Turkey in a Trash Can

February 28, 2009

No joke, this is a cool way to cook a turkey….

Check it: Turkey In A Trash Can

Both my girlfriend and mom are from the Southern United States (North Carolina and Kentucky, respectively), so let me tell you I’ve had a biscuit or two in my day.  Southern cooks aren’t shy about copiously using butter, crisco and other unhealthy ingredients when they cook, which is why when I learned how my girlfriend didn’t use butter in her biscuits, I didn’t feel guilty about having two.

What’s the secret ingredient, you ask?  How, without using any butter, can you get that biscuit to melt in your mouth?  Well, in light of concerns about hydrogenated oil and excessive butter use, we had to come up with something.  The answer…Coconut Oil.

Coconut oil is the perfect substitute for a few reasons.  First it stays solid at room temperature, which is important because it needs to be “cut into” the dry mixture so that it is of a course crumble consistency.  The coconut oil in this state allows for the same consistency of the mixture as butter without jepoardizing the final product.  In case Memphis Blues might be reading, here’s her recipe:

2 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon salt.

Cut in 1/2 cup solid coconut oil till mixture is of a course crumbly consistency.  Make a well in the center.  Add 2/3 cup milk all at once.  Stir until moistened.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Quickly kneed dough intil nearly smooth.  Roll dough to 1/2 inch thickness and cut with 2 1/2 inch cutter.

Place them 1 inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet, and bake at 425 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

They come out golden brown on top, just slightly crispy, and absolutely melt in your mouth in the middle.  Add 2 1/4 cups of shredded yams if you’re feeling adventurous, and serve with chicken, gravy or some grilled catfish (if you can find it here) or, more traditionally, breakfast.  Do what I do and spread lots of butter on top.  You can’t have a fresh biscuit without butter!

Wild mushroom and seaweed

February 28, 2009

Wild mushroom and seaweed harvesting season is on the way….

With excitement and anticipation, the British Columbia based Lesosky family, braces itself for the rigors of harvesting the wild, where harsh weather conditions, difficult terrains, ravenous insects, snakes and the occasional avoidance of bears are the norm.

Louis Lesosky, patriarch of the family business, and Wild Products Network takes pride in the fact that the wild mushrooms he and his sons, Sequoia and Jay, gather are of the highest quality. Taught by his father, and picking since the age of 5 in Northern Manitoba, Louis has learned a thing or two about the craft, and has definite ideas about what sets his products and pickers apart.

“Clean mushrooms, free of dirt, molds, and parasites. That’s how you know you’re dealing with good pickers and have premium mushrooms.

Mushrooms are seasonal and precious, and one season is different from the next. They have to be treated with respect. The Chef’s we deal with are just thrilled that their cooks don’t have to spend all that time cleaning our product,” says Louis.

Read more…

Morels

Albacore Tuna

Availability:Fresh
tuna is caught from June to late fall with the peak commercial fishery
occurring in September. Canned, smoked and frozen at sea tuna are
available year round. more …


Dungeness Crab

Availability: Dungeness crab is harvested in Canada in all months. Most landings however occur from May to October.
more …

Pacific Halibut

Availability:
Fresh halibut is available throughout the commercial fishing season
which takes place from the middle of March to the middle of November.
Frozen halibut is available year round. more …


Sablefish

Availability: Fresh, frozen and smoked sablefish is available year round.
more …

Salmon – Spring (Chinook)

Availability:
There is a limited availability of commercially caught spring. However,
if run sizes permit, fresh wild spring may be available from small
winter fisheries in the periods from September through November and
January through May. more …


Salmon – Coho

Availability:
A ban on commercial fishing of coho, in place since 1998, has allowed
stocks to rebuild to the point that a limited commercial fishery is
again allowed in some areas. more …

Salmon – Sockeye

Availability:
Generally, sockeye is available fresh from June to the end of August;
frozen from September to May, and; canned or smoked throughout the
year. more …

Spot Prawns

Availability:
Fresh and live prawns are available during the harvest season which
usually starts in May and lasts approximately 80 days. Frozen prawns
are available year round. more …

The Edible Garden Project, by way of an extensive community consultation process,  has identified food security as a key priority area. Adequate access to fresh fruit and vegetables is a cornerstone to good health, but is beyond the reach of many low income community members.

