Tuesday, July 30, 2013

August 3rd is Food Day Canada – Join the Celebration of Local Foods!

This Saturday celebrate the bounty of Canada’s unique food traditions and abundant local ingredients!  The first Saturday in August is now officially Food Day Canada, an annual celebration where Canadians can share their food and their food stories with each other. 

What is Food Day Canada? It all started about 10 years ago as a twinkle in Anita Stewart’s eye. Anita’s passion for promoting Canadian and its food ways is… well… legendary! (To learn more about Anita and her accomplishments go to Let’s just say Anita has a way of fanning the flames of passion that underlies the pride every farmer, fisher, chef and home cook feels about the food they produce. Through her writing, speeches and books she has helped us define Canadian cuisine and taught us how to celebrate it.
What is Canadian cuisine? The cuisine of Canadian is not something that you can conveniently define in one dish or even one meal. It is regional and reflects an area’s ingredients, landscape, climate, culture, people and history. It is evolving through agronomic research, our continuing tradition of immigration and the creativity of our chefs. It is seasonal, personal and man does it tastes good!  You can see the passion around it is contagious and Anita encourages us to puff out our chests and share our own version of Canadian cuisine.
So, how can you celebrate? First go to the Food Day Canada website – - and check out the Join the Party! Map to see what is happening in your area and across the country. Maybe there is an event at a local restaurant but if not you can plan your own party! Be sure to add your event to the map. In Lloydminster, you will see that I will be celebrating with a BBQ for family and friends featuring my husband’s favourite hamburgers, grilled chicken, Mom’s homemade buns and relish, salads made with lentils and whole grains and other vegetables fresh from the garden. For dessert – fresh Saskatoon and raspberry crisp. You can also follow and post on the Food Day Canada Facebook page or Twitter @fooddaycanada and #FoodDayCanada. I hope you join the party!

If you would like to explore more about Canadian food there are many great Canadian cookbooks. To name just a few:
1.     The Flavours of Canada written by Anita Stewart shares stories and recipes from each culinary region of Canada  - British Columbia, the Prairies, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic.
2.     Anita Stewart’s Canada also shares some fabulous food stories and recipes but based more on our classic Canadian ingredients.
3.     Canada’s Favourite Recipes by Rose Murray and Elizabeth Baird is a collection of recipes from passionate foodies across Canada. My Grannie Mann’s mincemeat is on page 264.
4.     The New Canadian Basics Cookbook by Carol Ferguson is the home cook’s guide to cooking just about everything! It has a great reference section and would be a wonderful gift for a new cook.
The recipes for this article are all courtesy of Anita Stewart’s Canada cookbook and the amazing photos are by Robert Wigington. I have left Anita’s notes at the beginning of each recipe as they tell the story of the recipes and are as important as any of the other ingredients! I tried to choose recipes that reflected each region of Canada and the variety of ingredients. Enjoy!

photos are by Robert Wigington.

Maple Pouding Chomeur
This delicious self-saucing pudding from the Laurentians in Quebec is laced with maple syrup and is a perfect winter dessert served with a bit of table cream.  When my son Mark’s in-laws were visiting from Kyoto, Japan, I added extra syrup and made it in a casserole then inverted it onto a big glass plate to let the sauce ooze down over the warm pudding.  You can add nuts or almost any other dried fruit to the batter to make it your own.  The translation is “Lazy Cooks Pudding” and in fact, it is very, very easy to make.  Anita
1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
2 cups (500 mL) all purpose flour
2 tsps (10 mL) baking powder
¼ tsp (1 mL) salt
1 cup (250 mL) milk
¼ cup (60 mL) melted butter
¾ cup (175 mL) maple syrup
¾ cup (175 mL) brown sugar
1 cup (250 mL) water
¼ cup (60 mL) butter
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla or maple extract
In a bowl, stir or sift together the sugar, flour, baking powder and salt.  Add the milk and melted butter, stirring to make a thick batter. Transfer to a lightly-oiled 8 cup (2 L) glass casserole.  
To make the sauce, in a saucepan stir together the maple syrup, brown sugar, water, butter and vanilla or maple extract.  Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour over the pudding base.  Bake in a preheated 350’F (180’C) oven for 35 – 45 minutes or until bubbling and golden. 
Serves 6
Recipe courtesy of Anita Stewart’s Canada. By Anita Stewart. Published in 2008 by Harper Collins.

photos are by Robert Wigington.
Wine-braised veal shanks (Ossobuco)
Perfect in its simplicity, ossobuco is true Italian country cooking. I love it with buttermilk-mashed potatoes.  The essential flavouring is called gremolata, a mixture that always has lemon, garlic and parsley in it. Some cooks add anchovies, too.  It is quickly minced with a mezzaluna, a two handled rounded knife which are becoming more widely available in Canada.   Anita
6 veal shanks (about 3 lbs / 1.5 kg) 
All purpose flour, as needed, for dredging
2 tbsps (30 mL) canola oil
3 cups (750 mL) dry white wine
1 1/2 tsps (7mL) salt
1 tbsp (15 mL) tomato paste
Peel of one lemon
1/2 cup (125 mL) parsley
2 - 3 garlic cloves
Dredge the veal shanks in flour, shaking off any excess.  Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat.  In batches, brown veal thoroughly on both sides.  Add wine to almost cover the meat. Sprinkle with salt and cover.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer on low for 50 - 60 minutes or until the veal is tender.  Stir in tomato paste and add more wine if the mixture is too dry.  Cover and cook gently for an additional 30 - 45 minutes. 
Meanwhile, make the gremolata.  Remove the lemon rind with a vegetable peeler.  Mince very finely with the parsley and garlic with a mezzaluna, a sharp knife or in a food processor.  About 15 minutes before serving, sprinkle the gremolata over the veal.  Cover and heat thoroughly.  
Transfer the shanks and the sauce that has formed to a wide serving bowl and serve with warm crusty bread onto which diners can spread the marrow. 
Serves 6
Recipe courtesy of Anita Stewart’s Canada. By Anita Stewart. Published in 2008 by Harper Collins.

