Cooking Classes


2013 in Review

In January I found this amazing recipe for a faux sourdough rye bread. It is delicious.
'Tis the season for looking back and looking forward. Bloggers, cookbook authors, chefs and columnists are publishing their 'bests' of 2013 and 'hopes' for 2014.

These lists humble me. After all I didn't travel in 2013, at least not internationally. I don't have innovative and exciting restaurants at home.

Rather than wallow in self pity for too long I decided to take a looked back through my pictures of the year. Surprising to me my year was interesting and eventful with thanks to the many people who contributed to my culinary journey. I am amazed at how many people I met personally or virtually via food this year. All of you have added to my food adventures.

Thank you to Val at More Than Burnt Toast and the Virtual Supper Club crew, Justin at Justcooking in NYC, lovely Hutterite lady at McMahon Colony, Elisabeth at Prairie Infusions foraged foods, Val from A Canadian Foodie and all the other Slow Food delegates from across Canada, Jennifer CK who runs the Okanagan Food & Wine Writers' Workshop, writer Rosalyn, Calgary Food Tours Karen Anderson, wine writer and guru Shelley Boettcher, cookbook author supreme Jennifer Schell and all the writers I met there, Monika the baker from Kelowna, Chef Jenni, Chef Simon, Angie Quaale of Well Seasoned and all the other barbecue fanatics including Rob Reinhardt of Prairie Smoke and Spice, pit boss supreme winning at the Jack Daniels Invitational, Barbara the Cake Witch and all the other new vendors at the Swift Current Farmers' Market, Penny McKinley and all the Saskatoon Slow Food community. The problem with thanking is that I may have forgotten someone. Please forgive me and leave a message so I can acknowledge you, too.

I have chosen one picture per month to take you on my 2013 culinary tour. Many months it was difficult to choose the top picture. This post is riddled with links and unfortunately sometimes I cannot make them come out in another colour. Just pass your curser over and you will find all the recipes and sources.

 I made this recipe for a faux sourdough rye bread. The picture is above. It is amazing and I make it as often as I can. In January I was also cooking with veal shanks à la Dorie Greenspan and making festive layer cakes for my Western Producer article (see p. 24).

I was looking for more structure to my blogging and came up with a couple of ideas. I began my Cooking Class Monday's on my blog. I kept it up for 2 or 3 months. By far How to Clean Your Pasta Machine was the most visited. And I started Casual Friday's. Ditto, I only did it for about 3 months. My favourite recipe was Cold Sesame Noodles from the blog and new cookbook Appetite for China.  I have been much more successful with another initiative and that is joining the Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club. I don't think I have missed a month yet.

Pancetta with local pork belly.

I made my first ever charcuterie. I cured a pork belly and made an impressive pancetta. I even won the cookbook Salumi: The Craft of Italian Dry Curing by Michael Ruhlman, one of my favourite chefs. This was a Daring Cooks challenge.

I won a nice basket containing among other things a vintage bottle of Dom Perignon at our Lyric Theatre Valentine's Day brunch. And I won another wonderful cookbook, Tacos, Tortas and Tamales. This was thanks to Justin at Justcook NYC.

I was cooking with Saskatchewan wild boar, lake caught pickerel in tacos from the aforementioned cookbook and local Black Welsh lamb.

Cow's milk feta.

I searched the town over and finally found rennet. Acquiring raw milk in a farming community is not too difficult. I made this tasty feta with raw cow's milk. I had a lovely chat with a woman from the Colony who also makes cheese. I hope to meet her and chat more about her cheese making.

I experimented with sea buckthorn, Saskatchewan wild foraged fiddleheads, dried wild mushrooms, wild rice and farmed steelhead trout.

A bevy of amazing chefs.
I drove to Osoyoos for the National Slow Food Conference. You can catch it this year in Nova Scotia. It was a 'to die for' food experience featuring the bounty of local foods and wines. It was 3 days of the best and all thanks to the local producers, makers and chefs.

