Monday, April 27, 2015

Rice and Okra bubbling

Cooked rice in a nice spicy chicken broth for about 25 minutes, then added okra, peppers, onions, carrots, garlic and chillies.  Let it cook for another 15 minutes.  Delicious.

Quick easy delicious steaks

So we needed to eat something while our bacon was smoking, I know it's a tough life right? We stopped by one if our local butchers, Mr Greek Meat Market 801 Danforth, and picked up some steaks, I grabbed t-bone and chef Dominic and our friend James picked up some nice New Yorks.
 At chef Dominics suggestion we seared them briefly on the grill, 1 minute a side, then sauteed them in butter and garlic, using a meat thermometer to monitor the internal temp while sauteing, I pulled mine when it hit 130 F because I like it fairly rare, chef Dominic and James pulled theirs at 135 F. This is an old technique and not for the totally health conscious, but it's quick and delicious, great for when you're busy with other things and need a fast delicious meal.
When they were cooked we poured the butter and garlic over the steaks, delicious.
We served them with some grilled zucchini and served roasted potatoes. We also added some of chef Dominic's "secret" sauce (don't tell anyone but it's peppercorn ranch dressing)

 This whole meal took less then 20 minutes to throw together and and makes an easy win when friends stop by.  For those who were hoping for bacon, we'll be posting pics soon.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

A morning at the Market

Some images of a Saturday morning at St. Lawrence Market

Deep fried eggplant in tahini sauce

If you follow Smoke Salt and Fire on Facebook or Twitter you'll know that chef Dominic and I are pretty much carnivores, but sometimes you need to cook for friends or family that are vegetarian or (horror) even vegan. Just because you're not cooking with meat is no reason not to make delicious   food.


1 Eggplant sliced into discs
2 cups general purpose flour or corn meal
2 table spoons garlic powder
2 table spoons onion powder
1 cup soy milk(unsweetened, unflavored)
3-5 cups vegetable oil
1 package of tortillas
parsley, chives, salt, pepper
Tahini sauce
Sriracha or the hot sauce of your choice

Start by putting your oil on to heat up over a medium heat, I usually use a wok for this, but a deep pan or pot will work too.  While the oil is heating up cut your eggplant into discs less then a centimeter (half inch) thick.
Now it's time to set up your breading station, you'll need to bowls for this, dump your flour or cornmeal, into a bowl and add the onion and garlic powder and mix thoroughly. Cornmeal makes a crispy delicious gluten free breading option. Fill the other bowl with the soy milk for your wash, if you're not cooking for vegans you can substitute an egg wash here. Dip each eggplant disc into the wash, making sure it's wet all over, then into the breading bowl. Make sure the eggplant is covered all over with breading mix.

Now that you've applied the breading mix it's time to check if your oil is hot enough for frying, if you're an experienced fryer you should be able to tell if your heat is right by holding your hand about an inch above the the oil, but if you're new to frying an easy way to tell is to take a pinch of the flour or cornmeal you're using for breading and toss it into the oil, if it starts to bubble as soon as you put it in the your oil is hot enough.
Using a pair of metal tongs, drop your breaded eggplant gently into the oil, allow to fry for about 90 seconds then use your tongs to turn the eggplant discs over and fry for 90 more seconds.
Use you tongs to remove the eggplant from the oil, hold each disc above the oil until it stops dripping then place on a plate or baking sheet that has been covered in paper towel.  Cover to cooked eggplant with more paper towel, this will help to wick away some of the excess oil.
Now you're ready to plate, put you tortilla on the plate and add a couple of pieces of breaded eggplant, drizzle with tahini sauce, this is now available at most grocery stores but I will be doing a follow up article on how to make your own at home from tahini paste.  Finally add salt and pepper to taste then sprinkle with chopped parsley and chive, splash with your chosen hot sauce and your done.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Smoke Salt and Fire's favorite butchers: Sanagan's Meat Locker

If Uppercut in the St Lawrence Market is one of the best day to day butcher shops in town, Sanagan's Meat Locker on Baldwin Str. in Toronto's Kensington Market, in the space formerly occupied by European Meat Market, is an entirely different experience. I can't think of Sanagan's without the words artisanal and gourmet coming to mind. Seriously these guys take their meat to the next level.
The near pornographic marbling on Sanagan's steaks and the extremely high quality of all Sanagan's products are a result of one mans passion, when Peter Sanagan gave up a career as a successful chef to open a small butcher shop in Kensington it was clearly a labour of love.

