Friday, December 31, 2010

Soup Challenge 2010

Whew... just finished Soup #52... thus completing a year's worth of Saskatchewan-based soups. Over the month of December I cooked up:

Week 49 - Lentil and Sausage
Week 50 - Pork Shish Kabob (made with leftover shish kabob)
Week 51 - Chicken Noodle (which became...)
Week 51 1/2 - Chicken Carrot and Chickpea
Week 52 - Christmas Ham Spilt Pea Soup (made with leftover ham)

So, I must decide my new food resolution for 2011...

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Delicious Christmas Gift

I always say the best gifts are edible, so I was delighted to receive this basket from Over the Hill Orchards for Christmas. The basket includes jelly, toppings and chocolates made with Saskatchewan-grown cherries, blueberries and saskatoons. I'll write more about each item as we open and enjoy it. 

Over the Hill Orchards is a venture of Dean and Sylvia Kreutzer, who live near Lumsden. Their primary fruit crop is the sour cherry developed at the University of Saskatchewan, which they sell under the trademark of Prairie Cherry. I love their packaging and think it's a great "ambassador" for the new wave of professional food processing in Saskatchewan.

Valentine's Day is fast approaching so why not give a "bottle of red" to your special someone. Check out the range of products on the orchard website

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Ukrainian Christmas at the Farmers' Market

Saskatchewan is so special we get two Christmases!

Ukrainian Christmas falls on Friday, January 7, and the farmers' market is celebrating with a locally-sourced Ukrainian Christmas feast on Sunday, January 9. Dinner starts at 6 pm and includes the traditional twelve dishes and performance by the Pavlychenko Folklorique Ensemble. $25 adults/$15 for children 12 and under. Buy tickets here.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Raw Milk Debate - Pasteurization

There are many public health warnings about drinking fresh, raw milk that has not been pasteurized. Learn about these risks before making your personal decision. If you would like to learn more about pasteurizing milk at home, see these links:

University of Guelph
Michigan State University
Mother Earth News

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

When I get fresh milk from a farmer I make this cheese, but you can also use milk from the store. Citric acid is the acidity of lemons in powdered form available from drug stores.

16 cups whole milk
1 tsp. citric acid in 1/4C cool water
1tsp. salt

Put the milk in a thick-bottom stockpot. Stir in the citric acid solution and the salt. With the burner on low, heat the milk until it reaches 190 F. stirring occasionally so the milk doesn’t stick to the pot. As it nears 190 F. you will see curds forming in the milk. When it reaches 190 F., take it off the heat and let the milk sit for ten minutes. Pour the contents into a colander lined with cheesecloth. Drain for about an hour. This cheese can be used in any recipe calling for ricotta. It also freezes well.

Make Ricotta Cheese Pie.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christie's Bakery on Broadway

Just in time for winter! A lot of folks have been wishing for years that Christie's Bakery would open a second location in the Broadway Area. Yeah finally!!

It's called Il Secondo and it's all about good coffee, real bread and authentic Neapolitan pizza cooked in a wood-fired oven. I warn you, this is not pizza for those folks who want gobs of meat and cheese on a big chewy crust. This pizza is all about thin exquisite flavour. It would not be an exaggeration to say this is the best pizza I have ever tasted. Really!

I'll also warn you that Il Secondo closes at 6 pm, so don't tarry.

(While there, check out the rustic beam over the pizza oven and note the similarity to the beams in my new kitchen. Yes, they're from the same tree!)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Terra Madre Day in Saskatchewan

John and I celebrated international Terra Madre Day at the New Ground Cafe in Birch Hills, near Prince Albert. Now that I think of it, every day is a Terra Madre Day at the New Ground Cafe, where Jenni fills her chalkboard menu with the local bounty.

Two years ago, Jenni attended the Terra Madre symposium in Turin, Italy. This symposium is held by the Slow Food organization to celebrate and encourage the preservation of local food traditions all over the world. She's an excellent ambassador for Saskatchewan.

Here's her Terra Madre lunch. It was all good but I'm still dreaming of that fabulous soup!

