Monday, December 12, 2011

Book Website

My book Prairie Feast has a new website. Please check it out:

Thursday, December 08, 2011

A Menu for the Chili Season

Oatmeal porridge - sweetened with Saskatchewan maple syrup

Grilled cheese sandwich and a few carrots (Co-op cheddar which, I'm told, is made locally)

Venison Chili - flavoured with juniper berries picked in a nearby park

Friday, December 02, 2011

Pumkpin Muffins

My Halloween pumpkin met a happy ending, first in pumpkin pie and then in muffins. Yes, that pumpkin went down smiling...

1 cup of pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

Mix the baking soda into the pumpkin. Cream the oil and sugar, add the eggs one at at time and cream well.

Sift together the flours, baking powder, salt and spices. Add the flour to the eggs and stir just until it's mixed and no more. Add the pumpkin and blend just until it's incorporated.

Scoop into muffin tins. (I line the muffin tins with silicone cups.) Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Jack-o-Lantern Pie

Our Halloween jack-o-lantern has become our Thanksgiving pumpkin pie. American Thanksgiving, that is, since my better half is from south of the 49th. You can never be thankful enough...

That previous Saturday, America's Test Kitchen cooked the "perfect" pumpkin pie. I tried their recipe and it was the best pumpkin pie I've ever made. (The other one is a distant memory...) So, if you've still got a pumpkin hanging around, give it the pie treatment.

If you follow America's Test Kitchen, you know the recipes are long and detailed -- full of technique and the reasons behind it. So, follow this link for the full recipe. Note: I didn't use candied sweet potatoes, but instead used a good three cups of pumpkin puree. I baked the pumpkin and pureed it before using it in this recipe.

Further note: After pressing the pumpkin custard through a sieve, there was about a cup of pulp left over, which I will bake into pumpkin muffins this week.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Food Bank Challenge and Concert

I'm loving this blow-by-blow video record of food bank challenger Jarred from the band All of the Above... Start with episode one and work your way through to episode six where Jarred invents "ritzdogchos" with the dwindling contents of his food hamper. Hilarious. Can't wait for episode seven tomorrow. Saturday is the fundraiser concert Songs for Supper at the Refinery. See it on facebook.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Harvest Dinner for Eight

Dinner for eight is pretty much at the maximum limit of my culinary abilities. Even at that, I'm apt to forget something in the fridge or in the wine cellar. That's said, there's nothing I love more than to cook for a table full of hungry, happy friends... 
A velvety blend of pears from Dick and Verna's tree, plucked by hand and canned to perfection in a light honey syrup, paired with the earthy flavours of acorn squash grown in my community garden plot, spiced with a generous dash of Chatty's curry.

The beets were pulled from my garden just days before dinner (and just before a hard frost) roasted and served in the classic pairing with walnuts and goat's cheese, topped with a raspberry syrup vinaigrette. Many thanks to the lady at the end of the street for letting me pick her raspberry bush at its peak in August.

Hunter Stew (see recipe below)
Otherwise known in Italian as 'Cacciatore,' I love this stew for its earthy blend of herbs, mushrooms and a hardy free-range chicken. Served with noodles, which my husband rolled while I set the table.

Apple Pie
Oh my gosh... This was one of the best apple pies I've ever made. Must be the locally-grown apples I purchased last Saturday at the farmers' market.

Recipe for Hunter Stew
Cut a whole chicken into pieces. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a heavy pot. Brown the meat on all sides. Remove chicken from pot.

To the oil add 1 chopped onion, 2 sliced red peppers and 2 chopped cloves of garlic. Sauté until soft. Pour on 1/2 cup of dry red wine and simmer until almost evaporated, scraping up any brown bits in the pan. Add a mix of herbs to your taste: sage, oregano, thyme and/or rosemary. Return chicken to pan.

Add 10 homegrown tomatoes, fresh or thawed. Toss in a handful of chopped chanterelles (reconstituted dried mushrooms also work well). Add enough water to just cover the contents of the pot, place the lid and simmer on medium-low heat for 2 hours. If it gets dry, add more water. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

Meanwhile, cook a pot of broad noodles. Remove the chicken from the stew to a platter. Place some noodles in each bowl, douse with the sauce and pass the chicken on the platter.

