Soy-Glazed Arctic Char (Yukon)

Arctic Char

Starting with Canada’s western-most territory, the Yukon is the smallest of Canada’s three territories, but has the highest mountain in Canada (Mt. Logan at 19,551 feet). I should mention though, even though I said it’s the smallest territory, it is in no way small! Meaning “Great River” in the Athapaskan language, in reference to the Yukon River (at 3,600 kilometres/2,237 miles long), the Yukon is 483,450 square kilometres (about 186,661 square miles), which is larger than the State of California and larger than Belgium, Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands combined.

Its population however is just 31,881! A majority of this population is made up of members of different First Nations tribes, such as the Southern and Northern Tutchone, the Tlingit, the Tagish, Kasha, Tanana, Han and Gwitchin. In addition to wild game, a large part of the diet of the First Nations people revolves around fish. A popular fish from this region is the Arctic Char. Similar in taste and texture to salmon, it is extremely versatile, and can be eaten raw, frozen and dipped in soy sauce, or as in today’s recipe, with ginger soy glaze. Today’s recipe will serve around 6 people and is delicious and simple to prepare. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

3 skin-on Arctic Char fillets, (about 2 ¼ pounds total)
3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger*
1 tablespoon liquid honey
¾ teaspoon pepper

* Click here to see my tip about peeling fresh ginger.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Rinse off your fillets, and check for any missed bones. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and then place the fish on it, skin side down. If you are using a barbeque instead, either use a fish basket or make sure to pre-grease your barbeque racks, and well as rubbing a little oil on the skin side of the fish, to help it from sticking.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, honey and pepper. Brush the sauce over the fish and allow it to bake/grill for about 8-10 minutes. It will be done when the fish flakes easily.

If you like you can prepare extra sauce and cook it down slightly in a small pot on the stove-top. The sauce will reduce and create a nice sticky flavourful glaze to serve at the table.

Acadian Cod Pancakes (Newfoundland & Labrador)

Fish Cakes with Applesauce
Newfoundland and Labrador is Canada’s most easterly province, and is made up of the island of Newfoundland and the mainland portion of Labrador. In 1583 Newfoundland became England’s first North American possession when it was claimed by Sir Humphrey Gilbert for Queen Elizabeth. While Labrador was part of the Portuguese Empire (going back as far as 1500). The French formed a colony in Newfoundland in 1655, and went to war in the 1690’s, destroying nearly every English settlement on the island. The French however ceded their claims to the British and to the French possessions in Acadia (hello Acadian connection!) in 1713. For the next 150 years or so, the land goes back and forth between the French, the Spanish and the English… To be honest, it is all very confusing!

In the end however they became a part of Canada, and we are happy to have them! With all that history and culture, you know the food is going to have its roots steeped in some pretty interesting traditions! One of the biggest yields from this area though is its fish, particularly cod. Traditionally what was not sold right away was salted and preserved. Today, salt cod is still a popular ethnic ingredient. For today’s recipe though, we’re going to use the unsalted version, either fresh or frozen, to make Acadian Cod Pancakes. If you want to be a real Newfie, make sure to eat them with apple sauce! This recipe will make enough cakes for 6. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 pound fresh or frozen cod fillets
6-8 potatoes, cooked and mashed (about 3 cups)
2 small onions, diced
¼ cup water
2 eggs, beaten
¼ cup flour
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of pepper
oil, for frying
apple sauce, for serving

Directions:

Peel and boil your potatoes, until cooked through, then drain and mash the potatoes, allowing them to cool enough to handle. Thaw your fish fillets if necessary, then break them apart and chop the fish very finely. In a small pan, cook the onions with the water, so that they become translucent, but do not brown. Once the onions have cooked through, set them aside and allow them to cool enough to be handled.

