Category Archives: EVENTS

A Five Course Moveable Feast by Ken Lefebour – The Oak Savannah Story

On Wednesday, August 13, 2014 – Manorun Organic Farm’s presents a unique event The Oak Savannah Story – “The Movable Feast – This just in….their wine list!!!

Flat Rock Cellars will be supplying wine for the Oak Savannah dinner. There will be a wide range of pairings for the meal put together buy Ted Dekker of Flat Rock who will be joining us for the meal. We’re excited to see how the pairing will compliment Ken’s creations. Included are

2011 Bruce Block Pinot Noir:  Aged in Marcel Cadet barrels, new, medium toast; favoured for their minimal impact on flavour & aromatics. Their tight grain also works well with the big tannins of these wines – the tight grain allows for slow tannin integration between the oak & wine creating subtlety vs. big unbalanced tannins.

2010 estate oaked chardonnay:  A fresh flinty, mineral note jumps out of the glass. The palate is rich, luscious and shows the concentration of the vintage. A fine acidity gives the wine length & persistence on the palate.

2012 Estate Pinot Noir:  Each year the Estate Pinot Noir from Flat Rock Cellars is a blend of more than 15 different parcels of Pinot Noir within our vineyard. Each parcel is hand-picked and fermented in 5 tonne batches and kept separate until blending decisions are made in July the following year. The fruit is destemmed into vat where it will remain on skins between 14-30 days before the wine is drained off its skins and gently pressed and then racked to barrel. Each parcel remains separate in barrel until we make our blending decisions and rack the wine in July or August of the following year. This wine was very gently filtered to retain the fruit core and depth of the wine before bottling.

2013 Nadja’s Vineyard Riesling:  Citrus, clementine & lime on the nose; with a hint of chalk. The palate has a slight spritz with fresh lime zest and great persistence on the finish from the vibrant acidity.

2012 “Unplugged” unoaked chardonnay: The key in the hot, dry season of 2012 for our Chardonnay fruit was to keep freshness. By harvesting fruit at the right time we retained mouthwatering acidity for the 2012 Unplugged. Everything we did in the winery, like cool fermentation in stainless tanks, was focused on showcasing the ‘electricity’ of this Unplugged wine.

 

 

An update on Manorun Organic Farm’s “FIVE COURSE MOVABLE FEAST” created by Ken Lefebour of Nellie James Gourmet Food to Go and held at Manorun Organic farm – 782 Hwy 52, R.R.#2, Lynden, ON, L0R 1T0

With the recent purchase of the 20 acre field (that was part of the original land grant to the homesteading Bottonhiemer family for loyalty to the Crown) Chris Krucker and Denise Trigatti  have begun to deepen our commitment to organic food production by integrating permaculture methods into their farming practice. They are particularly excited about their brand new Oak Savannah and would like you to participate in the very first formal “coming out” dinner celebration on Wednesday, August 13th at 6:00pm.

They would like to tell their story to our FFF’s and encourage you to include other special people in your lives that would enjoy this dinner. The breadth and detail of the story is too large to describe in an email – hence they are inviting you to be a part of it all.  Here is an overview of what we know so far.

The food will be locally and sustainably produced and in most cases from the farm.  The meal will move through five different locations on the farm that are significant to the savannah. Each location will have a food course, art depiction and brief explanation shedding light on the Oak Savannah’s historical significance and its potential for food production.  Our storytellers are chef Ken Lefebour, artist Dave Hind and farmers Chris and Denise.   What better way to tell the story than by using as many senses as seem reasonable. Check out the poster below outlining the delicious and elegant menu juxtaposed onto the flowing Manorun Farm backdrop.

Tickets are $100.00, tip and wine included.  There is no tax on cash tickets; however, if you would like the convenience of payment online or by cheque, please include 13% for the Crown. Tickets are limited. The menu can be viewed on our events page and vegetarian options can be requested when buying your tickets. (http://manorun.com/pdf/oak_tree_savannah_aug_13_2014.pdf)

Here also is a link to the events page with ongoing content being added as we get closer to the date.

(https://www.facebook.com/events/677906322296793/?context=create&source=49)

The launch event held at Manorun Organic Farms with food created by Chef Ken

The Oak Savannah in action. Tiny Tim stretches to get his meal from a mulberry tree. Mulberry leaves are very high in protein and other important nutrients.

