There are desserts and then there are DESSERTS; know what I’m talking about?
A friend introduced me to a new not-your-run-of-the-mill bakery. Definitely not! I was really impressed by the quantity and quality of specialty treats found at Forêt Noire – a high end French patisserie located in Vancouver in an offbeat area considering the kind of establishment. You would be more likely to expect running across something like this on South Granville or maybe Yaletown.
They say simplicity is their touch. Maybe so; if fancy upscale works of art in the shape of tasty treats are your thing.
We went in for the best double baked almond croissant in the city, but once there we also tried the cheese (filled with feta + riccotta) which was also excellent. Then we left with 3 pastries (one hazelnut filled, a pistachio cake and a vanilla with fresh mango pudding). All outstanding.
is high on my list of feel-good things to do in the Fall. There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be diminished by a nice cup of Tea.
High Tea is what happens between breakfast and lunch where you catch up with a good friend over a piping hot pot of earl grey and fancy little finger sandwiches, petite scones and petit fours. I love the variety. Yesterday I caught up with my friend Marion at Secret Garden Tea Company in Kerrisdale. It was lovely and delicious.
october & november high tea menu
Your table awaits
From the gleaming china and linen napkins, to the charming tea cozy that nestles your selection of specially blended Secret Garden Tea, our High Tea experience is designed to delight. So settle in. Select your tea and savour your three tier tray of beautifully hand-crafted Signature Miniatures, including sweets, sandwiches, scones, jam and, of course, Devonshire Cream.
High Tea Menu is regularly updated with seasonal delicacies.
I also left with a bag of chocolate cranberry shortbread cookies – the best!
Fall calls for making a transition in cooking. Going from lighter foods to more hearty and healthy meals. The barbeque gets exchanged for the oven, slow-cooker and stove top. After a long break I recently got the urge to make curries again.
There is supposedly an art to making curry, however it’s really pretty easy to make a wonderful curry from scratch. Once you follow a basic recipe you can tweak it to your own liking. A little bit more of this and a little less of that. A few years ago I made Red, Green and Yellow curry pastes – the base for all Thai curries. Then I ended up freezing them in 3 Tablespoon increments and thawing to use when the urge struck. I find 3 Tablespoons is enough for a medium spice.
Of the three, yellow is my favorite. Yellow curry paste differs from the others not only in color but also ingredients. It has ginger instead of the stronger galangal. It also has cinnamon, more coriander, turmeric and curry powder. When the dish is served, it is not garnished with kaffir lime leaves but with crispy fried shallots (optional). You can also use parsley or cilantro.
This paste is enough for about 4 dishes (depending on how much heat you can handle – more is more) of beef, chicken, fish or veggies. This recipe comes courtesy of the Grand Hyatt Hotel, Bangkok – tweaked by me of course.
7 dried hot red chilies (long ones of the cayenne variety). You can find them everywhere now.
1 cup chopped shallots
1 Tablespoon *fresh lemongrass that has been thinly sliced, crosswise.
10 small or 5 large garlic cloves, chopped
1-inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
½ teaspoon white pepper powder
1 teaspoon Madras curry powder
½ teaspoon ground Cumin
1 teaspoon ground Coriander
½ teaspoon ground Cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground Turmeric
Original recipe calls for ½ teaspoon shrimp paste (or 3 anchovies from a can, chopped). I omitted this because I couldn’t stand the smell. It was still excellent nonetheless.
Soak the chilies in 5 Tablespoons of hot water for 1 to 2 hours (or; if pressed for time, put in the microwave for 2 minutes and then let them sit for 20 to 30 minutes).
Combine chilies together with their soaking liquid, into a food processor or a blender along with all remaining ingredients in the order listed above. Blend, pushing down with a rubber spatula as many times as necessary, until you have a smooth paste.
What you do not use immediately should be refrigerated or frozen and labeled.
For the Main Course:
14-once can coconut milk, left undisturbed for at least 3 hours.
