Rhubarb - Vibrant Taste of Spring
If you haven't already picked up your copy of the late spring edition of Relish Elgin magazine, you probably should grab it while you can. For the past three weeks the free guide to Elgin has been flying off my counter at the market.
In this issue I developed a recipe inspired locally grown rhubarb. By pairing rhubarb's natural tartness with the spiciness of last autumn's dried peppers, a velvety smooth, smoky & sweet barbecue sauce became a great spring preserve. Combined with Mexican-inspired pulled pork carnitas, this sandwich is not only worthy of Father's Day lunches, but also everyday suppers all summer long.
Relish Elgin magazine is available in many local establishments. You can also view it online.
Vegetable Fermentation Workshop
"Humans did not invent or create fermentation. It would be more accurate to state that fermentation created us."
On June 11, I'll be working together with the Backus-Page House Museum in Wallacetown for a beginner workshop on vegetable fermentation. For those who have just discovered your love of cultured foods or perhaps are a little leery about what the fuss is - this night is for you.
We'll discuss the basics of fermentation, move right into a tasting of different vegetable pickles, then get our hands dirty to create jars of ferments you will take home. I'll also supply you with a few basic recipes just in time for the summer harvest season so you can preserve your own bounty and enjoy the complex flavours all year long.
To register for the event, call the Backus-Page House Museum at (519)762-3072.
Think of granita like an Italian grown-up version of a Sno-cone. Not as smooth as ice cream and not as dense as sorbet, granita can be full of small or large ice crystals in just about any flavour you can imagine. The basic formula for granita is to make a syrup from any fruit and/or liquid, slightly sweeten it to taste, then freeze in a flat pan in the freezer. By using a fork to grate the granita frequently, the ice crystals are constantly broken and re-aligned making a spoonable, frozen treat. After about 3 hours the granita will be frozen completely and can be served or stored in a sealed container for later use.
Granita makes a fantastic palate cleanser during a meal (after the main course but before dessert) or can be the dessert course itself. Serve in paper cones, glass bowls, margarita glasses with a sprig of mint, small cookies, crème fraîche, or even a wee nip of your favourite liqueur.
When you think about the simplicity of the ingredients and equipment required to make granita, it's easy to imagine the unlimited flavour combinations available and vessels to serve it in. Don't have any fresh, local fruit available? Substitute local frozen fruit instead.
Cucumber mint, strawberry balsamic, coffee, orange creamsicle, lemon basil, lavender, almond raspberry, coconut banana...just a few ideas to get you started as the seasons progress.
I had the honour of preparing the hors d'oeuvres for a cocktail reception/appetizer dinner held this past week on the far end of the county at The Arts & Cookery Bank. Unfortunately, I was rather focused on the food preparation instead of snapping pictures and I only have a few shots of the wonderful event.
Located in a heritage 1914 Bank of Montreal and an 1883 timber frame barn on the main street of West Lorne, Ontario, The Arts & Cookery Bank offers up culinary and photographic experiences for all ages and abilities. It really is an inspiring kitchen to work and I am very thankful for the opportunity to have cooked for some like-minded food-lovers and culinary enthusiasts.
The Menu (as much local as possible):
Smoked trout with horseradish cream
Wild leek tarts with Crossroad's cheddar cheese
Deviled quail eggs with preserved lemon
Seared beef tenderloin and Bearnaise sauce
Ale battered asparagus with lemon aioli
Steamed buns with braised pork belly and kimchi
Four-layer coconut cake
Eating. Drinking. Sharing.