If you were anything like me, I was taught that farming techniques required the land be cleared of trees and tilled to bring the rich soil to the surface.  Plant the neat rows of this year’s seedlings and tend the soil until we yield a crop of magnificent local harvests.

When Europeans arrived on this land these were the methods they adopted to provide for their families and communities. This form of farming is called “mono-cropping” a method that strips the land of proper habitat for game and biodiversity.

BUT…..In 1491 North America had large land areas that were maintained ‘Oak Savannah’.  The Oak Savannah was a stewarded sustainable system that produced large quantities and varieties of food while maintaining habitat for game and biodiversity. It is this method that Chris Krucker and Denise Trigatti’s 20 acre farm they have called Manorun Organic Farms is adopting.  In fact it is almost a reverse farming method by today’s standards. Biodiverse ecosystems is what makes the earth healthy.

Chris & Denise are passionate about our land and have initiated an evening to tell the story.  Consider being a part of their story and experience it through Chef Ken of Nellie James with support from Dave Hind of the Aluminum Quilting Society and Chris and Denise of ManoRun Organic Farm. Some stories need to be told fully; by a chef, an artist and farmers.

This is a 5 course moveable feast at ManoRun; starting at the Empire
Loyalist built home continuing to the ancient oak (witness to the shift from sustainable agriculture to unsustainable) and all points between.

Some Tickets still available….check it out!!!!

The Oak Savannah Story

The Oak Savannah Story

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A Taste of Japan – Saturday, July 26, 2014

A Taste of Japan - July 26. The Hamilton Japanese-Canadian Cultural Centre       

45 Hempstead Dr., Hamilton, L8W2Y6

Time:  5:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

https://i2.wp.com/www.carlisle-restaurants.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/2014-best-aya.jpg

 

If you have shopped at Zarky’s on Hempstead, you have probably driven passed this building and perhaps evens asked what it was.  This centre is a vibrant community of people who on a daily basis celebrate the cultural vitality of the Japanese culture.  This productive and energetic centre is set to play host to “A Taste of Japan” – a fundraiser for the Canadian Kendo Masters Tournament.  The centre is located at 45 Hempstead Drive, Hamilton, ON, L8W 2Y6 905-383-5755 (across from “Zarky’s” on Hempstead Dr on east Hamilton mountain)  and supports a variety of events, activities and classes relating to the Japanese Culture.

A unique experience for those who attend, “A Taste of Japan” celebrates the Japanese culture, martial arts and Japanese cuisine.  Tickets are only $35 for adults, $25 for students, $15 children under 12. An incredible entertainment value the price includes traditional Japanese cuisine provided by Ginko Japanese Restuarant, and the opportunity to see  highest ranking Martial artists in Canada present their Kata’s and demonstration matches. 

DON’T MISS OUT!!! Please order the tickets soon as there is a limited number available.

For tickets Please Contact :

Glen Yamada yukio.g.yamada@gmail.com 416-428-5354

Kawasaki sensei at the CJCC

Chris Hourmouzis sensei chris@101.net 905-516-6478 (leave a message or text)

or at the CJCC office (please call first, the office has limited hours)

                             About Kendo – Kendo is a way to discipline the human character through the application of the principles of the katana. 

To mold the mind and body.

To cultivate a vigorous spirit,

And through correct and rigid training,

To strive for improvement in the art of Kendo.

To hold in esteem human courtesy and honor.

To associate with others with sincerity.

And to forever pursue the cultivation of oneself.

Thus will one be able:

To love one’s country and society;

To contribute to the development of culture;

And to promote peace and prosperity among all peoples.

Kendo can be literally translated as “The Way of the Sword”. Aimed at improving the mind and body through the practice of swordsmanship, Kendo is a martial art with roots in the Japanese Samurai tradition, dating back well over a thousand years.  Swordsmen in Japan established schools of kenjutsu (the ancestor of kendo) which continued for centuries and which form the basis of kendo practice today. The formal kendo exercises known as kata were developed several centuries ago as kenjutsu practice for warriors. They are still studied today, in a modified form.  Kenjutsu is an umbrella term for all schools of Japanese swordsmanship. It uses bamboo swords (shinai)  and protective armour (bogu). Today, it is widely practiced within Japan and many other nations across the world.

Kendo is a physically and mentally challenging activity that combines martial arts practices and values with sport-like strenuous physical activity.

DON’T MISS OUT!!! Please order the tickets soon as there is a limited number available.

