Saturday, January 28, 2012

It's Chili on News Talk Radio

I'm talking chili and other winter comfort foods with Richard Brown of News Talk Radio. Listen on podcast: 
(scroll to Jan. 27, 2012)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Talking Comfort Foods on New Talk Radio

What makes a winter comfort food? Unfussy, familiar, frugal, warm your tummy, preferably one pot and, if I plan it right, leftovers for another meal. And add to that -- local ingredients for some "close to home" comfort. 
In Saskatchewan that includes...
A hardy pot of soup.
Warm German potato salad or...

Chili -- Start with two or three different meats. I like to use venison, if I have some in the freezer. Add to that some pork or lamb. For extra flavour, some tasty cooked sausages such as Italian or koubassa. How much? Perhaps a pound of each, give or take.

Cut the meat into bite-sized chunks. In a heavy pot, saute the meat in hot fat (butter, oil, bacon drippings or drippings from a roast). Salt and pepper the meat. If using venison, a couple of crushed juniper berries will taste nice. Cook the meat quickly until browned all over. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and continue until all of it is browned, including the cooked sausages.

Into the hot fat -- one big onion, a clove or two of garlic, perhaps a bell pepper and/or two sticks of celery -- all of it nicely chopped. When it's softened you can add a good sprinkle of crushed dried herbs -- sage, oregano, thyme, etc. Add the chili (fresh or powdered) now.

I like to add a good handful of dried Saskatchewan chanterelle or porcini mushrooms that have been softened in very hot tap water. Save the water.

Put the meat back into the pot with the onion mixture. Add 10-12 tomatoes -- I like to use my frozen garden tomatoes but canned tomatoes will do fine. Add two cans of beans and their water. Any beans will do such as black, navy, kidney, romano, chickpea or a mixed blend. Add the mushroom water. Top up with more water so that the meat is just barely covered. Simmer covered for a few hours. Taste and add more salt, pepper and chili as needed. Add more water as it cooks off.

When the meat is no longer chewy, but melts in your mouth, the chili is ready to eat. Chili is always better the next day (and the next day after that) so I try to make it the day before I intend to eat it. You'll notice that the leftovers get better and better each time you warm it up!  Now that's comforting...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Top Chefs at the Market

I love to shop at the Saskatoon Farmers' Market, but it's way more fun to eat there. Take the new Executive Chef Series at the market, which kicked off Thursday evening with a lovely, fresh, local and oh-so-yummy meal prepared by Chef Anthony McCarthy.

Dinner began with carrot ginger soup topped with fresh-picked sorrel. On a cold winter's night, a little bit of fresh green tastes so amazing. The salad was so simple and so delicious: one perfect cocktail tomato with dash of basil purée, a circle of balsamic reduction and a sprinkle of powdered - yes, powdered - cold pressed canola oil.

Next, smoked whitefish with lemon pepper and horseradish cream, nestled onto a "sheaf" of fresh cut pea shoots all dolled up with hemp oil dressing and nutty hemp seeds. (During the course of the evening's conversation I learned how to grow pea shoots at home, so here's to a little winter gardening...)

The entrée featured a shaving a waygu beef rolled around a filling of wild boar, next to a gooey cheesy lentil risotto and silky roast vegetables. A light dessert was in order: sea buckthorn gelato (my favourite!) with a compote of berries and chocolate paté.   

The next event in the Executive Chef Series is Thursday, February 16, with Chef Brent Lloyd. Check it out on the farmers' market website.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Slow Food Canada

I've hit the big time - Slow Food Canada!

My recipe for Cherry-Blueberry Cobbler was featured in the recent Slow Food newsletter. Check it out online.

Are you a member of the Slow Food movement? Would you be interested in started a "convivium" for Saskatoon and area? If so, let's talk...

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Local Food Talk

It's the middle of winter, the days are frigid and the nights are long. So, what's for dinner?

Eating off the local bounty can be a challenge outside the summer season, but not impossible. I'll be sharing some ideas for eating locally all year round.

When: 7 pm, Wednesday, January 11
Where: Cliff Wright Library, 1625 McKercher Drive.

Come share your inspired winter local meal ideas! Sponsored by the Saskatchewan Environmental Society