Sarah’s newsletter about the local food scene
Welcome to the first issue of my Current Cravings newsletter. I will send this out monthly until I get so crazy busy with the Farmer’s Market that I get behind! I will pass on to you all the interesting food related information that I come across during my daily routine. If you have something noteworthy to share, just email me and I will pass it on.
Panettone at Shopper’s.
My hands down favourite Christmas bread is panettone. When I was in Regina I was delighted to find it at the Italian grocery, The Star, on Victoria. I bought a few and brought them home. Then I was in Shopper’s here in Swift Current and they had my favourite label, Tres Marie. After sampling a few I still love Tres Marie the best. The pieces of candied citrus peel are so fresh and flavourful. In addition, they had Tres Marie pandoro. Pandoro means golden bread. It is the same thing but without the peel. Make a mental note of that for next Christmas. Regular price was $12 and it was on sale after Christmas for $10.
Wines and Libations
I am no sommelier but I do enjoy wine. New Year’s Eve is behind us but we can look forward to Valentine’s Day to enjoy some bubbly. The best buy on a nice sparkling wine is a French blanc de blanc that is on the shelf here. It prices out at around $25 which is a bargain compared to the Piper Heidsieck at around $50. I love them both but when price is a consideration, buy the blanc de blanc. It is a chardonnay of the champagne style.
In the meantime, if you would like to try something different Alvear Amontillado is a wonderful aperitif, or before dinner drink. It is an amber coloured dry port with lots of flavour. It prices out under $16.
Tip for Singles
I bought a Leg Tip Ham at Superior Meats. I have never seen this cut before. It is about one pound and cost about $5.00. It is smoked ham just like the big ones. What a great way to enjoy real ham without having to buy a lot.
Soups taste best when it is cold outside. We are having such a wonderful mild winter but I still enjoy my soup. This is a great recipe and considering we grow field peas right here it should be on your ‘favourites’ list. Find a farmer and get a gallon! Just remember, when you are cooking whole peas the skins come off as they cook and should be skimmed off and discarded. They are indigestible and can cause gas. Oops! Did I say that out loud? They can cause digestive problems so you may as well scoop them up and discard them.
Dried Pea Soup (Ärtsoppa, in Swedish)
1 lb. dried yellow or green peas (whole if you can get them, but split ones work just as well)
8 cups water
2 finely chopped onions (2 cups)
1 peeled whole onion studded with 2 cloves
1 meaty ham bone -or- 2 to 3 ham hocks
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. grainy brown mustard
1 large carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut in 1" pieces
1 pound Danish Canadian-style bacon (pork loin) or Canadian bacon
Rinse and pick through 1 lb. dried yellow or green peas. If using whole peas, soak the peas overnight in their soup water (this isn’t necessary if using split peas so long as you can let the soup simmer for 2 to 3 hours).
Fill a large pot with 8 cups of water (or 6 if you like a thicker soup. You can always thin it with water as you go along if it looks too dense). Add the peas, 2 finely chopped onions, 1 peeled whole onion studded with two whole cloves, and a meaty ham bone (-or- 2 to 3 ham hocks).
Bring to a boil, then cover pot and reduce to a simmer over low heat for 90 minutes.
If using whole peas, skim off any pea skins that have risen to the surface. Remove 2 to 3 cups of the soup, puree in a blender or food processor, and return puree to the pot (this helps to thicken the soup).
Add celeriac or celery, potatoes, diced carrots and Canadian bacon to soup during last 45 minutes of cooking time. Stir soup occasionally and check for desired consistency; if necessary, add a little hot water. 30 minutes before serving, remove the studded onion and the meat. Chop the meat (it should amount to about 1 cup) and return to pot. Season the soup with 1 tsp. dried thyme, 1 tsp. ground ginger, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper. Simmer 15 more minutes.
Serve, passing around grainy brown mustard to stir into soup to taste.