Since moving into their current home they've added an impressive selection of charcuterie, as well as a sandwich bar and meat pies.
The staff are friendly and willing to answer questions and make suggestions,and the decor is fun to.
If you're in Kensington and you love delicious meat make sure to stop by Sanagan's meat locker, whether you're picking up some steaks for dinner or grabbing a quick snack.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Breakfast porn

Tomatillo and red wine bacon frying up,  add some nice 5 year old cherry smoked cheddar, perfect.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Kick ass ramen broth


Water, 5 quarts

Kombu (Japanese dried kelp)
Garlic, finely chopped, 4-6 tablesooons 
Chicken thighs, 4-6
Pork belly, 2 pounds
1 pound smokie bacon
2 onions
2 large carrots
1 bunch scallions
TarĂ© preferably, or kosher salt, soy sauce and mirin 
Saki or Soju (optional)

Put 5 quarts water in a large stock pot, 

Add 2-3 strips of kombu, bring to a boil then turn down and simmer for an hour.
While the kombu is simmering roast the chicken thighs in the oven and saute the garlic in a pan until it turns a nice brown.
After the kombu has simmered for an hour remove it and add the chicken thighs and garlic, make sure you pour in all the chicken grease from your roasting pan into the stock pot, simmer for 2 hours.
Roast the pork belly in the oven for 45 minutes, and cook up your bacon, either in a frying pan or in the oven.
Remove the chicken thighs and add the porkbelly and bacon, simmer for 2 hours.
Remove the pork and bacon. Roughly chop and add all the veggies, simmer for 1 hour.
Remove the veggies and and pass the stock through a strainer lined with cheese cloth.
Add soy sauce, tare or kosher salt, and mirin to taste. I find it easiest to add the soy sauce first, then the the tare or kosher salt, since soy sauce is quite salty, this makes it easier to avoid over salting.
At this point you have an amazing broth, but if you want to really put it over the top, dump in 2-4 shots of saki or soju and put the broth back on to simmer for another 10 minutes.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Mussels in white wine

$3.49 a pound for mussels at the St. Lawrence Market had me putting my sea food hat on this weekend.  Mussels are easy to prepare and quick to make and you're sure to impress your friends.

What you need:

3 pounds of mussels, cleaned and bearded
1.5 liter bottle of cheap white wine (try to pick one that's cheap enough to cook with but still tasty enough for the chef to steal a glass)
4-5 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 bunch of scallions, chopped
1/2 cup of finely chopped parsley
5-6 table spoons butter
2 chili peppers, finely chopped (optional)

Step 1:  Throw the butter in a large pot over medium heat, when melted add garlic.

Step 2: When the butter starts to bubble regularly add 3 cups of white wine and allow it to come to a low boil

Step 3:  Add your mussels, then after about 2 minutes add the chopped scallions and chili peppers and stir them in and cover

Step 4:  Allow to cook for about 5 minutes, then add parsley, cover and cook for 2 more minutes

Step 5: remove the mussels from the wine sauce and throw away any that didn't open or only partially opened, plate the your mussels and pour some of the wine sauce over them.  Optionally your can thicken the wine sauce with a roux after removing the mussels.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Smoke Salt and Fire's favorite butchers: Upper Cut Meats

It seems fitting to start a series on our favorite butchers with Upper Cut Meats in St. Lawrence Market, this is the go to butcher for most of our pork and beef projects, their prices on pork belly and shoulder are some of the best in the city, the staff is always friendly and happy to cut your meat to your specification, trimming, removing skin and bone at your request.
They always seem to have a bunch of eager young apprentice meat cutters who are happy to help you out if you know what you're looking for but if you need advice on a project or you're looking for something specific just ask if you can speak to one of the senior butchers and they will be happy to help you out.

Of course one of the reasons we love Upper Cut is their great prices, on the day
this was written, pork belly was going for 3.99 a pound and shoulder was 2.99 a pound; other butchers in the Market were selling shoulder for as much as 4.99 and belly for as much as 6.99.
Upper Cut also offer a great selection of beef, lamb and poultry and their quality is top of the line.  So next time you're planning a cooking project that requires great meat at a great price head on down the the St. Lawrence Market and check out Upper Cut Meats.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Welcome to the Smoke Salt and Fire blog, where we will be talking about cooking, food we love and and the passions and pigs that move us.