2 Tablespoons peanut oil
3-5 Tablespoons (remember – 3 is medium heat) of curry paste
1 Tablespoon fish sauce (optional)
1 teaspoon thick Tamarind paste
1 teaspoon palm sugar (or brown sugar)
Carefully open the can of coconut milk, without disturbing it too much and remove 4 Tablespoons of the thick cream that will have accumulated at the top. Stir the remaining contents of the can well and set aside.
Pour the oil into a large, non-stick frying pan over medium heat.
When the oil is hot, add the coconut cream and the curry paste. Stir and fry until the oil separates and the paste is lightly browned. Reduce the heat to low. Add the fish sauce, tamarind paste, sugar, the reserved coconut milk, and 2 Tablespoons of water. Stir and bring to a gentle simmer. Taste for balance of flavors, adding more fish sauce, sugar, or tamarind paste if needed.
Add your already cooked chicken, beef or **vegetables to the pan and gently heat through for 2-3 minutes.
Garnish with the crispy fried shallots and torn up basil leaves. You can add chopped cashews too.
*To make it easier a lot of Asians now suggest using frozen lemongrass (Yes; it’s perfectly fine). You buy it in a chunk and break off only what you need.
**For this recipe I used extra-firm tofu which I first sautéed on its own. I crisped up shallots in another frypan. The veggies were first oven roasted and then added to the pan at the end along with the tofu. Served over jasmine rice, it was superb.
***I buy cumin and coriander seeds and coarsely chop them in a coffee grinder.
If you make it let me know what you think. I know it’s a lot of chopping, etc. but totally worth the while. I’m telling you It will taste better than any store bought version on the market.
Angie Quaale is a champion for ALL things local. She is a best-selling cookbook author (“Eating Local in the Fraser Valley,” Random House 2018), a chef and an entrepreneur. Angie lives in Langley, BC and has owned Well Seasoned Gourmet Foods Inc. since 2004. Well Seasoned (in Langley, BC) is a specialty food store, cooking school and catering company with a strong focus on supporting and promoting local producers and suppliers. Her recipes are tasty, straight forward and aim to share the importance of eating local. Here’s a good one:
Mexican Sweet Potatoes with Black Beans
1 lb. sweet potatoes (about 2 medium), peeled and cut into ½ inch chunks
2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 small cooking onion, finely chopped
2 tsp Mexican chili powder
½ tsp ground cumin
Kosher salt & freshly cracked black pepper to taste
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 ripe avocado, cubed
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
½ a lime
Tortilla chips or taco shells
Preheat your BBQ to medium high, about 400F.
Create a double layer, approx. 8-inch x 8-inch tin foil pouch.
In a large bowl, combine the cubed sweet potatoes, beans & onions. Drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt, pepper, cumin and chili powder. Toss to combine. Transfer the potato mixture onto the foil in an even layer. Fold the top of your tin foil pouch over the mixture and seal the edges tightly. Place on grill and cook for 18 -22 minutes until your potatoes are fork tender. Remove from the heat and carefully open the foil pouch, garnish with fresh cilantro, avocado, a generous squeeze of fresh lime, crumbled feta and serve with taco chips or warm tortillas.
Angie Quaale Tip:
This can be served as a side dish, a salad or as a filling for some killer tacos. Leave the cheese out to make the dish vegan and make extra. Transform the leftovers into a breakfast hash by adding a fried egg, guaranteed to cure even the most vicious hangover!
Thought I’d tell you about two local Foodie events taking place this month in the Fraser Valley
From Field to Table:
Celebrate our local, fresh and juicy strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries in the best way possible: straight from the field!
It’s no surprise that BC berries right from the farm just taste so much better, therefore Well-Seasoned Gourmet Food Store has partnered up with traditional berry producer in the Fraser Valley, Driediger Farms, for a legendary and “berry” delicious Farm to Plate Dinner. This four-course, family style dinner will be prepared by Executive Chef Carl Sawatsky and Angie Quaale in the farm fields. Besides the food, guests will enjoy local drinks and live music. It’s going to be an evening to remember!
Thursday, August 8, 2019 at 6 PM (dinner served at 6:45 PM).
Enjoy a welcome drink, local cheese & charcuterie and one glass of beer or wine along with a delicious four-course menu prepared by Well-Seasoned Gourmet Food Store. Cost: $150 per person + GST. More BC Wine, craft beer and cider will be offered at a cash bar for guests 19+.