The mission of the project is to create a network of communities where locally grown food is collected and distributed to organizations that provide food to low income families and individuals. The EGP strives to create a network between homeowners with gardens who want to donate a portion of their harvest, people who have under or un-used garden space and would like to cultivate this land for growing food, and volunteers who want to contribute to the growing, sharing, and learning around locally produced food.

The EGP aims to provide information and education to the community, where knowledge and skills are built around ecological food gardening, healthy eating, and food preservation.

The EGP has three main activities on the North Shore; Growing Gardens, Sharing Backyard Bounty, and building Strong Roots. The Edible Garden Project actively increases land-use for food production in the North
Shore by seeking-out unused garden space both on private and public property. The EGP also encourages people who grow gardens to plant an extra row for donation.

The fresh local produce that is produced is distributed to organizations, like the Harvest Project, who serve community members who require
it the most. The EGP also strives to create a community network around the
environmental and nutritional importance of growing, harvesting, and sharing fresh local food.

Edible Flowers

February 28, 2009

Edible flowers not only add beauty to the plate, they also add interesting flavours.

Nasturtiums, both the beautiful flowers and the leaves, can be added to salads to add a layer of mild pepper flavour. All edible flowers are used raw, as cooking will destroy any colour or flavour that the flower has.

Besides Nasturtiums, other flowers can be added to any uncooked dish for
flavour and colour. The list includes Rose petals, Pansy, Calendula,
Batchelor Buttons, Snapdragons, Scented Geranium flowers, Marigold
petals and the flowers from the Borage plant.

For a
savoury flavour, try using chive blossoms or the blossom from a
traditional vegetable that is about to go to seed – for example, radish
flowers or broccoli flowers. These are also used raw and can be used to
garnish a warm vegetable just before serving. Next time you have new
potatoes, try snipping some fresh chives blossoms over them while they
are steaming hot.

For a presentation that will keep the dinner conversation going, take a squash blossom or a tulip, dip them into a tempura batter and deep fry and serve while hot. Both of these blossoms can be stuffed. A tulip blossom can be stuffed with something cold, possibly a chicken salad, and presented just like that but the squash blossom can be stuffed and baked.

The possibilities are only limited by your imagination. Edible flowers are
also used to decorate sweet things – they can be sugared or just placed
on top of a cake or desert to offer a beautiful presentation. Next time
you are planning a special occasion, consider cascading flowers from
the top of your cake, down the side and then onto the plate. Your
guests will be amazed at your creativity and unique presentation!

by Bill Jones

Serves 6-8

This is a versatile pate that works with a number of different herbs and mushrooms. Use your favourite herbs in combination with whatever mushrooms are available. Oyster mushrooms work particularly well; their flavour balances the tang of the goat cheese. It is good to use a fresh local, organic goat cheese what has a clean, light flavour.

Mise-en-place

1 tbsp butter 15 mL

2 tbsp garlic, minced 30 mL

4 shallots, minced 4

2 cups seasonal mushrooms, chopped 500 mL

2 tbsp fresh herbs, chopped 30 mL

1/2 lb goat cheese, at room temperature 225 g

1. In a non-stick pan, heat butter over medium-high heat for 30 seconds and add garlic, shallots and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and saute until mushrooms are soft and appear dry, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in herbs, set aside and keep warm.

2. In a medium bowl, add goat cheese and soften with the back of a spatula. Add mushroom mixture and blend into the goat cheese. On a flat work surface, place a sheet of plastic wrap. Place the cheese mixture on one side of the wrap and form a compact line. Fold over the plastic and roll into a smooth log, twisting the ends to seal the roll. Place in refrigerator and chill until firm. The plastic wrapped pate can also be placed into a pate mould (square, half round, triangle) to shape into other forms.

3. To serve, warm a sharp knife under hot running water and cut the form into thin slices. Serve on crouton rounds, crackers, or as topping for a salad of greens dressed with a simple vinaigrette.