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Category Archives: Home & Garden

35 Epic Montreal Sandwiches to Eat Before You Die.

The chefs at Cuisinox have embarked on a quest to try the 35 epic sandwiches “to eat before you die”, as per the link below. http://montreal.eater.com/archives/2014/02/10/35-epic-montreal-sandwiches-to-eat-before-you-die.php Our group consists of the Vegan, the Nutritionist, the Chef, and the Foodie. The consensus was to try one sandwich per week and approach in the original order it listed. This may be problematic due to the ingredients in some sandwiches and the eating habits of some members. Eg: lambs brains. Therefore, we may have to skip a few of the less desirable locations. We will report on each and every location as we continue our quest to find the very best sandwich you MUST try before you die.

The chalk board with daily specials.

The chalk board with daily specials.

We started at La Bête à pain, 114 Fleury Ouest. This is a small bakery adjacent to a dining room where one can sit and sample some sweets, a coffee, or a sandwich. The room is comfortable with banquettes throughout. It has an open kitchen separated by the dining area. The counter displays fresh sandwiched and quiches. The chalkboard lists the daily specials. We started with Mimosa’s, a great menu choice, they did not skimp on the champagne. We were also offered a platter of fresh homemade bread with a salty butter, both were outstanding. As we approached the counter and read the chalk board menu, we realized that the famous “Muffuletta” sandwich was not available. Each member opted for a different selection but there was not much choice. The Vegan chose the Shredded Carrot Salad. The Nutriionist chose the Croque Monsieur. The Foodie and the Chef both opted for the famous Grilled Cheese Sandwich with a side of Fig Compote. This was by far the best choice with it’s creamy brie, provolone, and gruyere. The Croque Monsieur was average and lack pizzaz. The Carrot Salad was very filling and hearty.

Freshly baked bread.

Freshly baked bread.

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Mimosa’s a great start.

The exquisite grilled cheese sandwich.

The exquisite grilled cheese sandwich.

 

Ham Croque monsieur

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reservations are not accepted. You need to wait in line with the takeout customers and prepay your food before taking your seat. Overall, the service was very friendly and efficient. They serve queues of customers, and they never stop smiling. You don’t need to wait for your order, the staff will bring it to your table. Stay tuned for our next culinary stop….to be revealed.

 

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Stove Top Espresso Maker

Aluminum or Stainless Steel?

 

The traditional material for stove top espresso maker is aluminum. But there are also many stainless steel models available. Which one is better? Well, let me provide some useful info and then you can decide for yourself.

Stainless steel stove top espresso pot is definitely easier to maintain since you do not need to worry about corrosion. Aluminum pots are lighter, so that’s a plus if you use it while traveling. The aluminum pots also tend to heat up the water faster.

Are you worried about using aluminum pot because you consider it a health hazard? This worry can be minimized by taking a good care of your espresso pot (see the tips below).

When the aluminum pot is used, the coffee oils create a thin layer on the inside of the pot. This layer should not be washed away. It actually prevents the contact of coffee with the aluminum next time when you use the pot.

Some people claim that the coffee made in aluminum pot tastes better than the one made in stainless steel. The layer of coffee oil that accumulates in the pot adds a distinct flavor to the brewed coffee. So, the longer the pot is in use the better the coffee becomes.

Tips for maintaining aluminum stove top espresso makers

  • When you buy a new Moka pot you should throw the first two or three batches of coffee away. To season the new pot well it’s best if you leave the brewed coffee in it for one whole day before you discard it.
  • Wash the Moka pot by hand with plain water. Do not use any detergents and do not scrub it.
  • Dry the parts with soft cloth. Aluminum will corrode if you leave it wet for prolonged periods of time.
  • Do not store the Moka pot assembled. The reason? If some water gets trapped in the filter and you keep the pot assembled, then the moisture has nowhere to escape and it may cause corrosion.
  • When you leave your Moka pot unused for a long time, the oily layer may become rancid. If that happens just put in water with a bit of detergent and boil it on the stove top for a while. Then wash it thoroughly. This should remove the rancid oils.
 

The Cooking Order

Cuisinox Gourmet 7pc SetThe Cooking Order

The cooking order matters: For example, sliced carrots and celery take 6 times longer to cook than sliced mushrooms and zucchini.

Sometimes food organization and preparation is a must, especially when it comes to vegetable and stir-fry dishes.

Once the cooking begins everything goes into the pan in rapid succession so you must first assemble all the ingredients, including the spices, liquid and the utensils you’re going to use. Meats should be dried with paper towels, cut to size with the excess fat removed, and seasoned. Vegetables should be room temperature, washed, peeled, cored and cut to size as well. Sliced or diced, the choice is yours, though it’s best to size everything proportionally.

Also, before you begin the browning, greening and tossing, cook any starchy food you will be using, such as rice, pasta, risotto, potatoes or couscous. This aside will keep warm until you’re ready to add it to your meat and veggies, or to your plate.

Once your food is at the ready, have your olive oiler at hand and light the fire under your best stainless steel pan. If you’re using meat ~brown and cook it almost all the way through, then remove it from the pan to a covered bowl and set it aside. A dash more oil and in goes the hardest vegetable to cook, followed by the next hardest several minutes later, shortening the time between each additional veggie. Most stir-fries use 1 choice of meat and 4 veggies. Again the choice is yours. Simply put everything together at the end and heat through with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in 1 cup of broth, stirring for 3 minutes..

An example of hard to cook veggies are carrots, celery, rutabaga, parsnips, potatoes, beets, winter squash, sweet potatoes. Though I wouldn’t like to see a parsnip in my stir-fry, the cooking order applies across the board for steaming, pan cooking, oven roasting, barbecuing and pressure cooking. An example of the next in line would be onions, bell peppers, corn, broccoli and brussel sprouts. The next group would include asparagus, snow peas, zucchini and mushrooms, and the lightest cooking would go to the green onions and bean sprouts.

