Meat Cocktails

February 27th, 2011

Another recent trend in mixology is the exciting combination of liquor and meat. What better way to enjoy your favorite cocktail than replacing your stirring rod with a stick of beef jerky. Wouldn’t a bloody ceasar pair nicely with some bacon or pancetta? A tropical rum punch with a skewered chorizo garnish? The following are some original meat cocktail ideas.

Tuna Martini:
It may sound like a character out of Dick Tracy, but its actually a delicious cocktail waiting to be served at your next dinner party.

1 oz Gin
1 oz Vodka
1/8 oz Dry Vermouth
Sushi grade Bluefin Tuna
Pickled Ginger leaf

The Equestrian:
The controversy over eating horse meat having died down, now is the perfect time to try this western-inspired bourbon cocktail.

2 oz Kentucky bourbon
A splash of apple juice
Salted horse meat

To the Duke and Duchess on their Wedding Day:
This is an elegant cocktail, reserved for those with a flair for the dramatic. The delicate combination of champagne and steak tartare with sing on the palate and go down like a tall glass of Orbitz.

3 oz of Champagne
An ice-cream scoop of steak tartare
A teaspoon of diced onions
A teaspoon of capers


Cooch Hooch, Moonshine, and Anus Aperitifs

February 24th, 2011

Clever kids all over the world have discovered a way to get drunk without anyone noticing, whether at school, or in church, or at a family dinner. It has been learned that by inserting an alcohol soaked tampon into your vagina (for girls) or your anus (for boys, or for girls), you will become intoxicated faster than if you had consumed it orally. The following link confirms that kids have been dunking their tampons in vodka for years.

Brilliant? Yes. But let’s try to add a little sophistication to our spirited suppositories. You like Sex on the Beach? How about Sex on the Beach up the ass? Here are a couple of tampon toddies sure to keep your anus flushed and puckered all day long. How about a Gin-mopped tampon with sweet vermouth and zest of lemon? That tangy nip of citrus really collars the anus and doesn’t let go. Why not try a Screwdriver, a Rusty Nail, or a Rectum Rum Punch? Thirsty for some Southern Comfort? Try some whiskey based cocktails, like a Widow’s Cork, or a Missouri Mule. Be creative kids. Just because you’re bored at school, doesn’t mean your anus has to be.

I guess this one couldn’t handle her booze!


The Mask of Arriero

February 20th, 2011

For thirty five years, Juan Valdez, the iconic coffee muleteer, has been played by the same man. The man’s real name, however, is of no importance, for when you don the moustache and the straw hat, your previous life ceases to exist. Since 1969, the charming, inimitable Juan Valdez travelled the world with his mule Conchita, spreading the message of freedom and refinement that his coffee had come to represent. But in 2006, the time had come to find a successor. Carlos Casteneda, a thief and adventurer was selected by Juan Valdez to become his protege and was subjected to the hero’s tough training regimen. In an cave, Valdez taught Casteneda how to defend himself, how to use a whip and a sword, presumably to whip and stab the evil Spanish from invading the coffee fields. As the story goes, Casteneda fell in love with Valdez’s estranged daughter, Elena, and just before the original Valdez died, he passed the mantle of Valdez onto Casteneda and gave his blessing for Casteneda’s and Elena’s prospective marriage.

Juan Valdez, old and new.


Too Much Flavor for a Funeral

February 17th, 2011

My great-uncle was a miserable codger who all but ignored our side of the family. His funeral started off well-enough, the service was cold and embarrassing. Speakers limited their comments to cliffnote commemorations and the priest kept mispronouncing his name. The reception afterwards was at his sister’s apartment (my great aunt’s place), a crummy unheated 3 ½. A befitting funeral.

And then came the food: Delicately crafted open-faced sandwiches featuring endlessly creative flavor combinations. Suddenly the energy in the room shifted. Awkward mumbled prattling turned into animated exchanges and groans of ecstasy. I couldn’t help but think, this is inappropriate.

Funeral food should never taste better than anything found in a vending machine. It is no time for creativity or show boating. If you want your funeral catered, ask your High School’s cafeteria. Indeed, there are funeral staples that should not be tampered with. Egg Salad Sandwich is a must. Stale white bread, stuffed a little too much for comfort. Guests should be gagged with an excess of egg goo. And please refrain from adding onions. That is too much flavor for a funeral. Try garlic salt instead, or wet parsley. Or throw a curve ball and mix the egg with horseradish. Guests will be confused and disgusted, but too bereaved to complain. Similarly, tuna sandwiches are an always-reviled alternative at a wake. It should either be really dry or really mayonnaisy, nothing in between. And finally, you cannot go wrong with dangerously under-cooked quiches.



