“Know what’s weird? Day by day, nothing seems to change. But pretty soon, everything is different.” Bill Watterson

What do you do when you’re tired of the same old but everyone around you still insist on it. Make it different and wait for the backlash, or make it the same in a new way? After a summer of BBQ, (actually it’s a way of life around here), I get bored of the classic baked potato yet everyone still expects it to make a showing on the table.

Loaded Baked Potato SoupFall has hit quickly in Toronto and the chill is on us. The baseball season is at end and the playoffs are in sight. So using a ball euphemism, I decided to develop a baked potato curve ball.

Taking the task partially outside I created a Full Loaded Baked Potato Soup. Yes extreme, yes filling, and yes wonderfully satisfying. Each year we celebrate a Canadian Thanksgiving outside and on a farm in Northern Ontario. My responsibility, the tailgate! With the temperature dropping I think that this will make a good addition to the food so I decided to experiment first.

When making soup, I prefer to roast off my vegetables first instead of just sticking them in the stock to cook. To me it brings out more of the natural sugars and taste in the base flavour. So not to break my tradition, I roasted off 6 Russets and the carrots for my stock first. When they were soft and ready, I sautéed half an onion and celery in a large stock pot with olive oil until they were soft and translucent. Rough chopped 4 of the potatoes and the carrots and Added them to the pot with, garlic, salt and pepper and 3 bay leaves. Topped the whole thing off with 2 liters of chicken stock and let it simmer for an hour. I threw in two tablespoons of a BBQ rub that I had made to bring some of the outdoor spice and aroma to the soup.

After the hour the stock was blended down to a smooth consistency ( after taking out the bay leaves), placed back in the stock pot and put on low.  The remaining two potatoes were rough chopped into bit size pieces and joined the other happy elements in the soup.  Keep extra chicken stock around and if it’s too thick for you, thin it out to your liking with some extra.

Finished with sour cream, crisp fried bacon, chopped green onion, and shredded cheddar for the fully loaded part.  Take a look. It feels like soup to the mouth but tastes like a baked potato.

Putting a different spin or preparation on an old favourite is a way to break from the norm but still fill the need of the comfort you and your family get from the staple.

I remember a teacher from high school giving me instruction on how to look at a situation.

  1. Leave it the same.
  2. Remove it completely.
  3. Rearrange it.
  4. Take away from it.
  5. Add to it.

That’s how to keep an old favourite from creeping into mundane territory.

What can you do to your standard and give it new life?

Be well and eat well

Scott

PS. I think the family will like this at Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

 

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10 Great Quotations for International Literacy Day

Finishing a good book is more satisfying than finishing a good bottle of wine. You can always read a book again. You can’t re-drink the wine. Thanks for the great post.

Interesting Literature

Today is International Literacy Day! What better time, then, to celebrate some of the wisest, wittiest, pithiest, silliest, and most profound things that writers have ever said about literature and reading? The following are 10 of our personal favourites from the last 21 months of Interesting Literature.

‘A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies,’ said Jojen. ‘The man who never reads lives only one.’

– George R. R. Martin

Parents should leave books lying around marked ‘forbidden’ if they want their children to read.

– Doris Lessing

There is no surer foundation for a beautiful friendship than a mutual taste in literature.

– P. G. Wodehouse

Cat with book

There are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts.

– Charles Dickens

No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting.

– Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

One always tends to overpraise a long…

View original post 130 more words

The broccoli says ‘I look like a small tree’, the mushroom says ‘I look like an umbrella’, the walnut says ‘I look like a brain’, and the banana says ‘Can we please change the subject?’ Anonymous

We are a comparing society. Coke verses Pepsi, Cascade verses Finish, Ford verses Dodge? We compare politicians, actors, restaurants, even bottled water? My parents, well really my mother always compared things in Canada to how they were in Scotland. “It’s not like it was back home”, or “The ones I grew up were much better than these ones.” There are few things in this world that are unique anymore and when one does surface, there are like products within weeks that we can offer up comparisons to.

