My Canadian Love Affair-Floating Leaf

April4

The Canadian Food Experience Project began 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.

I unfortunately missed out with posting our ninth task of the project which was to write about “a Canadian love affair” with a recipe, food product, wild food, chef, etc. but I have been given permission to get caught up on the assignment now, so here goes.

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My Canadian love affair ticks off a number of the criteria – the product is wild rice, specifically the Floating Leaf Brand.  I even love the brand name as I have a pond in my back yard where I grow floating cabbage and hibiscus.  The pond has a little fountain which means that we always have the sound of trickling water in our yard which is especially nice when sitting out back with a glass of wine in the evening.  The floating leaves swim around on the surface of the pond and when they bump into each other they grow babies that are attached by tendrils to their parents.  Once they are large enough, I snip the families apart and by the end of the summer the entire face of the pond is covered with floating leaves.

There are two myths which float around wild rice. Firstly, the plant is not even in the rice family but a grass and secondly, is that most of the aquatic seeds are cultivated and not wild at all.  But in Canada we are blessed with truly wild, wild rice which grows in our clear, freshwater lakes and rivers at my latitude and further to the north.

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Three generations of the Ratuski family of Floating Leaf have the experience to harvest the seed at precisely the optimum moment.  There is very little “processing” that occurs thereafter: the seed is simply cleaned and roasted.  There are some instances when the colour of the seed is almost black which creates unusual colour contrasts to a finished plate.

The primary reason why I love wild rice is that although the nutty taste is decadent, it is low in both calories and fat.  In fact, lower in both categories than quinoa which is the golden child of fat and calorie watchers right now.  Wild rice is a complete protein containing all essential amino acids, B vitamins: niacin, riboflavin, thiamine as well as potassium and phosphorous.  This makes wild rice nutritional superior to brown rice and many whole grains.

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Our family has many favourite wild rice dishes: cream of mushroom & wild rice soup, broccoli & wild rice and quinoa & rice patties. The Floating Leaf brand has a number of rice blends including basmati, brown and quinoa and we love them all.  We have even sampled their artisan linguine made from wild rice flour, other flours and organic free run eggs. The pasta is thinly rolled out and dried at room temperature and retains the nutty taste of the rice itself.  It holds its own against heavy sauces like our favourite-Italian sausage, grilled zucchini and red peppers.  In summers, we take packets of Floating Leaf’s wild rice pancake mix with us for weekend breakfasts on the deck at the lake.  The mix even includes ground flax which I try to consume once a day to help stabilize my blood pressure.

How often do you find an unprocessed food that adds colour & textural variety to the plate, tastes unusual & distinctive, is low in both fat & calories, is packed with additional nutrition and is truly a local Canadian prairie food?  Floating Leaf Wild Rice-has it all!

Kath’s quote: “To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.” –La Rochefoucauld

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Love-that is all.

 


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One Comment to

“My Canadian Love Affair-Floating Leaf”

  1. Avatar August 30th, 2014 at 12:25 pm The Canadian Food Experience Project: Round Up Nine Says:

    […] graphic designer who has carved a niche for himself in the world of woodworking. Kathryne at Food Musings from Winnipeg and Lester Beach, Manitoba, writes about her Canadian love […]


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