My Cooking Classes are Back on the Plate

After a two year hiatus I am starting up my cooking classes again. These are small groups of 12 or fewer. It is more demonstration than hands-on cooking classes. Although there is always a time to get your hands into the action, too.

Am I qualified to teach cooking classes, you ask? I have a Bachelor of Science in Home Economics and Bachelor of Education from the University of Saskatchewan. I have been a food and lifestyle columnist for the Western Producer for the past three years. But more importantly, I am a passionate food lover. I have researched and bought everything I can get my hands on and still on a mission to find more.

Expect to be introduced to local products, Saskatchewan products and Canadian food products. We have a bounty of amazing food in this country. Expect to be introduced to cooking methods that may include and not limited to how to use a pressure cooker, making your own spice blends, preserving foods and make-ahead dinner party ideas.

Expect to taste everything that is made. Expect to learn how to source food products whilst living in a small centre. Expect to be presented with food products that are difficult to find locally. Expect to receive all the recipes. Expect to have a lot of fun and meet new people.

Expect the best in quality. Free ranged meats from Cool Springs Ranch or similar are used.

These are tentative ideas and will depend upon availability of foods. There will also be surprises every night. If anyone would like to book the entire evening it can be presented in your home.

All classes to be booked at least 9 days in advance and paid in full. I reserve the right to cancel if enrollment does not cover the cost to present the class. Cost is $50 per person per class. Maximum 12 persons per class unless you have a home large enough to accommodate more.

Bonus - just announcing. Sign up and attend all four classes and receive a 10% discount that will be applied to your last class.

You can make reservations now by email sgalvin@shaw.ca  or  306-773-2890. Book the classes you want and pay for the first one now.

February 13
Quiche and Pastry Appetizers
Leg of Lamb
 Wild Lingonberry Compote 
Farro Salad with Foraged High Bush Cranberries
Oven Roasted Winter Squash with Pumpkin Seed Vinaigrette
 Coeur à la Crème

March 26
Crostini Appetizers
Slow Roasted Cool Springs Pastured Porchetta with Foraged Black Currant Jus
Wild Morel Risotto   
SK Steamed Fiddleheads
Apple Strudel

April 16
Crudité Appetizers
Fiddlehead Cream Soup
 Ribbon Asparagus Salad with Sea Buckthorn Vinaigrette
Wild Mushroom and Lentil Cottage Pie
Dulce de Leche Cheesecake
(this is a vegetarian menu)

May 21
 Steelhead Trout Gravlax Appetizers
Tossed Green Salad with Goat Cheese Soufflé
Sweet Potato Gnocchi in Sage Brown Butter 
Wild Boar with Seasonal Vegetables en Papillote
Saskatchewan Orchard Berries Desserts


Classic Chanterelle and Shallot Quiche

Chanterelles have a sweet smokiness about them. They are strongly flavoured and a few go a long way. Good thing because they are dear. The best of all chanterelles come from the boreal forests of northern Saskatchewan.

They are small and rich in flavour because of the dry season punctuated by a few rainy spells that accelerate their growth. They grow on a bed of moss that enables them to be almost clean. They are favoured by chefs for these reasons.

I had a most intriguing summer of fine foods. I prescribed to a monthly basket of foraged foods from the boreal forests of Saskatchewan. I had mushrooms galore. Fresh exotic mushrooms.

Julia Child's recipes are not to be fiddled with. This is her classic mushroom quiche.

Quiche aux Champignons   from  Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child

2 tbsp. minced shallots
2 tbsp. butter
1/2 c. sliced fresh mushrooms
1/4 c. sliced wild mushrooms
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. lemon juice
3 eggs
 1 1/2 c. whipping cream
pinch nutmeg
1/8 tsp. pepper
An 8 inch partially cooked pastry shell
1/4 c. grated Swiss chese
1 tbsp. butter

Cook the shallots in a heavy bottomed saucepan with the butter until transparent. Stir in mushrooms, salt, lemon juice and wine. Cover pan and cook over moderately low heat for 8 minutes. Uncover. Raise heat and boil for several minutes until liquid is completely evaporated and mushrooms are beginning to brown in the butter.

Beat eggs, cream, nutmeg and pepper in a bowl to mix. Gradually stir mushrooms into this mixture. Pour into pastry shell and sprinkle with cheese. Dot with butter and bake for 25 to 30 minutes in a preheated 375 F oven.


Damn Fine Gluten-Free Crisps

I came by this recipe on David Lebovitz' blog Living the Sweet Life in Paris. David has written a few highly acclaimed sweets cookbooks, hence the title of his blog. This is a recipe he pocketed from a baker friend in San Francisco who also wrote a book entitled Josey Baker Bread. And his surname actually is Baker.