For tickets Please Contact :

Glen Yamada yukio.g.yamada@gmail.com 416-428-5354

Kawasaki sensei at the CJCC

Chris Hourmouzis sensei chris@101.net 905-516-6478 (leave a message or text)

or at the CJCC office (please call first, the office has limited hours)

45 Hempstead Drive, Hamilton, ON, L8W 2Y6 905-383-5755

Many happy returns …

11 Denningers banner

Happy Birthday, Denninger’s!

Life flows more sweetly when credit is given where credit is due.  Denninger’s “Foods of the World” is a true Hamilton success story, a jewel in the crown of local foodie achievements. This Saturday, the gourmet food store will be celebrating its 60th birthday with the grand re-opening of their flagship shop at 284 King Street East and it sounds like it’s going to be a good party.  Celebrity Chef Lynn Crawford will be there from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m  (the store will be open from 8 a.m to 6 p.m) to share recipes, demonstrate grilling techniques and to answer questions.  There will be 30 food stations set up and there will be opportunities to try special items such as an artisan beer sausage made with King Brewery Dark Lager, Stubb’s barbecue sauces, Mrs. Renfro’s salsas, along with an unusual type of rib steak which has been dubbed the “Tomahawk” steak.  One thing that I definitely want to try is Le Baluchon, the award winner for Best Great Canadian Cheese, 2014.  There will be expanded parking facilities available during the celebration.

Norm Legault, President of the company, outlined  a few aspects of the store’s major renovation.  The shop has put in all new, state of the art refrigeration, coolers and shelving — all energy efficient.  The bistro area has been enlarged and brightened with three huge windows. There is now an outdoor patio and, Legault says, patrons can sit and eat, watching the parade of life passing along King Street East.

The history of Denninger’s is, of course, a resounding tale of immigrant achievement. The family, Rudolf and Frieda Denninger and their four children, came to Canada in the 1950’s from the Black Forest region of Germany where they had operated three food stores.  They arrived in Hamilton in 1953 and six months later, in 1954, they opened the first King Street East store. (Their first store, apparently, was in the area where the Black Forest Inn is now located.  According to Norm Legault, they moved across the street, to the present location a few years later.)  The couple quickly established a loyal customer base and expanded throughout the 70’s and 80’s adding five more stores in Hamilton, Stoney Creek, Burlington and Oakville.  In 1978, the company opened  its own 60,000 square-foot manufacturing plant to produce a wider range of delicatessen products (they make and sell over 20 different types of sausage), as well as small batch “Denninger’s Own” house brand prepared foods such as condiments, sauces and ready-to-eat entrées.

Legault says proudly, “The processing plant is a Triple-A rated, provincially inspected facility.  All of thedenningerssausages beef is Canadian, all of the pork is from Ontario farms and all of the poultry is from Ontario, air chilled, with no added water.”

Today, the company is run by second and third-generation members of the family and it employs approximately 300 people — most from Hamilton.

Since I lived in Burlington most of my life, I am well-acquainted with the Burlington store where I still make weekly forays to buy specialty items and soups and sausages, cabbage rolls and artisanal rye bread.  One of the things I remember with pleasure about owning a house, in fact, was having a large patio where at least once a summer, we would have friends over for a Denninger’s barbecue “pig out.”  And when I  get a craving for bratwurst on a bun, schnitzel with lemon or delicious, creamy, herbed liverwurst on a crispy cracker, I know where to go. I do expect, however, that the famed “cordon bleu” is the top, overall favorite on the bistro menu.  Here’s a You Tube video that shows you how it’s made:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyUOeGkSxmY/

denningersschnitzel

And I am looking forward to meeting Chef Lynn Crawford on Saturday. Crawford was asked to take part indenningerscrawbook the celebration because of her personal philosophy that fresh food should be locally grown. She is a genuine Canadian celebrity and has hosted the series “Pitchin’ In” on the Food Network Canada and appeared on “Top Chef Masters” as a contestant.  Formerly the executive chef at the Four Seasons Hotels in Toronto and New York,  Crawford now has her own restaurant, Ruby Watchco, in Toronto, a place that Toronto Star food writer, Amy Pataki describes as “a convivial restaurant with simple food that celebrates our farmers.”  She is an avid cookbook collector as well as a cookbook writer — her latest is a collection of recipes called “At Home with Lynn Crawford” (Penguin Canada Books) where she focuses on favourite recipes to cook in a home kitchen.  I’ll leave you with a sample recipe from that book.

