Tag Archives: soup

Friday 5 – Your weekend links

4 Jul

By Chris Garbutt

Sorry to be two days late – long weekend kept me from the computer!

1. An iPad for everything – even restaurant menus!

2. A restaurant chef in New Orleans is suing BP over damages to the local seafood industry.

3.  You will never, ever, think of bacon and eggs the same way again.

4. Amazing photos of food consumption by families in different countries.

5. As we try to cut our sodium intake, we discover a surprising pair of villains: soups and sauces.

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The G20 Series: Canada!

14 Jun

By Chris Garbutt

How many times have you heard someone say that Canadians define themselves by what they’re not, that to be a Canadian is to be defiantly not American?

I’m not here to argue that this sentiment is wrong, but I do believe that we arrive at the conclusion as a (perhaps insecure) response to our perception that the world sees us as the same as the United States, only nicer, and more polite. We saw this at its worst during the Olympic opening and closing ceremonies in Vancouver this year. (Ugh, how is it that if you spout clichés in the form of slam poetry, we’re supposed to think it’s actually profound?)

Sure, we can conjure images when we think of other countries – Italy? Pasta! China? Dim sum! India? Curry! Middle East? Hummus!

Canada? Maple syrup and back bacon!

I’m here to argue that Canada actually is something, that it has a distinct cuisine, and it only has a little to do with our friends to the south. Herewith, I propose a number of statements to support my thesis.

1. Canada is a country of regional cuisines. From Newfoundland’s toutons, to Quebec’s tourtière, to Saskatchewan’s Saskatoon berry pie, what we eat is highly localized.

2. Canada is a country of international cuisines. Thanks to our embracing of immigration, our food is influenced by dishes that come from almost every country of the world.

3. Canada has a very deep culinary history. And if you haven’t looked, there are books that outline this history. It comes from long before the Europeans arrived on this continent. Aboriginal food, for example the “three sisters” – beans, corn and squash (check out the soup recipe on this page, by the way) – are staples that appear on almost every Canadian table during the late harvest.

4. Our national cuisine is a hybrid of regional, international and historical influences. It’s distinct, but it’s not in your face. Poutine may come from Quebec, but somehow, we think of it as belonging to all of us. (Sorry Quebec, but I promise it’s always best with chicken gravy from a truck somewhere at the side of the road on the Gaspé.)

5. Americans try, but they can’t steal our stuff. For example, in Vermont they claim to be so great at making maple syrup. Well, Canada makes 80 per cent of the world supply. And we also have way more hockey gold medals.

6. And, um, maple syrup is awesome. Seriously. I could drink the stuff out of a glass.

Book Review: The Ski Country Cookbook

10 Jan

Ski Country Cookbook Cover

The Ski Country Cookbook by Barbara Scott-Goodman

Reviewed by Chris Garbutt

I remember driving on the highway through snow covered forests until we reached our chalet by the slopes. We didn’t waste any time – it was straight to the lift for us. After a long day skiing, there was nothing better than returning to our temporary home in the snow and sipping spiced apple cider then eating chili that had been heating all day in the slow cooker.

Okay, I made all that up.

I have only gone downhill skiing once in my life, and I was a train wreck. I don’t think I’ve ever set foot in a ski chalet, But if you, unlike me, are someone who hits the slopes all winter, The Ski Country Cookbook has been created just for you. “The combination of cold mountain air and vigorous activity naturally makes us crave warm and restorative food,” says the Barbara Scott-Goodman in the introduction.

But I think this book is for me, too. I mean, a brisk walk in the city will make me want warm and restorative food. Heck, just sitting here writing this makes me want a good, hearty meal. Besides, Scott-Goodman is from New York, so she knows that her recipes are going to appeal to people who don’t even live near mountains.

So I’m going to ignore the gimmick and consider this a “Best of Winter” cookbook. There are classics like Corn Chowder, Baked Ham, and three different kinds of Chili. There are a couple of new things I want to try, such as Stir-fried Coleslaw and Wild Mushroom, Chicken and Orzo Soup. And all times of day are covered, including a section on cocktails and warm drinks. Mulled Pinot Noir and Brandy sounds good from my house in the city, but perhaps it’ s extra-special on the side of a mountain. I’m going to skip the Rum Raisin Cider, though. I’m not a raisin fan, so I’ll thank you to leave it out of my drinks.

The photography depicts dishes in the book, but also idyllic chalets, buried to the rafters in snow. As long as I could get out to get my groceries, I think that would be a pretty fine way to spend the winter. Just don’t ask me to go skiing.

