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Dried Beans - What's is the trick?

True! Sugars and acids retard absorption of liquid into the bean.

Apr 22, 2012
firehouse in Home Cooking

Dried Beans - What's is the trick?

True! Don't add any acid until the beans are cooked to the doneness you prefer. Acid (even tomato products) halts the absorption of liquid into the beans. Baked beans in a can have the acid added at the perfect moment so they don't become any mushier in the can. The following article explains the science and has some great tips:

Apr 22, 2012
firehouse in Home Cooking

Ancho or Pasilla? Navigating Chile Pepper Chaos

The easiest way to tell an ancho from a pasilla is the shape. An ancho chile is short and stubby. A pasilla is long and slender. An ancho and mulato are more difficult to tell apart because they are both dried poblanos, and both are often called for along with pasilla in molé. The Cook's Thesaurus has pictures and descriptions of dried chiles.

Apr 22, 2012
firehouse in Features

Heading up to Curve Lake (Peterborough Area)

Hot Belly's and Olde Stone Brewing next door are open for lunch beginning at 11:00am. Sometimes the windows can seem a little dark from the outside, especially when they've got the summer screens up.

Why You Shouldn't Cook with Good Olive Oil

High temp cooking also destroys the nutritional value of EVOO and causes it to break down. Virgin olive oil comes from olives harvested later in the season where they develop a higher level of linoleic acid. The acid makes virgin olive oil more stable over time and at higher cooking temperatures of around 360°F. Save the EVOO for cold or low temp dishes.

Mar 16, 2012
firehouse in Features

The Big Night movie menu

I want to throw a party based on the 1996 movie The Big Night. Does anyone know what was served for dinner in the movie on the "big night" besides the famous timpano?

Apr 10, 2010
firehouse in Food Media & News

The Four Worst Restaurant Etiquette Gaffes

Here in Ontario our combined sales tax is 13% and a little higher on alcohol. We just add up the sales taxes to figure the minimum tip or double the tax for good service. Depending on your tax rate, you can easily double or triple the tax for a quick tip figure.

Apr 10, 2010
firehouse in Features

Coastal English cheddar cheese for Mac & Cheese

Most cheeses, especially hard or firm ones like aged cheddar, will definitely "weep" when they sit out a long time. Other softer ones will become hard on the edges. You want to let a cheese sit out of the fridge 30 - 90 mins but not in very warm climates. It's not the fat that's weeping, it's the moisture from the cheese. If a cheese is sitting out, try keeping it covered under a cake plate dome.

Feb 21, 2010
firehouse in Cheese

Olympics theme dinner!

Alder smoked salmon would be a must! Pacific seafood would be good like octopus (calamari rings), oysters, and clam or crab dip. Try serving beer bread, eh, with a nice grainy mustard. Canada produces the vast majority of the world's mustard seed. Canada grows a lot of cranberries which you could serve as a chutney on baked brie, dried cranberries in biscuits, cranberry jelly with cream cheese on crackers, or in a drink. Cranberry juice and Canadian vodka go well together with a squeeze of lime. We're going to make a version of the Quebec specialty, poutine (fries topped with cheese curds and gravy). Ours are going to be Bobsled Poutine Potato Skins topped with curds, bacon, and gravy. Back bacon (aka Canadian bacon) is good on grilled sandwiches with maple glazed caramelized onions, Canadian cheddar, and sauteed apples.

Jan 28, 2010
firehouse in Home Cooking

Peterborough to Kawarthas: Food Finds?

Good news, Reggie's fans. Reggie and Cam have opened a permanent location in addition to their seasonal chip truck by Trent. Their restaurant is open daily at 89 Hunter Street East in East City, Peterborough. Same delicious homemade burgers and fries as well as breakfast. At lunchtime I step out the front door of my neighboring business just to catch a whiff of the grill!

Cajun Corner? Still open?

I believe that the original owners, Glen & Karen, sold it after moving it to Laird from Queen St West. I understand they own a B & B in New Orleans now and moved there fulltime.

Buster Rhino's Authentic Southern BBQ - Whitby

This is excellent, true low and slow barbecue. Ribs rubbed and smoked, sauce on the side if you have to. Melt in your mouth smoked pork butt - a generous serving of pulled pork on a really large fresh bun with hand sliced, vinegar & mayo coleslaw to go on top. This bears no resemblance to chain BBQ. While we've never had the pleasure of traveling through the Southern states, this is the best we've had along with Muddy's Pit BBQ catering in Peterborough, ON and the Armadillo BBQ in Woodinville, WA.

Southern Rub Smokehouse

I'd highly recommend Buster Rhino's in Whitby. It's REAL low and slow Southern barbecue. If you're looking for chic ambience, then you shouldn't be eating real bbq. Buster Rhino's could be described as a hole in the wall, albeit a clean one. The food was GREAT, big servings, and very affordable. We were there on Friday and they had a rib special: Full rack of back ribs, rubbed and smoked, sauce on the side, choice of one side, and a pop for $13.99. Easily enough for the two of us. We also had a Texas style smoked brisket sandwich and a Carolina style pulled pork sandwich, each for $4.50. Very large servings of meat on a really fresh bun, with your choice of sauce. They make their own rubs and sauces which you can also purchase. Original (mild), Hot (nice little kick), and Holy Habanero (great hab flavour and heat). Very good sauces which are definitely meant to go with smoked meat. They're sweet but with enough vinegar tang to cut through the rich meat. I ordered one side of coleslaw which was not the macerated mushy sweet stuff you'd get at the grocery store. it was raw and crunchy, hand sliced, in a vinegar and mayo dressing. Nearly impossible to eat out of the styro cup with the plastic fork because it was meant to go on the sandwich, barbecue style. It added the perfect crunch to the succulent and tender pulled pork with the vinegar tang cutting through the richness of the meat. All in all, we thought this was authentic barbecue worth the 1-minute stop off the 401 at Thickson Rd. Info is on their website.

How do you use white truffle oil?

Use truffle oil at the end of cooking so that you don't waste any of the aroma. A drizzle on risotto with wild mushrooms is excellent. Black truffle oil is actually more delicate and less acrid than white truffle oil, so if using white, be judicious. A rich flavorful dish that cuts the strong white truffle or something with a little acidity, like fresh heirloom tomatoes, might be the best choice. A little goes a long way so start with a few drops - you can always add more.

Feb 06, 2009
firehouse in Home Cooking

How to make thicker chili?

The cornmeal suggestion works for me when making white or red chili and it's handy to have around so you can make cornbread to go with the chili!

Our favorite cornbread recipe is from the Complete Book of Breads:
•¾ cup yellow cornmeal
•2 ¼ cup all purpose flour
•¾ cup sugar
•3 tsp baking powder
•½ tsp salt
•1 cup milk
•½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
• 3 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 400°F/204°C. Sift together all of the dry ingredients. Whisk milk,
butter, and eggs together. Stir into dry ingredients. Pour into a 9x11-inch baking dish or
muffin tins. If using a glass baking dish, you won’t need to grease it, however, greasing
a metal pan or lining muffin tins with paper cups is recommended. Bake 15 - 20 mins
until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly before cutting into squares.
Makes approximately 18 squares.

Nov 10, 2008
firehouse in Home Cooking