Archive for the ‘pickle’Category

Montreal smoked meat shines at Poutinefest

Maison Smokies Charcuterie-Deli serves smoked meat at Poutinefest
Maybe it was preordained. The quintessential delicatessen specialty of Montreal–smoked meat–had to meet up with poutine at some point. Perhaps the only thing that kept it from happening sooner is the kosher prohibition against serving meat and dairy (i.e., cheese curds) in the same dish.

The exact origins of Montreal smoked meat are murky, but it was clearly introduced by Eastern European Jewish immigrant butchers around the end of the 19th century. In its modern incarnation, smoked meat is made from beef brisket dry-cured with salt and spices, hot smoked, and finally steamed before serving. It resembles New York pastrami, but is usually cured with far less sugar and far more spices—especially cracked pepper, coriander, mustard seed, and garlic. The flavor is so addictive that Montrealers in exile often get packages of it delivered from home.

Costa Sigounis at Poutinefest Costa Sigounis knows his smoked meat. He spent 40 years running restaurants and delis that served smoked meat on rye to generations of Montreal diners. He still owns part of a smoked meat factory. But his main restaurant business these days consists of food trucks, which he says really began to catch on three to four years ago. Two of his trucks stay parked at the Old Port. A third truck, called Maison Smokies Charcuterie-Deli, is always on the move. It rolls around town to feed the hungry crowds at Montreal’s frequent festivals. At Poutinefest, people lined up ten deep for the smoked meat poutine baskets from Maison Smokies.

smoked meat poutine at Poutinefest Sigounis says that he has found that smoked meat ranks among the most popular toppings for poutine. (He also sells versions with meatballs and hot peppers and with lamb sausage.) Although smoked meat might have strayed from the dietary strictures of its Jewish immigrant origins, Sigounis still serves his smoked meat poutine with whole half-sour pickles. That’s the de rigeur accompaniment to a smoked meat sandwich you’d order at any Mile End deli. The pickle’s slight pucker cuts through the unctuousness of the meat, and the cucumber crunch provides a nice textural contrast.

10

08 2016

Kitchen garden at Chatham Bars Inn is really a farm

Chatham Bars Inn Farm picnic tables
Chatham Bars Inn stays Cape Cod’s gastronomic top dog because it grows its own food in Brewster on the north side of the Cape. The entire operation covers eight acres. Crops grow on four acres, with about a third of the crops in massive hothouses.

lettuce grows at Chatham Bars Inn Farm “It’s tricky to grow on Cape Cod,” says farm manager Josh Schiff. “The weather is unpredictable and the soil is poor.” As a result, the farm grows some of its most temperature-sensitive crops inside greenhouses, including a forest of tomatoes that fruit from May into December. “We start everything from seed,” Schiff explains.“We grow tomatoes and lettuce in compost with hydroponic irrigation.” More sprawling crops, such as cucumber, summer and winter squashes, and pumpkins spread across plowed fields. The farm supplies the kitchens of the inn. By getting a headstart on the usual Cape Cod growing season, the farm produces at its peak from late June through mid-October, the inn’s busiest months. The farm’s 75-member CSA program spreads the bounty around the community, and the farm runs summer gardening workshops for area residents.

salad niçoise at Chatham Bars Inn Farm picnic On a perfect late May afternoon, picnic tables set up beneath a canopy of oak trees made a regal setting for an outdoor meal served family style for Lexus Gran Fondo participants. Plate after plate showcased Cape Cod provender and the Inn’s culinary chops. A deconstructed salad niçoise featured locally caught yellowfin tuna with purple potatoes, white anchovies, haricots verts, and greenhouse tomatoes. Slices of roasted farm pork pâté sat amid pickled cauliflower and green tomatoes. A jar of the inn’s own beach plum preserves completed the board.

In fact, Chatham Bars Inn meals benefit from the myriad of pickles, relishes, and preserves made on the premises. Here’s the inn’s recipe for sweet-hot pickles for hot-water processing.

PICKLED GREEN TOMATOES AND CUCUMBERS

Yields seven 24 oz. mason jars

Ingredients

24pickles16 1/4 cups water
3 1/4 cups white vinegar
1 lb. honey
3 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/3 cup salt
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
farm fresh herbs to taste (tarragon, thyme, dill, etc.)
3 1/2 lb. pickling cucumbers
3 1/2 lb. green tomatoes

Directions

Clean and sterilize all jars and lids before beginning.

In a large pot, combine all ingredients through black pepper, bring to boil. Reduce heat to bring pot to a simmer, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.

As spices steep and bloom, wash and slice cucumbers and tomatoes. Quarter the cucumbers lengthwise, and cut green tomatoes into eight wedges each. Pack the clean and sterilized jars with the vegetables and herbs of your choice.

Pour the pickling liquid over the vegetables to fill the jars and cover with the lid to close, but not tightly.

Place jars on canning rack in a canning kettle with enough hot water to reach base of the rings. Hot-process jars by bringing to a boil and holding at simmer at least 15 minutes. Remove from hot water bath, tighten the lids, and cool jars on racks. You’ll know the pickles are properly sealed when the center of each lid snaps down.

Because the jars have been hot-processed they can be left out at room temperature for up to 6 months. Once opened, they should be refrigerated.

23

07 2016
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