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Float Fest was our affectionate nickname for an evening where the Hobbyists got together with some good friends and experimented by re-living our childhood in a manner more fitting for adults – by putting ice cream in beer instead of pop! We were lucky that the same beer was only picked twice (and it really was a perfect choice for the purpose). The Hobbyists being an adventurous bunch, no one person showed up with the Vanilla/Porter combination we were all expecting. It was actually surprisingly easy to pair everything, just avoid beers that are overly bitter and don’t pick and ice cream with large chunks (sorry, until we hear otherwise, cookie dough is out).

Being competitive souls, we made it a competition. It worked out pretty well.  Here is what we tried.

Round 1: Granville Island Brewing Ginger Beer with Green Tea Gelato

GIBGinger and Green Tea

One of our big worries in setting up this evening was that everyone would select a stout and pair with vanilla ice cream. Fortunately, us Hobbyists are an adventurous bunch as this first choice was a testament to. We paired a Green Tea Gelato with Granville Island‘s Ginger Beer. It worked really well, something a little adventurous to set off the night but flavours not so extreme as to ruin the palette.  The tartness of the Green Tea ice cream balancing the sweet spiciness of. It went down easily.

Round 2: Granville Island Brewing Ginger Beer with Cinnamon Vanilla Ice Cream

GIBGinger and Cinnamon Vanilla

Our only duplication (in terms of beers) came in the first two pairings of the night. Again, this round saw Granville Islands Ginger Beer but this time paired with a cinnamon vanilla ice cream. We didn’t have time to make our own, so the ice cream was put together by rechurning some store bought vanilla with freshly ground cinnamon. It was interesting to see the same beer paired in a completely different way. This time round, the sweet spiciness of the Ginger Beer was complimented by the creamy spiciness of the ice cream. This one was a definite crowd pleaser and one of the highlights of the night, likely due to the fact it tasted like apple pie in a glass.

Round 3: Innis & Gunn Canada Day 2011 with Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

Innis & Gunn with Dark Chocolate

Round three brought something a little different to our previous offerings, we paired Innis & Gunn’s Canada Day 2011 release with a dark chocolate ice cream. The beer is a Scottish ale aged in oak whisky barrels. The trick to this pairing is to get dark, dark chocolate ice cream. This compliments bitterness of the chocolate compliments the malt profile of the Scottish Ale, it really helps the oak aging and whisky notes come through in the beer.

Round 4: Tin Whistle Killer Bee Honey Ale and Mayan Chocolate Ice Cream

Dark Honey Ale with Mayan Chocolate

This was a beer we had never tried before. Unlike most honey beers the Tin Whistle Killer Bee is surprisingly dark and malt forward. This meant that it paired nicely with a rich dark chocolate ice cream. This roasted malts add a bit of chocolate to compliment the ice cream but also coffee and the sweetness of the honey to offset it and add some complexity. It was a delicious pairing that worked really well and something totally unexpected for our evening!

Round 5: Rocheforte 10 and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Trappistes Rochefort with Vanilla Bean

By far the most decadent choice of the night was pairing Trappistes Rochefort 10 (one of Belgium’s more widely available Trappist beers) with a nice vanilla bean ice cream. The vanilla really worked well with the dark fruit and carmel flavours of the beer allowing its complexity to shine while enhancing that slight Belgian vanilla taste present. Most surprisingly, a creamy ice cream balanced quite well with a beer around 11%. This was another favourite of the night!

Round 6: Phillips Longboat Chocolate Porter and Strawberry Cheezecake Ice Cream

Chocolate Porter with Strawberry Cheeze Cake

This was a bold choice and a bit, but not a total, miss. The beer was great and the Haagen-Dasz Strawberry Cheezecake actually paired really well with the Phillips Chocolate Porter. The deep bitterness of the porter balances well with the sweet creamy strawberry. Unfortunately, we had not taken into account that the cheese cake base in the ice cream would essentially create floating biscuits in our beer. Not really a desirable quality! Still, surprisingly tasty besides that.