Liquid Versatility

February 13th, 2011

For more than half a century secretaries and stenographers have been erasing their mistakes with a potent little fluid called Liquid Paper. But few know the origins of this surprisingly delicious substance. Bette Nesmith Graham, mother of the sullen toqued Monkee Mike Nesmith, was working as a typist in her kitchen and had created the corrective substance from items found in the cupboard. Scrumptious solvents and powders like naphtha (which tastes like fennel seed), Dispersant (a gummy substance also found in children’s candy), and trichloroethane (which definitely packs a punch). She had been using corrective fluid and making a little extra money selling small bottles of the fluid to her co-workers. But one late night when her moody son Micheal had come downstairs with a shoe-box guitar wearing his trademark toque, distracting her with his off-key moans and crummy guitar-playing, Bette slipped the boy some of her fluid. Maybe she thought it would kill him, that has never been determined. It did, however, send him into a quiet hallucinogenic state for hours on end, allowing Bette to finally finish her work. This started Mike’s sad addiction to Liquid Paper, which followed him into his career in music and lasted until the 1980′s when Liquid Paper came under attack for causing a several deaths (at which point they removed trichloroethane from the product). Mike had introduced his liquid drug to his bandmates, to Jack Nicholson, Dennis Hopper. The product was the inspiration to songs like Auntie Grizelda, While I cry, Mother’s Milk, Cumdrop Island and most of the album Head. The landscape of the 1960′s would have looked a lot different without Bette Nesmith Graham’s handy little bottles of poison.


Exoticize Your Thighs

February 10th, 2011

Edible-undies are a kinky way to bring the kitchen into the bedroom. This Saint-Valentine’s day, why not bring the bedroom into the kitchen. Perversify your dinner plans and make this delicious Pineapple Panty Pork.  To paraphrase Emeril Lagasse: “Kink it up a notch!”

Puns aside, you’re gonna want to get tenderloin for this recipe. Also, I opted for the Exotic fruit flavoured undergarments, hoping the meal suggests an unforgettable night on a tropical beach. For those with little or no edible-undie experience, they taste like a fruit roll-up. A mouth-watering concoction of fruit substitutes and chemical compounds, the underwear tends to disintegrate and stain whatever it comes into contact with, so keep it away from the pork until just before plating. Once the meat is fully cooked, wrap the loin with the unfolded lingerie and watch it buckle and liquesce into the flesh like the blistering skin of a Chernobyl victim. Capture the aromas of mango, pineapple, guava and papaya as they dissolve into nothingness, leaving you with a neon-orange sludge oozing its way across your plate.



The Humble Haddock

February 6th, 2011

As an expert in the field, people come up to me and ask me food-related questions all the time. However, the question I get asked more than any other is “How is Haddock different than Cod?”

Well, the most obvious ways in which the haddock differs from the cod are in its black lateral line (that of cod and of pollock is paler than the general ground tint) and in the presence of a dusky blotch on each side over the middle of the pectoral fin, and close below the lateral line. Also, the first dorsal fin of a haddock (higher than that of a cod, relatively) is considerably higher than either the second or third dorsal, more acutely triangular in outline, and with slightly concave margin. The margin of the haddock’s tail is more concave than that of the cod; and its second and third dorsal fins are more angular than is usually the case with the cod, though they are similarly rhomboidal in outline.

Also, the haddock’s mouth is relatively the smaller, not gaping back to below the eye, and the lower profile of its face is straight, with the upper profile only slightly rounded, giving the nose a characteristic wedge-shaped outline in side view. The upper jaw projects further beyond the lower in the haddock than in the cod, and the snout is usually more pointed and the body more flattened sidewise. But the general arrangement of the fins is the same; there are about the same number of dorsal fin rays in haddock as in cod (14 to 17, 20 to 24, and 19 to 22, in the first, second, and third fins, respectively); and while the anal fins average one or two more rays each (21 to 25 and 20 to 24), individual cod may have more anal rays than individual haddock. Finally, the haddock is a slimmer fish than the cod and although its scales (which clothe it from nose to tail) are of about the same size relatively (about 160 rows along the side), they are scarcely visible through the mucus with which the skin is coated.

