1 minute.
  12. Transfer to large metal bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Homemade Mayonnaise

I dedicated this weekend to making the perfect Banh Mi (Vietnamese sub). I made rolls, pickled carrots, BBQ'd pork, and whipped up a hot and sweet mayo to bring it all together. Homemade condiments are a great way give a meal that custom feel. Mayo is a simple and rustic addition that is infinitely customizable.
With a food processor it only takes a few minutes to whip together, then half an hour to set in the fridge.
This sauce had the perfect amount of spice to elevate the rest of the flavours in the sub.


  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 3 tbsp sauce (any sauce will do, hot, bbq, sriracha,...etc.)
  • 1 egg (room temp)
  • 1 cup canola oil

  1. Put the garlic, salt, vinegar, sauce and egg into the food processor and pulse for 10 -  20 seconds until it is foamy and the garlic is broken down.
  2. Pour a thin stream of oil as you blend (this will create the emulsion required).
  3. After a couple minutes of steady blending you will have a nice thick creamy mayo.
  4. Refrigerate for 30 mins.


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Philly Cheese Steak

I had been waiting for a few years to make a Philly Cheese Steak and after tonight I am wondering what took me so long. Honestly, this wasn't time consuming or complicated in any way. I made a version with provolone cheese and another with Cheez Whiz (with a few jalapenos to make it interesting). Having never been to Philly I have no idea how these stack up to the real deal but I feel like I got pretty close.
I couldn't have been happier with my sandwiches. These were gooey and packed with flavour from the beef and peppers.
I will definitely be making these again!

I decided to go all out on the meat for these and used a couple of rib eye steaks.

  • 3-4 hoagie rolls
  • 2 rib eye steaks
  • small jar Cheez Whiz
  • 1 large white onion
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 green bell pepper
  • 1 medium jalapeno
  •  salt and pepper

  1. Chill the meat in the freezer for 30 min.
  2. Chop the onions and slice the peppers.
  3. Preheat the oven to 300 F.
  4. Cook the onions and peppers until soft, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  5. Slice the meat as thin as you can.
  6. Cook the meat on medium/high for a few minutes until no longer pink.
  7. Line the sliced buns with cheese and top with meat and peppers.
  8. Wrap sandwiched tightly in tin foil and then put in oven for 15min.
  9. Devour.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Fettuccine Alfredo with Sausage and Peppers

I made a new version of my Hot Italian Sausage (post pending) and was looking for something to showcase it in without feeling like I was eating a big plate of meat. I decided to go for an Alfredo sauce.
It has been a while since I have eaten an Alfredo sauce but I used to regularly eat it at one of the food kiosks when I was in University. I would cycle between subs, pasta, and Chinese food.
This sauce hit the spot and didn't end up being too heavy despite being mostly cream and butter.
I garnished it with some cilantro to mix things up a bit and really liked the change from parsley or basil.

  • 1/2 box fettuccine pasta
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 2-3 hot Italian sausage
  • cilantro (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper

  1. Boil pasta in large pot.
  2. Sauté the bell peppers and sausage in a little olive oil on medium-high heat. Add salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. In the same pan, add the butter and allow it to melt.
  4. Add equal parts flour. 
  5. Turn up the heat and stir constantly.
  6. Add the garlic
  7. Slowly pour in the heavy whipping cream. Keep stirring.
  8. Turn the heat down and add the Parmesan cheese. 
  9. Thin out the sauce with some of the water from the boiling pasta (if desired).
  10. Season with salt and pepper.
  11. Drain the pasta.
  12. Pour sauce over the pasta, and add the sausages and bell peppers. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Monkeypod Mai Tai Recipe

When we were in Hawaii one of  our favorite meals was at Monkeypod Kitchen where we discovered a deliciously dangerous drink that would have you falling over after a couple.
The Mai Tai is synonymous with Tiki Culture and is a refreshing mix of rum and juices. There are a ton of different recipes but the egg white foam topper from Monkeypod put this drink on another level. 
I couldn't wait to get home to order a whipped cream gun to make this drink. I wasn't disappointed.
My bar savvy friend had to show me how to use a spoon to keep the layers from mixing mixing.

