Notes from a Liver Lover

 

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Long before Fergus Henderson and the like made “Nose to Tail”  dining fashionable for this generation of foodies, thrifty folks were eating liver and other organ meats like kidneys and lamb sweetbreads, the latter being the somewhat euphemistic name given to the thymus and pancreas. Liver in particular has a hold on our culinary imagination, as beef or calf’s liver appears on diner menus throughout North America, and most households that participate in an omnivorous diet will have liver every now and then, whether or not it is particularly esteemed.

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Plantain Tostones

 

 

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We may call them plantains, to differentiate them from bananas, but there is no real botanical distinction between bananas and plantains. Plantains are a large cultivar of the banana family, generally higher in starch than their smaller cousins, so are most often cooked before eating, while they are still under-ripe. Thus a plantain makes a great side starch dish that is not sweet; an immature plantain has a texture and flavour somewhat similar to that of a potato when cooked. The skin of an immature plantain is thick and green, but as the fruit ripens it turns a colour similar to bananas, and the starches are converted to sugar, so they can be eaten raw as well, and in fact taste like a banana. Continue »

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    Medium ripe plantain and medium ripe banana


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    The second frying


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    poached chicken and chicken rice and plantain tostones




Papaya Baked Two Ways

 

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Often when we think of papaya, we envision it fresh, cut and cubed and mixed into a salsa or a chunky salad with maybe avocado and a little cilantro and lime. It is also great for breakfast, sliced and served with yogurt, or used as a component of a tropical fruit salad or mixed into a smoothie. But did you know that papaya also makes a great baked side dish? Baking caramelizes the sugars that are already present in the fruit and brings forth its buttery texture and lightly sweet, slightly musky flavor, and depending on its preparation your papaya can be a succulent, sweet dish suitable for dessert or, maybe with a little ginger and cayenne, a savoury side great with baked fish or as an alternative to roasted squash. Continue »



Pickled Eggs for Fall

 

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We have a friend who lives in Harrowsmith and he has a few hens. And where there are hens there are eggs, lots and lots of eggs. So every time we visit Matthew we get a bunch of farm fresh eggs, which is great. We love eggs, and having a surplus means delicious omelettes, frittatas and a plethora of baked goods that utilize lots of yolks, like custards and French Vanilla ice cream, and the whites get used for meringues and pavlovas. But what to do when the eggs start piling up faster than we can devour them? Why, pickle them of course! Continue »



Necci: Italian Chestnut Crepes

 

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Chestnut flour is a great ingredient to have in your pantry; it can be used in a variety of dishes, both sweet and savoury, and its characteristic deep nut flavour adds a little richness to everything from cakes, cookies and crepes to stews and soups. It is also gluten free, so it is a good choice for those who are looking to eat gluten-free without sacrificing flavour. Continue »