Note: Since I was serving eight and one chicken was not quite enough, I added several Italian sausages which I had pre-cooked, browned and cut into chunks.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Gold Medal Plates Update

Read the full account of Gold Medal Plates' Saskatchewan stop written by food and wine aficionado, James Chatto. James has a lovely way with food words... don't you agree?

This podium shot includes bronze medalist Trevor Robertson of the Radisson Hotel (left), silver medalist Ryan Marquis of the Delta Bessborough (right) and the happy guy in the middle is gold medalist, Anthony McCarthy of the Saskatoon Club. (photo by CJ Katz)

Sunday, November 06, 2011

And the winner is...

Chef Anthony McCarthy of the Saskatoon Club is the winner of the Gold Medal Plates chef competition in Saskatoon last night. He did amazing things with a morel mushroom! Yummm. Now he'll represent Saskatchewan at a national competition in February.

I was so fortunate to sit at the judges' table. Here I am pictured with my judging colleague, Dee Hobsbawn-Smith. All the chefs created such amazing dishes... I've never eaten so well!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Saskatchewan Menu - Chocolate Overload

I'm eating healthy today to counterbalance all that leftover candy. Today's menu exemplifies the ordinary, everyday opportunities to eat locally:

Toast and jelly (Christie's Bakery bread and my raspberry jelly)

Grilled cheese and tomato sandwich (Co-op Cheddar and a garden tomato)

Sausages (Co-op) with sauerkraut (Kissel cabbage) -- and far too many mini chocolate bars!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Gold Medal Plates - Sneak Peak Alert!

Here is what's on tap Saturday night at Gold Medal Plates, the most fantastically delicious Olympic fundraiser in the nation. Need tickets? Buy them online.

Anthony McCarthy – Saskatoon Club, Saskatoon
Braised organic beef and cambozola gnocchi, fois gras and black truffle filled morel, corn coating, butternut squash puree, garlic chips, cabernet franc syrah demi glace. Wine: Cab Franc/Syrah – Nichol Vineyards (Naramata)           
Brent  Lloyd – Simple Chef, Saskatoon
Lake Diefenbaker Steel head trout on a walnut and truffle suppli (Italian risotto cake) with beet confit.  Finished with a gremola oil. Wine: Pinot Gris – Haywire Wines (Summerland)       
Derek Cotton – Bliss Restaurant, Saskatoon
Togarashi Sugar Crusted Salmon, Gold Beet Vanilla Puree, Lime Marshmallow, Preserved Grapefruit. Wine: Gewürztraminer – SYL Ranch/Vincor (OK Fals)            
JP Vives –La Bodega, Regina
THE TUNAMI  Seared yellow fin tuna, with a duo of honey/wasabi aoli and chili/lime aoli, spring salad with heirloom tomatoes and a light drizzle of pepper fused sesame oil, finished with fried vermicelli crystal lightly powdered with sweet ginger dust. Wine: Fats Johnson Pinot Noir – Ganton & Larson Prospect Winery (Okanagan)                                                   

Kevin Dahlsjo – Sublime Catering, Prince Albert
Lamb 3 ways. Wine: Blind Trust Red – LFNG (Naramata)    
Leo Pantel – Conexus Arts Centre, Regina
Sous vide Wild Boar loin with Lindeman’s Smooth Lambic apple brewed infused foam, Salsa Verde, Deep Fried Black Mission Fig and Foie Gras Ice cream. Wine: Tantalus Riesling

Martin Snow – Creek Bistro, Regina
Apple cider braised boar on a heirloom 'yellow yellow' potato and cabbage 'bubble and squeak'  in a prosciutto cup served with heirloom purple carrot, mustard and apple sauce, and topped with a prairie cherry dressed pea shoot, sunflower sprout and hempseed salad, garnished with golden beet chips and gingered red carrot. Wine: Orofino Riesling – Dunham and Froese (Oliver)