Friday 5 – What to do with spring vegetables

29 May

By Chris Garbutt

It’s been a while, but I thought it was time for another Friday 5. Vegetables are finally fresh again! So let’s look at five links on what to do with them:

1. Radishes. Radish, Boursin & Chive Tartines.

2. Spinach. Italian Sausage & Spinach Pasta.

3. Asparagus. Well, you can make Chicken, Feta and Asparagus Salad for yourself. Or maybe an Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Lemon Pasta. Of course, you can eat it on its own, but can you eat it with your fingers? Forget all that, just grill it already!

4. Scallions. Make pancakes! Yummy!

5. If you can find some really really fresh peas (I might be pushing this one in Toronto right now), try this one.

Oh, all right…

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a big fan of rhubarb. But it is a classic spring vegetable, so enjoy. Just don’t ask me over:

Rhubarb Soup

Orange-Rhubarb Compote

Rhubarb Cobbler – I think this would be amazing with any fruit, by the way. If you substitute, please ask me over.

Monday Review: Food 2.0

17 Nov

food203

Food 2.0: Secrets From the Chef Who Fed Google by Charlie Ayers, DK Publishing

By Stephanie Dickison

The basis behind Charlie’s cooking at Google was, he says “I want to help people eat better.”

When he was hired at Google back in ’99, it was to create food that would energize people, stimulate them and introduce healthy, organic and sustainably-sourced food into their diets.

That’s quite a lofty list – trying to persuade programmers and computer folk to eat well AND eat local.

But Charlie made over the office cafeteria into a feast for the eyes and stomach, all the while serving healthy food, including at least 2 raw salads a day.  He says that “You can save time and enzymes by eating raw foods,” and offers 5 easy ways to go raw.

In Food 2.0, Charlie lays out what every cook should have in their pantry, with fun and interesting options.

In fact, the book is laden with helpful hints and tips, whether you are a cook just starting out or an avid foodie who never leaves the kitchen.  The whole first half of the book is actually just information – what condiments to stock, how to freeze meats and broths, and why you want to invest in a rice cooker.

The second half is all recipes, which is what I am most excited about.

And in keeping with the pro-health lifestyle that Charlie writes about, the recipes begin with yogurt, smoothies and fresh juices and shakes.  The Wake-Up Shake-Me-Up Power Shake with black tea, rice milk, honey and strawberries?  Now that’s how I want to start my day!

And for lunch, I’m going to make his Dragon Breath Noodles with fresh egg noodles, peanut butter and chili flakes!  Don’t worry, I’ve got gum for afterwards…  And then there’s the Apple and Brie Quesadillas, Seattle Jim’s Pea Salad and Silicon Valley Split Pea Soup.  This is what lunch should be like every day – fresh, invigorating and yet so very healthy.

The dinner options are just as exciting – Lamb Burgers with Tzatziki Sauce, Snapper in a Yogurt Coat and Filet Mignon with Crisp Bacon, Seared Polenta and Wilted Spinach Salad.

I am not afraid to say that there are bits of drool on some of these here pages now.  I was trying to decide what to make for dinner.  I think it’s down to the Wild Salmon and Warm Beet Salad, but it’s still early.  I may yet go with Spinach Latkes and a salad or start all over again.  The photos and layout make it completely enjoyable to flip through over and over.

For some reason, maybe because he worked at Google and that says to me big corporation and lots of computers, I was expected a very different book – a more straight-ahead cookbook of standard recipes (read: boring and expected).

But this is a lively, very of the moment book with a lighthearted, yet easy-to-follow guide of fresh recipes that are good for you and lots of advice that may just change the way you cook – and the way you eat.

This is a great gift for the upcoming holidays.  And you might just want to go ahead and order yourself a copy while you’re at it…

Friday 5 – Beets!

11 Sep

By Chris Garbutt

Before we get too deeply into the fall, let’s take a look at the red sensation — beets.

1. A recipe for Beetroot and Potato Salad.

2. Keep it simple: a Beet & Chevre Salad.

3. Nothing better than borscht: Svalbard Beet Soup with Goose Stock.

4. Try it raw: Grated Carrots & Beets.

5. Make it pink: Beet Gnocchi.

Photo by Flickr user Ayala Moriel used under a Creative Commons Licence. Check out her beet salad recipe.

Friday 5 – Fall Foods to Look Forward To

15 Aug

By Stephanie Dickison

It’s not that far away, people. We might as well start to get excited about all the squash, potatoes and stews.  And collecting recipes…

1.  Pumpkin and corn soup!  It doesn’t get much more fall than that.

2.  Well, when the cooler weather hits, fast and easy does sound rather appealing, doesn’t it?

3.  To our lovely vegetarian readers, you’ll want to skip over this one.

4.  But here, I’ll make it up to you with these squash side dishes!  I hope we’re okay now.

5.  Fall’s Most Fattening Foods.  ‘Nuff said.