Monday, August 29, 2011

Canada

Location: North of the US
Area: Almost 10 million sq km; 2nd largest in the world
         Slightly larger than the US
Borders: Canada is the world's largest country that borders only one country
Population: Over 34 million; 37th largest in the world
                  About 90% of the population is within 160 km of the US border
Net Migration Rate: 5.65/1000 population; 15th highest in the world
Capital: Ottawa
Life Expectance at Birth: 81.38 years; 12th highest in the world
Trade: Have a substantial trade surplus with the US, who takes about 3/4 of Canadian exports each year
Source: CIA Factbook

There are a number of things that I like about Canada and that make this post exciting.  One: I have been there!  Numerous times, in fact.  I can think of at least four.  Two trips with the family, once to see some plays in Stratford, and another college trip.  I can only find pictures from the last one, so that is what you get.
Blurry but spectacular.
Doesn't everyone look so happy in Canada?
Two: I have had some people from Canada hit this site (yes, it tells me your country).  Maybe they can tell me some Canadian foods they like.  Or I can get yelled at for getting something wrong.

Three: This is their generally accepted national dish.  What, didn't click the link?  French fries, gravy, and cheese curds.  Let me repeat.  French fries, gravy, and CHEESE CURDS.  When can I move there?

Obviously, that is not an entree.  So I had to keep searching.  Originally, I was looking for some elk recipes, since Kevin's dad hunts elk and we may be able to get the meat.  However, given the difficulty of shipping it, I went another direction.  Enter Jambon De Le Cabane A Sucre.  Doesn't it sound delicious?  I have my meal!  Hams make a meal for a family, so we invited some people over and made our own rag-tag gang.

The recipe starts with boiling a ham in apple juice (or maple sap) for three hours, which pointed to a non pre-cooked ham.  All I could find in the right size, however, was pre-cooked and spiral cut.  Harumph.  Not what I wanted.  Also, I cut the recipe down to a 4 lb ham, but that didn't work with the apple juice.  In order to cover it, I had to use more than proportionally half of what was called for.  Sometimes the ratios don't work out right and you have to improvise.
Boiling apple juice got pretty sticky.
Aftermath.  I even had to throw away the glaze that came with it.
 Ham and bacon are possibly the greatest meats ever created.  Just going to throw that out there.

Creating the glaze was a little bit more difficult.  Maple sugar was very hard to find.  Apparently, it is difficult to make it well.  Eventually I located it at Whole Foods for a ridiculous amount of money.  Seriously, you don't want to know.
At least you can tell it is authentically Canadian!
Kevin said it tastes like Maple Bars, to which everyone else said "What?"  Apparently those are the light brown donuts.  No one could understand why you would ever go for those when the chocolate ones were there.

I was also confused by "Hot, dry mustard."  I have seen hot mustard, and I have seen dry mustard.  Never both.  In the end, I went with my mustard spice.
It was very interesting watching the liquid take over all of the maple sugar.
This glaze got boiled and then poured over the ham.  I was worried it was going to dry out, because next I had to bake it.

A roast pan is a very nice thing to have.  It has come in handy more times than I thought it would.

Kevin had the job of cutting up our authentically Canadian fruit: pineapple.
And finally, the poutine.  Exciting, right?  I used Yukon Gold potatoes to be "truly Canadian" or something.  I also used canned gravy.  Wah-wah.  I would have made my own except I wasn't making beef.  I've never used the canned stuff before.  In fact, I didn't even know it came in cans before this recipe.
Kevin wanted you to know he worked on Canadian stuff too.
Nice and fried.
Appetizers, with the fresh peppers from the Farmer's Market that morning.
Except there was a problem.  That problem was cheese curds.

I was in Wisconsin recently and didn't bring any back with me.  Here I looked at Harris Teeter, the Commissary, and Whole Foods.  Nothing.  I started calling around.  Multiple grocery stores and two boutique cheese shops.  Nada.  This is appalling.  You can't actually be a gas station in Wisconsin without selling them, how is a major metropolitan city so deprived?

So I had to cut corners.  I had to make due.  Please don't be mad at me.  I know they aren't the same.  not even close.  But it was a substitution mentioned on the recipe.  I apologize.
Chopped.....mozzerella.  *Turns head aside in shame*
In retrospect, I should have used cheddar...

At this point, I dropped my camera.  Smack!  On the ground and it will no longer turn on.  The weekend before Maura's wedding, too.  Harumph.  Not a good day for me!  So the rest of the pictures are from Kevin's.  He made me wear the neck strap.  I'm not allowed to have nice things.

Anyway, food is done!

Kevin, Tesla, Rachel, Jon, Sam, Bill.  I'm really good at taking pictures.
The ham was what was expected.  Delicious, yet dry.  All of the boiling and then baking to a pre-cooked ham left it a bit devoid of moisture.  Seems like the glaze could really be a good thing, though,

The poutine was good, but definitely had a lot of potential to be amazing.  Real cheese curds, homemade gravy.  It felt like the cheap knock-off "just microwave!" version of something amazingly greasy and unhealthy.

My recommendation: try both of these dishes.  Or, hey, drive up to Canada and try some stuff there.  Maybe elk.

Now excuse me while I try to find the toughbook equivalent for a camera.

Next time: Cape Verde

1 comment:

  1. Thorny: Where you boys headed?

    College Boy 1: Canada... we were goin' to Canada for some French fries and gravy, sir.

    Thorny: Canada, huh? Almost made it.

    ReplyDelete