I followed the recipe to a T. It was okay straight from the oven. Then I froze it slightly to enable getting nice thin slices. Second day it was too wet. I decided to take all these too-wet thin slices of bread and slow bake them at 325 F until they began to turn brown on the edges. That took about 20 minutes or so.

The result is a crispy flavourful crisp ideal to serve with a soft unripened cheese. I love them but one has to be careful. They are packed with seeds and nuts and ... calories. Hop on over to David's blog for the recipe. I used hazelnuts rather than almonds because that is what I had on hand. Dee-lish-us!


Barbecue Duck Fried Rice

Back a few years ago it was all the rage to take a supermarket roasted chicken and find a multitude of ways to turn it into a tasty meal. I don't know who came up with that idea but how can you make a tasteless, over-salted bird into something you actually want to serve to guests.

I say, move over supermarket roast chicken, and instead head right down to Chinatown. I haven't had a barbecue duck that wasn't absolutely delicious. With its crispy skin and five spice flavours it is one of my favourite meats to pick up when I am in the city.

Of course, you can make a meal of it but for a change and to make it stretch a little farther try this easy fried rice. It's simple with only a few ingredients and can be a meal in itself.

If the skin loses its crispness just put the meat, skin side down, in a cast iron skillet or wok and re-crisp. Leave the fat in the pan and use it in the stir fry. Be sure to make the rice ahead of time so it can cool. Warm rice does not brown in the pan.

Barbecue Duck Fried Rice

1 Chinese style barbecue duck
3 teaspoons sesame oil
2 eggs, beaten
6 green onions, shredded
1 cup snow peas, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 orange, segmented
1 teaspoon orange zest
3 cups cooked and cooled Jasmine rice
1 tablespoon light soy sauce

Remove the duck meat from the bones keeping the skin in tact. Save the bones to make stock.

Using a wok or cast iron skillet re-crisp the duck skin, if necessary. Set aside. If you are not crisping the skin put the duck meat in a pan to heat it before adding to the fried rice.

Add sesame oil to pan and heat until almost smoking. Pour the beaten eggs into the skillet or wok and move it around so it coats the bottom. Cook only until done making a very thin omelet. When fully cooked remove it to a cutting board and cut into thin strips. Set aside.

Stir fry green onions, snow peas and garlic for one minute. Add cold rice and heat through. Add chopped omelet, orange segments and zest. Stir fry for one minute. Add soy sauce and duck meat.  Serve immediately.


Community Supported Foraging is not for the Faint of Heart

Boreal Pestle    Clavariadelphus borealis
Every month this summer I received a box of foraged foods. August was particularly heavy with wild mushrooms. Some varieties were new to me. These are all from the boreal forests of Saskatchewan.

The boreal pestle had a sweetness to them. They didn't appeal to me so I dried them and will make a tea this winter. It will be a slightly sweet tea rich in protein and nutrients.

I understand where my food comes from and how it doesn't look like it came from a grocery store. However, I am still squeamish about worms. Some mushrooms are more loved than others by these little white worms or perhaps they are maggots. Elisabeth, my forager, said I should just dry them. "You would be surprised how much protein is in dried mushrooms." That is certainly food for thought. Well, I didn't think on it very long. Into the composter they went. Can't stomach little white worms.

The little white worms had a mind of their own, if that makes any sense at all. I have a composting pail in my kitchen. The morning after putting the wormy mushrooms into the pail, with a lid that simply sits upon it, they had attempted their escape. Little white worms laid dead and dried in a radius around my pail. I cannot imagine the energy expended to crawl up and out and down onto the countertop. A very quick wipe with a wet dishcloth was necessary and done with an attempt not to think about it too much.

Pig's Ear Gomphus clavatus
The Pig's Ear are richly flavourful. I sauteed them and put them in the freezer. I had such a variety of mushrooms that I couldn't possibly eat them all fresh.
Bellybutton Hedgehog  Dentinum repandum
These bellybuttons sauteed nicely. Very versatile.
Comb Tooth  Hericium ramosum
Combtooth was another mushroom that I dried. Not quite sure yet how I will use it. Perhaps a tea or in a ragout.


Rainbow of Beets and Chevre Salad

Lovely heirloom beets grilled over charcoal. Cool a bit and peel. Roughly chop. Arrange on a plate. Garnish with chevre and edible flowers. Drizzle with camelina oil and a little bit of balsamic vinegar or birch syrup. Shower with coarse sea salt. Serve.