A Rich Spud On the Side

Every year, I have a BBQ to help raise money for The Ottawa Mission. They are a organization that is very near and dear to my heart. Amongst other things, they dedicate themselves to making sure no one goes hungry. They have a kitchen that is open for three meals a day to anyone that who needs it, regardless of their situation. I plan on writing about some of the awesome stuff they did for me in particular, but in the mean time, I’ll leave a link to donate on the bottom.

This year I made four dishes: Roasted Potato Salad, Vegetable Sticks with Hummus, Ravioli Stuffed with Grilled Vegetables and smoked Tomato Sauce, and Smoked then Fried Chicken. The Chicken came out well, but utilized some equipment I built myself. The good news is, I’ve already shared my Hummus recipe here and I plan on sharing the potato salad recip today.

Potato salad is a staple at any BBQ. I can’t think of any other dish, let alone side dish, that can be creamy, light, while still being hardy. This is my 4th year holding this event, and the spud-tastic side has always been a go-to, however this year I took a whole new approach on it. Assuming you’re not a big fan of German cuisine, most of us think potato salad as boiled potatoes mixed with a mayo based dressing, then cooled. If you happen to know the aforementioned Germans Cuisine, then you know they skip the mayo all together.
Instead they take the potatoes right from the boiling water and mix it with oil and vinegar, then season accordingly. The result is the potatoes absorb most of the liquid, giving you more of seasoning opposed to a dressing. My understanding is it’s often served hot.

What I came up with was a mixture of the two, with a twist that I haven’t seen before. The potatoes were very flavourful because I did the german style of “hot mixing” with vinegar and oil, but then added a small amount of mayo and seasoning to give them the creamy texture we all associate with Potato salad. Here is the twist, I roasted the potatoes! They just came out beautifully.
A few side points,

I made a vegan mayo for this recipe. It’s one of the few vegan foods that imitate something else, that I actually find better then the original. Seriously, vegan mayo is better tasting then the store bought mayo you find in stores. So I give it a pass.
I didn’t add hard boiled eggs to this recipe, because of dietary restrictions of some guests who attended. If I were to made it again, this would definitely be added

Here is how I did it:

Vegan Mayo:


  • 1/2C Soy Milk (If you don’t have Soymilk, or prefer traditional mayo, you can use the recipe found here)
  • 1/2C Canola Oil
  • 1/2C Olive Oil
  • 2t Apple Cider Vinegar
  1. Place all the ingredients in a high thinner cup. I used a measuring cup.
  2. Wait about 1 minute for the oil to float to the top.
  3. Insert the immersion blender into the mixture slowly.
  4. Pulse the blender until you start seeing mayo form.
  5. Once you see the majority of the mixture has emulsified, keep the blender on, and slowly lift the blender up and down until it’s a unified mixture.

Potato Salad:

  • 1lbs Russet Potatoes*
  • Pinch Salt
  • Double Pinch of Pepper
  • 1/4t of Garlic Powder
  • 6T Olive Oil
  • 1.5T Lemon Juice
  • 1.5T Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1.5oz Onion
  • 3/4oz Celery
  • 2T Mayo
  1. Wash, dry and Cut Potatoes into 3/4″ squares. Leave the skin on, they add a wonderful
  2. Toss the cut potatoes in 1T of olive oil until they are throughly covered
  3. Place oiled potatoes directly on a baking sheet and roast at 350 degrees Fahrenheit in a convection oven (375 degrees in a non convection oven) for 30 minutes. Make sure to mix the potatoes up half way through.
  4. While the potatoes cook, mix all the other ingredients except the onion, celery and mayo into a bowl, mix as well as you can. The oil and vinegar will want to separate, which is fine. This will be your seasoning.
  5. Check to see if the potatoes are soft, golden-brown and delicious, if they need more time, crank the oven up 50 degrees, and check on them every 10 minutes until they are ready. Make sure to mix them every time you look at them.
  6. Once your potatoes are done, quickly put them directly from the oven, into a a clean mixing bowl. Then pour the seasoning, onto the hot potatoes and quickly mix until the potatoes have absorbed all the liquid.
  7. Mix in celery, onion and mayo.
  8. Place in fridge overnight and serve.
  9. Take a fancy photo, and post it to Instagram with the hashtag #foryourfoulmouth

*I used Potatoes my roommate picked up from a farmers market. They were very unusual. They had paper thin skins, and even after 45 minutes in the oven, they didn’t really brown. They were very delicious, but I switched the recipe to russet. Since I have no way of knowing what I actually used, and feel they weren’t the best choice.

Donate to the Ottawa Mission: Here

Purée-ly Delicious

Sometimes, the difference between good and great is 2%. At least that’s what I told John, a class mate of mine; because my class average was 2% higher than his. At the time I meant it as a joke, but I think I might have been on to something. A better way to say it, might be ‘Sometimes, the different between good and great are the fine details.’ I bring this up because I was in the mood to make Hummus, and this is a perfect example of something that can be great, if you look after all the small details. The recipe I give down below is not based on the recipe we use at my place of employment, but I do make hummus at work at least twice a week. Here are some tips that I’ve learned:

Try and use a very good food processor. A cheap or low quality one will make the job longer. Personally, I find it takes a good 7-10 minutes of processing before the hummus is soft and creamy, longer with a cheap processor. If you’re in a situation where your processor isn’t up to the task, run it as long as you can, and when you feel it get hot, let the processor rest for ten or fifteen minutes, then continue. Keep doing this until your hummus is ready. Tahini on the other hand, you definitely can’t fake. If you’re like me, you may have to buy Tahini if you don’t and have a top notch food processor.