 

It was hard to decide a winner in the end, there were so many delicious combinations, but the trying sure was fun! Definitely something we will be doing again!

Following up on our Smoked Salmon recipe from last week – http://thehobbyists.ca/?p=5298  -  here is another favourite recipe of ours, which we have learned to make with the great fisherman, Murman, in Terrace. This is the perfect key to last minute hobbying and a great way to make sure that you have delicious smoked salmon in the house long after the salmon stop running.

Ingredients

delicious, fresh salmon
1 cup brown sugar*
1/4 cup coarse salt
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup thai red chili sauce**
several large grinds of black pepper

 

*In order to make the essential core of the brine, you must keep a 4:1 ratio (brown sugar to salt). Use this ratio to ensure that you have enough brine for the amount of salmon that you have. As long as you keep the ratio in mind, you can built out this recipe to accommodate as much fish as you are lucky enough to have!

**Siracha or sambal oelek would work as well if you would like a spicier brine or were trying to be somewhat mindful of the additional sugar going into this brine.
Cut the salmon into filets according to the size you choose. We like to use filets that are about 10″ in length, with the width depending on the size of your catch!

Mix the brine together. Place the salmon filets side by side in a glass casserole dish and layer the brine overtop. Layer any remaining filets on top and coat them with the brine, ensuring that no salmon remains uncoated. Leave the salmon covered in the fridge overnight in the brine. Preheat your Big Chief smoker at 150 degrees. Rinse off the brine, then pat the salmon dry with a paper towel or clean towel.  Smoke the salmon for 4-6 hours at 150 degrees. While your salmon is smoking, sterilize your jars and prepare your lids and rings. We recommend using either 4 oz. or 8 oz. jars.

Carefully remove the salmon from the smoker. Then, portion the salmon into the sterilized jars so that the salmon comes up to the bottom ring of the jar. Place the lids and rings onto the jars, only very loosely tightening the rings. For hot water bath canning, process your jars for 4 hours. For pressure canning, process your jars for 90 minutes at 15 lbs pressure.  Remove carefully – and enjoy your delicious canned smoked salmon for up to a year!

We love to serve this as is on fresh sliced  bread or flatbread with cream cheese, red onion and capers. It also makes a delicious appetizer for last minute hobbying in no time – simply mix with cream cheese (low-fat or no-fat works great), some fresh dill, a couple grounds of coarse black pepper and serve as is, or cool in the fridge until you can roll it into a ball and coat with your favourite chopped nuts.

Since the salmon are running and can be found fresh on the docks and at markets throughout B.C., it seems like the best time of year to pass on this recipe. We just returned from a great trip home to Terrace, B.C. (yes, Vancouverites, that’s past Hope) where we fished the Skeena River and caught some delicious sockeye. More on the stunning scenery on the Skeena (shown above) and around Terrace in another post…for the time being, we were intent on getting the sockeye fileted and brined, and into our dad’s smoker. Since first learning this recipe years ago from our dad, the great Murman, he has had to replace his Big Chief smoker. Certainly not the most p.c. name of smoker, but it produced spectacular smoked salmon for years…and learning on this new one was certainly not the same. At any rate, find a corner of your yard or deck in the city where you can safely put a smoker or barter for some real estate in a friend’s yard as we’re doing in exchange for some smoked salmon and you’re set. Murman’s recipe is meant to be enjoyed and tweaked as you make it your own – so keep us posted with your variations!

Ingredients

delicious, fresh salmon
1 cup brown sugar*
1/4 cup coarse salt
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup thai red chili sauce**
several large grinds of black pepper

 

*In order to make the essential core of the brine, you must keep a 4:1 ratio (brown sugar to salt). As long as you keep that in mind, you can built out this recipe to accommodate as much fish as you are lucky enough to have!

