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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Tuscan Chowder

Okay after receiving so many requests in the past few days for this recipe, I decided to post it for your enjoyment. To story goes like this, friends decided to take Dianna and I to lunch one day and they chose a chain restaurant. Seeing the soup of the day called "Tuscan Chowder" I thought it sounded good and ordered some. It was terrible but I liked to idea and returned the next day to my restaurant and recreated as follows. Nothing new under the sun, but who says you can't rework it a little.


2 tbsp olive oil
2 minced garlic cloves
1 diced green bell pepper
1 diced onion
2 diced celery stalks
4 oz sliced mushrooms
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp basil leaves
½ tsp oregano leaves
½ tsp thyme leaves
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp cayenne
3 lbs peeled, seeded, and chopped tomatoes

In a sauce pan heat the oil. Sauté the garlic, green pepper, onion, celery and mushrooms until tender. Add the seasonings and tomatoes. Simmer for 3 hours or until desired thickness. Use as required.


½ lb Ground Beef
½ lb ground pork
1/4 lb ground veal
2 tbsp Milk
1 Egg
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 cup Onion -- chopped
1/3 cup Bread Crumbs -- Dry
2 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp Garlic, very finely minced
1/2 tsp Oregano
3/4 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Pepper

Mix all the ingredients together. Shape mixture by Tablespoonfuls into 1 1/2-inch balls.

TO COOK IN A SKILLET: Heat 1 Tbsp salad oil in a large skillet.Cook the meatballs over medium heat until brown, about 20 minutes. Drain off excess fat.

TO COOK IN THE OVEN: Place the meatballs in a lightly greased baking pan, Bake, uncovered, in a 400 degree F. oven until light brown, about 20 minutes. Drain off the excess fat


½ lb. diced Italian sausage (mild)
1 large onion finely diced
3 large carrots finely diced
3 stalks celery finely diced
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
4 cups chicken broth
1½ cups cream
1 lb cooked diced chicken
2 tbsp fresh chopped basil
2 cups tomato sauce
16 meatballs
salt and pepper to taste

In a large kettle fry the sausage, add the onion, carrots and celery and sauté until tender, drain all excess fat. Add the butter and flour and cook over low heat for 3 minutes. Pour the chicken broth over and simmer until thick. Add the cream, chicken, basil, tomato sauce and meatballs and continue to simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper if required.


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

2007 It's Here

Have you ever wondered what could happen if you actually knew what was about to happen, therein lies the mystery of numbers. Every year we celebrate the passing of an old and spent year while welcoming a new and unused one. But what within this new year lies in store, maybe more than we hope for and less than we desire, but will it be all we want it to be.
Looking at the year itself could help us set the course we choose to steer through it, 2007!

2 has the meaning of balance, balance of course could mean many things, balance in lifestyle, balance in justice received or given out, balance in what we see and do.

0 often referred to as a symbol of perfection, a double 0 then would symbolize an opportunity to get it right should we fail the first time, do what’s right, do it because it’s right and then do it right, so to speak. The 0 speaks to us of having no bounds, something limitless and complete, never ending.

7 of course is the number of perfection, but it is also the number of goodness and completeness.

So then 2007 should be a year of balancing what will be prefect for our lives leading us into what is good and bring to completion the same. This then would be my hope, wish and desire for all my reader, Happy New Year.

What’s For New Years Dinner

Tomato Basil Soup
4 cups fresh tomatoes - peeled, cored and chopped
4 cups good chicken stock
10 (about) fresh basil leaves
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 pound unsalted butter
salt and pepper to taste

Combine tomatoes and stock in saucepan. Simmer 30 minutes. Puree, along with the basil leaves, in small batches, in a blender or food processor. Return to saucepan and add cream and butter, while stirring over low heat. Garnish with extra basil leaves and serve with your favourite bread.

Smothered Beef Short Ribs

1/2 cup olive oil
4 pounds beef short ribs
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 cup red wine
8 cups beef stock
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Season the ribs with salt and pepper to taste and dredge them in flour. Fry the ribs in the oil in small batches, adding oil as needed, to sear the meat. This should take 2 to 3 minutes per batch. Set ribs aside.

In the same pot, add the onions and saute for 2 minutes. Add the celery and carrots and saute for 1 more minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and then stir in the garlic, bay leaves and thyme and cook for 1 more minute.

Deglaze the pot with the red wine, scraping up all the bits on the bottom. Add the stock, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer. Add the ribs and continue to simmer for 2 hours, until the sauce thickens. Stir in the parsley and serve.

Red Potatoes and String Beans

2 1/2 lbs. Red Potatoes
2 lbs. frozen String Beans, thawed
1 lb. Red Onions
4 oz. Olive Oil
3 oz. White Wine Vinegar
1 teaspoon Oregano
1 tablespoon Salt
1 teaspoon White Pepper

Wash potatoes and cut in half. Place in large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Cook for about 15-20 minutes or until soft. Drain and place on a flat pan. Cool in refrigerator for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, bring quarts of water to a boil. Add string beans and cook for 3 minutes. Drain and cool in refrigerator.

Peel onions and cut in half. Slice halves the long way into 1/4 inch slices.
Combine cooled potatoes, string beans, and onions in a large bowl. Mix remaining ingredients as a dressing, and pour over all. Mix well being careful not to break potatoes.

Life With Chocolate

1 (18.25 ounce) package German chocolate cake mix
1 (3.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 2/3 cups milk
3/4 cup strong brewed coffee
1 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
6 (1.4 ounce) bars chocolate covered toffee bars, frozen and crushed

In a 9x13 in pan, bake cake according to package directions. Cool and crumble. Make pudding, according to package directions, with milk.

In a large trifle or other glass serving bowl, place half of the crumbled cake. Pour half of the coffee over the cake, and spread half of the pudding over that. Top with half of the whipped topping, sprinkled with half the crumbled candy bars. Repeat layers in the same order.

Refrigerate until serving.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

On The Road Again!

There comes a time, or times, in everyone’s life when a tough decision has to be made, and about mid-October that time came for myself, and my wife Dianna.

After 3

½ years in Penticton running our restaurant, Chef K’s on Main, we decided in May that we must make a move and close up the restaurant as our lease was expiring anyway.

In the meantime, a new development was being planned for Penticton which included three new restaurants of differing tastes, and I was contracted to manage the food service operation once the complex was complete.

Then, in mid October, the bomb dropped.

The project was being seriously delayed, or possibly even cancelled, and I was left holding a worthless piece of paper in the form of a contract which the developer has chosen not to honor although he hold himself up as a man of honor. We had to make a decision once again, and move on!

By early November, I had located a Head Chef position in Cambridge, Ontario (my home province), and by the following weekend I was ‘on the road again’. This time to Ontario and The Riverbank Mill Restaurant in Cambridge Sure are lots of stairs here though, but they’re helping to me to become slim and trim.

To all of our friends, customers, and acquaintances in the Penticton/Summerland area, we are sorry to leave, but hope we may one see you again if you have an opportunity to visit me at The Riverbank Mill here in Cambridge, Ontario.

I’d also appreciate receiving messages, or comments, from you right here on the Blog (just click the link below). It’s a way we can keep in touch, as we do miss you all. A very special thanks to Rick & Gail Riddall and Gary West for all thier help over this period, watch next week for exciting Christmas recipes.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Boat House Sails Away

The Power of The Five P’s

So it was our 30th wedding anniversary last week, we decided that as we were in Vancouver we would go to a good restaurant to celebrate taking along another couple. We chose the Boat House in New Westminister. A good seafood and steakhouse chain owned by the Spectra Group of Restaurants.