  • 1 ounce light rum
  • 1 ounce dark rum
  • 1/2 ounce pineapple syrup (pineapple juice and sugar reduced)
  • 1/2 ounce orange curacao
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
  • foam (see below)
  1. Add lime, syrup, orange curacao and light rum to a mixing glass with ice. 
  2.  Shake and strain over ice into a highball glass. 
  3.  Float dark rum on top by pouring over a spoon to limit the splash. 
  4. Top with foam from whipped cream gun.


  • 2 parts passion fruit puree/juice
  • 1 parts simple syrup
  • 2 parts egg whites
  • 1 part honey
  • 4 parts cold water
  1. Add everything to a whipped cream gun.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Spicy Farmers Sausage

It is going to be a bit of sausage party on the blog for the next while because I have been regularly making small batches of sausage in an attempt to find the perfect sausage for summer grilling. This spicy farmers sausage could be a contender.
I think 3 lbs of sausage is the perfect amount to be able to put together quickly. Jess and I made homemade cottage cheese, stuffed perogies, and made this sausage all on a Wednesday night while feeding, bathing and putting down a 7 month old.
I ended up smoking it for a couple hours then finishing it off at higher temperatures. The smoke flavour was awesome and the snap from the hog casing was exactly what I wanted. I am slowly getting better at stuffing the twisting the links. These were pretty spicy but won't melt your face off.

  • 3 lbs ground pork 
  • 1 tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp garlic plus seasoning (you could use fresh garlic but this was handy and turned out tasty)
  • Curing salts (if you want to cold smoke it)


  1. Prepare your sausage casings for stuffing according to the suppliers instructions.
  2. Mix the meat and spices thoroughly and refrigerate for a couple hours to have them blend.
  3. Soak your wood chips in water or beer for 30 min then get your smoker ready to go.
  4. Smoke your sausage at 170 F to 250 F until the internal temp of the sausages reads 165 F. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Texas Hot Links

Sorry for the extended absence, I was on vacation for couple weeks and successfully killed my computer. It took a while for the replacement to arrive and for me to get back to cooking. I have a few back logged posts but hope to get things up to date sooner rather than later. 
I am not sure if this was a cooking fail or if I just have high expectations but this was a deflating process that I am still coming to grips with.
I have only been to Texas once and didn't have any sausage when I was there but sometimes you fall in love with the ingredients in something more than the final product, and end up readjusting those expectations when reality sets in.
I prefer thin sausages that fit easily into a bun and give you room to add whatever toppings you want without the whole thing falling apart. With this in mind, I decided to get the smallest (lamb) sausage casings to make a "frankfurter" sized sausage. This ended up being a huge pain because they were terrible to work with and the poor little beast's guts were just a little smaller than my stuffing tube making the processes painful, and resulting in three sausages with different lengths before I gave up and filled a big coil of my synthetic casing.
I think next time I will add some more cayenne to the sausage to elevate the spice because these ended up being fairly tame smokies that hardly registered on the heat scale.

  • 1.5 lbs ground beef chuck
  • 1.5 lbs ground pork shoulder/butt
  •  0.5 can/bottle beer (lager)
  • 2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1.5 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp red pepper flakes

  1. Prepare your sausage casings for stuffing according to the suppliers instructions.
  2. Mix the meat and spices thoroughly and refrigerate for a couple hours to have them blend.
  3. Soak your wood chips in water or beer for 30 min then get your smoker ready to go (I smoked mine on a natural gas bbq).
  4. Smoke your sausage at 170 F to 250 F until the internal temp of the sausages reads 165 F. My sausage took about 3-4hrs.

I have since made a few sausages using a small hog casing and am going to keep using them. The natural casings are much easier to work with and produce a sausage with a nice snap

Monday, January 26, 2015

Homemade Bacon

This is probably the most emotionally invested I've ever been making food. Jess got me a "Bacon" issue of Food Network Magazine in March 2014 (with a Homemade Bacon recipe by Michael Symon) and It took this long for me to work up the nerve to cure and smoke my own bacon. I would have been crushed if it didn't work out and ruined my perception of bacon.
It turns out even a fool can't mess this up because:
a) I am a fool
b) the bacon was easily the best bacon I have ever eaten
My good friend described it as "Goldilocks" bacon... it was just right.
There actually isn't too much work involved in making bacon. You pretty much just get things together and wait for up to 10 days before you can finally reap the benefits of your labours.


