Browsing: Food Products

Fruits of the Forest


Wild strawberries, raspberries, saskatoon, pin and chokecherries and especially blueberries abound in the Belair Forest where our cottage is located.  I have made blueberry jam as well enjoying pancakes, crisps and bumble.  The trick to blueberry picking in this area is to go into the bush in twos and to watch out for bears.

I understand though that the most savoury of treats is also found on the wooded floor-chanterelle mushrooms.  After collection, they need to be clean and frozen in a food saver or a ziploc bag.  When ready to use they should be defrosted and rinsed.

Chanterelles can then be sauteed in butter with shallots and garlic.  These can be served over toast or on crostini or tossed into a rice pilaf.  Dry sherry and whipping can be added to produce a mushroom cream sauce which is a treat over pasta or baby potatoes.

Chanterelles are orange or yellow, meaty and funnel-shaped.   On the lower surface, underneath the smooth cap, it has gill-like ridges that run almost all the way down its stipe, which tapers down seamlessly from the cap.   It has a fruity smell, reminiscent of apricots and a mildly peppery taste and is considered an excellent food mushroom. Chanterelles are relatively high in vitamin C, very high in potassium and among the richest sources of vitamin D.

Kath’s quote:  “Not being ambitious of martyrdom, even in the cause of gastronomical enterprise, especially if the instrument is to be a contemptible, rank-smelling fungus, I never eat or cook mushrooms.”-Marion Harland (1873) ‘Common Sense in the Household: A Manual of Practical Housewifery’

River Heights Farmer’s Market


One of the churches in the area has co-ordinated a market on Fridays from 2-7 pm for August and September.  They set up at the community cub at Oak St. and Grosvenor Ave.  I had to pick up fresh produce to come up to the cottage and was happy to support the community initiative.

Even though I have finally planted my herb box at home, I was happy to find fresh basil for caprese salad and mint for rice rolls.  I was also pleased to find pickling cucs for cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches and the tiniest little potatoes to boil and toss in butter and dill or for a salad.  They also had beautiful firm beets and turnips exactly the same size, that I intend to cook together for a different taste combination reminiscent of one of our favourite winter recipes.

Roasted Root Vegetables

2 T butter

3 T olive oil

4 carrots, peeled, trimmed, and cut into 1-inch pieces

3 parsnips, peeled, trimmed, and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 large yellow turnip or 4 small (2 pounds), peeled, trimmed, and cut into 1-inch pieces

4 medium beets, peeled, trimmed, and cut into 1-inch pieces

4 medium red potatoes, unpeeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 medium sweet potato (yam), peeled, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

rock salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 t chopped fresh rosemary

1 t chopped fresh thyme

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Put a heavy roasting pan over 2 burners on the stove.   Heat the butter and olive oil over medium-high heat.   Add the veggies and brown, stirring occasionally,  about 5 minutes. Generously season the vegetables with salt and pepper to taste.   Add the rosemary and thyme and stir well to combine.  Roast the vegetables in the oven until soft when pierced and golden brown, about 1 hour.  Transfer to a large platter and serve.

Kath’s quote:  “The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent, not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious.”-Tom Robbins

Bro D


When I reflect on key food influencers in my life-my brother-in-law from Toronto ranks right up there.

He has exquisite taste in restaurants and introduced me to “Fred’s Not Here” in Toronto and Keith McNally’s “Pastis” and “Union Square Cafe” in Manhattan.

He is a great cook, especially grilled items, learning early as a teen aged Broiler Chef at the Keg Restaurants alongside my husband.   The last time he cooked for me, I went on and on about the grilled potatoes (potato aficionado that I am).  He shared that his secret ingredient was truffle oil that he had purchased on a trip to Italy. Of course I had to do the same and bought a beautiful bottle on the beach in Positano, Italy.  When it was snatched with our luggage on a train platform in La Spezia, we had to repurchase one in Monterosso al Mare.

Truffle oil is precious to begin with and this little bottle is placed on the table as a flavour to top a salad or a pasta course for very special guests.

I am prompted to write all this as my husband is staying with his brother this weekend.  As he was heading out the door to catch a flight to Toronto he reminded me that he was taking my camera.  Thankfully, I remembered that the memory card was in my laptop and quickly removed it for his departure but not in time to transfer all my current photos which were for my upcoming blog entries-drat.

Kath’s quote:  “There are two types of people who eat truffles: those who think truffles are good because they are dear and those who know they are dear because they are good.”-J.L. Vaudoyer

Guest Blogger Lori-You Can’t “Beet” Local Produce


Ah, summer!  The time of year when my kitchen comes alive.

I made a decision this year NOT to have a garden. Last year, I think the deer feasted on more meals from my garden than my family did.

My son clearly enjoying his first visit to the berry farm ( down the road!

My decision may have been a blessing in disguise, however.  With my new-found love for my local garden centres (J & H Garden Centre, Headingley, Manitoba), I’ve discovered vegetables and varieties I’ve never even heard of, let alone grown in my own garden.  Last night for dinner, we cooked up golden beets and zucchini on the barbecue.  The combo may or may not have been a culinary mis-match.  I don’t know a whole lot about cooking other than what tastes good!  And this proved to be delicious.

Marinated in balsamic vinegar with fresh basil, garlic and some other spices from the rack, we grilled these gems in foil, and for a few minutes right on the grill to finish.  If you’ve never tried golden beets, you’re in for a treat.  Particularly if you’re not a huge fan of beets in general.  Golden beets have a much milder flavour to traditional red beets and don’t stain your hands!  Bonus!  These beets in particular were quite a bit smaller than the red beets I’ve had, although I’m not 100% sure if they were simply picked prematurely or are smaller by nature.

With every meal I prepare this summer and each visit to the market, I’m having more fun and getting more adventurous in what I put on the table.

When in doubt, ask the market staff for ideas on how to prepare veggies and you may be inspired to try something new.

Kath’s quote: “The difference of a single day is perceptible. Vegetables can only be tasted in perfection, gathered the same day.”- John Pintard (1759-1844)

Rozendal Essentia Vinegar


A friend is representing this upscale vinegar line and knew that I would be interested in tasting them as they come from the Rozendal Farm of Stellenbosch, South Africa.  My youngest daughter visited the area this winter and was enthralled by the beauty of the vineyards and the crisp taste of South African wines.

When I saw my friend Jeff last night at the grocery store, he asked if I had a chance to sample the vinegars.  Having not tested a recipe at that point, I indicated no.  That was when he suggest that I pour a glass and enjoy it is an aperitif.  I was hesitant but OMGoodness-it was lovely. 

This is what the folks at Rozendal Farm have to say:  “we now make different blends of vinegar from our wine using ingredients from our farm: chili, elder flower, carob, basil and thyme.  We bring seaweed and green tea from elsewhere.  After serving it to our customers for years in the restaurant on Rozendal Farm we began bottling and selling it.   The Rozendal Red Wine Vinegar tastes good and drinks beautifully and we have noticed it makes people happy.”

For our supper, I poured a little bit into the bottom of a sautee pan to poach chicken breasts in it.  Next I mixed 3 T with 1/8 c of olive and 1/8 c of truffle oil for the dressing and tossed together spinach leaves, toasted pecans, mandarin oranges and the sliced chicken.  The taste was light and rich at the same time.

Kath’s quote:  “Vinegar, the son of wine”.  –Proverb

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