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Happy-Gourmand

The Okanagan at its finest!

The Okanagan has been known for its fruits for generations. People from around the world come here in summer to pick, buy and eat the many varieties fresh and in season. This year Mother Nature sped things up a bit, so we have already enjoyed much of the bounty. Peaches are almost done, and the plums and pears are being picked already in some places. It's almost hard to keep up with consuming some of everything. The farms and fruit stands are booming, and their friendly family approach seems to put the F back in fruit (keep reading, you'll get my reference soon.) Quite frankly, this is one time when I am happy to enjoy the fruits of someone’s labour! We truly are blessed in our part of this world.

My Mom did some of her growing up here, and she still talks about the days when peaches were so big they took two hands to hold, and getting a case of Okanagan fruit was a prized gift, each piece hand-wrapped in paper and presented like a box from Holt Renfrew. These precious boxes were Fancy (hence the F) and of course they were Fresh and in season only, as in tree-ripened fresh, not induced by some chemical process (another important F – now are you seeing where we are heading??) You will know by now if you are a regular reader that we do have a fondness for nostalgia (hey, there is an F in fondness, too! – maybe that is pushing it…) Indulge the nostalgia of summer for these last weeks and enjoy the fresh decadence in season with friends and family. (Okay, I'm done with Fs!)

A neighbour strolled by one morning this week as I was watering (not to worry, it was on my assigned day) and they mentioned that it was a shame that everything looked so great but yet the season was coming to a close. This may be true for flowers, but with the fruit, the bounty to which we have access is mind-boggling to say the least. I am literally inundated with fresh fruit, and I don’t want it to go to waste. What can I say, I come from a prairie upbringing – we would have been “fruitarians” if we had fruit trees in Manitoba. (Does anyone remember that scene in “Notting Hill” with the woman who wanted only fruit that had fallen from the tree, not those items that had been violently wrenched from their existence?) As a result, I am constantly working with "seconds" and gleaned fruit; we have fruit crisp, fruit compote, dried fruit, jams of various iterations, and of course no lack of fresh fruit in case you might have a hankering in between meals…

The thing that inspired me to write this week was in preparing the Sunday breakfast menu for our family reunion, planning fresh fruit and fruit syrup for the waffles we will make. The peaches this year are as big as my Mom described (for those of you who are younger, think “James and the Giant Peach” big). The cherries seemed to last forever (how could such decadence be legal?!) and we still have nectarines, plums and pears to come!! I can hardly wait to share our bounty with the relatives. Buckwheat waffles with fresh peach slices and cherry syrup ought to show them how good life can be...

In honour of the four seasons we enjoy I like to make the most of the one with local food in it. Stop by your favourite farmers’ market this weekend, or a fruit stand, or even look for local fruit at your favourite grocery store. Buy what's in season and eat it as soon as possible. Better yet, pick some if you have time! Hopefully you will remember to get a few for home too, so you can enjoy the waffle recipe I list below (yes, Eggos will do in a pinch but really, life is short so why not make the most of it?)

Here’s to Sunday breakfast, fresh fruit, and living in one of the best places on Earth!

 

(This recipe comes from one of my all-time favourite cookbooks, “The Frog Commissary Cookbook” ISBN 0385184565)

 

Buckwheat Waffles

(they list it with strawberry butter, but they don’t live where there are fresh peaches)

 

  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 cup white or whole wheat flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder (make sure it is fresh – not more than 4 months old)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-3/4 cups milk
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 1-1/2 cups finely chopped pecans (optional – I choose ½ tsp cinnamon when fruit is in season)
  • Fresh fruit, sliced, for topping
  • Maple or fruit syrup(s)

 

Preheat your oven to 200F.

Melt the butter. Set aside.

Sift together the flours, salt and baking powder. Beat the eggs till foamy and add the milk. Mix the liquid ingredients into the dry with as few strokes as possible, just barely smoothing out the lumps. Stir in the melted butter.

Follow directions on your waffle iron if any pre-greasing is required.

Stir in the pecans (or spice). Cook waffles till brown and crisp, about 3 minutes. Keep waffles warm in the oven on a rack.

Serve waffles hot with dishes of fresh fruit, whipped cream or yogurt, and maple or fruit syrup.



More Happy Gourmand articles

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About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."

 

E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com

 



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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