Ryan Marquis – Delta Bessborough Hotel, Saskatoon
Truffle scented sous vide Rabbit saddle, Cauliflower Parfait, red beet and white chocolate puree finished with balsamic truffle reduction and a green onion oil. Wine: Adieu Pinot Noir – La Vieux Pin (Black Sage Bench)
Trevor Robertson – Radisson Hotel, Saskatoon
A deconstructed Osso Bucco with Marrow Foam Buffalo Mozzarella and Italian Sausage stuffed Arancini With Asparagus Mouse and Rosemary cream. Wine: QWAM QMPT Syrah – Nk'Mip/Vincor (Osoyoos)
Vince Lapointe – TravelLodge Hotel, Saskatoon       
Confit of duck with grilled pears sided with a sour cherry compote and Sauvagine cheese.  Sweet bread and pancetta ravioli complemented with a roasted pumpkin sauce.  Apple smoked wild boar tenderloin wrapped with Northern Saskatchewan wild mushrooms.  Accompanied with beet puree and a dried fig port glacé. Wine: Cab Franc Rose – Peninsula Ridge (Beamsville)                                                                                                   

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Saskatchewan Menu - Comfort Food Sunday

Breakfast, lunch or dinner - our table was set with local comfort food today!

Breakfast: bacon and eggs (farmers' market)

Lunch: Four Grain Soup (wheat, barley, lentils and wild rice) with venison pepperoni and chanterelle mushrooms. Thanks, Rick, for the venison!

Dinner: Reuben Egg Rolls (Kissel sauerkraut)

Reuben Egg Rolls
10 egg roll wrappers
10 thin slices Swiss cheese
1 1/2 cups sauerkraut
10 thin slices corned beef
1 tsp crushed caraway seeds
1 egg beaten
Canola oil
Russian or Thousand Island dressing for dipping

Place an egg roll wrapper on the counter in a “diamond” shape, point toward you. Place a slice of cheese on the egg roll wrapper. Place a rolled-up slice of corned beef on top. Add about 2 tbsp sauerkraut and a pinch of caraway. Fold the bottom point over the filling and fold in the sides. Brush the surfaces of the wrapper with beaten egg to seal. Complete the roll, sealing the edges. In a saucepan, heat one inch of oil to 350F (medium high heat). Fry each egg roll until nicely browned on each side. Drain on paper towel and serve warm with dipping sauce.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Cooking for Gold

I won't make it to the Olympic Games in 2012, but I will make it to Gold Medal Plates.This is the swankiest, tastiest fundraiser in the country for our Olympic athletes. And it's back in Saskatoon on Saturday, Nov 5!
Here's the list of chefs who are competing for gold:

Ryan Marquis - Delta Bessborough Hotel, Saskatoon
Anthony McCarthy - Saskatoon Club, Saskatoon
Derek Cotton - Bliss Restaurant, Saskatoon
Kevin Dahlsjo - Two by Dahlsjo, Prince Albert
Vince Lapointe - Travelodge Hotel, Saskatoon
Brent Lloyd- Simple Chef, Saskatoon
Leo Pantel - Conexus Arts Centre, Regina
Trevor Robertson - Radisson Hotel, Saskatoon
Martin Snow - Creek Bistro, Regina
JP Vives - La Bodega, Regina

Lucky me - I'm one of the judges. Also at the judges' table is Chef Dan Walker of Weczeria, last year's gold medalist. Read last year's report and buy tickets at the official Gold Medal Plates website.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sauerkraut, mon petit chou chou?

I didn't grow up with sauerkraut, so it's not part of my culinary tradition. But I think, deep down inside, it is part of my ancestral heritage going back to the "Old Country" in Germany and Russia. So, I was excited to discover we have a thriving sauerkraut industry here in Saskatchewan.

Kissel Cabbage is located in Lumsden. It processes tens of thousands of cabbages yearly, which are grown nearby at Craven. I recently bought the sauerkraut and sour cabbage heads (which are used for making cabbage rolls). You can find them in grocery stores across Western Canada. Check it out: Kissel Cabbage.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Vote for Good Food

This election, put your vote where your mouth is!

