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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Kefir Update

Just a quick note to let you know how the experiment is going. I had three going.....I now have two. The Milk Kefir is now producing...the grains are nice and plump (growing even). I strained my first batch last night and replaced the milk....It was fairly thick like it should be. I didn't drink this batch...I am going to let it produce a few batches before I start consuming it. I added about a quartre cup more of milk this time...I will keep upping the milk content till the little guys are producing about 750mL a day. I washed the grains once I strained the kefir off...apparently this is a no time I will leave some of the curd on them when switching milk. I am going to buy some whole milk and goats milk this week...they will produce better flavours  I think.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Moving some Cows up to Skull Mountain!


With Spring quickly approaching...I am beginning to miss being in the Mountains of British Columbia. There was always an Adventure to be just had to seek them out!

One of the Adventures was helping two local Cattle Farmers. Ian and Anja Mitchell. The proud owners of Mitchell Cattle Co. A family business since the 30's. Ian's Father started the Ranch...and to this day there is still a Mitchell running it (Thompson you better be once your Dad has decided his body hurts too that will ever happen). Both Ian and Anja are two of the nicest people I have ever met...and I dont say that about alot of people! Truly honest decent people who just want to share their love for Beef and Cattle with everyone they come into contact with. I really appreciated the time they took with all of us...they taught me alot..and I will force the info onto almost every cook I come into contact with. Even the Mountain  Oysters Ian haha. A cook learns how the Rancher develops the meat characteristics we are looking for if he gets out on the land.

Our previous hotel purchased Beef from the Mitchell's. Eventually the call came that they needed help to herd the cows up the Mountain...and would any of the cooks be interested in helping out!!! Ohhhh F@ckin' Yaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Our Health Inspector "Lily"


 One of the most dreaded of calls a kitchen can get from a hotels front desk staff is "The Health Inspector just walked thru the doors!!". Now in a hotel they are there to check multiple things...but the kitchen is one of the main ones. Once this call goes is usually followed by mass pandemonium. A small army of white coats running around trying to correct everything that is not up to standards...usually with alot of yelling ... and the odd accident. Total Chaos for about five minutes or as long as it takes the Inspector to walk to the kitchen. Usually a Chef is sent out to meet and greet them...we call this stalling! Everyone fixing all the "Bads" of the day as sudden death approaches. This is not the case with the Sawridge Inn.

 This is the first hotel I have ever worked at where we actually maintain most of the standards Alberta Health Services imposes on our operation. Were not perfect by any means...but we do our best to achieve it.

 Meet Lily....Lily is our usual Health Inspector. She is an Immigrant from China I believe. Even the name instills peace. With a smile that just never stops!! Not the scowling, crusty, white coat that I am used to. She methodically goes thru the kitchen checking everything....and I do mean everything. "That insert has a crack in it! You might want to get rid of that because the bacteria can form in the crack and the dishwasher will never get that sanitized again!" She gives helpful advice all the way along. She doesn't dictate...just suggests. We listen to those suggestions.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Experiment Gone Wrong Already!!!

 So the experiment has blown up in my face already.....there was a mix up between my Father and I. He had actually dehydrated and mailed Milk Kefir Grains...NOT....Water Kefir Grains!!
 So the experiment is getting more interesting now. I have pulled 2 Grains out of the Brew I made this morning...and transplanted one of them into a simple water and sugar mix (Pops thinks the Lemon and Ginger may have harmful effects on them)....and the other I have placed into half a cup of 1% milk. The remainder of the Grains are still in the Lemon/Fig/Ginger Water. So my single experiment has now turned into Three!
 It will be interesting to see if the Milk Kefir Grains convert to Water Grains....and which of the Water Grains survive and thrive quicker...the one in the simple sugar solution...or the one in the flavoured.
 Hopefully I have not harmed the Milk Kefir Grains by submerging them into a Sugar Solution for the past ten hours!!
 I`ll keep ya posted.
 Till next time.....

Water Kefir

Water Experiment!!

 So my Father dehydrated and mailed me some Water Kefir Crystals from Sidney, British Columbia the other day. They arrived on Friday!!! Now to find out if they survived the dehydration and Arctic temperatures. Let the experiment begin!

Kefir, which actually means “feel good” in Turkish, is a handcrafted, effervescent, cultured and enzyme-rich probiotic drink that's filled with friendly micro-organisms that help balance your inner ecosystem.
Drinking Water Kefir will help you achieve your optimal health, strengthen your immune system, and help to prevent diseases of all kinds.

Old Fashioned Porridge Bread

 When we have a home cooked meal that we are really excited about...usually there is Porridge Bread involved. I must admit I have never made the recipe. I am not much of a baker...and I have the patience of the typical male. Which brings me to my loving Wife Chistrina. When we were first going together in St.Andrews by-the-Sea she surprised me one night with her Grandmother's Bread....that was it...I was hooked!! Not only was I hooked on the Bread...but I was falling in Love with her. Who takes the time to make their own bread now days.She did...and it paid off!!

 In a Global Village where we can buy Artisan Bread at any local Grocery Store...or throw a bunch of ingredients into a gizmo (Bread Maker) and Voila...Bread an hour later. Not many people take the time to make Hand Made Bread. This may be because it is more a science than an art form. There is no winging it when it comes to making a a loaf. Most people have encountered some sort of disaster when it comes to the process....not measuring correctly...not letting it rise properly...generally just not following the Mad Scientist's Formula and Experiment to a T. I am one of those people that would rather buy a French Baguette than make it.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Caesar Dressing (20L)

A buddy in Ontario (BoBo) needs a Caesar Dressing recipe for the Masses. I used to make this recipe while working at Delta Sun Peaks in the Mountains of BC. BoBo never did get around to writing out a recipe book to carry around during his Adventures. Finding a recipe for large batches can sometimes be a here ya go Bryan!! You can adjust any of the flavours to your liking.