  • 5 lbs pork belly (skin on or off, I cut the skin off because it was too creepy to look at and made me feel like Hannibal Lector for having it in the apartment)
  • 1/4 cup sea salt   
  • 1 tsp pink curing salt mixed with a small amount of cold water (also known as Prague Powder #1, check the amount required for the amount of meat you have)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin


  1. Remove the skin if desired.
  2. Rinse the pork belly and pat dry.
  3. Cut the pork belly to fit in a couple Ziploc bags (I cut mine into 4).
  4. Mix the rub ingredients in a bowl and coat the pork belly in the bags.
  5. Refrigerate for 7-10 days flipping once a day.
  6. Remove from the bag and rinse thoroughly then pat dry.
  7. Refrigerate on a wire rack (uncovered) for a couple more days.
  8. Smoke or bake in the oven at 200 F until the internal temperature reaches 150 F (I tried both and preferred the smoked bacon, I used pecan wood-chips).
  9. Refrigerate until firm then slice and cook.
  10. You can apparently store this for a week in the fridge or a couple months in the freezer but it will disappear quickly.

This really was perfectly seasoned bacon. It had a great balance of sweetness, heat, and salt. I found that it is best cooked in the oven at 350 F to caramelize some of the sugars in it and render some fat out without burning the bacon. I tried to cut it evenly but ended up with some thick ends that I diced up and fried to top salads. I will be making this again...and again...and again

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Cuban Fritas and Special Sauce

Here are a couple quick recipes to take burgers or sliders to another level without much effort. On New Years Eve I made a bunch of wings along with around 20 sliders. To make the preparation easier I decided to go with an assembly line preparation of the burgers similar to McDonald's or White Castle. It allowed me to quickly grill the patties and get them in peoples mouths without having them top their own burger. I figured that there was enough food that picky eaters could find something else.
They ended up being a hit and I have made the special sauce a few more times for other burgers or dipping sauce for fries.
I was watching "You Gotta Eat Here" (A Canadian food show), that was actually set in Miami for an episode and saw a burger place where they topped the burgers with crispy fried potatoes. I didn't see the full episode but was captivated by this old guy that manned the fryer station at his family's restaurant and stubbornly refused to believe anyone else could fry a potato with his expertise. It turns out that it is pretty easy and well worth the effort if you want to get that burger and fries feel without actually serving a burger and fries.
For the sliders I took a couple bags of buttery white dinner buns, sliced them in half, started with special sauce, burger (beef, pork, garlic, and smoked paprika), cheddar or jalapeno-jack cheese, pickle slices, special sauce, a handful of fritas, and finally the top of the bun.
 I'll start with the fritas (they can be prepared in advance and stored in a container):

  • 1 potato
  • 1 liter canola oil
  • salt

  1.  Scrub your potato clean under cool water.
  2. Grate the potato with the larger holes on a box grater into a bowl of cold water.
  3. Rinse the starch from the potato shreds in the bowl until it runs clear. 
  4. Pat them dry with a paper towel.
  5. In a high sided pot or deep fryer heat the oil to 350 F and lower the potatoes into the oil (I fried mine in 2 or 3 batches).
  6. Fry them for around 6 minutes stirring slightly to keep them from sticking together.
  7. Remove from the oil and season with salt.
  8. They should be good for a few days in a container.

The "special/secret" sauce is just a mixture of a few things you might put on a burger anyways. I was excited to make it because Jess/Santa had given me a nifty squeeze bottle in my stocking for Christmas and I was looking for something to put in it. This is probably better if you make it at least 6 hours before you eat so that the flavours have a little time to blend.

