7.2.16

Calendar of Cooking Classes with Sarah

Flavour 101- March 8, 2016

 I am often asked how to use spice and herbs. How can I make my meat and potatoes dinner more flavourful. What is umami?

Five years ago I arrived in Swift Current already a full fledged foodie. But little did I realize that my journey had only just begun. In the ensuing years I have done nothing but make good food. And I am still learning so much every day.

This cooking class is all about adding flavour to food. Spices and herbs are only one ingredient. The fat you choose, the stock you select, the vegetables and perhaps meats all work together to create a party in your mouth.

Join me for an evening of exploring all these components to a wonderful dish. It is a lecture style class with food tasting.

Only $25 per person. March 8.  6:30pm.  Location to be announced.
All classes to be booked at least 9 days in advance and paid in full. I reserve the right to cancel if enrollment does not cover the cost to present the class.



Am I qualified to teach cooking classes, you ask? I have a Bachelor of Science in Home Economics and Bachelor of Education from the University of Saskatchewan. I have been a food and lifestyle columnist for the Western Producer for the past three years. But more importantly, I am a passionate food lover. I have researched and bought everything I can get my hands on and still on a mission to find more.

Expect to be introduced to local products, Saskatchewan products and Canadian food products. We have a bounty of amazing food in this country. Expect to be introduced to cooking methods that may include and not limited to how to use a pressure cooker, making your own spice blends, preserving foods and make-ahead dinner party ideas.

Expect to taste everything that is made. Expect to learn how to source food products whilst living in a small centre. Expect to be presented with food products that are difficult to find locally. Expect to receive all the recipes. Expect to have a lot of fun and meet new people.

Expect the best in quality. Free ranged meats from Cool Springs Ranch or similar are used.

These are tentative ideas and will depend upon availability of foods. There will also be surprises every night. If anyone would like to book the entire evening it can be presented in your home.

All classes to be booked at least 9 days in advance and paid in full. I reserve the right to cancel if enrollment does not cover the cost to present the class. Cost is $50 per person per class. Maximum 12 persons per class unless you have a home large enough to accommodate more.

Bonus - just announcing. Sign up and attend all four classes and receive a 10% discount that will be applied to your last class.

Gift certificates available.

You can make reservations now by email sgalvin@shaw.ca  or  306-773-2890. Book the classes you want and pay for the first one now. Check back often because I am always updating the menus.

Please note a couple of date changes in April due to Easter and World Women's Curling Championships. I overlooked that big weekend. So I pushed it ahead a week and subsequently pushed my April class ahead a week, also.

Disclosure: The exact menu may change due to availability of ingredients. For example, I have just learned that I can get my hands on heirloom Jacob lamb but not until after February 13. I will keep the Persian theme for February 13 but will be changing up the meat so we can enjoy this heritage lamb at a later date. I have a lovely organic free range duck and will use that instead.

Oh my, it is so difficult to finalize menus. Beautiful ingredients arriving weekly in my kitchen. Now I have wild foraged strawberrries, lingonberries and red blackberries coming. A sense of adventure is the best plan.

NEW NEW NEW   I have a pantry menu of items for purchase. Cooking class participants receive a 5 % discount.
 
Heirloom Jacob lamb coming in May. These are unique ingredients and I cannot just get them exactly when I want them. I am willing to wait. Hope you are. Bonus! The farmers' will join us for this evening.


The Dinner Series - all begin at 5:30pm
 
February 13
A Night Celebrating the Flavours of Persia
Aromatics of saffron, cumin, rosewater. Dried fruits, pomegranates, pistachios and almonds.
Wine choices: pinot noir or semillon
Dolma (stuffed grape leaves), Lamb Stuffed Aubergine, Pickled Grapes

Free Range Organic Duck

Persian Jeweled Rice with Wild Picked SK Lingonberries



Oven Roasted Winter Squash with Pumpkin Seed Vinaigrette


 Chocolate Pomegranate Torte
Saffron & Honey House Churned Ice Cream with Candied Pistachios


April 2
Celebrating Italy
Wine choice: robust Italian red

Crostini Appetizers
Slow Roasted Cool Springs Pastured Porchetta with Foraged Red Blackberry Jus

Wild Morel Risotto   
SK Steamed Fiddleheads
Tiramisu


April 23
Celebrating Mediterranean Cuisine
This is a Vegetarian Menu
Wine Choice: Almost anything will work.

Crudité Appetizers

Middle Eastern Style Platter

Cauliflower Croquets

Honey & Walnut Baklava


May 21
Special Tonight - Meet the Farmers that raised our heritage Jacob lamb. They will have product available for purchase.

Celebrating the Foods of Saskatchewan
Wine choice: robust red

Ribbon Asparagus Salad with Sea Buckthorn Vinaigrette
Heirloom Jacob Leg of Lamb
  Seasonal Vegetables en Papillote
Saskatchewan Orchard Berries Desserts

5.2.16

The Lazy Cook's Hasselback Potatoes


Hasselback potatoes have been making their rounds on the foodie blogs and recipe websites. They originate from a restaurant that opened in 1748 in Hasselbacken, Sweden.  In the 1940's this restaurant introduced a crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside potato to their menu.

Usually a whole baking potato is laid on its side and then thinly sliced leaving about a quarter of an inch at the base unsliced. This holds the whole potato together. Then a buttery herbed mixture is slathered all over it and in between all the slices.

We swoon over the crispy edges and tender centres but the downside for me is that I can't eat a whole potato. And I don't like making those thin slices and fear for slipping and cutting right through.