Jenni's got some delicious events planned this month:  
Thursday Supper Dec.16th: A Vegetarian Celebration!!!! My favourite type of cooking and a wonderful gift for the vegetarian on your list. Starts at 6 p.m..

Saturday, December 18th: 10 a.m to 1 p.m. Egg Nog Red River French Toast, Carrot Rhubarb Muffins, Santa's Rocket Fuel Chili and Bannock. NEW GROUND CAFE' SECOND ANNUAL MINI COOKBOOK will be finished and available for sale. Reserve your copy ahead of time as I think I'll only have time to make 50. Also available...NGC Bannock Mix, Naughty Biscotti with Wild Hazelnuts and Dark Chocolate in a mug with Cocoa Camino Fair Trade Hot Chocolate Packets and gift certificates in any amount.

Thursday Supper, December 23: TBA

Friday, December 24th: Our annual Christmas Eve brunch!!!! Served from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.. A combination of all the favourites from our December brunches, with some surprises. Reservations required as this is a popular event. Only one rule, you have to be jolly!

If you'd like to get the New Ground Cafe e-newsletter, drop a note to Jenni at newgroundcafe at sasktel dot net.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Soup Week 47 - Faba Bean

Larry Marshall, an organic farmer from Shellbrook, gave me a yogurt container filled with his dried faba beans. Like so many crops we grow in Saskatchewan, faba beans originate in the Middle East. (Rumour has it, faba beans were found in the ruins of Jericho, circa 6200 BCE.)

Also known as broad beans, they are gaining popularity among Saskatchewan farmers who practice crop rotation (planting different crops on the land each year, usually in a four-year cycle) thanks in part to new varieties developed at the University of Saskatchewan specifically for our growing conditions.

I wish I could tell you where to buy Saskatchewan-grown faba beans, but as far as I know, they are not available in stores.  

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Raw Milk Debate

Folks who would like to buy raw milk directly from the farm may be interested in meeting Michael Schmidt, a dairy farmer from Ontario and crusader for the direct sale of farm milk. Mr. Schmidt was prosecuted for selling his milk, but was acquitted in court. However, selling raw farm milk is, for the most part, illegal in Canada. (Read the National Post article.)

Mr. Schmidt is giving a presentation in Regina: Dec. 5, 2 pm at St. Mary's Anglican church (corner of 15th Ave. and Montague Street). For more information, please contact Jana Kutarna (306) 586-0887.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Soup Week 46 - Beans and Wieners

Suddenly it's cold, and hubby's working outdoors in the snow. Here's the view from my new kitchen window. Obviously, this man needs soup.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Soup Week 45 - Fish soup

Leftover Lake Diefenbaker trout, carrots, tomatoes and potatoes - and a fish stock made the day before with the fish head. Never discard a fish head...

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Soup Week 44 - Memories of Meadow Lake

I picked up this bag of Yukon Gold potatoes in Meadow Lake while at a book event for Prairie Feast. Then John got overly ambitions and cooked up a mess of mashed potatoes. 

I will confide, I'm not a big fan of mashed potatoes, so I turned them into soup. Add onions, bacon and chanterelle mushrooms and, well, those mashed potatoes were mighty good. I hardly noticed them!

My Saskatchewan soup project is in the home stretch -- just a handful of weeks to go in my New Year's resolution to cook 52 soups, one for each week in 2010.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Gold Medal Plates Saskatoon

What a foodie fantastic evening! Ten chefs outdid themselves with wonderful creations and, I'm proud to say, every one of them filled their menu with Saskatchewan ingredients - from pickerel cheeks to wild boar belly, from lentils to wild rice cracker, from black pansy syrup to pea shoot foam.

I had the wonderful opportunity of sitting on the judge's panel. A tough decision, to be sure, but the clear winner was Chef Dan Walker of Wizceria, a restaurant in Saskatoon's Broadway district. Here are pictures of the winners with mouth-watering descriptions by fellow judge, the food and wine writer James Chatto.

