Sunday, June 28, 2009

Strawberries = Love

It's the end of June and in Montreal Quebec, and that means strawberries are ripe for the pickin'.

Nothing like berries in season and there are lots of things you can do with them. I like them simply as a dessert made with fresh biscuits and some lightly sweetened whipped cream.

My version of Strawberry Shortcake: Cut the biscuits in half, lay on a layer of strawbs, a layer of cream and then put the top biscuit on top.

When I was in France working at a B&B for a couple of weeks, i made this dessert for the gang one night who had NEVER had it, if you can imagine such a thing. My host Michel was over the moon.

Flakey Biscuits
1 cp wholewheat flour
1 cp white flour
1/2 t salt
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup cold butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk

Mix dry ingredients. Cut in the butter till it's mealy. Make a hole and add beaten eggs and milk. Gradually incorporate all the dry ingredients and knead just enough to hold together. Roll out and fold into thirds. Repeat. Repeat again. Cut into 2 - 3 inch rounds. Lay on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 12 minutes.

For the shortcakes, cut in half, layer with fresh strawbs and some lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Happy June!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Food, Inc

Did you know that the average food product travels about 1,500 miles to get to your grocery store? And that transporting food accounts for 30,800 tons of greenhouse gas emissions every year?

And with all the brouhaha in the media, about food and environmental concerns, many important food issues have been politicized and turned into buzz words, like: organic, genetically engineered, cloning, global warming, eco - anything. Heck, the terms are bandied about so readily I wonder if we truly understand what we are talking about?

“In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on America’s food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of their government's regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA.

Our nation's food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, herbicide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won't go bad, but we also have new strains of E. coli—the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults.

Featuring interviews with such experts as Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto) along with forward thinking social entrepreneurs like Stonyfield's Gary Hirshberg and Polyface Farms' Joel Salatin, Food, Inc. reveals surprising—and often shocking truths—about what we eat, how it's produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here.” (excerpted from the website)

Food, Inc has opened in theatres across North America recently. Go see it. Also fabulous website info and a companion book will hopefully demystify the language and politics around food.

On the fresh food front, local asparagus is abundant so time to dig out your favourite vinaigrette, boil some eggs, steam that asparagus and have a full on asparagus experience.

Asparagus Vinaigrette

1 # asparagus

4 eggs

3 T good olive oil

2 T lemon juice (+ 1 T grated rind, opt.)

2 tsp Dijon style mustard

After removing the tough ends off the asparagus, place in water in a pot large enough to lay them down, barely cover with water and put on a lid. Bring to a boil. Cook about 2 min (or longer if thick). A knife inserted should be with just a little resistance. Don’t overcook or they’ll be mushy.

Hard boil 1 egg per person (5 min) and immediately drain water and cover with cold cold water. This will help with shell removal. Remove egg shells and slice in slices or wedges.

To make vinaigrette: Whisk together lemon juice, oil, S&P to taste. Grate in lemon zest, if desired. Set aside.

Drain asparagus, rinse quickly under cold water to stop the cooking. Lay out on dishes, top with egg and pour vinaigrette over.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


It's easy to get dislocated from our food. We go to the grocery store or the local corner store and we buy what we need. Just like that, off the shelf, out of the fridge.

But if we think about connecting with our food -where it comes from and who is raising it- it's an eye-opening and inspiring experience.

Think about it. There are farmers like the one's pictured here at Ferme Tourne-sol Cooperative, where 5 young farmer partners are dedicated to growing food for 250 families. More on these folks in upcoming posts.

It's hopeful to know that while many of us are still immune to where our food comes from, there is a new awakening afoot on why it makes sense to eat local farmed food and organic whenever possible. And it's gaining attention for good reason.

I am not purporting that we all give up our favourites and induct ourselves into the "100 mile Diet" challenge (although it would be a great learning experience if we would),

but I am putting forth that we can easily become ever more mindful of what we eat with a view to that.  Ease ourselves into it. The world is changing and it will be easier to be "WITH" the program than to be 'out of touch' with it. 

Stay tuned for some stories from the fields and the recipes to go with them.

[ 659imbdnfy Claiming my blog.]