A selection Elgin Harvest Preserves and Shortbread Cookies
How could you not want to eat this?
Day #15 is here and we have come to the end of our 15 Days of Elgin Christmas. As a chef who tries to make as much from scratch as possible, AND use as much locally sourced products as possible, I genuinely hope the past three weeks have inspired you to spend just 10% of your holiday budget on local, artisanal food products.
Shiitake mushroom, caramelized red onions, bacon, spinach & local gouda quiche
Day 14 in our 15 Days of Elgin Christmas features the umami-packed shiitake mushrooms from Nature's Perfection, a mushroom farm located south of Aylmer, Ontario.
Shiitake mushrooms have a rich, buttery, almost meaty flavour which complements other foods. Sauteed, steamed, baked, or stir-fried, shiitakes are recommended to be consumed cooked as they have been known to cause skin rashes when ingested raw. Pickled, dried, or fresh, the flavour of shiitakes are more intense than regular white button mushrooms. Not sure where to use shiitakes? Try them as a pizza topping, in risottos, in soups, omelets, stuffed in chicken breasts, in a grilled cheese sandwich or on shish kabobs (because who doesn't love food on a stick?).
White Chocolate Mousse with Blueberry-Lemon Jam and Brandy-snap Cookies
Day 13 brings us blueberries!
Elgin County is thriving with blueberry farms. Whether you would like to pick your own, or let someone else to the chore, nothing beats the taste of these fresh, juicy, sweet & dark gems.
Dried Lavender Flowers
It's the middle of December, and it feels like summer. Kind of.
Not only because there still isn't any snow on the ground, but baking with dried lavender makes me think of sitting in the backyard watching the butterflies and bumble bees buzz through the gardens in the scorching heat of July.
For day #12, I've chosen to make a treat inspired by a client's shared tale of a trip to France: Lavender Meringue Cookies. With a crispy outer shell and fragrant aroma of lavender, these light & airy cookies melt in your mouth and provide a wonderful contrast in texture to your holiday dessert table.
Tourtière with Tomatillo Chutney
We're down to the final 5 in our 15 Days of Elgin Christmas. With one week left until Christmas, I hope you have been inspired to shop local this holiday season and support the growers, bakers, harvesters, and artisans that offer up the taste of home- right in our backyard.
Day #10 in our 15 Days of Elgin Christmas and I am duplicating a local artisan food product in the list- because I like it that much. Crossroad Cheese is my inspiration for this dish: Mac 'n cheese pie with bacon & broccoli.
Did you know: Canadians top the US in Kraft Dinner consumption? Consumers in this country have been eating the mass manufactured KD ,with its glowing orange colour and squishing, tubular noodles for over 60 years and there is no sign of slowing down. It's convenient to not only buy (it's everywhere), but also to prepare, kids like it, and it's cheap.
Butternut Squash & Rosemary Biscuits
On Day #9 in our 15 Days of Elgin Christmas, I chose to bake another savoury item that would compliment your Christmas breakfast or supper table. Using organic roasted butternut squash from The Dancey Family Farm and dried rosemary from the Horton Farmers' Market manager's garden (that's a mouthful!), these biscuits bake up flaky, buttery and are incredibly aromatic. Sage, thyme, onions, cheese or bacon could all be added to the biscuit dough if you prefer to skip the woodsy aroma of rosemary. The recipe below is easily adaptable and forgivable. Roll the biscuits ahead of time and bake from frozen if it's more convenient. Try making your own biscuits and taste the difference home-baked makes!
White Bean & Sunflower Dip with Toasted Pita Bread
12/12/12 Just in case you were getting worried about calories, Day #8 brings you plenty of flavour for your holiday get together without the sugar. It's a dip! White Bean & Sunflower Dip.
To make this spread, I boiled white beans until they were tender, then puree them with lemon juice, garlic and fresh-pressed sunflower oil. It's an incredibly satisfying dip for toasted pita bread or veggies, and also works well as a sandwich spread. Naturally gluten, egg, meat, and dairy free. Skip the garlic if you prefer and garnish with toasted sunflower seeds.
Hoping you are still inspired to buy local this Christmas; both the beans and oil were sourced from within Elgin County.
Sour Cream Doughnuts
What's better than a fresh baked old-fashioned doughnut dipped in maple syrup? An old-fashioned doughnut dipped in maple syrup and sprinkled with bacon lardons.
It's astonishing to read the Wikipaedia entry for doughnuts. Just like bread, many countries have their own unique version of deep-fried dough. Some have a hole in the centre and some are filled with cream or preserves. Maybe you prefer yours with a dusting of icing sugar or drenched in a super-saturated lemon & cinnamon syrup. Light and airy or dense and cakey. Koeksisters, beignets, and Berliners are just a few examples of some national variations.
Hello, Monday! It's a new week and Elgin Harvest will be bringing you five more holiday temptations to continue on with the 15 Days of Elgin Christmas. Using as many local ingredients as possible, each day we feature one local artisan food product from Elgin County and use it in a chef prepared dish. From sweet to savoury, from appetizer to dessert, our region is speckled with delicious culinary gems just waiting to be discovered and devoured. Inspired by local food ambassador Lynn Ogryzlo's Holiday Challenge, we hope our posts entice you to spend just 10% of your holiday budget on edible artisan products from within the community. If you would like to order the treats featured (or anything from our Holiday Baking List), our contact information can be found here.
For Day #6, we've made another traditional holiday favourite cookie --shortbread-- and married it with a soothing blend of organic tea from Wildflowers Tea in St. Thomas, Ontario. With all the hustle and bustle of the holidays approaching, it's important to stay calm, and that's the blend we've used to make Lavender shortbread cookies glazed with lemon icing. "Calm" tea blend uses a lovely combination of lavender, nettle, skullcap and lemon balm to create an incredibly balanced and soothing herbal infusion. To flavour the biscuits, the tea is powdered and baked into tender, buttery cookies. Each finger is then glazed and sprinkled with dried lavender flowers (from my backyard).
Eating. Drinking. Sharing.