Taking the gold medal by a unanimous decision of the judges was Chef Dan Walker of Weczeria Food and Wine in Saskatoon, by far the smallest restaurant in the competition. His strip of wild boar belly was perfectly textured – crisp where it needed to be, unctuous elsewhere, and richly flavoured. An almost undetectable scattering of crumbled pecans added an extra dimension. Beneath the belly we found some pulled leg meat from the boar, moist and sapid from a well-seasoned marinade. Two purées – one of carrot, the other of jerusalem artichoke – were delightfully lightweight but also full of flavour, matched by crisps made from the same vegetables. Two soft, pan-fried potato gnocchi were exemplary in texture and useful for mopping up a finishing flourish of green herbal oil. The winning wine was a great match – a wine that has already captured gold elsewhere in this year’s campaign – Rockpile 2008 from Road 13 winery in the Okanagan

The silver medal was awarded to Chef Ryan Marquis of the Delta Bessborough Hotel in Saskatoon. Front-and-centre on his plate stood a hen’s egg shell filled with a spectacularly luxe foie gras crème brûlée that many of the judges deemed to be the single most delicious item of the evening. Beside it stood a big square-cut slab of smoked pork belly with a maple molasses glaze and more dots of the black, deeply flavoured glaze decorated the plate. A stripe of parsnip purée and a crisp parsnip chip represented the vegetable kingdom. Chef’s wine choice worked well – the awesome 2008 Nota Bene from Black Hills winery in the Okanagan, British Columbia.

Our bronze medallist was Chef Anthony McCarthy of the Saskatoon Club. He braised Berkshire pig cheeks to the point of tenderness and sauced them with the braising liquid and a pork demi-glace made from the pig’s bones. The lean meat stood beside a small and elegant pirozhki filled with a purée of semi-dehydrated Prairie Sensation apples, touched by a subtle hint of black truffle. A fava bean purée added lovely colour to the plate and a delicate apple cider cream picked up the flavour of the pirozhki. Chef had twisted a very crisp, lightweight strip of crackling into the Q of a pig’s tail and the dish was finished with a couple of perfect little golden chanterelles foraged in the Whitefox area by a gentleman called Lorne Terry. “Call it ‘pork and beans,’” said McCarthy. So we did. The wine was a good match – the dry, aromatic 2008 Pinot Blanc from Peller Estates in B.C.’s Okanagan valley.

This was the first Gold Medal Plates chef's competition held in Saskatoon, and it raised the most money in the history of Gold Medal Plates - $400,000 for elite athletes. Way to go S'toon!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Soup Week 43 - Lentil Carrot Bacon

Grandma Lou's lentils in another pot of soup. I must admit that I accidentally burnt the soup (of course, who would burn soup on purpose?). To overcome the burnt taste, we added bacon, carmelized onions and honey. Not bad!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Prairie Feast Book Review

Author Shelley Leedahl had nice things to say about my book. Read the full review online.

“Prairie Feast: a writer’s journey home for dinner” is a literary, culinary, and, dare I say a cultural tour de force... I ate up her every word.

Another lovely review was published in the Edmonton Journal. Read it, too!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Soup Week 42 - Grandma Lou's Lentils

Grandma Lou is a good cook, and she has the lentils to prove it.

Grandma Lou (aka Louise McDougall) farms with her family near Moose Jaw. They have packaged their lentils, chickpeas and flax under the label of Grandma Lou's, complete with recipes.

I made Grandma Lou's lentil soup, but since I can't stand to follow recipes, I substituted chanterelle mushrooms for the potatoes and instead of celery, I used carrots (orange and yellow), then spiced it with a bit of cumin. Voila - délicieux!

Check out Grandma Lou's website for purchasing information.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Dine local with a local celebrity

The Saskatchewan Organic Directorate is pairing up local chefs, local celebrities, local farmers, local food and YOU for a super new idea called Dining with a Star. And yes, it will be recorded for future broadcast. (But of course, no one gets voted off the dining table.)

The first event is November 7 at Regina’s Creek in Cathedral Bistro. Savour Life Magazine editor CJ Katz (the celebrity) is pairing with Martin Snow and Ricardo Rodriguez (the chefs). Food supplied by Clear Creek Organics.

