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Pairing beer with food

Have you ever wondered what kind of beer to buy to accompany your meal?  

This web site provides some simple and handy advice that should make your choice appropriate to the flavors in your meal.  It goes over some of the basic principles you should consider when choosing a beer and it provides some handy infographics that sum up what you need to know.


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Eat Local, Eat Healthy, Support Your Local Farmers

Have you ever wondered where the food you buy at the store comes from?  If you go to any of the big box grocery stores, the produce there quite possibly came from hundreds or thousands of miles away and all sorts of crazy technology may have been used to make it look shiny and fresh.  If you don't want your produce or your meats to be better traveled than you are, you may want to look into Community Supported Agriculture.

Community Supported Agriculture Manitoba provides a web site based directory of local farms that rely upon the Community Supported Agriculture model.  Basically, you look through the listing of farms to see what kinds of products they offer and practices they follow for growing food.  Once you find a farmer that sells what you want and has a pickup location that is convenient, you sign up as a member and pay your annual membership fee.  Typically, members get a box of fresh vegetables and/or meats every week during the growing season.  Each farm has a different pricing structure and pick up locations where you can go to get your box.  The farmers get a guaranteed sale of their product every week and you get a great assortment of freshly picked and locally grown food.

If you are interested in eating locally and supporting your local farmer, now is the time to look into it.  Most farms require you to sign up with sufficient time for them to plan out their growing season and purchase all of the seed and supplies that they need to fill your orders.

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The Perfect Sous Vide Egg

If you have ever done any research into cooking Sous Vide, you likely have come across the writings of Douglas Baldwin.  He is a math geek who has done incredible amounts of research and calculations around cooking food via the Sous Vide method.

He is now working with Chefsteps and they have published an interesting tool that helps you to cook an egg exactly how you like it.  You decide how firm you want the yolk and the white and it tells you how long to cook the egg and at what temperature.  It even lets you fine tune the calculations by measuring the circumference of the egg, starting temperature of the egg and the style of Sous Vide cooker you are using.


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The Summer Of Eating Healthier

With the monthly Les Marmitons events winding up with the barbecue last night, my partner and I have decided to give the Whole 30 eating plan a whirl.  People rave about how great they feel after doing the 30 day program and as long as I can eat meat, I think I can do it.

Today was our first day of doing Whole 30  and we decided to try spaghetti squash as it is allowed on the plan and neither of us has ever tried it.  We both have heard people talking about it in the past, but just never go the chance to eat it.  Now is as good a time as ever, right?

We started by spreading avocado oil on the two halves along with some kosher salt and pepper then we baked them in the oven at 375F for 40 minutes.

We made turkey meatballs in the Actifry and added some tomato sauce to liven things up.

Our meal turned out pretty good!  We both loved the spaghetti squash but found that the parts that touched the pan during cooking were tastier and had just a tad less crunch to them.  The caramelized pieces were delicious.

 Next time, we will cut the squash into round patties about an inch thick. This should result in more of the tasty stuff and longer strands.  Here is the finished product.

If this is how all of the meals that are Whole 30 compliant turn out, I think I could handle this as a lifestyle and if I get healthier because of it, then all is good.

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Wasn't That A Party?

The Winnipeg Chapter of Les Marmitons wrapped up the 2015 season with a wonderful Greek themed BBQ.  The evening started off with some delicious deep fried calamari.

What better to chase some calamari down with than some chilled shooters?

Once everyone was there, our wonderful hosts were presented with some gifts by our esteemed president.

The first main course was sous vide pork loin roast.

The next protein was slow cooked lamb.

For those who still had room, we rounded out the meal with baklava cheese cake and a chocolate cake

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Sous Vide Pork Loin Roast

Ever since I got my Sous Vide Supreme, one of my family favorites is Sous Vide Pork Loin Roast.   Pork loin roast is a fairly lean cut and it is very reasonably priced so it is a great choice for feeding the family.   I have done a lot of experimentation with temperatures and cook times with this particular cut.  Pork loin roasts are typically in the 1.5 KG to 2 KG range and that size works very will with these instructions.

I like to season the roast by sprinkling it liberally with Montreal Chicken Spice.  After the roast is seasoned, I vacuum seal it with my Food Saver and then pop it into the freezer.  As the cooking settings I list in this post are for a frozen roast, these instructions are a great way to be able to serve your family a roast even on work nights. 

When you want to make the roast, cooking it is simply a matter of popping it into a 58C /  136F water bath around dinner time the night BEFORE you plan on serving it.  Let the roast sit in the water bath until dinner time the next night.  YES, that IS about 24 hours.

When the roast comes out, the bag will have about a cup of juices in it.  I like to pour this into a sauce pan and thicken it up to make a  gravy.  Keep stirring vigorously while thickening as the protein in the juices can clump up if heated quickly.  If that happens you either live with it or filter out the clumps.

You will find that the roast looks kind of pasty at this point so you will want to brown it.  I typically cut the strings and lay the halves of the roast onto a roasting pan and use a paper towel to pat them dry.  To brown it, I either put it under the broiler or use my cooking torch to sear it. 

From here you just slice it and plate it and serve with the gravy you made from the juices.

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How Much Food and Wine Should I Make For My Party?

How Much Food and Wine Should I Have For My Party?

That is a question that came to mind as I started thinking about how much food we need for our upcoming BBQ.   I signed up to bring a meat item and was debating how much to make.

A quick trip to Google came up with a couple of handy little reference sites.

The Food Quantity Chart lists off suggested amounts of different food items to have on hand to feed a group of 50 people.  You can do the math from there to approximate how much you should prepare for different group sizes.

The Wine Bottle Calculator asks you some basic questions about how many people are invited and what wine preferences you have.  Using this information, it then gives you some advice on how much wine to have on hand.

Both of these tools provide a good "rule of thumb" approach to helping you avoid the embarrassment of running out or having tons of left overs.

That being said, my mother always taught me that if any food item gets finished, then somebody went home hungry.

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Kitchen Responsibilities During Events

Kitchen Responsibilities During Events

Have fun and enjoy cooking with a professional Chef and the camaraderie of Les Marmitons.

In the interest of hygiene and providing the best possible experience for everyone there are some basic courtesies and rules that we all follow.

Take direction from your team leader. Let the team leader work with the Chef unless the Chef approaches you.

When moving about the kitchen with a knife, hold it against the side of your leg.

In the event of an oil or grease fire, DO NOT throw water on it (it will instantly convert to steam, create a fireball, and burn you severely) or powders (which can explode). Cover with a wet towel,  or stand back and let kitchen staff or the built in fire suppression system extinguish the fire. 

NEVER carry a pan that’s on fire.

No alcoholic beverages are permitted in the kitchen.

Wash hands:

a) before starting to prepare food;

b) after sneezing, coughing into hands or blowing nose;

c) on returning from the washroom, even after hands were washed there; and,

d) after working with raw meat, fish or produce and before handling cooked food.

Clean utensils and equipment after food preparation and before handling cooked or processed food.

When tasting or sampling food use a clean spoon or utensil. Do not use finger(s) even if the Chef does.

Do not use other team’s ingredients without asking that team’s Captain.

Do not interfere with another team’s or fellow team member’s assignment without asking or being directed.

When members are being addressed during introductions or during the meal please refrain from talking.

If you burn or cut yourself ask the event coordinator or an executive member for help with cleaning and dressing the wound.

We have a uniform and everyone is expected to wear it, including and especially the hat when preparing and plating food.

Guests should wear an apron and a head covering; an effort is made to have spare head coverings on hand.

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