Consistency is a bit fickle. I find as I’m adding liquid, at first you’ll have to add a lot before you’ll see a big difference in consistency, but as the hummus loosens, you’ll see even a little bit will make a big difference

Finally, there are only a few ingredients in hummus, and as I mentioned in past posts, the fewer the number ingredients you have in a recipe, the more important the quality of each one is. So make sure to use the best ingredients you can get your hands on.

All that being said, there was one fine detail that I felt could elevate my hummus game, and that was roasting the chickpeas. Chickpeas are perfect candidates for roasting! That’s because they are high in proteins and starches, which cause them to undergo the Maillard Reaction. Which is chemists speak for, heat makes them golden brown and delicious.


  • 1 12C Chickpeas
  • 10 Cloves of Garlic
  • 2T Canola Oil
  • 2T Water
  • 2 12T Tahini
  • 2T Lemon Juice
  • 12T Salt
  • 1 12T Extra Virgin Olive
  1. Place dried chickpeas in a container, fill the container with water so that it covers the chickpeas by two inches, seal container and place in fridge overnight.
  2. If the chickpeas are still good, they should have doubled or tripled in size. If that’s the case discard the water, put the chickpeas in a pot and fill with fresh water until the water just covers the chickpeas. Set the stove to max heat.
  3. Bring the water to a boil, then lower heat to its lowest setting and place the lid on the pot. Let sit until the chickpeas become soft. It takes about an hour and a half to two hours.
  4. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit on conventional oven, or 400 degrees on a non conventional oven. Drain and dry the chickpeas, then lightly cover with Canola oil. Make sure to save the water they were cooked in.
  5. Place the garlic in a ramekin, with a pinch of salt and pepper, two table spoons of water, and two table spoons of canola oil.
  6. Place your oil covered chickpeas on a parchment lined baking sheet, then place your chickpeas and ramekin with the garlic into the pre-heated oven. The chickpeas should take about 20 to 30 minutes to become golden brown, while the garlic should thake ablut 25 to 35 minutes to achieve the same.
  7. Place two cups of your roasted chickpeas, roasted garlic, the oil the garlic was cooked in, tahini, lemon juice, a pinch of salt into your food processor.
  8. Turn your food processor on, until your chickpeas are coarse in size.
  9. Turn the processor off and scrape down the sides of the interior of the processor bowl and add a little of the reserved chickpea cooking liquid.
  10. Repeat step 9 until the chickpeas make a uniformed paste, and is CLOSE to the consistency you’re looking for. Remember, at first it will take more liquid for the consistency of the hummus to change, but be careful because as it thins out, a little bit of the reserved liquid will make a much bigger change, I ended up using 5.5floz of the reserved cooking liquid.
  11. Add the Olive Oil, and continue to process until the hummus takes on a creamy consistency.
  12. Repeat step 9 until the hummus is the desired consistency. The hummus will thicken when you put it in the fridge, so keep that in mind.
  13. Place hummus in fridge overnight, and taste for seasoning the next day. Add salt as needed.
  14. Take a fancy Photo and post it to Instagram with the hashtag #foryourfoulmouth!

A Hot Innovation

There is an old adage that claims, ‘necessity is the mother of all innovation,’ buffalo wings are a great example of that. Even though there are few stories about how bar owner Teressa Bellissimo created the dish, my favourite involves a group of hungry bar students coming into her bar and needing nourishment fast. So she threw some chicken wings into the deep fryer then covered them in a butter and hot sauce mixture. This may not sound like a huge innovation, but remember, at this point chicken wings were used for stocks and soups. Ordering ‘wings’ wasn’t a thing!

Legend has it she served it with a blue cheese dressing, and celery, which is how it is still served today.

Since July 29 is National Chicken Wing Day and July 23 was National Hot Enough For Ya day, this recipe kills two birds with one stone, or errr… ummm two days with one recipe…

Blue Cheese Dressing:
I used a recipe I that I found on one of my favourite food blogs, Food Wishes. I’ll link to it down below, Chef John is amazing, and his recipes are very solid!

I believe traditionally, you’d use a hot sauce made with vinegar and Cayenne peppers, like Frank’s Red Hot, or Louisiana Hot Sauce. However, fresh Cayenne isn’t easy to get a hold of this time of year in my area. So, I used a mixture of Scotch Bonnet, and Red Thai.

Buffalo Wings:

  • 50g Scotch Bonnet Peppers
  • 75g Red Thai Peppers
  • 3T Lime Juice
  • 1/3C Lemon Juice
  • 1C Vinegar
  • 3 Cloves Garlic Minced
  • 6T Butter
  • 1lbs Chicken Wings
  1. Put Scotch Bonnet peppers in a 325 degree Fahrenheit Convection oven (350 degree non Convection) on a parchment lined baking sheet. Let roast until they turn wrinkled and dark in colour. This should take about 30 minutes
  2. Remove the stems from all the peppers, then place in a pot with the: Garlic, Lemon Juice, Lime Juice, Vinegar.
  3. Bring the pot up to a boil, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer, and let sit for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, and let cool.
  5. Place mixture into a blender and blend until a smooth homogenous mixture forms.
  6. Place the back in to pot, and simmer for 20 minutes
  7. Place Butter into mixture and mix until butter had melted and fully incorporated, keep the temperature low so the mixture doesn’t separate.
  8. Place Buffalo sauce into bowl, and place aside.
  9. Pan on medium heat, and fill with oil about half way. You want to make sure it’s a pan with high sides, and preferably cast iron. Bring oil to 350 degrees.
  10. Place chicken wings in the oil, and let fry. If the oil doesn’t completely cover the chicken, just turn the wings over every 2 minutes. Don’t over crowd the pan, you’re better off doing small batches, so the oil will stay hot.
  11. Once the wings are golden brown and delicious, temp the biggest wings and make sure they are at least 175 degrees Fahrenheit.
  12. Place cooked wings in a clean bowl, and toss with the buffalo sauce until evenly coated.
  13. Take a fancy Photo and post it to Instagram with the hashtag #foryourfoulmouth!
Blue Cheese Dressing: http://foodwishes.blogspot.ca/2013/03/creamy-blue-cheese-dressing-chicken.html
National Chicken Wing Day: http://www.nationalchickenwingday.com/

