Grill Talk – a local recipe from a local gal

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

Ingredients:

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

Preparation:

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!

Angie Quaale is the 15-year owner of Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store

 

 

 

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August: a Berry Delicious month


 

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!

Details:

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+.

Buy tickets at wellseasoned.ca – HURRY, there are only 50 seats available!

Angie Quaale at the original Well Seasoned Gourmet teaching kitchen

Well-Seasoned Open House

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!
Angie Quaale is the 15-year owner of Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store
 
Check out the event on Facebook or visit http://www.wellseasoned.ca/happybirthday
 
Barbeque season is in full swing. I’ll be sharing some of Angie’s excellent recipes here on the blog in the upcoming days.  Stay tuned.  
 
Will you be participating in any local Foodie events in your area?  Care to share?
 
 

 

Slow roasted oven tomatoes

So easy to make,  roasting tomatoes enhances their natural sweetness, making them even more delicious.

roasted with feta & garlic

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.

Enjoy!

 

Dressed Up – Asian Salad Dressing

This is a light, easy and flavorful salad dressing – perfect for Spring.

Photo Credit: The Creative Bite

Toss with greens of your choice and chopped cabbage, Add carrot slivers, crunchy chow mein noodles, mandarin orange slices and diced chicken (optional).

Ingredients (amount shown is for two people):

  1.    3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar.
  2.    3 tablespoons soy sauce, pref. low-sodium.
  3.    1 tablespoon ginger, freshly grated.
  4.    12 teaspoon fresh minced garlic.
  5.    2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil.
  6.    13 cup extra virgin olive or grape seed oil.
  7.    1 tablespoon sesame seeds, lightly toasted.
  8.    1 tablespoon scallion, chopped (green onions).

Assemble:

  1. Mix first 5 ingredients in a bowl or food processor.
  2. If using a bowl: SLOWLY drizzle in the sesame and olive, peanut or grapeseed oil, whisking constantly so that the dressing will emulsify.
  3. If using a food processor, leave it running while you drizzle in the oil.
  4. When dressing is well combined, add sesame seeds and scallions.
  5. Serve immediately or refrigerate and use within a week.

Place ingredients in a jar and shake well. Some like to add a little sugar for added sweetness. I prefer not to although you can also add a bit of honey if you like.

ENJOY!

Dips: Healthy Hummus

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.

Hummus Dip with oven baked Pita Chips & cut up veggies.  Cut up pieces of bought pita bread and bake in the oven at 350F for a few minutes to crisp up into chips.

Ingredients:

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.

Process:
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.

 

 

Food: Fabulous Flatbread

If you love pizza and really….who doesn’t?

d. king

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)

Sliced tomato

Thinly sliced sweet onion

Artichoke Hearts

Kalamata Olives

Sundried Tomatoes

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.

Soooo good!

 

 

 

Best in Bone Broth

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Add organic chopped vegetables, like onions, celery, carrots, and tomatoes (canned, fresh, or paste), along with aromatics, like parsley and peppercorns.
  5. Continue to simmer for twelve to eighteen hours, checking periodically to make sure that the bones are fully submerged.
  6. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer.
  7. Season with salt to taste and let cool.
  8. Transfer cooled broth to storage containers and refrigerate overnight.
  9. 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.

Common Mistakes

  1. Not skimming your broth frequently enough. Skimming removes impurities and fat for a clear, clean broth.
  2. Skimping on cook time (we simmer our bones for eighteen to twenty-four hours).
  3. 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.

Food: Poke Please

First things first, it sounds like “Poh-keh”—not poki, not poke.

Photo: d. king

However you word it, the native to Hawaii food phenomenon is sweeping the country.  It’s like a sashimi salad with all the toppings.

I recently sampled a new place in Palm Springs called Haus of Poke and loved it.  Everything is behind a counter and you just let the server know what you want.  They have lots of tempting choices.  They certainly have a new customer.

Many people don’t know what Poke is exactly… so here for your information:

Photo: d. king

Fun fact: poke can be easily made at home.
Indeed, making ahi poke doesn’t require a fancy recipe: Get your hands on 500 grams of sashimi-grade tuna and cut it into bite-sized cubes. In a bowl, mix together 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, a tablespoon of oyster sauce, a drizzle of sesame oil, a teaspoon of minced garlic, a handful of chopped green onions, and whatever other condiments you feel like. Whisk it all together and marinate the tuna cubes in it for an hour in the fridge, and voila! Fresh, delicious poke that you can serve over rice with some slices of avocado for good measure.