From its humble beginnings on the Langley Bypass in 2004, Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store has not only established itself as the go-to for foodies in the Fraser Valley, but it has also gained recognition across the country for its vision, trendy food creations, and championing the support of eating local.
From the start, owner Angie Quaale’s goal was to make Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store a launch pad for small scale food producers and locally grown items. Over the last 15 years, Well Seasoned has supported hundreds of brands and even created many of its own. Now it’s time to celebrate all they have accomplished.
Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store is celebrating its 15th birthday! Join the party during the Hot August Nights Open House tasting event on Tuesday, August 13 from 6-8 PM , at the Well Seasoned store (#117-20353 64 Ave, Langley BC).
This free, giant open house is where you will sample and shop tons of delicious local products, meet with the makers, and wish Well Seasoned a happy 15th birthday. The more the merrier!
So easy to make, roasting tomatoes enhances their natural sweetness, making them even more delicious.
Use them to make a satisfyingly simple tomato sauce or add to sandwiches, salads, omelettes or bruschetta.
Set oven to 250F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut tomatoes in half and place cut side up on sheet. Sprinkle with a little olive oil. I like to add fresh rosemary and rock salt to half and garlic salt & lavender pepper to the rest. However you can experiment with other herbs like thyme, basil or parsley. Leave for a couple hours until they’re soft and bursting with flavor.
Use whatever tomatoes you like except maybe the big beefsteak kind. For this one I used roma tomatoes. Romas are drier so won’t produce as much liquid as say the cocktail variety. The more ripe the tomato, the more liquid it will give off as it cooks. Under ripe tomatoes won’t yield much, if any, liquid.
Store oven roasted tomatoes in the fridge, in an air-tight container or mason jar with their juice, for 5-7 days.
Elevated tomato/basil pasta sauce:
Instead of rosemary, add torn basil leaves and peeled garlic cloves to baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Once they’re cool pour into a blender in batches. Pulse 2-3 times then blend until desired chunkiness. Pour into quart jars or pour into freezer bags to freeze flat. Add whatever extras you want but you might find you don’t need to. It’s a very fresh tasting sauce.
Will keep in the refrigerator for 1 week or 4 months in the freezer.
Hummus is an essential party pleasing dip. You can buy it, however it’s pretty easy to make, plus it’s extremely healthy. Hummus is rich in healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. The best thing is that it tastes soooo good.
16 oz. can garbanzo beans (chickpeas, rinsed)
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. cumin
1 garlic clove
1 Tbsp. Tahini (sesame paste)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
sea salt to taste
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
Pinch of Cayenne (optional)
TIP: add a few tablespoons of water to mix (if too thick) and you prefer to avoid adding more oil.
This recipe really could not be any easier. The key to smooth hummus is letting the food processor do all of the work. Throw the garbanzo beans, lemon juice, cumin, garlic, tahini, and rest into the food processor. Turn the food processor on for about 30 seconds and then slowly pour in the olive oil. Add a few tbsp. of water if it looks like the hummus is too thick. The food processor really helps in creating that creamy texture we all love.
For toppings I love toasting some pine nuts in a pan. Simmer some herbs in olive oil and pour over top. Parsley is great too.
Store in the refrigerator in an air tight container. Homemade hummus usually lasts for about 7-10 days in the refrigerator. But I can assure you it won’t last that long.
This flatbread tastes similar to a thin crust pizza (my personal favorite), but with less calories, and it’s perfect for when friends drop by unexpectedly (or not) and you want to serve up something relatively easy to make in a hurry and extremely tasty.
Try to have some staples on hand always. It will make your life much easier.
I start with a low-carb tomato-basil or Italian herb wrap or actual flatbread (available at pretty much any worthwhile grocery store).
Set the oven to 350F and put the flatbread on a tray for about five minutes on its own to crisp it up.
Then take it out and add the following (above photo shows what I had on hand at the time which thankfully ended up to be more than enough and extremely flavorful to boot).
tomato sauce and/or paste (I like the tube – it’s less messy)
Thinly sliced sweet onion
Grated cheese (mozzarella or parmesan)
A bit of Burrata…even better!