photos are by Robert Wigington.
Vanessa’s Shepherd’s Pie with Buttermilk Mashed Potato Topping
Vanessa Currie is a potato researcher and a fabulous cook.  I remember Shepherd’s Pie as the leftover Sunday roast beef that Mom would put through the grinder and moisten with gravy she’d also saved. But when I told Vanessa she observed wryly, “Who ever heard of a shepherd caring for a herd of beef?  It makes no sense to use ground beef in a dish like this….”   So this is her recipe and (sorry Mom) it’s fabulous!  Anita
1 lb (450 g) ground lamb
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 tbsps (30 mL) all purpose flour
1 cup (250 mL) beef stock
1tsp (5 mL) dried thyme
¼ cup (60 mL) chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp (15 mL) Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 – 1 ½ cups (250 – 375 mL) frozen peas ‘n carrots or fresh peas

6 – 7 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
½ cup (125 mL) unsalted butter
¼ - ½ cup (60 – 125 mL) buttermilk
In a skillet, fry the lamb till starting to brown.  Stir in the onion and garlic, continue cooking until the mixture is well browned.  Stir in the flour and cook for 20 – 30 seconds.  Whisk in the stock and cook till the mixture begins to thicken. Season with the thyme, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.  Stir in the peas and carrots or the peas.  Transfer to a lightly oiled medium-sized casserole. 
Scrub the potatoes, quarter them and cook in a large pot of boiling well salted water. When tender, drain and whip in the unsalted butter and buttermilk. Season generously with salt & pepper. Mix well and mash coarsely and spread over the meat. Run a fork over the top to get little ridges which brown up nicely when cooked. Bake, uncovered at 375’F (190’C) for one hour, until it is golden on the top and bubbling around the sides.
Serves 4 to 6.
Recipe courtesy of Anita Stewart’s Canada. By Anita Stewart. Published in 2008 by Harper Collins.

photos are by Robert Wigington.
Four Generation Rhubarb Pie
This recipe, from Fred Gordon of Elora, spans his family’s culinary history.  He wrote “This recipe is quite old.  My Grandmother Sanderson (my Mom’s Mom) had it in her recipe file, written in her Mother’s hand (my GREAT-Grandmother’s), and my Mom has it written in her Mother’s (my Grandmother’s) and mine is in my Mom’s hand.”
Fred harvests his own rhubarb for this superb pie for the most delicious version I’ve tasted.  Anita
1 ¼ cups (300mL) granulated sugar
¼ cup (60 mL) all purpose flour
¼ tsp (1 mL) salt
3 tbsps (45 mL) orange juice
Grated rind of 1 orange (optional)
¼ cup (60 mL) melted butter
3 eggs, separated
2 ½ cups (625 mL) diced rhubarb
One – 9” (23 cm) deep pie shell
In a large bowl, combine 1 cup (250 mL) of the granulated sugar with the flour and the salt. Stir in the orange juice, rind, if using, and the melted butter to make a paste-like consistency.
In a small bowl, gently beat the egg yolks and then stir into the orange juice mixture.  Add the diced rhubarb and stir to coat thoroughly.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.  Gradually beat in ¼ cup (60 mL) sugar until stiff peaks form.  Gently fold into rhubarb mixture taking care to incorporate thoroughly but not to deflate the egg whites.
Pour into the pie shell and bake for 25 minutes in a preheated 375’F (190’C) oven.   Reduce heat to 325’F (160’C) and bake for 25 to 30 minutes more, or until golden brown and the centre is set. 
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Recipe courtesy of Anita Stewart’s Canada. By Anita Stewart. Published in 2008 by Harper Collins.

photos are by Robert Wigington.
Annapolis Cider Vinegar & Poppyseed Dressing
Across Canada apple cider vinegar is being made in small, artisanal batches.  In Cambridge, Nova Scotia, Boates Farm ( is producing what they are calling a “balsamic style apple cider vinegar.”  When I picked up a bottle at their great roadside stand, I immediately thought of a recipe that came from The Garrison House Inn, a small lovely country inn that I’d visited in Annapolis Royal well over two decades across.  This is my version of the recipe that has been a standby in my own kitchen since 1987.  I use it on all sorts of salads but it’s great when you have some fresh sliced fruit from local strawberries to blackberries strewn on top of the greens.  Anita
1 egg
2 tbsps (30 mL) granulated sugar
1 tbsp (15 mL) grainy or plain Dijon mustard
1/3 cup (50 mL) Boates balsamic style apple cider vinegar or any other fine apple cider vinegar
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
½ tsp (2 mL) coarse black pepper
¼ cup (60 mL) finely chopped green onion or garlic chives
1 cup (250 mL) canola oil
1 tbsp (15 mL) poppy seeds
In a food processor combine egg, sugar, mustard, vinegar, salt, pepper and green onion.  Process till smooth.  With the motor running, pour in the oil slowly in a steady stream.  Stir in poppy seeds and refrigerate till ready to use.
Makes 1 ½ cups (375 mL) 
Recipe courtesy of Anita Stewart’s Canada. By Anita Stewart. Published in 2008 by Harper Collins.

1 comment:

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