**Siracha or sambal oelek would work as well if you would like a spicier brine or were trying to be somewhat mindful of the additional sugar going into this brine.
Cut the salmon into filets according to the size you choose. We like to use filets that are about 10″ in length, with the width depending on the size of your catch!
Mix the brine together. Place the salmon filets side by side in a glass casserole dish and layer the brine overtop. Layer any remaining filets on top and coat them with the brine, ensuring that no salmon remains uncoated. Leave the salmon covered in the fridge overnight in the brine. Preheat your Big Chief smoker at 150 degrees. Rinse off the brine, then pat the salmon dry with a paper towel or clean towel.  Smoke the salmon for 4-6 hours at 150 degrees, then increase the temperature to 200 degrees and smoke the salmon for two hours. Remove carefully – and enjoy! To have the salmon keep, use a vacuum sealer to contain each individual filet and store them in the fridge. While this photo below does not do our gorgeous smoked salmon justice, the vacuum sealed package does keep away the hordes while we try to ration our last few filets before our next visit!

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A lot of our canning expeditions begin with an inspiration at the farmer’s market. This trip to the market began looking for cherries – we love canned cherries. On the way there…we got distracted by the beautiful beets and radishes. We were particularly inspired by the variety of radishes. This recipe makes a delicious clean picked radish that is perfect on sandwhiches, hot dogs, or tacos. We love this on a pulled pork sandwich (with lots of delicious cumin) because it gives a fresh, tangy and peppery flavour. The radish blend is something you can experiment with. We like an even mix of Easter egg, French breakfast and black radishes. They look beautiful in the jar and all contribute to the flavour in the jar.

Jars

6-8 cups of thinly sliced radishes
4 cloves of peeled garlic
4 tsp. whole black peppercorns
2 cups fresh dill

Brine

3 cups water
3 cups white vinegar
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. sea salt
1 tsp. coriander seed

Directions

Place 1 clove of garlic, 1 tsp peppercorns and 1/2 cup of dill in each sterilized jar. Top with sliced radishes.

In a large pot, combine all the ingredients for the brine. Bring to a boil, stirring gently.

Ladle hot brine into jars. We like to do small batches of radishes as fridge pickles. In this case, let the jars cool and top off with additional brine. Cover and store for 1 month. If you want to process the jars, fill with brineand drop in a hot water bath for 6-8 minutes to seal.

Makes approximately 4 pint sized jars.

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The sight of a delicious basket of Portabellini mushrooms at the farmers market inspired this dish. We love to find great vegetarian recipes – this is one of them. These have a clean, earthy and healthy flavour that gives you a delicious, guilt free summer slider to savour. We love a good Portabello burger but this slider sized biteful is our new summer favorite.

Ingredients

6 Portabellini mushroom caps
3 medium garlic cloves
1/4 cup toasted almonds
1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley
1/4 cup coarsely chopped swiss chard
1tsp grainy mustard
1tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp worcester
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup feta
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Rinse the mushrooms thoroughly. De-stem the mushroom, trim the end off the stem and dice finely. Mince garlic. For a quick and easy approach we throw the garlic in our mini food processor and add the remaining ingredients in the order below pulsing each time. Grind the almonds to a very fine chop. Give the parsley and chard a rough chop. Stir in diced mushroom, minced garlic, mustard, vinegar, worcester and olive oil. If you use the food processor remove the mixture and put the filling in a bowl. Stir in feta leaving it coarsely crumbled.

Stuff the mushroom caps with the filling and grill on the BBQ until the stuffing starts to bubble and the mushroom softens. We like to serve ours on brioche slider buns, with a little mayo and homemade relish. Happy summer vegetarians!

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We have been working on this recipe for a while. We love pulled pork Sunday at our house. You can throw the roast in the slow cooker and go about your day. At the end of the day you have a delicious pulled pork sandwich and a great protein for the week’s meals. You can throw the leftover meat with some peppers, onions and fresh corn for a delicious pulled pork taco or used it to top a quick dinner of pizza or perogies.

