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Turkey a la Kardashian

Turkey a la Kardashian; it's all natural! We swear!

Turkey a la Kardashian; it’s all natural! We swear!

Unlike the Kardashians themselves, Turkey a la Kardashian is at least comprised of biodegradeable materials. And it’s not high maintenance: a couple of lemons under the skin is as spicy as this dish likes to get! Five minutes and you’re good to go, although we understand certain chefs may prefer to spend a lot more time with the butter and the spice rub.

Then of course there is this season’s biggest hit, the Twerky. (more…)

Similkameen BBQ King Competition

Chris and Kyla from the Grist Mill in Keremeos

Chris and Kyla were taken aback by my presence. They weren’t the first, they won’t be the last.

Today is Flashback Thursday: flashing back to July (gawd, has it been that long?) and the special event was the Similkameen BBQ King competition. For non-Canadians, the Similkameen Valley is a gorgeous part of Southern BC. The river is perfect. The mountains are perfect. The grassy plains are perfect. And, as you can see from the above picture, they are all over the Hipster fashion trend.

I was once on a Greyhound going through the valley; also on the bus was a French Canadian fruit picker and his girlfriend. The girlfriend was from BC and had talked him into coming with her to Keremeos, “the” town in the valley, to pick fruit in the summertime. He was deeply skeptical about this decision, but deeply in love, so he had said yes and there he was on the bus, the scent of Montreal still wafting off of him (it smells like cigarettes and beer), trundling through the Similkameen valley as the sun rose. The mountain caught the light, the huge K (the legacy of a landslide) glowed pink, the valley glimmered green and silver with mist, and the bus stopped, let them off, and he fell to his knees and kissed her hand for inviting him to a place as beautiful as that valley.

So that’s the Similkameen.

Similkameen

Similkameen River

Forgive my crappy iPhone pictures, but I did what I could without my trusty photographer Cathy Browne.

The setting? The Grist Mill and Gardens in Keremeos, an historic grist mill, ie where the farmers brought their wheat to be ground into flour. It’s in the hands of my old friend Chris Mathieson, the only person I know with both a degree in Philosophy and skills as a blacksmith, so he’s perfect for this gig. That’s him, along with his wife Kyla, in the top picture. His first words when he saw me there, hundreds of miles from my normal dank cavern in Vancouver? “What are YOU doing here?” A warm welcome indeed, if not heated.

The challenge itself was Chopped-style: in other words, the competitors were given a set basket of ingredients from particular suppliers, and told to do what they could with them on the barbeque.

Similkameen BBQ King Ingredients

Similkameen BBQ King Ingredients

The ingredients were all local; the valley, along with the nearby Okanagan valley, is famous for its produce, and is now beginning to wrap its head around the very un-Canadian action of tooting its own horn. This event was an exercise in horn-tooting, and featured local wines along side the BBQ creations. Full disclosure: I got a media pass for the event, but only after contacting the organizers and asking if I could pay by Paypal, because I would have come up just for the day, all five hours each way on the 80-seat limousine. And lemme tell ya, it would have been worth it.

 

Similkameen BBQ King plates

Similkameen BBQ King plates

There were some very professional plates and some outstanding tastes. I’d come primed for ribs (BBQ, right?) but the chicken as a black box ingredient meant that chefs had to think outside that very box, and some of the solutions were very creative indeed. Chicken sliders, sure, but chicken sliders with a skewer of chicken bacon to garnish? That’s a different level, a level not generally found down gravel roads.

I don’t even like risotto, but the risotto was so good I went back for thirds. People were whispering, “Have you had the risotto? Have the risotto! They may run out. Psst, have you had the risotto?…”. And the basil ice cream was velvety, perfectly sweetened, and paired perfectly with the pound cake. Some of the wine pairings were more successful than others, but the main discovery for me was Forbidden Fruit Winery, whose fruit wines are sophisticated, layered, and miles away from Boone’s Farm.

Entrants:

And the winner was Karl Schorb from the Branding Iron. From the remarkable number of “Congratulations, Karl” blog and Facebook posts from his competitors, it’s clear that he’s a key figure in the tight-knit  Okanagan and Similkameen gourmet community. Here’s the winning plate:

Delicious winning plate from the Branding Iron

Delicious winning plate from the Branding Iron

My notes (after perhaps six tasting-size pours of local wine) “Truly yummy.” Yes, I am a master of subtlety when it comes to reviews. Now take a look at the competition (and forgive my iPhone shots through the window of the shuttle bus from Penticton, because what choice do you have, really?).


Created with flickr slideshow.

Quote of the day: the Gouvernator

Well, it's not implants at least

I love Thanksgiving turkey. It’s the only time in Los Angeles that you see natural breasts.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Commando Curves

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Paula Deen on Thanksgiving, Vegetarianism, and that butter scene in Last Tango in Paris

Paula Deen on Dancing with Butter!!!

Paula Deen on Dancing with Butter!!!

Happy Holidays, y’all! Here is a lovely little interview from Vanity Fair, in which that li’l pat of sunshine Paula Deen holds forth on Thanksgiving etiquette, doggy bowel movements and their relation to the Survival Principle, and the infamous butter scene in Last Tango in Paris. You must read it. No, you MUST, y’all.

A snippet:

Do you have a Thanksgiving recipe that’s made entirely out of butter?

Just butter? I don’t know. I guess you could unwrap a stick of butter and pour a bottle of jam over it. That might be tasty. But I wouldn’t want to serve it to my family at Thanksgiving.

You are the Butter Queen, right?

Yeah, I have been called that. I do love butter. I don’t care what you’re fixin’, butter makes everything taste better.

I’m assuming your butter enthusiasm has nothing to do with the movie Last Tango in Paris.

I don’t think so. Do they eat a lot of butter in that film?

Well, they don’t eat it exactly.

What did they do with it?

[Long pause.] Uh… I don’t think I know how to explain it without embarrassing both of us.

Is it something dirty? [Laughs.]

You could say that, sure.

Does it have something to do with how your wife got pregnant?

Actually, no. You have the wrong … It’s a different, you know… It’s lower down on the … [Long pause.] Wow, this is amazing. You’ve actually turned the tables on me. I’m flummoxed!

Well honey, you’re the one who brought it up.

Here’s what I can tell you. Marlon Brando used butter in a slightly more intimate way than you do on your Food Network shows.

Ooooh. Well I will definitely check that out.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’d like to awkwardly change the subject.

If you need to.

I think that poor interviewer has the vapors!

butter neptune and mermaid

Like buttah

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Pardon me?

Hip Hop Turkey is pardoned

Hip Hop Turkey is pardoned.

Let me ask you seriously: what would your Thanksgiving turkey have to do to win a pardon from you? I mean, NO TURKEY FOR YOU THIS YEAR. You’ll make do with sliders, or Filet o’ Fish sandwiches, or tofurkey instead of that lovely, lovely bird with the tasty, tasty drumsticks. You still get the stuffing (dressing, technically), the mashed potatoes, the rest of the holiday hooplah, but no turkey.

For me to go without turkey, that bird would have to…get this man to call me. And not collect, either.
Viggo, CALL ME!

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This takes the cake

Let us give thanks your aunt with the fondness for aspic castles never heard of this

This is weirdly brilliant, in the way turducken is weirdly brilliant. It’s nice to see some respectful innovation around traditional holiday meals, while still putting a kooky, 21st-Century, I-wouldn’t-do-it-but-Reddit-will-go-apeshit-for-it slant on things.

This is nothing less than a Thanksgiving cake made out of ground turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and yams, and frosted with mashed potatoes. Here’s your recipe, don’t all click at once!

Before you laugh, remember the hottest item in the gourmet’s arsenal over the past few years has been flavoured foam. We are obviously cooking in the time of Surrealism, and this is a perfect, and not difficult, iteration of the meme. And think about it; this would be darn tasty. It’s basically just a vertical, poultry-based Shepherd’s Pie, and who doesn’t love Shepherd’s Pie?

The Surreal Gourmet

via MercuryPDX, KindaFabulous, and Carlovely

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Ready! Aim! Thanksgiving!

like we need to be told?
Up here in Canuckistan we’ve long since had our Thanksgiving (we have to get it over with before the weather changes and the only people on the roads are Ice Truckers) and it generally features a simple roast turkey, generally stuffed with bread cubes, celery, brandy-soaked raisins, old doll parts, Monopoly dice, and anything else Mom finds in the bottom of the junk drawer. It’s quite a fun tradition, really: if you get the Barbie head, or roll snake eyes, you get to make a wish on the moose antlers. After the meal and the ritual round of butter tarts, the whole family compliments the cook and then sneaks out the back way to Timmy’s, where they can at least get good coffee.

moose antlers are a badass wishbone substitute

moose antlers are a badassCanuck wishbone substitute


In Yankistan, I understand things work a little differently. Not only do you wait till nearly mid-winter to express your gratitude for the existence of pumpkin pie, but apparently you people like to celebrate the holiday by making turkey pickles, then deep-frying them.

This confused me until I watched the following video, and now it all makes sense. I, too, like to celebrate special occasions by having a few firefighters over to the Global HQ, and this looks like the best way to guarantee they’ll actually show up.

via TheAwl

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via TheAwl