Happy Cooking!

 

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A Brief History of The Pressure Cooker

The first digester [pressure cooker] was created in 1679 by French physicist and mathematician, Denis Papin. It was a large cast iron vessel with a tightly fitted lid that locked. His invention raised the boiling point of water which softened bones and cooked meat in record time. But the thing also exploded all the time due to uncontrollable furnace temperatures and lack of technology to build cast and molded pots. Thankfully, Papin’s later designs implemented a steam release valve to keep the machine from exploding after the Royal Society’s eyebrows were blown off during a presentation. Three years later he represented it to the Royal Society and finally gained positive reviews.

It should be noted that during this time, while developing his digesting machine, Papin also conceived the idea of a piston and cylinder engine. He didn’t follow through with it, yet in 1697, based on Papin’s designs, engineer Thomas Savery built the first commercial steam engine. How could Papin not follow through with that piece of engineering? He must have been a true-blue meat and potatoes man!

The pressure cooker title was first printed in 1915. The first pressure cookers were sold in 1927, Germany. The world’s first commercial pressure cooker made by National Presto Industries was exhibited at the New York World’s Fair in 1939. There are accounts of some people who thought witchcraft was involved because of the constant hissing and rapid cooking.

Postwar consumers sought a higher level of convenience than what the pressure cooker afforded, opting for processed fast food and TV dinners. In the late 60s and early 70s came an increased awareness of healthy eating that pressure cookers easily provided. In my house growing up my parents called it Le Presto and it was used on a weekly basis to cook beef stews and garlic infused pork roasts. Still my favorites in my own kitchen today.

To sum up the brief history of the pressure cooker; I need only say one word: CANNING. What an industry!

Nowadays, modern pressure cookers, with their multiple safety features and improved vent systems make this old-fashioned cooking method new again.

 

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Feng Shui for the Kitchen

Have something living on display in your kitchen. A bowl of fresh fruit implies care of your family. A small pot of flowers or of herbs works too.

Get rid of clutter. Clutter contributes to financial collapse and cash flow problems. Get organized!

Don’t hang knives or scissors on the wall. Store knives in a block and your scissors in a drawer. Anxiety and conflict is present if you show the cutting edges of these tools.

Keep a bowl of 9 oranges on display in your kitchen. 9 is the Feng Shui power number and oranges bring good luck. Make sure your oranges don’t spoil. Bad fruit is bad Feng Shui.

Throw out plates that have been chipped. Using chipped plates attracts stagnant chi energy.

Keep brooms and mops out of sight. Store them upside down with the business ends of them up in the air. The reason is so that intruders are kept out and the family finances are not swept away.

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2011 in Entertaining, Feng Shui, Home & Garden, Lifestyle

 

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How to Use a Couscoussier

The traditional method of preparing couscous is to steam-cook it in a special pot called a couscoussier. The couscoussier consists of two parts: the lower part is a stockpot with a lid that fits snug, and the upper part is the couscous steamer insert. The top pot has holes in it to allow steam to rise from the lower pot. The stew or broth in the bottom pot cooks  while the couscous is steamed on top. (Real couscous is always steamed, never boiled.) Most traditional couscous recipes call for the couscous to be dampened with water (or oil), then steamed, removed and allowed to cool, mixed with butter or oil, then steamed again, and then perhaps cooled and steamed a third time. Note: Be sure to identify which type of couscous you have purchased instant or traditional. The boxed couscous is available in most grocery stores, which is prepared by pouring the couscous pasta into boiling water. This is really pre-cooked “instant couscous”. Cooking “instant couscous” in the traditional method described here may result in mushy, overcooked pasta. To obtain real (not instant) couscous you can go to any specialty store, or, if using instant couscous, reduce the cooking time by at least half. You can find many more elaborate recipes on the internet, but here is my suggestion for a basic recipe.

What you’ll need

  • Six cups of couscous (not “instant couscous”)
  • Two cups of warm water, mixed with two teaspoons of salt
  • One-half cup of cooking oil (olive oil, melted butter, or similar)
  • Chicken broth (or any North African vegetable or meat stew)

What you do

  • Put half the couscous in a large bowl. Sprinkle half the salted water over the couscous. Rub your hands with a bit of the oil and sprinkle the rest of the oil over the couscous. Use your hands to evenly distribute the oil and water into the couscous. Let the couscous form small pellets, but break any lumps. Add the remaining couscous and continue the process, adding the remainder of the salted water and oil to make the couscous uniformly damp, but not wet.
  • Place the couscous on a clean cloth, cover it with another cloth and leave it to rest for an hour or two. (Some cooks let it rest for a much shorter time.)
  • Bring the chicken broth (or stew) to a very gentle boil in the bottom pot. Place the couscous in the top pot, cover, and let the couscous steam for about an hour over the simmering broth (or stew).
  • Remove the couscous from the steamer and place it in a clean bowl. Massage some more oil or butter into it (careful not to burn your hands) and let it cool for about fifteen minutes.
  • Return the couscous to the steamer and let it steam for another half hour. Test for tenderness. The last two steps can be repeated.
  • You can also use our couscoussier as a steamer for vegetables.
  • Even if you don’t make couscous the traditional way, now you know there’s more to it than dumping it from a box into a pot of boiling water.

Bon Appétit!

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2011 in Cooking, Entertaining, Home & Garden, Recipes

 

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For the Love of Cooking!

Welcome to Cuisinox‘ new home on the internet.

Bookmark us for cooking and entertaining tips and tricks from a group of people who are passionate about what they do.

There is lots more to come…

 

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