I Vote Because Food Matters is a non-partisan education campaign to raise awareness about food as an election issue. When you vote on November 7th, we want you to think about the importance of food. Talk to your candidates and tell your friends and family. By taking action on food we can create a Saskatchewan with a healthy economy, healthy environment and healthy people.

For a list of food-related questions to ask candidates, visit I Vote Because Food Matters on facebook.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Saskatchewan Menu - Rewards of Canning

I dipped into my "stash" and opened a jar of preserved raspberries. I remember the day in late summer I picked these raspberries on a friend's farm -- hot and dry and blessedly mosquitoes free. Although... I would gladly run a phalanx of mosquitoes for sweet canned raspberries on a crisp fall day.

Today's Saskatchewan menu:
Breakfast: Muesli with yogurt and raspberry preserves.
Lunch: Four grain soup and Christie's rye bread.
Dinner: Rye bread with sliced sausage (Emco) and garden tomatoes (my dad); zucchini chocolate cake.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Saskatchewan Menu - Fish and Biscuits

Recycle, reuse and re-enjoy! When it comes to leftovers, that's my motto. Tonight, I took leftover trout and vegetables and turned them into pure comfort food: Fish and Biscuits.

Breakfast: Homemade muesli with yogurt.

Lunch: Chickpea Fruit Salad (leftovers from Friday's Auction Dinner) and Zucchini Chocolate Cake.

Dinner: Fish and Biscuits.

Start with leftover Trout on a Bed of Vegetables. Simmer the fish skeleton for an hour in 3 cups of water with some of the leftover vegetables, adding a bay leaf and a few peppercorns. Drain, reserving the liquid and composting the rest.

Bring the fish stock to a simmer in a large skillet. Whisk in 2-3 tbsp of flour. Add the leftover vegetables -- about 4 cups -- and leftover fish -- about 1 cup. (Crumble the fish and make sure all the bones are removed.) Season with salt and chopped fresh tarragon. Add a bit of water if needed.

While that simmers and thickens, make biscuit dough. I used a recipe from Joy of Cooking. Roll the dough and cut into small rounds with a cookie cutter.

Pour the vegetable mixture into a baking dish. Arrange the biscuits on top. Sprinkle with chopped dill. Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes, until the biscuits are just slightly turning brown.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Dining with the Stars on the Airwaves

If you're hooked on Dancing with the Stars (and even if you're not) you'll enjoy the new hit TV series -- Dining with the Stars.

These 13 episodes were recorded in restaurants around Saskatchewan and feature local chefs cooking with local produce. Each dinner includes a local celebrity and some of the farmers who provided the food. (Also celebrities in my books!)

The series was created by the Saskatchewan Organic Directorate -- Food Miles Campaign. It's showing on Access Cable in Regina (Sundays at 7:30 pm) and Shaw Cable in Saskatoon (Wednesday and Friday at 5:30 pm.) Here are the episodes for each week:

#1 October 23rd – The Saskatoon Club - Saskatoon
#2 October 30th – The Creek in Cathedral Village - Regina
#3 November 6th – The Fainting Goat - Regina
#4 November 13th – The Banbury House Inn - Wolseley
#5 November 20th – The Abbey – Regina
#6 November 27th - Two by Dahlsjo – Prince Albert
#7 December 4th - Beer Brothers – Regina
#8 December 11th – The Willow on Wascana – Regina
#9 December 18th – The New Ground Café – Birch Hills
#10 December 25th – Weczeria – Saskatoon
#11 January 1st - Calories – Saskatoon
#12 January 8th – The Radisson Plaza Hotel Saskatchewan – Regina
#13 January 15th - Craik Eco Centre - Craik

Pictured: Chef Moe Mathieu's steak tartare - Episode 13.