The haddock is a smaller fish than the cod, the largest on record having been only 44 inches long, weighing about 37 pounds. One of 30 pounds, caught on La Have Bank in the autumn of 1949 is said to have been the heaviest ever landed at the Boston Fish Pier. The largest among 1,300 fish that were measured and weighed by Welsh near Gloucester during the spring of 1913 was 35½ inches long, weighing about 16½ pounds. Only 4 or 5 out of the more than ten thousand haddock that we have helped to tag were as long as 32 to 34 inches. And the great majority of the fish that are brought in measure from 14 to 23 inches long, and weigh from 11/8 to 4¾ pounds. The largest among 627,996 fish measured during the period 1931-1948 was 34½ inches long. The relationship between length and weight averages as follows, according to Shuck; 10 inches, 7 ounces; 12 inches, 12 ounces; 14 inches, 1 pound 2 ounces; 16 inches, 1 pound 11 ounces; 18 inches, 2 pounds, 6 ounces; 20 inches, 3 pounds 3 ounces; 22 inches, 4 pounds 3 ounces; 24 inches, 5 pounds 5 ounces; 26 inches, 6 pounds 9 ounces; 28 inches, 8 pounds 3 ounces; 30 inches, 9 pounds 15 ounces.

The haddock, like the cod, is a cold-water fish, though it is not at home in temperatures quite as low. Thus it is almost wholly absent off Newfoundland, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and off Nova Scotia when the bottom water is as cold as 32° F.; few are caught there, generally speaking, where the bottom water is colder than about 35-36° F. (2° C.) though good catches are sometimes made in temperatures as low as 34°. At the opposite extreme, haddock appear to avoid water warmer than about 50-52° F. It is evident from this that the entire Gulf of Maine, at the depths frequented by the haddock, is suitable for them so far as temperature is concerned, but that the uppermost stratum may be too warm from late summer through early autumn, and too cold from late winter through early spring. In exceptional years, too, such as 1926, the whole column of water may chill to a temperature too low for their comfort in the Bay of Fundy.

The haddock is more exclusively a ground fish than the cod and though they sometimes pursue herring and other small fish, as cod do more often, we have never heard of haddock coming to the surface when so engaged, events by no means unusual with cod, and a characteristic phase in the life of the American Pollock.

Haddock are more selective than cod in the type of bottom they frequent, being rarely caught over ledges, rocks, or kelp (where cod are so plentiful), or on the soft oozy mud to which hake resort. They are chiefly taken on broken ground, gravel, pebbles, clay, smooth hard sand, sticky sand of gritty consistency, and where there are broken shells; they are especially partial to the smooth areas between rocky patches.

During their first few months, while living pelagic near the surface, haddock fry probably depend on copepods as cod do. After they take to the bottom they become bottom feeders like cod, devouring all kinds of invertebrates so indiscriminately that, as Baird remarked long ago, “a complete list of the animals devoured by the haddock would doubtless include nearly all the species belonging to the fauna” of the particular ground on which the fish in question were living. And they begin to depend on this adult diet when they are small. Thus we have found 7- to 9-inch fish full of brittle stars, bivalve mollusks, small worms, and amphipods. The larger Crustacea, such as hermit, spider, and common crabs, shrimps, and amphipods, with gastropods and bivalve mollusks in great variety, worms, starfish, sea urchins, sand dollars, brittle stars, and sea cucumbers all enter regularly into the diet of the haddock, according to locality.

The haddock, like the cod, is a prolific fish for its size. Earll estimated the number of eggs in a female weighing 23/8 pounds and 19¼ inches long at 169,050; 634,380 in one of 4¾ pounds and 24 inches long; 1,839,581 in one 9 pounds 9 ounces and 28½ inches long. Incubation occupies 15 days at a temperature of 37°; 13 days at 41°, a fair average for the eggs that are spawned in the Gulf of Maine. The eggs are buoyant, without oil [page 203] globule, and from 1.19 to 1.72 mm. in diameter; eggs taken at Gloucester in March 1913 averaged 1.57 mm., varying from 1.47 to 1.72 mm. Thus they average slightly larger than those of the cod. The haddock egg cannot be distinguished from that of the cod in early stages in its development, hence the term “cod-haddock,” and when they are newly spawned there is even danger of confusing them with the eggs of one of our commonest flounders, the “witch” ,whose breeding season immediately follows that of the haddock. But the formation of black pigment soon identifies the cod-haddock egg as such (the embryonic pigment of the “witch” is yellow).

