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.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ice Cream with Local Flavours

My food column in today's Star Phoenix explored the delights of locally-made ice cream with Saskatchewan-grown flavours. Strawberry swirl, raspberry chocolate chunk, cherry fudge, apple pie, saskatoon berry and much more...

I featured four options in Saskatoon:
Prairie Sun Orchard makes ice cream with fruit from its own orchard. It doesn't get more "back to the land" than that! Available at the Saskatoon Farmers' Market and at River Landing. Pictured is Meaghan Reynolds serving me an ice cream cone at the River Landing kiosk.

Homestead Ice Cream on Victoria Ave. has several local flavours on tap, some of them seasonal. Ice cream aficionado Lynn Davey enjoys making ice cream, frozen yogurt and sauces with city-grown fruit delivered by patrons to her back door. Why waste good fruit?

At Jerry's Food Emporium on 8th St., there are several local flavours on the ice cream/gelato menu. Owner Elyse Proulx-Cullen learned to make gelato in Italy. Jerry's flavours are also sold at Saskatoon Co-ops, City Perks Cafe, Casino Regina and the Yellow Fender in Christopher Lake. The sour cherry gelato is yummmm.

Finally, my favourite: sea buckthorn gelato by Northern Vigor Berries. Sea buckthorn is a small orange berry with a tart tropical taste. It's made on contract at Jerry's and sold by Northern Vigor at the Saskatoon Farmers' Market.

Do you know a place to get locally-made ice cream with Saskatchewan-grown flavours? Send a comment and let us know!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Shelagh Rogers and Me

Tune in to CBC Radio One today at 1 pm for The Next Chapter with Shelagh Rogers recorded at my house in Saskatoon. Shelagh chats with four award-winning Saskatchewan authors - Allan Casey, Dianne Warren, Jo-Ann Episkenew and me!

The program repeats Saturday at 4 pm.

If you're not in Saskatchewan, check the CBC website for program times in your area.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Shishliki on the Lamb

So there I was, dashing along Hwy #5 to Kamsack, when I spied a sign for shishliki. So, I turned in. It was a sheep farm and the shishliki was made by the farmer. Who could resist? I bought a few packages before heading on my way.

Shishliki is marinated lamb or pork done in a style that was brought to Saskatchewan by immigrants from Russia. It's a popular delicacy in the Canora-Yorkton area. In fact, Sat., June 25 is Shishliki Day in Veregin.

I made shishliki once myself using venison and this recipe from the old Time-Life Foods of the World series. Darn good...

Friday, June 03, 2011

Down Under meets Up Here

Sometimes, we find common ground in the funniest places. Bec Hardy is from Kuitpo in South Australia and I’m from Saskatoon – both of which have strong temperance movements in their history. Which we discovered over a glass of wine...*

Bec’s wine, to be exact. She’s the daughter of Geoff Hardy, one of Australia’s most innovative vintners. She was in Saskatoon with her new husband, Richard Dolan, to showcase the wines from their K1 vineyard. (K1 stands for the 1st vineyard in Kuitpo, pronounced Kypo, which is now an upcoming wine area.)

(* Temperance movements are opposed to all “demon” alcohol.)

Lucky for me, we sampled the wines over a stellar meal prepared by Chef Ryan Marquis at the Delta Bessborough. Chef Marquis is a champion of local food and the meal was a lovely showcase for both the wines and the bounty of Saskatchewan.

We enjoyed quail balentine and sour cherry sauce with K1’s 2007 Gold Label Merlot. The wine absolutely charmed the cherry sauce, or was it vice versa?
Next, strip loin with fingerling potatoes (pictured) and wild mushrooms with K1’s 2008 Silver Label Cabernet Tempranillo. “It was a very challenging year because it was so hot,” says Bec. Well, I’d say they rose to the challenge. Yummm...

Interestingly, Bec and Richard were on their honeymoon. So, I’m glad they got to spend a night in the Chateau Bessborough. Their cross-Canada tour included several food and wine dinners with local chapters of the Opimian Society, which has exclusive access to K1 wines in Canada. Here’s the dinner in Vancouver.

Learn more about the Opimian Society.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Duck eggs...

from the Saskatoon Farmers' Market. I like that they're blue.

Parmesan Crust Asparagus Quiche
1 lb asparagus
1 tbsp butter
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
Small bunch of chives, chopped
5 duck eggs (or 8 chicken eggs)
1/2 cup cream (or half and half)
Salt and pepper
3-4 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
12 pansy flowers (optional)

Snap off the thick ends of the asparagus. Discard or compost the thick ends. Choose 12 spears and trim to 4 inches (10 cm). Grill or roast the 12 spears until partially cooked. Reserve these spears for the garnish. Chop all the remaining asparagus into 1/2 in. (1 cm) pieces and steam until partially cooked.
Melt the butter in a pan. Sauté the onion, red pepper and chopped asparagus. Toss in the chives. Meanwhile, use a fork to whip together the eggs and cream. Season with salt and pepper.
Grease a pie plate with a bit more butter. Sprinkle on the parmesan cheese, pressing it into the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Spread the onion mixture over the parmesan cheese. Top with the grated cheddar. Pour the eggs over all. Using a fork, press the cheese below the surface of the egg mixture.
Lay the 12 asparagus evenly on the top of the quiche like the spokes of a wheel. Set a pansy between each spear. Bake at 375F for 35-40 minutes. The quiche is done when a knife inserted into the centre comes out dry.