Curried Deviled Eggs

from Lynn Crawford’s “At Home with Lynn Crawford” 

Ingredients:

1 tsp (5 ml) Madras-style curry powderdenningercurry

6 hard-boiled eggs, halved lengthwise

1/4 cup (60 ml) mayonnaise

2 tsp (10 ml) honey

hot sauce

salt and pepper

2 tbsp (30 ml) very finely diced Gala apple

Maldon sea salt and cracked black pepper

Method:

1)  In a small skillet over medium-high heat, dry toast curry powder stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute, then pour into a small bowl.

2)  Add egg yolks, mayonnaise, and honey and stir until smooth.

3)  Season to tste with hot sauce, salt and pepper.

4)  Fill egg whites with yolk mixture, arrange on a platter and garnish with a sprinkling of apple, Maldon sea salt and cracked pepper.  Serve immediately.

My Notes:

The Maldon salt(which you can buy at Denninger’s) may break the bank, but it adds a nice, crunchy, salty texture — you don’t need to add too much.

denningersking

 

 

 

 

 

Earthly Delights

Painting by Barbara Gordon

Painting by Barbara Gordon

veggiebroccoli“I don’t like broccoli … and I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I’m President of the United States, and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli.”
President George W. Bush.

 

 

Well, thank heavens, that particular era is over and a vegetable garden now stands conspicuously on the White House lawn.

Yes, eating your vegetables is not only considered politically correct these days, but also healthy, environmentally sound and — well — pretty cool. Which brings me to an event that you might enjoy attending this weekend. It’s on Saturday, June 14th, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and is in Marritt Hall at the Ancaster Fairgrounds. Called “Veggie Fest” the day is billed as a vegetarian, vegan and raw food festival and includes lots of scrumptious food, free samples, free admission and free parking. There will be demonstrations, yoga on the lawn and speakers (Katie Cyr, a tea sommelier, for example and Victoria Moran, bestselling author of Main Street Vegan, to mention only two). For further information and directions, see http://www.veggiefesthamilton.com/ And the Weather Network promises that the rain will be finished by Saturday.

Monica LaVella is the originator of the celebration. She explains on the website that she and her husband and young children had been vegetarian for a year and a half and had visited “Raw Stock” in Niagara-on-the-Lake and the Toronto Vegetarian Festival in 2012 and wanted to bring some of the same ideas, support and resources to Hamilton. She hopes that meat eaters, vegetarians, vegans and raw foodies alike will share in this awesome event as “we all want to lead a more healthy life and have a more healthy planet.”

But you don’t have to be a vegetarian to love eating your vegetables. I grew up in a home with a large kitchen garden in the yard and the garden was my father’s hobby. (He didn’t play golf.) As soon as spring came, he would rush home from the office, exchange his suit and tie for overalls and be out toiling in the garden for hours until reluctantly stopping for dinner. (I’m sure that all of the manual labour stood him in good stead, since he lived to be a healthy 93 years old.) Anyway, as a child, I was introduced to the pleasures of eating freshly picked crispy radishes, sweet, succulent peas, vine-ripened tomatoes and juicy, tender asparagus. I know it all sounds very idyllic seen through the rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia, but I’m very happy to say that, with all of the great markets in the Hamilton area, I can still enjoy the best of these earthly delights — at least in the summer.

I did find out that, apparently, there are some poor souls who have been dubbed “super tasters”, whose taste buds are so sensitive that they can detect bitterness in vegetables and, thus, refuse to eat them. I am definitely not in that camp. I think, in fact, that it might be harder for me to give up eating vegetables than to stop eating meat (although I have no intentions of doing either). But I’m also certain that one of the most enticing things about vegetables, along with their flavour, is their appearance — the strange and striking varieties of shape and colour. I admit that a big, fat, greasy pork chop is a wondrous thing, but let’s face it — it’s not very photogenic. Artists have been excited by the formal qualities of vegetables (and fruit and flowers, also, of course), manipulating the shapes and colours into entrancing still lifes for hundreds of years.

But some of the simplest compositions are my favorites: for instance, these asparagus stalks, painted by Edouard Manet in the 1880’s.

manetasp2

manetasp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The two small paintings have a well-known and charming tale attached to them. The first painting, the bunch of asparagus, was sold to a patron for 800 francs. When the buyer sent Manet 1000 francs, the artist painted the second lone stalk, sending it to the buyer with a note saying, “Your bunch was missing a stalk.”