Open Face

It is said that the Sandwich as we know it, was the result of John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich. He was a card player and wanted food he could eat with one hand, so he wouldn’t have to put his cards down. It’s my understanding that even though there have been instances of food being prepared this way before that, this is what created the trend we know and love today. Knowing that, an open face sandwich almost seems counter productive… but here’s the thing, in my opinion, when food is good enough, you CAN’T eat it while doing something else! When food is done properly, it demands your attention. Which brings me to what to the recipe I’ve created. This open faced sandwich, you eat with a knife and fork. That mens no distractions like cards, phones, and if it’s an awkward breakfast with someone you don’t like, conversation.

It has a few layers: Buttermilk toast with Mayo, Roasted Mushrooms, lettuce, and a ‘cloudy egg’.  For the Buttermilk Bread, I really recommend my roommate, Cheryl’s recipe. She doesn’t have it posted anywhere, but you can always text her, I’m sure she’ll give it to you. If you don’t have her number, I suggest asking her for it the next time you see her. Failing that, store bought buttermilk bread, a thick piece of Challah bread, or sour dough will work very well here.

I made up a simple Mayo recipe; it’s creamy, and zesty, and awesome. I used an immersion blender, and had it made in the time it took to make the toast.

The lettuce mixture was Parsley and Boston Lettuce. If you’ve never had the latter before, it’s similar to arugula in taste. It is; however, much sweeter. It’s shaped more like a smooth loose cabbage.

A layer of crispy Mushrooms & finally, the cloudy egg. This is a food that has been trending for a while, but I have never seen in it as part of a sandwich. Which is insane because it makes so much sense. The beaten egg whites give it a nice soft texture, and a rich taste because of the folded in cheese. Since the yolks are cooked for less time then the whites, the are runny, and create a perfect sauce!! This is a great recipe for breakfast, but it is a little involved, prepping the lettuce and the mushrooms the night before is a good idea.

Roasted Mushrooms:

  • 3 Button Mushrooms
  • 34g Oyster Mushrooms
  • 1T Olive Oil
  • 3 Pinch Salt
  • 2 Oregano
  1. Place a baking sheet into a 450 degree Convection oven (475 degree non convection). Don’t put any parchment on down.
  2. While the oven and the baking sheet are preheating, slice the mushrooms, you want them about 1/8″ thick and place them into a bowl.
  3. Mix oil, salt and oregano and mushrooms until they evenly coated.
  4. Place the Mushroom mixture onto the hot baking sheet. return the sheet into the oven for 18 minutes, make sure to mix the mushroom once half way through
  5. Put mushroom aside until needed.

Lettuce Mixture:

  • 1T Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4t Sugar
  • 18g Parsley
  • 46g Boston Lettuce
  1. Mix the Sugar into the Red Wine Vinegar until it’s
    completely dissolved.
  2. Cut the leafs of the Parsley off using a sharp knife. If you hold a bundle of parsley stem side closer to you, and use the knife to sheer off the leafs.
  3. Cut the Boston Lettuce using the chiffonade cut. You can see the process HERE. It’s how the Basil is cut.
  4. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, and place aside until needed.

Cloudy Eggs:

  • 20g Mozzarella
  • 9g Parmesan (you want the bricked stuff, not the pre shredded canned stuff.)
  • 3 Eggs Whites.
  1. Preheat convection oven to 325 degrees (350 non convections).
  2. Separate the eggs, and keep the same the whites and yolks.
  3. Beat the whites until the form a stiff peak foam. I used a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. You can use a hand mixer, or a regular whisk. If you do it the old fashioned way, make sure you use a whisk with a lot of tines, or else it will take a while.
  4. Fold in both cheeses to the meringue gently.
  5. Divide the meringue into two piles on a parchment lined baking sheet. Use a spoon to put a dip in the middle of each one.
  6. Place into the oven for 3 minutes
  7. Remove the meringue and place an egg yolk into the dip of each pile, place back into the oven for 2 minutes. Place one egg yolk aside for mayo
  8. Remove from the oven, and turn on the broiler, place the baking sheet under the broiler for about a minute. Don’t leave this unattended. Keep your eye on it, and remove it once you see the gold brown form on the white. You don’t want to burn the whites, or over cook the yolks.
  9. The Egg on the left is perfect, The egg on the right had the yolk burst because I wasn't gentle enough when I placed it on the meringue Place eggs on the side, put 2 pieces of bread in the toaster and make toast.


  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 1.5 White Wine Vinegar
  • 3/8C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3/8C Canola Oil
  • 1/2t Salt
  • 1T Dijon
  1. Place all the ingredients in a high thinner cup. I used a measuring cup.
  2. Wait about 1 minute for the oil to float to the top.
  3. Insert the immersion blender into the mixture slowly, make sure not mix anything around too much.
  4. Pulse the blender until you start seeing mayo form.
  5. Once you see the majority of the mixture has emulsified, keep the blender on, and slowly lift the blender up and down until it’s a unified mixture.

