Monday, March 31, 2014

Flavourful Saskatoon, March 31, 2014

Black Summer Bok Choy
Chris Buhler says that Floating Gardens’ Black Summer Bok Choy is the star of their greenhouse crops. As an owner, Chris should know, so I was delighted to give it a try.

First of all, bok choy is super nutritious with loads of Vitamin A, C, and K. It’s also a good source of calcium, potassium, and manganese. You can eat it raw or cooked, and it’s a common ingredient in Chinese, Philippine, and Thai recipes.

I tried the younger leaves raw in a salad and liked the added texture and flavour - the lettuce seemed very limp and bland in comparison. I also cooked them; they had a touch of lemon as well as a peppery bite. I'll definitely buy it again.

Variety is the spice of life, so change things up a little this week by trying a vegetable you’ve never eaten before. I’m glad I did.

Hill Berry Acres 
Dehydrated fruit is a convenient way to include fruit in your diet, especially in the winter. I’ve been adding dehydrated sour cherries from Hill Berry Acres to my morning cereal for the last few months.

The cherries are locally grown by Charlene and Bruce Hill near Imperial, SK, and I really appreciate the fact that they do not add anything to the fruit as so many producers coat dehydrated fruit with oil or add extra sweetener.

100 gram bags are available in Saskatoon at SaskMade Marketplace and Dad’s Organic Grocery. 500 gram bags are available at a lower cost – contact the Hills for further information.

Hot cross buns are back at Earth Bound Bakery. And the Night Oven Bakery has lots and lots of sweet goodies. I particularly enjoyed the Messy Morning Bun – pastry with just the right amount of sugar and cinnamon.

Chef Kevin Tetz 
Chef Kevin Tetz (aka Executive Chef) from Christopher Lake has been finding a variety of different ways to offer his services without opening a restaurant. His latest venture is a series of underground suppers in various locations around the province.

The Cheesiry 
If you live near Lloydminster, be sure to visit The Cheesiry. Their pecorino cheese is getting rave reviews (well deserved; I particularly like the aged pecorino) in The Globe and Mail.
Rhonda Headon studied sheep’s milk cheesemaking in Italy.

Food Banks & Food Deserts
Food banks have evolved from a stop-gap measure to a long-lasting institution. And yet, they are such a pitiful bandaid solution to a persisting societal problem.

When Nick Saul started working at The Stop in Toronto, he was determined to do things differently. The Stop started offering healthier food, initiated cooking classes, community gardens and markets, and community activism. I highly recommend reading The Stop: How the fight for good food transformed a community and inspired a movement.

There’s a lot to consider when you open a grocery store in a former food desert. People don’t change their food habits overnight. You have to give people what they want (dog food, toilet paper), encourage people to buy healthy food (cooking classes, rewards cards), and practise patience.

Successful Farmers’ Markets 
Julie Flynn visited 20 markets across South America and has put together a list of recommendations for North American markets. The recommendations include an accessible, central location; a broad selection of affordable goods; prepared food and seating; multi-level vending; and integration of public space and/or pedestrian streets.

Eggs in Portugal 
Portugal is on my wish list of places I would love to visit. So I was intrigued by this article about the history of eggs in Portuguese cooking. From Moorish traditions to nuns who starched their gowns with egg whites and made sweets with the leftover egg yolks, it’s a fascinating story.

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post regular profiles of culinary entrepreneurs, new restaurants and new food products.

You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Monday, March 24, 2014

Flavourful Saskatoon, March 24, 2014

Night Oven Bakery 
What a treat to have a new bakery just a few blocks from where I live. Night Oven Bakery opened last Tuesday with an assortment of breads and pastries.

I particularly like the canelés de Bordeaux, a moderately sweet cake with a crusty exterior and a soft, moist interior. There are a multitude of legends about the origins of canelés, suffice to know that they are currently a star item from France to New York – and now available right here at home in Saskatoon (photo courtesy of The Night Oven).

