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!