Saturday, May 26, 2007

Pork Pies

I've been on a bit of a meat pie kick lately, 'cause nothing says spring like a heavy mix of meat and spices wrapped in dough. (I don't understand myself either.) To my defense, I will say that it was pretty cold a few weeks ago when I made these. As usual, I made too much of everything, so my single 9-inch pork pie became one big pork pie, and about a dozen individual-sized pies (they froze nicely, thank god). Since I can't seem to find mini pie plates anywhere, I used little heart-shaped pans my sister gave me for Christmas one year. For the vents, I used a pig cookie-cutter, so the final product was something of a Valentine to pork.

The filling was mostly roughly ground local pork (a Tamworth-Large Black cross). I browned the pork, removed it from the pan, added onions and diced potatoes, got those nice and brown, then added some diced apple and clove, allspice, and loads of white and black pepper, a splash of Calvados for flavor and moisture and a little bread crumb. I liked the filling. The pastry was less successful, mostly because I was out of lard and substituted beef fat - I had had such success with duck fat, but the beef fat wasn't firm enough. The pastry was flavorful, but a bit tough.

I don't have a picture of the second meat pie I made, which was a great big lamb pie with spices, mint and raisins (Epicurious recipe) for a potluck of food bloggers. I used filo for that, which gives a very different feel. But in general I am a big lover of the meat pie, and I don't quite understand why the only one you ever see in the States is the chicken pot pie. Odd.
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Celery root

There's something about the weight and roundness of celeriac that just makes you want to cradle it in your hands.
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Apparently in Montreal

you can just buy quail eggs. At the big market.
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Yup, pictures from Easter

I said it was a backlog. Love the rooster, very elegant, but the two big bunnies on the top scare me. It's the round, disturbing eyes....
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More meat

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Another Montreal photo

A window of porky goodness. This is just a regular butcher, mind you, not a specialty store.
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Assorted pictures 2

Here's my brother, enjoying breakfast in Montreal. Note how lovely the presentation is. In general, I find restaurants in Montreal, even the relatively low-end ones, put a lot more effort into presentation.
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Assorted pictures

I'm cleaning out my blog photo backlog. Here's a perfect cappuccino in Montreal.
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Tuesday, May 22, 2007


I skip articles by or about big-name chefs. I'm really not all that interested in restaurant cooking - I care far more about what regular people cook every day than what people who can afford $200 for dinner get to stimulate their jaded palates with. Restaurant food can be great, but it's not the backbone of most people's relationship with food. I'm thrilled to have the chance to eat it, but I don't really care much about reading about it.

That said, I liked the interview with Marco Pierre White today in Salon:

What do you think of the American food scene right now?

I think America is very exciting. I've never seen anyone who obsesses about produce more than the Americans. Their love for produce is extraordinary. And that's where it all begins. Mother Nature is the true artist. Even when I was in Seattle, walking the markets there, just the pride with which people present their food, just the way they stack it and present it and show it off, it's fantastic. I think America, the future of America, is fantastic.

It's interesting, what you're saying about the produce. Because it seems like when I go to France, even in the lowliest shop or restaurant, everything is good, but here you have to seek it out.

Well, [the French] take it for granted because it's all around them. It doesn't ignite their imagination. In America, the produce ignites the imagination. I'm sure when you go to France, it fucking blows your brains.