In general, it appears that when the temperature of the upper 15-20 fathoms of water rises above about 50° to 52° F., as happens along the coasts of Maine and Massachusetts in July or August, the haddock tend to withdraw from the shallower grounds where they are plentiful in spring and early summer. But certain bodies of fish may linger all summer in the deeper channels among the islands of Maine, on patches of suitable bottom. In 1923, for instance, haddock were caught throughout July, August, and September, between Suttons Island and Bear Island, near Mount Desert Island, as well as at other inshore localities near by. Fishermen report them as working inshore again in autumn or early winter, as the water cools, but those that come closest inshore then are supposed to work out again, in mid and late winter, to avoid extreme chilling. Thus few or none are caught at that season in the Bay of Fundy, where the temperature may fall as low as 32° in occasional winters, though it does not drop below 34° to 36° in most years.

We must caution the reader, however, that these supposed disappearances in winter from inshore localities are based on failure to catch haddock then on hook and line, which may actually result more from a reluctance on their part to bite at low temperatures than from seasonal scarcity of fish. Experimental trawlings at different seasons are needed to clarify this matter. At any rate, the temperatures of the open Gulf of Maine at the depths where haddock are the most plentiful never fall too low for their comfort in the winter, nor rise too high in the summer. Accordingly, haddock are caught on all the major grounds the year around.

The haddock was once much less in favor than the cod. But the expansion of the fresh-fish trade[93] brought an increasing acceptance of haddock on the market because of their good keeping qualities and convenient size for the table. In 1919 the Gulf of Maine, inshore and offshore combined, yielded something like 85 million pounds of haddock to United States and Canadian fishermen. And the development of the filleting and packaging of fresh and frozen haddock soon brought so great an increase, both in the demand and in the intensity of the fishery, that some 206 million pounds were caught in 1929 from the New England population, with some 17 million pounds more from the Nova Scotian population on Browns Bank, off western Nova Scotia, and in the Nova Scotian side of the Bay of Fundy, making a total of at least 223-224 million pounds from the Gulf of Maine as a whole, corresponding to perhaps 60 to 70 million individual fish.

This, however, was the high point, for trawlers working on Georges during the five years, 1930-1934, “averaged scarcely one-third as much haddock per day as during the previous five years,” while the Gulf of Maine catch as a whole had fallen by 1934 and 1935 to only about one-quarter of what it had been in 1929.

Since then, down to 1947 (most recent market year for which we have seen the returns), the yearly yield of market-size haddock from the New England population has varied between about one-third to one-half as great, and about two-thirds as great as it was in 1929, to judge from the landings in the major New England ports, which form at least 90 percent of the total take from this population.

A recent estimate is that there were only about one-third as many haddock on Georges Bank in 1931 as there had been there a year or two earlier. This conclusion is based on the assumption that yearly changes in the average yearly catches, per day’s fishing of a standard group of the large otter trawlers, fishing consistently for haddock, over the period in question, have been proportional to the relative changes in the number of haddock on the banks. In 1939-1947 the catch statistics suggest that the total population on the banks had, on the average, increased somewhat from the relatively small population of 1931.

The yield from Browns Bank and the Nova Scotian side of the Gulf has also been significantly smaller since 1939 than it was during the few years previous, when American vessels began to fish Browns Bank more intensively than they had previously.

The persistence of poorer catches through so long a term of years in the face of sustained demand, added to continued improvement in the gear and in the general efficiency of the fishing fleet, is only too clear evidence of overfishing.

The decrease in the yield of haddock from within the Gulf of Maine has been partially offset by increased catches from the Banks along outer Nova Scotia eastward to Banquereau Bank. The landings, for example, were about 8 times as great, from east of Cape Sable in 1947 (about 26,400,000 pounds) as had been the case back in 1929 (about 3,300,000 pounds). Further discussion, however, of the fishery aspects of the matter would lead us too far from our main theme.

Previous to the general adoption of the otter trawl in American waters, haddock were caught mostly on hand lines or on long lines; some in gill nets, especially in spawning time inshore between Cape Ann and southern Maine. Today all but a very small part of the catch is made in otter trawls. In 1947, for example, nearly 97 percent of the haddock that were landed in Maine and Massachusetts had been taken in otter trawls; only 3 percent of them on long lines; and only a small fraction of 1 percent on hand lines and in gill nets.

While the haddock is of primary interest from the commercial standpoint, it deserves a word from the angler’s viewpoint also, for it bites as freely as the cod does, on almost any bait, and, being a much more active fish, a haddock of fair size is likely to prove an astonishment to anybody who is lucky enough to hook one while fishing with a light sinker. A new-caught haddock is also a very beautiful object.