Beat the eggs so that they are well blended. In a large bowl mix together the fish, mashed potatoes, cooked onions, eggs, flour, parsley, salt, nutmeg and pepper. Make sure to combine the ingredients well. If you find the mixture is too loose, you can add a bit more flour. If you find the mixture to dry or not forming cakes well, you can add another egg.

Heat the cooking oil in a large non-stick pan, until very hot but not smoking. Using a ⅓ cup as a measure, form small cakes or patties. Place the cakes onto the pan in the hot oil. Do not over crowd your pan, or you will find it difficult to flip them. Fry the cakes for about 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown. If you find your cakes browning too quickly, lower the heat. Flip the cakes over with a spatula, and then fry for another 3-4 minutes. Once cooked, remove the cakes to a piece of paper towel to absorb the excess oil. Serve the cakes hot with apple sauce for a true Newfie treat, or with cocktail or tartar sauce.

Rappie Pie (Nova Scotia)

Rappie Pie

Ahhh Nova Scotia, Latin for New Scotland, is the last of Canada’s Maritime Provinces, and is located almost exactly halfway between the Equator and the North Pole. While it is the second smallest province in Canada with a land mass of 55,284 square kilometres or 21,300 square miles, it is in fact the second most-densely populated province (behind PEI) with a population of just under 950,000. Speaking of its people, you have a vast mixture here between old Scot and French, with the colourful history of the Acadians thrown in for good measure. Like a lot of food in this part of Canada, it has French roots, as you will see with today’s recipe for Rappie Pie. The name Rappie Pie originates from the French word râper, which means to grate. Although râpure was a favourite dish among Acadians throughout South West Nova Scotia, it was not an easy dish to prepare for a large family. The grating and draining does take a pit out of a person, however the end result is delicious! This can definitely be a one-dish meal, or you could always serve the left over broth as a first course. This recipe will make enough pie for at least 6 people. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 large whole chicken
3 large chopped onions
2 ribs of celery
2 large whole carrots
1 bay leaf
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
chicken soup base (optional)
10 pounds potatoes, peeled
salt & pepper, to taste

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. You can keep the chicken whole, or cut it into large pieces. Place the chicken into a large soup pot, along with the onions, celery, carrots, bay leaf and thyme, and fill with just enough water to completely cover. Simmer the stock until the chicken is tender and cooked through.

Remove the chicken from the pot, as well as the celery and carrots, but leave the onions and the broth in the pot. Taste the broth; if it needs to be more “chicken-y” add some of the chicken soup base to the mix. Keep the broth warm, not too hot, but allow the meat to cool so that you can handle it. Remove the chicken meat from the bones, and cut it into smaller, bite-sized pieces.

For this recipe, you want to grate the potatoes, not shred. You can do this with a hand grater (and elbow grease) or by using a juicer that collects the pulp in a side compartment. Another method would be to purée the potatoes using the steel blade on a food processor. No matter what method you choose, you are going to want to remove as much (read ALL) the liquid from the potatoes.

Important note: Do not throw out the liquid drained from the potatoes! It has two purposes:

  1. You’re going to want to measure how much liquid you drained in the end, because you’re going to want to use that same amount of chicken broth to add the moisture back to the dish and;
  2. You’re going to want to save any of the starch that collects at the bottom of your measuring container (that whitish sludgy stuff) to add back you’re your strained potato mixture.

To remove the liquid, place the grated/puréed potatoes in a cotton bag (like a clean pillow case), a dish-towel or several layers of cheesecloth, and twist it until you have a tight package. The liquid will just pour off of it.

Using an equal amount of chicken broth to the amount of liquid you drained, blend the potatoes and broth liquid. You may want to do this in stages so that it gets very well mixed. Potato mixture consistency is correct when the spoon just slightly falls over when made to stand up in the mix. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add half of the potato mixture into a greased rectangular baking pan or a large casserole dish. Then layer on the cut up chicken, and top with remaining potato mixture. Bake for about 2 hours, or until top is uniformly brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting into and serving.