Prepare to be hungry!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Saskatchewan Menus - Auction Dinner

Last spring, I provided an auction item at a fundraiser for the McClure Foundation that included a copy of my book Prairie Feast and dinner at my house. Yesterday was the big day...

Cold cuts from Emco Finer Foods --
including their award-winning koubassa.
Prunes wrapped in bacon. The prunes weren't local, but the bacon was purchased from Wingeier's at the Saskatoon Farmers' Market.
Sliced tomatoes -- from my garden
Bread from Christie's Bakery -- baguette and German rye

Trout from Wild West Steelhead (purchased whole at the SaskMade Marketplace) baked on a bed of carrots, onions, parsnips and celery. The vegetables came from the farmers' market and my dad's garden. Tarragon from my herb patch. (recipe)

Wild rice. Purchased at the SaskMade Marketplace.

Chickpea and Fruit Salad. (recipe)
Canned chickpeas labelled "Product of Canada." Apples from Petrofka Bridge Orchard. Cumin from a local farmer. Chili powder and garlic from the farmers' market. (Instead of peaches, I used nectarines from the farmers' market and the vendor from B.C.)

Apple pie with cheddar cheese. I picked the apples from a tree in the neighbourhood. Armstrong cheddar made locally by Saputo.
Juliette Cherry liquor from Living Sky Winery.

Thank You Rick and Joy for a wonderful evening!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Saskatchewan Menus - One day at a time

I was recently asked, "What do you eat?" Seems some people can't imagine what a local diet looks like. So, now and then, I'll post our daily menus with sources (and some recipes) as inspiration to all Saskatchewan locavores. Starting with...

Breakfast: Cheerios. Saskatchewan is the largest supplier of oats to the big brand name cereal companies, so even though Cheerios are made in the U.S., they are a taste of Saskatchewan.

Lunch: Re-heated wild rice. Leftovers from another meal, seasoned simply with salt and pepper. The wild rice was harvested near La Ronge and purchased at the SaskMake Marketplace

Dinner: Pasta with tomatoes and basil. Purchased pasta labelled "Product of Canada" -- the durum wheat is grown in Saskatchewan. Tomatoes and basil from my garden.

Garden tomatoes ripening in the kitchen.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Community Gardens not just for Good Food

Over the summer, U of S students studied the benefits of community gardens in Saskatoon and found it's not just about good food. Community gardens also feed our social, psychological and cultural well being.

According to the researcher Natasha Haskey:

“After the study I thought, wow! A community garden can have this kind of impact on people. Imagine what we could do with all the empty land around Saskatoon…"

Yes, indeed. Read the full article in On Campus News.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How do I love lentils...

... let me count the ways.

#1 - Lentil sprouts on a tuna salad sandwich. Sprouting the lentils adds a whole lot of nutrition to an already nutritious food, plus turns a tuna salad sandwich into a vector for my local diet.

I discovered this lovely combination last week while taking the Food Bank Challenge. My food hamper included a tin of tuna and enough lentils to feed a battalion.

Want to sprout your lentils? Follow these instructions.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Lentils Anyone?

Someone asked me recently, "Where do you source Saskatchewan-grown lentils?" The good news is, any lentil for sale in the grocery store (canned or dry) that is labelled a 'Product of Canada' is primarily grown in Saskatchewan. Currently, there are three kinds of lentils in my pantry:

Red split lentils (centre)
Diefenbaker Seed Processors of Outlook packages lentils under its label Kashmir Valley. I purchased these at the Medina grocery store on Central Avenue in Sutherland. See the Kashmir Valley product list

Small green lentils (right)
These were included in my food basket when I took the Food Bank Challenge earlier this month. According to the Food Bank, they were donated by a local farmer.

In have also sourced green lentils from Grandma Lou's, which are grown and packaged on the McDougall farm near Moose Jaw.

Black 'beluga' lentils (left)
These were a gift from a farmer. However, you can buy these and other lentils at the SaskMade Marketplace on 8th Street in Saskatoon.

Tomorrow... one of my favourite ways to enjoy lentils!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Food Bank Challenge

It's over (at midnight)! We ended our one-week Food Bank Challenge with lentil burgers. Pretty darn good and appropriate to this blog, since the lentils came from a local farm.

