A Pair Of Gourmands

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Submitted by The Chef in Stead - Bury yourself in berries.

She says:

I remember summers in North Vancouver, at my aunt’s house, eating piece after piece of toast slathered with as much strawberry or raspberry freezer jam as it would hold! I swore when I grew up that I would make freezer jam too, so that my kids could enjoy that fresh, just-picked flavour that only freezer jam seemed to give.

Well, I don’t have any kids, but we seem to both be big kids, and one of the things I still dearly love is that just-picked flavour. Nowadays we talk about it in a special way – “slow food” is one concept that comes up in conversations. This is the idea of supporting local producers of food to help create and maintain a sustainable environment. Back when the world was not so small, it was a straightforward thing to do, like drinking from the hose on a hot summer day. Now it takes forethought and an organization to remind people that everything need not, and in fact perhaps should not, come ready-made out of a can.

I don’t want to preach, but I would like to ask that you plan to pick fruit one day at a local orchard (or at least visit the farmer’s market Wednesday or Saturday mornings!) Look for that fantastic package of liquid pectin that will allow you to make freezer jam, or even freeze or can some fresh fruit for a winter day. Then you can take it out and as you taste a spoonful (it’s okay to eat it right out of the jar!), you will be taken back to summer days as a kid picking and eating fruit, when you could smell the fruit and the dirt and the leaves on your hands, and nothing tasted better.

Even if your kids don’t want to try drinking from the hose, I think they will appreciate this little taste of a time when life was not so homogenized. If you are a big kid like me, it could be the beginning of a second childhood.

Try these links for more information: Slow Food

He says:

Yes, it has started. . .the first summer berries are here. This is one of my favorite times of the year, as I can finally make fresh berry desserts with great Okanagan products. No more California unripe strawberries that left their bushes way too early. We now have strawberries available and raspberries are next, so start using them now as this is not going to last forever.

This is my plan: first, you grill a nice fish dinner on the BBQ with fresh vegetables and a nice salad, leaving your guests a bit hungry for more. . .Then you take out the Strawberry Shortcake from the fridge and you fill them up with fresh whipped cream, cake and strawberries from one of our local farms.

If you are like me, you usually buy a case to freeze so you can enjoy them much further into the season. Frozen strawberries are great for smoothie drinks, margaritas, salsas, salads, dessert sauces or even ice cream toppings. Buy local, and keep our farmers in business.

For an extra bang. . .I would strongly suggest that you go visit the friendly ladies at Discover Wines next to Zellers downtown they will hook you up with some great late harvest wines from BC to really help to make your shortcake the talk of the town.

Chef Martin’s Tip 14

Quality Pots and Pans - a must or a myth?

Quality pans are a must. A few different sizes of high quality thick pans will really help you create gourmet meals.

When talking about pots, I am 50/50. Two different sizes of high quality pots are essential for soups, stews, sauces or anything else that may stick to the bottom. The rest of your pots can be lower quality/price as long as you use them for the right things.

A cheaper pot will be thin and will not retain the heat very well, so expect your creations to stick to the bottom. On the other hand, when you are boiling vegetables, steaming a live crab or blanching tomatoes to remove their skins, a thin pot will do just fine!

One could say, if I buy all quality pots and pans I should be fine, but when you are looking at one small good quality sauté pan, you will soon find out that it will cost you around $100-$250. So one good large sauté pan should do just fine.

So if your budget is tight, just do some smart buying. Stay away from sets that you will never use - there is nothing wrong with that!

“No matter what happens in the kitchen, never apologize.”
(Julia Child, 1912-2004)

The Chef in Stead - Website For Previous Chef Tips For comments or questions, you can reach Martin at 250-712-4440 or Email.

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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


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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