We were sat promptly at our table, the hostess letting us know who our server would be, before long he came and we placed our drink order then within a minute a second server came by for our food order, things were looking good.

Within a reasonable amount of time our food arrived, the plates were hot, the presentation looked good, we were ready to enjoy our meal. That’s when it all fell apart, the food was stone cold, I had a steak and crab claw dish, the crab should have been in a garlic butter sauce, mine was so cold the butter had congealed on the bottom of the dish, the vegetables were ice cold and the potato barely luke warm, the steaks were however cooked to our preference and were hot. We requested our server to remove the food and have the cold items corrected, he ushered them into the kitchen and they were returned to us in a matter of minutes. This time the potatoes were hot the vegetables barley warm but now our steaks were very cold, however this no one would come around to check the re-cook, so we ate what we could and tried to enjoy our conversation. A different server would eventually come round to clear the plates not inquiring as to how the meal was.

It took a manager 45 minutes to show at the table having heard about the first cold meal, she apologized and looked shocked to find out that re-cook was far below standard and that no-one would bother checking how the second meal was. She removed the meals from our check and we departed, disappointed a special occasion was marked with a negative meal.

We’ll get over it, but what cost to the restaurant? For most they would never return and at minimum it influenced this blog.

A restaurant's reputation is everything, the customer is king and when that customer has a poor experience the restaurant pays a dear price. All restaurants must attend to the five P principal, simply they are, Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance .

It would be impossible for a restaurant such as the Boat House to ignore the preparation required to manage a busy establishment like the one we attended. As a chain they have policies and procedures, check lists and management to ensure the evenings service is stress free as possible.

The kitchen mise en palce would be enforced, station chefs (chef de partie) would be instructed by the chef de cuisine as to what would be required for the evenings service. The expectation by the chef de cuisine would be demanding and the stations chefs would meet the demands, a high volume restaurant cannot operate with anything less. The proper preparation would have to be seen to, but somewhere someone let the system down and the result was a poor performance.

The kitchen placed in front of customers cold food on hot plates, this indicates that one station chef did not communicate with the others. Most likely the entremetier (vegetable chef) plated the food before the saucier was ready for it, so it sat under heating lamps, in the mean time the crab claws were placed where they would get very cold and no-one double checked to see if they were hot upon service, which should have been done when the grill cook plated the steaks and the saucier applied the final touches to plate, finally the chef de cuisine should have caught all this when the plate was permitted to leave the kitchen.

The service staff we equally at fault, a server has a responsibility to the customer to serve them what they ordered in manner that is friendly and courteous. A simple visual check of the plate would have prevented a poor performance, the server would had seen the solidified butter on the crab claws indicating they were not hot, so even if they surmised that the rest of the meal was hot they would know that a part of it was not and should have refused it at the kitchen before it arrived at the table. What is more after the meal was re-cooked the server should have been back to the table within a minute to ensure it was now proper, this did not occur and so the overall meal was rated "poor".

The manager did try to make things right but arrived after the fact and really had little options. She did the right thing in not charging for the meals (but a free poor meal is not what most customers are looking for).

The question then is, would I go back, the answer may be surprising, as it is yes, I believe a restaurant of good reputation gets it by very hard work and by applying the five P principal and there is no doubt Boat House restaurants do both. One poor experience should not form the final opinion of the customer (that’s for the food critic), if the customer has also applied the five P principal then they would know this group of restaurants tries very hard to please, sometime everyone falls short. Get up and do it again because that after all is what we do. Give the restaurant of good standing a second opportunity, next time they will do it better. If they do not then never return again.

Coupled with the five P’s is another of my favourite saying "do what’s right, do it because it is right, then do it right" this means some mistakes may happen but if we look at the mistake as a gift to learn we will eventually prefect what we do.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Most Popular Food In The World

What is the world’s most popular food? If you said pizza, pasta or burgers you would be wrong. The facts speak for themselves and the answer is (drum roll please) RICE. There are just over 40,000 varieties of rice many of which are grown on every continent of the globe except Antarctica. In North America the average consumption is about twenty five pounds of rice per person per year this may seem like a lot of rice but compared to a person in Burma (most likely where cultivated rice began) the average consumption balloons to better than 500 pound per person per year. With fairly recent moves into the culinary worlds of Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and China rice based dishes have seen at sharp increase in popularity. Rice is one of the few foods in the world which is entirely non-allergenic and gluten-free. More than 50% of rice that is cultivated is consumed within 8 miles of where it is grown. (Photo by from WiseGeek)

Toyota means 'bountiful rice field', while Honda means 'the main rice field'. Louis Armstrong signed his autograph "Red beans and Ricely yours..."

Mirin is a sweet Japanese rice wine (saké), sometimes just called rice wine. Mirin is used for cooking, only, mainly in sauces and glazes. It gives a nice glaze to grilled foods.

Most rice is consumed in the country where it is produced. Only 5 percent of the world’s total is exported. Thailand ships the most: about 5 million tons a year. The United States is second with nearly 3 million tons, and Vietnam third, with 2 million tons.

Most common varieties are:

LONG: Long slender kernels which produce light, fluffy rice.
MEDIUM: Short, wide kernels which are moist and tender when cooked.
SHORT: Short, round kernels which are soft and cling together when boiled.
ARBORIO: Large tan grains with white dots in the center, similar in side to medium grain white rice. Arborio is most often used in risotto because of its creamy, chewy texture.
AROMATIC: Medium sized slender grains which often have the aroma and flavor of roasted nuts or popcorn.
WAXY: Also known as "sweet" rice, kernels are short and plump, and produce a thick, starchy product when cooked. Waxy rice is most often used as a binder for gravy, sauces or fillings.

Wild rice is a coarse grass (and not really a true rice) considered a delicacy in many parts of the world. North American Indians are attributed with the introduction of wild rice into mainstream society. Grown in shallow waters, like marshes, man-made paddies, and stream beds in North America, the wild rice plant is 3-10 feet tall, holding the traditional rice flower at its peak. American wild rice is medium to long grained and has a nutty flavour.

Cooking Rice:

ALWAYS measure rice and water and cook according to timed instructions for perfect, non-sticky rice.

COOK rice with a lid on to prevent steam from escaping.

RICE always triples in volume, so be sure to take this into account when choosing an appropriate cooking pot.

WHEN rice is done cooking, fluff with a fork to avoid sticky or hard rice kernels.

IF YOU like non-sticky rice, sauté in a small amount of butter before cooking. Add liquid to sauté pan and cook per instructions.

Rice is high in complex carbohydrates, contains almost no fat, is cholesterol free, and is low in sodium, unless you add salt to the cooking water. Generally all rice - both brown and white - is considered a good source of vitamins and minerals. A half cup of cooked white rice provides 82 calories; an equal amount of brown rice provides 89 calories.


Serving Size: 6

1/4 Cup Olive oil
1 Chicken, Whole, cut up
1 Each Green Pepper, chopped
1 Large Onion, chopped
3 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Whole Bay Leaf
Salt And Pepper, to taste
5 Threads Saffron
2 1/4 Cups Chicken broth
2 Whole Tomatoes -- chopped
1 Cup Rice
1 Cup Peas --
Pimientos -- garnish

Heat oil and brown chicken on both sides. Add green pepper, onion and garlic, and cook for about 5 minutes, Add tomato, saffron dissolved in chicken broth, bay leaf, salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Add rice, stir well, cover again and simmer for 20 - 30 minutes longer, or until all liquid has been absorbed and chicken is tender. Garnish with peas and pimientos.

NOTES: Really of Spanish origin, Arroz con Pollo (Rice with Chicken) is a specialty in many Latin American and Caribbean countries, including Cuba.


Makes 10 servings.
1 medium sweet potato or 1 (15 oz.) can* sweet potatoes, drained and diced
1/4 cup water
4 cups cooked rice
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup green onions (scallions)
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup chopped fresh pineapple
1/4 cup pineapple juice
2 tbsp. vinegar
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
Dash cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp. chopped peanuts,
optional* Canned sweet potatoes are precooked.

Place sweet potatoes and water in microwave-safe dish, covered, and microwave for about 3 to 4 minutes until done. Drain and dice. In a large bowl, combine cooked rice, sweet potatoes, green onions, red bell pepper, and pineapple. In a small bowl, whisk together pineapple juice, vinegar, olive oil, ginger, cayenne, salt and pepper. Carefully toss with rice mixture; sprinkle with peanuts, if desired. Refrigerate until serving

The national dish of Spain literally means "for her".

1 pound extra-large shrimp (21 to 25 per pound), peeled and deveined
Salt and ground black pepper
Olive oil
8-9 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (2 generous tablespoons)
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, each thigh trimmed of excess fat and halved crosswise
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut pole to pole into 1/2-inch-wide strips
8 ounces Spanish chorizo, sliced 1/2 inch thick on the bias
1 medium onion, chopped fine (about 1 cup)
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained, minced, and drained again
2 cups Valencia or Arborio rice
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
1 dried bay leaf
1 dozen mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving

Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position; heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Toss the shrimp, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1 teaspoon of the garlic in a medium bowl; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.

Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper; set aside.

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add the pepper strips and cook, stirring occasionally, until the skin begins to blister and turn spotty black, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the pepper to a small plate and set aside.

Add 1 teaspoon oil to the now-empty Dutch oven; heat the oil until shimmering but not smoking. Add the chicken pieces in a single layer; cook, without moving the pieces, until browned, about 3 minutes. Turn the pieces and brown on the second side, about 3 minutes longer; transfer the chicken to a medium bowl. Reduce the heat to medium and add the chorizo to the pot; cook, stirring frequently, until deeply browned and the fat begins to render, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the chorizo to a bowl with the chicken and set aside.

Add enough oil to the fat in the Dutch oven to equal 2 tablespoons; heat over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 3 minutes; stir in the remaining garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes; cook until the mixture begins to darken and thicken slightly, about 3 minutes. Stir in the rice and cook until the grains are well coated with the tomato mixture, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth, wine, saffron, bay leaf, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Return the chicken and chorizo to the pot, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil, uncovered, stirring occasionally. Cover the pot and transfer it to the oven; cook until the rice absorbs almost all of the liquid, about 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the oven (close the oven door to retain heat). Uncover the pot; scatter the shrimp over the rice, insert the mussels hinged-side down into the rice (so they stand upright), arrange the bell pepper strips in a pinwheel pattern, and scatter the peas over the top. Cover and return to the oven; cook until the shrimp are opaque and the mussels have opened, 10 to 12 minutes.

When  soccarat is desired, set the Dutch oven, uncovered, over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, rotating the pot 180 degrees after about 2 minutes for even browning. (Soccarat, a layer of crusty browned rice that forms on the bottom of the pan, is a traditional part of paella.)

Let the paella stand, covered, about 5 minutes. Discard any mussels that have not opened and the bay leaf, if it can be easily removed. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve, passing the lemon wedges separately.

In Louisiana the Monday dinner is always what Louis Armstrong signed his autograph with: 
"Ricely Yours"

Red Beans N Rice

1 pound spicy smoked sausage

1 large onion, diced 
2 celery ribs, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced 
2 teaspoons Chef K Cajun seasoning, divided 
2 cups uncooked long-grain rice 
3 1/2 cups chicken broth 
2 (15-ounce) cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained 
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes 
2 bay leaves object
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley 
Hot sauce (optional) 

Cut smoked sausage into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Cook in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat 8 to 10 minutes or until slices are browned. Remove sausage, and drain on paper towels, reserving 1 teaspoon drippings in pan.

Sauté onion and celery in hot drippings in Dutch oven over medium-high heat 4 to 5 minutes; stir in garlic, 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning, and rice; sauté 3 minutes. Stir in broth, next 3 ingredients, and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove from heat; stir in sausage and parsley; let stand, covered, 10 more minutes or until rice is tender. Serve with hot sauce, if desired.


1/2 cup long grain rice 
1 1/2 cups water 
1 lemon peel 
1 cinnamon stick 
1 quart milk 
3/4 cup sugar 
1/4 tsp salt 
1 tsp vanilla 
powdered cinnamon 

Using a 3-quart pot, boil rice, cinnamon stick and the lemon peel in cold water at medium high heat. Continue to cook until rice is soft and most of the water has evaporated. Remove the cinnamon stick. Add the milk, sugar, salt and vanilla extract. Continue cooking at medium low heat, stirring often until it reaches your desired thickness. Remove the lemon peel.

Serve in 8 dessert dishes, sprinkle with powdered cinnamon when serving.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Thanksgiving 2006

Every year we mark one special day in Canada (2nd Monday in October and in the US it falls on the 4th Thursday of November). Truly a special it is linked to fall harvest festivals and the fine art of being thankful for what the harvest has brought to us to sustain the winter. Thought to be a day of feasting and giving thanks by the Pilgrims the very first thanksgiving day would have been a day of fasting and praying which was in keeping with the religious requirements of the Pilgrims. And although the actual date is long lost the thanksgiving feast would most likely have taken place during the harvest period of 1626 but was not a yearly celebration and did not become one until 1676 and not on the 4th Thursday of November the event was based on the English holiday which took place around the 29th of September.

Differing states had different dates for the holiday and in 1863 President Lincoln appointed the last day of November as a day of thanksgiving after that each President appointed a similar day until 1939 when President Roosevelt set the date as the 4th Thursday which was approved by Congress 2 years later.

The first “Canadian” thanksgiving could have been the day Martin Forbihser held a formal celebration of thanks after crossing the Atlantic during the fall of 1578. About the same time the French settlers and explorers like Samuel de Champlian came to Canada and they too had a similar celebration eventually forming “The Order of Good Cheer” sharing the bountiful fall harvest with all who came. In 1879 Canadian Parliament declared November 06 as a day of thanksgiving but it wasn’t until January 31 of 1957 that the Canadian government would declare “ A day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed”.

So on thanksgiving be blessed and enjoy some of the great dishes I’ve given you here.

Pumpkin-Apple Streusel Cake
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cups diced peeled cored Granny Smith apples (about 4 large)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup (firmly packed) golden brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup canned pure pumpkin
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs
Vanilla ice cream

Method apples: Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add apples; saute until apples begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add sugar and cinnamon and saute until golden brown, about 3 minutes longer. Cool.
Method cake:
Preheat oven to 350F.

Butter 9-inch-diameter springform pan.

Combine flour, brown sugar, butter, and salt in large bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until mixture resembles coarse meal. Set aside 2/3 cup of mixture for topping. Beat pumpkin, sour cream, 2 tablespoons sugar, spice, and baking soda into remaining flour mixture, beating just until smooth. Beat in eggs. Transfer batter to pan. Scatter apples evenly over top. Sprinkle reserved topping over apples. Bake cake until topping is golden brown and tester inserted into centre comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack 20 minutes. Run knife around pan sides to loosen cake. Release pan sides from cake. Transfer cake to platter. Serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream.


3 tbsp butter
2 fine diced onions
3 minced garlic cloves
2 cups peeled, seeded and diced tomatoes
¾ lb lean ground pork
¾ lb fine diced beef
1 cup beef stock
2 bay leaves
¼ tsp each of allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
⅓ cup fine bread crumbs
1 quantity double crust pie dough
3 tbsp milk
1 egg

In a large skillet heat the butter and sweat the onion and garlic. Add the tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes covered. Add the pork and cook thoroughly. Add beef, stock, bay leaves and seasonings. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue to simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir in the bread crumbs. Cool mixture to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 400◦F (200◦C).

Roll out the pastry, divide in two and line a 10" (250 cm) pie shell with one part. Fill with the mixture and, cover with the remaining pastry. Crimp edges and cut a 1" (2.5 cm) hole in top. Make a tin foil chimney and fit into hole.
Mix milk with the egg and brush over pastry.
Bake for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to 350◦F (180◦C) and continue to bake for 25 minutes. Rest the pie for 20 minutes before cutting, or cool and chill and serve


4½ lbs. Virginia ham
½ cup peach preserves
¼ cup liquid honey
¼ tsp each of ground cinnamon, ground cloves, white pepper
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 325◦F (160◦C).

Score the ham with 2" deep criss cross cuts, place into a roasting pan. Roast the ham for 2 hours.

In small sauce pan combine the preserves, honey and spices, heat slowly to a boiling point. Blend the lemon juice and cornstarch together and add the sauce, simmer until thick. Pour the sauce over the ham and continue to cook for an additional 30 minutes, basting every 7-10 minutes.

Serve the ham on a hot serving platter, with sweet root vegetables and fruit.



½ lb. diced bacon
1 large onion finely diced
3 large carrots finely diced
3 stalks celery finely diced
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
4 cups chicken broth
1½ cups cream
2 cups fresh sweet corn
salt and pepper to taste

In a large kettle fry the bacon, add the onion, carrots and celery and sauté until tender, drain all excess fat. Add the butter and flour and cook over low heat for 3 minutes. Pour the chicken broth over and simmer until thick. Add the cream and corn and continue to simmer for 10 minutes.
Check for seasoning and serve.



1 lb. brussels sprouts
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
½ cup milk
½ cup chicken broth
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp white pepper
pinch nutmeg
½ cup cooked crab meat

Cut off the root stem end of the sprouts and trim the outer leaves. Stem the sprouts for so minutes.

While sprouts steam, melt the butter in a sauce pan. Add flour and stir into a paste (roux) cook for 2 minutes over low heat.

Add the milk and chicken broth, stir; simmer until thickened. Add the seasonings and simmer 2 additional minutes. Brussels in the crab meat.

Place the brussels sprouts in a serving dish, smother with sauce and serve.



1 lb. carrots
1 cup dried apricots
1 cup water
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup apple juice

Pare the carrots and cut into sticks. Steam the carrots for 12-15 minutes, transfer to a serving dish and reserve warm.

While carrots steam, boil the apricots in the water for 5 minutes in a small pan. Transfer apricots to a food processor and puree, reserve the water.

Stir the sugar into the water. Mix the cornstarch with the lemon juice, add to the water and simmer until thick. Pour over the apricots and blend.

Return to sauce pan and stir in the apple juice, heat but do not boil.

Pour sauce over carrots and serve at once.



6-6 oz. boneless turkey breasts
4 tbsp butter
3 minced garlic cloves
1 sliced green bell pepper
1 sliced onion
3 cups peeled, seeded, chopped tomatoes
¼ cup sherry
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

In a skillet, fry the turkey in the butter for 4-6 minutes per side (depending on the thickness of the breast). Remove and reserve hot.

Add the garlic, bell peppers and onions to the skillet, sauté until tender. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. add the sherry and seasonings, continue to simmer until the liquid has evaporated.

Place the turkey breasts on a platter, pour sauce and serve.


Monday, September 25, 2006

From My Good Friend Ronnie Prophet

From one of my very good friends in Toronto.


I hope this makes its way around CANADA several times over!!!

So if the CANADIAN government determines that it is against the law for the words "under God" to be on our money, then, so be it.

And if that same government decides that the "Ten Commandments" are not to be used in or on a government installation, then, so be it.

And since they already have prohibited any prayer in the schools, on which they deem their authority, then so be it.

I say, "so be it," because I would like to be a law abiding Canadian citizen

I say, "so be it," because I would like to think that smarter people than I are in positions to make good decisions.

I would like to think that those people have the Canadian public best interests at heart.


Since we can't pray to God, can't Trust in God and cannot post His Commandments in Government buildings, I don't believe the Government and its employees should participate in the Easter and Christmas.... Celebrations which honor the God that our government is eliminating from many facets of Canadian life.

I'd like my mail delivered on Christmas, Good Friday, Thanksgiving & Easter.
After all, it's just another day.

I'd like our Government to be in session on Christmas, Good Friday Thanksgiving & Easter as well as Sundays. After all, it's just >another day.

I'd like ALL Representatives to not have to worry about getting home for the "Christmas Break." After all ~~~ it's just another day.

I'm thinking that a lot of my taxpayer dollars could be saved, if all government offices & services would work on Christmas, Good Friday & Easter.

It shouldn't cost any overtime since those would be just like any other day of the week to a government that is trying to be "politically correct."

In fact....
I think that our government should work on Sundays (initially set aside for
worshipping God...) because, after all, our government says that it should
be just another day....

What do you all think????

If this idea gets to enough people, maybe our elected officials will stop giving in to the minority opinions and begin, once again, to represent the majority" of ALL of the people. SO BE IT...........


Thursday, September 21, 2006

Burger King "Have It No Way"

Yesterday I made a quick drive through visit to our local Burger King, ordered my sandwiches and when I went pay the payment was refused, that’s right. They actually refused to accept the cash, cash, not a credit or debt card, they refused cash.

I had 2 Canadian sliver dollars and 2 Canadian 50¢ pieces with the rest of the cash which they refused to accept. Since when does a Canadian business in Canada refuse legal Canadian currency?

Makes one wonder, also confirms who will not be visiting Burger King again, should have known better, right.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

In Memorandum

In Memorandum

We said goodbye to a great Canadian last week, Edna Staebler, perhaps many have not heard of Edna `but many have enjoy her food. Author of the Canadian best selling series of cookbooks, Food That Really Schmecks, She has received the Order of Canada, and an honorary doctorate from Laurier. She supports worthwhile institutions locally, and sponsored the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction. She was 100 years old at her passing and will be truly missed by all who love to cook

Butterscotch Pudding day

Today September 19,  is National Butterscotch Pudding day, why you may ask, just because we need a day to celebrate. it seems unclear where the original recipe comes from but it is clear that the roots of the the pudding is butterscotch candy.

It seems that the candy was created in Doncaster, England in around 1848 by HRM confectioners' S. Parkinson & Sons which even today sells Royal Doncaster Butterscotch. It is also not clear the meaning of the scotch part of the word as no scotch is actually used in the making of the candy or pudding. It may be that it is derived from the word “scorch,” since the sugar is heated to a fairly high temperature or to score as is done just before the candy cools to mark it off in portions.

Butterscotch is not caramel, caramel is sugar, melted into a syrup and cooked until the sugar crystals turn into a dark amber liquid. Butterscotch is far more complex, however both when made into candy contain sugar, butter and cream.Milton Hershey began his chocolate empire by seeking a way to coat his caramels made in his Lancaster Caramel Company.

Soc elebrate with some very good Butterscotch pudding recipes, enjoy.

Butterscotch Pecan Ice Cream Pie

One half gallon French Vanilla Ice Cream
½ quantity butterscotch pudding
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 cups heavy cream

Ice Cream Pie Shells

Cut ice cream into 1/2-inch slices and place on the bottom of two 8" pie pans. Cut remaining slices in half and place around the pie pans to form a rim; fill spots where ice cream is needed. With the tip of a spoon dipped in hot water, smooth the ice cream crust. Freeze 6 hours or until firm.

Pie Filling

Whip the cream. Add the pecans to the butterscotch pudding and fold in the whipped cream. Pour into the ice cream pie shells.
Freeze 6 hours or until firm. Thaw 20 minutes. Cut into slices and serve.

Butterscotch Pudding

12 tb Unsalted butter (6 ounces); cut in small pieces
2 1/2 c Brown sugar
1 Vanilla bean; slit down the centre, scraped
4 1/2 c Milk
2 c Heavy cream
1/2 c Plus 2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 ts Salt
6 Egg yolks
1 tb Vanilla extract

In a large saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter with the brown sugar and the vanilla bean, stirring occasionally. Cook 3-5 minutes to develop the butterscotch flavor.

In a medium saucepan, bring the milk and the cream to a boil. Slowly whisk into the butter mixture, whisking well. The mixture may break at this point. If it does, remove from the heat and continue to whisk until it becomes smooth.

In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and the salt. Whisk in some of the hot milk mixture to dissolve the cornstarch, then whisk back into the milk and bring to a boil.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Whisk in some of the hot mixture, and then whisk back into the milk. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring all the while. Stir in the vanilla extract and strain through a fine strainer. Pour into twelve 3/4 cup ramekins and let cool. Refrigerate, covered, until needed.

Presentation: Pipe whipped cream around the edge of the pudding and place a few raspberries or a strawberry, partially sliced and fanned, in the center.
To Prepare ahead: Through step 4. The pudding can be prepared the day before needed.

Butterscotch Pudding Cake

1 yellow cake mix
2 T. oil
2 eggs
1 ½ cups butterscotch pudding
12 oz. butterscotch bits
1 c. chopped pecans

Mix cake mix, oil, eggs and pudding together. Pour into a greased 9×13 inch pan. Top with butterscotch bits and pecans Bake at 350° for 45 minutes

Monday, September 18, 2006

National Apple Dumpling Day

Yesterday was national apple dumpling day in the US. Yes you read right, a day for apple dumplings! Why not, they’re great and fall is the time of year for apples at their peak, so go and celebrate apple dumplings day and have or rather make yourself a great one.

For entertaining you could read the book The Apple Dumpling Gang or get the DVD and watch it with the kids.

Apple Dumpling Torte

3 pounds apples - peeled, cored and sliced
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.

Place sliced apples in baking dish. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir in eggs and oil; pack on top of apples.

Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Bake in preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until topping is puffed and golden brown.

Apple Dumplings

2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons shortening
1 cup milk
6 medium baking apples, pared and cored

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Mix together sugar, cinnamon and walnuts. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in shortening with a pastry cutter, or blend rapidly with fingertips until dough resembles oatmeal.
Stir in milk. Mix to a smooth dough.

Turn dough onto floured board. Divide into 6 equal portions. Roll each portion until large enough to wrap around one apple.

Place each apple in center of individual dough, but do not wrap. Sprinkle reserved sugar mixture into the core of each apple.

Bring dough over each apple. Wet edges of dough to seal.

Place on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake in 350° F. oven until apples are tender
and dough crispy, about 1/2 hour.

Serves: 4 to 6

Gourmet Apple Dumplings

For dough:

1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp shortening
1/4 cup apple juice or apple cider

For filling:
4 tbsp butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup crushed gingersnaps
1/4 cup ground pecans
1 tbsp grand mariner
1 tsp cinnamon

Recipe Preparation

Mix flour, cinnamon, salt, butter and shortening until a crumblymixture forms. Add in the juice slowly, until a smooth dough forms.
Melt butter, and mix the rest of the ingredients into it.

Putting it all together: Core 3/4 of an apple (preferably a Granny
Smith) making sure that there is plenty of room for the filling. Roll
out the dough, the thinner the better. Wrap dough around the apple.
Squeeze off the excess and create leaves for the top of the apple
with the extra. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes
until dough becomes a light to golden brown. It will not get too dark
so definitely keep checking on it.

The dough recipe should yield enough for two apples. To make a stem
for the apple use a small piece of cinnamon stick

Friday, September 15, 2006

Okanagan Wine Fest

Well it’s that time of year, once again the Okanagan Wine Festival will be upon us, a wonderful time to experience the wines of the Okanagan, one of the world best wine growing areas. With over 100 wineries there certainly will be something to please every wine lovers fantasy.

From winery tours and tasting to wine pairing dinners in the best (and some of the worse) restaurants throughout the Okanagan you will never be able to get enough of the great VQA wines made here. (VQA Vintners Quality Alliance).

Put very simply, the VQA designation on the Wines of British Columbia is a guarantee the wine you’re purchasing has been subjected to rigorous quality control measures. Introduced in 1990, the VQA is an “Appellation of Origin” system that guarantees authenticity of origin and stipulates minimum quality standards for Canadian wines.

The VQA defines and mandates standards for wine production and certification. With the VQA system, Canada joined other leading wine-producing countries in developing a body of regulations and standards for its wines.

Now as you go forth and experience the wines just a few pointers to keep in mind.
For food pairing with the wines, the rules are simple and easy to follow.

A) Drink what you like. Why on earth would anyone drink something that they do not enjoy or like. Would you eat something you don’t like? Of course not so don’t drink it either, which brings us to point

B), when pairing food with wine consider the weight. (No not yours) the foods, light dishes= light wines, rich dishes= rich wines, spicy dishes= spicy wines. It’s real simple, and really is the best way to enjoy the wine and dine experience.

C) Step outside your boundaries, sure you’ll want to stay away from what you don’t enjoy, but you won’t know if you don’t try. Live a little, go where no taste bud has gone before, if you try it you may find you’ll like.

And finally to enjoy wine be sure to serve it at it’s ideal temperature. Like any food product you want to enjoy it at the temperature it is best served at. Hot soup taste terrible if served cold, cold salad unappetizing when served hot. Wine too hot tastes off and wine to cold loses it aroma and thus flavour.
Go forth then and enjoy.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

"EASY COOKING" Newsletter

Just a short note right now to invite you join my periodic newsletter I call, EASY COOKING.

It's a periodic little publication I send out (no more than once a month) to my friends to provide them with kitchen ideas, recipes, information on food groups and why you should, or should not, serve certain things, and various tips that you may not be aware of. They're kind of reserved for elite Chefs around the world.

If you'd like to sign up to receive the next issue, just fill out the form below and click Do it!. You should receive a confirming email asking you to clink a specified link in order to double confirm your sign up. That's all there is to it. You will also be able to remove yourself from the mailing list at your discretion at any time in the future.

Thanks for joining our friendly group and don't be afraid to contact me with any questions, ideas, or concerns you might have come up in your kitchen.

Y'all have a great day, now!

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Friday, August 25, 2006


Asked this week to compete in the annual Covert farms Tomato Iron Chef culinary contest I decide that although I do not normally take part these any longer this one gemmed be just a lot of fun rather than a lot of work for which time does not permit.

The tomato a fruit not a vegetable is believed to have it’s "roots" as far back as 700 AD with the Aztecs of Mexico, and in the 1600's was brought back to Spain with the Conquistadors. Applied named the Love Apple because of it’s heart shape and bright red colour. The British believed the
tomato to be art of the Wolf Peach family and would not eat fearing that like it’s cousin it to was poisonous.

Rich people in that time used flatware made of pewter, which has a high-lead content. Foods high in acid, like tomatoes, would cause the lead to leech out into the food, resulting in lead poisoning and death. Poor people, who ate off of plates made of wood, did not have that problem, and hence did not have an aversion to tomatoes. This is essentially the reason why tomatoes were only eaten by poor people until the 1800's, especially Italians. Before long the tomato had made great inroads in all the Europeans nations and eventually as they migrated to North America they of course brought back to it’s home the tomato. The one cuisine that set the tomato onto the plates of course is Italian, the pasta sauces and of course pizza, remain the number one consumer choice the world over.There is no pizza without tomato sauce, and pizza was invented around Naples in the late 1880's. The story goes that it was created by one restaurateur in Naples to celebrate the visit of Queen Margarite, the first Italian monarch since Napoleon conquered Italy. The restaurateur made the pizza from three ingredients that represented the colors of the new Italian flag: red, white, and green. The red is the tomato sauce, the white was the mozzarella cheese, and the green was the basil topping. Hence, Pizza Margarite was born, and is still the standard for pizza.

Covert Farms is a vegetable gem in the Okanagan and the premier tomato growing farm in BC, truly an attraction for anyone visiting in BC, why not visit them at

The menu I’ve selected for my tomato venture is as follows, try it you’ll like it. Make the Gazpacho, top with salsa and shrimp blossom and serve with the Corn bread on the side.

Yellow Tomato Gazpacho
1 ½ lbs Yellow Taxi tomatoes or other yellow heirloom tomatoes, ripe
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 English or regular waxy cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into large pieces
1 bell yellow pepper, seeded and cut into large pieces
1 red onion, cut into large pieces
½ small hot red chili, seeded, cut into large pieces or to taste
¼ cup red wine vinegar
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and white pepper, to taste

Avocado-Tomato Salsa
2 avocados, preferably Haas, flesh cut into small dice
½ small hot red chili, seeded, cut into small dice
1 small red onion, cut into small dice
1 red heirloom slicing tomato, peeled, seeded and diced
1 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
juice of one lime
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

To Prepare the Soup : Working in batches, purée all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer into another bowl by pressing the solids with a wooden spoon in order to extract as much liquid as possible. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate two hours or overnight.
Before serving, taste and adjust seasoning.
To Prepare the Salsa : Combine all ingredients in a stainless steel bowl and refrigerate at least 20 minutes.
To Serve: Place salsa in the center of chilled soup bowls. Ladle soup around the salsa and garnish with red and yellow cherry tomato halves.

Shrimp mousseline-stuffed squash blossoms

1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 shallots, roughly chopped
1 tsp salt
1 egg white
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup heavy cream
15-20 freshly picked squash blossoms

Combine shrimp, shallots and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the mixture becomes a paste.
Add egg white and pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse to combine.
With the processor running, add cream in a thin stream.
Scrape mixture into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
Prepare the squash blossoms. Using a paring knife, cut the bottom 1/2 inch off of the stem end of each blossom. As you pull it off, the flower's pollen-covered stamens should come with it.
Transfer the shrimp mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a wide tip (or no tip at all if the bag's opening is relatively small). Pipe shrimp paste into each blossom until it is full but not bursting.
Place the filled blossoms on the trays of a bamboo steamer and steam over simmering water for 10 minutes.


1cup all-purpose flour
3/4 C cornmeal
2 tbsp sugar
1tbsp double-acting baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup tomato juice
1/3 cup butter or bacon fat
1/3 cup chopped cooked bacon
1/4 cup green onion, chopped with tops
tomatoe confit (follows)

Grease a large loaf pan and preheat oven to 375 degrees.In medium bowl with fork, mix first 5 ingredients.In small bowl, with fork, beat together egg, milk, butter. Pour this mixture all at once into the first mixture, stirring just until the flour in moistened. Fold in the onions.Pour batter in to loaf pan, spreading evenly. Layer the tomato slices across the top.Bake 25 minutes or until bread is done in the center.

Garlic Tomato Confit

12 Plum Tomatoes
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and cracked black pepper to taste
1 tbsp fresh minced garlic
1 tsp fresh thyme or basil leaves

Preheat oven to 250E. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. With a sharp paring knife, cut out and discard stem end of each tomato; score opposite end. Place tomatoes in a large bowl.
Pour boiling water over tomatoes; let sit until skin is easily peeled, about 15 seconds. Drain tomatoes, and cover with ice.
Peel tomatoes when cool enough to handle. Halve lengthwise and place, cut-side up, on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil; season with salt, pepper, and herbs and garlic.
Roast until tomatoes are dried halfway through, about 5 to 6 hours. ( or place in a food dehydrator) Let stand until cool. Transfer tomatoes to a storage container; pour oil from baking sheet over the top. Refrigerate for up to 1 week.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Organic Seafood????

Do you ever get weary of the onslaught of hype we get over what food we should or should not eat? I sure do, but there is a new twist in food marketing now,the so called organic's. Many food ingredients will come as organic, to qualify as certified organic a strict set of rules must be adhered to. Visit the USDA national Organic Program for the complete program I believe in many cases, organic is better but the one that got me the last few days has been the marketing of certified organic seafood. It just can’t happen, not by following the rules above, and not with simple logic. How does one know for a certainty where a fish in the wild swims and what does it eat, and what it does, it does that contain anything not allowed on the list for certification?
Let's first look at what some consider this a new trend in dining, yet it is the original way of dining. Go out in the field and forage for what you require for the daily meal, take it home and enjoy. In doing so the diner enjoys a flavor experience that only the freshest ingredients can provide. Farm to fork food is locally-sourced, seasonally influenced, and produced in a sustainable and organic fashion.  From fruit to nuts, meat and cheese, fowl and vegetables, every ingredient should be chosen as if they came off the farm minutes ago.
Why? Foods are more flavorful as they have traveled less and therefore are fresher. They are more nutritious because the longer the food travels from afar it loses health-promoting components, it has less opportunity to be contaminated with chemicals like sulfur dioxide (used to preserve freshness) or just fuel fumes and chemical sprays use to transport the food from large distance. Sulphites are used as preservatives used: antimicrobials that inhibit growth of bacteria, yeasts, or molds; antioxidants that slow air oxidation of fats and lipids, which leads to rancidity; or to block the natural ripening and enzymatic processes that continue to occur in food after harvest.
Proteins (meat, fish and fowl) are often packaged with addition of preserving gasses, carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrogen, allow these food items extended shelf life up to as much 112 days (diced lamb). In Canada a system called MAP (modified atmosphere packaging) is used to extend the shelf life of proteins, it is a process of removing or changing the gas concentrations (oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide) from proteins. The US uses both the CO2 and MAP methods, often in combination. Extending to the shelf life of proteins poses higher health risks for the consumer.   Thus farm to fork philosophy provides far a superior dairy, vegetable or protein to consumers.Farm to table philosophy supports local economies because the money spent on local food returns to the local purveyor supporting the "home grown" economy. The local purveyor provides a fresher product can charge a fair (often less) price. Gives the local purveyor opportunity to hire more local employees as well as building personal relationships with their clients. Local, also gives the dining establishment a stronger reputation within the community as one actually supports the community.
Promotes seasonal dining because eating local often translates to eating what's seasonal in your area and offers us the chance to eat in conjunction with what nature is bearing to harvest. Seasonal dining means that chefs need to be creative in menu offerings, thus an ever changing opportunity for the consumer, no more stagnant menus, the same old same old has past.Chefs who support the philosophy buy at least 50% of their ingredients from small farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and food producers within 100 miles and less than 150 miles from their kitchens, when possible. Climate may require flexibility in the philosophy, clearly a fresh most vegetables purchased in the middle of December in most of Canada cannot be grown locally. Yet, when it is seasonally available it is always first choice. The only way you could have an organic product would be to farm it, raise it, ensuring it is completely free from anything that could have it labelled as a GMO (genetically modified food) which then leads to a whole new batch of contentious issues.Most for products can carry the label as organic and be farmed to the table, however, I have some issues with fish and seafood being labelled such. As for fish and seafood it is nearly impossible to bear such a designation, as no fresh or sea water marine animal lives in a non polluted environment.   Whether Pacific salmon, Lake Erie Pickerel of Gulf of Mexico shellfish, all marine life in all the worlds oceans are subjected to environmental pollutants.
In January of 2006, California passed a law that bans the labeling of seafood as organic, one seller of this product is quoted as saying". Organic is so hot right. It’s a buzzword, it delivers more impact". Perhaps so, but it can also be a lie! Be watchful of anything fish or seafood labelled organic, or eco-farmed.
"The reality, they say, is that for certain types of aquaculture, there are few, if any operations that don't damage the environment"."There really is no ecologically friendly large fish or shrimp operation that I know of," said Sophika Kostyniuk, California markets campaigner for the Coastal Alliance of Aquaculture Reform in Vancouver, British Columbia. For farmed salmon, she said, there is little difference between operations touted as organic and others that don't make that claim. Fish are kept in cages in the open ocean, she said, with few controls over waste. Diseases are transmitted to wild fish, and the farmed salmon sometimes escape into the wild. Salmon farmers use wild fish as feed and apply antibiotics and pesticides, Kostyniuk said.
There are sustainable aquaculture operations, she said, and have been for thousands of years, but they involve fish, such as tilapia and carp, that are not carnivorous. For most farmed shrimp, mangrove forests are destroyed, she said. In the wild, trawling for shrimp tears up the bottom in a way that is compared to clear-cutting a forest. For every pound of shrimp that is caught, she said, 10 pounds of other sea creatures, including marine turtles, are caught and discarded".“It was surprising to find measurable and sometimes high amounts of toxic pollutants in such a deep and remote environment,” Michael Vecchione of NOAA Fisheries said. Among the chemicals detected were tributyltin (TBT), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), brominated diphenyl ethers (BDEs), and dichlorodiphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT).  They are known as persistent organic pollutants (POPs) because they don't degrade and persist in the environment for a very long time.
In other words, it is just impossible to certify that ocean fish and seafood are 100% organic. You decide is Organic seafood for you?


Linguine With Roasted Garlic & Clam Sauce

1 dozen little neck clams; scrubbed clean
2 tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
3 tbsp. chopped parsley
1 cup white wine
12 oz fresh linguine; cooked and drained

Place garlic on square of foil and drizzle with a little olive oil.

Roast in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes or until tender.

Peel garlic and coarsely chop. Heat oil in a large pot and stir in garlic.

Add pepper flakes and parsley. Pour in wine and bring to a simmer.

Add clams and cover pot. Cook about 6-8 minutes or until clams are all open. Discard any unopened clams.

Stir in linguine and toss to coat.

Serve immediately.

Lobster Medallions:1-1.5# Lobster tail (thawed)
1-cup dry vermouth
3-cup water
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1-cup heavy cream
2-teaspoon dry tarragon
1-stick butter, cut into pieces

Bring vermouth and water to low boil in steamer, add lobster tail in shell and steam for 20 minutes.

Remove lobster and wrap in damp cloth to retain heat, add shallots, tarragon and heavy cream to liquid and allow to simmer for 5 minutes, reducing liquid to ½ .

Strain and add butter. Whisk to incorporate and place to side.

Remove lobster meat from the shell and slice into 1/4 inch thick medallions.

Place on medallions on warmed serving platter and drizzle sauce over and serve.

This is a thin sauce but may be thickened, if desired.

Fresh Lobster Spring Rolls with Lime-Ginger Vinaigrette:

1 each fresh lobster, about 1-1/2 lbs. cooked
1 head butter lettuce
1 ea. small carrot
1/2 ea. hothouse cucumber
20 ea. basil leaves
20 ea. cilantro sprigs
40 ea. garlic chives
20 ea. mint leaves
1/4 cup toasted peanuts, chopped coarsely
15 Pcs. rice wrappers
1 / 4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 ea. egg yolk
1 tsp. water
1 cup peanut oil
1/2 cup cilantro, basil and mint leaves, loosely packed
2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 ea. juice of lime
1 tbsp. minced fresh gingersalt and pepper

Prepare the Vinaigrette: Place the egg yolk and water into the workbowl of a food processor and turn it on. Slowly add half of the oil then add the herbs and ginger then puree until the mixture becomes smooth. Add the vinegar then add the remainder of the oil. Finish with the lime juice then season to taste with salt and pepper.

Prepare the Rolls: Remove the lobster meat from the shell and dice into 1/2 inch pieces. Keep chilled. Peel the carrot and wash the cucumber. Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Cut both the carrot and cucumber into thin julienne and reserve.

Prepare the herb leaves by washing and spinning dry. Separate, wash and dry the leaves from the lettuce, discarding the dark green outer leaves. You will need one leaf for each roll. Lay the leaves down, concave side up on a clean work surface and assemble the remaining ingredients in each leaf starting with the herbs and finishing with the lobster and peanuts.

Heat a 5 qt. pot of water to a boil and add 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar. Dip a rice wrapper into the water for a second or two then lay out onto a damp towel. After it becomes soft, place the lettuce cup into the center and roll into a cylinder, tucking the ends in before the final roll.

Chill well, then slice the hard ends off and cut each roll into six equal slices. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the top and serve.

Halibut in Champagne Sauce

1 1/2 pounds halibut fillets
2/3 cup champagne
1 pound bay scallops
2/3 heavy whipping cream
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
salt and cayenne pepper
1/2 cup peanut oilfreshly ground white pepper
1 ounce salmon roe

Rinse the halibut fillets under cool water and pat them dry with paper towels.

In a large non-aluminum saucepan, bring the Champagne to a boil.

Add the scallops and cook for 3 minutes. Remove the scallops from the liquid with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Boil the cooking liquid for about 15 minutes, or until reduced to about 3 tablespoons. Whisk in the whipping cream, then remove from heat and whisk in the butter. Set aside.

Preheat the broiler or charcoal grill. Sprinkle salt and cayenne pepper on both sides of the fish fillets and brush with the peanut oil. Broil for 4 minutes on each side. Remove and keep warm.

Reheat the sauce gently (Do not boil) and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve: Ladle sauce onto 4 plates. Place the grilled fish in the center, dividing it evenly. Arrange the scallops in a large circle around the fish. Top the fish with a dab of salmon roe.

Blackened Grouper Serves1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons Chef K’s Multipurpose seasoning
1 lb. red grouper fillets, skinned
4 tablespoons melted butter1 tablespoon oil, for frying

Combine flour and seasonings and mix well. Brush fillets with butter, then rub spice mixture all over fillets.Heat oil in iron frying pan over high heat until very hot.

Add fillets and cook 2 to 3 minutes per side or until fish is opaque and beginning to flake when tested.

Serve immediately.

Notes: Start with a really hot frying pan. The fish will sizzle immediately and will result in a very crisp, dark coating.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Summer Newsletter

Summer 2006 Newsletter

Hi friends! Sorry for the long delay in getting out this letter but it’s been very busy summer so far.

As many of you know our Penticton, BC. restaurant (Chef K’s On Main) is closed. The reason for this is simply that our lease in that location has expired, and with the building of a new restaurant we did not feel that we should bind ourselves to another extended lease.

We ask your patience in waiting for the new location to open, you will not be disappointed! We also wish the new operators at our old location the very best with their Vietnam-influenced food.

Hope you use and enjoy the delicious recipes in this issue. Send me your comments (like, 'em or not) once you have tried one, or all, of them by clicking on "COMMENTS" below.

The Okanagan Is Alive

Summer in the Okanagan means sunshine, beach daze, and smoky haze. It also means the fruits and vegetables are at peak freshness and peak flavours. Of course the favourites, cherries, peaches, apples etc., go quickly---but what of the less popular ones? In my yard I have a wonderful plum tree and have already enjoyed a variety of delicious recipes from the plums on this one tree.

Plums are high in carbohydrates, low in fat and low in calories. They are an excellent source of vitamin A, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium and fiber. Plums are free of sodium and cholesterol. Like all fruit, plums contain a substantial amount of vitamin C.
A prune is nothing but a dried plum. Plums for drying are harvested at a more mature stage than those used for fresh consumption or canning. Prunes used to be dried on the tree and in the sun like raisins, but nowadays they are dried in forced-air tunnels heated by gas, this gives a more uniform product.
California is famous for its export of Japanese plums. The Japanese plum should be called the Chinese plum because the Japanese imported the fruit 200 to 300 years ago from China where plums had been cultivated for thousands of years. The Japanese spread the fruit all over the world and so it became the Japanese plum.
One of the best known effects of plums is their ability to stimulate the bowels. Plum skin contains a substance that is responsible for that effect. If you peel the fruit you won't be bothered with that well-known side effect of this lovely fruit. Of course you can leave them intact for a natural internal cleansing!
In any case here are some wonderful recipes to help you enjoy the summer’s plum bounty:

Plum-Glazed Chicken

1 lb plums
1/4 cup Chardonnay
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup prepared tomato-based chilli sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon ginger
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the pits from the plums. In a blender or food processor, whirl the plums and the wine until pureed.

Melt butter in a wide skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft. Stir in the plum puree, brown sugar, chilli sauce, soy sauce, ginger and lemon juice. Cook, uncovered, stirring often until slightly thickened. About 15 minutes.

Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Arrange the chicken in a lightly greased baking pan. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes, basting with plum sauce every 15 minutes. Turn the chicken over and bake, basting occasionally, for 30 more minutes. Heat the remaining sauce and pass it at the table.

Plum Good Spareribs

1 pound whole purple plums
2/3 cup orange juice
1/4 cup each lemon juice, soy sauce, tomato based chilli sauce, and orange marmalade
2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon each grated orange peel, grated lemon peel, and dry rosemary
1/2 teaspoon each ground cloves and ginger
1 tablespoon instant minced onion
6 - 7 pounds pork spareribs, St. Louis or baby back, cut into 2 - 3 rib portions.
1/4 cup Chef K’s Multi-purpose seasoning


Drain plums, reserving liquid. Pit plums, then place plums and syrup in a food processor or blender and whirl until pureed. Add orange juice, lemon juice, soy, chilli sauce, marmalade, sugar, mustard, orange and lemon peel, rosemary, cloves, ginger and onion. Whirl until pureed.
Rub the seasoning into the ribs on both sides.

Barbecue ribs by indirect heat (try to maintain a temperature of 275 F. ( Place a small tin pie plate filled with water soaked plum tree wood chips in the grill to give a matching wood smoke flavour). Place ribs, meat side up, on grill directly above drip pan. Cover barbecue and adjust dampers as necessary to maintain an even heat. Cook ribs, brushing occasionally with plum sauce, until meat near the bone is no longer pink; cut to test (2 to 2 1/2 hours.) Brush with the sauce one final time before serving.

PLUM WINE INGREDIENTS: (for each gallon to be made)

4 pounds fresh Plums
2 1/4 pounds sugar
Water to one gallon
1 Camden tablet (crushed)
1/2 teaspoon Pectic Enzyme
1 teaspoon Acid Blend
1/4 teaspoon Grape Tannin
1/2 teaspoon Super Ferment yeast nutrient
Wine yeast (one pkg. for up to 5 gallons - try Red Star Cote des Blancs or Lalvin 71B-1122)

1. Wash the fruit in cool water and remove the seeds. Chop up the fruit (do not pulverize! ) and put into the primary fermenter.
2. Add the pectic enzyme, the tannin, the acid blend, the sugar, and enough water to give a total volume of one gallon. Stir in the crushed Camden tablet, cover the container with plastic sheeting, then wait 24 hours. Stir several times during this period.
3. After 24 hours, stir in the activated yeast (For best results, "rehydrate" the yeast in a half cup of lukewarm water for 15 minutes beforehand). Now would be a good time to add the yeast nutrient, too. Allow to ferment in the primary container for 7 days, stirring well every day.
4. After the week is up, strain pulp, squeezing out as much juice as possible. Syphon this liquid into the jug, attach the air lock and allow to ferment for three to four weeks.
5. After this initial three to four week period is up, syphon wine into another clean secondary (or into primary, wash secondary and back into clean secondary). Re-attach air lock and let it stand until clear (approximately one month). Repeat this step once a month until clear.
6. When wine is clear and stable it may be bottled. If a sweeter wine is preferred, use 1/2 tsp. of potassium sorbate stabilizer per gallon at least 48 hours before adding sugar. For a fruitier sweetness in the finish, use fructose (fruit sugar) in lieu of household sugar. For best results, dissolve the sugar in some boiling water, and sweeten to taste. Bottle in fifth wine bottles with corks, stand upright for 3-4 days to allow corks to expand then lay on side and age at least 2-6 months.

Cinnamon-Sugar Plum Cake

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup + 1 1/2 tblspn sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
5 large plums (about 1 1/4 pounds), pitted, cut into 1/2-inch
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 9-inch-diameter springform pan. Whisk
first 3 ingredients in small bowl to blend. Using electric mixer,
beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in 3/4 cup sugar. Add
eggs 1 at a time, then lemon juice and lemon peel, beating until
blended after each addition. Beat in flour mixture. Spread batter in
prepared pan.
Press plum wedges halfway into batter in concentric circles, spacing
slightly apart. Mix remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon in
small bowl; sprinkle over plums. Bake until cake is browned on top
and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.
Cut around cake; release pan sides. Serve cake warm or at room