Innovation- The Pressure Cooker

For this blog I have chosen to focus on an invention called the pressure cooker.


For those of you who don’t know what a pressure cooker is,  it’s an airtight pot which food can be cooked quickly under steam pressure. The origins of the pressure cooker start with a French physicist Denis Papin in 1679 who invented something called the steam digester, which was to get the fat out of the bones through steam pressure and make bones weak enough to grind into meal.  From there in 1864, a man named Georg Gutbrod started making them out of cast iron, Jose Martinez patented the olla expres which means express cooking pot.  Finally in 1938 Alfred Vischer invented the “Flex-Seal Speed Cooker” which was designed for home use.  What the  pressure cooker essentially does is it takes the braising liquid in the pot  and uses the steam  that comes off that to create pressure and increase the temperature above boiling  creating a quicker way to braise things.  One important note is that one the top of the air tight lid there is a release valve  that removes the pressure and makes it safe to open.


The reason this falls into the category of technological innovation is because up until this point people had to do slow cook or braise item the long way in the oven or on the stove. By introducing steam pressure it cut down on the amount of time it took to braise something dramatically.  Papin found a away to utilize what was already being created in the pot (steam from the liquid) in a way to change the way people could go about the method of braising or slow cooking meats.

Papin was looking for a way to speed up the cooking  process of these bones, with this back round as a physicist and more specifically steam he came up with the idea of utilizing it.  By using the steam he realized you can increase the temperature of the liquid beyond boiling and thus cooking the meat or vegetables faster with the very similar results. The reason why this is so important is not just because of how quickly things cook inside a pressure cooker and how that frees up time but one of the other uses.  The pressure cooker idea on a larger scale helps with canning it ensure that when they are sealing the cans or jars that its sterilized and free from any of the bacteria that might get into the jars/cans. That might be the most important use of a pressure cooker in my opinion making sure people aren’t getting sick.


How has the pressure cooker affected me? Well professionally I haven’y used it once, but in my personal life I use it for several different things. Firstly i use it for any type of meat that i am trying to get tender, for example instead of boiling ribs for an hour/ hour an half, I pop them into the pressure cooker to reduce that time. Even when I’m making mash potatoes I toss them in with some water and it reduces the cook time dramatically. I can even see this tool being helpful in many kitchens who have a small kitchens with limited equipment do to its rather minimal cost.


Cooking under pressure. (n.d.). Retrieved April 14, 2016, from

Discover Pressure Cooking: History. (n.d.). Retrieved April 14, 2016, from

Pressure cooker. (n.d.). Retrieved April 14, 2016, from


The Paleo Diet

So for the past week i have changed my diet to a paleo one. For those of you who don’t know what the paleo diet is, well its rather simple it just means eating whole unprocessed foods.  You want to eat grass fed and pastured meats and eggs, wild-caught seafood, and vegetables. Enjoy fruit, nuts, and seeds in moderation. While avoiding gluten-containing grains, legumes, sugar,and other manufactured foods.

A Typical days menu would contest of


2egg any style, a small bowl of fruit, and a pork breakfast sausage


Any meat protein, with a salad and some fruit


Any meat protein, with a vegetable side

Recipe for One meal

Baked Chicken with roasted brussel sprouts

Ingredients for the chicken

8 bone-in thighs

1 lemon grass stock (minced core only)

25g minced ginger

25g minced garlic

2 limes (for juice and zest)

1 tbsp of fish sauce

1 tbsp of honey

2 shallots minced

1 tbsp olive oil

salt and peper to taste

Brussel Sprouts

1 pound  Brussel sprouts

2 tbsp Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste.

The chicken is pretty easy to make it’s simply mix everything in a bowl and marinate for 20mins. preheat oven to 400F, placing chicken skin side down bake for 25mins and then flip and continue for another 25 to 30mins you are looking for a internal temperature of 165F. For the brussels you simply clean them, cut in half, toss in olive oil with salt and pepper and roast for around 40 mins at 400F. till soft and slightly crispy.