So, here are some guidelines for the next time I'm asked to donate an item for the Food Bank:

1. Avoid foods that have to be cooked. No Stove Top Stuffing.
2. The exception to 1. is foods that are cooked simply in boiling water. Pasta is good. Include a sauce.
3. Give tinned fruit. There was no fruit in my food basket. What I wouldn't give for a tin of peaches right now.
4. Don't give food you wouldn't eat yourself. That goes for cheaper quality brands.
5. Don't give food that is about to expire. I've eaten a lot of old bread this week.
6. Include something quick and filling for that bread - peanut butter, jam, cheeze whiz, nutella...
7. Think of the children. Give them a healthy treat - raisins, cheese sticks, etc.
8. Energy bars might be a nice touch. Tasty, quick, filling, easy.
9. Desserts. [Cancel #9 - I've since learned there are no cookies or other desserts in Food Bank baskets.] I haven't eaten sweets for a whole week, except in pre-sweetened oatmeal poridge. My sweet tooth is pouting...
10. Be generous.

Want to know more? Read the Food Challenge blog.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Food Bank Challenge

Day 3 of the Food Bank Challenge and I'm snacking on uncooked Stove Top Stuffing. Sheesh... Tonight I canned 10 jars of corn salsa. Thankfully the Food Bank diet lasts just one week!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Food Bank Challenge

It's Day #1 of the great Saskatoon Food Bank Challenge! For one week, participants are eating off the contents of a typical food basket. It looks like plenty of food -- but the wrong food. Lots of bread but no fruit. Quite a few veggies but little protein. (It's a misconception that every food hamper contains peanut butter!) No sweets what-so-ever.

As for locally-grown food, I'm pleased to see potatoes, carrots and lentils. Still, I've pretty much exchanged my local diet for a poverty diet. But just for a week. Check out the Food Challenge blog.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Season for Chocolate Zucchini Cake

There is one very large zucchini left in my garden. I'm seeing how big it will grow before frost forces it indoors. And then I can make even more zucchini chocolate cakes!

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temp
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 cups grated zucchini

1 tsp grated orange peel (optional)
Handful of chocolate chips

Heat oven to 325°F. Butter and flour a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan.

Sift the flours, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt into bowl. In another bowl, beat sugar, butter and oil until light and creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Beat in vanilla. Add the dry ingredients alternating with the buttermilk, with three additions of each. Mix in zucchini and orange peel. Pour batter into pan and sprinkle with chocolate chips.

Bake 40-50 minutes, until a knife inserted in centre of cake comes out clean.

Monday, September 05, 2011

I'm enjoying a daily cup of chaga tea. I've read that it will cure many ailments, but I'm mostly enjoying the woodsy flavour. One sip and I think instantly of waking up on a spruce covered island somewhere north of La Ronge.
My friend Curtis (who picked this chaga in northern Saskatchewan) told me to grate the chaga before boiling it, but it's hard to grate, so I've been plunking the whole chunk in a pot of water and boiling it whole. I wonder how many times I can boil it before I boil out all the goodness? And the taste of the forest...   

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Patio Party at the Farmers' Market

You know it's local when the Saskatoon Farmers' Market hosts a party. It's this Sunday 5-8 pm. The number of patio days left this summer are numbered, so take advantage of this opportunity!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Off to the Food Bank

Have you even been to a Food Bank? Not me. But I'm about to...

It's the Saskatoon Food Basket Challenge. For one week, I'll be living on the offerings of a typical food hamper. No cheating! (Well, I'm allowed a few select 'cheats' just to keep things interesting.)

Check out the Food Challenge website to see the other challengers and follow our progress on Sept. 13-20.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Apple Season

We paid a visit to the Petrofka Bridge Orchard, a short drive north of Saskatoon. The orchard store sells fresh-picked apples, dried apple rings, apple cidre vinegar and soft apple cidre.

