Cooking Classes


Last Day of School

I went to Fairview School today to make pizza with the kids.  Forgot my camera!  Silly!  This is my only picture.  Does this pizza stone not tell you we had a good time!

There were about 8 of us in the staff room.  They were mostly Grade 8's I think.  At any rate, they were very sweet.  I made Mario Batali's pizza dough recipe.  It is so nice and soft and easy to work with.  The toppings were pretty simple, but I could have only brought meat and cheese!  They are typical teenagers!

One fellow decided to make a calzone.  It formed this great bubble in the oven!  Then we had a difficult time taking it off the pizza stone.  It fell back.  But in the end, we retrieved it.  Save a bit of charred crust, it was still very tasty.

Last day of school!  Have a great summer!


Back in Business

Whatever might still be wrong with my oven, at least I can use it!  I made these lovely loaves today.  I made 5 thinking that there would be one leftover for me.  Wrong!  A Saturday customer asked if I could make one for her, too!  Of course!  These are now cooling and I can deliver tonight.

FYI.  I will be taking orders for Tuesday delivery on bread.  I will have bread at the Market on Saturday and also take orders for delivery on Tuesday.  Just pay in advance, leave me your contact info and address where I can deliver on Tuesday.


Go Confidently

This was a gift from a friend when I decided to give up my life in Calgary and move on.  She knew me well.  I have now placed this on my patio.  In fact, this inspired me to 'decorate' my patio this evening.  After an exhausting day at the Farmer's Market, I needed a little down time.  I love sitting out at night.

Candles and lights set the mood.  I had a collection of telephone insulators.  How do I explain what these are!  They were used on telephone line poles when lines were above ground.  They come in colours of whites, greens and blues.  I set out my collection and put blue lights among them.

Thank you to everyone who visited me at the Market today.  I loved visiting and soaking up all your ideas.  I can see a lot of nice friendships and cooking happening soon.

Now I just need to have a working oven!


Do You Believe in the Theory of Threes?

I think that everyone who reads this post should comment.  Do you believe all bad things come in threes?  I am praying not.  Beyond my computer crashing and now my uber electronic oven crashing, I can't think what might be next.  My car?

I am sure the oven will be on warranty.  Remember this lovely oven?

The bad news is that I will have no bread for the Farmer's Market tomorrow.  I had planned to double my production to 24 loaves.  That plan is on hold.  I can take orders but without knowing when my oven will be operational, it will be difficult to guarantee a delivery date.

Anderson's came over today and it is working but they are wonderful in knowing that there is something inherently wrong here.  They will be doing some more research to be sure it is all in tip top shape.

I will have a larger selection of dips and salsas at the Market tomorrow.  I love trying new things and this way I can sell them rather than eating them all myself!  Win - Win.

I have a Rhubarb Salsa and a more exotic Mango Pineapple Salsa.  I will wait for fresh local tomatoes before I make a tomato salsa.

My dips include the so popular Muhamarra (roasted red pepper), Hummus with Roasted Garlic, Caesar, Chipotle Lime Sour Cream, Balsamic Carmelized Onion (sour cream base), Tzatziki and a White Bean dip.  The weather is beautiful and I am hoping you will all be stocking up for some patio meals.  The dips are great with veggies or taco chips but can also be adapted to be served with burgers and salads.

And I have some Spanakopita triangles made with local spinach.

Hope to see you!


Out with the Old, In with the New

My new MacBook.  Slight upgrade to the Pro.  How can you buy the same dress 4 years later?  Needed a little change.  Love the silver colour.

I had to take a break from the 10 hour round trip in to Calgary to purchase my new laptop.  Rouge is the perfect respite.  I was craving mussels and asked if they had any back in the kitchen.  The waiter reported 'no, but we have some oysters'  I had 6 on the half shell with a most lovely fresh fennel and pickled onion minionette - just whipped up for moi!  Then a lovely Peking style duck breast.  The weather was expressive with rain, clouds and then sunshine.  Rouge is in this lovely heritage home.
The drive back to Swift Current was picture perfect.  I could only stop a few times or I would never arrive home.  This train in the distance caught my eye.  I love the light.  This was 8:30pm or so on the day of the summer solstice.  Nice warm light.  Living sky!

Nice to see some lush green fields.  I arrived home around 1:00 am, exhausted.  I spent today recuperating from all that stuff that goes with losing your computer, buying something new and going through all the wonderful groceries I bought at my favourite Lebanese, Central American, Italian and wholesale stores.  Some of it is for my Farmer's Market the sweet red peppers for Muhamarra-style dip, some for my the bacalao salt cod and some for me to enjoy right some beautiful cheese.


My Garden June 2011

Thank heaven I created a couple of draft postings.  I have no computer!  It is down and not sure if and when I will have it back!  These are some pictures of my garden.  The spring has not been great and everything is a little behind.