One thing I found when i was doing this diet was it felt like you were eating meals that were a lot lighter. When the focus is just on meat, fruit and vegetables the meals filled you but you weren’t overly  stuffed.  One thing I also found interesting was it pushed you to use more fresh ingredients, since many of the sauces you would normally use to flavour things weren’t allowed. At the same time this made preparing meals slightly more time consuming since research for meals had to be done daily. Another area i had difficulty with has with sweets, again you are very limited since you can’t have anything refined, so coming up with dessert ideas were not easy as well as not satisfying.  I think the key to allowing this to work in plan a head have stuff ready for meals a head of time and work that way, doing all the prep for meals the same day makes this very difficult and time consuming.

If a chef was on this diet my advice would be plan your meals a head, even make meals for 2 or 3 days a head, because the life style of a chef doesn’t leave much room to make anything to complicated they simply do not have the time.  The harder aspect might be the work place where you have to constantly try things that might go against your diet, my only advice for this  would try to work at a place that is more about fresh local ingredients that doesn’t many refined goods and makes many things in house.

I don’t think i would continue my diet choice, i well take some elements from it, i do like the focus of meat, vegetables and fruits as the primary ingredients but i have a weakness for sweats. That would mean i would have to make substitutes for these items which at this point I am not willing to do! The concepts of the diet make sense to me but it isn’t as simple as i thought it would be.


Hug A Farmer



20160223_123542For the Hug A Farmer blog a group of friends and I decided to head to the Hamilton Farmers Market, which has been around for over 160 years. The reason why we decided to go to this farmers market is simply because it’s one of the few that are open year round that have local farmers. Not many farmers market are actually open past October since they have outdoor venues usually.


There are a few farmers who  sell their products at the Hamilton Farmers Market but the one who stood out the most was from Buttrum’s Family Farm.  Shea who was manning the stand provide us with some back round information about the farm. The Buttrum family has been coming to sell their produce at this farmers market since the 1880’s  and growing for over 160 years which is 7 generations. The father is running the farm currently and  he is in his 70’s so the son, Gary Buttrum has come back and taken over for him now.  During the summer months they offer a larger variety of produce potatoes, tomatoes, squash, onions, zucchini, radishes, parsnips etc. Yet during the winter that reduces down to just the squashes and  onions which they keep in their storage facilities. They still offer other ontario produce at their stand which includes cabbage, different potato varieties, beets etc from different local  farms. Another local item they offer is maple syrup, which produced the Mennonites in Kitchener  Ontario. (side note: this maple syrup is really good, and is also sold during the maple festival they hold in Elmira, which is definitely  worth checking out.)  One of the things i found interesting about the Buttrum’s stand was they had produce that wasn’t produced in ontario like limes and other citrus. The reason i think that is so interesting is because during those winter months when variety is low it’s hard to get people to come to the market for apples and roots vegetables. So be having that variety it makes them slightly more competitive with the big chain grocers.


So the Buttrum farm specializes in fresh local, seasonal, and pesticide free produce. Many people confuse pesticide free with organic which isn’t the same. Pesticide free simply means they don’t use synthetic herbicides, insecticides, or fungicides but they might use synthetic fertilizers or genetically modified plants or seeds. When we actually talked to Shea about the whole organic growing, she told us they had tried it for one year and it didn’t work out for them so they went back to just being pesticide free.  One of the messages she tried to impart on us was the importance of supporting the local farmers and food suppliers.  She brought up the fact that many of the larger grocery store chains buy food so cheaply that it drives many of these local farms out of business. Which should be  major concern for us since having that local option is always going to be better.


We had A chance to speak to a mother and daughter from Fleetwood farms who is another local farm, who had the same concerns as Buttrum’s which is the labour force. According to Steven Laing the average age of a farmer is 58 years old, and the youth moment doesn’t exactly seem to be there. So much so that Fleetwood Farms actually brings in workers from Jamaica to help with planting and picking the crops, simply because no one here wants to do that physical labour.  That seems to be a common theme among these farmers they are getting older, their children don’t want to take over  and there isn’t any youth who want to work and do that physical labour leaving many in a state of flux.  Going back to the point Shea brought up about supporting local farmers, having to do a physical labor job in todays society is certainly a hard sell to many people, add in the fact that the industry is suffering with the competition from major grocers makes it even harder.  So it raises the question how do we make farming a more desirable job here in Canada?


