A Pair Of Gourmands

by - Story: 14315

A Winter Wonderland!

He Says:

Being from Quebec, snow is part of our lives whether we like it or not. My dad used to tell me this story from 1971: “18.5 inch of snow within a few hours, blizzards, and a power outage for 2 to 7 days. It was one of the biggest snowstorms to ever hit Montreal…” and people got stuck in their homes, not being able to even go buy staple foods. No cars were able to drive in the streets, so my father grabbed his snowmobile and drove around our neighborhood to deliver groceries to families in need of basic items like milk for the babies, bread, eggs, etc…

I can’t believe the mess that we were in last Monday morning in Kelowna… abandoned cars, accidents galore, people not showing up to work, and most restaurants were somewhat empty because no one wanted to drive. My dad is laughing in his grave I am sure! We only got 2 or 3 inches of powder snow!

Anyway, those days are the perfect time to pull out that chicken pot pie you keep in your freezer or cook yourselves a nice pasta with pesto, capers, anchovies, veggies and fresh Parmigiano Reggiano.

She Says:

I wasn’t born in Quebec, but I can do you one better – I was born on the Prairies! The winter I was born in Winnipeg has been referred to my entire life as “the winter of the big snow”! My parents talked of metal parts on the car braking off from the extreme cold, and the tires making a “bu-bump” noise from the flat spot they had after a night in the cold. Even when I got older and we moved to Calgary, I remember winters when the car was left running when we shopped at the mall for Christmas groceries, for fear it would not start otherwise. Let me tell you, it is hard to buy a good Christmas tree when you can’t move the branches to see where the possible holes are!

But cold winters were also the times when pancakes for lunch became acceptable, or hot chocolate and scrambled egg sandwiches. And there are no cookies that taste as good as the ones made on a snowy day after a bit of skating. (Watch the website for my weekly favourite holiday recipes - this week is Shortbread.) Those were the good old days, and you can get them back if you just give it a try!

I know all you soft West-coast types will say that we are exaggerating, and that sticking your tongue to the monkey bars in the cold for the fun of it is just plain silly, but winter does have its advantages. Even if you don’t like skiing and have no compulsion to go skating or walk in the snow, you can snuggle up with your favourite comfort drink or food and be amazed at Mother Nature’s power. She alone can make the world stop, so that all you have left is to sit back and enjoy it.

Chef Martin’s Tip 39 - Beurre Blanc

This is by far the best white sauce for any kind of fish: shallots, white wine, cream and butter -very simple but really good.

Slightly sauté some chopped shallots, add two cups of good wine, let the wine reduce to half volume at low heat. Add two cups of whipping cream and let reduce to half again. Reduce the heat and, whisk in one and half cups of butter at room temperature. Season with enough salt and pepper and serve warm.

You can add all kinds of fresh herbs at the end if you wish. Tarragon, basil and parsley are some of my favorites.

It may take you a few tries to master this recipe, but trust me, it is worth the effort.

“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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