See the SOD website for all 15 events as they are posted. Tickets are $100/person and can be purchased by calling Marion McBride at 306-543-8732 or at the restaurant in question.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Soup Week 41 - Chicken Coconut

While moving into my new house, I discovered a can of coconut milk which I believe has been in my pantry for a very long time. So, rather than move it, I made it the basis for a lovely soup with the leftovers of my Thanksgiving chicken.

1 can coconut milk (2 cups)
3 cups chicken broth (homemade)
1 handful of leftover chicken
1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
2 chopped banana peppers (from my garden)
2 cups chopped chanterelle mushrooms (local, of course)
1/4 cup fish sauce
1 small leek, finely sliced (farmer's market)
1/2 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Put everything in the pot. Bring to a boil, then simmer until it's cooked and yummy (I simmered it with the lid on about one hour). Remove lemon before serving.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

No sour grapes

Yes, we do have a vendange in Saskatchewan! I spent a wonderful hour in the sunshine this afternoon picking grapes. My friend, David, who lives on the next block, invited me over to pick his grapevine. We popped them into the freezer and this winter, he'll juice them and I'll make grape jelly. But I saved a few perfect bunches just to eat...

Now I'll have to try my hand at making dolmades with the grape leaves, that Middle Eastern equivalent to the cabbage roll.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The First Thanksgiving... my new house! It was a potluck, so I can't say it was entirely local fare. And since one family member is gluten-free, rice does apprear on the table in various forms.

The locally-produced items on this menu include a big fat chicken, coleslaw, carrot sticks, grape tomatoes, cheddar cheese and a jar of cranberry jelly. (Thanks for the jelly, Judith!) Who knows... that squeeze tube of senf from Germany could well have Saskatchewan mustard in it, too.

Since I married a fellow from Wisconsin, we celebrate two Thanksgivings. I'm already planning the next one, which I'm quite sure will include a Saskatchewan cherry pie.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Moving in...

We've finally moved into our new kitchen (and new house) just in time for Thanksgiving dinner. This year, I'm giving thanks for a husband who can do fine things with wood!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Soup Week 40 - Potato Leek Corn Chowder

...with crumbled bacon. Rats, forgot to take a picture again.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Soup Week 39 - Pototo Leek

Bought leeks and potatoes at the farmers' market this weekend...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Manitoba Culinary Institute

My book Prairie Feast and I had an engagement this past week at the Manitoba Culinary Institute in Brandon (as part of the Winnipeg ThinAir Literary Festival). What a lovely place!

The students cooked a delicious local lunch featuring preserves and chutneys they made with produce from the gardens at the former mental health hospital. We ate in the dining room of the nurses' residence, a beautiful heritage building that houses the culinary school. A feast for the eyes...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Soup Week 38 -- Corn and Bean Soup

Last week's soup was delicious but I felt something was missing -- so I added a can of mixed beans. (No not locally grown, except perhaps for the chickpeas.) Voila, a whole new soup. That's the beauty of soup. It's always a work in progress...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Flavours of fall - Pear Pie

These pears were grown on a bit old pear tree in the University area of Saskatoon. The owner of the tree has no idea who planted it or how old it is, but it sure is prolific. It makes me sad to think of all the fruit that goes to waste each year for lack of someone to pick it, so we're always happy when we get a call to come pick pears.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Soup Week 37 - Corn and zucchini soup

I love soup. I love making soup. I love making soup without a recipe, just composing it as I go along with ingredients I have on hand. So, if anyone should ask for the recipe to this delicious fall soup, well, there isn't one! But I can tell you how I made it:

1) Cut the kernals off three or four raw cobs of corn. Place the de-kerneled cobs in a soup pot along with a big carrot, a celery stalk and a spring of fresh thyme. Cover with 6-8 cups of water and boil. Turn down and simmer about an hour. Strain the stock (placing and vegetables in the compost -- gotta keep the worms fed, too). Clean out the soup pot.

2) Melt a nob of butter in the soup pot. Add a chopped onion and one chopped clove of garlic. Cook until soft. Add one red pepper, chopped in a small dice. Cook until soft. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and chopped fresh thyme leaves. Add corn kernels. Pour on the corn cob stock and bring to a bubble. Turn town and simmer until the corn is cooked.

