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.