It’s fascinating how the two canvases have been painted in completely different styles. The first is a very naturalistic, traditional still life with a black background like earlier Dutch still life paintings. The single stalk has been dashed off in Manet’s own impressionistic style, quickly and spontaneously, with lively brushstrokes that weave the colours of the asparagus into the dappled marble table top on which it is precariously placed. I am lucky enough to have seen the second painting in an exhibition many years ago and can’t help but agree with a critic who noted that the second painting added the element of “life” to the still life painting.

Anyway, if you do go to the Veggie Fest, be sure to take your camera. And here’s a recipe for ratatouille that makes the most all of that local bounty. I should mention that there is a very complicated and very delicious recipe for ratatouille that is probably much more authentic in Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” This is a much simpler and still delicious version.

Ratatouille Niçoise
from the New York Times Cookbook, ed. Craig Claiborne

Ingredients:veggierata
1/3 cup olive oil
2 or more cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, sliced
2 zucchini, well scrubbed
1 small eggplant
3 tablespoons flour
2 green peppers, seeded and cut into strips
5 ripe tomatoes, peeled and sliced
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tbsp capers
Method:
1) Heat the oil in a large skillet, add the garlic and onion and sauté until the onion is transparent.
2) Meanwhile, slice the squash and peel and cube the eggplant. Flour the pieces lightly.
3) Add the squash, eggplant and green peppers to the skillet, cover and cook slowly, about one hour.
4) Add the tomatoes and simmer, uncovered, until the mixture is thick. Season with salt and pepper. Add capers during the last fifteen minutes of cooking. Serve hot or cold.

My Notes:
Great for lunch, appetizer or as a side dish. I love the recipe writer’s admonishment: “Add garlic according to conscience and social engagements.”

veggie

 

Out and about

event1

Finally — it’s official — spring is here.  It’s time to put down that remote and get yourself out of the house.  There are streams to ford and mountains to climb!

But I know you.  You’d rather be exploring an untried market or whipping up a quirky new omelet or foraging for fresh vegetables or being inspired by an eccentric new restaurant.

Well, fortunately for foodies in Hamilton, there are so many food-centered enterprises in store in the near future, that my heart is pumping with excitement and my head is spinning with anticipation.  Here’s an overview of some of the events that you might like to attend in the next few weeks:

eventslefebourFirst in line, of course, is to check out our Late Spring, Early Summer, Go Cooking Events which came on view on Wednesday.  Experienced clients know very well that with these sessions, “you snooze, you lose”, so the first thing to do is to plot your course and book your favorites.  You may prefer to choose the tried and true, menus that always give good value and wonderful dinners, like Nellie James and La Piazza Allegra, or — why not experiment with an exciting and innovative newcomer to Go Cooking like J. Anthony Grille and Catering?  A very special treat in June, will be an evening with Chef Nick Bhalesar from India Village.  This sounds like great fun — a “hands on” cooking session where patrons will learn all about exotic spices and will be invited to take part in the preparations and take home their own handiwork.  And we’re thrilled to have Quatrefoil back, one of the premier restaurants in our area.

nutritionAlso imminent is our Nutrition and Wellness Expo, this Saturday, April the 26th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Spectator auditorium.  Tickets are available at the door ($4.00).  The exposition centres on food preparation ideas, fitness, mind/body/spirit wellness, beauty products, alternative therapies and much, much more.  You probably have been reading the vendor profiles in our blog and for a complete list of vendors check out http://www.thespec.com/news-static/2532709-nutrition-and-wellness-schedule.  A special feature is an open forum and panel discussion which is planned around the topic of “Local food systems:  Attainable, Sustainable, Affordable.” Panelists include Dr. Melissa Lee, ND, Chris Krucker from Manorun Farms, Chef Ken Lefebour from Nellie James Gourmet to Go, Karen Burson, initiator of Hamilton’s Good Food Box program and Damian Wills, Local Foods Manager at the Mustard Seed Cooperative Grocery Store.