3) Add two chopped zucchini -- one yellow and one green. I used young zucchini about 2 cm across. Since it was young, I didn't peel it. If you're using bigger older zucchini, you might want to peel it and scoop out the pithy centre before adding it to the soup. At the same time, add a tbsp (more or less) of fresh chopped basil.

Simmer until the zucchini is tender. It won't take long. Taste the soup and add salt and pepper if it needs more. Yumm.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Prairie Feast Book Review

Check out the fall issue of Flavours magazine. Editor Brandon Boone has a few nice words "Insightful, personal and witty" for my book Prairie Feast. Read the full review by picking up a copy of Flavours free of charge in liquor stores in Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba.

You can also read my article in this issue of Flavours on Saskatoon's hot spot Scratch. The name says it all: made-from-scratch food and (after hours) the scratch of a pretty cool DJ.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Soup Week 36 - Corn Chowder

Every ingredient in this soup is from Saskatchewan except the pepper, and I bought that from a vendor at the farmers' market who harvests peppercorns on her winter farm in Costa Rica. So it's sort of Saskatchewan.

Corn Chowder

4- 5 big ears of corn, shucked
1 stalk of celery
1 bay leaf
Sprig of thyme
2 tbsp butter
1 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup flour
1 cup chopped carrots
2 1/2 cups chopped potato
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup each milk and cream

Using a sharp knife, hold the ear of corn upright on a cutting board and cut the kernels off the cob. (This produces 5-6 cups of corn.) Put the cobs in a soup pot with the celery, bay leaf and thyme. Add about 6 cups of water, bring to a boil, cover and simmer 30 minutes to create a corn-flavoured stock.

Sieve the stock into a bowl. In the soup pot, melt the butter and sauté the onion until soft. Sprinkle with flour and mix well.

Pour on the warm stock and give it a good whisk. Add the carrots and potatoes, cover and cook until the vegetables are just tender. Add the corn and cook another ten minutes. Stir in the milk and cream. Season with salt and pepper to your taste. Eat!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Soup Week 35 - Zucchini

In a summer that has broken records for cool and wet, I was not inspired to make cold soup. Except this one.

My neighbour Andrea gave me her aunt's recipe for cold zucchini soup, and if there's one thing I've got plenty of, it's zucchini. The soup was really good.

Even though, by way of a pre-nuptial agreement, I am not permitted to plant more than six zucchini at a time, I still manage to have more zucchini than I know what to do with!

My challenge to cook a pot of soup per week - 52 soups - in 2010 is well past the half way mark. I missed a few weeks back in the spring, but I intend to make it up now that fall is here.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Soup Weeks 33 & 34 - Mushroom

There was a tub of Saskatchewan chanterelles in the frigo so I experimented with mushroom soup. The second version had a much more satisfying ratio of mushrooms to broth.

Why skimp when mushrooms are plentiful, if only for a short period of time! 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Chickens and Beef

My freezer is now chock full with the addition of big free-range chickens from Cool Springs Ranch near Endeavour. Janeen and Sam brought a trailer-load of their meat products to the Saskatoon Field House parking lot, where their customers lined up for a chance to buy free-range and grass-fed meat, as well as eggs and dog food. You can check out their farm and place an order on their website.

While I was standing in line, I met Olivia from the Greenwood Springs Ranch near Bjorkdale. They're offering grass-fed beef to consumers in Saskatoon. They've got a nice website and I'll probably place an order there, too. But first I've got a eat some space in my freezer!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Food coloumn recipes and sources

My food column in today's newspaper contains some menu ideas for Local Foods Day on Sat., August 28. Here are the sources and recipes for those suggestions:

Bratwurst and other sausages: There are plenty of amazing butchers in Saskatchewan, so there's no need to buy sausages made anywhere else. What I love about our butchers is that so many of them incorporate a particular sausage-making tradition, from a particular part of the world, so you'll find unique items at each one. In the past year or so, I've bought sausages at:

Emco Meats in Saskatoon (East European), Maggie's Deli in Saskatoon (Polish), Pulvermacher Butcher in Bruno (German), Smokehaus in Martensville (Mennonite) and West Bridgeford Meats of Tugaske. I particularly like the breakfast sausages at the Smokehaus.