Also, I will be at the Farmer's Market tomorrow.  My two gluten-free desserts are individual chocolate pavlova meringues and an Ancho Chile Flourless Chocolate Cake.  I will have more of the multi-grain rustic bread, Cape Breton style oatcakes and more.  I will also be introducing some dips.  I will have a yogurt based feta dip, Lebanese muhamarra dip (roasted red peppers) and a chipotle lime dip (sour cream base).  They are all yummy.


Flavours of the Orient

My blogging is falling way behind!  Sorry!  This past weekend we had the "Flavours of the Orient" evening at the local Lyric Theatre.  It was a great night.  Unfortunately I had precious little time to take pictures.

I made 140 napkins folded into kimonos!  Starched and ironed them all!  They were in black and we laid a nicely monogrammed set of chopsticks over each like a samurai sword.

We had a wonderful 7 course Chinese meal.  It was a special meal, like you would expect at a wedding or special occasion.  It was fantastic.  This was the menu....

Deep Fried Crab Claw with Shrimp Mousse

Honey Glazed Barbequed Pork

Grand Peking Duck

Wok seared Filet of Basa in Szechuan Sauce, stuffed with shrimp, onion and peppers, cooked in sesame oil

Hunan Beef tossed with Julienned Vegetables topped with Nuts

Shanghai Lo-Mein with Spiced Meat Sauce Topping

Fresh Mango Ice Cream

We had classical piano music, sitar and some very nice 70's rock and roll.


My First Day at the Farmer's Market

First of all, I must tell you that this is a very modest Farmer's Market.  Even in high season, there are a limited number of stalls.  So, considering our very late start to the growing season, there are no fresh vegetables yet.

I took my baking.  I had homemade graham crackers and homemade vanilla marshmallows.  I made granola and granola bars.  There was a Hummingbird layer cake, oatmeal haskap squares, rhubarb muffins, Cape Breton style oatcakes and onion & poppyseed savoury crackers.

I was so nervous.  I had the alarm set for 4:30am but barely slept all night in fear I would sleep in.  My plan was to work my No Knead Bread and set it for the final rising by 5am, roll out the cinnamon buns next, bake the haskap squares, bake the rhubarb muffins and ice the Hummingbird cake.  Then it would be time to bake the buns and bread.  No problem.

I did not factor in the fact that I could not complete the making of the cinnamon dough last night.  I forgot how long it takes to heat my steam assist oven to 450F.  And then the jitters of feeling like I might be judged by peers on this, my first time, at a Farmer's Market.

Long story short, I put the cinnamon bun dough in the fridge.  Too much work, too little time.  I felt I was running late on baking my bread so enlisted two round heavy duty cake pans as bread pans.  Thus I baked all 4 loaves at the same time.  I decided that the two round cake pans were better than using my Le Creuset pots!  Who would have thought?

My colleagues at the Market were wonderful!  So supportive and helpful.  I felt right at ease and welcome.  It was a slow day but the afternoon picked up.  I had so many positive comments from clients because I was trying to offer some new-to-them items.  Gluten-free is a definite market that I will explore further.

I was literally giving away my Hummingbird Cake.  But, hey, do I want to eat an entire layer cake?  Students from my substitute classes and friends came by so I rewarded them with some cake.  Anyone who bought a piece could decide the size of their piece of cake.  They were happy, I was happy!

Being the analyst that I am, I kept detailed notes on the weather, the time of day that every item was purchased, male or female choices, the hourly buying patterns and more.

I am now another day smarter!  Thank you to all who stopped by, whether you purchased or not.  I enjoyed your comments and input.  It all helps me to better serve you.  I am even more blown away by the advance orders for more bread and cinnamon rolls (which did not even materialize today...but they will in two weeks because I have a pre-paid order!)

Come again!


Ginger Rhubarb Chutney with Cajun Chicken Tenders

I made this Ginger Rhubarb Chutney last season and still have a couple of jars in my cold room.  Since my stay in Tennessee I have become fond of using cornmeal to add a nice crust when pan frying.  These chicken tenders were dipped in milk then rolled in a mixture of cornmeal and Tony Cacheres Cajun Seasoning Mix.  How easy is that!  I pan fried them in a little goose fat and served with my chutney.  It was so good.  Yum.  Healthier than pub food and tastier, too!


Swift Current Farmer's I come!

Only 3 more sleeps until my debut at the local Farmer's Market.  I have been making all the preparations that I can think a cash float, price list sign, posters advertising my cooking classes, my nice black apron, tablecloth, shopping bags with my logo handpainted on, and...oh yes, cooking!

Of course the food items will change each week.  This week I plan to have my No-Knead Rustic Bread, Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Buns, Cape Breton style oatcakes, my granola and granola bars, homemade marshmallows and homemade graham crackers with 70% cacao chocolate for some fancy dancy S'Mores, fresh rhubarb muffins and, I almost forgot, Hummingbird Layer Cake and Oatmeal Haskap Squares.  The layer cake and squares will be sold by the piece.  Until people taste my food I doubt they will commit to buying an entire cake.

Also, I will have tasting.  So you can take a little taste before you buy.  Makes sense to me! 

  I will post more pictures after the market.