Drizzle with olive oil & a bit of balsamic and spices to taste.
Put back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes. Take it out. Cut into squares. Serve.
Tip: Of course you can vary the toppings to suit your taste! Spinach + Feta? If you’re a meat lover add pepperoni, etc. You can have fun with this. There are so many variations.
I’ve had this recipe on hold since I’ve been making my own bone broth from scratch. I add the rich broth to many recipes and also use it to mix over meat for the dogs. I think this one taken from GooP (Gwyneth Paltrow’s Lifestyle website) is worth sharing because it claims to be The Best Bone Broth on the Planet. Now who’s going to argue with that?
How to Make the Best Bone Broth on the Planet
Marco Canora started serving bone broth from the takeaway window at his NYC restaurant Hearth in 2014. In fact, it was so wildly popular that he built Brodo, a whole restaurant devoted to the stuff, in 2016. But that’s not where it all started for him. “I had a relationship with broth long before it was called ‘bone broth’—and long before I knew anything about its health benefits,” says the chef and entrepreneur, who also runs Zadie’s Oyster Room in the East Village. “Our signature broth at Brodo is pretty much the same broth I learned to make as a child, watching my mom in the kitchen.”
Opening Brodo, however, had a great deal to do with Canora’s own personal health journey. “After twenty years of carb-loading, smoking, drinking, and working eighty hours a week in high-stress NYC kitchen environments, I was in a deep hole of inflammation and anxiety,” he says. The results: gout, high cholesterol, weight gain, insulin resistance, and lack of energy, along with a mental and emotional toll. “I had become short-fused and lost my ability to motivate and manage a staff,” says Canora.
Bone broth was key to his path back to health. “Its nutritional benefits and healing abilities for the gut and immunity played a large role,” he says. “While there are no magic bullets, as I learned about its properties, I made an effort to drink it more often. And the better it made me feel, the more strongly I felt about sharing the amazing goodness that is bone broth with my customers.”
How to Make Bone Broth by Marco Canora
Get some bones: Visit a local butcher or farmers’ market or order them online, and always save the leftover bones and whole carcasses from anything you cook.
Fill a large pot (I recommend eighteen quarts, minimum) four fifths of the way with bones and cover with cold water. The water should cover the bones by two to three inches.
Bring to a boil over high heat. Once it boils, reduce to a simmer for an hour or two, periodically skimming off impurities and fat.
Add organic chopped vegetables, like onions, celery, carrots, and tomatoes (canned, fresh, or paste), along with aromatics, like parsley and peppercorns.
Continue to simmer for twelve to eighteen hours, checking periodically to make sure that the bones are fully submerged.
Strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer.
Season with salt to taste and let cool.
Transfer cooled broth to storage containers and refrigerate overnight.
Skim off any solidified fat from the top and store the broth for up to five days in the fridge or six months in the freezer.
Not skimming your broth frequently enough. Skimming removes impurities and fat for a clear, clean broth.
Skimping on cook time (we simmer our bones for eighteen to twenty-four hours).
Using beef-marrow bones for making broth. For some reason, lots of people believe this is the right bone to use, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. The marrow bone, aka femur bone, is a smooth bone with very little meat. The meat is where the umami-rich flavor comes from, so you WANT meaty bones for your broth! The marrow bone also lacks connective tissue, which is where all the collagen goodness comes from. And though marrow is nutrient-dense, it is also pure fat, so it liquefies during cooking and either emulsifies into the broth (giving it an unappealing cloudy/milky look) or, worse, floats to the top, where it’s skimmed off with other impurities. (If you want to consume marrow, I recommend you add it to the finished broth with a battery-operated frother.)
Now you’ve got bone broth. Other than drinking it, what can you do with it?
Cook with it. Good broth is a forgotten staple, something that should appear on your shopping list next to salt, butter, olive oil, milk, and eggs. A good broth makes just about anything taste more delicious, and it adds nutrition to boot. As I write this, I’m braising beef shanks to serve with risotto:
Both dishes are even more delicious with bone broth.