Archive for the ‘Photos’ Category

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Pied de Cochon: Decadence

June 3, 2007

Just a few pictures from latest visit to restaurant au Pied de Cochon:

Taragon Deer Tongue: Demi Glace, Béarnaise, Dijon

Lobster Roll:1 1/2 Pound Lobster with mayo and greens, melted old cheddar and Torchon Foie Gras, with a bit of demi glace on brioche bun.

Wonderful person who made the roll, much self-restraint was necessary to not jump the bar and give her a thank you hug for that decadent treat.

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Pseudo Mole Beef (served Taco-style)

April 28, 2007

Mole Beef

Mole paste

  • ½ cup of almonds
  • 3 allspices
  • 2 cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon of fennel seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon of peppercorns
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of whole cumin
  • 1 2” stick of cinnamon
  • 2 dried bird chilies
  • 1 fresh bird chili
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • ¼ cup of 70% cocoa chocolate

Stew

  • 2 pounds of beef chuck, in 1 to 1 ½” cubes
  • 1 onion minced
  • 1 large tomato, minced
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • 3 cups of beef stock
  • Mole paste

Garnish

  • Old cheddar

As I was getting used to making those awesome tortillas that Robert Rodriguez showed me how to do (full lard tortillas are maybe a little more neutral in taste but they are easier to work with and somehow seem to have a fluffier texture), I was also looking for ways to use them. One of my favorite things to eat in Mexican restaurants is anything drenched in mole, the wonderful chocolate and nut sauce that is made in different regions of Mexico. Now, proper mole has dozens of ingredients and everybody and their mother has its own way to do it. After some research on the net there was no way in hell I was going to run all over town to get spices and the other stuff needed, so I made with what I had, which is still quite a bit of stuff.

 

I learned that making mole paste was first. Roast the almonds, either in a 450 degrees oven or in a frying pan, making sure to keep an eye on them so as to not burn them. Roast them on both sides. Dump the almonds, the garlic, all the spices (break up the cinnamon prior to that or pound it in a mortar), the chilies, salt and peppers in a food processor and pulse into oblivion. Once into a fine, or fine cornmeal, texture, add the chocolate and make a paste. Reserve.

 

In a dutch oven or a stockpot, over hight heat, add the oil and brown the beef cubes. Once browned on all sides, add the onions and garlic and cook for about a minute to brown a bit. Add the stock, the tomato, stock and mole paste. Bring to simmer, cover and cook for at least 1 hour, preferably 2. Check up on the pot every half an hour, every 15 minutes near the end because the sauce could dry up, add some stock or water to bring it back. Ideal texture after cooking should be very thick, something even thicker than Béchamel. If it is not, up the heat a bit and reduce a bit and keep stirring so that it doesn’t stick.

 

I served taco style by putting them in a hot tortilla and garnished with a few slices of old cheddar.

 

Tunes: I know absolutely nothing about Mexican music and since what I have done is not nearly as authentic to warrant some authentic Mexican music I decided to forgo any attempt to remain close to the subject matter. So, I decided to go something that makes me happy and one of the most criminally underrated Montreal band in the past few years: the Unireverse. This trio of synth enthusiast create incredibly fun and interesting originals and covers with one drum machine, a few other electronics and three vintage analog synths. On Plays the Music, the Unireverse just create eight songs that make your head bob up and down for an hour uncontrollably. Awesome.

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Oxtail

April 10, 2007

Seeing some beautiful oxtail in the counter of the butcher, about the first time I was seeing decent tail forever (please…), just got me excited to make some. I had read Becks & Posh’s account with Heston Blumenthal’s oxtail recipe that completely convinced me not to make his, but the results being that good leaned me towards his ingredients at least. Blumenthal doesn’t go easy on the expenditures, his recipe cost B&P’s a 100$, something I was not willing to spend. So I decided to go easy on the wine, using my usual cooking wine: wine in a box. It ain’t the greatest wine but once reduced to hell, what difference will it make really (a big one would say Blumenthal, none would say my wallet). Also, the time factor of the recipe is a bit much, not cooking time.

  • 1 oxtail, jointed
  • 1 bottle of red
  • 2/3 cup of port
  • 2 medium onions, minced
  • 3 carrots, minced
  • ½ pound of bacon, minced
  • a few sprigs of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves
  • 3 allspice whole
  • 1 star anis
  • the zest of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of oil

With that said, I decided to take normal braising technique, similar ingredients and long cooking time to achieve the results. Heat up on high a dutch oven on the stove. Pre-heat the oven to 250 °C. Season well your oxtail, throw in a tablespoon of neutral oil (grapeseed or canola) and a tablespoon of butter. Add the oxtail and brown well on all sides. Reserve on a plate for a little while. Add the bacon to the dutch oven and brown well. Reserve. Throw in the onions and the carrots (I did not have leaks and celery but the recipe called for it and it would probably be beneficial to add it right here) and brown. Once the vegetables browned, add the bacon and oxtail back to the dutch oven and cover with the bottle of wine. Add the bay leaves, thyme, cloves, anis, zest of the lime to the oven and bring the liquid to a low simmer. Throw in the oven and wait for a 3 hours. After 3 hours, add the port to the dutch oven. From that point on, verify the amount of liquid every hour or so and add a bit, ¼ -1/2 cup or so, of water if you level goes lower than the mid height of your oxtail pieces. Cook for at least 4 more hours.

After the cooking is done, remove the oxtail pieces from the liquid and strain the liquid. Put the liquid in a sauce pan and bring to heavy boil. There should be enough fat in there for the liquid to emulsion, reduce by a third or a half depending on how much you have left, but have enough sauce for your oxtail (I know this is a bit approximative but you have to “feel” this one out.) Adjust seasoning (it should need a significant amount of salt.) Plate the oxtail, pour the sauce over it and mince some basil and throw it over it with a sprinkle of sea salt (or sel the Guérande). Enjoy! I served with some quick and dirty steamed vegetables, bok chois in this case, with a bit of butter on them.

Tunes: This meal is so sweet and tasty, I would think something similar would be appropriate. For the the cooking, I would go with something a little funky like Prince’s 1999, one of his great album that combine, funk, rock and dance seamlessly while keeping things catchy throughout. For the enjoyment of the oxtail, I would recommend something a little more bittersweet like Michael Gira’s Angels of Light, with Everything is Good Here/Please Come Home. This album is what won me to Angels of Light, after a few years of denying that the leader of Swans could be so different, but it all made sense with this one. Further along the way I came around on the other Angels of Light material but this one breached the gap.

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Stuff I haven’t blogged about

January 29, 2007

But I think looked pretty good:

 Squid and shrimp noodle stir-fry, Thai-style

Horse Meat Balls Stew and Blue Cheese Mac and Cheese

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Holiday pictures

January 13, 2007

Tartare at L'ExpressRoasted RabbitConfit de Canard in Salad, L'ExpressChevre en Brioche, Cafe du Clocher PencheRabbit plate with roasted potatoe and green beansFoie de Veau, L'ExpressBavette de Boeuf, Cafe du Cloche PencheMore to come….