Back in 2009 the Buttrum’s  rented out an acre of their land to this community collective group from Hamilton who  were looking to make there own urban garden. They are actually a  relatively young group of people  and they helped on the farm as well as planted their own crops. This eventually turned into a few a few more acres of land with varieties of vegetables tomatoes, beets, potatoes, hot peppers, onions, carrots, broccoli, cucumbers, zucchini etc.  For me it’s having experiences such as these that might help actually bring a younger population to the farming industry, to show them how rewarding growing local sustainable products is.

Unfortunately Buttrum’s Farms does not have a website but if you want to check out more you can check their Facebook page or instagram in the links below

A link about that community collective


Pork Belly


Pigs. (n.d.). Retrieved February 04, 2016, from

For the Purchasing Meat and Game blog i have chosen to do the mighty pig and the specific cut i picked was pork belly. The reason I chose to do pork belly was because I think many of us automatically think bacon, when its actually a very versatile piece of meat that you can have for any meal as well as cook with variety different methods. As well as the fact you can not go wrong with any pork products its usually going to be a really delicious item.


Cuts Of Pork Stock Vectors, Clipart and Illustrations. (n.d.). Retrieved February 04, 2016, from



Pork is one of the oldest forms of livestock, dating back to 6000bc in west Asia where it was domesticated. The name pork actually comes from the latin name Porcus and the French name Porc.  Todays pigs are breed from the wild boar and they are breed in cooler climates because they do not sweat. On average the pig will weight 200-250lb before being slaughtered and the entire process in which anywhere between 7 to 11 months. Its also one of those animals that are very good to use for head to toe cooking everything can be used in some fashion. Leather hides for shoes homes and shields can be made, bones can make tools and the bristles are used fro brushes nothing goes to waste.Toronto itself is called Hog Town because back in 1860 the William Davies Company was the second largest pork processor on the continent and now is part of Maple Leaf foods.  They pork belly is located between the shoulder and the ham on the bottom half of the pig under the spareribs and is considered to be a primal cut.

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 9.30.23 AM


The average cost of pork belly is 13.21/kg or 5.99/lb which makes it a fairly affordable piece of meat compared to chicken or beef.  There are a number of different methods to cook pork belly, many of which involve low heat in the oven and then the last few moments you turn it up and crispy the skin. There is also slicing trimming off the skim and slicing it like bacon and pan frying it. You can even braise it if you wanted to just sear your belly on all sides, bring your braising liquid up to temperature and into the oven the pork goes. There is even the option to cure the belly and then smoke it and that turns into bacon. I think the best method for getting the most bang for your buck would be to roast it with the skin on, so you aren’t wasting anything. You aren’t trimming off any of the skin you aren’t even taking off any of the excess fat you get the slab of belly season it and roast it.

The recipe I’m going to post is a how to on making porchetta.


Italian Porchetta. (n.d.). Retrieved February 04, 2016, from

Ingredient List

2 lb of pork belly (preferably meaty a meaty piece)

Inside herb rub

1 tbsp of kosher salt

2tsp of thyme

1tsp of sage

2 tbsp of olive oil

Outside Rub

2tsp of salt

1/2 tsp of pepper

2tsp of olive oil.

optional items

1/4 tsp fennel seeds

1/2 tsp chili flakes

Preheat oven to 275F

Step 1) mix all ingredients for the inside rub in the food processor or finely chop and mix by hand. Set mixture aside.

Step 2) Place  pork belly skin side up, and score the skin 1 inch by 1 inch and flip the piece of belly over

Step3)  Rub the inside meat side of the pork belly with the herb mixture from before and roll the belly into a log. Truss the belly with 4 lopes.


Step 4) Rub the outside of the belly with olive oil and season very liberally with the salt (this helps get the crispy skin) and a little bit of fresh cracked pepper.


he Food Lab, Ramen Edition: How to Make Chashu Pork Belly. (n.d.). Retrieved February 04, 2016, from

Step 5) Place pork belly onto a wire rack thats on top of a roasting pan or baking sheet.( this is because a lot of fat will drip from the pork. This should take around 4 hours or whenever it reaches 160F.

Step 6) Raise the heat of the oven to 425F for 20mins this will allow the outside skin to become very crispy.

