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!