Potato Galette (PEI)

Potato Galette

So the little province with the big heart, and name, is Prince Edward Island. This small province (only 5660 square kilometres or 2190 square miles), is one of Canada’s three maritime provinces and sits in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. When I think of PEI though, two things come to mind. The Anne of Green Gables book series and Potatoes! For those of you that are not familiar, Anne of Green Gables is a book series published from 1908 through 1921 and written by PEI born author Lucy Maud Montgomery. The series pivoted around a young woman named Anne, and her adventures and family who all lived in PEI. The series became quite famous, and spawned movies and televisions series based on Anne’s character. The other PEI claim to fame that I mentioned is their potatoes! Known for its red soil, PEI grows a bounty of potatoes, and in fact produces 25% of all potatoes grown in Canada! So, when it came to a recipe to showcase PEI, how could I not choose a potato one?! Today’s galette, or pie, will make a yummy, cheesy side dish and will serve 8.

Ingredients:

5 pounds of peeled, thinly sliced PEI potatoes
½ cup olive oil
½ cup puréed onion (about 1 onion)
2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried basil
4 teaspoons salt (or less if desired)
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup parmesan cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese

Directions:

Sauté the onions and garlic in olive oil until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the herbs and let the mixture cool. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the potatoes very thin, using a mandolin if you have one. While you are slicing the potatoes, keep the cut ones in a large bowl with water. This will remove the excess starch from the potatoes and keep them from turning brownish/grey. Drain the sliced potatoes and dry them, then toss the potato slices with the cooled down onion mixture. Take a 9″ x 13″ pan, and rub or spray with oil. Combine the salt and pepper with the two cheeses. Place a layer of potato slices on bottom of pan. Sprinkle a layer of cheese mixture alternating with potatoes and finishing with cheese on top. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour. Uncover and let bake for another 20 minutes, so that the cheese can become golden brown. Let cool. Cut into 8 pieces (1 across, 4 down) then cut squares in half to make 16 triangles.

Chicken Fricot (New Brunswick)

Chicken Fricot

New Brunswick is one of Canada’s three Maritime Provinces, boarding on Quebec and sharing its entire southern border with the state of Maine. Its eastern border is entirely coastal – along the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Northumberland Strait. It even has warm sandy beaches, with the warmest salt water north of Virginia. It is probably most well-known though for the Bay of Fundy and the Confederation Bridge, which connects it with Prince Edward Island. It’s food however has quite a French flavour, with it being so close to Quebec and having many Acadians living in the province. So with that I bring you today’s recipe, Chicken Fricot, which is like the southern classic Chicken and Dumplings, but highlights the herb savoury, which is very popular amongst the New Brunswickers. This hearty one-pot meal will serve 6-8. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken, divided (about 3-4 pounds)
4 tablespoons unsalted margarine
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 carrots, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chopped (about 6 potatoes)
2 teaspoons dried savoury
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
6 cups chicken stock
2 ice cubes

Dumplings:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon dried savoury
½ teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks
⅔ cup cooking liquid from soup

Directions:

In a large Dutch oven, heat the margarine and oil over a medium-high heat. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, and then add chicken pieces to the pot. Brown the chicken all over, turning the pieces as needed. You are not cooking this all the way through at this point. Once browned all over, (about 8 minutes) transfer the pieces to a plate and set aside. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of fat from pot.

Reduce the heat to medium and cook the carrots, celery, onion and garlic, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened but not coloured, about 3 minutes. Stir in the potatoes, savoury, salt and pepper. Sauté for about 2 minutes, letting all of the ingredients combine. Return the chicken pieces and any juices that have rendered to the pot, and stir in the chicken broth. Bring the soup to a boil, skimming any foam or debris from the surface as needed. Once boiling, reduce the heat and cover, letting the soup simmer for about 45 minutes.

