Meat

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Cooking Meat

Cooking Meat

A Butcher's Guide to Choosing, Buying, Cutting, Cooking, and Eating Meat
edition:Hardcover
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Excerpt

From the Introduction
I NEVER INTENDED TO OWN A BUTCHER SHOP. Neither did l imagine that becoming a vegetarian would launch my food career. But that's exactly what happened. When I was 16, I listened to The Smiths and thought Meat really was Murder, so I told my parents I was done with consuming flesh. My mother, like any good parent, acknowledged my right to choose but would not make me special food. Instead, she gave me a copy of a Moosewood Restaurant cookbook and free rein in the kitchen to make my own dinner. I ate a lot of sauerkraut and cheddar sandwiches. After six months of iron deficiency and exhaustion, I finally succumbed to the pleasures of a Toronto hot dog. And the rest is history. 

While the vegetarianism didn't last, my enjoyment of working in a kitchen did. I was fascinated to discover that I could take an ingredient that just happened to be in the fridge (this was before I really understood grocery shopping) and turn it into something that people thanked me for—all in the time it takes to watch two episodes of The Simpsons. Something about that really spoke to me in a way that nothing I was learning in high school did. Cooking was new, exciting, painful, thrilling, and gratifying

Around this time my father got a contract to work in Hong Kong for two years. The family packed up, got on a plane (the first in my life), and flew for about 8,000 hours. Hong Kong is an enormous, populous, loud, bright, beautiful city. It is intense and magical, the perfect place for a 17-year-old to develop an affinity for food and cooking. What struck me most was the obvious foreignness: not only did we take ferries a lot to get around but there were also entire markets dedicated to dried seafood and tiny fishing villages that boasted seaside fish restaurants. There were fruits and vegetables I had never seen before. And there were people and foods from all over the world. If my time as a vegetarian sparked my interest in cooking, my time in Hong Kong kindled my passion for food. 

By the time I returned to Toronto I knew that I wanted to try cooking professionally, and I got a job with Movenpick, an international marketplace-style restaurant where I learned the importance of consistency, service, and building flavor. I made many dishes, but my favorite was Rösti, a fried potato cake made with parcooked potatoes that are grated and pan-fried in clarified butter until golden. Served with sour cream alongside a grilled steak, it is probably one of the most delicious potato side dishes I've ever eaten. But while I enjoyed learning how to make pastas, sauces, and rösti, and to set up and prepare their garnishes, I often looked longingly at the grill and rotisserie cooks. They were the lumberjacks of the kitchen—burly and weathered—who cooked steaks to whatever color you wanted; seasoned pork chops with special spice mixes they blended in the back kitchen and then grilled them until they were just pink around the bone; and loaded the rotisserie with ducks, quails, and pork roasts and basted them with juices that collected in the drip tray. Although I never worked that station at Movenpick, I knew that I wanted to end up there. 

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The Hunter Chef Cookbook

The Hunter Chef Cookbook

Hunt, Fish, and Forage in Over 100 Recipes
edition:Hardcover
tagged : game, meat
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Living High Off the Hog

Living High Off the Hog

Over 100 Recipes and Techniques to Cook Pork Perfectly
edition:Hardcover
tagged : meat, reference
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Excerpt

From the Introduction
If you have ever found yourself staring at the landscape of pork cuts in the cooler at the grocery store and felt lost as to what to buy (let alone how to cook and serve it), I am here to guide you. This book is packed with delicious pork recipes of all sorts—quick weekday suppers, appetizers for a few or many, elegant main courses and some BBQ and grilling fun. My goal is to help you expand the types of pork you purchase and then develop your confidence to transform those cuts into meals you’ll be proud to share with family and friends.

And who am I to guide you on this journey? Well, I’ve been cooking pork for over 30 years—my entire professional career as a chef. I can offer the perspective of someone who has spent three decades in professional kitchens, planning menus, buying on a large scale, trimming, portioning, turning wholesale cuts into attractive single servings, and more. I’ve always loved working in kitchens, experiencing the adrenaline rush, the teamwork and the satisfaction of service. But, these days, having left the pro kitchen behind, I also understand what home cooks are looking for. I now focus on the practical angle of creating delicious meals in a timely manner without going overboard or getting too complicated.

Of course, cooking at home is entirely different from doing so professionally. There isn’t the same urgency, budget or labor cost concern, and you get to eat the food! That said, regardless of the environment, I see cooking as a fun activity, almost like a puzzle to solve. Whether it’s a meal for a holiday, a special occasion, or a regular Tuesday evening, I love the planning and shopping; choosing the right music; pulling out tablecloths, platters and glasses; and even buying fresh flowers. I experience an unbridled sense of joy as I bring it all together, checking off the to-dos from my list, grooving to the music and tasting great results as I wait for the guests to show.

But the best part of cooking is the sharing. Most of my meals are enjoyed with just my sweetie, Anna, and when I get the nod of approval from her, it’s the best compliment ever. We’re so well-suited and nerdily enthusiastic about food that we often plan our next meal while eating the one at hand. Anna, as many of you may know from her TV work, is a trained pastry chef. My culinary background is as a saucier (someone who cooks meat and prepares sauces). When we cook together, magic happens. We instinctively go to our own areas: Anna works on dessert and the vegetable sides, and I do the trimming, cook the meat and make the sauce. We clean as we go and laugh the whole time. Even if there are serious things to discuss, we do so in the kitchen. Now that my daughter, Mika, has become an accomplished cook in her own right, she gets in on the action. She grew up surrounded by good food and has always understood how to survive without having to order out. As a family, we hit our stride in the kitchen or at the table—and I’m good with that.

“Living high off the hog” is an old term used to suggest you’re living the good life, able to eat the more expensive cuts of meat. In general, regardless of the animal, cuts from the upper (or “higher”) part of the body are more tender than the lower ones—historically, only the poorest people would eat the jowls, belly, hock or feet. However, pork is an affordable meat choice for many, so in this case, the phrase is not about living beyond your means but rather about getting the most out of life by enjoying good food.

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125 Best Ground Meat Recipes

125 Best Ground Meat Recipes

From Meatballs to Chilis, Casseroles and More
edition:Paperback
also available: Paperback
tagged : meat
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Steak Revolution

Steak Revolution

All Cuts, All Ways—Perfect Every Time
edition:eBook
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