Step 7) Remove from oven, remove the string finally slice and enjoy.



bout pigs. (n.d.). Retrieved February 04, 2016, from



No Big Dill


V, A. Andrew. Digital image. N.p., 17 Nov. 2015. Web. 17Nov. 2015

The way I decided to pick what i was going to pickle was by going to the local grocery store and see what popped out to me. While walking around i saw some really nice rainbow carrots, golden and striped beets as well as some jalapeño. I thought this would be a good variety of vegetables to pickle.


V, A. Andrew. Digital image. N.p., 17 Nov. 2015. Web. 17Nov. 2015

Pickled Carrots

  • 1 pound carrots, trimmed to fit in jar
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon pickling salt
  • 1 cloves garlic


Peel carrots and cut into match sticks the size of the jar you are using. In one small pot boil water to blanch your carrot sticks for 30 seconds (if you like your pickled carrots softer you can leave them in for 90seconds). In a separate pot mix your vinegar, water and salt and bring to a boil. Thinly slice the garlic and place in your jar with the carrots and pour in the vinegar liquid. Place in the fridge fro 1 to 2 days before eating.

Pickled Beets

  • 1/2 pound of golden beets (cut in quarters)
  • 1/2 pound of striped beets (cut in quarters)
  • 2 cup white vinegar
  • 2 cup water
  • 2tablespoon pickling salt
  • 2 table spoons of sugar


Pill and slice both types of beets and then place in separate pots with water and cook till they are slightly tender(around 10-15mins). In another pot mix the vinegar, water, salt and sugar and bring to a boil. Place beets into two jars and cover with the liquid, place in the fridge for 1 to 2 days before consuming.


V, A. Andrew. Digital image. N.p., 17 Nov. 2015. Web. 17Nov. 2015

Pickled Jalapeños

  • 5 jalapeños (cut into rings about 2cms thick)
  • 2 cup white vinegar
  • 2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon pickling salt
  • 1 clover of garlic (sliced thin)

V, A. Andrew. Digital image. N.p., 17 Nov. 2015. Web. 17Nov. 2015


Throw everything into a pot and boil until the peppers go from bright deep green to a pale green colour.  In the jar add with the garlic,  add the liquid and peppers in, then frigate for 1 or 2 days before enjoying.


V, A. Andrew. Digital image. N.p., 17 Nov. 2015. Web. 17Nov. 2015


After the two days i opened up jars and sampled the creations. The pickled beets and carrots died the water making product much deeper in colour, the peppers didn’t do anything to in terms of colour.  When you open the beets up you smell the sourness/acidity of the vinegar, you smell the same with jalapeños but with the carrots you get a intense smell of garlic which wasn’t ideal.  Im not one for really spicy things so when i tried the peppers i was pleasantly surprised that the pickling of them actually reduced a little bit of its heat and allowed you to get more of the mild pepper taste. The carrots were just not very good, all i tasted was the garlic and you lose all the flavours that would be associated with a sweet carrot. The beets for me turned out the best, you got the sourness from the vinegar but the natural sweetness/ earthiness of the  beet still comes through on the after taste.  One thing that all three still had was the firm “crunch” texture still which i think is really important in a good pickled product.


V, A. Andrew. Digital image. N.p., 17 Nov. 2015. Web. 17Nov. 2015

I thought the beets and jalapeños turned out well in terms of flavouring and overall appearance. Especially with the beets they were rather dull when they were boiled but after several days in the liquid they became very vibrant and looked very pretty. The carrots on the other hand i didn’t think were that successful, i wasn’t happy with two things. The first being the colour, i used purple carrots and using sitting in the liquid became very dark and almost unappealing. The second was the taste the garlic was very overpowering, it was all you tasted you lose the subtle sweetness of the carrot. So i would either reduce the amount by half or take it out completely next time.

I used the two sites below for a general guides for the ratios in each recipe,  they were helpful for starting out pickling. I also used certain variations of them based on things I’ve seen my mom do, such as add in the sugar to beets.




