A Pair Of Gourmands

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Submitted by The Chef in Stead

He says:

Okanagan Cherries rule…

I love this time of the year, once the cherries start hitting the local markets it’s the beginning of the sweet flavour of the Okanagan entering my kitchen. Since I have only been living in the Okanagan for about 15 months, I am still all excited about the quality of the fruits available locally.

In Quebec where I grew up, we had hardy fall fruits like apples, prunes and plums, but here we get the peaches, the pears, the apricots, and wow, The Grapes… I don’t think I will ever get tired of trying new recipes with that kind of fruit selection. As a kid, cherries were a luxury product - my mom would buy them once a year, and she would make sure that everyone would not eat her whole grocery budget in cherries. Here in Kelowna, I see cherries being neglected and falling off the tree, rotting on the ground, what a shame… People like that should give them away…
So, to follow my philosophy and have great quality for a great price, I plan to eat as much as I can, fresh, frozen or canned.

Last year I canned cherries, and wow, was it ever good! It took less than one hour from pitting to completed canning. Cherries in a Red Wine and Star Anise Syrup has made my winter go by much faster. I use them to go on vanilla ice cream or angel food cake. This year I am doing the same thing!

Cherries are also really good to accompany a Duck Breast, Pork Tenderloin or even a French Style Classic Venison Casserole.

She says:

I was lucky as a child, because although cherries were the luxury fruit, I had a mother who grew up in the Okanagan, and so she remembered how good they were! We didn’t eat cherries often, but when Mom bought them, it was a big bag and for once, we got to eat until we couldn’t eat anymore!! Cherries were a symbol of decadence for me, and I guess they still are.

When I lived in France, I discovered that cherries didn’t always have to be decadent, but they were always delectable. Clafoutis – a sort of skillet cake with cherries in a rich batter - was something I had never even heard of, much less tried. And it could be made with fresh cherries in the summer, or with homemade canned cherries in the winter. Now that was a perfect fruit dessert. My first taste of it, still warm from the oven with sugar sprinkled over top, is one of my favorite memories from the many wonderful meals I shared in France. Try this recipe and close your eyes when you take a first bite – you will swear you can hear Edith Piaf singing!

Food is all about experiences for me, and the times shared with friends and family. My other cherry memory is one from just last summer, here in the Okanagan, and it is one I recommend for everyone with children. My stepdaughter came for her summer visit and one of the things we did together was to pick cherries right from the tree. I will never forget that look on her face as she ate the first few… like she had done something decadent, and maybe a bit naughty. Nowadays, it is a rare thing to get food from the source, especially if you are a big city girl.

So, enjoy the bounty of the summer season. Share it with friends and family, and if you can, set some aside for the winter season as a special treat. You will be creating not just meals, but memories.

Chef Martin’s Tip 17

Electric or not electric, that is the question…

Call it a stove, a range or a piano (this is the name for a grill top in a professional kitchen) - it does not matter, I still say gas rules!

I get asked all the time, what is the difference between gas and electric? Usually I just want to answer, what is the difference between a Porsche 911 and Ford Escort ? They both have 4 wheels, don’t they?

It is simple: with an electric stove you cannot control your cooking as well as with gas.

Gas will give you power instantly, just like the Porsche. Gas will spit out major heat and at the same time, when you need to reduce the heat for certain recipes, it will do that right away!

There are only two issues with gas units: you need gas to make it work, and you need the money to buy it!

One thing is for sure, once you have worked on a gas stove, you will never want to go back to electric, because you will soon find out why gas rules!

“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.

More Happy Gourmand articles

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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