Cooking Classes


Living Local...Sunday Night Dinner

The summer is so crazy busy for me and passing by more quickly than a Saskatchewan funnel cloud.  It is hot, humid and the weeds are growing taller than my Thai basil.  I have not spent much time cooking for myself.  But now that all the wonderful vegetables, fruits & berries, and herbs are being harvested I can no longer resist and must sit down to the table.

Today I present Black Welsh lamb from Val at Newland's Ranch.  I didn't buy it at the Market because they butchered a couple of months ago but I still consider it seasonal.  My specialty salts were purchased in Victoria and contain the only Canadian sea salt available.  Check out Sea to Sky Seasonings.  Baby beets and potatoes are at the Market, rosemary and sorrel are in my garden.

I do say that there is nothing more satisfying than a nicely prepared meal with quality ingredients.  Be creative and serve up some fresh food tonight.  This meal has been made 'stove top' so I did not have to turn on the oven on such a hot day.  I enjoyed a flute of La Chasse du Pape Blanc de Blancs bubbly.  In the winter I would definitely have a robust red, but it is a hot day and champagne compliments everything I can think of.  This is almost champagne.

My dinner tonight is....

Black Welsh Lamb Loin Chops finished with Commercial Drive Salt
Pan Roasted Rosemary Baby Potatoes with Toasted Pinenuts
Roasted Baby Beets and Chevre in an Orange Olive Oil Vinaigrette with Davie Street Salt on a bed of Garden Sorrel

To make the pan roasted baby potatoes, wash and quarter baby potatoes.  Place cut side down in a preheated pan with a little olive oil.  Turn the potatoes to brown on all sides.  Snip fresh rosemary over and serve with toasted pine nuts.  Toast pine nuts in a dry pan until lightly browned.

The beets can be tossed in a little olive oil and baked in the oven until tender.  Oven roasting brings out the sweetness and robust flavour.  You can also bake them on a barbecue for a wonderful smoky flavour.  Orange juice and olive oil are combined with freshly cracked black pepper and sea salt for a simple dressing.  Top with soft chevre or goat cheese.

For the lamb. lightly heat a pan with a little olive oil.  Place the lamb in the hot pan and turn when browned.  Lower the heat to cook until the desired doneness.  Finish with freshly ground black pepper and sea salt.


Pain aux Raisins

My initial goal for my food at the Farmers' Market was to make healthy food.  And although this is my primary focus and indeed noble, I really do miss some of those amazingly delicious and not necessarily healthy but not necessarily bad things I could purchase when I lived in the big city.

Pain aux raisins comes to mind immediately.  I would drive, not walk, two blocks to enjoy this for my breakfast on those days I felt that I needed a treat.  This bakery has since now closed and I have since moved to a little city in the middle of nowhere.  Pain aux raisins are not on the menu out here!

The wonderful opportunity with being a Farmers' Market vendor is that I can make a little or I can make a lot.  If I want to test drive a recipe, then I just make a little.  This recipe caught my eye.  Well, why not?  This is a Peter Reinhart recipe and it is amazing.  I had no clue what was in this delicious treat but knew it was not necessarily without its naughty little inclusions that should only be on my food plan occasionally.

You can find this recipe at Fresh Loaf.


Road Trip to Find Local Food

I would love to offer as many local products at the Farmers' Market as I can.  Over a year ago I discovered the Yorkton Garlic Farm and have from the very beginning wanted to visit and meet the growers.  Finally I made this trip.

Scapes being harvested so the garlic bulb receives all the energy.
Anna and Darrel were gracious hosts while I visited them in the field.  With the heat wave, mornings are precious field times.  They were a little camera shy but I did take a few pictures.

I will be purchasing their garlic to sell at the Swift Current Farmers' Market.  I hope this works well for all of us.

Our next stop was Canora.  We found this adorable flower and gift shop.  She made such great use of farm relics and even decorated her car.

The next stop was at Chautauqua Gardens at Veregin, Sask.  Debbie was the consummate salesperson and enticed us to pick strawberries.  They were so delicious that we picked two baskets.  Thanks, Debbie.  Veregin is only 20 km east of Yorkton (watch for the sign) and a bit north.

Geese on Madge Lake, Saskatchewan
Moving cow/calf pairs.  They all decided they needed a rest in the shade of the trees on this scorching hot day.  Three cowboys and a border collie kept them in order...and waited for them to move on...patiently.
Sea gulls perching on Togo Bridge.  Togo Bridge is over the Assiniboine River and it is wide and slow.  A pelican was cruising for lunch.
Assiniboine River at Togo Bridge.
These shelters are for the leafcutter bees that pollinte the alfalfa.  Click here to find more information on the importance of this bee.  It has made Canada a prime supplier of alfalfa seed.

This little helicopter was crop dusting.  It landed atop this cube van to refill.  It flitted about like a big dragonfly.
Not sure what is growing in that purplish field.  Could it be quinoa?  Not the right colour for flax.

Beautifully cared for Ukranian Orthodox Church on the prairies.
And this lesser cared for church was almost across the road.  Each little community had their own little church


Gooseberry Ice Cream

This almost looks like vanilla ice cream but the flavour is unmistakeably gooseberry.

I bought a single package at last week's Farmers' Market.  A couple of the Hutterite Colonies had them.  I had never tasted a gooseberry so did a little research.  Hmmm...there are actually two different berries that we call gooseberries.

One is a cape gooseberry and is what we commonly see in the grocery store.  It is a relative of the tomatillo and has that  papery covering on the berry.  It makes a lovely garnish on a fruit tray or beautiful salad plate.

The more common gooseberry is a grape-like fruit that is very tart.  It also has a lot of natural pectin so is wonderful made into jams.  For my first time cooking with them, I have chosen the ice cream and it is to die for.  Oh, and I forgot to mention that gooseberries are so tart that they must be cooked with sugar to be edible.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall who writes for the The Guardian, has this glowing assessment:

"These characterful berries have a long association with British cooking. Way back in the 1600s, herbalist Nicholas Culpeper talked of them being scalded, baked or eaten raw; there are recipes for them in Hannah Glasse's Art Of Cookery(1747), in Eliza Acton's Modern Cookery(1845) and Mrs Beeton's Book Of Household Management(1861). Gooseberry wine, gooseberry sauce, gooseberry pudding, gooseberry jam and jelly: these simple dishes are gifts from a time when richness of flavour was appreciated as much as sweetness."

The wonderful thing about the following recipe is that one does not need to top and tail the berries.  They are cooked and then passed through a sieve to obtain a smooth purée.

Gooseberry ice-cream  from The Guardian

This luscious, sweet-tart ice is great with shortbread biscuits. Serves four.
500g gooseberries
125g caster sugar
250ml double cream
125ml whole milk
2 large egg yolks
Put the gooseberries and 65g of the sugar in a large pan with a trickle of water – just enough to cover the base of the pan (don't add water if you're using frozen berries). Stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved, bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes, until the berries are completely soft and mostly broken. Rub through a sieve into a bowl, and discard the skins and pips. As soon as the puree is completely cool, chill in the fridge.
Combine half the cream with the milk in a pan and bring to just below boiling point. Whisk the egg yolks with the remaining sugar, then pour the hot milk and cream on to them, whisking all the time. Return this custard to the pan and stir over a gentle heat until it thickens. Remove from the heat, pour through a sieve into a clean bowl and cover the surface with clingfilm or greaseproof paper, to stop a skin forming. Leave until completely cool, then chill.
Combine the custard with the puree. Very lightly whip the remaining double cream, just until it holds soft peaks (if you make it too stiff, it will be hard to fold in), and fold into the gooseberry custard. Taste and add sugar if you think it needs it – it should taste a little too sweet because its sweetness will be muted once it's frozen.
Pour into an ice-cream machine, churn until soft-set, then transfer to the freezer to freeze completely. Alternatively, pour the mix into a plastic container and freeze for about an hour or until the sides start to get solid; once this happens, mash with a fork, mixing the frozen sides into the liquid centre, and return to the freezer for another hour. Repeat this twice more at hourly intervals, then leave to set solid. Remove from the freezer about 30 minutes before serving, to soften a little.