Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Oysters & Gumbo? Ya! Ya!

Calyo's Oyster Stand fig. a:  the oyster-stand

You heard right:  Oysters & gumbo.  
At the Foodlab.  This Friday, October 3rd, from 7:00 p.m. on.
And it's all for a great cause.

smoked andouille fig. b:  smoked cajun sausage

You see, Michelle & Seth will be shucking oysters all night and I'll be serving smoked turkey & sausage gumbo (while quantities last!), and all the proceeds will go towards the Ange-Aimée Woods Memorial Bursary at Concordia University.  

We've said it before, but we'll say it again:  Ange-Aimée was a fantastic journalist and a devoted friend.  She loved great food, and good parties.  She was also a big fan of the Foodlab.  We can't think of a better way to honour Ange-Aimée's memory and to benefit a bursary that will continue to share her incredible warmth & generosity with others for years to come.

Eat, drink, & be merry!  Give Generously!  And laissez bon temps rouler!

Oyster & Gumbo Feast
Friday, October 3, 2014
7:00 - 10:00 p.m.
Foodlab / Labo Culinaire
1201 St-Laurent Blvd. (3rd floor)


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

From Apple Jam to Crabapple Jelly

We've been listening to George Harrison's All Things Must Pass a lot recently, including its largely improvisatory Apple Jam sides ("Out of the Blue"!).

Scan 1 fig. a:  George's Apple Jam

But, when it comes to making tasty jams (or jellies, as the case may be) of our own, we've been singularly focused on crabapples of late.

crabapples fig. b:  crabapples

In part, that's because there's nothing quite like crabapple jelly:  that colour, that tartness, that natural set.  Most other jellies are either notoriously finicky, or they're just not nearly as pretty.

But, mainly, it's because we've had access to a particularly fruitful crabapple tree.  When the wild turkeys haven't been shaking it down (literally), we've been free to harvest this tree to our hearts' delight.

crabapple tree fig. c:  crabapple tree

crabapple harvest fig. d:  freshly picked crabapples

At work, Michelle makes large quantities of crabapple jelly to serve with terrines, mousses, and pâtés.  With these crabapples, she makes small batches of jelly to spread on our toast.  Either way, the method is essentially the same.
Crabapple Jelly à la Michelle
Stem, clean and sort through the crabapples, removing any that are rotten. 
Place in a medium/large pot, depending on how many apples you have. 
Just barely cover with water.  You should be able to press down on them, getting the water to cover them when you do. 
Cook for 20-25 minutes at a simmer until your crabapples are falling apart and fragrant.
Pour through a chinois and let drip.* 
For every 10 parts juice, add 6-7 parts sugar, depending on the tartness of your crabapples. 
Place the juice and sugar in an appropiately sized pot, bring to a simmer, and cook at a simmer until you reach the gel stage. 
A drop of liquid should come off the spoon in a sheet rather than a droplet. 
Place in sterilized jars and seal according to proper canning procedures. Or simply pour into any clean glass container and let set, then store in the fridge.   
* You can also use a jelly bag for this step, but Michelle prefers to use a chinois because it speeds up the process.
And, either way, the results are beautiful--to the eye, and to the palate.

P1040616 figs. e & f:  crabapple jelly for breakfast

Of course, it pays to have homemade bread on hand to enjoy your jelly with,

pain de campagne fig. g:  pain de campagne

but that's another story.

Act fast:  crabapple season is already in full swing.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Top Ten #55

VT colours
crabapple harvest

1.  Washington County, VT (and environs)

Scan 1

2.  George Harrison, All Things Must Pass (Apple)

sample track:  "Run of the Mill"

seven sisters farm 1
minnesota gothic

3.  Minnesota!

4.  Lauren Collins, "The Spy Who Loved Me," The New Yorker, August 25, 2014

5.  poulet grillé au gingembre

6.  This American Life #534, "A Not-So-Simple Majority"

this way to paradise
we grow 'em bigger!

7.  Cape Cod!

l. ron

8.  Lawrence Wright, Going Clear:  Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief

david crosby

9.  David Crosby, If I Could Only Remember My Name...

10.  Boyhood (2014), dir. Linklater