Happy Nosh Week!

It’s the happiest time of the year! NOSH: Hamilton’s Culinary Week is taking place October 17-23, and The Other Bird has a whoooole bunch of events planned, on top of some fun larger events we’re taking part in. Let’s get yummy, #HamOnt.

Monday, Oct. 17: Our Executive Chef Matt Kershaw faces off against nine other Hamilton chefs in a battle for kitchen supremacy. It’s going to be amazing. Tickets are $15 and available here.

Tuesday, Oct. 18: Chef Kershaw is preparing a special menu at Rapscallion Rogue Eatery focused on the freshest flavours of fall. Yum. The special menu is available for one night only, and is priced at $55 per person, plus HST. Call 905-522-0088 or email Rapscallion to reserve a space!

Wednesday, Oct. 19: It’s The Other Bird’s greatest hits! This one we’re *super* excited about. Chef Kershaw has put together a menu featuring *all* of The Other Bird’s best, favourite, and most memorable dishes for one night only! We’re hosting the event at the newly-renovated Black Sheep Snack Bar, and the price is $65 per person. We promise chicken liver brulée. Please call 905-544-6767 or email Black Sheep Snack Bar to reserve a space! Dinner is at 6PM and seating is limited.

Saturday, Oct. 22: Our Chef Paddy Townsend is among five Hamilton chefs participating in Pop Up Nosh, cooking an amazing meal in a top-secret location.
Tickets are available here.

Monday, Oct. 17–Sunday, Oct. 23: The Mule has a special apple cocktail, as part of the Downtown Hamilton BIA’s apple-themed Nosh-stravaganza. Ours is the “Bonita Applebaum” featuring Knob Creek Bourbon, Applejack, Apple Syrup, Orinoco Bitters, Angostura Bitters, Apple Peel & Cinnamon Garnish. Oh yes.

Erin Dunham tackles ‘The Women Problem’

You might have heard about our awesome mom, Erin Dunham. She does a lot, including speaking at TEDx conferences. Earlier this year, Erin gave a talk at TEDxKingStWomen titled ‘The Women Problem’, which explored the male-dominated culinary industry and how women can overcome the daunting statistics that stand in their way.

Check out what she had to say!

Why you should Be The Recipe For Change

Executive chef Matt Kershaw chronicles his experience participating in the YWCA Hamilton’s “Be The Recipe For Change” program. He likes it. And he thinks you should too.

Since opening my first restaurant, I’ve always found it odd how much the hospitality business is expected to give to charity. Everyone knows — everyone — that restaurants typically don’t make money and the ones that do aren’t making all that much. However, that seems to stop absolutely no one from approaching restaurant owners for donations of gift certificates, money, food and catering. I get it — we make the good times happen. A $50 gift card to an accountant in Waterdown isn’t all that desirable. Dinner for two or some sales rep … err … services? It’s a part of the business and I suggest that new restaurateurs embrace it. And every so often a charity opportunity comes up that you will remember for the rest of your life.

Recipe For Change 2
Prep time! Matt, Erin and an awesome team of volunteers are cooking up some shepherd’s pie and salad.

My partner, Erin, makes things happen. I usually have no idea what is happening beyond next week, then she tells me. I was informed I had a charity function for 50 people the following Monday (admittedly she probably told me about it a month earlier but I may not be the best listener). In my head I’m thinking, “Charity dinner for 50?! We’re trying to open our third place this year and Erin has us giving away dinner for 50 people?!’

Then I got the details.

It was one of my favourite nights of 2015.

Recipe For Change 3
Sid helped take control of the meal’s most important element — the meat.

Be The Recipe for Change is a program at the YWCA that encourages local businesses and people to make dinner for a great group of women in their transitional living program — people who otherwise would have gone without. To me the idea of not having dinner is incomprehensible. I think about the debaucherous things I have been a part of and often provide and instantly feel guilty even considering not sharing my time, skill and money to make dinner for others.

You donate $300 to the YWCA and give them the list of ingredients you will require to make your dinner. Obviously, my goal was to use as little of the $300 as possible to allow them to offer further services to their clients. I wanted to make something that was cheap, delicious and loved by all. Gluten-free too, in case there were any hipsters. Shepherd’s pie and a great salad. Done.

Recipe For Change 4
Cooking? A good time? Good cause? In the same place? Yep.

Erin organized a bunch of volunteers to come and help cook and serve the ladies that evening and it turned into a really fun event for us, as well. Low stress, great food, great feelings. Interacting with the guests was amazing; there is nothing more complimentary to a chef than someone coming up and sheepishly asking if they can eat thirds. Thirds! I felt like turning Italian and kissing her on both cheeks!

