Category Archives: Cuisine

Steamed Pei Mussels With Lemongrass And Ginger

Simple, Natural, and Refined!

I just returned from an amazing trip to Prince Edward Island (my first in several years) and the soles of my feet are still dyed from the Island’s ruby shores. PEI is a land of unspeakable beauty; littered with breathtaking beaches, endless skies and rolling fields as far as the eye can see. The quaint kitschiness of island architecture evokes a kind of nostalgia and child-like innocence. It is a province built for an urban tourist eager to enjoy a taste of rural life.

PEI is not often considered a culinary destination; as it does not bring the same level of refinement to the dining experience as say Montreal or Toronto. PEI, like Finland, is all about foods in the raw. You come to sample the bounty of their hugely successful agricultural industry. In PEI you savor edible items that require minimal preparation yet deliver maximum flavor. Fresh produce, organic jams and honeys, rustic cheeses and some of the best seafood you’ll find anywhere.

If you’ve been fortunate enough to dine in some of the best restaurants this country has to offer, you have probably spotted PEI mussels on more than a few menus. PEI mussels account for more than 80% of this country’s mussel production. PEI’s nutrient-rich waters provide the ideal environment for the blue mussel. They consistently produce mussels of superior flavor and quality that revivals competitors across the globe.

So, now that you have these tasty morsels, you might wonder what the heck to do with them. The answer? As little as possible. Grab the most aromatic ingredients you can find, bring them to a boil at the bottom of a large stockpot and steam your mussels. Easy peasy! I went slightly Thai in my version, but Mediterranean cuisine is loaded with flavors that are wonderfully complementary to these luscious amber tidbits. You can either pour the remaining steaming liquid over the cooked mussels or you can reserve it and add it to your next seafood chowder. I almost always choose the latter.

So go ahead and enjoy some of the best seafood the East Coast of Canada has to offer. Pick up a bag of PEI mussels today!

Totally Sustainable Beau’s Best

By Doris Miculan Bradley

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company, an independent family operation located in Ontario, has a mandate derived from a labour of love: create a homegrown beer made from certified organic malt while incorporating seasonal, local chemically-unadulterated spring water while leaving the smallest carbon footprint possible. Beau’s has taken further initiative to creating a sustainable organization- The Green Futures Project; a unique, “think outside of the box” product exclusive beer club with the goal of helping Beau’s achieve its goal of becoming a totally sustainable brewery.

The initiative was rolled out on July 2nd, 2011 featuring a membership based- beer aficionado club where members pay a yearly fee to experience ten different Beau’s Best beer releases. Club members are entitled to 30 bourbon barrel aged beers (10 x 600ml bottles per year) over 3 years, at a membership fee of $300. The fees will be used to install solar panels on the massive 30,000 sq. ft roof that houses the brewery.

Beer styles follow the four seasons. Spring invites Beau’s Best Beaver River, an IPA featuring a whopping 9.9% alcohol count. Summer initiates Festivale Altbier, a food friendly hoppy ale. Fall welcomes Night Märzen Oktoberfest Lager, toasty, bready and well suited with fresh herb marinated poultry. Winter arrives with Bog Water Gruit Ale, a dark gritty, full bodied brown ale.

The innovative company approach towards sustainability not only relates to the environment, Beau’s invests in educating the future generation of Tourism-Hospitality workforce by hosting product seminars for students at some of Canada’s leading culinary/hospitality management learning centres, including George Brown College in Toronto Ontario. (Beau’s All Natural beers are available at The Chefs’ House, a student centric downtown Toronto learning restaurant operated by George Brown College). A mentioned should be given to several of Beau’s employees as they are GBC alumni giving back to the future graduates.

Beau’s is currently involved in achieving a one hundred and fifty thousand dollar goal which will be contributed towards charitable works, community building and independent arts.

This five year-old Canadian company is poised to be a leader in integral company practices while producing an endemic product and some of the best benefactors a company can ask for: The Environment, the future face of the Canadian Workforce and Local Community.

Brewery Contact

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company

10 Terry Fox Drive

Vankleek Hill, ON

KOB 1RO • PO BOX 279

Tel • (866) 585-BEER (2337) or (613) 678-2799

Email • ohyeah@beaus.ca

Contact Doris Miculan Badley

2dry@rogers.com

Caesar Another Great Canadian

Clam juice in a cocktail? You can’t be serious? This is usually followed by a polite and perplexed look of disgust from the foreigner. After attempting to convince them that it is just like a Bloody Mary but way better they give you the blank stare; The sales pitch rarely works. The Bloody Caesar cocktail is a truly Canadian phenomenon. It is understandably difficult for outsiders to get past what some describe as “the clam barrier”.

The Bloody Caesar, or Caesar for short, is a cocktail that typically combines vodka and Clamato juice with Worcestershire sauce, hot sauces, and salt and pepper in a celery salt rimmed glass garnished with a stick of celery and a lime wedge.

The obvious question is how on earth did someone come up with the idea to add clam juice to a cocktail? Adding a lime seems normal but adding clam juice sounds like an industrial kitchen accident or a prank.

Walter Chell was a bartender at an Italian restaurant in what is now a Westin in Calgary. In 1969 he was asked to create a signature drink for his restaurant. Like most great mixologist, Walter was a fine cook. The drink’s inspiration came from a dish he tried in Venice called Spaghetti alle vongole, that is, Spaghetti in a tomato clam sauce. He spent three months perfecting the drink and mashed many clams to obtain its nectar. I am sure that he got a lot of concerned stares from his coworkers. As man was landing on the Moon the planets were also aligning that same year as the Mott’s company was simultaneously developing Clamato, its mix of clam and tomato juice. Destiny.