Ingredients

4 lb. pork shoulder
2 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp. yellow mustard seed
2 tsp. black mustard seed
2 tsp. toasted fennel seed
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. coriander
2 tsp. toasted cumin seed
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. celery salt

3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1-2 tbsp. of dried chili flakes (to your desired spice level)
6 tsp. brown sugar
1 cup tomato purée

Directions

Toast the fennel and cumin seed in a dry pan on medium heat. Remove from heat when you can smell the herbs being careful not to burn. Grind the seeds to a fine powder. Combine the remaining dry ingredients and stir to form a rub. Crust all the surfaces of the pork shoulder with the spice rub. Heat oil in pan and brown all sides of the pork shoulder. Place browned pork in the slow cooker – add tomato, chilies, brown sugar and vinegar. Cook on low heat for 6-8 hours or until the meat begins to fall apart. We like to serve the pulled pork on a bun with fresh coleslaw.

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This recipe comes from a freelance hobbyist sometimes known by the name of Guitar Blair. Perhaps it’s the influence of the delicious Indian food in the South Okanagan but this blend of spices brings great balance and depth of flavour to any curry dish. We are particularly fond of it in our creamy curry roasted cauliflower soup. The best tip for curry blends is to use fresh ingredients and make it often, so it always tastes fresh! Keeping track of spice variations in each blend helps hone the mix that best suits your palette!

Ingredients

3 tbsp. coriander seed
2 tsp. cumin seed
1 tsp. fenugreek seed
1 tsp. fennel seed
1 tsp. yellow mustard seed
1 tsp. black cardamom seeds
2 tsp. crushed peppercorn
6 whole cloves
2 tbsb. turmeric
2 tsp. red pepper flakes (to taste)

Directions

Break open the cardamom pods to reveal the seeds inside. Slow toast all the seeds in a dry skillet being careful not to burn! When you can start to smell the spices take them off the heat. Cool seeds. Add the peppercorns, cloves and red pepper flakes. Grind the blend till fine, stir in turmeric and start cooking!

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4 tablespoons each of coarse sea salt and sugar
one lemon
one lime
one orange
a 600 grams filet of fresh wild salmon
¼ cup of fresh dill, roughly chopped
 

Zest the citrus. Combine the sea salt and sugar together. Cut the filet in two pieces. It will work best if the two pieces are the same size.

Lay one piece of salmon skin down in a glass casserole dish. Cover the flesh of the salmon with the sea salt and sugar mixture. Cover the salmon with citrus zest and dill. Cover the other piece of salmon similarly with the sugar and salt mixture. Place the remaining zest and dill on the first piece. Place the second piece on the first piece to sandwich them together, flesh sides facing each other. Cover the casserole with plastic wrap and store in the fridge overnight.

The mixture will cook the salmon and as it does so, the salmon will throw off a lot of liquid. The next day, remove both pieces of salmon from the dish and drag each flesh side down through the liquid that the salmon has thrown off. Sandwich the filets together again (fleshy parts toward each other). Repeat this twice each day. Flip the sandwich stack so that each filet gets equal time sitting in the liquid mixture. Remain covered for 48 hours. If the fish looks like it has thrown off too much liquid and its edges are being cooked too much by the liquid, pour some of the liquid off so that it does not overcook the fish.

After 48 hours, the salmon will look bright with a lovely colour. Taste the brine to determine the flavour. Lay the salmon on a metal drying rack over a casserole dish and place in the fridge overnight to dry off some of the residual liquid.