This lazy cooks method is so easy. My potatoes are from the cold room and need to be peeled. Otherwise I would skip that step and go straight to slicing. A mandoline makes slicing failproof. Slice up the potatoes and slather in herby oil. You are good to go.

You will notice that I am using vintage muffin tins. These darker tins are better because, of course, they are well seasoned. Food doesn't stick so easily. But also because they are darker the food in them browns better.

Lazy Cook's Hasselback Potatoes

3-4 medium sized potatoes
1/4 c. butter, melted
1/4 c. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, roasted and pureed
1 tsp. coarse salt
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375F.

Mix melted butter, olive oil and seasonings in a medium sized bowl.

Wash and peel potatoes. New potatoes or ones with relatively fresh skins do not need to be peeled. Slice thinly, about 2 mm thick. A mandoline is the easiest way to accomplish this.

Immediately place in the bowl of herbed oil and toss to coat.

Coat a muffin pan with non-stick spray. Carefully make a pile of potato slices to fill each muffin spot. You can also use parchment paper muffin papers to line the pan for easy cleaning and serving.

Sprinkle with more thyme and black pepper, if desired. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until edges of potatoes are very crispy. Serve immediately.


28.1.16

Flavour 101

 I am often asked how to use spice and herbs. How can I make my meat and potatoes dinner more flavourful. What is umami?

Five years ago I arrived in Swift Current already a full fledged foodie. But little did I realize that my journey had only just begun. In the ensuing years I have done nothing but make good food. And I am still learning so much every day.

This cooking class is all about adding flavour to food. Spices and herbs are only one ingredient. The fat you choose, the stock you select, the vegetables and perhaps meats all work together to create a party in your mouth.

Join me for an evening of exploring all these components to a wonderful dish. It is a lecture style class with food tasting.

Only $25 per person. March 8.  6:30pm.  Location to be announced.
All classes to be booked at least 9 days in advance and paid in full. I reserve the right to cancel if enrollment does not cover the cost to present the class.



20.1.16

Simple Slow Cooker Chicken Tagine


I mistakenly purchased boneless, skinless chicken thighs yesterday. I planned a sheet pan dinner but these would dry out in the oven. Rather than pop them in the freezer I prepared a slow cooker tagine. (A tagine is a Moroccan or Tunisian style stew. The spices are its signature.)

I prepped all of it last evening, added the chicken this morning, turned the slow cooker on for an eight hour braise and walked out the door.

It is a treat for me to come home to the aroma of supper on the table. After a busy day of substitute teaching at a Hutterite Colony 30 minutes out of town and then a quick stop to pick up a shipment of foraged foods at the bus depot I opened my front door. A smile broke out on my face as I inhaled the aroma of mellowed spices and remembered the meal waiting for me.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tagine with Chickpeas

Feel free to adjust the amount of spices. There are so many variables, for example the freshness of your spices will dictate how much to use. My spices are relatively fresh and strong. If you don't like cayenne, leave it out. But don't be too cautious. These spices really make the meal.

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 medium sized yellow onion. coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp. flour
drizzle of olive oil
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1 c. chicken stock
2 c. cooked or canned chickpeas
3 medium carrots, cut into larger chunks
1 c. canned tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/2 c. dried apricots, coarsely chopped
1/2 preserved lemon, rinsed and coarsely chopped
sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Saute onions and garlic in olive oil. Add spices and heat until aromatic. Add flour and cook for a couple of minutes. Stir in chicken stock. Cook for a couple of minutes until slightly thickened.

Add tomatoes, chickpeas, apricots, carrots and lemon.

Transfer to slow cooker. Cover until ready to cook. Add chicken thighs, cut in larger pieces, and stir to coat with the sauce. Turn on to an 8 hour slow cook. Serve with steamed couscous.

You can find my recipe for preserved lemons here.

18.1.16

Simple Parmesan Rind Stock


For the past couple of days I have been cleaning my kitchen. Emptying all shelves and drawers, washing them and replacing all my dishes, cooking pots, spices and flavourings. Today I finished. Cleaning my refrigerator was the finale.

For months I have been collecting cheese rinds. I sometimes add one to a chicken stock that I am making. Today I tossed about a dozen of them into a stock pot with frozen bits of fennel, carrots, onion and vegetables I have also been setting aside for a stock making session. I added about a gallon of cold water, bay leaves and turned on the high heat to bring all to a boil. When it was merrily bubbling away I reduced the heat to maintain a light boil. I left that on the stove top for about 45 minutes.

After cooling for awhile and straining in my colander this is the rich stock I collected. Now packaged and labelled and returned to the freezer I have the beginnings of some wonderful soups, stews and sauces. Easy as that.

Then I immediately concocted this version of avgolemono Greek soup. But without the lemons. I had none. Thanks, Ren, for the comment. You are absolutely right. This is more like an Italian straciatella than avglolemono.

Quick and Easy Egg Drop Soup with Spinach and Orzo

2 c. parmesan rind stock
1/4 c. orzo pasta
1/4 c. finely chopped spinach
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp. camelina oil
sea salt and piment d'esplet to taste

Boil the stock with the orzo until it is tender. Add spinach to wilt. Lightly beat the egg with the oil in a small bowl. Slowly drizzle into the simmering soup and stir until cooked, about one minute. Serve immediately. Garnish with piment d'esplet.

29.12.15

Pasta alla Norcina


It isn't often that I find a recipe using only ground pork. Usually it is mixed with beef and/or veal. Perhaps that and the simplicity of this recipe attracted me. Orchiette, fondly called little ears, pasta is suggested but I had none. Penne worked fine.

Rather than transcribe the recipe, just go to the source. Click here and you can find it on Cooks Illustrated in resplendent detail.