Friday, April 30, 2010

Soup Week 16 and 17

Here's a pot a vegetables about to boil vigorously in water, thus creating a lovely broth just right for soothing an upset tummy...

Actually, these are not really vegetables but vegetable scraps. I save the stems, peels, skins, etc. in the freezer until I have enough to make broth. Add some peppercorns and a bay leaf, simmer in water and voila, homemade soup stock.

A few days later, I boiled the broth with rutabaga, carrots and apples, then pureed it to make another great soup.

So, here it is week 16 and my New Year's pledge to make a pot of soup per week, with local Saskatchewan ingredients, is still on track!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Prairie Feast book events

Check out my book blog for all the great events lined up around Saskatchewan (and afar) to celebrate the launch of my new book Prairie Feast. See the list of events here.

“Prairie Feast taps into a universal desire to find ourselves, our community and our history through the food we eat. It’s not about miles or greenhouse gasses or “doing the right thing” (although that is a bonus), but about rediscovering the roots of a daily ritual that nourishes us body, mind and soul.”

Monday, April 19, 2010

Newspaper Column - Prairie Feast

This column appeared in today's Star Phoenix
The chives are up, the robins are singing and it’s a good time to launch a book. Particularly a book that was inspired by such a day as this. It was mid April 2005 when I snipped some chives from my garden, sprinkled them on a hot German potato salad and launched into a year of eating from the bounty of Saskatchewan.That adventure provided the inspiration for my new book, coming out in early May, Prairie Feast: A Writer’s Journey Home for Dinner.

It’s a collection of humorous stories, each one based on a local food adventure, such as a trip to the Bruno Cherry Festival, an excursion to pick mushrooms near La Ronge and the misadventure of learning to make pickles with my mom. Along the way, I learned a few things about myself, my community and my attachment to the prairie landscape in which I call home.

Back in 2005 when I embarked on a year of eating locally, words such as locavore, food miles and the 100-mile diet were not yet in the popular lexicon, and I had a hard time explaining to some folks why on earth I would choose to favour foods produced in Saskatchewan. I was motivated by a strong desire to reconnect with the flavours of my childhood – the fresh farm eggs, big roast chickens, yearly excursions for saskatoon berries and those venerable prairie traditions of canning and fall (or is that fowl?) suppers.

I was also inspired to learn more about food and agriculture in Saskatchewan. As a former country girl, I knew that our farmers are producing more food, and different types of food, than the pioneers ever thought possible. Yet, much of it is shipped out of the province to processors and markets in other parts of Canada and the world. I wanted to tap into those established sources and find new sources of unique prairie foods, and I wanted to learn how people in other parts of the world were cooking the foods that we provide.

I also wanted to connect with those farmers and gardeners who don’t give two hoots about export markets – the smaller, sustainable operations that cater to the local market and to customers just like me. I had also been reading about the connection between greenhouse gas emissions and the distance that food travels. The fact is, eating is one of the least environmentally friendly things we do because of the huge requirement for fossil fuels, from the fertilizers to the tractors to the refrigerated trucks.

As the farmer-poet Wendell Berry wrote: “How we eat determines, to a considerable extent, how the world is used.”

Officially, my year of eating locally is long over, but the lifestyle isn’t. Why give up a good thing? I’ve connected with local farmers, built supply lines with friends, learned to preserve the summer’s bounty and rediscovered the fresh wonderful taste of food that is unprocessed, raised in a natural environment and picked at the peak of perfection.

That’s the sentiment of Prairie Feast. It taps into our universal desire to find ourselves, our community and our history through the food we eat, and to rediscover the roots of a daily ritual that nourishes us body, mind and soul. Please join me, and the publisher Coteau Books, as we launch Prairie Feast with a couple of events in Saskatoon:

Sat., May 8, Souleio Bistro, an evening of food and wine, 265 3rd Ave. S., 979-8102

Wed., May 19, McNally Robinson, a local dinner in the Prairie Ink Bistro, 3180 8th St. East, 955-3599

I will also be signing books at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market on Sat,, May 15, and Wed., June 30. Details of all events can be found on my book blog: Events are planned for Regina, Calgary and Toronto, as well as communities around the province (including my hometown of Craik), so please pass this on to anyone you know with a soft spot for prairie food and culture.