And here's the apple tart I made with the apples from Petrofka Bridge Orchard. In France, it's famously known as Tarte Tatin because its creation is credited to a certain Madame Tatin. It's super easy and super wonderful with fresh tart apples.

Tarte Tatin
(Upside Down Apple Tart)
The number of apples needed for this tart will depend on their size and that of your baking pan.

3 tbsp water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp butter
6-8 apples
One square puff pastry

Heat water and brown sugar on medium heat. Stir to dissolve sugar. Boil, stirring until brown and syrupy. Stir in butter until melted. Pour into an 8 or 9 inch baking pan.          

Meanwhile peel, quarter and seed the apples. Arrange the quarters, core side up, nestled tightly in the syrup. Roll the puff pastry wider than the baking pan. Place over the apples, tucking in around the edges.

Bake 375F for 50 min. If the pastry becomes too brown, cover with tinfoil. Cool one hour, cover the baking pan with a plate and flip the tart onto the plate. Serve with ice cream or crème frâiche.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Canadian Culinary Book Awards

My book, Prairie Feast, has been shortlisted for a Canadian Culinary Book Award! It's nominated in the special interest category for books about food that are not cookbooks. The finalist will be awarded at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto on November 7.

See all the finalists on the official awards website.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Read Saskatoon Dinner

Scenario: Read 'n' Feed charity auction for literacy in Saskatoon. Auction item: An all-Saskatchewan dinner at my house. Bonus: Wines supplied by Dr. Booze, local wine columnist (aka James Romanow). The result:

Seared Flat Iron Carpaccio (recipe)
Chickpea Chilli Fruit Salad (recipe)
Tomato Tarts with Mustard Creme Fraiche

Palate Cleanser
Sea Buckthorn Gelato (source)

Main Course
Lake Diefenbaker Trout baked in salt (recipe)
Wild Rice and Dried Cherry Salad (recipe)
Grilled baby zucchini

Raspberry Mille Feuille (recipe)

Verdict: I cooked all day in the summer heat, but it was worth it! Thank you Gen and Glen, Dave and Judy, for supporting Read Saskatoon and coming for dinner.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lake Diefenbaker Trout

Whole 5-pound trout now available at the Sask Made Marketplace on 8th Street in Saskatoon. $25 each. Thanks, Ken!

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Flat Iron Carpaccio

Carpaccio requires a tender, tasty steak. Many recipes call for fillet of beef (the tenderloin) but I've discovered the pleasure of a flat iron steak from Benlock Farms, available at the Saskatoon Farmers' Market.


Pictured: Beef Carpaccio with Chickpea Fruit Salad

The beef is served close to raw, so you want to buy from a trusted source where the meat is guaranteed to be clean and fresh. And in my kitchen, I prefer it to be raised in Saskatchewan.

Seared Angus Flat Iron Carpaccio
Collect a handful of fresh herbs - oregano, thyme, sage, rosemary and a small bit of parsley. Chop very finely.

In a mortar and pestle, smash together one clove of garlic, two big pinches of rock salt and eight peppercorns. Add the chopped herbs. Drizzle in just enough olive oil to make a paste that will cling to the meat. Rub the mixture onto both sides of a semi-thawed flat iron steak. Wrap in plastic wrap. Before cooking, freeze the meat for two hours.

Heat a cast iron pan on high. Add the steak and cook until each side is well done, 5-7 min. per side. The steak should still feel quite raw inside when pressed with a finger. Cool, wrap and refrigerate until serving time.

With a sharp knife, shave the beef across the grain in very thin slices. Arrange on a plate. Drizzle with olive oil; sprinkle with tender arugula leaves and shaved Parmesan cheese. Serve with sliced baguette.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Where is your dairy from?

Here's a snapshot of the dairy products in my fridge. Each one carries a number identifying where it was packaged. So, where have they travelled from?