Fruit Hunter

I decided to go to the St. Lawrence Market for my fruit hunter blog entry. The reason I decided to go to this particular market was because of the history i have with it, its a place I’ve gone every Saturday since i was a young boy and I have some really fond memories of it. I also thought since it was such a large market with many different vendors, that it would increase the likely hood of finding a fruit that i haven’t tried before. Especially right now when its sort of a awkward stage in the seasons, we have seen the last of the stone fruits, we are moving into the local apples and should start seeing a lot of the different varieties of citrus hitting the market soon.

V, A. Andrew. Digital image. N.p., 17 Oct. 2015. Web. 17 Oct. 2015

V, A. Andrew. Digital image. N.p., 17 Oct. 2015. Web. 17 Oct. 2015

The rational behind why i decided to pick the altufo mango was because when i think of things that are new and exciting in terms of fruit i often think of exotics.  One of the more common exotic fruits are mangoes and little did i know there are a tone of varieties outside of the one many of us know as the red mango.  I was walking around many of the different stalls and saw many traditional fruits and stumbled upon this unusually shaped yellow fruit that caught my eye. One thing that has always intrigued when it comes to food is how different fruits and vegetables from the same family can be so different and that as well lead me to picking the altufo mango.

V, A. Andrew. Digital image. N.p., 17 Oct. 2015. Web. 17 Oct. 2015

V, A. Andrew. Digital image. N.p., 17 Oct. 2015. Web. 17 Oct. 2015

A little bit of history behind where the altufo mango came from all starts in Mexico during the 1950s. “The Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (Instituto Mexicano de la Propiedad Industrial) granted the designation of origin of this fruit to the government of Chiapas” (AF). It is said that Mr. Ataulfo Morales bought some land that had some mango trees already on it and then later Hector Cano Flores actually discovered these particular mango.”In 1958 the agronomist Hector Cano Flores (the discoverer of Ataulfo Mango), Head of Sector of the Mexican Coffee Institute, began to do research.” (AF)  The altufo mango specifically goes in Mexico but is also very similar a mango that they grow in china as well.  All mangos stem from the same  botanical family which is  the “Anacardiaceae, the sumac family of flowering plants in the order Sapindales, with about 70 genera and 650 species of evergreen or deciduous trees, shrubs, and woody vines. It is native to tropical and subtropical areas of the world, but a few species occur in temperate regions.” (EB). In terms of ideal season to be consuming the altufo mangoes that is between March and July but you are able to get the altufo mangoes year round.  Which leads into the price of them, the ones i got from the market were 3 for $5 dollars or $2 dollars each. Given this time of year it is a good deal but you will notice that they are smaller when they are out of season these were pack 20, in the ideal growing season you can see pack 12’s which are much larger.

Sensory evaluation of the altufo mango, when you see the yellow flesh you aren’t sure what to think and then you smell the outside of it and there isn’t any smell on the smooth skin.The first thing you notice when you cut into these mangoes is there isn’t a lot of fruit on them they have a very large seed in the middle. Yet the second you cut into them the sweet, slightly acidic smell comes oozing out of it, personally that smell brings me back to tropical vacations. The sound even when you cut into the mango is a crunch like you are breaking something that is firm, yet when you bite into there is no sound its so soft and delicate.  The first thing i noticed when i opened the mango was how different it was from the red mango, the altufo mango has very little if any fibrous
 texture it’s so smooth. I also noticed that the juice that came off the knife after cutting it had a slight creaminess to it. I think thats why when you touch it its very hard to hold onto the cut pieces of fruit because it’s so smooth and moist/creamy.  The mangos i choice were slightly under ripe in certain sections, which gave a certain contrast when it tasting. The unripe section had very little taste almost slightly bitter, where as the ripe pieces from the moment you placed them in your mouth you taste sweetness but it starts out very mellow and grows as you chew it and expose more of it to your mouth. This mango has a very refreshing taste to it and it’s surpsing how different it is from the red mangos.

V, A. Andrew. Digital image. N.p., 17 Oct. 2015. Web. 17 Oct. 2015

V, A. Andrew. Digital image. N.p., 17 Oct. 2015. Web. 17 Oct. 2015

I don’t think i would ever use any heat methods for cooking mango i think the use of mango should be light, refreshing, and sweet.  I like having mango salad on the side of something that is very spicy to help cool the tongue from the heat, mango should be a strong complimentary flavour. Yet in my favourite dish to have mango in is a  sorbet, mango has such a strong flavour that i can hold its own alone and doesn’t need any help.  Growing up my mom use to make a sorbet for me with mango and here is the recipe for that.

