HDV_0237 a video by Well Preserved on Flickr.

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We’re continuing our tour of our new home today – this time we’re sharing the 200+ editorial pieces we’ve run over the last 3 years.  These include thoughts on slow food, sustainability, hunting, travel, event reviews and more.

This also includes our “Special Series” section of articles.  These are unique in our navigation as they are the only articles that will always appear in two different categories at the same time.  These articles were published as sets (for example my diary of moose hunting from 2009 is one of them) and were meant to be read in order at the time.  But they also fit into out other categories (for example, the moose diaries are also part of the section on moose hunting).  We recently shared a series on buying, cooking, eating and making stock with lobster.  If you wanted to read the series from start to finish, you’ll find it below.  But if you’re only looking for a lobster recipe, you’ll find just 2 of the 6 articles in that series in our recipe database as the others relate to buying and eating lobster.

We’ll be rolling out the navigation soon enough – for now you can browse around our past – let us know what you think!

I’ll admit I was hoping this was going to be the first post on the new WellPreserved. Alas, there’s 2 hours left in the day and I’m still partially converted.

Over the next few days there’s going to be a lot of changes here.  We’re going to start with a new layout and a cleaner look.  You’ll find some bigger pictures and a new way of finding posts that should make the whole site a whackload more useful.

More than 90% of the content has migrated, all 1,284 posts have been placed into categories and we’ll be increasing the indexing to build you some really cool features really soon).

For now, I’ll just have to tease you with this post – the more I write, the longer you’ll wait.  We hope it will be worth your wait!

Joel (and Dana)

Today is day 2 of converting the blog (you’ll see no changes here, yet) so it’s busy times here.  The conversion kept me up until 2:00AM (because I was having so much fun, in truth) and I was out of bed at 7:00.  The dog and I went for a walk and then I took a quick spin to the farmers market to get some leeks and to help inspire/ remind me why we work on this project.  I’m getting excited to geek out!

The Brickworks is a reclaimed industrial area that time forgot and has been converted into this amazing community space that hosts, amongst other things, a year-round market.

The market has a new website that’s just launched today.  It includes information on different food regions in Ontario, their vendors, principles and more.  It’s awfully neat, check it out here.

Putting the Pressure On…

I’ve been working on a surprise for you for a long time.

I work on it often.  But it never seems to end.

I thought it would take a few weeks.

It’s well past a year.

So, I thought I’d raise the stakes and put some pressure on myself.

Dana’s away for the weekend on an awesome foodtrip and that means me and Schaeffer are having a boys weekend.

And, by Monday morning, I will complete the table of contents and indexing of this website.  There’s a gonna be an entire weekend of geeking out – I figure by letting you in on the secret that I’ll be raising the stakes and increasing the pressure.

Here’s how Schaeff is feeling about it:

And here’s how I am (this is the before picture):

There better be a lot of coffee.

In all seriousness, I am a little intimidated by the goal – it’s a big one.  But I’m so excited at the results and making our archive of more than 1,300 articles actually usable…  It’s not going to be a complete relaunch of WellPreserved but it will be a significant step towards what we’ve been meaning to do for about 3 years.

Wish me luck!

My Father gifted us a few venison chops from his fall hunt (after we got skunked together during Moose season).  He had told me that they were awesome – and he was so right!

This recipe takes a bit of a departure from my normal treatment of game.  I usually go for very simple seasoning as I’m a big believer in appreciating the flavors for what they are.  But it was a Saturday night so I decided to dress it up a bit.  Despite the obvious heavy use of pepper and the small amount of jus, the flavor of the meat did shine through.

This will work with beef as well – though if it’s a thicker cut, you’ll have to adjust your times (for example, here’s a post where we include the timings for a much larger porterhouse steak).

Before reading this, you may want to review this post on the myth of gamey (and why you must cook game medium rare or even slightly less).


  • Any amount of venison chops that you’d like.  Ours tend to be about an inch thick and I cook 2 per person (there’s sometimes some leftovers for the next day).
  • A whole lot of pepper.  I like to use whole pepper and blitz it quickly in a spice/ coffee blender.  You want the pieces to remain very big.
  • Coarse salt
  • Olive oil (a few tablespoons)
  • Butter (about the same amount as the oil)
  • Sides of your choice
  • 1-2 tablespoons of red wine per person
  • .05-1 tablespoons of raspberry preserves per person

When you follow the recipe below, time it precisely.  You don’t want to overcook the deer.