The drink’s name apparently comes from his own Italian ancestry and is obviously fitting for his employer’s restaurant. According to the creator’s granddaughter the final “bloody” touch was added by an English patron, “That’s a bloody good Caesar”!

The drink was an instant hit at the restaurant. My guess is that Chell probably did not tell anybody what was in it until after they were hooked. It quickly spread across Western Canada and then to the East and has not waned in popularity since. In 2009 Caesar celebrated his fortieth birthday in Canada and the Mayor of Calgary declared May 13, 2009 as Caesar Day in the city. Good man. A marketing campaign was launched by Mott’s to make it Canada’s official mixed cocktail, and numerous attempts to popularize the drink outside of Canada were attempted without avail.

I wonder if Will and Kate tried one on their recent Canadian stopover? A Mountie on the tarmac passing them a Caesar after they descended the plane’s stairs in Slave Lake would have been a fitting Canadian greeting. A nice lift after all those flights.

Bloody Caesar

1 ½ oz Vodka

6 oz Clamato Juice

2 dashes hot sauce

4 dashes Worcestershire sauce

3 dashes salt and pepper

To make a Caesar, rim a highball glass with celery salt and fill with ice. Add the remaining ingredients. Stir and garnish with a lime and a stick of celery. Raise your glass and toast, “Long live Caesar.” Optional.

The Growers Cider Company

By: Doris Miculan Bradley

The Growers Cider Company planted their roots in British Columbia in1927. With a goal to produce and showcase the best cider and wines the country has to offer, Growers had a tall order to fill. The family of apple based ciders are available as natural or flavoured ciders including Açai Berry, Apple Lime, Blueberry, Extra Dry Apple, Granny Smith, Nectarine, Orchard Berry, Passion Fruit, Peach, Pear, Pomegranate, Raspberry, Red Ruby Grapefruit and White Cranberry.

The history of global cider production can be traced back to 1300BC where apples were grown on the Nile River Delta. Historians have yet to prove that cider was produced for human consumption but nature would claim rudimentary cider production when apples fell from trees and naturally fermented in the blazing sun from falling off the tree on to the ground allowing for a tasty, intoxicating treat for rabbits, birds and any other creature brave enough to taste it. Although cider production is documented as far back as 55BC, it was Medieval Times where cider production amounted to commerce and wages. Canada, ,

Fast track to 2010 the `smart Canuck` company Growers Cider Company launch the clever introductory ` Go Au Naturale’ campaign in Ontario which resulted in a 13% growth in sales from 2009, outpacing the growth in the overall Canadian cider industry by 7%.The idea was to feature the clean taste and natural production methods for the ciders. With the average cider caloric content 187 calories for a 341 ml bottle, consumers also enjoy zero sugar, zero carbs. (It should be noted that the average cider hosts 7% alcohol which could lead to ill-health if over consumed or consumed with medication.) The “Eve” campaign in British Columbia spoke to the ` vestal fresh` apple cider taste experience while stirring up a little sex appeal in collectable label graphics.

The company remains true to their base product, apple cider while appealing to millennial market demands.

Food Friendly Pairings

Growers Peach Sweet, tree-ripened, creamy and natural peach flavour make up this sweet and refreshing cider. Try alongside Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Peach Barbecue Sauce.

Contact The Growers Cider Company

Please call: 877.919.7587

Do you have a favourite Canadian brewery that you would like me to write about? E-mail me directly at 2dry@rogers.com

Great Canadian Wild Herbs

There are an infinite number of plants that grow around our world. Many of which are edible, while a select few are not. Certain parts of the world have beautiful plants that grow year round, and others only seasonal. We, as humans, should be thankful for the abundance of such an array of foliage.

Many cultures and/or societies today practice horticultural etiquette which jeopardizes the very nature of some of these sustained permacultures. Several of us who live in the “Western World” have come to understand the plant world as selective or monoculturistic. We try our best to preserve a lawn or flower garden that is immaculate in design and look – all in the name of vanity. On the other hand, there is a group of individuals (which is continuously growing) whom are trying, in the best of their ability, to preserve the very beauty and essence of our natural ecosystems.

It is possible to find some of this wholesome goodness right in your own “backyard”. For many of us, it’s a matter of reconnecting with the earth and discovering all her beauty; to be thankful for the food and medicine she has provided to us all. CLICK HERE to watch a video where we show you a few wild herbs that grow in our very own backyard here in Canada. This, of course, is only possible if one does not cut their lawn, however, their are many national parks and green spaces available to us all which gives us the opportunity to go foraging – how exciting!

Further to some of the wild herbs pointed out in the video (i.e. salsify, red/white clover, sweetgrass, quackgrass, plantain, dandelion, bugleweed, burdock, chamomile, cham namul, skullcap), there are many others that I haven’t touched upon that grace our lands. Some others which grow in our part of the world (Canada) include: wild chive, fleabane, nettle, thistle, butter and eggs, goldenrod, black eyed susan, cone flower (aka echinacea), chicory, chickweed, ragweed, mullein, lily, wild mint, daisy, and a variety of ferns to name just a few. I encourage all of you (as nothing is impossible) to venture out in your backyard, or local park and see what beauty you can discover. Who knows, you may find something you have been long looking for.

Let’s be respectful of the earth (Gaia). She has provided us with a bounty of food and medicine for many eons without any demand for reciprocity. The least we can do is “take time and smell the roses”.

-Jordan and Kyla (check out their blog HERE)

Your question: What type of wild herbs grow in your part of the world? (post your comment below)