Next, place the 2 ice cubes in a measuring cup, and add enough of the soup to make ⅔ cup. Set this aside to cool. Meanwhile, remove the pieces of chicken with slotted spoon, and transfer them to a plate. Let the chicken cool enough to be handled, and then strip the meat from the bones, discarding the bones and skin. Shred or coarsely chop the chicken. Before returning the chicken to the pot, skim any excess fat the surface, then return the chicken to pot and bring it back to a simmer.

Dumplings:
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, parsley, savoury and salt. Stir the egg yolks into reserved the cooled soup, and slowly add it to the flour mixture. Bring the dumpling dough together with a fork. It will make a sticky, stretchy dough.

Increase the heat on the soup to medium, and drop the batter in 8 mounds evenly spaced around the soup. Cover the pot and simmer until the dumplings have puffed and a knife inserted into centre of dumpling comes out clean, about 8 to 10 minutes. Serve the soup hot with the dumplings.

Classic Tourtière (Quebec)

Tourtiere

Ahhh…. La belle province! The nickname for Quebec is “The beautiful province” and it is easy to see why. Quebec has a little bit of everything when it comes to its geography, and it has more culture than any one province has a right to! While most major cities are bilingual to an extent, the majority of Quebecois speak French as their daily language. But with French life, comes French food! And there is so much to choose from! Unfortunately, most of this tends to be not kosher, as there is a large amount of pork and shellfish in these dishes, along with the combinations of dairy and meat products (oh, but a REAL poutine would be so delicious!) However, I’ve taken a French classic, a Tourtière or meat pie, and given it a kosher twist, changing the pork to beef, and taking the lard and butter out of the pie crust. It may not be authentic, but I’m sure you’ll love it just the same! This pie will serve 6-8 people.

Ingredients

1 ½ cups cubed peeled potatoes (about 2 medium sized potatoes)
2 pounds lean ground beef
2 cups sliced mushrooms (about 1 pound of mushrooms)
¾ cup finely chopped celery (about 1 ½ stalks)
¾ cup chicken stock
2 onions, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon dried savoury
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 bay leaf
1 Really Flaky Pastry (see below)
1 egg yolk

Directions:

In saucepan of boiling salted water, cover and cook potato until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain and mash; set aside.

Meanwhile, in deep skillet, sauté the beef over medium-high heat, mashing with fork, until no longer pink, about 8 minutes. Drain off fat.

Add mushrooms, celery, stock, onions, garlic, salt, pepper, savoury, thyme, cloves, cinnamon and bay leaf; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until almost no liquid remains, about 25 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Mix in potatoes. Let cool.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. On lightly floured surface, roll out 1 of the pastry discs to scant ¼ inch thickness. Fit into 9-inch pie plate. Spoon in filling. Roll out remaining pastry. Brush pie rim with water; cover with top pastry and press edge to seal. Trim any excess dough from around the edges, and crimp them to create a tight seal.

If you like, you can use the leftover scraps of dough to cut out nice shapes to decorate the top of your pie. Mix egg yolk with 2 teaspoons of water. With a pastry brush (or your fingers) brush the egg wash over the top of the pie. Cut steam vents in the top of the pie. Bake in bottom third of a 400 degree oven until hot and golden brown, about 50 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Really Flaky Pastry:

Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup cold unsalted margarine, cubed
½ cup cold Crisco or other vegetable shortening, cubed
1 egg
2 teaspoons vinegar
ice water

Directions:

In a large bowl, whisk the flour together with the salt. Using a pastry blender/cutter or 2 knives, cut in the margarine and the vegetable shortening until the mixture forms coarse crumbs with a few larger pieces.

In liquid measuring cup beat the egg with the vinegar and add enough ice water to make ⅔ cup. Drizzle over the flour mixture, tossing with fork until ragged dough forms. Divide the dough in half, pressing each half into a disc shape. Wrap each disc tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes. If you like you can make this dough up to 2 days in advance.

