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Happy-Gourmand

I am...happy

In recent years we seem to have transcended the stereotype that paints Canadians as almost-like Americans but with a colder climate and a funny accent, thanks in no small part to those beer ads that advertise all the passions Canadians have. All the wonderful pastimes we enjoy are certainly part of what makes up our identity as Canucks, and I for one am proud and happy that we live in such a wonderful place.

I strolled through the “back 40” this morning with our dogs and listened to the resident marmot squeak his alert as he performed his sentry duty from the top of the orchard bins. The alpacas in the field had their ears perked up for his alarms, knowing that meant that Simon was likely headed their way and up for a morning barking alarm of his own. Birds of all kinds chirped in the trees and the sun beat down even early in the morning in true Okanagan fashion. As I walked between the fruit trees and brushed away the webs from the “Cirque du Soleil” spiders that trapeze from tree to tree, I had a wee chuckle. Even the insects are thrilled to be here, it seems. In the orchard I encountered a windfall; a recently fallen peach on the grass just looking for an owner. I picked it up and bit in, the juice running down my arm. As I tasted Okanagan summer at its ripest, I thought to myself, “It just doesn’t get any better than this!”

Once home I got to pick radishes and arugula from the garden, for the salad I will serve at our picnic dinner that night. Martin was planning his fruit salsa for the leftover salmon we had to enjoy. The dogs said hello to other neighbours out for a walk down the road; everyone is casual and comfortable as we all know one another. How fortunate we are that we can relax and enjoy our neighbours, that we live in a place where we can grow food in the yard and that we have the space to look out on a landscape full of promise.

Even if you don't have a garden or live near an orchard you can still enjoy the decadence of our region. Try this dessert or brunch item (if you want to substitute Greek yogurt for the whipped cream). You won't regret the time you spent preparing it, I promise! And if you're looking for tasty peaches, I can recommend the ones at Paynter's Fruit Market on the Westside!

 

Okanagan Shortcake

Biscuits

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 stick butter, chilled
  • 2/3 to 3/4 cup half and half, milk, or cream
  • 1 egg yolk, for brushing

 

Filling

  • 2 lb of fresh fruit in season (berries, peaches, or a combination!)
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup sugar

 

Preparation

Wash your fruit very well; drain and let dry on a paper towel.

Freeze your mixing bowl so it is very cold once you start with the cream.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Set rack at center level.

Using a pastry cutter and your fingertips combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar on a clean table counter. Add the butter to the mixture and keep cutting with your pastry tool – try not to warm up the butter too much with your fingers. Make a well in the center and add the cream or milk, just until dough is moist using your tool. Do not overwork the dough, it’s ok to have pieces of butter showing. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface - fold 4 times but do not overwork it, be gentle.

Roll the dough 3/4-inch thick and cut your shapes – be creative (hearts, triangles - they don't have to be circles!) Transfer to non-stick mat and brush on an egg yolk to give it a shiny top. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until risen and golden brown. Don’t over bake! Let cool before assembling.

While it’s baking, slice the fruit. Sprinkle on 2-4 tablespoons of sugar to taste, just to help the fruit be juicy. Whip the cream until soft and add 1/3 cup sugar and finish to whip it but not too much. (Once you can tip the bowl and it doesn't slide, it's ready.) NOTE: If you are substituting Greek yogurt, you can just stir in a bit of honey to taste.

Assemble by cutting your cooled biscuit and add as much fruit and whipped cream as you want. Top with some fresh mint and icing sugar and voila!



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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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