Earth Bound Bakery
Earth Bound Bakery reopened on Saturday after its expansion. There’s added seating, lots of blond wood trim, and a nice food preparation area. Plus all the usual delicious products – the savory croissants with asparagus and  lemon were very tasty.

Farmers’ Market
Floating Gardens has tomatoes – yeah!

Michelle at Wild Serendipity Foods had made lemon madeleines as well as a spicy Senegalese Peanut soup this past Saturday.

Thrive Juice Co. is selling cold-pressed juice blends. Their website explains that, “The cold-press extraction process ensures that vitamins, minerals, and live enzymes contained in the fruits and vegetables are extracted without heat or friction, thereby maximizing nutrient and enzyme activity.” I sampled several of their juices and decided that my favorite was Sweet Envy, made with kale, spinach, pineapple, apple, lemon, and parsley. I also liked the ones with ginger and thought they’d be good if you had a cold.

Betty Forbes, Northern Vigor Berries, and Chef Darren Craddock were on CTV Morning Live with seabuckthorn berries.

Brit Foods
I was really sorry to learn that Brit Foods is closing. I enjoyed picking up some English specialties from time to time.

If you’re a coffee drinker, Grist says the most environmentally friendly versions are the Bird Friendly products certified by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center.

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post regular profiles of culinary entrepreneurs, new restaurants and new food products.

You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Monday, March 17, 2014

Flavourful Saskatoon, March 17, 2014

Community Gardens, Mar. 18
Gord Androsoff, CHEP`s Urban Agriculture Coordinator, will talk about Saskatoon’s community gardens – their past, present, and future from 7-8:30 pm, March 18, at the Frances Morrison Library, as part of the Saskatchewan Environmental Society’s Library Speaker series.

Seed Security in Canada, Mar. 23 
Karen Farmer will speak about seed security and a new Canadian seed saving program at the Slow Food Salon from 4-6 pm, March 23, at City Perks.

Meewasin 80, Mar. 27
Meewasin 80 White Ale has been custom brewed to support extending the Meewasin Trail to 80 kilometres. Live spruce and pine from the Trail have been put directly into the brew. Prairie Sun Brewery will be launching the beer at a fundraising event for the Meewasin Valley Authority at 7 pm, March 27. There will be musical entertainment by Sarah Farthing. Tickets aren’t cheap, but it’s a really good cause.

Jacek Chocolate Couture
Feast your eyes and your taste buds with these beautiful chocolates from Jacek Chocolate Couture in Edmonton – now available at City Perks and Essence Floral Design. So far my favorite is the lemon and champagne dark chocolate ganache with hand-painted fleur de lis.

Colourful Nosh
I had lunch at Nosh Eatery & Tap last week. Apart from one meat dish and a couple of fish dishes, the entire menu is vegetarian, and mostly vegan. I was particularly delighted by their use of colour in the presentation of the dishes. The beet pannacotta was dramatic, while the chipotle mayo on my beet burger was a vibrant combination of red and orange.

Oolong Tea
I insist on starting every day with two large cups of oolong tea. And Camellia Sinensis in Montreal has the best selection of oolong from small-scale farmers in Taiwan, China, and even New Zealand. The unroasted teas are light and floral, while the roasted ones are more substantial.

Oolong tea was the first tribute tea, designed to be offered as a gift at the royal court of China. The tea is semi-fermented and goes through 7 different processing steps – from withering in the sun, to bruising, oxidization, fixing, rolling, drying, and firing.

Camellia Sinensis usually tucks in a gift when shipping your purchases, like this small container of Bancha Shizuoka green tea.

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post regular profiles of culinary entrepreneurs, new restaurants and new food products.

You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Monday, March 10, 2014

Flavourful Saskatoon, March 10, 2014

Persian Store
There’s a sale on at the Saskatoon Persian Store (223 25th Street West), so this is your chance to stock up on Persian rice, pomegranate syrup and other goodies. Their hours are 11 am to 5:45 pm from Monday to Saturday and 1 to 4:30 pm on Sundays.

