Sunday, 31 March 2013

Ants on a Log - Now for Adults

Warning - this post may contain nuts, deliciousness and double entendres.

Occasionally the Fondue household has a snack attack - which often ends in a salty sweaty mess of stale nachos and questionable salsa.  Ants on a log seem too childish to indulge in, and yet too delicious to give up on. Who doesn't like peanut butter? (blahblahblahAnaphylactic shock).
In the best interest of matching adult behaviour with childhood memories, peanut butter is getting a make over.

March sunshine in Vancouver is the best.
Get some:

  • Clean, trimmed and dry celery ribs
  • 1/2 c Organic peanut butter
  • 1 TBSP honey 
  • 1 TBSP Sriarcha hot sauce - or your favourite pepper based hot sauce
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp splash of fish sauce or soya sauce
  • Nuts - salted peanuts, cashews, almonds walnuts 
  • optional: cilantro & 1/4 tsp powdered garlic

Assembly - this is the easy part
Pile the peanut butter, honey, hot sauce, lime juice, fish sauce & optional garlic powder into a bowl and stir to incorporate.
Stuff your celery ribs with the spicy peanut butter topping.
Place the nuts securely in the peanut butter and place cilantro artfully on top.
Serve the remaining peanut butter with apple slices for a sweet salty spicy taste sensation.
This snack attack is great with a delicious Driftwood White Bark Witbier.
I wouldn't have been a happy child if I could have drank Driftwood with my after school snack.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Stout Infused Mushroom Lentil Shepherd's Pie

St. Patrick's day is by far one of the best celebrations of a Saint that has ever existed since the Pagan's were throwing party's...those guys did it up right. But celebrating with beer and parades, random strangers demanding kisses a la "Kiss me I'm Irish" T-shirts and silly green costumes gets a Fondue Voodoo seal of approval. We celebrate the best way we know how with beer infused veggie shepherd's pie, until the Pagans comeback...

What you will need:
humble beginnings
  • 2 cups diced mushrooms (mixture of cremini and trumpet or others of your choice)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 cups green cabbage
  • 1 TBSP oil, best choice - coconut oil
  • 2 cups mashed potatoes
  • 1 cup lentils (see cooking instructions below)
  • 3 bay leaves 
  • 1 bottle (340 ml) stout. We used St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout by McAuslan Brewing
  • 3 TBSP mushroom powder
  • 1 TBSP umami paste (can be substituted with 1 TBSP tomato paste or 1/2 TBSP anchovy paste
  • 1 cup veggie/mushroom broth
  • 3 TBSP tomato paste, or more depending on your preference
  • 1 tsp rosemary powder
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • crack of pepper
  • 3 TBSP beurre manie
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 TBSP freshly chopped herbs such as flat leaf parsley
Prior to starting, have on hand 2 cups of mashed potatoes, warmed up with speed up the process.
To cook the lentils first rinse with cold water, drain and then place in a stock pot and cover with cold water by 2 inches and add bay leaves. Bring to a boil and then turn down to simmer for 10 minutes. Once cooked pour into strainer and rinse with cool water.

Chow time
In a separate stock pot add the oil and gently sauté the onions, carrots, celery and cabbage for about 5 minutes until the onions are translucent and then add the garlic and sauté for about 1 minute. Remove from pot and add the mushrooms. Sauté until browned. Deglaze the pot with the stout. Add the stock, mushroom powder, umami paste and tomato paste and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk in beurre manie to make a lightly thickened sauce. Bring back to the heat and bump the heat up to medium to thicken - it should just cover a spoon slightly. Add in the mushrooms, vegetables and lentils back to the pot.

Once the mushroom-vegtable mixture is heated through pour into a casserole dish and cover with the mashed potatoes. You could proceed to bake for 20 - 25 mins to heat all the layers evenly, or place on top rack under the broiler until the potatoes are browned.

To serve, scoop a 1/4 cup of peas on the dish and then add a layer of the Shepherd's pie on top. Finish with herbs, cracked pepper and Worcestershire sauce.

