I've been experimenting with jackfruit for an upcoming Monthy Mini Zine. This is how I clean and prep Canned Jackfruit in Brine (BRINE not SYRUP) when I want to end up with nicely shredded pieces of jackfruit that hold an uncanny resemblanceto shredded chicken.
Open and drain jackfruit. The above is two cans.
Then I separate the hard(ish) centre core and any circular pieces - including the seed, seedpod, and surrounding flesh that curves. These parts are edible but I use them in applications where I do not care about aesthetics and where they will be slowly cooked in wonderful tasting sauces as they are a bit on the tough side.
The rest of the fruit should easily separate into strands or beautiful shredded meat replacement.
Do you have a favorite jackfruit recipe?
Do you have any questions about this wonderful vegan meat substitute?
We are traditionally at home and thereby feel most comfortable sitting at the bar in dimly lite, cluttered pubs that have well placed television on which to watch the game and a friendly, affable but not too invasive, knowledgeable bar tender pouring us great craft beer. Our favorite Toronto places are quite diverse in atmosphere, menu, and service structure but they all are held as 'favorites' and are visited according to some not-arbitrary but difficult to communicate system wherein we 'feel' like a certain place.
Why do we choose the crowded comfort of Tall Boys on some days? Or the hipster living room vibe of 3030 on others? Or the informal atmosphere of Junction Craft Beer? Or the welcoming atmosphere of Mugshots? These favorite Toronto bars offer us variations of the same feeling – familiarity. We are comfortable and at home in all of these places. But no bar – like no friend – is ideal for every occasion. Your love-able but loud friend, while the perfect choice for a beer festival, may not be the right choice for a visit to the symphony.
This is how we choose which of our favorite bars to have a pint at. Each favorite bar makes us feel at home – the definition of home varying depending on our outlook on any given day.
My recent excursion to Azure made me think about service. The atmosphere at Azure was not one in which I was immediately comfortable but upon reflection this was due primarily to the (mostly imagined) personalities, goals and desires of the other patrons than to the staff themselves. By the end of the night, I had come to appreciate the atmosphere at Azure for a different lifestyle but acknowledged, without judgment, that it simply did not fit my aesthetic – or my sense of 'home'.
(Excuse the stock photo - the lighting was terrible!)
I've never attended a Winterlicious event before due mainly to the griping of fine dining restaurant staff about the busyness of the restaurant during this time. I always figured if I am going to drop that much money onone meal the service better be impeccable but when contacted for a complementary Winterlicious dinner for two at Azure I gladly accepted - if only to see what the hype about Winterlicious was all about.
I intentionally picked a reservation time that would be the least busy to avoid any server burnout (which means I ate supper with all the senior citizens!) Our server was friendly and we (my husband and I) really enjoyed the meal and atmosphere. We are not 'fancy' people so I went in jeans and my husband went in combats (ps. He is in the military). However, most people in the restaurant were dressed up which I found weird because the restaurant is, after all, attached to a hotel.
The music was loud and very pop/clubby but the restaurant was well lit and remained so throughout the night. The wait staff knew who ordered what - which I appreciate because I dislike having meat meals waved around my face! There was one host guy who didn't introduce himself but walked around and talked to people - he was the only staff member that made me uncomfortable.
On to the food!
I had the Dried Cranberry and Apple Salad which was made interesting with the addition of honeycomb and brie. My main was butternut squash risotto which was the only vegetarian option. It was heavy and slightly sickening while not tasting of butternut in the least.
My husband had the Parsnip Bisque and the Osso Bucco. He didn't complain - which is the most anyone can expect of him. He did state that they shouldn't have the tv tuned to CP24.
We got all three of the desserts! Cafe Mocha Chocolate cake, apple carmel cheesecake and banana walnut ice cream. The cheesecake and the banana ice cream were amazing.
Overall, this restaurant really needs to step up their vegetarian game but the service and atmosphere made for an enjoyable evening.
The Small Print: I was provided a complementaryWinterlicious dinner for two at Azure.
As part of my One Little Word for 2014 (WRITE), I'm writing up a food themed mini-zine each month in 2014. February's theme was DRINK - so this issue is filled with drink themed essays and recipes. Issues are available here.
Like all my culinary habits, the frequency of my fermentation projects come in waves. After a fairly lengthly dry spell from fermentation I am back fermenting with a vengeance. I've started a batch of kimchi and made borscht with fermented beets. I have made yet another attempt at a fermented ginger beer.
Homemade soda was one of the first culinary projects I undertook. I was living in my horrible basement apartment in Saskatoon while I attended university. I read about a soda equivalent that was fermented in a 2 L plastic bottle and used bread yeast so I decided to give it a try. It was unsuccessful but that did not stop me from being terrified that the bottle would explode. To combat my fear I lined a cardboard box with a trash bag and stored the supposedly fermenting bottle in there. Nothing happened.
(Bottled plain and grapefruit/rosemary ginger beer)
Years later, with multiple successful fermentation projects to my name I attempted a ginger-beer made with a ginger bug. The ginger bug never achieved 'active' status due, perhaps, to imported ginger. A few weeks ago, I decided to give home brewed ginger-beer another go. This time, due to organic ginger, the ginger bug was soon bubbling away. I managed to make a gingery and sweet beverage but it did not carbonate in the bottles the way I wanted. This could be due to my extreme fear of bottle bombs and/or I may have rushed the process a bit and should have let my active ginger bug get slightly more active.
(In addition to failing to carbonate, I had severe problems capping my bottles!)
(Tasted delightlful but sadly no carbonation.)
I have high hopes for the next attempt!
I've been really enjoying the tactile nature of fermentation. I loved getting my hands in that kimchi and mixing it up! But fermentation projects have the potential to remind us of several important aspects of the food industry. While we, as city dwellers, may not have much opportunity to interact with our food in the ground or even with the farmers that grow it – we do have the opportunity to interact with our food before we consume it. Fermentation and other food projects also allow us, as individuals, to quietly and in a small way, resist corporate domination and offers us an activity in which to produce more than we consume.
I was very excited to receive the PR email offering me a review copy of this book. As you might be aware from my kombucha posts, I'm kind of obsessed with experimenting with kombucha and other fermented drinks so I was delighted at the opportunity to review this book. It is a nice hard bound book with beautiful photographs and the occasional interesting flavor combination. I was really prepared to fall in love with this cookbook but the overall quality simply does not merit a glowing review. On her blog, Julia Mueller states that she began writing this cookbook in February 2013 and moved on to her second by June 2013. This cookbook really shows the rushed writing and recipe development that such a schedule must require. The yogurt section seems misplaced in a drinks book and the smoothies (while acceptable as a probiotic drink) seem like a page filler. The paragraphs and are short and choppy and information is presented in a sporadic and non-intuitive manner. The majority of this cookbook reads like a book proposal and could have benefited from a good edit.
Perhaps the most damning thing about this book is the recipe order. The recipes are not well ordered as after the basic information is presented the flavoring recipes (requiring additional fermentation) are mixed into cocktail style recipes (requiring a fully fermented product). I find this very bothersome and not fermenter friendly in the least.