Frederic Morin and David McMillan, co-owners and chefs of Joe Beef, a Montreal restaurant with a creative spririt and a sense of fun, could not box themselves into the 'recipes' only convention for their first book, The Art of Living According to Joe Beef (Ten Speed Press, Fall 2011) written in collaboration with Meredith Erickson.
They share their take on catering, square plates, horseradish and fancy knives in A Few Theories.
Number 5 covers Hangovers: "Whenever someone in our business comes to work saying he or she is in "top shape", he or she is extremely hung over..."
On Fancy knives in Number 6 they recommend Dexter-Russell (carbon-steel blades, beech handles) as one of their favorites and describe them as "cheap, dependable and still made in America."
Chapter 7 'A Word on Booze' offers David McMillan completely subjective opinion on wine and cocktails and claims "I love red Burgundy wine so much I want to pour it into my eyes."
The book closes with 'Montreal in two days' followed by the Joe Beef Address Book.
As for the recipes, who but Joe Beef would have thought of serving food on a radio. Their way of poking fun at food fads.
Hot Oysters on the Radio
12 big, meaty oysters
Coarse salt for partially filling pan
4 slices bacon, finely diced
¼ cup (120 g) peeled and finely diced small potatoes
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 egg yolks
1⁄3 cup (80 ml) whipping cream (35 percent butterfat)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
¼ cup (30 g) finely grated aged Cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper
¼ cup (30 g) dried bread crumbs
¼ cup (55 g) unsalted butter, cut into 12 equal pieces
1. Shuck the oysters, pouring the liquor into a cup and keeping the oysters on their bottom shells. Set the oysters and liquor aside. A good trick for cooking the oysters is to fill a big cast-iron frying pan about half full with coarse salt,put it in the oven, and preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C), then heat the pan for an extra 15 minutes. This will help to accelerate the cooking process.
2. Place the potatoes and salted water to cover in a small pot over medium-high heat. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes, or until slightly softened. Drain the potatoes, let cool, and pat dry. Meanwhile, in another frying pan, crisp the bacon over medium-high heat until light brown. Add the potatoes to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes, or until tender. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Remove from the heat.
3. In a bowl, rapidly whisk together the egg yolks, the cream, and whatever oyster liquor you were able to gather. Add the chives, Cheddar, a pinch each of salt and pepper, and the bacon-potato mixture and whisk to mix. Divide evenly among the oysters, spooning it on top. Dust the tops with the bread crumbs, then finish with a piece of butter.
4. Pull the cast-iron pan out of the oven and carefully nest the oysters in the hot salt. Return the pan to the oven and cook for 4 to 7 minutes, or until the tops start to turn golden. Serve immediately.
(“Reprinted with permission from The Art of Living According to Joe Beef by Fredéric Morin, David McMillan & Meredith Erickson, copyright © 2011. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.” Photo credit: Jennifer May © 2011)