This is a must-see video. Warning: Don’t watch if you have active heart-disease, or have just had a big lunch. I used to be a serious mountain biker, and while “extreme” I’ve never seen anything like this.
Now to sit in the sugar/salt/dill for 24 hours. The salt mixture will turn into a slushy brine as the water exits the salmon flesh. I used to use fresh dill, but, heresy, now find that dry gives a more intense flavour more to my taste (YMMV). Mr.Italo has whetted my appetite to try the large, thick Atlantic salmon from the Victoria fish market (I used to buy my fish there years ago but it just became easier to get it at Costco rather than schlepp into town). Next time.
You may also note that I have been inspired by Stephane Gabart’s food photography to use my 50/1.4 wide open and set on macro, get close, and use natural light. This on my Fuji X-Pro1.
If you’ve never heard of Crossfit or have heard of it but wondered what it looks like, here’s a cool segment from last night’s city news, featuring my godson Gerry and his daughter Lara. The whole family is hugely into Crossfit and I must say it shows; they’re all very fit and buff.
I tried it for a couple of weeks at that same gym and really enjoyed it; very intense but short, you can be in and out in 45 minutes. Then we went on our mountain biking trip and I injured both knees; had my MRI on Monday and it looks like I’ve torn the menisci on both knees. And to paraphrase the film Casablanca “And now they sit and wait, and wait….for the orthopaedic surgeon to call back”.
Stephane Gabart has posted some excellent photos from his Christmas dinner. I point them out in particular because of his masterful use of depth-of-field and excellent bokeh….not to mention some of the mouth-watering content. I love the cheese shot! As my friend and world-renown photographer, Philip Lim, says when he sees a photo he loves, “I would have been proud to have taken a shot like that”.
Another recipe from Stéphane Gabart (My French Heaven), substituting a duck leg confit for the breast and adding Actifries with smoky paprika and curry powder. The “Accidental” sauce is homemade guacamole. Read the original recipe here.
New research just published (Dec. 11, 2012) in the International Journal of Obesity, titled: Adaptations in brain reward circuitry underlie palatable food cravings and anxiety induced by high fat withdrawal, shows that taking animals (possibly including humans) off their normal high-fat diet and into a weight-loss, low-fat regimen, induces brain changes that drive the organism to depression, cravings, and behaviours intended to restore its normal diet.
Here’s the somewhat sensationalized layman’s summary in The Telegraph. I always like to go to the original research, the abstract of which can be found here. The authors of the study coin a wonderful term for the phenomenon, “Palatable food relapse”. Brilliant! I’m going to use this every time my wife catches me with my hand in the cookie jar: “No dear, I’m not binging, I’m having a palatable food relapse”.
The study is part of a new research push to uncover why dieting and weight loss are so unsustainable; an observation that was made many years ago, but has only recently begun to be unravelled. The findings of all the studies increasingly demonstrate that any effort to reduce calories almost immediately sets in place permanent mechanisms to regain and preserve weight; part of the evolutionary genetic starvation prevention survival mechanism.
Take a moment to have a close look at something you are very, very good at. It could be as simple as making a cup of coffee, or as complex as rebuilding a fine mechanical watch. One of the things that will strike you is the simplicity and parsimony of your actions and movements. There will be little wasted effort, and an unconsciousness about it – a level of skill we call the “Unconscious competent”. If you observe masters of anything – I just watched the documentary, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, about Japan’s greatest living legend of sushi making – you will know exactly what I mean: Less is more.
It is this “less is more” approach that struck me about Stéphane Gabart’s (My French Heaven) recipe for Peppercorn Steak last night. In all my years of cooking, I have never made something that tasted this good with so little effort and few ingredients. It was truly extraordinary and certain to now enter the ranks of those few dishes that must appear at least monthly on my “rotation”.
While Stéphane’s pictures are far better and more mouthwatering than mine (I was too much in a hurry to eat the stuff to care about the pictures), I thought you might enjoy seeing my “process”:
Quickly sear two inch-thick entrecotes (New York strip to Americans) in a very hot, dry, cast iron pan. Remove steaks from pan and place in 400F oven to finish cooking (medium rare about 4 minutes in the oven)
Deglaze the pan with whisky (brandy, whatever), add slightly crushed green madagascar peppercorns and ignite to burn off the alcohol. Add very heavy cream and reduce to desired consistency.
The finished product served with steamed asparagus and French fries made in one of France’s great contributions to civilization and the waistline, the Actifry.
Thank you Stéphane for a memorable meal. Total preparation time: 10 minutes
Back from almost two weeks on the pig farms, it’s been an amazing experience to get close to the food we eat and recognize the work and suffering (mainly from the animals) that goes into our daily “bread”.
I’ve been working for years to take what Dr. Will Clower calls the “faux” (French for “false”) out of our diet. We eat probably about 60% organic and free range in terms of our protein and plants (this starts to get close to the practical limit if you have a very varied diet and don’t want to become a social pariah). We also pay close attention to ingredient lists on anything packaged. What really surprises me though is the level of crap that goes into even the most apparently innocent food items; things you woud never suspect and might just grab off the shelf without a second glance.
Take for example cream. Tonight, I’m making this recipe from Stéphane Gabart’s most amazing blog, My French Heaven. If you have a moment read this guy’s bio….then cook up some of his exquisite recipes. I only follow two blogs, my friend and blog mentor Michael Ham’s (Leisureguy), and now Stéphane’s site.
Stéphane’s recipe calls for cream for the peppercorn sauce in his Green Peppercorn Steak. Should be simple to find real cream, one might reasonably think. Well, think again. Our local Metro Plus large-chain grocery store stocks about 5 brands of cream at various levels of butterfat content. Each and every one of them is made with a chemical laboratory of thickeners, stabilizers, and unpronounceable shit. I really can’t believe there isn’t one brand of just plain cream! Finally, I had to go their high-end cheese counter and I had to buy cream from freaking France (no offense). It is good till April and only contains, you guessed it….cream and starter!!
Have a look at the abominations the food industry foists on us every day: