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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

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