Sounds good to me!

Have you tried it?

 

Comfort Cooking: Creamy Lemon Chicken

SLOW COOKER CREAMY LEMON CHICKEN

A slow cooker is such a great kitchen appliance to have around.  Especially if you want to let something simmer for a long time without worrying about it.  I found this recipe on a website called dinnerthendessert.  Original recipe calls for chicken breasts but it’s equally good using chicken thighs. It’s also perfect as a pasta topping!  In fact that’s exactly what I did the next day – with tossed linguine.

Image + recipe: dinnerthendessert.com

This recipe is not only simple to make, it’s simply delicious with a creamy butter, garlic and lemon coating.

INGREDIENTS

  • 5 *chicken breasts boneless and skinless 
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon **kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 lemons juiced and zested
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon chicken base (optional) but delicious! I use “better than bouillon”

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large cast iron skillet add 1 tablespoon of butter to melt on medium high heat.
  2. Add the kosher salt, black pepper and Italian seasoning to the chicken and add it to the pan.
  3. Cook on each side for about 5 minutes to brown.

  4. Add the chicken to your slow cooker.
  5. Cover with lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic and the rest of the butter in pieces (lemons in the picture is just for reference. Don’t cook the lemons in the slow cooker).
  6. Cook on low for 4 hours or on high for 2 hours.
  7. In a large measuring cup add the half and half, cornstarch and chicken base (bouillon) and whisk well.
  8. Add the liquid, mix, and cook an additional hour on high.

    *Did you know?

    Canada banned the use of hormones in Canadian poultry on March 4, 1963. Though it is rare, some marketers still classify their chicken as “hormone-free.” This is used as a marketing tactic, since all chickens raised in Canada have been raised without added hormones.

    **Why do recipes recommend kosher salt?

    Kosher salt is often recommended by TV chefs because it has a less intense and more pure, salty taste and because it’s easier to pick up the crystals and toss them into the pot!  The flaky structure also makes it easy to spread atop your food.

    By the way, kosher salt is so called because of its role in the process for preparing foods such as meats according to the Jewish tradition. Because it has so much surface area and doesn’t dissolve as quickly as table salt. Though it’s not much different than regular salt, it’s less likely to contain anti-caking agents and added iodine.

    Let me know how you like it?

Food: Autumn Beef Stew

A hearty stew is perfect comfort food for Fall.  This one pays homage to Julia Child’s legendary boeuf bourguignon, stealing her trick of flavoring a wine-rich beef stew with bacon drippings, but adding generous chunks of carrot, potato and butternut squash.  Serve with a side of crusty fresh bread.  And make sure to drink some of the wine.

Image: Midwest Living

ingredients

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • pounds boneless beef chuck, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • strips bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
  • Canola oil
  • medium onions, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • tablespoons tomato paste
  • cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • cups less-sodium beef broth
  • 1 1/2 cups dry red wine
  • bay leaves
  • tablespoon snipped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
  • teaspoon smoked paprika
  • pound potatoes, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • pound butternut squash; peeled, seeded and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • stalks celery, sliced into 1/2-inch thick
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

directions

  1. In a large plastic bag, combine flour, salt and pepper. Add beef; shake to coat evenly. In a Dutch oven or large heavy pot, cook and stir bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. Transfer to paper towels with a slotted spoon. Add enough oil to bacon drippings to equal 2 tablespoons. Add half the beef to pot, shaking off any excess flour. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned. Remove beef with a slotted spoon. Repeat with remaining beef.
  2. If pot is dry, add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add onions; cook and stir for about 4 minutes or until starting to brown. Stir in garlic; cook for 1 minute. Stir in tomato paste. Return beef, bacon and any remaining flour to pot. Stir to combine. Add chicken and beef broth, wine, bay leaves, thyme and paprika. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 hours or until meat is tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add potatoes, squash, carrots and celery. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove lid and simmer about 15 minutes more or until vegetables are tender and liquid is desired consistency. Remove bay leaves. Stir in parsley.

Enjoy!