There was some debate as to whether the pork or beef shepherd's pie was tastier. Mostly between Chanry and Kristel, who helped serve the meal to the women.
After the cooking comes the most important part — the serving. Volunteers Marlo, Chanry and Kristel helped serve the meal to the women.

After meeting a lot of the guests, you realize most of these women just need a break or two to go their way and they will be in a much better place. Not eating is not going to help them. I can’t encourage you enough to get involved and help put food on a table for some deserving women.

Visit ywcahamilton.org/get-involved/be-the-recipe-for-change for more information

From The Chef’s Mouth: How to cook like a pro

The Other Bird’s executive chef Matt Kershaw is most often found in a kitchen cooking up some bacon. Other times, he’s sitting behind a typewriter furiously pouring his heart out and drinking Scotch. This is one of those second times. In the first instalment of From The Chef’s Mouth, Matt teaches you how to give your home cooking some haute cuisine punch.

Everyone knows about the four tastes: sweet, sour, salty and bitter. (Some food nerds are also aware of the mysterious umami taste.) But, let’s look at the ingredients that give flavour. Fat and spice are components that should often be considered when rounding out a good meal. However, so many people fail to think about this group of tastes when they make dinner. Or, perhaps they accidentally succeed by mindlessly copying a known dish. I have a simple group of ingredients that gives every dish the ‘pop’ people are looking for.

Bacon/Anchovy/Fermented Black Bean

This trifecta of deliciousness makes my world go round — and these ingredients don’t even have to be obvious to create the desired effect. A little pancetta cooked into your tomato sauce will add amazing depth, a little smokiness as well as some ingrained saltiness. Anchovies hidden in a Caesar dressing make all the difference in the world between Renee’s anemic salad dressing and your own memorable creation.

Fermented black beans are the most mysterious of this trio. These are not the black beans you’ll find in Mexican cooking. Fermented black beans (also known as salted black beans) come from Chinese cuisine and are made from soybeans that have been dried and fermented with salt, and other spices such as chilies and ginger and/or wine. They are the vegan answer to umami. These beans possess great depth and unique flavour often used in combination with garlic. You can toss a few into any dish and instantly give your chef-ing abilities some salty credibility.

Your Favourite Hot Sauce

Have you ever drizzled some hot sauce on your eggs? Glad to hear it. Lovely addition, wasn’t it? Hot sauce — especially with a strong vinegar base — is an amazingly easy way to wake up a dish. You can check off sour, salty and sometimes even sweet from your dish by simply adding a few dashes of good hot sauce. Think of it as salt. When you’re going to add some salt, also add hot sauce. Not enough that the dish becomes ‘hot’, but enough so your guests know you care about them. Frank’s is not giving poor advice when they suggest you ‘put that shit on everything’.

A Quick and Easy Dish: Combine lime juice, hot sauce, salt, olive oil, diced tomato, diced cucumbers, cilantro and/or mint. Mix it with or put it on grilled/chilled shrimp, bbq chicken, pan fried fish, or a spoon that is heading towards your mouth.

Citrus

I love citrus. Limes are probably my favourite, but lemons, grapefruit, yuzu (fancy japanese citrus that will impress hipsters) and oranges are all amazing. A fresh squeeze of citrus over your food will make a tremendous difference in how your guests’ mouths react. It will trigger salivation and increase flavour intensity. Tonight when you’re having dinner, have a bite of your protein. Consider it. Now squeeze lemon over top and splash on a little hot sauce. Eat and reconsider.

Life changing moment. I bow and exit stage right.

Fat and Salt

You are all a bunch of pathetic wussies. My God, would I ever be out of a job fast if you all weren’t totally incapable of adding salt and fat to food. Do you have any idea how many times I’ve been told, “That was the best meal of my life”? Me either, but it’s a *lot*.

It really does feel great to be told that, but it’s so easy to make a home-cooked meal the best of your life. Just double the amount of salt you use and throw at least two pats of butter in your pan whenever you are finishing anything. I am absolutely not kidding. Every dish you’ve loved at a great restaurant had lots of salt and a remarkable amount of hidden fat. Cream, duck fat, bacon, olive oil, butter, cheese. Sneak them into your food. Don’t be obvious and gratuitous (unless you really want to be my friend), but say goodbye to that little voice in your head that’s holding you back.

Recipes: Upgrade your champagne

Champagne is best served like wine — on its own, in a glass, right? We beg to differ. Champagne and sparkling wine is great, but it’s even better in a cocktail. Here are a couple of our favourite ways to improve that glass of bubbly.

Champagne Spritz

Ingredients

1/2 oz Aperol
1 sugar cube
2 dashes peychauds bitters
4 oz sparkling wine

Directions

Add all ingredients to flute and garnish with lemon twist.