Shepherd's Pie Beer Pairing: Best to pair this meal with the same beer as you used for the deglazing. An oatmeal stout works great here as the creamy oatmeal and toasted malts balances perfectly with the richness of the mushrooms and lentils.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup

Guest post from Jar Head:

Cold dark winter nights call out for a hearty soup. This soup definitely is the ticket, the earthy, meaty flavours that the wild rice and mushrooms will stick to your bones and warm you up from within.

What you will need for the rice:
  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda *
  • 3/4 tsp salt
* Baking soda breaks down the pectin seed coating of the rice and also lowers the temperature necessary for Maillard reaction (browning) to occur. This leads to a nuttier tasting wild rice and a deep brown more complex stock which we will use to enrich the soup.

What you will need for the soup:
  • 1 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 600-700 grams of cremini mushrooms
  • 1 leak chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1-2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2/3 cup brown ale (such as a Belgian Dubbel like St. Bernardus Prior 8)
  • 4 cups low sodium broth
  • 4 TBSP dried mushroom powder (we used a mixture of cremini, matsutake, chicken of the woods and bear's tooth mushrooms)
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup minced chives or green onions
  • 1 TBSP umami paste (can be substituted with 1 TBSP tomato paste or 1/2 TBSP anchovy paste)
  • pepper
Start with making the rice. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bring the water, bay leaf, salt and baking soda to a boil over medium-high heat in a stock pot. Add the rice and return to a boil. Cover and transfer to the heated oven and bake until rice is tender - approximately 35-50 minutes.

Strain through a fine mesh strainer and reserve the liquid which we will use for our soup. Top up the liquid with water until you have 3 cups.

For the soup, first make a slurry of cornstarch and 4 TBSP of the stock you plan to use - set aside for later use. Next melt the butter over medium high heat in large stock pot. Do this next part in stages, add the mushrooms, garlic and leaks to form a small layer on the bottom of the pan and sauté until browned - feel free to use the ale to deglaze as needed. Remove the mushrooms from the pot once browned and start with a fresh batch, continue until all the mushrooms are browned. Return the cooked mushrooms back to the pot and add in the stock, remaining ale, mushroom powder, thyme and umami paste and bring to a hard simmer. Add the cooked rice and the cornstarch slurry and stir until the soup thickens. Stir in the sour cream and serve topped with green onions.

Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup Beer Pairing: A dark brown ale works best here with the meaty flavours of the mushrooms. We went with the St. Bernardus Prior 8 which is a strong abby Belgian dubbel which we also used for deglazing the pot.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Naan Bread

Guest post from Jar Head:

This is a recipe that I adapted from Peter Reinhart's recipe for pita bread in his book The Bread Bakers Apprentice Extraordinary. It is extremely simple and delicious with any Indian food (recipe for Chana Masala coming soon!).

What you will need:
  • 1.5 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 2 TBSP plain yogurt
  • 1 TBSP honey
  • 1 TBSP oil
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tsp melted butter for brushing
Mix all of the above ingredients and kneed for approximately 10 minutes. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Ferment in a warm place for 90 minutes or until it doubles in size.

Transfer the dough to a counter and separate into approximately 150 to 175 gram balls. With you fingers flatten the balls into 20 cm diameter circles. These should be about 1/2 cm thick.

Bake at 500 degrees F on a baking stone or cookie sheet. Bake until they begin to brown. Remove and brush with the melted butter.

Alternatively you can cook these in a cast iron skillet. Simply heat until very hot - add the dough and cook covered for about 1 min. Flip and cook an additional 30 seconds. Remove and brush with the melted butter. 