Wineries & Vineyards (Ontario)

Niagara Region Winery

So one of Ontario’s pride and joys is the Niagara Region in the southernmost tip of the province. Not only is it simply beautiful, but it is home to Niagara Falls and unbelievable soil and climate for growing grapes. Because of this, wineries and vineyards are a major attraction, both for tourists and economically for the province. The Ontario growing region lies between the 52° and 41° parallels, placing them in the middle of the northern grape growing belt. This is the same latitude as Bordeaux, France and the Northern wine regions of California! Because of this, we are able to grow a vast number of grapes, producing excellent award winning wines. Today, instead of a recipe featuring wine, I thought I’d give a little Wine 101 – Breaking down some of the types of wine, and how to use them in cooking. I will be also posting this information as a separate page on this blog so that it’s easy to refer back to. Remember, as always; check the label of your bottle before using it to confirm that it is kosher. If you would like to see more alcohols that are kosher, check out our Kosher Alcohol List by clicking here. Enjoy, and drink responsibly!


Wine 101
A basic introduction to wine, plus pairing suggestions to make every dinner special.

The Whites
Chardonnay is a versatile wine grape: its flavour and aromas are easily influenced by where it’s grown and how it’s made. Fruit flavours range from apple and lime in cooler climates to tropical fruits in warmer places. When barrelled in oak, it takes on a richness characterized by honey and butter flavours. When barrelled in stainless steel, it often retains more mineral flavours and comes across as fresher on the palate. Chardonnay excels in Burgundy, France.

Riesling is a crisp, clean wine with green apple, pear and lime flavours. The best offer pleasing mineral qualities as well. With age, Riesling takes on honey flavours and attractive oily aromas. Riesling grows well in Germany, the Alsace region of France, the Finger Lakes region of New York, and parts of Australia and Washington State. Riesling pairs nicely with spicy foods, and poultry.

Pinot Gris is made from grapes that generally produce different styles of wine depending on where the grapes are grown and how they’re handled in the cellar. In the Alsace region of France, and in places like Oregon and New Zealand, Pinot Gris typically makes rich wines marked by a bit of spice. The Italian style (Pinot Grigio) tends to be fresh, crisp and refreshing. This either style of this wine goes well with seafood and pasta dishes, vegetarian food and poultry.

Sauvignon Blanc is a fresh, crisp, aromatic wine with grapefruit and grassy flavours. This wine is the star of the Loire region of France. It also shines in the Bordeaux region, where it is often blended with Semillon. In the New World, New Zealand has emerged as a prime spot for Sauvignon Blanc. Sauvignon Blanc is a food-friendly wine that goes well with many seafood, poultry and vegetable dishes.

The Reds
Merlot is a soft, supple wine with nice fruit flavours of plums and blackberries and occasionally mint, chocolate and eucalyptus flavours and aromas. Typically, it is ready to drink earlier than Cabernet Sauvignon, which sometimes needs a few years for its astringent tannins to mellow. Outside of Europe, New World Merlot shines in places like California, Chile and Washington State.

Cabernet Sauvignon is more assertive than Merlot, with more tannin and greater ageing potential. It can have flavours of blackberries, plums, black currants, and cassis. Aged in oak, Cabernet Sauvignon can take on flavours of vanilla, cedar, chocolate, and coffee. Beyond Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon does well in Napa, California, where it produces smooth, ripe wines. Washington State, Chile and Australia are also making excellent Cabernet. Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are very nice with meat dishes like beef and lamb.

Pinot Noir, a notoriously difficult grape to grow, made its mark initially in Burgundy, France. The grape continues to deliver single-varietal wines that are among the best in the world. Pinot Noirs are delicate wines that taste of red fruits like cherries, raspberries and strawberries. With age, flavours and aromas become more complex, developing earthy notes like mushrooms and decaying leaves. Burgundy in particular is noted for developing these earthy flavours. In the New World, tasty Pinot Noir is being made in Oregon, New Zealand, and some of the cooler appellations of California. Pinot Noir is a versatile food wine, great with poultry, salmon, meat and vegetable dishes.