I have just happened to read an essay in the Guardian with a “contrarian” view that questions our never-ending quest for the local.  The piece is titled “Does local, seasonal produce really taste better?” and ponders our obsession with the home-grown.  You might like to read it, before attending the panel discussion, which I’m sure will be lively, educational and entertaining.  Here’s the url for the article: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2014/apr/22/local-seasonal-produce-taste-better

eventspring

So, now that you are healthy and educated, why not relax on Tuesday night at the Royal Botanical Gardens. “Spring Uncorked” promises to be an evening for grownups, with inspiring mini-entrees and snacks from award-winning regional restaurants, along with fifteen participating wineries and artisan brewers listed on their website. Peter Kline, our favourite sommelier, from Bacchus Sommelier Services will be wandering about giving advice on wine and food pairing, and, no doubt, other weighty subjects.  And you can eat as much as you like without feeling guilty because it’s all for a good cause.  The evening is a charitable event sponsored by the Rotary Club of Hamilton with the worthy intent of advancing literacy and benefitting Hamilton’s neediest kids.  For more information: http://springuncorked.com/

eventsewBut that’s only until Wednesday.  Keep in mind that next weekend, on May 2nd, Sew Hungry will be holding its giant restaurant and food truck rally.  At last count, 35 food trucks have been awarded a spot on Ottawa Street.( http://sewhungry.com/) This is an all day affair – from 11 – 3 p.m. and 4 – 8 p.m. and the whole family can attend.  And this year, Go Cooking is going to be doing some special demonstrations at the event, as well.  What a wonderful way to spend an afternoon, or evening — trying out the food and shopping in the fascinating local shops and galleries.

 

 

 

And don’t get too tired or wear out your walking shoes.  Because eventdoorsthis is also the weekend for Doors Open Hamilton, (May 3 and 4 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.).  Doors Open(http://www.doorsopenhamilton.ca/ )is a celebration of landmark and heritage buildings in Hamilton and gives visitors a chance to poke around in places that they may have never seen before.  This year, the Spectator will be taking part and there will be tours of the building.  No food, but our Go Cooking kitchen will be all set up and ready to be viewed as part of the experience. In case you have some friends who have never attended our cooking sessions this would be a great introduction for them.

Okay — we’re getting exhausted.  Here’s a little snack you may like to try, if you don’t have any cholesterol problems.

 

Bacon Candy

from Michael Smith’s “Fast Flavours”

Ingredients:

1 lb (450 g.) thick-cut baconeventbacon

1 cup (250 ml) or so of brown sugar

Lots of freshly ground pepper

Method:

1)Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. (200 degrees C.)  Turn on convection fan if you have one.

2) Nestle the bacon slices tightly against each other in a single layer on a nonstick or parchment-paper lined baking sheet.

3)  Sprinkle with the brown sugar, evenly coating.  Top with lots of freshly ground pepper.

4)  Bake until the bacon crisps and infuses with sweet caramelized sugar – 25 or 30 minutes.  Cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes while the bacon candy hardens.  Do your best not to stand there and eat it all — exercise restraint!  Serve and share!

eventbacon

 

 

 

 

Happy and Healthy

katepark

Kate Park, our newest Go Cooking instructor, is a Registered Dietitian, a Certified Diabetes Educator, a Certified Personal Trainer and Cooking Instructor. She is also very human.

“Everyone assumes that I eat perfectly,” she laughs. “I do eat very well about 85% of the time. But food is more than just nutrition — it is also a celebration — it makes us happy or sad. So I have French fries for dinner sometimes, cake for my birthday and chocolate on Valentine’s Day. The point is to balance happy with healthy.”

Park is teaching two sessions at Go Cooking, sessions which will be devoted to living the happy gluten-free life. “Gluten free” is a regime that she doesn’t recommend for anyone unless they have celiac disease or are allergic or gluten sensitive. There is a lot of misinformation out there, she acknowledges, and people are using gluten free diets for weight loss or to be healthier. There is not a lot of strong evidence to support either of these ideas, unless people happen to be allergic or are not digesting gluten very well.

Gluten intolerance and the avoidance of gluten, Park notes, is one of the most difficult acts to follow. It’s a very tough programme for those who need to eat this way — which is why she is trying to help.

But gluten sensitivity is only one of the areas that Park deals with in her role as a member of the Hamilton Family Health Team <http://www.hamiltonfht.ca/&gt;. In Family Health Teams, family doctors work together with other health care professionals such as nurse practitioners, nurses, mental health counsellors, dietitians and pharmacists to see patients and to keep them healthy. Park speaks to both patients and health care professionals about subjects such weight loss, diabetes, heart health, high fibre diets, low sodium eating, and so on, from the perspective of a professional dietitian.

