There’s something disarming about a hand drawn, home-printed label on a locally grown and made food product. It’s what originally attracted us to bread and butter pickles from The Pickle Patch. on a recent, regular Saturday drop-in at Piggy Market. The label was roughly torn and held on to a mason jar by a rubber band. The Pickle Patch is a local (Dalkeith, ON) provider of “pork, lamb, chicken, turkey, nitrite-free, naturally smoked bacon peameal bacon, sausages, ham & pickles”. While the pickles appear to be a side-line to their meat business, one shouldn’t think of them as an afterthought.
These are a perfect mixture of sweet and tangy and are an excellent example of a home-made bread and butter pickle. What sets them apart, however, is that they sliced almost paper thin. This makes them excellent for doing double duty as a relish to add texture and flavour to sandwiches or piled on a plate next to some cheese and some fresh Art-Is-In bread. These pickles are a repeat buy for us and we keep them in the fridge pretty much at all times.
A fellow foodie and hockey player passed this recipe along (thanks John) and I thought it would be a crowd pleaser. Who doesn’t love risotto and who doesn’t love Buffalo chicken wings? This recipe has all the flavours: beer (for de-glazing instead of white wine), celery, butter, Frank’s Hot Sauce, and creamy blue cheese. So if you like medium spicy Buffalo wings and don’t want to mess with saucy fingers and bones, or you want a fun but elegant dish for company all in one bowl, this is for you. I made only minor changes to the original recipe from Cuisine at Home and I used a Piggy Market spit-roasted chicken and a mild Fromagerie du Presbytere Blue D’ Elisabeth, produced locally (ish) and also available at Piggy Market.
Buffalo Chicken Risotto with Celery and Blue Cheese
Total time about 1 hour
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
3/4 cups Frank’s Hot Sauce
2 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup minced celery (plus a little extra for garnish)
1/2 cup minced onion
2 tbsp butter
1 cup arborio rice (if you have never made risotto before, ARBORIO rice is essential. Don’t substitute)
1 cup lager beer, heated to hot in microwave
2 cups cooked chicken, cubed
Blue cheese, crumbled
Blue cheese dressing
1. In a medium saucepan, mix together the broth, hot sauce, honey and Worcestershire. Bring to a simmer, turn off heat and cover.
2. In a large saute pan, melt the butter and sweat the celery and onion until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in rice and saute until each grain is coated in butter.
3. De-glaze the pan with the hot beer and stir until absorbed, about 1 minute. Add the broth mixture to the rice mixture one half cup at a time. Stir until liquid is absorbed. Stir frequently. Continue until all of the broth mixture is used up. This will take about 45 minutes. Stir in chicken and heat through. Remove from heat.
4. Serve with chopped celery, crumbled blue cheese and blue cheese dressing on top.
Click HERE to download a print-ready version of this recipe.
Everything sounds better in Spanish! Carne en su Sugo translates literally to “meat in juice”. We first experienced this dish at Tres Agaves (now just called Tres) in San Francisco. The dish was so memorable that I had to revisit it on a second trip several years later. Jalisco, a province in central western Mexico, bordered by the pacific ocean, is renown as the center of Mexico’s tequila industry, home to the Huichol people and mariachi music (I wouldn’t spread that around though if I were them). Tres Agaves specialized in Jaliscan food which is one of Mexico’s distinctive regional cuisines. Carne en su Sugo is a representative hearty soup, which I think you will find delicious and pleasantly different from your experiences with other Mexican styles. I grabbed this recipe off the web some time ago and have made only tiny changes. I cannot find the source to credit the author. My apologies.
Carne en su Sugo
1 pound bacon, diced
2 pounds medium hamburger
1 large can tomatillos
1 cup cilantro
4 cloves garlic
2 19 0z cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 large onion, diced
sour cream, garnish
Fry up bacon very crisp. Add half of the onion to pot and saute until tender. Add beef to the pot, cook, and break up meat.
In a blender: add tomatillos, the rest of the onion, garlic and cilantro. Blend until liquid.
Add mixture to beef mixture in pot.
Stir in beans and bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer for 20 minutes.
Serve in bowls with lime and cilantro for garnish. Serve with flour or corn tortillas tortillas.
Remember to heat your tortillas. It makes such a difference to their taste. You can do this by wrapping them in a clean, wet dish towel and microwaving them for 1 minute, or better, heat them on a greased griddle, 10 seconds per side.
** The lime garnish is really more than just for aesthetics. A squirt of fresh lime juice is essential to making the flavours really pop in this dish.
Click HERE to download a printable version of this recipe.
This is a quick curry for a weekday. You can add whatever ingredients you like. I add canned pineapple chunks and the juice of a whole lime. Green onions too if I have them on hand. Bamboo, canned mushrooms or water chestnuts could also be added. I’m unsure of where the original inspiration came from for this recipe, so I can’t credit it, but I’ve changed it up considerably.
Thai Beef Curry
2 lbs. marinating steak
1 red Thai chili
1 green Thai chili
1 can coconut milk
1/4 cup coconut cream
1-3 teaspoons green curry paste (paste is quite spicy, adjust to your tastes)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
Can pineapple chunks
Juice of one lime
2 tablespoons brown sugar
4 green onions, chopped
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1. Cut steak into thin slices. Heat coconut milk in pot, add steak. Bring to a boil, simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes or until steak is tender.
2. Heat coconut cream and chili paste together in microwave about 20 seconds. Stir into steak mixture. Bring to a boil, simmer until most of the liquid is evaporated. Stir in fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, pineapple and green onions.
3. Heat oil in small pan. Cut chilies into small strips. Cook to crisp up a little.
4. Serve curry over rice. Sprinkle chilies over top.
Click HERE for a printable version of this recipe.