Syrah is at home in the Rhone region of France, where the grape makes spicy, rich, darkly delicious wines that increase in complexity as they age. Syrah also makes delicious wines in Australia, where it is marketed as Shiraz. Australian versions are typically big, bold and spicy with jammy fruit and aromas of leather and black fruit. Syrah also excels in Washington State, where it often displays an attractive acid balance, and in California, where the styles vary significantly. Syrah is a very versatile wine that pairs well with a wide variety of foods. It’s terrific with grilled meats.

Other Reds to Consider
Sangiovese is the wine grape that makes Chianti, a tremendous food wine with flavours and aromas of cherries and rose petals.

Nebbiolo is the grape variety that makes Barolo and Barbaresco, the noble (and pricey) red wines of the Piedmont region of Italy. With age, flavour notes of plums and cherries are enhanced by flavours of smoke, tar and roses.

Malbec is a star in Argentina, where it produces inky wines with an attractive smoke and leather quality. It also stands out in Cahors in southern France.

Tempranillo is a famous grape of Spain, where it is used in wines of the Rioja and Ribera del Duero regions.

Gamay makes the fresh and fruity, raspberry-flavoured wines of the Beaujolais region of Burgundy.

Zinfandel has found its home in California, where it produces big, fruity, often spicy red wines.


Cooking with Wine:

Wine’s complexity of flavours and aromas is one reason it works so well as an ingredient for cooking.

The Flavour Factors

Alcohol
Alcohol itself doesn’t add flavour to dishes so much as it helps release flavour molecules in foods and assists in dissolving fats, allowing ingredients to reveal their own unique flavours in ways that other liquids (like water or broth) or fats (like butter and olive oil) cannot.

When adding wine to a sauce, make sure you allow most of the alcohol to cook off; otherwise, the sauce may have a harsh, slightly boozy taste. How do you know when enough is enough? After adding the wine, cook the sauce uncovered until it reduces by about half. As the alcohol burns away, the flavour of the sauce will concentrate, becoming more delicious.

Tannins
Tannins come from the grape’s skins, stems, and seeds. Thick-skinned grapes, like Cabernet Sauvignon, produce more tannic wines than thinner-skinned varietals like Pinot Noir. And red wines have more tannin than whites. This is because the juice of red grapes spends more time swimming around with their skins than white grapes whose juice is separated from the skins soon after pressing. The juice of white grapes just doesn’t hang out with its skins long enough to pick up tannins.

Tannins affect the texture of a wine. We often experience them in the mouth as a drying sensation, rather than as a specific taste. In a young red wine with lots of tannin, they can come across as astringent and pucker-inducing, but the tannins will mellow with age, and are, in fact, one of the compounds that allows red wines to age gracefully.

How do tannins affect our eating experience? Well, let’s take Cabernet Sauvignon. Beef dishes are a classic pairing partner for Cabernet Sauvignon. In large part, it’s because Cabernet Sauvignon is a highly tannic wine. The tannins in the wine become attracted to the proteins in the meat rather than the proteins in your saliva, which makes the wine seem less astringent, a softer experience in your mouth.

When you make a pan sauce with Cabernet Sauvignon, the tannins become concentrated as the sauce reduces. If the sauce does not also contain enough protein and fat to handle those tannins, the end result could be a sauce that is a bit astringent for your liking. A vegetarian sauce, then, will probably work better with a less tannic red wine, like Pinot Noir, or a white wine.

Acidity
Have you ever paired a tomato sauce with a red wine like Merlot? The acid in the tomatoes can burn right through the wine, making it seem flat. That’s because Merlot, which is typically on the low end in acid, can’t compete with the acid in the tomatoes. Chianti Classico, on the other hand, is a terrific choice for tomato-based pasta dishes: the sangiovese grape (the main grape in Chianti) has enough acid to stand up to the acid in the tomato sauce.