French 75

French 75 Cocktail
French 75 Cocktail

Ingredients

1 oz Bombay Sapphire gin
3/4 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
2 oz champagne

Directions

Add gin, lemon juice and simple syrup to shaker. Shake, strain into martini glass, top with 2oz of champagne and garnish with a lemon twist.

Nice

Ingredients

1oz Bombay Sapphire gin
1/2 oz Cointreau
1/2 oz Chartreuse
1/2 oz lemon juice
2 oz champagne
Pernod
Egg white

Directions

  1. Add gin, cointreau, chartreuse and lemon juice to shaker. Shake, strain into flute.
  2. Top with champagne, and Pernod egg white foam.

Pernod egg white foam = equal parts egg white and Pernod; whip until becomes foam

Recipe: Lamb shank love

Please allow us to impart some wisdom on the fine art of the lamb shank. Because you should be eating lamb at home, too. This recipe is dead simple and wonderfully delicious.

Ingredients

4 pcs. lamb shanks
3-4 sprigs rosemary
1 tbsp. garlic, minced
1 cup Spanish onion, sliced
1 can whole plum tomatoes
1 tbsp. sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in an oven proof dish and cover with aluminum foil.
  2. Place in a 325 degree oven for 1.5-2 hours until tender.
  3. Remove foil, turn heat up to 450 degrees and brown for 15 minutes.
  4. Serve with mashed potatoes, polenta or rice.

Recipe: Chicken skin makes your potatoes better

Potatoes are the side dish that goes with everything, right? Mash, butter, gravy, done. Well, here’s our take on those starchy favourites that will make your mouth very, very happy. Our wonderful addition? Chicken skin.

Ingredients

1 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced in wedges
2/3 cup reserved chicken fat from a roast chicken (duck fat also works wonderfully)
1 cup Spanish onions, sliced
1/2 lb. raw chicken skins, sliced
1 tbsp. garlic, minced
1 tbsp. rosemary/thyme, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

The key difference (besides the chicken skins!) between these roast potatoes and traditional ones is the amount of fat used and the length of cooking. The potatoes should be almost shallow-frying in the roast pan, not just tossed in fat. Don’t worry, the majority of fat remains in the pan and can be reused in the future.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Place potatoes, chicken skins and chicken fat in a large roast pan. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Transfer to oven and roast for 25 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and carefully toss potatoes with a thin edged spatula. Return to oven for another 20 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and carefully toss potatoes again with a thin edged spatula.
  6. Add onions and return to oven for another 20 minutes.
  7. Repeat process again, this time adding herbs and garlic. Roast for another 15 minutes. Potatoes and skins should be gorgeous and brown.
  8. Drain and serve.

Recipe: Bacon-stuffed, deboned chicken wings?!

You like chicken wings, right? You love sucking the tender morsels of chicken off the bone, gnawing away in search of the tiny scraps of meat that will get stuck in your teeth?

Yeah, well, here’s a better way to eat your chicken wings — boneless and stuffed with bacon. It sounds super intimidating, but it’s actually quite easy to prepare. Follow the recipe below and thank us later.

Ingredients

20 pcs. chicken wings (must be the actual wing part, not the drumette, with the wing-tip still attached)
1 lb. bacon, finely diced
1/2 lb. good quality sausage meat (removed from casing)
1 small Spanish onion, finely diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 bunch of Italian parsley, roughly chopped

Blue cheese dressing:

1/2 cup mayonnaise, homemade preferred
1/3 cup full fat sour cream
1/4 cup good quality blue cheese
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. hot sauce (or to taste)
4 tbsp. finely chopped chives
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. To debone wings, loosen meat from fat end of wing with a sharp, stiff knife. Gradually, scrape meat down the bone to the joint and pop out double bones.
  2. For the stuffing, combine sausage meat, minced bacon (yes, raw), onion, garlic and parsley in a bowl. Stuff each chicken wing’s cavity with this bacon/sausage mixture and line up on a parchment lined roasting pan. Roast at 425 degrees until nicely browned.
  3. Meanwhile, make blue cheese dressing by simply combining all dressing ingredients and adjust to your tastes.
  4. Serve wings with blue cheese dressing and some bubble and squeak (leftover mashed potato and vegetables fried up in a non-stick pan with butter until crusty and brown)

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Through our Fund Us To Feed You campaign, we successfully crowdfunded more than $100,000 to back The Other Bird’s next restaurant, The Mule!

Hamilton needs a place that serves tacos, tequila and bourbon, and this spring The Mule will bring the best of all three to 41 King William St.

To learn more about this first-of-its-kind project, visit our page at Indiegogo or view our project video.