“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family: Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.” Jane Howard

Turkey Shoot 2013A Canadian Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving in Canada comes a month early compared to our friends in the US. Origins can be dated back to 1578 and the voyage of Martin Frobisher searching for the Northwest Passage.  Samuel de Champlain held many festival of celebration of thanks and established the Order of Good Cheer  in sharing their food with the First Nation.

At one point Upper and Lower Canada celebrated Thanksgiving at different times. After the American Revolution, refugees that remained loyal to Britain brought customs and traditions north to Canada. Its date fluctuated until 1957 when the second Monday in October became a national statutory holiday.  The theme became a celebration of the abundant harvest and thankfulness of all we are blessed with.

Our family gathering’s origin comes from an event long before my participation. During the 1960’s, my in-laws would have a fall party they entitled The Turkey Shoot. The day long party centered around the men target shooting for bragging rights and the prize of a turkey for

Thanksgiving. Its day had long passed and would have probably remained a memory if not for the creativity of my brother-in-law. We decided in 1989 to make Thanksgiving our event and resurrected The Turkey Shoot. Christmas would be for our immediate nest, but Thanksgiving would be the whole family, extended, girlfriends and boyfriends, friends, dogs, basically everybody that makes us who we are. There would be no presents and no expectations other than being together to be together. We would eat, and eat well, have drinks, tell stories and rehash laughs and tears, sit up too late around the fire and just be us. I have to say in 24 years I have no memory of disagreements, attitudes or fights. I am very proud of us all. Understand that some years have been good with new arrivals and life events; others have not been so good.  People, important people, loved ones that have been with us and should still be with us are gone in body but still sitting around the fire with us. Our Thanksgiving is about family.

We have our target competition, horseshoe pitch, archery, and have even taken to setting Chinese lanterns into the sky late at night with messages to those that we wish were there.

I can talk about the food but we’ll let the pictures do that. There’s not a lot of late evening photos because no one really wants to see us dancing to Journey or rolling downhill off an unbalanced chair. Actually you probably do but what happens at the farm stays at the farm.

To all my friends, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. To all south of the border and anticipating yours, I wish you happiness and the warm embrace of your family and friends.Fall in Northern Ontario

The Farm
Juuust a bit outside!TailgateFire Good!Turkey Spit

Beautiful

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Too much time on my hands!

I have far too much time on my hands! I’m making spinach risotto for dinner so decided to make an Italian loaf in the cast iron and on the gas grill. The backyard smells great!
Don’t forget about The Artisanal Grill Facebook site! Stop by for a like😃

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“Many’s the long night I’ve dreamed of cheese – toasted, mostly.” Robert Louis Stevenson

If I was told by a doctor that I could never have another piece of red meat it would hurt, but I could do it. If he told me that I could never have another glass of wine it would hurt, but I could live with it. If he said that I could never have another piece of #cheese, I would say, “How much time do I have left.”

Cheese is wonderful! Cheese is glorious! Cheese is my favourite food! Every kinds, every texture, the stinkier  the better!

Here is what I came up with last night, Roasted Squash rigatoni using #TreStelle mascarpone and Grana Padano with pancetta and kale.

The Butternut squash was roasted over coals with garlic and rubbed with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. The warm, soft squash was blended with the garlic, mascarpone, Grana Padano, and cream.

I wilted the kale by adding it to the freshly boiled pasta.

Once tossed with the rigatoni, the pan fried pancetta was mixed in with the luxurious sauce and baked for 20 minutes.

Did I say I love cheese! This mixture with the pasta is sweet, sticky, and so tasty that your kids won’t know they’re eating squash and kale.

Be well and eat well!

Scott

Cheese and squash! Happy, Happy, Happy!

Cheese and squash! Happy, Happy, Happy!

“Forget about the consequences of failure. Failure is only a temporary change in direction to set you straight for your next success.” Denis Waitley

Great weather, great weekend, and as Phil Robertson says, Happy, Happy, Happy!

Life has a way of just happening. No warnings, you just wake up and stuff is there to deal with. You can plan your best to make sure the bumps and the pitfalls are minimum, but in the long run, stuff happens.

Keeping a positive outlook is hard sometimes, but the flip is a negative one and going down that road is a soul sucking defeatist route that brings you to your knees.  Accomplishing even the smallest goals becomes overwhelming! Stay positive! Stay on your path! Don’t let the naysayers take control of your thoughts. Do what you know is right and stay away from the “realistic people”.

Everyone has heard the comment” I’m just being realistic,” and then someone lists off all their realistic points. Pay attention to their comments and see how many of them are negative. Most realistic people are actually just negative thinkers. Being realistic means looking at both sides positive and negative and dealing with them as elegantly and effectively as you can.

This weekend the food was fun. Having experienced the deliciousness of rotisserie chicken on the gas grill, we decided that to try a cousin of Mr. Chicken and introduced Mr. Duck to the Napoleon. Simply rubbed with ground coriander, salt and pepper and stuffed with lemons. I had duck bones in my freezer, (doesn’t everyone) so Mr. Duck had a Pinot Noir and duck stock reduction to complete him.

Red rice made an introduction too. Prepared in the duck stock instead of water and finished with toasted almonds and grated apple.

Since the trolls had friends over and we needed to stretch the quantity, over the charcoal short ribs in a honey/soya/sesame blend hit the Weber.

Vicky created a wonderful Kale and Grapefruit salad to complete the meal.

Weekend good! Week to come will be good, after all it’s not what your dealt, it how you deal with it.

Be well and eat well!

Scott

Duck,Duck, Pork!

Duck,Duck, Pork!

“It is a solemn thought: Dead, the noblest man’s meat is inferior to pork” Mark Twain

Made fresh! Really fresh with no paper wrapped around it!

Made fresh! Really fresh with no paper wrapped around it!

So fast food done at home? Easy! When you bow to the advertising of Fresh tastes best, so why drive, waste gas and money? Do it yourself!

Last night was a pork tenderloin sub or hoagie if you will. Starting by making a rub of garlic, onion and brown sugar, the pork was grilled over coals, sliced and served on a French stick. Onions browned in balsamic and brown sugar and topped with homemade pickles and Swiss cheese.  The trolls went wild.

20 minutes! Less time than getting in the car to pick up fast food and still warm, soft and juicy.

Be well and eat well!

Scott

“…A community needs a soul if it is to become a true home for human beings. You, the people must give it this soul.” Pope John Paul II

So what is The Taste of the Danforth (#tasteofthedanforth ) about? Food? Music? Fun? All of the above but in my mind it’s about community. That’s one of the best parts of living in Toronto. We are a honeycomb of different ethnicities and truly a melting pot of the world at large. But somehow we manage a blend of new culture while retaining our unique cultural heritage.

This past weekend Taste of the Danforth celebrated its 20th year of sharing the love and culture with not only Toronto, but the world. Its first year brought approximately 5000 people together, this year in excess of 1 million people graced the streets, shared the food, and danced with the exuberance of Zorba himself.  No drama, no incidents (well there was Rob Ford), just fun, love and sharing.

My highlights included an amazing gyro from Alexandros, Loukomades, and a cold beer at Dora Keogh. Watching impromptu dances and face painted children rounded up the day. There was also a Vulcan sighting! Thankfully I had my phaser with me.

Applauds and kudos to the organizers. Can’t wait till next year.

Be well and eat well!

Scott

Taste of the Danforth 2013

Taste of the Danforth 2013

Beautiful day at TofDanforth

Beautiful day at TofDanforth

Best Gyros!
Best Gyros!

Food glorious food!

Food glorious food!

Smile please!

Smile please!

Still hungry?

Still hungry?

A little Band from the band.

A little Band from the band.

Lunch please and thank you!

Lunch please and thank you!

Saving the universe one festival at a time!

Saving the universe one festival at a time!

“Sweep through the heather like deer in the glen. Carry me back to the days i knew then.” Paul McCartney

I’ve been working on old school meals. Today was Blood Cake, or if your Scottish, Black Pudding! The hardest thing is trying to get your hands on blood.

Picture this, you’re in a butcher shop, there’s a crowd around you and you ask the butcher if he has any pigs blood. Looks of shook, despair, and wonderment abound. You know they’re thinking weirdo, some kind of ritualistic thing, and maybe we should call the cops.

I found Mathew at The Butchers Son was happy to oblige.  I did get asked what I was going to do with it though.

This was my first crack at it and I’m fairly impressed. I channeled my Fergus Henderson chi to pull it off.

Working with blood is different, to say the least. Blood on my hands, blood on the floor, and my knives looked like they belonged in a CSI investigation. But the results were worth it.

This took me back to breakfast in Inverness at the bed and breakfast I stayed in. Very happy.

As you can see none of this was done on my grill or smoker but sometimes the heart wins from the want.

Be well and eat well.

Scott

It will have blood, they say: blood will have blood

It will have blood, they say: blood will have blood

“I want to be strapped to a table, while a family of chickens argues over who gets to eat my legs.” ― Jarod Kintz,

“If you’ll be my Dixie Chicken, I’ll be your Tennessee Lamb, And we can walk together down in Dixieland Down in Dixieland”. This is one of my favourite Little Feat songs. I didn’t do southern chicken, I did stuffed chicken legs!

I’ve been working on my butchering skills and have only seen this preparation a few times, so I thought, why not?

I had a house full of trolls and a whack of chicken legs. My usual got to is to wrap in bacon and smoke over hickory. Tonight I wanted to try something different. My attack plan was simple, if I can get the first leg deboned, I can do it! Honestly, it was simpler than I thought. Creating these little poultry packs of heaven is something I will definitely go back to.

The fridge and the pantry had genoa, bocconcini, chèvre, tomatoes, and spaghettini. So let’s go Italian!

I blended the chèvre into a paste with garlic, red onion, and Italian seasoning. I placed a dollop of paste on a slice of genoa with a whole basil leaf and a slice of bocconcini. Rolled into a little cigar and then inserted it into the drumstick sealing the end with a toothpick. The outside was rubbed with olive oil and Italian seasoning. The little morsels of love were grilled on the cast iron until they were browned.

The meal was served with a tomato, red wine sauce tossed into the spaghettini.

Being able to take a bite without the bone there is a great experience. I’m thinking a bacon and cheddar stuffing next time!

Be well and eat well!

Scott

Where's the bone!

Where’s the bone!

“A satisfied customer-we should have him stuffed!” Basil Fawlty

Did some interesting things this past weekend, so it’s time to share! Steak yes but grilled oysters too!

Saturday night the trolls were out. My lady and I decided to spurge. I have long wanted to grill oysters on my #biggreenegg and this was the night. Not having time to take advantage of #StLawrencemarket, we took advantage of the seafood bar at Loblaws. Not the greatest selection in the world I must say. I don’t think shellfish is their highest priority but since we were grilling them we took the plunge on 6 after pointing out the cracked and opened ones to the fish lady. I made a #Guinnessrarebit sauce to meld with the fishy wonders.  Guinness, cheddar, Dijon, and a little Worcestershire’s combined with a roux to thicken. Vicky shucked and I coated and then introduced them to the #BGE. A little Irish on the tongue!

We accompanied the #Hors D’Oeuvre, well actually we served it with the main of grilled steak, mushrooms and a warm beet salad. The salad included the beet tops and stems, pecans, and #chèvre dressed in tarragon Dijon vinaigrette. Check the shot! There was a food coma shortly after the meal. No trolls means happy chefs!

I definitely will be introducing Guinness into more meals but it’s hard sharing the bottle. It’s so nice straight out of the glass!

Be well and eat well!

Scott

Guinness Good!

Guinness Good!

“Show class, have pride, and display character. If you do, winning takes care of itself.” Paul Bryant

So thinking outside the kitchen, and in turn sacrificing one of my indoor cast iron pots I decided to make #beefstew on my #BGE #BigGreenEgg.   Incorporating smoke with the flavor of the beef and sauce was one of the best things I’ve ever attempted.

I marinated the beef in beer with fresh rosemary overnight. Patted dry, floured, seasoned, and seared in my cast iron over the fire with hickory smoking away below. Since I was using the Egg, I left the lid off the pot because closing the lid on the Egg had the same effect and allowed the smoke to permeate the flavor. I removed the beef and sautéed the onions in the juices from the beef and then reunited them with more beer and some beef stock. At the halfway mark I joined the union of flavours with peas, potatoes, and carrots. When we were about 15 minutes away from completion, I add my dumplings to cook in the broth.

The comments from the trolls that live with me? This is the best stew we’ve ever had. I have to say I’m really proud of this one. The hickory smoke add to the overall experience of the stew and mixed with the rosemary background in the meat gave it another dimension.

My pot will survive and is now destined for use on the #BGE all the time.

Be well and eat well!

Scott

Beer marinated beef and rosemary

Beer marinated beef and rosemary

Everyone into the pool! You too dumplings!

Everyone into the pool! You too dumplings!

Pretty tasty stew!

Pretty tasty stew!