Of course, all wines have acid. So when cooking with wine, use non-reactive pans and skillets (like those made from stainless steel or enamelled cast iron) to avoid discolouration when the acid hits the pan.

Flavours and Aromas
When you’re making a dish that has one or two dominant flavours, it’s worth thinking about wines that share those basic taste characteristics. Pinot Noir, for example, particularly Pinot Noir from Burgundy, is known for having flavours and aromas of mushrooms; it might pair up nicely with a dish that features lots of fresh, sautéed mushrooms. A bright dish with a healthy splash of citrus might respond well to a wine with a nice, bright citrus flavour–like Sauvignon Blanc. A cream sauce with fish will likely match up well with a creamy, buttery Chardonnay.

Preserve Your Cooking Wine
Once you uncork a bottle of wine, and oxygen is introduced into the scene, the wine slowly begins to change. No matter how good or expensive the wine was to begin with, it will eventually turn to vinegar.

Bear that in mind when a recipe calls for wine. It’s easy to reach for that half-full bottle you’ve kept in the cupboard for a month. But before you pour it into the pan, take a moment to determine its condition. Cooking with this wine could make the dish taste sour.

One way to make the wine last a bit longer is to refrigerate it. The cold climate will slow the chemical changes that are conspiring to turn your wine to vinegar. Another method is to transfer the leftover wine into a smaller bottle. This helps because a smaller bottle will have less air in it. You can also buy fancy vacuum contraptions that suck the air out of the bottle. An even easier solution, of course, is to drink the wine before it goes bad!

Wild Rice and Edamame Salad (Manitoba)

Wild Rice Salad

So nestled between the plains of Saskatchewan the rockier terrain of the Canadian Shield of Ontario you have the province of Manitoba. Manitoba is known for it’s thousands of lakes and vast rivers. It boarders along the Hudson Bay, and it’s northern cities are known to get a polar bear or two wandering down the street from time to time. But back to those lakes! Besides great fishing, those lakes provide ample opportunity for wild rice! Manitoba is a large producer of a variety of wild rices, and cultivated rice as well. I thought for today’s recipe, a side dish might be a nice change up, and with it being summer and all, how about a nice salad, with bright spots of colour from carrots, cranberries and edamame? Don’t forget the added protein that the edamame and almonds give you as well as the wonderful fibre found in the rice! This salad will serve 6-8 and I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:

½ cup blanched slivered almonds
2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
4 cups cooked wild rice**
3 medium scallions/green onions, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)*
2 cups shelled cooked edamame, thawed if frozen
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced small
½ cup dried cranberries
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
¼ cup rice vinegar, plus more as needed
2 teaspoons honey
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

* Click here to learn how to clean scallions/green onions.
** To get 4 cups of cooked wild rice, you will need to make about 1 to 1 ½ cups raw wild rice. Cook according to the package directions and then allow to cool.

Directions:

Place the almonds in a medium frying pan over medium heat and toast, stirring often, until golden brown (do not let the nuts burn), about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a large heatproof bowl. Add the sesame seeds to the pan and toast, stirring often, until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the almonds.

Add the rice, scallions, edamame, carrots, and cranberries to the bowl with the almonds and sesame seeds and toss to combine.

Whisk the olive oil, sesame oil, rice vinegar, honey, and a pinch each of salt and pepper in a medium bowl until combined. Drizzle over the rice mixture and toss to combine. Taste and season as needed with more salt, pepper, and vinegar. Cover and chill for at least one hour before serving.

