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...