Local blogger shines a light on the local food scene (plus a recipe!)

By Ted Simpson –

For Mechanicsville food blogger Don Chow, a recipe wasn’t quite the path to riches, but a unique opportunity to represent his city on national television.

Chow is the curator at popular blog foodiePrints (foodieprints.com) who decided to throw his hat into the televised culinary competition ring and ended up filming an episode of CBC’s Recipe to Riches. Though his stay on the show was short, being the first contestant eliminated, Chow looks back on his experience with a good-natured laugh, “I went, I competed, I represented Ottawa, and I lost,” he says.

Kudos to Chow for making a gutsy move and entering an Indian seasoned take on tourtière into the “savoury pies” competition.

Meet Don Chow of foodiePrints.com. Photo by Justin Van Leeuwen
Meet Don Chow of foodiePrints.com. Photo by Justin Van Leeuwen

“I was looking at a bridge dish that would allow ethnic flavours to be introduced with a comfortable feel, that’s how I came up with the tourtière recipe,” he says. Chow had noticed the growth in ethnic grocery stores recently, and gambled on curry and garam masala seasonings for a new take on a traditional French Canadian dish.

Though he admittedly suffers from stage freight, Chow stepped into the spotlight to put his culinary skills to the test and give a shout out to his home town food scene.

“I’ve been at foodiePrints for eight years now and I just wanted to go out and demonstrate that I learned something,” he says. “My cuisine and the way I cook represents Ottawa, and to write about food in any way I need to know how to cook.”

Since the inception of foodiePrints, Chow and his wife Jenn have been writing about food, drink, cooking and eating in our city.

“There’s a really amazing food scene here that is growing and evolving and there are really amazing stories. I write about food stories,” says Chow. “It’s the human stories that I care about, the people behind the food.”

Ottawa has yet to become a culinary destination on the scale of Montreal or Toronto, but Chow finds a much more relaxed and communal atmosphere here compared to the big markets. Big city chefs can harbour a level of animosity towards bloggers and critics. This is something Chow and his friends have yet to experience here at home.

“As long as you’re not bothering anyone else, interrupting anyone’s dining, they don’t mind,” he says of taking out a camera and recording a dish, an act that is being banned in an increasing number of restaurants.

Here in Kitchissippi, we enjoy a wealth of fine dining options. Chow suggests two of his favourite places to
eat out:

“For an afternoon lunch, Petit Bill’s – it is your neighbourhood bistro, it is family oriented, it’s priced to be value oriented,” he says.

“If you want to spend a little more money and celebrate somewhere nice, you can go to Allium in the evening,” says Chow. “It’s good wholesome food, good cuts of meat, it’s filling and it is higher end, I go there with my wife for Valentines Day.”

 You can follow Don and Jenn’s foodie adventures online at foodieprints.com and @foodiePrints on Twitter. Chow’s episode of Recipe to Riches is available to watch for free at www.cbc.ca/recipetoriches.

Click to enlarge image. Photo by foodiePrints.com
Photo by foodiePrints.com

Don Chow’s recipe for Scotch Eggs

What you’ll need:

  • 4 large soft boiled eggs
  • 1/2 lb medium ground beef
  • 1/2 lb medium ground pork
  • 1/4 lb pork fat back (lard also works)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp crushed chiles (or chile flake)
  • 2 tsp paprika (up to 3 if you want a redder colour)
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (or milder chile pepper)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp ice water
  • all-purpose flour for dredging
  • 1-2 beaten egg(s) for dredging
  • panko bread crumbs for coating
  • high smoke point oil for frying

Place the meat, fat back, spices, and dried herbs into a food processor and pulse the mixture until it comes together.  Add the ice water.  Continue processing until everything becomes a paste.

Carefully peel the shells off of the soft boiled eggs.

Flatten portions of the meat mixture between two sheets of plastic wrap into a circle and remove the top layer of plastic wrap. Place an egg in the middle of each meat circle and wrap the meat around it.

Heat a deep fryer with oil to 350F. Or, place a heavy-bottomed pot of oil over medium heat until it reaches 350F.

Set up your fry station to coat and fry the scotch eggs. Put flour into a bowl. In a second bowl, pour in the egg. Put panko bread crumbs into a third bowl.

Roll each meat-coated egg in the flour, gently shaking off any excess.  Then, dip it in the egg wash and roll it in the panko, making sure all sides are coated.

Fry the scotch eggs for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, remove the eggs and place them on a cooling rack over a baking tray.

Repeat with the remaining eggs.

 

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