Smoked lambWe do the same thing with food. Actually you have to admit these words have come out of your mouth or someone you know more than once. “It tastes like chicken to me.” You know you have. Chicken is like a blank canvas. It takes on the tastes and the profile of what and how we prepare it. Beef and pork can follow suit. Cooking is creative and flows with the artists, or chef’s hand, eye, and palate.

So here is my big caveat. Lamb! No matter how you prepare it, no matter what you enhance it with, the natural flavour of lamb always comes through. That why it’s my favourite protein. From curried to roasted, braised to stew, grilled or smoked you always know its lamb.

Some consider the flavour too strong, others consider it too earthy but I consider it unique and wonderful.

So today I offer you a slow smoked butterflied leg of lamb with roasted beets, Home grown beans with toasted almonds, and a kale and feta salad.

The lamb was rubbed with a mixture of olive oil, garlic, black pepper, Dijon mustard, rosemary, sage, mint and one anchovy. It was left in a re-sealable bag for 5 hours in the fridge and brought to room temperature before it hit the grill.

The Big Green Egg had the beets on to roast over pecan wood for 4 hours at 300f before the lamb hit the smoker. I placed a tin pan of water below the lamb and filled it with the same fresh herbs that were in the rub to give an aromatic moistness to the smoke. When it reached an internal of 150f I switched it to the hot gas grill for a quick sear on the outside for some charring. Left to sit wrapped in foil for 15 minutes and it was ready to devour.

I love lamb. It’s bold and subtle at the same time. Kind of like me : )

Be well and eat well.

Scott

 

BARBEQUE COMES TO THE BEACH!

So the weekend that was was spectacular!  For the 6th year straight, the air smelled of smoke, the grills were sizzling and the beer was flowing. Music transcended the days and night, and community and visitors occupied Woodbine Parks grass and grounds.  It Beach BBQ and Brew Festivalwas a great way to spend the Father’s Day weekend.

Teams from the US set-up their massive rigs and started burning cherry, hickory, and mesquite woods to begin the low and slow process of everything that is true BBQ. This year the CSBBQA sanctioned the Amateur Ribbers contest. It was wonderful to see dedicated Canadian teams entering the arena and offering up their versions of traditional BBQ.

Friday started with the Firefighters Command Cook-off. Each team was given a t-bone and a beef strip loin. The T-bone had to stay pure to judge their grill technique. Grill marks, taste and tenderness were the key. The loin however was free form and whatever they wanted to create as their side accompaniments was limited by their creative minds. I had the pleasure of being one of the judges and quite honestly, the competition was so close that there was no clear run away from the pack. The four teams represented the North, South, East, and West from the Firefighters community. Every team produced amazing plates, but as always, there needs to be a winner. The West pulled it out with Vlad’s clean and smooth presentation,flavours, and his grilling skills.

Saturday was Grilling Tent time. Ted Reader, Tonia Wilson, and I took to the stage to offer technique, ideas, and advice on how toLet's talk Fatty add some creative twists to the grilling scene. As always, Ted took the crowd through his unique and entertaining recipes and showed why he truly is the King of the Q.  Tonia brought creative sauces and a how to on transforming a boring flank steak giving it life, flavour, and taste. Me, I decided to introduce the crowd to a Fatty. Sausage meat, stuffed with cheese and rolled in a weave of bacon.  Everything disappeared!

Last day, Sunday, were the 2 competitions. The CSBBQA Amateur Ribber Competition and the North American Ribber Competition. I had the pleasure of judging the NA group. All the vendors that there present during the 3 day presented, served ribs, and this year an additional twist. They were asked to serve something out of the box but still utilizing the grills and their BBQ skills. Burritos, sliders, flat bread and pizza creations were all outstanding, not to mention their ribs. Bernie from Camp 31 MC’d the event and showed not only his BBQ knowledge, but his fun and skills at entertaining a crowd.  Ribs and the alternate were served every hour for 6 hours and I was looking for a place to crash as my food coma started kicking in. The winner was Swine Fellows with Jamie and Zack earning the trophy. Honourable mention to all, Bibbs, Hawgs Gone Wild, Camp 31, and Sticky Fingers. Your skills and food were off the cuff!