The Final Construction

  1. Put mayo on one side of both pieces of toast.
  2. Place Lettuce mixture on the mayo side of the toast (incase you couldn’t figure that out)
  3. Then place the Roasted Mushroom mixture on top of the lettuce.
  4. Then finally place the cloudy egg to top it off.
  5. Take a fancy photo, and post it to Instagram with the hashtag #foryourfoulmouth.

This is Baller

There was a time when I worked for a company that ran the cafeteria for the residents students at local university. Amongst poor hygiene, subpar food, and dangerously apathetic management; follow through was a big problem. I don’t want to get sued, so I won’t say anything specific, but if you take a look down at the sources in footer, I linked to reviews, and a news report about the company. It speaks for itself.

Anyway, I bring this up for a specific reason. One day our nutritionist came up to me, put her hands out and asked me to smell. Me being up for an adventure, complied. They smelled sweet, complex, and wonderful. ‘Basil’ she said. ‘I just pruned some Basil from our herb garden, so now we have a lot of it, and we need to find a recipe, do you have any ideas?’

I remember that being the first time I had been asked for my advice for something to put on the menu. I was so excited! I said the first thing that came to my head ‘fruit salad, with melons.’ She thought about it, and said ‘yes!’ she then continued to pull all the management and chefs aside to let them know about my idea, and how it had to get made, and to make sure I got to do it. It felt really awesome, but it never happened.

I have wondered about how I would have made that fruit salad a few times since then, so I figured instead of just thinking about it, I’d actually do it!

We are approaching July, and with BBQ season roaring, I figured this might the perfect side dish. The kind people don’t see often, but instantly love.

So here is what we are going to need:

Infused Vinegar

  • 2T of Dried sweet Basil
  • 7G of Fresh Basil
  • 3 points from a Star Anis
  • 1C white Vinegar
  • 1C Apple Cider Vinegar

Dressing for Salad:

  • 1/3C Infused Vinegar
  • 4T Maple Syrup
  • 2T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1t Sesame Seeds
  • 4 Basil Leafs

Melon Ball Salad:

  • 1/2 Watermelon
  • 1/2  Honeydew Melon, Seeded

For this recipe we are making an infused vinegar. You can use this recipe with any dried or fresh herb mixture. The recipe shows you how to make two cups, though you won’t need that much. This vinegar will keep indefinitely, and has a lot of great future applications. The other great think about this, is it’s a great way to use up herbs that are starting to wilt. You will need more of the wilted herbs to get the same effect, but at least you’re not throwing them away. The final product was a little too strong for me, so next time make this, I will cut the quantity of dried basil in half.

  1. Put your dried basil in a 325 degree convection oven (or 350 non convection)  on a parchment lined baking sheet for 30 minutes, or until Basil becomes fragrant.
  2. Once basil is out of the oven, place the dried basil, and Star Anis tips into a pot with both of your vinegars.
  3. Put your pot on medium low heat, and using a thermometer, bring the vinegar up to 130 degrees.
  4. Put the fresh basil in a bowl or Tupperware, then poor the vinegar mixture on top. Once the vinegar has cooled, put a lid on the bowl/Tupperware and place into the fridge for at least 18 hours, or up to 36 hours.
  5. Strain mixture into clean storage container, and discard all herbs.
  6. Store in the fridge until needed.

Next we have to make the dressing. The final product is a bit tart, which is perfect because its going on top of very sweet melons, so it balances out nicely.

  1. Put half of the Sesame seeds in a dry frying pan set to medium high heat.
  2. Occasionally move them around until they turn a nice dark brown, then remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. Whisk together the Vinegar and Maple Syrup, then slowly add the Olive Oil.
  4. Mix in the both the toasted and non toasted Sesame seeds.

Finally the final product:

  1. Roll the Basil into a roll, and thinly slice them into a chiffonade.
  2. Using a mellon baller, ball the the Watermelon and Honeydew and put the balled mellon chunks into a bowl.
  3. Drizzle the dressing on top of Melon Balls, and then portion into serving bowels, garnish with Basil and Kosher Salt.
  4. Take a fancy photo, and post it to Instagram with the hashtag #foryourfoulmouth
Company That ran the Dinning servines https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eE85sJLSeSQ
Google Reviews: https://goo.gl/MLWLeU

Start Giving A Scrap!

We’ve all been there; we get the bill for our groceries and ask ourselves, where does it all go? The food looks so good and bountiful when we put it in the cart, but somehow it never seems like enough.

The fact is, we don’t use as much of it as we could.

Here are some stats that may baffle you

In the U.S.:

  • 40% of food is wasted
  • 90% of food is thrown away too soon
  • 20% of the food we buy never gets eaten

And this isn’t just a problem in the U.S., in my home country of Canada:

  • $31 billion of food annually wasted
  • 47% of that is from consumers

So, while I’m hardly ready to pull out my guitar and starting singing kumbaya, preach extremes like backyard composting, or the 100 mile diet. I am going to start posting more recipes made from parts of the food you wouldn’t think to keep. Also, I’m going to start indicating ‘scraps’ that should be kept for future recipes.

The first of these recipes is an important one, vegetable stock. There have been a few recipes that called for it that I wanted to post, but decided not to. The reason for this is I knew I was going to write this post eventually, and it would be redundant if I already had another recipe up with the steps for veg stock in it.

So the way I make my veg stock, it cost me next to nothing. The reason for this is whenever I cut green onions, onions, celery, carrots, garlic, or chives, I always put the cut away into a plastic bag in my freezer. Likewise, when the stock is done, I pour it into ice cube  trays, freeze it, then store the cubes in zip lock bags.

That being said, I use these cubes all the time. Just about any savoury recipe that calls for water, can often be replaced with stock for a much better result.


  • Onions (Scraps or whole with skin and roots)
  • Carrots (Scraps or whole with whole with leaves)
  • Celery (Scraps or whole with leaves)
  • Water
  1. As mentioned above, I keep a bag in my freezer, and whenever I cut Onions, Celery or Carrots I put the scraps in the bag. I’ll also put in Garlic, Green Onions and Chive scraps but it isn’t necessary. As a general rule, you want the veg mixture to be a Onion, Celery and Carrot mixture of 2:1:1. So if you don’t have enough scraps for one of the veg, simply roughly chop up a fresh veg to make up the difference.
  2. Put vegetables in a big stock pot, and fill pot with water until it covers the veg.
  3. Bring stock pot up to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
  4. Let the water simmer until vegetables are fork tender.
  5. Strain out liquid into a bowl, and let cool. Discard Vegetable remains.
  6. Pour veg stock into ice cube trays and freeze.
  7. Transfer each cube of Vegetable stock into a plastic bag and store in the freezer.
  8. Make something awesome with the Vegetable stock. Each cube is approximately 1 Fl oz (or two table spoons).
  9. Take a fancy photo, and post it to Instagram with the hashtag #foryourfoulmouth

What I Think of When I Hear Oil & Water

So let’s be real: there are over 500 different pastas, and probably hundreds of different sauces. Take any pasta dish and simply switch one of those two things, and you have an entirely new dish. It’s probably the most modular cuisine on the face of the planet. Hell, pasta is basically the food equivalent of IKEA!

That is why pasta is one of my favourite foods. Italian food is so honest in a lot of ways. It is one of the few cuisines that aren’t drastically different between classes. This is contrary to a lot of other western foods, like British food. For example, a swanky restaurant in England, you would be hard pressed to find fish and chips, even though it’s a staple in most restaurants. Meanwhile, If you order spaghetti from a high end Italian restaurant, or a casual family diner the recipe is going to be very similar. Obviously, if the respective restaurants are true to their price points, one will use higher quality ingredients, fresher non-prefab products, and put more time and love into the product but the dishes are similar in concept.

That being said, Spaghetti Aglio e Olio is something I love to make. Fresh made pasta tastes like nothing else, and is simple to do. You can use store bought dried pasta, but I really recommend trying it fresh. The less ingredients a recipe has, the more important the quality of the ingredients are. What amazes me is watching the starch from the noodles bind with the oil and the water to make a mind-blowing, amazing sauce!

So before I get into the recipe, here are some facts you should know about pasta dough.

There are very few problems you can have with pasta dough that ‘resting’ the dough won’t fix. To do that, cover with plastic wrap, or a moist tea towel, and let sit for 10 mins. If the problem persists, wait an hour. More than likely, it will be fine.

Pasta dough is very much like a muscle. If you’re rough with it, the dough will become stiff and hard to work with.  if you’re too gentle nothing will happen at all. You want to be firm, but not aggressive so it will stay nice and soft. If you find that after rolling it, it quickly recoils back to the original shape, it means the dough is too ‘tense’, and need a ten minute rest.

Kneading the dough is the exception to the above. You want to be aggressive when kneading.

The dough becoming too dry is one of the few things that is very difficult to fix, and it’s easier to start over. A sign of this is crumbles apart.
This recipe is for one portion. So multiply it by the number of people you want to serve!

Pasta Dough Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Semolina Flour
  • 1/4 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 T of olive Oil
  • 1 pinch of salt

‘Sauce’ ingredients

  • 3-5 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1/4 Cup of Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup of reserved pasta water
  • 1.5 t red chilli flakes

First let’s make the Noodles:

  1. Mix both flours together, then pour into a mound on a baking sheet. Push the centre of the mound down, so it resembles a volcano.
  2. Pour the egg(s), oil and salt into the centre of the mound of flour.
  3. Using a fork, beat the liquid together, as you do it, you should see the flour become incorporated into the egg mixture. If the flour ‘springs a leak’, just block it with some of the flour from around the mound.
  4. Once the mixture has become solid ball of dough, start kneading it. The best way to do this, is to fold be dough in half, sticky side on the inside of the fold.  Then put both palms on top of the dough, and push down and forward on it. Repeat the motion again until you notice that the dough has become elastic, and tense. A good sign it’s done is when it ‘recoils’ after you knead it. You can’t ‘over knead’ pasta dough, so if your not sure, do it a few more times. I should also note, that when I am pushing down on the dough, I lift my body up so I’m on my tip toes, this uses my body weight to my advantage. If it’s too sticky, lightly and evenly sprinkle the excess flour on the dough. If there is none left, you can take some fresh flour, but do so sparingly.
  5. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap tightly. I find the best way to do this is to wrap the wrap around the dough and twisting the ends of the plastic wrap. It should look like a giant wrapped candy.
  6. Let rest for twenty minutes. If you’re making this in advance, you can leave it in the fridge for a week.
  7.  If you don’t have a pasta machine, I strongly suggest you get one. They run about $40 CAD. They tend to be one trick ponies, but what they do, they do very well. If you don’t have one, then you can use a rolling pin, or a cylindrical wine bottle; whichever is closer. You want to create gluten (a protein that holds the noodles together) and so it is the correct size. to do this:
    • If you’re using a Pasta Machine:
      1. Remove your Dough from the plastic and set your Pasta machine to the widest setting where the rollers are farthest apart
      2. Fold the dough to go through the machine perpendicular to the rollers, or so the fold goes through the rollers first. This will allow any trapped air
        to escape. Run the Dough through the machine 4 to 5 times until the dough feels elastic. Every time you run it though the machine, you’re creating more gluten. You’ll notice the outside of the dough starts to feel more ‘dry’ after a couple of runs though the machine.
      3. If the dough is 1/8″ thick, move on to the next step, or else lower the setting on the machine by one, and repeat the above step
    • If you’re using a rolling pin:
      1. Remove the dough from the plastic and roll it up into a log. Cut the log into 1.5-2″ rounds.
      2. Roll each round out one at a time, keep the unrolled dough on a plate under a damp tea towel, and the rolled dough lightly dusted in flour stacked gently on top of each other.
      3. To roll out each round, place it on a lightly floured surface. you want to be very gentle with your dough, at least at first. Start at the centre of the disk, roll outwards, then repeat in the opposite direction turn the dough 90 degrees.
      4. If the dough is 1/8″, flour the dough, place under tea-towel, and move on to the next step, or repeat processes with the next round.
  8. Once your dough is rolled out, let it sit out for about ten minutes, then put it either In a zip lock, or cover with plastic wrap.
    • If you’re using a Pasta Machine:
      1. simply cut the pasta dough to the length you want the noodles
      2. Run the pasta through the spaghetti cutter attachment
    • If you’re not using a Pasta Machine:
      1. Gently roll the floured dough into a log
      2. cut the log width wise, each cut should be the same width you want the noodles. Unroll each cut piece of dough into your noodles.
  9. Portion your noodles in servings.
  10. Then wrap each portion into a circle and leave out for 20 minutes.
  11. Place each portion in a plastic bag to store until you’re ready to cook. It will keep in the freezer for a year, the fridge for a month, or on the shelf for a week.