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

3 large mangoes diced.

juice of my lemon

juice of one orange.

In a sauce pan combine the water and sugar then set aside to cool. place all the mango in a food processor until it is completely smooth.  Mix the sugar water, mango puree and citrus juice in a ice cream machine. Allow to freeze for 1 hour before serving.

What i have taken from this experience is that its really important to go to market during different seasons and explore whats in season and try things you haven’t seen before. As someone who is a aspiring cook i think its important to try new things constantly and build that flavour reference. It’s also very inspiring going to the market and seeing how pretty the produce looks and to want to make dishes out of the stuff. We are so lucky to be in a city that has so many different cultures depending on which market you end up at you can find such diversity.

Anacardiaceae | plant family. (n.d.). Retrieved October 29, 2015.

Mango. (n.d.). Retrieved October 29, 2015, from

Thomas, C. (2006). Melissa’s great book of produce: Everything you need to know about fresh fruits and vegetables (pp. 60-62). Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.

Culinary Biography

Hello my name is Andrew Via I’m currently a culinary student at George Brown College.

V, A. Andrew. Digital image. N.p., 17 Sept. 2015. Web. 17 Sept. 2015

V, A. Andrew. Digital image. N.p., 17 Sept. 2015. Web. 17 Sept. 2015

So after attending York University for economics and Humber College for accounting i realized that is wasn’t for me at all. I decided i wanted to do something that i enjoyed and was passionate about and for me thats always been cooking and baking. I grew up spending my summers with my grandparents so i learned to really love food from them, whether that was making the fresh sauce and gnocchi with my nonna or the ramen noodles and sushi with my grandfather i was always in the kitchen. As i got older i started to dabble in a little more baking at one point even taking some cake decorating classes with my mom. Cooking and food in general has always played such a important role in my life its why i want to be a chef.

I don’t think cooking should have to be one of those things that takes hours to prepare or are so complicated that you need special training to make the food taste good. When it comes to my personal philosophy for cooking its very basic, i believe cooking should be simple and quick for the most part. Nothings worse than cooking this meal that takes 3hours and having to spend another 3 cleaning up, cooking should and doesn’t have to be hard or complicated.

V, A. Pork and pineapple taco from Grand Electric. Digital image. Instagram. N.p., 13 June 2015. Web. 17 Sept. 2015.

V, A. Pork and pineapple taco from Grand Electric. Digital image. Instagram. N.p., 13 June 2015. Web. 17 Sept. 2015.

Truong, Stephanie. Bao Down. Digital image. Instagram. N.p., 12 May 2015. Web. 17 Sept. 2015.

Truong, Stephanie. Bao Down. Digital image. Instagram. N.p., 12 May 2015. Web. 17 Sept. 2015.

Starting this blog i really hope to  explore more food concepts and ideas, maybe find discover stuff i didn’t know or think i would like. It’s a lot about self exploration here find what i really want to do and the direction i want to take it. Blogging to me is having a voice but at the same time its about reflection and figuring things out you might not have seen, so thats what I’m hoping to accomplish.

“I’ve long believed that good food, good eating, is all about risk. Whether we’re talking about unpasteurized Stilton, raw oysters or working for organized crime ‘associates,’ food, for me, has always been an adventure”
― Anthony BourdainKitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly is one of my favourite blogs to follow. There are a few reasons why i like this blog first because its actually responsive so it works on phones and tablets, i read a lot on devices that are not my computer so having that function makes me happy. I’m also a big believer in less is usually more and she delivers that with a very simple and clean look.  A little blurb about why she’s making it or a sneak peak into the article, and the most important part a beautiful bright full of colour photo. We are very visual people so when you see the pictures on her blog it makes you want to make those dishes because they are nice. There are a few things that i would change is the search bar i don’t like how its at the end because a lot of us don’t scroll to the end. i would also make the font on the preview blurbs slightly bigger, i love how small and light it is but there is a accessibility issue with it being that way.