Canadian Berry Galette (Saskatchewan)

Berry Galette

So Saskatchewan is known as Prairie Country… and it is flat! By flat, I mean you can see right across the province, no problem. But flat doesn’t mean boring, or unproductive! All that flat land gives us great plains to grow all kinds of wheats, grains, pulses, and more. One of these crops is Canola, otherwise known as rapeseed (gee, I wonder why it doesn’t go by that name more often?). Canola is used to make Canola Oil. EVERYONE has a bottle of that stuff in their kitchen! So, we’re going to be making a pie today, with a Canola Oil crust. Now what to go in the pie? Well, if you can get your hands on them, Saskatoon Berries would be great! They look like blueberries, but have a tarter taste that goes well in baked goods. For those of us that live outside the prairie region, blueberries, or other types of berries will have to suffice!

Ingredients:

Canola Oil Pie Crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
pinch salt
¼ cup canola oil
2 tablespoons cold milk*
About 2 tablespoons ice water

Mixed Berry Filling:
4 cups mixed berries (Saskatoon berries, huckleberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, etc.)**
¼ to ⅓ cup, plus 2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest***
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon heavy cream or milk*

* To make this pie non-dairy, use soy-milk, almond milk or non-dairy creamer in place of the regular milk.
** Click here to learn about cleaning berries.
*** Click here for my tips on zesting lemons.

Directions:

Into a medium bowl sift together the flour, sugar, and salt. Stir in the oil and mix with a fork or pastry blender until the size of peas. Stir in the milk and mix until begins to form a dough. Stir in enough water to form a smooth ball. Flatten into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Allow to rest refrigerated for 20 to 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the berries with ¼ cup of the sugar and the lemon zest. Let sit 3 minutes, then taste to determine if more sugar is needed, adding more as needed. Add the cornstarch and mix well.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a large circle, about 10-inches across. Transfer to a baking sheet. Spread the fruit filling into the center of the dough, leaving a 2-inch border around the edge. Fold the edges over the filling, overlapping the dough into folds. With a pastry brush, brush the cream onto the dough border and sprinkle the remaining 2 teaspoons of sugar on top.

Bake until the dough is golden brown and the fruit is bubby, about 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on the baking sheet for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Cowboy Beef & Bean Chili (Alberta)

Beef & Beans ChiliSo in Canada, Alberta is known as our “Cowboy Country”. Wedged between the Rocky Mountains to the west, and the plains of Saskatchewan to the east, Alberta has a great mix of highs and lows, literally. Known for its bountiful cattle trade, as well as its vast natural gas and oil reserves, Alberta is a rich province. Every summer, Calgary, Alberta’s largest city, hosts the Calgary Stampede, a rodeo, exhibition and festival held annually every July since 1923 (though its roots date back to 1886). So what better to celebrate the cowboy spirit than a nice big bowl of chili? This dish will hit all the right spots, goes great with cornbread, and will serve 6. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons oil
1 pound extra-lean ground beef
1 pound medium ground beef
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces mushrooms, diced (about 3 cups)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce*
2 tablespoons ancho chili powder (see note below)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt
2 (540ml) cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups beef broth
1 12-ounce bottle lager-style beer**
½ red onion, diced (for garnish)
1 avocado, diced (for garnish)

* Click here to see notes about the use of Worcestershire sauce with meat products.
** Click here for the kosher alcohol list.
Note: Ancho chili powder, made from dried poblano peppers, has a mild, sweet spicy flavor. Look for it in the spice section of well-stocked supermarkets. Other mildly spicy chili powder can be used in its place.

Directions:

Heat oil in a large pot with a lid, or a Dutch oven, over medium-high heat. Add ground beef, onion and garlic. Cook, stirring and breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until the meat is no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are starting to soften, 5 to 7 minutes. Add Worcestershire sauce, ancho chili powder, regular chili powder, paprika, cumin and salt and cook, stirring, until aromatic, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in kidney beans, then pour in broth and beer, and then bring the chili to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, partially cover the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced and thickened, about 50 minutes. Garnish with diced red onion and avocado. A great accompaniment would be corn bread with caramelized onion jam!