Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Regional Canadian Food: Edmonton

Here is the second installment to the Canadian Food Experience Project, this month's topic is Regional Food. This project is all about bringing Canadian food bloggers together to share their unique food experiences.
I must admit that this topic was a tough one, I began to think of my family and our local traditions; what is special about them and what food do we typically enjoy at these times. This year at Easter, we had brunch with my family, there is something about spring and brunch that go together just perfectly. For this brunch, I made a Brunch Bake that was filled with the fresh and bright flavours of spring. Originally, I found this recipe on the Kraft Foods website, there they call it the Sky-High Brunch Bake and of course I did a bit of recipe remodelling with the addition of fresh asparagus and dill and I used farm fresh eggs. The recipe and photos may look a little daunting as the assembly is a bit specific, but trust me when I say it is well worth all the effort and attention to details! As I am writing this I am thinking of when I will be able to make this again. It is a very memorable dish, one that the crowds will always be asking for time and time again.

Here is my version of the Brunch Bake. (serves 4-6)

  • 1 pkg. frozen puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed
  • 6 local farm fresh eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese (if you can do homemade ricotta, all the better!)
  • dash hot pepper sauce
  • 2 pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well drained
  • fresh dill, chopped
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (or any local sharp cheese)
  • 1 cup chopped red peppers
  • 20 lightly blanched asparagus, trimmed to radius of spring-form pan

    • Unfold pastry sheets. Roll out 1 sheet to 11-inch square; set aside. Roll out remaining sheet to 12-inch square; use to line bottom and side of 9-inch spring-form pan sprayed with cooking spray.
    • Reserve 1 Tbsp. eggs. Mix remaining eggs with ricotta, pepper sauce and spinach. Layer half each of the bacon, cheese, ricotta mixture and peppers in crust. Repeat layers, ending with the asparagus arranged in a star-burst on top.
    • Cover with remaining pastry sheet; folding remaining pastry around edges of pan. Brush pastry with reserved egg. Cut slits in top crust.
    • Bake 45 to 55 min. or until golden brown. Cool 10 min. Run small knife around edge of pan to loosen crust before removing rim.

    Easter 2013: Brunch Bake

    Friday, June 7, 2013

    My First Authentic Canadian Food Memory

    The Canadian Food Experience Project begins today, June 7 2013! As we (participants) share our collective stories across the vastness of our Canadian landscape through our regional food experiences, we hope to bring global clarity to our Canadian culinary identity through the cadence of our concerted Canadian voice. Please join us.

    I am so excited to take part in this 13 month challenge, this is a wonderful opportunity to share my own Canadian Food Experiences.  I would like to take this moment to thank Valerie at A Canadian Foodie for putting the word out to so many Canadian food blog writers to come together to share their stories and experiences. This is going to be a great 13 months.

    I hope you enjoy my experiences that I am about to share with you, read on for my First Authentic Canadian Food Memory!

    Let me start by setting the scene… a log cabin, built by hand and heart, in the woods with an old wood burning cook stove. Some would call this very rustic or rough but to us it is warm, welcoming and so very familiar. The cabin is a place where we go to relax, unwind and recharge. There are plenty of quiet and peaceful moments as well as many memories made with family and friends as we gather together regardless of the season. And with any home, the kitchen is a meeting place for all and the cabin is no exception to this. I believe that it must be the warmth of the cook stove that draws everyone in or possibly it is the delicious meals that are created here, one or the other it really equals the same; a great place to be.

    When I was growing up, we always, and I do mean always, had homemade bread. It even got to the point of store bought bread was almost a treat… I know it is hard to believe.  I realize now, after a few years of not having a constant supply of fresh homemade bread, what everyone loved so much about this fresh bread, what they tasted and how it made them feel.  It is so hard to describe but the best word that comes to mind is; Love.  This bread has always been made by my Mom and yes, I have the recipe but it doesn’t turn out quite the same. When Mom makes it she puts Love into it, I am sure it is the next ingredient that she adds, right after fresh ground wheat, patience and understanding.

    There have been so many weekends that Mom has made fresh bread in the morning that is just coming out of the oven at lunchtime. There is something different about the heat from a wood burning oven and the effect it has on our baking, especially breads, the crust is crunchy but still tender and the inside of the loaf is so soft with an amazing crumb texture. If you ever have the chance to enjoy fresh, warm bread from a wood burning cook stove, I suggest that you stop to enjoy and take the time to find the fresh ground wheat, patience, understanding and love that has been baked into this loaf of bread.

    You may ask; what makes this my First Authentic Canadian Food Memory? I could simply say that it's the Alberta grown wheat but that is really too simple. Instead I believe that it is the fact that I am a true Canadian and I am proud to say it. Nestled deep in the woods in northwestern Alberta in the Woodlands County, the cabin has been our rustic weekend home for so many years and it will continue to be this as our families change and grow. It is a place where many memories have been created and so many wonderful meals have been lovingly prepared and enjoyed in the good company for family and friends. 

    This recipe starts out with local wheat that is freshly ground and finishes as a beautiful loaf that gives us so much more than nourishment in our bellies. It fills out hearts with love and our minds with memories that stay with us forever.

    Wednesday, June 5, 2013

    Coming Soon

    New and exciting things are happening around here... stay tuned for details of an upcoming challenge.