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Happy-Gourmand

I am Canadian, and happy

Canadians are sometimes perceived by outsiders as almost-like Americans, but living in a colder climate with a funny accent.

What is it to be Canadian?

Thanks, in part, to those beer ads that advertise all the passions Canadians have, the world is better understanding our unique and diverse culture.

All the wonderful pastimes we enjoy and the different foods we eat are certainly parts 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.

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 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 tonight. Martin was picking the first of the sour cherries and already planning a sauce (I could practically hear his creative juices flowing).

The dogs greeted other neighbours passing on their walks; everyone is casual and comfortable as we all know one another on our street.

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.

I know, as a nation, we tend to be rather humble and reserved, but Canada Day is the one day if any where it is truly appropriate to wave the flag and be proud.

I always talk of supporting the community and eating local; this weekend you should congratulate yourself for doing those things and celebrate.

You might even want to make a red-and-white dessert, like good old-fashioned strawberry shortcake.

I just happen to have a really good recipe to share.

Happy Canada Day!

STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKES

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

Filling

  • 2 lb of fresh strawberries
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream

Preparation

Wash your strawberries very well; drain and let dry on a paper towel. Make sure you have a cold bowl for your whipping cream (a few minutes in the fridge or freezer will help it set faster).

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

Using a pastry cutter or a food processor on pulse mode, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.  Add the butter to the mixture and keep cutting with your pastry tool – try not to warm up the butter too much, so only mix as much as you need to get it distributed.

Make a well in the center and add the cream or milk (2/3 cup first, then add more if needed), 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 over work it, be gentle.

Roll the dough 3/4-inch thick and cut your shapes — be creative. Transfer to non-stick mat and brush on an egg yolk to give it a shiny top. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until risen and golden brown.

Don’t over bake! Let cool before assembling.

While it’s baking, hull and slice the berries. Whip the cream until soft and add ½ cup sugar. Whip in the sugar but be careful not to over whip the cream; you want it firm, but not butter.

Assemble by slicing your cooled biscuit in half,and adding as much strawberries and whipped cream as you want over the bottom.

Top with the other half of the biscuit, some fresh mint and icing sugar.

Voilà!



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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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