Hot Stuff Popcorn

Every once in a while I suffer a sever relapse and go into a snack attack. Salty is the only solution to cure me of the snack shakes. Top all this off Sriracha is my new bestie and we do everything together - so it's only natural that we enter into a snack attack together. 
just a mouthful

Sriracha Spiked Popcorn
8 Cups popped popcorn
2 TBSP butter
1 TBSP Olive Oil
1 TBSP Sriracha hot sauce 
2 tsp Creole spice mix, "Slap yo Mama" is a good choice
1 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp of toasted sesame oil
2 tsp black sesame seeds

In a sauce pan heat melt butter with olive oil, Sriracha, creole mix, granulated garlic & sesame seeds.

Place your oven to warm, or 200 F for 10 mins,
Turn the oven off and keep it closed while the popcorn pops.
Meanwhile pop your popcorn.
Divide your popcorn in 2 batches. Quickly pour half of your hot oily topping over the first batch quickly agitate your popcorn to distribute the topping. Repeat on the second batch.

Stop and smell the deliciousness you just created - a hot popcorny salty mess. Place the popcorn on cookie sheets and toss in the oven and try to stop yourself from eating all of it. Leave the popcorn in the oven for at least 30 mins until the oil soaks in and popcorn dries out. Be sure to check your popcorn to make sure the oven isn't so hot that it's toasting your corn to a burn.

Eat it all...cause you won't be able to stop...your lips will burn and be puffy, but you'll love it.

Did it work? Hell yes!  The magic worked - like it always does.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Thai Red Curry

Spicy goodness
Sweet, salty and savory, fresh and creamy, Thai curry uses some sort of magic of "opposites attract" that no one here in this house can explain with science, mystisicism or religion - so we duduce this must be black magic. I'm certain everyone has a recipe of their own they prefer, so take this with a grain of salt, it's a guideline to dinner and represents what happens in my cauldron. Find your personal sweet spot, add your own ideas and your own favourites, Thai curry is a forgiving god, Thai chilis are not - watch out for those guys!

What you will need:
  • 2 TBSP red curry paste
  • 1 can coconut milk or cream
  • 1/2 cup chicken or veggie stock
  • 1 TBSP fish sauce
  • 1 TBSP brown sugar
  • 1 stem lemon grass, optional
  • thai chilis if you want to breath fire
  • 1-2 medium onions (diced)
  • 1 knob of ginger (ground)
  • 3-6 lime leaves (to taste)
  • 1 carrot (diced)
  • 1 bunch broccoli (chopped)
  • 1 bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup fresh pineapple
  • 1 package firm tofu or meat, chicken or shrimp
In a large heavy pan heat the curry paste for 2-4 minutes until the oils are released. Add the coconut milk, stock, brown sugar and fish sauce. Bring to a simmer and add the onions, lemon grass, lime leaves and ginger for 5 minutes to allow the flavour to infuse. Lastly, add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes. Check the seasoning and add more sugar/fish sauce/curry as needed and top with cilantro and extra limes. 

Serve with jasmine rice and thank your gods if you managed to avoid the stinging burn of the deliciously evil Thai chills. 

Thai Red Curry Beer Pairing: IPA's and Thai are a match in heaven in my humble opinion. My go to's are Central City's Red Racer or Driftwood's Fat Tug

The Perfect Soft Boiled Egg

Guest post from Jar Head:

We here at Fondue Voodoo are always in a quest for the perfect egg. Previously we have given you what we consider the perfect poached egg and today we aim to bring you the perfect soft boiled egg.

This method comes from Cooks Illustrated. It is simple and has become our go to egg method (even surpassing our once pedestal poached method).

All you do is bring about 1 cm (1/2 inch) of water to a boil. Once you have a rolling boil gently add in cold eggs and continue to maintain a rolling boil for exactly 6 minutes. As soon as the 6 minutes have elapsed remove the eggs and transfer to a cold water bath for about 1 minute. You can then peel the eggs and immediately serve.

The trick to the success is the half boil half steam method which reduces the temperature variability allowing this recipe work every time regardless of whether you are using 1 or 6 eggs. We can confirm that it has worked perfectly in different kitchens, different stoves and pots as well as any number of eggs.