  1. Make sure your meat is at room temperature before beginning.
  2. Turn your oven onto broil and wait until it’s reached its top temperature.
  3. Pat the chops dry (a paper towel is ideal).
  4. Apply salt before dredging in pepper – use care and pat it down to help it adhere.
  5. Heat an oven-safe heavy pan (ideally cast iron).
  6. Place olive oil and butter in the pan, wait until it just begins to smoke.
  7. Add the chops and cook for 1 minute.
  8. Flip the chops, cook for 1 minute.
  9. Place the pan under the broiler for 3 minutes.
  10. Allow the chops to rest (the longer the better) on a rack with a sheet of foil loosely tenting them.
  11. Work carefully to drain most of the butter and oil from the pan; keep the drippings and a little bit of the reserve in tact (you don’t need additional heat; just remember that the pan is very hot).
  12. Pour the wine into the pan, stir with a wooden spoon to de-glaze the pan.
  13. Add the jam at the end and stir (if the pan is still hot, it may stick so use care).
  14. Cut the meat across the bias (if it ‘leaks’ juice, you’ve started too fast).  Place it on a plate.
  15. Spoon the jus over the meat, allow it to rest for another minute or two.  Serve, spooning a small amount of jus on each plate.

That’s it!  It’s a fantastic dinner!

If you make pappersteak, how do you do it differently?

There are three main reasons we hear from people on why they don’t preserve:

  1. They don’t have time.
  2. It’s scary/ they don’t know how.
  3. It could be expensive.

I hope we’re doing our part to debunk all 3 items above.  Today’s recipe makes the absolute best hot sauce using fermentation.  You do require a bit of special equipment (a jar and an airlock) but the total cost is around $5 and everything can be reused.  The total active time is less than 5 minutes (elapsed time is about 3-5 days) and the cost of ingredients is less than $2.  And it’s virtually impossible to mess up.

Here’s a few primers that people new to fermentation may want to start with:

We store the whey in a jar in the fridge for a few weeks at a time and use it for fermenting small batches.

Hot peppers aren’t available locally this time of year but I’m a big fan of practicing my technique and recipes in the off-season so that I don’t ruin a bushel of local product during the actual season.  I happened to have a half-cup of Thai Chiles (they are small, long and red) and was on the verge of losing them, so I decided to test a new version of last years hot sauce by experimenting with whey.

The final product is extremely hot and has tremendous flavor that only fermenting can provide.  There’s a sour kick to it that most can relate to when they think of eating kosher pickles.  It’s earthy, sour, acidic and very potent.  This is a similar style to Tabasco (which is fermented in woods barrels) or Franks Red Hot but its way hotter.  If you’re scared of heat, here’s a handy article explaining why you might actually prefer a HOTTER hot sauce than others you’ve tried.  I’ve had a lot of different fermented hot sauces in the last few years and I’m more excited about this one than any other I’ve made in that time.

Ingredients/ Equipment

  • 1 mason jar (not wide mouth) large enough to fit your peppers comfortably
  • 1 airlock (link above; you can find them at wine or beer home-brew places)
  • 0.25-1 cup hot peppers, washed and stemmed (include the seeds)
  • 1.5 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of whey (the link to the Greek yogurt article above shows how to get this)
  • Water (if you’re using chlorinated tap water, pour it into a bowl and let it rest for an hour or more to evaporate the chlorine)
  • White wine vinegar (needed at end; day 3-5)
  • A spice grinder, blender or other fast immersion blender is handy (I suppose you could pulverize manually if you had to)


  1. Place hot pepper, whey, salt and enough water to cover in a jar.
  2. Place airlock on mason jar.  Place in a warm-place in your house (around 70 degrees is optimal).
  3. Over the next 3-5 days, gently agitate the jar 1-2 times a day.  The airlock will keep the air out.  You’ll notice the brine will become cloudy.
  4. When the brine is good and cloudy, strain (and reserve) the brine into a bowl.
  5. Blitz the peppers and seeds in the spice grinder.  Adding a little brine may help in this process.
  6. Pour the brine and pepper puree into a jar (I’m a fan of using all of the brine but that’s up to you).
  7. Add white wine vinegar until you are happy.  I would guess we split it almost 1-to-1 with the brine and pepper.  Taste as you add it.
  8. Place a lid on the jar, store in fridge.

The taste will slowly evolve in the fridge – although it’s ready to serve right then and there.  It’s AWESOME!

Note: watch for mold.  If there’s a lot of head space (i.e. ‘air’ between the surface and the airlock), there will still be oxygen in the jar.  If you watch out for it, you can pulverize the sauce before mold occurs. If mold does happen, you can remove it the day it appears (in theory you can do it several days after but the texture will change) but you’ll be adding oxygen back into the mix.  It’s not the end of the world, you’ll just need to watch it closer.

The final sauce has a thicker consistency than the two commercial brands which strain the solids out.  You can strain the solids if you’d like too but be sure to reserve them and use them as paste.  I just happen to love the texture.

This is a very easy recipe that yields results that are better than store-bought at a cheaper price.  I hope you’ll give it a try and let us know what you think!

If you’re a big fan of the hot stuff, you may be interested in our entire series of Hot Pepper Posts where we tasted a whole bunch of different dried hot peppers and shared their heat and profiles (I am still in love with the Morita Pepper).

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