A Pair Of Gourmands

by - Story: 13766

It’s official.

She says:

There is no more avoiding it, folks... The frost is on the ground and the snow covers the mountains. The sky is dark when you get up and when you leave the office, and you had better have your slippers on in the morning, because the bathroom floor is cold! If you are still in denial, let me be the one to tell you – winter has arrived.

Don’t get me wrong – I like to ski, and I love a walk with the dogs on a sunny winter’s day. I adore winter’s comfort foods, and I am a big fan of Christmas. It’s just that I wasn’t quite ready to give up autumn yet. I had just made it to the farmer’s market on the last weekend (I work Saturdays in the summer season), and I only remember one lazy walk crunching through the leaves. The colours in the vineyards seemed to change more quickly than I remember, and the chill of the winter wind came much faster. How can I get over my “post-autumn depression”?

If you have suggestions, I would love to hear them, but this is what I have come up with so far:
  • A nice bowl of steaming curried squash soup with some homemade biscuits for a weeknight dinner (having vegetables that come from this part of the world reminds me it is not winter yet)
  • Watching at least one football game on a Sunday afternoon (can you tell I am a prairie girl? – I prefer to watch playoff football in an outdoor stadium)
  • Take a hot drink to go and walk along the promenade by the lake (there is something poignant about the lake after the summer, but before the snow sits along the shores)

And once I have checked all those things off my list, I think I will be able to leave that feeling of sorrow behind, and pull out the mitts and scarves and get bundled up for another winter season. But until then I am going to eke out every last drop of autumn splendour!

He says:

One word for winter food, “pasta”. My mom was never big on soups or stews, so to this day, I would much rather have a bowl of spaghetti with a rich tomato sauce. My mom used to make a big batch of Bolognese sauce on Mondays, and we would end up eating it all week, I am amazed that I am not 300 lb, with all those pasta weeks.

On another note, the other day I was in line at the grocery store and I happened to peek at the couple in front of me. They had two small happy kids with them and looked like a nice family. Their entire food basket was filled with instant rice, instant “helper meals” and instant Asian noodle dishes. I know that work life is busy, and I know that life at home with kids is also very busy, but I really don’t understand why many families choose to feed themselves and their children crappy instant meals. It takes no time at all to cook something from scratch, chef or not!

This is my simple meal when I am short on time…
Cook some pasta, any shape you wish, add plain tomato sauce, fresh garlic, a few tbsp of pesto, and finish with fresh Romano or Parmesan cheese. (Total time of preparation 13 minutes.)

When your hobbies, work or life in general takes away your time to cook, it’s time to seriously look at your priorities.

“Remember, you are what you eat, and your are an important example for your children’s future eating habits!”

Chef Martin’s Tip 36 - Baking tricks!

We have all cried over burnt baked scones, pastries, cakes, breads etc…

To increase your chances, the number one thing to do is to place a baking tray upside down on the last rack at the bottom of your oven. This will create an air pocket and help distribute the heat more evenly in the oven.

In general, using a silicone baking mat is a good idea, but not a fool proof method to protect your baked good. A convection oven will help in some cases, but is not fool proof again…

Turning your baked goods mid way through the baking time can reduce burnt corners!

When you bake fragile pastries, middle of the oven is best and you can also double tray to reduce the impact of direct heat under your pastries.

When you bake cakes, middle of the oven is good, and have your cake pans on a baking tray.

When you bake pies, bottom of the oven is best to make sure that your bottom crust will be well done and not raw. Half way into your baking time, it’s OK to place a foil paper around the edge of your crust to avoid burning it.

“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.

These are the stores where I shop, go visit them and tell them I sent you...

Hooked on Seafood, 1951 Harvey Ave, Kelowna 860-2541
Discover Wines, 2080 C Springfield Rd, Kelowna 868-3990
Matterhorn Bakery, 103 - 3640 Gosset Rd, Westbank 768-3302
L&D Meat, 103 - 2365 Gordon St, Kelowna 717-1997
Quality Greens, 3717 A Old Okanagan, Westbank 707-1420
Valoroso Italian Market, 1467 Sutherland Rd, Kelowna 860-3631
Kitchen Niche, Orchard Park mall, Kelowna 860-3637

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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