Chef ToniaThe first Beach BBQ and Brew Fest CSBBQA Ribbers Competition winners were White Bread BBQ. I wished I could have tried your stuff but I was a little full from the rest of the day. Congratulations guys!

I haven’t mentioned the music, the crowd, or the craft beer because if you weren’t there, you missed it. It was all phenomenal!

At the end of the day you realise what the BBQ is all about, community, good food, and fun. The phrase there is no bad BBQ came up during the day and I completely agree. If you like it, if it makes you feel good and you’re having a good time, then its good BBQ.

Kudos to Jen and Jeremy for the organization and the weekend, well done!

Hope to see you hear next year!

Be well and eat well!

Scott

 

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Can you Smellllll! What the Beach is Smokingggg!

Hey everybody!

This weekend is the Beach BBQ and Brew Festival.
Great Food, great music, and great craft beers!
I’ll be doing a demonstration at the Grilling Tent at 5pm on Saturday June 14.
It’s a wonderful day and a great way to spend Fathers Day!
I hope to see you there!

Festival Hours
Friday June 13th 3:00pm-11:00pm
Saturday June 14th 12:00pm-11:00pm
Sunday June 15th 12:00pm-8:00pm

http://beachbbqandbrews.com/

Woodbine Park is located just north of the Beaches Boardwalk on the North-East Corner of Lakeshore Blvd East and Coxwell Avenue.

Too much smoke! Just a little! What I do for my art!

Too much smoke! Just a little! What I do for my art!

Beach BBQ and Brews Festival! Saturday June 14th Grilling Tent Schedule!

Here is the schedule for the Grilling Tent Demonstrations at the Beach BBQ and Brews Festival!

Saturday June 14th – Grilling Demos
1:00PM – Chef Ted Reader
2:00PM – Chef Chris Doepner
3:00PM – Chef Ted Reader
4:00PM – Tonia Wilson
5:00PM – Scott Tait

http://beachbbqandbrews.com/

Hope to see you there on Saturday!

Be Well and Eat Well!

Scott

cropped-the-artisanal-grill-1.jpg

“The Bluebird of Happiness long absent from his life, Ned is visited by the Chicken of Depression.” Gary Larson

Stone grilled chicken breastsChicken is the most consumed protein in the world. Our affair started with Mom’s chicken soup probably out of a can, and then progressed to the Colonel.  As we continued or travels we found sweet and sour, Mac somethings, and finally Buffalo wings.

In our house rotisserie, spatchcock, and fire roasted takes the stage, after all smoke and fire makes everything taste better!

Last night was no different. I’ve taken to cooking everything I can on my granite cooking stones. They give a nice even cook across whatever I try. So over hickory wood, rubbed with sage, seasoning and olive oil the breasts hit the stones! I wanted simple yet flavourful and have been craving a white sauce so the plate consisted of Hickory roasted chicken breasts on a bed of penne tossed with olive oil and garlic and covered in a sage cream sauce. Combining the hickory smoke with the pasta and cream is an amazing team.

The weather in Toronto over the past week has been better. Snow is melting, sun beams are breaking through, and I can get away with a T-Shirt for short term exposure. So the night was primed for outdoor cooking. If I can, I move it outside. Actually even if it’s freezing or raining I still try and take it outside.

Think about what you’re doing tonight? Can part of it be moved outside? Don’t you want the memories of summer tastes now instead of 4 weeks from now? Do you have a jacket? What’s stopping you?

Thursday March 20th is only days away. Start now or start planning the rebirth of your outdoor cooking season!

Be well and eat well!Hickory smoked chicken penne and sage sauce

Scott Tait