Archive for October, 2009

Grocery Store Wars

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

Our kids are really into Star Wars. We were surfing YouTube for Star Wars material and came across this one. The production value is great and it is really funny. The dark side of the farm and Darth Tater:

The “Rice” and Fall

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

On a cool, crisp autumn day, there’s nothing better than a bowl of steamy rice from my rice cooker.

I remember growing up in South East Asia, when there was a typhoon storm at highest signal level and classes were suspended; my mom would make a tamarind based stew of either pork or seafood with various vegetables and slivers of chili peppers. This was served with steamed rice and with something fried -i.e. spring rolls or fish.  It was a combination of very sour notes from the tamarind, to the saltiness of the fried fish with the creaminess of the steamed jasmine rice.

Rice paddies of Chiang Mai

Rice continues to be an important food item in my father’s household. You have to understand that my father grew up in one of the major rice growing regions in Asia. Rice paddies surround the entire region, with fiestas in every town during harvest time. There is a specific term for every stage and part of the rice plant.

Asia still consumes the highest amount of rice, but it is gaining importance in other parts of the world as well. Allergies to gluten(the protein derived from wheat), the variety of rice available and ease of preparation have all contributed to its appearance in almost every  North American and European household. Its basic taste, makes it a perfect canvas for more flavourful sauces and seasonings.   In addition to savoury products, it has been historically used in desserts such as mochi or rice cakes and fermented into alcoholic beverage such as sake.  At present, it is a popular ingredient in gluten-free and other natural products such as snackfoods, ”rice milk” beverage, pasta, bread and many more.
Just how many varieties of rice are there?
Basically, rice can be divided into two: short grain and long grain rice.

CIFST The Canadian Institute of Food Science and Technology Tabletop Events

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

Here is the latest schedule of events to find Ingredent Suppliers serving the Canadian food industry.

  • Nov 17, 2009      International Centre, Mississauga, Ontario  (2-6 pm) 
  • Feb 2010             British Columbia 
  • April 15, 2010     The Place Forzani, Laval, Quebec

The Ajíes of Peru

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009
A mix of Fresh Rocoto (red) and Aji Amarillo (orange) with Limes (green)

A mix of Fresh Rocoto (red) and Aji Amarillo (orange) with Limes (green)

Peru is a remarkable country with various food products and ingredients to offer the culinary world.  Their unique geographic location as well as historical roots have all helped to produce a diverse array of flavours and dish selections.   From a diet rich in seafood, corn, potatoes, ancient grains and meat to a plethora of natural yet functional plants, fruits and herbs.  Ajies or Pepper varieties abound in Peru.  As other countries, the pepper varietals come in vibrant colours and range of pungency.  The more commonly used varieties are Rocoto, Amarillo, Mirasol, Limo and the Panca pepper.

Rocoto (Capsicum prubescens)

copia-de-img_0574-copia2This is a meaty pepper that comes in a variety of vibrant colours, from yellow to red.   It has plenty of shiny, black seeds.    It is one of the hottest peppers of Peru with scoville units ranging from 30,000 to 70,00o – it depends if the seeds are used in the recipe.

Aji Amarillo

The Amarillo pepper is most widely used in Peruvian cooking. Always orange in colour, even though it is called the green aji.  It is about 10 cm long.  Although not very spicy, this peper is normally seeded and deveined before it is used in cooking.   It is milder than the Rocoto and is a main component in making  Huancaina sauce.     Huancaina sauce is a creamy blend of goat’s cheese, evaporated milk, amarillo pepper paste, garlic and cumin.    The dried version of this Amarillo pepper is called Aji Mirasol.

The Aji Mirasol is often seeded, scraped and left to soak in water for 12 hours or more before it is pureed and used in a sauce.  It has a mild, smoked flavour and it is used to make Panca paste.

Limo Pepper

The Limo Pepper is very similar to the Aji Amarillo in shape, but its colour is almost always red.  It is used fresh in ceviches.

Fresh Limo Pepper

Fresh Limo Pepper