The next day the salmon will be ready to serve – either on its own, or with red onions, cream cheese and capers on bagels, on salad, in smoked salmon eggs benedict – the possibilities are endless! Enjoy this recipe which one of our favourite chefs, Sandi Irving, taught us to make during a great visit we had together. This recipe was a critical way to help deal with the homesickness solely felt for the home-smoked salmon we devour whenever back in the northwest. Sandi is the Executive Chef at Nimmo Bay Luxury Wilderness Resort and in her off-seasons, she works as Entremetier at the Sooke Harbour House, both on British Columbia’s locavore heaven, Vancouver Island.

*A quick safety note: The fresh salmon that you buy at the store will have been frozen at sea, which is sufficient to stave off worms and other lovelies. If you are using salmon you’ve freshly caught yourself, please freeze it for 24-48 hours in order to ensure that this is done. Once the Gravlax is made, it can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days – if it lasts that long.

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This is an annual hobbyist canning tradition and signals the end of winter and beginning of canning season. Along with a delicious marmalade the first signs of spring means making Preserved Lemons. This is one of the easiest things to can and it has so much versatility for cooking. We inevitably devour ours over the Fall and Winter months. Since you eat the peel of the lemons we always use organic lemons. Regular table salt will give them a chemical taste so be sure to use kosher or sea salt.

Ingredients

10-12 lemons
Sea Salt or Kosher Salt

Directions

Wash and dry the lemons. Slice off the stem end and place flat part down on the cutting board. Cut a ‘X’ through the lemon stopping about 1/2″ from the end. Pack salt into the lemon (1-1/2 tbsp. per lemon). Repeat, stuffing salt filled lemons into a clean glass jar with a tight fitting lid. When the jar is full press down on the lemons firmly to get the juices flowing. Cover and let stand overnight. In the morning press them down again to release more juice. Repeat this for 2 days. If you need extra liquid squeeze the juice of an additional lemon into the jar to cover the salted lemons.

Put the finished jar(s) in the fridge and wait 4-6 weeks. When they are ready to go, scrape out the pulp and slice or dice the peel. This is a fun one to experiment with so be creative. We love it tossed with some quinoa, shallots and roasted vegetables. It is also a hobbyist favorite on naan bread pizza. Enjoy!

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4 tbsp olive oil
2 large red onions, finely chopped
2-3 red peppers, finely diced
4 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely chopped
2 red jalapeno peppers or 2 small red chilis, seeded and finely chopped
3/4 tsp of smoked sweet paprika
1 cup of pureed fresh tomatoes or pureed canned tomatoes
6 tbsp sherry
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
4 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp harissa* see our Fridge and Pantry recipe for homemade harissa
1 tbsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cumin
 

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until soft. Next add the red pepper, garlic, chili and paprika to the pot, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the red pepper is soft. Add the tomato puree, sherry, vinegar, sugar and water and bring the mixture to a boil. Once brought to a boil, reduce the heat so the mixture is at a low simmer. Add the harisa,  cumin and sea salt. Leave to cook at a low simmer for about 90-120 minutes, stirring occasionally. The jam will reduce in fluid and become thicker, with the red colour deepening. Give it a taste and add additional sea salt or harisa to your liking.

This is great served fresh and will keep in a sealed jar in the fridge for a few weeks. If you want to can it to be kept longer, prepare small jelly jars or medium sized jam jars by sterilizing and filling with boiling water. Sterilize the lids and rings at the same time. Empty the water out of the jars and fill each jar with the hot jam until 1/2″ below the top. Place the lid and ring on each jar. Process the jars in a hot water bath by placing the jars in a pot of boiling water so that the water covers the jars by an inch or so of water. Boil the jars for 10 minutes and then remove from the hot water bath and let cool.

This makes an excellent pairing with manchego, chorizo sausage, aged white cheddar or sliced avocado. We have really enjoyed it as a spread on crostinis with capers or a sliver of asiago on top, or as a spread on a roast chicken sandwich or a veggie sandwich with roasted eggplant, carmelized onions and avocado. It is also delicious with a grilled artichoke…Try it out and let us know what you pair it best with!