Let’s make the final dish:

  1. Fill a pot on high heat with salted water. How much salt you need depends on how much water there is. The rule of thumb is the water should ‘taste of the sea’. Personally, if I’m using fresh pasta dough, I use less water; about an inch higher then the noodles should be fine. I say this because fresh noodles cook so fast that ultimately less starch is released into the water. In this recipe, you want the pasta water to be as starchy as possible, so by using less water, you get a higher concentration of starch.
  2. While the water is boiling, bias cut your garlic into rounds.
  3. Once the water has boiled, put the olive oil in a pan on medium heat and add the garlic right away. If you’re using store bought dried pasta, place it into the boiling water now, if you’re going fresh, wait for the garlic to get soft and slightly turn brown, This is the perfect time to throw in your fresh noodles.
  4. Once your garlic is golden brown and delicious, add an the now starchy water from used to cook the noodles. The amount should be equal to the amount of olive oil you used. Pour it in carefully, because you don’t want the oil to splash you.
  5. Mix in your crushed chilli and cooked noodles, no need to dry them, and especially don’t rinse them.
  6. Take a fancy photo, and post it to Instagram with the hashtag #foryourfoulmouth


Some things in life are amazing because they are so easy; like a simple meal and good weather. Since Spring is two thirds over, and summer is almost here, I wanted to cook something that represented those two things well. As much as I love spring, I like to think of it this way: going from winter to spring is like moving out of a rundown apartment. Spring to Summer is like finally unpacking all your stuff!

The first thing that gets unpacked is Broccoli! Its season starts in June and runs though to October. So while it may not be summer yet,  broccoli is a great way to not only celebrate it being a little closer, but in a few months it’s also a great way to grieve it being over. So in the spirit of keeping good weather and a good easy meal, I would share this recipe.

I originally saw this recipe sarcastically mentioned by Chef Gordon Ramsey. He was making a point about how good ingredients stand on their own. He used this as an example of how broccoli, water and salt could make a fantastic soup when done properly. His recipe involved boiling the broccoli then pureeing it. It looked and sounded delicious, however; it got me wondering… a lot of flavour and colour is leached out of vegetables when you boil them. While Chef Ramsey incorporated the leftover boiling water to regain what was lost, he didn’t use all of it. He also isn’t one for giving measurements. So I thought I would try my own method, but steam the broccoli. This not only leaches less flavour from the broccoli, but also enhances the colour.

So for my take on this you will need:


  • 1.14kg Broccoli
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 4 cups Water
  1. Wash and dry your broccoli throughly. Broccoli grows in dirt, and who wants to eat dirt?
  2. Cut the broccoli in to florets, and discard the stems*
  3. Place 4 cups of water and a steamer basket into a pot. The water level should not be higher than the basket. My pot came with a basket that sits on top of the pot.
  4. Put the pot on high heat, and wait for a good head of steam to form. Put your broccoli in the basket, and place the lid on.
  5. Wait 3 minutes, and check to see if your broccoli has turned bright green, and is fork tender. Reserve steaming water for later
  6. Place the cooked broccoli into a food processor, and pulse until the broccoli pieces are the size of small bread crumbs. I didn’t have a big enough food processor, so I did mine in batches. Put the broccoli in a pitcher, and switch to a immersion blender for the rest of the recipe.
  7. Measure how much of the reserved water you have leftover, and add fresh water until the two combined are approximately 3 cups. In my case I had 2 1/4 cups after steaming, so I added another cup. Add this to your broccoli and blend until smooth.
  8. As the mixture gets thicker add another cup of fresh water. This will take a while. In my case it took somewhere between 5-10 minutes. You’ll know it’s smooth enough when you taste it and it has no ‘grainy’ taste.
  9. Put puree back into a pot on low to medium heat
  10. Once The soup has throughly heated, place in a bowls and serve
  11. Take a fancy photo, and post it to Instagram with the hashtag #foryourfoulmouth
*In hindsight I realized I could have added the stocks to the water I used to steam the broccoli. Since I was adding it to the soup in the end, this would have added more flavour to the end product.