Her personal initiative for the Team is a series of cooking demonstrations which take place at the downtown Farmers’ Market.

“I found out,” she says, “that cooking was an easier and more effective way to get through to people, than by just sitting and talking to them.”

A list of her up-coming sessions, along with more about Kate and some recipes, can be found on her blog site, The Sensible Foodie <http://www.sensiblefoodie.ca/> The name of the site is descriptive. Park, who grew up in a small town called Petrolia, near Sarnia, has always been a “foodie”. (She defines a “foodie” as someone who thinks about food a lot, travels to places specifically for the food and goes out a lot just to eat.) Her “foodie” characteristics appeared at a very early age and she laughingly tells a story about a pencilled original recipe that she had composed when she was 7 years old that a relative passed on to her. (It was a dish which was based on toast and Parmesan cheese.)

“I remained a foodie but became more “sensible” about food when I was a teen,” she recalls. “I saw how eating certain things could affect your energy and weight and make such a difference to your life.”

In her work as a professional dietitian she meets a lot of people who are confused about healthy eating habits.

One of the biggest mistakes they make, she says, is falling for gimmicky advertising.

“There are small novels now on packages. Pictures of trees and flowers and fields, “all natural” and “low in fat” emblazoned in big letters. People should be more cautious and read the fine print. The food could be low in fat or all natural but may have other things that are harmful.”

She ponders the “organic” food message.

“Well, with certain foods — leafy greens or apples, for instance — organic is better because of the residues that they retain. But I also understand that organic is expensive and it’s not reasonable to require it in certain circumstances. Often proper washing and cleaning can fix the problem. The term “organic” is ambiguous at best …”

On avoiding excessive amounts of salt:

“People tend to cut out table salt. But 80% of the excess salt comes from packaged, processed food — especially condiments, sauces and soups. That’s where the most salt really is.”

Kate’s first session at Go Cooking was cancelled due to our inclement Hamilton weather. It will be held on February 12th, same time, same place(the Go Cooking kitchen). In the meantime, here’s a recipe of Kate’s which I shamelessly cribbed (along with the photo) from her own blog site.

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
from Kate Park’s blog site

Ingredients:
6 portobello mushroomsportobello
5 shallots, diced
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp. red wine
8 large cremini mushrooms, diced
1.5 cups cooked brown rice
3 oz. plain goat cheese
16 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. oregano
1 tbsp. panko bread crumbs

Method:
1)Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2) In a small bowl combine tomatoes, oregano and lemon juice. Set aside.
3) In a large skillet, heat olive oil and shallots on medium heat. Cook shallots until translucent, about 5 – 7 minutes.
4) Add garlic, wine and mushrooms. Reduce heat slightly and cook for another 5 minutes.
5) Add rice. Stir until mixed.
6) Add in cheese. Remove from heat. Mix until cheese is coating the whole mixture.
7) Place portobellos top side down in a greased baking dish. Spoon rice mixture on top.
8) Place tomatoes on top of rice mixture and sprinkle with panko crumbs.
9) Heat mushrooms in oven for about 10 minutes until cooked through.
10) Serve warm.

My Notes

Park suggests serving this as a vegetarian main course, with a green salad.  Sounds like a plan for the weekend.!

Kilts not required

burns

Robbie Burns’ Night is on January 25th and this year the festivities have a special significance, since this is the year that Scotland gets to vote for independence in a September 18th referendum.

Robbie Burns’ Night is an evening devoted to celebrating the life and work of Scotland’s national poet and it is a very big deal to Scots.  Burns (1759 – 1796) was born into rural poverty — the son of a tenant farmer — and became a prolific poet who wrote about everyday life using a Scottish vernacular in his poems, a dialect that was already under threat from English in his own lifetime.  Language forms an important part of national identity and, with a maiden name of Stewart, I do recall instances in my own childhood when the occasional relative from Scotland would arrive for a visit and I would struggle with the language barrier, the Scottish dialect almost totally incomprehensible to someone speaking the Canadian dialect.

Burns died at the age of 37 leaving behind a body of work that “recorded and celebrated aspects of farm life, regional experience, traditional culture, class culture and distinctions, and religious practice and belief, in such a way as to transcend the particularities of his inspiration”  according to the Poetry Foundation website.  Probably his best known work is Auld Lang Syne, the traditional New Year’s Eve anthem.  Other famous poems include Scots Wha Hae, Tam O’Shanter and (my favourite) Ode to a Mouse.  In 2009, Burns was voted the “greatest Scot” chosen by the Scottish public in a vote run by Scottish television channel STV.