Potato Salad - Saskatchewan has a thriving potato industry, so always choose one grown close to home. Many of the potatoes sold in grocery stores are Saskatchewan potatoes, though not labelled as such.

The same goes for Eggs. Many major brand name eggs are laid in Saskatchewan.

Corn on the cob, homemade pickles and many other fresh and preserved vegetables - If you don't grow (and make) these in your family, you can always rely on the families at the Saskatoon Farmers' Market and the Community Farmers' Market (located at St. James' Church).

Cherry Ice Cream - Prairie Sun Orchard at the Saskatoon Farmers' Market.

Egg Salad Sandwiches - See my note about eggs above.

As for Bread, pick some up at a local bakery.

Fish - I buy fish at Fono's Fish at the Saskatoon Farmers' Market. It's caught north in Dore Lake.

As for Chicken, I usually buy direct from the farm such as Pine View Farms (available at Souleio Foods in Saskatoon) and most recently, from Cool Springs Ranch.

Recipes - These are my recipes, or some of my favourites recipes found on-line:
Chickpea and Apple Salad Chickpeas that are "product of Canada" were most likely grown in Sask.
Fish Cakes Catch your own or buy from Fono's at the Farmers' Market.
Wild Rice Salad I buy wild rice in bulk, but it's also available at the Sask Made Marketplace on 8th. St.
Red Salad All the "reds" are available at the farmers' market.
Lentil Cucumber Salad Be sure to buy Canadian lentils, because they are grown in Saskatchewan.
Apple Crisp Lots of local apples this time of year -- I like using crab apples.
Oatmeal Zucchini Cookies I buy local oats in big bags from Mum's on 20th St.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Crabapple Pie

My neighbours Andrea and Max have a big crabapple tree that hangs into my yard, which is pretty convenient for me since I love crabapples. As a kid on the farm, I used to pick an ice cream pail of crabapples and eat them while watching Saturday cartoons. I've always had a sour tooth...

Crabapples make a really good pie. Sure, it takes a little more time to peel and chop a bunch of smaller apples, but well worth the effort.

As a bonus, I made the pie crust with fresh-off-the-farm cultured butter, provided by a fan of this blog. I've read that a lot of top chefs prefer the flavour of cultured butter. And I think my pie crust never tasted better.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Eat, Love, Judge

I am now a certified BBQ judge in the Pacific Northwest BBQ Association! I took the certification course today and tomorrow I'll be judging the Saskatoon BBQ Championship 2010. (Details.)

The big competition is at the Saskatoon Farmers' Market but tonight it was a fun event with lots of BBQ and an amateur competition. It was interesting to note that BBQ draws quite a different crowd than the morning farmers' market...

I took the judges certification course at the invitation of Schryer's Smoked BBQ Shack. Thanks Schryer's!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Ian Brown likes the Smokehaus

The Globe and Mail's Ian Brown has been singing the praises of one of my favourite butchers - the Smokehaus in Martensville. Ian is on a national food road trip and visited Saskatchewan a few weeks ago.

The Smokehaus makes my favourite breakfast sausages, which we had for dinner tonight with blueberry pancakes. These blueberries are fresh-picked from the northern forest.

A lot of people think Saskatchewan is nothing but flat fields, but these people have obviously never picked blueberries here.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Lovely new Saskatchewan wines

I'm loving the new wines from Living Sky winery near Perdue, Saskatchewan. The rhubarb table wine is great with a lovely finish. The raspberry is yummy. The framboise is even yummier, and I could just about faint for the Juliette cherry fortified wine. And the labels are so cool.

The winery is a venture of Sue Echlin and Vance Lester, who saw fruit wines as a viable means of diversifying their farm. They planted acres of fruit (strawberries, raspberries, cherries, black currents and rhubarb [okay, not a fruit]) and consulted Canada's top fruit wine-maker, Dominic Rivard. Dominic has a good track record in BC, and now I dare says he has a great track record in Saskatchewan. 

Too bad the liquor regulations are such that you won't find their wine in the stores. Maybe someday we'll get over our liquor hang up (or hang over?) here in Saskatchewan. If you're interested, contact the winery.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Soup Week 32 - Broccoli

The broccoli in my garden started flowering so I picked it quick and made soup.