The highlight of the conference was learning about the return of the sockeye salmon to the Okanagan Lake. You can read Jennifer Cockrall-King's article in Canadian Geographic for all the details. I met and visited the gardens and vineyards of the Harkers' from Keremeos, who were name top young farmers of the year in 2012 and finally meeting a few of the Canadian bloggers I follow.

En route to Osoyoos I passed through some of Alberta's best agricultural areas producing sugar beets, bison and much more.

Bread and croissant baking class with Monika from the Okanagan Grocery in Kelowna.
Immediately following Slow Food in Osoyoos I arrived in Kelowna for the Food and Wine Writers' Workshop. Click on the link to find the information for 2014. Oh shucks, another 3 days of the best in local products, wines and chefs. Tasting caviar, fresh oysters, Summerhill Pyramid wines (and several others) and learning about the formation of the lakes, valleys and benches during the ice age. Driving home through the Rockies I stopped in Field, BC for lunch at one of my favourites The Truffle Pig.

Low and slow cooked half of lamb.
June was a busy month. Activities included my annual barbecue with the kids at the Hutterite Colony school where I am a substitute teacher, 3 women cycling across Canada stopped for a couple of nights and made a dinner including a beautiful asparagus soup, the farmers' market opening, and another wonderful bread recipe.

The highlight was attending my university friend's 40th wedding anniversary. Their daughter ordered a half of a local lamb and did an amazing job on the barbecue with it.

Kids' Cooking Camp.
I had 6 delightful young ladies spend 2 full days in my kitchen making real food from real ingredients. The bundt cake in the planning stages above turned out perfectly. They were so proud!

Interesting day trips were made to Schmidt Organic Mills, Cypress Hills Vineyard, Claybank Brick Plant National Historic Site with outdoor brick bread oven and the Avonlea Badlands.

Chef Jenni from Saskatoon telling us about her sea buckthorn focused meal.

I attended a workshop at the Indian Head Agricultural Research Centre to learn more about sea buckthorn. And I became an official barbecue judge. Farmers' market is in full swing.

Shaggy Parasols in my neighbour's front lawn.
Farmers' market continues. Picked my first foraged mushrooms and I didn't even have to leave home. I wonder how these traveled to this location? They made an awesome soup and an even awesomer risotto.

We had the first ever block party on my street. That is amazing because all the homes were built in the 1960's. I made Black Welsh lamb burgers stuffed with brie on my homemade foccacia. Yummy.

Sour cherry jam made with SK Evan's cherries.

Making my exotics for the Christmas market - sour cherry jam, haskap jam and sea buckthorn jelly.

I finally found buffalo berries. They are a local favourite and look a lot like sea buckthorn. I cooked with fresh wild pheasant (saltimboca) and grocery store quince (membrillo).

Flank steak with black bean sauce.
I finally acquired some wonderful flank steak. It is difficult to find it locally. We placed a group order  from Pine View Farms all natural meat.

My friend, Hannah, brought back artisan black bean sauce from the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto. I enjoyed it with the flank steak above and a pork tenderloin, also from Pine View Meats.

My three closest university friends and I celebrated our birthdays with a few days in Saskatoon and took a cooking class with Simon's Fine Foods. We were hoping that Ayden Kitchen & Bar would be open but we were just a couple weeks too early. Next time.

I made decorated sugar cookies with my children at the Hutterite Colony and in November I bought a pair of skates.

The Bar Humbug Ranch take off of A Christmas Carol

And I am ready for a new year! There are no big culinary adventures this month. I had a few Christmas markets. I didn't cook for Christmas. I just enjoyed myself!

My most memorable taste experience was the Plum Pudding at the annual Dicken's Festival in my hometown of Carlyle, SK. They put on a good show and family event. It is definitely worth a visit.



  1. Happy New Year!! You did have a busy, productive year!

    1. Thanks, Pam. Happy New Year to you and yours.

  2. I think that 2013 was rich with experiences including travel, friendships old and new, and excellent food and events. It was a pleasure to meet you in 2013. Perhaps our paths will cross again. I look forward to all your "non-adventures" in 2014.

    1. Have a great New Year, Val. Yes, I hope our paths do cross again.


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