It’s not surprising that Burns’s birthday is celebrated widely in Hamilton, a city built from Scottish immigrants and surrounded with Scottish sounding towns such as Ancaster, Caledonia and Dundas.  The celebrations can include dancing, singing, music (oh yes, the bagpipes) and, of course a special dinner.  The evening unfolds with a certain pre-ordained program:

After welcoming the guests and seating them at the table, the hose usually says a special grace called the Selkirk Grace:

Some hae meat and canna eat,

Some wad eat that want it,

But we hae meat and we can eat,

And sae let the Lord be thankit.

The first course of the meal is usually a soup course, either Scotch broth, potato soup or Cock-a-Leekie.  This is followed by the entrance of the haggis, which is usually presented on a platter to the haggistradscreeching of bagpipes.  The haggis is a sort of sausage made from a sheep’s heart liver and lungs mixed with suet, spices and oatmeal, all tied into a sheep’s stomach.  (I’ve heard it called Scottish paté.)  A good haggis, apparently, is spicy, satisfying and cheap.  It can be eaten pretty well any which way, including fried for breakfast and at some fast food places in Scotland, deep fried with chips.  But traditionally, the haggis slashed with a dirk (or cut in two with a knife) and the innards are served on plates.  It is usually accompanied by “tattie and neeps”, that is, mashed potatoes and turnips.  The dinner continues with various poems, speeches and toasts (lots of Scotch whisky, of course) and dessert, cheese and coffee.  It often ends with a second “grace”:

We thank Thee for these mercies, Lord

Sae far beyond our merits.

Noo, waiter lads, clear aff the plates,

An’ fetch us in the spirits.

A Burns’ Night can be experienced in Hamilton at:

Michelangelo’s Banquet Centre, 155 Upper Ottawa St. on Wednesday, January 22nd at 6:30 p.m.  $25.  905/383-3422

MacNab Street Presbyterian Church, 116 MacNab S. S, on Friday, January 24th at 6:30 p.m.  Dinner, music and entertainment.  $20 per person advance sales.  905/529-6896.

The Church of the Resurrection (Anglican), 435 Mohawk Road West, on Friday, January 25th at 6 p.m.  $20 for music, dinner, beer and wine bar and Scotch tasting.  905/389-1942.

If you wish to make your own dinner, haggis is available from

Opie’s Quality Meats at Concession and East 24th, 905/383-3422 and McVicar’s Butchers and Baker, 184 Highway 8, Stoney Creek, 905/662-1550.

If you want to make your own haggis, I wish you the best of luck.  Here is a You Tube video with ramsayGordon Ramsay and Hardeep Singh Kohli to provide inspiration. (Sorry about the language — it is Gordon Ramsay.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-Y5q3b_GZ4

And here’s a recipe for Cock-a-Leekie soup, my favourite part of the feast:

Cock-a-Leekie Soup

from The Food Network 

Ingredients:

1 chicken, about 1.4 kg/3 lb, cut into quarters, skin removedcockaleekiepic

7 cups chicken broth

2 bay leaves

2 cups chopped leeks (white parts only)

10 pitted prunes

2 tbsp pearl barley

salt and pepper

1/4 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup breadcrumbs

2 tbsp flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

2 tbsp butter, softened

1 tbsp water

Method:

1)  Place the chicken in a stockpot, add the broth and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil.  cover, reduce the heat and simmer gently until the chicken is cooked through, about 25 minutes.

2)  Season with salt and pepper.

3)  Remove the chicken from the broth and let it cool.

4)  Add the leeks, prunes and barley to the hot broth.  Bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce the heat and simmer gently for about 20 minutes.

5)  Meanwhile, bone the chicken and cut the meat into cubes.  Set aside.

6)  In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  Add the butter and work into the dry ingredients until the texture resembles coarse sand.  Add the water and mix well.  Season with salt and pepper.

7)  Shape about 10 ml/2 tbsp of the dough into  small balls.  Add the cubed chicken.  Drop the dumplings into the simmering broth  Cover and simmer gently for about 15 minutes.  You should have about 10 dumplings.  Adjust the seasoning.

scotland

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