Rain or swine

What is it about the rain that makes us put things off? I mean, people change around their whole day just to avoid a 5 minute walk to the car because they might get a little wet. Even the very expression we use to cancel plans is called a ‘rain cheque’, it’s kind of ridiculous when you think about it.

I bring this up because the other day I decided I wasn’t going to let the weather get in the way of my plans. This started when my roommate and I were shopping. I saw baby back ribs where on sale, and since the few days prior to that were beautiful, I thought I would pick them up and possibly smoke them. It had been a while since I made ribs and my mouth was watering just thinking about it. I popped them into my cart, and got on with my life. Then the rain came, and when it rains, it pours for 3 days! The swine gods had sought to cancel my plans to enjoys sweet fall off the baby back ribs… and I was having none of it. Ribs were only good for a few days in the fridge, and I wasn’t about to freeze them indefinitely until the clouds parted.

The way I saw it, I had 3 options:

  1. BBQ in the rain
  2. Use liquid smoke and other methods to simulate the flavour of BBQ in an oven.
  3. Change my plans to best fit the situation, and braise my ribs.

Since my smoker is homemade and electric, I didn’t feel using it in the rain was a good idea. I also am not a fan of liquid smoke, since it feels like aiming for second place. Oven roasted ribs bring so much possibilities, and once I’ve got the oven ready, why use it in a way where it less than shines? So braising it is!

My roommate is not a fan of cooked tomatoes, and a big fan of Asian food. So I decided instead of cooking like down south, I’d aim for the Far East, and use things like ginger, soy sauce and oranges to braise the baby back ribs.

The end product wasn’t perfect, but it was definitely a good start to a recipe I think will one day shine.

If I had let the rain entice me into making something else, I would have missed out on exploring this. Down below is the recipe I used. Next time I try this, I’m going to use more orange juice, and reduce it more. I’m also going to cut the amount of spices in the braising liquid by up to half while increasing the honey. I am probably going to replace the Apple Cider Vinegar with regular rice vinegar. I feel the orange flavour is what best compliments the ribs. The last change I would make is how I coated the ribs with the reduced braising liquid. I coated the ribs and broiled it three times until the liquid was dry. In hindsight, I should have only done that once, and one more time taken it out sooner. That way their would have been more of a ‘sauce’ on the ribs.

The Ribs:

  • 2 Full rack of Baby back Ribs

The Rub:

  • 2 Tablespoons Chili pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Salt
  • 1.5 Tablespoons Whole Peppercorn
  • 2 Tablespoons Paprika
  • 1/2 Tablespoon white Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Ginger Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Garlic Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Onion Powder

The Braising Liquid:

  • 300ml (approx 1 1/3 cup) freshly squeezed Orange Juice
  • 50 ml (approx 1/4 cup) Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon  Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 1/2 Ginger
  1. Blend whole peppercorn in a spice grinder, or small blender, place in bowl with the other spices then set aside
  2. Place your orange juice in a pot and simmer on low until it has reduced to about 250ml (1cup), turn off heat and whisk all the other Braising Liquid ingredients together in the pot, let cool and set aside covered in the fridge.
  3. Let your ribs sit out for about 30 mins, it’s easier to work with at room temperature.
  4. Trim your ribs of any extra “flabs” of meat. these will cook too fast, and generally be unappealing, also you want to remove the pulmonary pleura (Aka the thick membrane on the concave side of the ribs). There are some myths that this prevents flavour from penetrating into the meat, but that isn’t true. It does however create a chewy texture. You can remove it by using a knife to poke a hole in the membrane in the corner, and using your finger to pull it off. It should come off as one piece.
  5. Cover both of your ribs in the Rub mixture. Don’t be shy here, this is what will form your “bark”. You want to cover the top, sides and bottom of the ribs.
  6. Place your ribs on top of wide heavy duty aluminum foil so the concave side is down. You want to wrap them so you have a tight seam on top of the ribs. Then tightly roll up one side of the foil, and loosely roll up the other.
  7. Place your wrapped ribs in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours, preferably overnight.
  8. Preheat your oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
  9. Take the ribs out of the fridge and unroll the loosely rolled side of the foil, pour half the braising liquid into each foiled ribs. Tightly re-roll the aluminum foil.
  10. Place the foiled ribs on a baking sheet, and place the baking sheet into the oven for minimum 2 hours. Unfortunately this recipe doesn’t have a set cooking time, after the two hours you’re going to have to use best judgement to tell if these are cooked or not. My method (amongst other people) is to unwrap the corner of the ribs, and look for 3 major signs. pull, crack and twist. That means You want: the ribs to have significant amount of the bones showing, also called “pull back”, you want to see cracking on the top when you bend the ribs, and you can twist the bones fairly well in the ribs. If the ribs don’t pass this test, roll the foil back up, and put in the oven. Generally speaking, if I don’t see the Pull Back, I don’t bother doing the other two test, and put it back in the oven for 30-45mins. If it only passed the first test, I do 15-30 mins of cooking time. By doing this, you have ensured the connective tissue of the ribs of dissolved. This will give you more tender ribs.
  11. Once your ribs passed the three tests, pour your braising liquid into a pot and simmer to thicken, also place your ribs directly on the baking sheet, and place it on the side for now.
  12. Set your oven to broil, and move the rack to the highest position in the oven.
  13. You want your braising liquid to thicken. My general test is I can run a spatula though the liquid and see the bottom of the pan for about 2-3 seconds. This will form your rib sauce.
  14. Once you have your rib sauce made, use a pastry brush to lightly coat your ribs with it and place it in​ your oven (set to broil) until the sauce is bubbling and forms a nice thick coating on the rub. Don’t walk away from this, it takes about 20-45 seconds for this to happen. Repeat the coating and broiling 2 more time.
  15. Cover the ribs one more time with the sauce, plate and serve.
  16. Take a fancy photo, and post it to Instagram with the hashtag #foryourfoulmouth
Amazing Ribs I got the information about the
Good Eats SEASON 2 EPISODE 13 TITLED Pork Fiction. My Recipe is nothing like Alton Browns, however the techices where inspired buy this episode.