I’d like to say a special thank you to the Star Phoenix for allowing me to write this column, Home for Dinner, for the past five years, from which I drew the inspiration and encouragement to write Prairie Feast.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I hate shopping...

...But today I finally bought a stove and fridge for my new house. Here's the stove, from the General Electric Cafe series.

(That's not my kitchen -- the picture is from the GE website. Below is my kitchen.)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Soup Week 15 - Moose Sopas

My New Year's resolution is going strong despite the sudden arrival of summer!

This week's soup is Moose Sopas. Orignally, it was called Beef Sopas, but since I made it with moose roast...

I found the recipe in an old Saveur magazine but you can now find it online.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Best french fries in my humble opinion

Some time ago, someone asked me to name the best food deal in Saskatoon for $5 or less. I didn't have an answer. What can you get for less than $5 that isn't fast food? But after last night, I will gladly declare that the best food deal in Saskatoon for $5 is a large bowl of hand cut, locally grown, truffle infused french fries at Truffles Bistro. No need for salting or ketchuping. Just yummy!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Soup Week 14 - Lamb and Three Lentil

This week's soup is Lamb and Three Lentil - brown, green and little red lentils. All grown in Saskatchewan, of course.

Chop one onion, several cloves of garlic and a few carrots. Saute on medium low in a couple big glugs of canola oil until soft. While cooking, stir in dried crumbled sage and thyme.

Add the lentils - about two cups in total, maybe a bit more. Turn up the heat to medium. Stir lentils so they're well coated with onins and oil until they're shiney and starting to stick to the bottom of the pot.

Add a meaty lamb bone. Cover generously with water (I used homemade lamb broth). Boil, then turn heat down to a simmer for an hour to more. Skim the foam off the top a couple of times. Add more water as it cooks down. After a good simmer, turn off the heat and cool soup down. Remove the lamb; pull the meat off the bone, cut into small pieces and put the meat back into the soup.

Reheat the soup. Flavour with salt and pepper to you taste. Yummm.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Book events for Prairie Feast

My new book Prairie Feast: a Writer's Journey Home for Dinner is coming out in May!

We're planning a host of great events to introduce the book to the world. You'll find all the details for the events listed here on the Prairie Feast book blog:

Sun., May 2, 6 pm, dinner at the Saskatoon Farmers' Market
Sat., May 8, 7 pm, Souleio Cafe, Saskatoon
Tues., May 11, 7 pm, The Waterford Showhome, Regina
Wed., May 12, 6 pm, potluck dinner with Regina Eco-Network
Wed., May 19, local food dinner, McNally Robinson Booksellers Prairie Ink Restaurant, Saskatoon
Sun., May 30, 4-6 pm, Gilead Cafe, Toronto
Tue., Jun 1, 7 pm, house concert with Elizabeth Shepherd, The Hayloft, Saskatoon
Sat., June 19, 7 pm, Solar Fair, Craik
Thu., June 24, 7:30 pm, University of Regina

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Tourism spies local Saskatchewan food

Saskatchewan cuisine is attracting attention from the Canadian Tourism Commission. So get out there and see what it's all about before the tourists beat you to it!

Blue Potato Salad at New Ground Cafe, Birch Hills

Friday, April 02, 2010

Soup Week 13 - Roasted Squash and Pinto Bean

Found a couple of squash languishing in the basement and roasted them. Then made them into soup with some local pinto beans. So good I forgot to take a picture!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

My New Kitchen

We've decided on a cherry kitchen with stainless appliances. At first, I thought we should have a "blonde" kitchen -- maple, preferably. That light Scandinavian look. But John had a stack of cherry just waiting for a project, and now that I see it materializing, I do like the look.

Cherry goes best with black or stainless appliances (not white), but I felt black was too dark for the room. Like a big sinkhole of light. So stainless it is.