Prairie Feast in the Newspaper

Nice book review of Prairie Feast in the weekend Star Phoenix! Thanks to Bill Robertson for reading my book and giving it his thumb's up. I enjoyed sharing Bill's article with Habeeb Salloum, one of my favourite cookbook authors and a truly lovely gentleman.

"Prairie Feast is really a love song to Saskatchewan and its cuisine, imported, original, and improvised. "

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Sausage Fest 2010

Our annual Saskatchewan sausage extravganza!! Penny gave me a jar of her homemade mustard (which, if you've read my book Prairie Feast, you'll recognize as my favourite mustard in the world). I hated to share it, but in the end generosity prevailed!

Since Saskatchewan is one of the world's major suppliers of raw mustard seed, this is truely a local condiment.

As for the sausage, it was a tight race but my vote for the best locally-made sausage at Sausage Fest 2010 goes to the cherry sausage from the Bruno Cherry Festival. Juicy, meaty and yumm.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Soup Week 31 - Sausage Vegetable

After Sausage Fest, there were some sausages left over for this soup recipe from the BBC.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Soup Week 30 - Pinto Bean

Made with Saskatchewan grown pinto beans.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Chickpea Fruit Salad

Curt and Sarah visited from Regina. I didn't have time for grocery shopping so I made this salad with things we had on hand. The leftovers a few days later were still good.

1 clove garlic, peeled
½ inch piece of ginger, peeled
½ tsp salt
1 tsp each cumin and chilli powder
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive or canola oil
2 peaches
2 apples
2 cups cooked chickpeas
5 green onions, thinly sliced
½ cup fresh coriander, finely chopped

Smash together the garlic and ginger with the salt, cumin and chilli powder until it forms a fragrant pulp. Stir in the lemon juice and white wine vinegar. Drizzle in the oil, whisking until emulsified.

Peel and pit the peaches and apples. Dice them to the size of a chickpea. Mix the fruit in a bowl together with the chickpeas and green onion. Gently blend in the dressing. Cover and marinate at room temperature for 1-2 hours. Just before serving, stir in the fresh coriander.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

"Best Mushrooms in the World"

My mushroom supplier was the subject of a Globe and Mail article by roving food writer Ian Brown, who paid a visit to Saskatchewan a few weeks ago. I had no idea just how many mushrooms Lorne and Lois supply in chanterelle season -- 2,000 pounds every three days! They sell to a broker in Vancouver who says Saskatchewan chanterlles are the best! Read on...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dinner at Cultivate

Cultivate is the latest culinary venture of Chef Moe Mathieu -- it's a "pop up" restaurant at the Saskatoon Famers' Market with a distinctly Canadian flavour.

"Pop up" refers to the fact there is no restaurant. Moe and his crew of culinary students set up tables and start from scratch every day when the market closes. We met a group of friends for a sultry evening, with the big overhead doors of the market wide open to the evening air.

Amuse bouche of chunky apple sorbet and Rainier cherry. A lovely mouthful.

Acadia pea soup with long-roasted pressed pork and sour cream. The addition of green peas to the traditional split green pea soup was fabulous.

Raspberry sorbet on a bed of fresh basil. Now that I think of it, maybe it was cherry sorbet. No matter, the addition of fresh julienne basil was a surprising hit.

Coffee and donut shortribs (that's a timbit on top!). Melt in your mouth ribs - delicious even without Tim's.

Quebec inspired duck tortiere. Debbie overflowed with superlatives for this dish. 

Roast root vegetable pavé. Joan runs a market garden, so she had to try to pavé (which, we learned, means pressed). She was im-pressed!

Cherry sorbet on chocolate softcake with prairie cherry coulis. Even when my tummy is full, there's room in my heart for dessert. Especially chocolate and cherry.  

Cultivate does not have a liquor licence (due to what must be some of the wackiest liquor laws in the free world) but we made up for it by sipping these gorgeous cucmber mint juleps
(and no bourbon passed our lips!)


Chef Moe (left) working with his students in their borrowed kitchen at the farmers' market. Reservations 384-6262.