My journey into buying a knife

Recently, I decided to buy a new chef’s knife, and it has been quite a journey. Before I get into what I bought and why, let me preface it by saying: knives’ quality are determined by feel, not back story. If you’re a cook who can do 100% of your work with a sharpened spoon, do it. Don’t let your tools define how you’re going to work or what kind of worker you’re going to be. I want to share the information I learned, because I feel it offers a bigger picture of the knife industry right now. I also want to share some mis-information people believe, that may bias your next knife purchase.

With that, I’m a big fan of Alton Brown, and Chef Ramsey. So the first two knives I looked into were Shun and Wüsthof, because they are endorsed respectibly by the two. I generally don’t put too much weight into celebrity endorsements, but Alton Brown often unofficially endorses restaurants, equipment, books and more… simply because he likes them. As far as I know, the only paid endorsement he does is from Shun because he is such a big fan of the brand. Contrary to that, Gordon Ramsey puts his name on a lot of brands, when I looked into what he had to say about Wüsthof, I felt his claims sounded pretty accurate.

So basically, after I looked up reviews, watched some YouTube videos of the two endorsements, read third party reviews, and asked sales clerks about them… it became pretty apparent that I had stepped into a war zone.

By trying to compare those two brands, I was essentially asking the difference between Western and Asian knives. A topic people are extremely passionate about.

Here are the Coles Notes of the supposed benefits I was told:

Asian(usually Japanese made) knives:

Use harder layered steel, which can have a sharper edge, but need a lot more maintenance to prevent dulling and rusting.
Tend to have wooden handles that will crack with too much moisture exposure.
They use different shapes than western knives. A Santoku and a Nakiri replace the standard Chef’s knife, the petty knife replaces a paring knife, and there are about 5-6 specialty knives that don’t have a western equivalent, usually for very specific jobs. (E.g. a Deba knife is for filleting fish).
Their hard steel makes the blades much thinner, which means your food is going to cut smoother, and give you less resistance. It also makes the blade more brittle, so they are more likely to chip or break if they are dropped.
There is also a sense of superiority when it comes to these Asian knives. A lot of people like Asian knives because they feel they are manufactured with higher standards than any Western knife, and their variety of shapes let you have a better tool for each job
Western (usually german) made knives:

Use a softer stainless steel, that doesn’t need to be sharpened as often.
These knives can only hold a more shallow angle.
Usually have a plastic composite handle that is more resistant to moisture.
You need less knives to do the same jobs. Generally, an 8″ Chef’s knife and paring knife will get you through the day, which means less running to your knife bag to switch knives between jobs.
Their soft metal means the knives are a little thicker, which makes them good for dense food like squash. They can take more abuse, and any damage they do take, can more likely be fixed, and is less extreme.
The feeling around Western knives is a sense of tradition, and pride in doing things the way they have been done for a long time.

And all of the above can be completely true… except for when it’s utterly wrong!

Here is my opinion on the matter. We live in a world where it’s easy for a company to affordably make a very diverse array of products. I did a lot of research and found the following:

  1. The same fondness Westerners have for Japanese knife makers now, the Japanese had for Western knife makers in the 20’s. Santoku and Nakiri where designed to be used by home cooks at the time. They were a mix of the vegetable knives, and Western Chef’s knives. The idea was to be able to have the allure of the Western knives, with the familiarity of their household vegetable knives. The reason they are pushed so heavily here to professional cooks is because they know the more ‘Japanese’ it looks, the better it will sell… which is ironic considering it was made to look more Western.
  2. Professional Japanese cooks usually use Gyutou, not Santoku or Nakiri. Which are basically Western Chef’s knives, made with the Japanese materials and techniques. The exception being, of course, is if they need a specialty knife for a particular job.
  3. Most Western knife makers have a line of Asian knives, made with the same standard you can find from Asian companies. That also includes Gyutous

So here is the point I want to make: you can get a great knife of any shape made by Eastern or Western companies. That’s because companies are going to make what they feel there is a demand for. They are also going to try and overcome any short coming of their products.

The Wüsthof and the Shun both have amazing products, with benefits you wouldn’t normally associate with knives from their respective country.

So which one did I get? Neither! In the end, once I had both in my hand, neither excited me. The Wüsthof had an amazing feeling handle, where as the Shun had hammer marks in the blade, which is great for stopping food from sticking to your knife. But no store I went to actually let me try the those knives. Since this is something I’d use daily and can’t return, I’m not buying without trying. So I went to Knifewear. It’s a small Canadian owned shop. They actually let me try out some knives, and they keep vegetables on hand for people to do so. For the most part, they carry handmade knives from Japanese knife makers. So the two I went in looking for (the Wüsthof and the Shun) weren’t available to try.

I found a knife that I fell in love with.  I have used Santokus and Nakiris before, and have definitely used a French style Chef’s knife before. For me, the shape of the latter is better suited. Which is why I went with a Gyutou made by Fujiwara Nashiji. It had a wooden handle, and the cutting edge is carbon Steel, which both require a little more TLC. However, it cuts beautifully! I didn’t have to learn a new cutting technique to compensate for a blade shape not suited for professional use, and the results are beautiful.

So, what did I learn from my journey,

When it comes to buying a knife, use the product that makes you happy. The rest is just fluff.