Mortal Sin Foods
Michelle Zimmer (Wild Serendipity Foods) says her family enjoyed the cakes (chocolate mousse, coconut lime pound, devil’s food and chocolate cheesecake) from newly-opened Mortal Sin Foods in Stonebridge. They serve small, individual cakes, which is a really attractive idea.

TWO Bistro and Deli 
Tom Brown of Wild Cuisine and Teresa Giesbrecht of Garlic Guru have joined forces and will be opening TWO Bistro and Deli at 245 3rd Avenue South. They’ll be offering everything from wild game to gluten-free vegan offerings. Barbara Harder-Lutz, aka the Cake Witch, will be their pastry chef.

Nosh Eatery & Tap
Jenn Sharp, Associate Editor of Bridges, posted photographs of her meal at the slow opening of Nosh Eatery & Tap. They have an extensive menu and it's almost entirely vegetarian (couple of fish dishes). Here's a photo from Nosh's Twitter feed of Sweetpea Pancakes with chipotle hummus and orange quinoa salsa.

Wood’s Alehouse
 I had lunch at Wood’s Alehouse this past week. No beer, unfortunately, as I was on my way to a business meeting, but I enjoyed my hummus wrap – lots of fresh, crisp veggies, sprouted lentils and a tangy bite of goat cheese. And the side order of potato salad was huge!

Cut Steakhouse 
Chef Moe Mathieu’s new restaurant, Cut Casual Steakhouse and Tap, is now open. As the name suggests, the menu is heavily carnivore, but I gather there is an excellent butternut squash salad at lunchtime and a Portobello “steak” with horseradish whipped potatoes in the evening. (with thanks to Jenn Sharp for the information)

Interesting Reading 
How to cook veg with an edge (colour, architecture, texture, toppings, flavour enhancers)

Why Fairtrade isn’t fair enough – it needs a greater emphasis on quality and innovation

Did you know that 70% of farmers are women? Check out this list of 23 women who are re-shaping our global food system and be inspired

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post regular profiles of culinary entrepreneurs, new restaurants and new food products.

You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Monday, March 3, 2014

Flavourful Saskatoon, March 3, 2014

Kaleidoscope Gardens 
Kaleidoscope Gardens has expanded its vegetable growing operation. They’ve purchased a farm/acreage near Blackstrap Lake and spent the fall setting up unheated high tunnels (pictured), a heated greenhouse for starting transplants, and irrigation and power to the site. They will be growing all the vegetables they grew last year (exciting stuff like sweet potatoes and mini eggplants of all shapes and sizes) and aim to be back at the market by May.

Earth Bound Bakery 
Earth Bound Bakery is completely closed from March 1-18 to put the finishing touches on their renovations. I’m looking forward to visiting their expanded facilities. Maybe I’ll make a lunch date with myself for March 18!

The Night Oven Bakery 
I was fortunate enough to attend a come and go event for family and friends at The Night Oven Bakery. Bryn Rawlyk was making mini pizzas in the wood-fired ovens and there were croissants and other goodies to sample. I had a pain au chocolat – oh, my! It was oozing with butter and dark chocolate goodness – delicious! The bakery should be open in a few weeks.

Saskatoon Farmers’ Market 
I pick up so many tasty treats at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market, even in the winter. Here are some of my current favorites:
  • Pea sprouts and sweet baby carrots from Wally’s Urban Market Garden
  • Lettuce and Swiss chard from Floating Gardens (plus the first eggplant of the season!) 
  • Squash, onion and goat cheese mini pies (with raisins!) from Prairie Pie Company
  • Salted caramel macarons, soup and pizza flatbreads from Wild Serendipity Foods 
  • Sour cherry topping (great on Greek yogurt) from Prairie Sun Orchard 
  • Camembert and a chunky rosemary-infused feta cheese from Herschel Hills Artisan Cheese House 

Nosh Eatery & Tap 
Nosh Eatery & Tap, the new mostly-vegetarian restaurant at 820 Broadway Avenue, is under construction, including their website. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.  

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post regular profiles of culinary entrepreneurs, new restaurants and new food products.

 You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner).