Cooking Classes


Barbecue Duck Fried Rice

Back a few years ago it was all the rage to take a supermarket roasted chicken and find a multitude of ways to turn it into a tasty meal. I don't know who came up with that idea but how can you make a tasteless, over-salted bird into something you actually want to serve to guests.

I say, move over supermarket roast chicken, and instead head right down to Chinatown. I haven't had a barbecue duck that wasn't absolutely delicious. With its crispy skin and five spice flavours it is one of my favourite meats to pick up when I am in the city.

Of course, you can make a meal of it but for a change and to make it stretch a little farther try this easy fried rice. It's simple with only a few ingredients and can be a meal in itself.

If the skin loses its crispness just put the meat, skin side down, in a cast iron skillet or wok and re-crisp. Leave the fat in the pan and use it in the stir fry. Be sure to make the rice ahead of time so it can cool. Warm rice does not brown in the pan.

Barbecue Duck Fried Rice

1 Chinese style barbecue duck
3 teaspoons sesame oil
2 eggs, beaten
6 green onions, shredded
1 cup snow peas, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 orange, segmented
1 teaspoon orange zest
3 cups cooked and cooled Jasmine rice
1 tablespoon light soy sauce

Remove the duck meat from the bones keeping the skin in tact. Save the bones to make stock.

Using a wok or cast iron skillet re-crisp the duck skin, if necessary. Set aside. If you are not crisping the skin put the duck meat in a pan to heat it before adding to the fried rice.

Add sesame oil to pan and heat until almost smoking. Pour the beaten eggs into the skillet or wok and move it around so it coats the bottom. Cook only until done making a very thin omelet. When fully cooked remove it to a cutting board and cut into thin strips. Set aside.

Stir fry green onions, snow peas and garlic for one minute. Add cold rice and heat through. Add chopped omelet, orange segments and zest. Stir fry for one minute. Add soy sauce and duck meat.  Serve immediately.


Community Supported Foraging is not for the Faint of Heart

Boreal Pestle    Clavariadelphus borealis
Every month this summer I received a box of foraged foods. August was particularly heavy with wild mushrooms. Some varieties were new to me. These are all from the boreal forests of Saskatchewan.

The boreal pestle had a sweetness to them. They didn't appeal to me so I dried them and will make a tea this winter. It will be a slightly sweet tea rich in protein and nutrients.

I understand where my food comes from and how it doesn't look like it came from a grocery store. However, I am still squeamish about worms. Some mushrooms are more loved than others by these little white worms or perhaps they are maggots. Elisabeth, my forager, said I should just dry them. "You would be surprised how much protein is in dried mushrooms." That is certainly food for thought. Well, I didn't think on it very long. Into the composter they went. Can't stomach little white worms.

The little white worms had a mind of their own, if that makes any sense at all. I have a composting pail in my kitchen. The morning after putting the wormy mushrooms into the pail, with a lid that simply sits upon it, they had attempted their escape. Little white worms laid dead and dried in a radius around my pail. I cannot imagine the energy expended to crawl up and out and down onto the countertop. A very quick wipe with a wet dishcloth was necessary and done with an attempt not to think about it too much.

Pig's Ear Gomphus clavatus
The Pig's Ear are richly flavourful. I sauteed them and put them in the freezer. I had such a variety of mushrooms that I couldn't possibly eat them all fresh.
Bellybutton Hedgehog  Dentinum repandum
These bellybuttons sauteed nicely. Very versatile.
Comb Tooth  Hericium ramosum
Combtooth was another mushroom that I dried. Not quite sure yet how I will use it. Perhaps a tea or in a ragout.


Rainbow of Beets and Chevre Salad

Lovely heirloom beets grilled over charcoal. Cool a bit and peel. Roughly chop. Arrange on a plate. Garnish with chevre and edible flowers. Drizzle with camelina oil and a little bit of balsamic vinegar or birch syrup. Shower with coarse sea salt. Serve.


Making Tomato Powder at Home

I have had a busy summer and now ready to share what I have been up to. I have been intrigued with tomato powder and decided it was time to attempt to make some. These two bottles represent the dried tomato skins from about 20 pounds. You can imagine how the flavour is condensed.

My plan is to use this flavour rich tomato powder in soups and stews to add flavour. I plan to make fresh pasta that will have this added. That should offer me a red coloured pasta with flavour. Won't that be fun!

I peeled 20 pounds of roma tomatoes for salsa making and decided to use these skins for tomato powder.
I laid out the tomato skins on racks to dry. They took so much time. Much more time that I imagined. The skins would stick together and every day I would toss them up to separate. After about 10 days I thought they were ready for grinding.

I did grind them in my Vitamix but the mixture still had moisture. I laid out this first grind on a baking sheet and dried it again. This time for 3 or 4 days. Then I put it back in my blender and the result was exactly as I had hoped. It was fine and dry. It was ready to bottle and save.