Dairyland Cremo (4015) - Saputo, Saskatoon, SK
Formost Milk (3907) - Formost, Winnipeg, MB
Apetina Feta (3610) - Amalgamated Dairy, Summerside, PEI
Dairyland Sour Cream (4015) - Saputo, Saskatoon, SK
Bari Ricotta (1900) - Saputo, St-Leonard, QU
PC Bocconcini (1900) - Saputo, St-Leonard, QU
Astro Yogurt (1545) - Parmalat, Toronto, ON
No Name Mozzarella (1680) - Saputo, Mont-Laurier, QU

Check what's in your fridge with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Moose Jaw Festival of Words

I'm excited to be invited to Moose Jaw's Festival of Words - July 14-18. I'll be presenting my book Prairie Feast at several events:

Fri., July 15, 1:30-2:20 - Library Reading Room
Sat., July 16, 12:15-1:15 - Community picnic in Crescent Park
(see poster below)
Sat., July 16, 4:00-5:00 pm - Yara Community Gardens
Sun., July 17, 11:20-12:10 - Library South Room

I'm open to other opportunities, so if you'd like to get together, send me a note!

Saturday, July 02, 2011

New Burger on the Block

Jerry's Food Emporium is showing off its new Artisan burger menu. Jerry and his wife Elyse treated me to a sampling: lamb with Greek topping (on the left), vegetarian (in back) and the classic Angus burger (in front).

Jerry tells me the Angus beef burgers are made from scratch with nothing added but his seasoning blend. The meat is sourced on the prairies. The difficulty in sourcing only Saskatchewan beef, he says, it that there is no appropriate slaughtering facility in Saskatchewan. In other words, Saskatchewan cattle go somewhere else (such as Alberta) for processing, where meat from various origins is mixed together. The same goes for lamb. It would be nice (for our restaurants and our farmers) to have processing facilities here in Saskatchewan.

As for those yummy fries, no, they're not made with Saskatchewan potatoes - yet. Jerry uses only Kennebec potatoes for their flavour, texture and thin skin. He says he can't get them in quantity in Saskatchewan but is working with a local farmer to change that. Go potatoes...

Conclusion: It's hard to eat local in local restaurants for various reasons (from regulatory structures to processing facilities to sheer quantities) but it's nice to know that some restaurateurs like Jerry's are making an effort to tap the local bounty.

Now, check out Jerry's ice cream!

Friday, July 01, 2011

Don't waste rhubarb!

Easier said than done! My rhubarb is suddenly soooo prolific. I canned four jars a rhubarb in honey-water for my winter enjoyment. But for quick eating, here's my favourite recipe for rhubarb muffins. I've had this recipe so long, I don't recall where it originated. I make it several times every summer.

Rhubarb Muffins
1 1/2 cups white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cup chopped rhubarb
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
Topping: 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tbsp melted butter, 1/2 tsp cinnamon

In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt. Stir in the rhubarb. In a mixing bowl, blend sugar and oil. Mix in egg, buttermilk and vanilla until well blended.

Pour the contents of the mixing bowl into the flour-rhubarb mixture. Blend with a wooden spoon as briefly as possible, just until the flour is incorporated. Spoon the batter into a 12-muffin tin (oiled or lined with paper cups).

Mix the topping ingredients together. Sprinkle evenly on top of each muffin. Bake at 350F for 20-25 min.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

New Weczeria

Chef Dan Walker "soft" opened his new location of Weczeria on Tuesday evening and we were there! The food was great and the atmosphere is urban funky.

Note the lacy windows and the lighting made from mason jars. There's also a lot of reclaimed barn wood and old farm windows. Designer Adam Pollock did a great job in a style dubbed "modern root cellar." Now, if only some of those mason jars were filled with preserves and pickles!

We were a party of six so we ordered one of everything on the small but perfect menu (which came to the table on a chalk board propped on a chair). Apps: I'm partial to Dan's gnocchi, which are light as pillows. The beef tartare was fab, too. Mains: well, I'm crazy for slow cooked pork and it was perfect. Pictured is the pickerel on wild rice with blueberries.

A peek in the gleaming new kitchen. Wezceria is now located at 820 Broadway Avenue in Saskatoon. It's the same great food - high on creativity and local flavours - in a more personable atmosphere.