  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp hot sauce
  • salt and pepper

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl with a fork or whisk. 
  2. Taste test with some fritas and readjust the seasoning if needed.
  3. Line a tall drinking glass with a sandwich bag and pour the sauce into the bag.
  4. Cut the corner off the bag and transfer to your squeeze bottle (this is easier than a funnel because the sauce is pretty thick).

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Lemon Buffalo Wings

We had a few people over for a New Years party and made a couple things to feed us without being locked in the kitchen while we could be celebrating. To start off the night I made a huge plate of wings.
Chicken wings were something I missed in New Zealand and Australia and were one of the first things I ate as soon as we arrived home. The recipe is really easy to prepare because it is based off a store bought wing sauce that I modified to amp up the flavour.
The most time consuming part was frying the wings because my deep fryer died and I ended up frying these in a big pot, the apartment had a distinct fried poultry smell for the party but it faded as we had more and more food.
The lemon was the extra kick that added some citrus to cut through the buffalo wing sauce.


  • 4 pounds of wings
  • 4 lemons
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic chopped
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp honey 
  • 3 cups buffalo wing sauce


  1. Marinade the chicken in the juice of two lemons, the lemon carcass, 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 cup of wing sauce, cayenne, and a pinch of the pepper flakes. Over night or at least a few hours.
  2. Pat the marinade off the wings with paper towel.
  3. Deep fry the wings at 375 degrees F for eight minutes until they are crispy.
  4. Put the wings in an oven safe glass dish.
  5. When all the wings are fried put them in the oven to keep warm while you make this sauce (this will ensure they are cooked through).
  6.  On the stove top add the remaining garlic and oil to a sauce pan and soften the garlic.
  7. Add the juice of the other two lemons.
  8. Add everything except the butter and cook for around 5 min.
  9. Add the butter and stir until the sauce is the consistency you desire.
  10. Toss the wings in the sauce and devour.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Vodka Gimlet

We can thank my brother (in a very round about way) for this recipe. I am an avid reader and try to devour as many trashy paperback novels/series as I can get through in a week. I average at around one and a half per week and usually finish 75 books a year. One of my major frustrations is authors who do not write fast enough for me to stay interested in their work. To ease my frustrations I now give them a 10 book head-start to make sure they finish what they start and hopefully don't die before the series is finished (It is surprising how often this happens).
The most recent series I have been reading is the Archy McNally series by Lawrence Sanders, Lawrence died but the series has been carried on. It also happens to be one of my brothers favourite book series from when it was originally written in the early 90's.
Archy is a private investigator working "discrete inquires" for the upper crust in Palm Beach, Florida. He is a bit of a womanizer that has affinities for fine food and numerous drinks. One drink that he regularly guzzles is a Vodka Gimlet.
I had to look it up because I wasn't familiar with it but is is basically vodka and some form of lime juice. It is great for avoiding scurvy and tastes delicious as well. It is probably more suited for summer but I didn't want to wait another 6 months before I tried it.
Gimlet's are traditionally a made with gin but like Martini's are probably better made with Vodka.
In my research I also found that they are made with "Rose's Lime Cordial", something that I have never heard of but is popular in England. I ended up making my own lime juice and it was worth the hour I spent squeezing limes.

This makes about a cup of finished lime cordial.
  • The juice of 20 - 25 limes (2 Cups)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Vodka
  • The zest of 10 limes
  • drop of green food coloring (optional)
  • sparkling water (optional)

  1. Clean the lime thouroughly.
  2. Zest 10 of them and set aside.
  3. Squeeze the juice into a measuring cup until you have two cups of it (don't worry about pulp being in the juice because you will strain it later).
  4. In a small sauce pan gently boil the juice until it reduces by half.
  5. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved.
  6. Remove it from the heat and add the zest and drop of food coloring then let is steep for 15 minuets.
  7. Strain and bottle for use (I am not sure what the consistency should be - mine wasn't thick but still juicy/runny).
  8. Store in the fridge.
  9. For the drink I went with 3 jiggers of Vodka to 1 jigger of juice shaken and strained into a martini glass. If you want to lighten it up you top it up with sparkling water.
 I think this is my new favourite drink and will probably end up looking crazy more often when buying 20 or more limes at a time.