Politics at the Dinner Table

February 3rd, 2011

The rule used to be “no politics or religion at the dinner table”, an attitude that has imprisoned many North American families in a WASP’s nest of shame and cultural ignorance. Why not make your next family dinner controversial. Rip your next meal right from the headlines like it’s an episode of Law & Order. Instead of a boring ol’ Pork Roast for dinner, seek inspiration from the current crisis in Egypt and their tyrannical president and make Hosni Mubarak of Lamb, and then watch the sparks fly.

 All over the United States and Canada, February is Black History month. Why is black history celebrated over the shortest month of the year? Is there a Latino history month? These questions and more can be debated and discussed with your entire family over some Chicken à la Martin Luther King. Did you know that 1 in 10 deaths among Native Americans is alcohol related? Did you know that Native Americans lost more than 97.7 percent of their land during the American Conquest? Itching to argue about the First Nations? Serve up some mouth-watering Moose burgers and some Navajome-fries and play ball!

It doesn’t even have to be over dinner. Have a drink with some friends or family and chat about the tragedies of World War 2. Enter the fray with these delicious Holococktails- a Sloe Gin Goebbels, a Hiroshimojito or the Daiquiri of Anne Frank. Enjoy!

Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight! – Phyllis Diller



An Impromptu Hollandaise

January 29th, 2011

High School Cafeteria is where food goes to die. Actually, its where food goes to be cryogenically frozen and conveniently resurrected.  Cafeteria food is Ellen Ripley of food. But you can be creative! The High School cafeteria is full of wonderful surprises to spice your bland burger or your lifeless Pasta.

Does the Lasagna taste like a soggy matchbook? Does the canneloni taste like a moist toilet paper roll? Simply whip together your own bechamel sauce using creamers and a butter container. And you can warm the sauce using a small container and the hand-dryer’s in the High School’s bathroom. Invert the nozzle upward and place your container atop the propulsed heat, leaving it to reduce (and fill the washroom with a pleasant aroma).

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Then why are Cafeterias serving our youth limp, lack-luster eggs. The solution: throw together an impromptu hollaindaise using a couple of packets of mayonnaise, some butter and a splash of lemonade. Concoct your own Ceasar with mayonnaise and mustard packets. By Mcguyvering your way around the cafeteria’s condiments and amenities, you can make any number of dipping sauces, marinades, coolies, vinagrettes, salsas and compotes.



Bath TIme

January 27th, 2011

The recent trend in food is conceptualizing our dining experience. At O.Noir in Montreal, customers eat their entire meal in the pitch dark. Eating out has become an experience. And perhaps with Hamam Zamani, the trend has gone too far. Hamam Zamani (Turkish for Bath Time), a new Turkish restaurant on Dorchester, was converted from one of Montreal’s oldest Turkish bath houses. Originally built in 1911, the building has been faithfully restored by the restaurant’s owners who are seeking to create a “unique experience”. The “tables” are in fact enormous concrete slabs large enough for two dozen people to sit around. We marvelled at the décor and the undeniable authenticity. Folded towels were being handed out for us to sit on. The table clothes were also towels. Oh and the napkins—hand towels.

After the waiters had taken our orders, a large man emerged (asked to be regarded as the tellak), he then climbed onto our table to begin the process of washing and massaging the meat that would then be served to us. Suddenly, I felt the room getting hotter and I began to sweat. Then the tellak began to sweat. And his hands and his meats began to sweat. The waiter I think sensed our confusion and told us that the heat helps tenderize the meat. Then they served us a refreshing appetizer of eggplant and peppers with yogurt and sheep’s cheese and we ate as we watched the tellak prepare our now perspiring meats.

Our entrees arrived on kebabs and we were encouraged to hit with our hands. Another couple asked for cutlery and they were met with faint sarcasm. Suddenly the temperature was raised even higher. I looked to my neighbours. The sweat and the greasy meat on my fingers made me hate them. I wanted to stab them with my kebab prong. Studying their opened seeping pores, their gungy rabid eyes, I could tell they hated me too. What was Hamam Zumani doing to us? We had become animals, vagrants. At any moment, we could have erupted into an Eastern Promises style fist fight. Is this what Hamam Zumani had intended?

Suddenly, we tumbled onto Dorchester street, remembering only portions of our night together. But the parts that can be remembered will not soon be forgotten.

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