Monday, October 25, 2010

Guerrilla Tactics

As with many of us who live in the South Okanagan, come October we all suffer the seasonal layoff. It comes with mixed feelings and emotions. On one hand, the long grind of the summer makes us beg for some serious time off in order to regroup. On the other hand, we must take jobs that we don't want, leave town to find other work or claim E.I. for a percentage of what we earned in the summer.

This is not an industry specific layoff either. Everyone in this part of the valley seems to go into hibernation mode. The businesses and streets seem bare on most days of the week, with everyone grasping with white knuckles the last of their summer savings. This, as far as I can tell, is in part the fault of the community itself. We have bought into the rules that the banks, corporations and in turn the government have imposed on the people. Why is it that we as a community can not start exchanging goods and services amongst ourselves?

Some people believe that we need to fix the system before we can change it. I say why should we try and work with this broken system at all anymore. Why not start an entirely new way of doing business. Check that, what I am talking about has been around for ever, but for the profits of big business it has been vilified. Trading skills for other skills or currency.

We started trading bread for goods and services about a year ago and I have noticed a few things that make me realize how much good can be realized through this method of commerce. The most noticeable being that the true value of things becomes apparent very quickly. We trade bread for movie rentals. A new release move is $5 and a simple baguette costs about 35cents to make. We trade one loaf of bread for one new release movie. We both leave this transaction satisfied. We have a friend that will hem our pants or sew rips or reupholster furniture. She will let us know what she thinks is a fair trade and we work from there. Hem a pair of pants equals one loaf of bread. Reupholster our chair and we make her fresh bread a couple times a week for a month. Seems fair to me. This drives "the man" crazy. They make a lot less profit of us this way. Sure they got their taxes out of us for the flour that we purchased and they got their taxes for the fabric she bought for the chair. That is where the taxation stops though. I don't pay tax to have the chair fixed in a shop and she doesn't pay tax to buy bread in a store. If this keeps up, all of a sudden I can trade bread with someone who is making their own fabrics and someone can trade pants that they made for flour that someone milled. Oops, sorry I forgot that bank service charges and goods and services taxes are the only way to keep this whole machine running.

So, in the previous post we were asked how we plan to spend our off season. We have been making our bread and walking around the streets and businesses of town selling bread that we baked in the morning. $2.50 for a baguette or we'll trade it for a couple of lattes or maybe 4 bagels for a couple of used novels or $8 if you want to keep your novels.

So, if you live around here and you want some fresh bread you'll probably see us walking around peddling our goods for cash or maybe you have something that you wanna trade us. Either way it's a win win. Now I just have to convince our landlord that our rent is somehow worth a single shipment of 100 loafs of bread a month. Wish me luck.
Sean Peltier

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Meat Fest II / Rose Roundup

This mornings pork forcemeat, foie gras and cured salmon omelette just about finishes the last of the left overs from Meat Fest II. Thank you all for coming out. It was a gaye olde time!

For those of you who did not make it to Meat Fest II/Rose Round Up, this post is for you--that is, this post is intended to make you feel bad about being you and the bad choices you made and, hopefully, encourage you to re-think your bad choices as we turn our sights to Meat Fest III and which ever varietal we decide to compare and contrast in the wine portion of the festivity.

Before getting to the food, let's look at the Rose Round-up. Some of you might remember the Gewurztraminer Getdown of 2009, though it is likely that none of you remember (with any precision that is) the results of said event. Sure, the delightful and delicious Gehringer Brothers Schonburger Gewurztraminer stood steady at or near the top--but that's a no brainer. Of course Gehringer Brothers Schonburger Gewurztraminer stood steady at or near the top. But certainly there were other contenders, victors and disappointers. When isn't there a disappointer in the group?

In light of this statistical imprecision, this year, steps were taken to insure thorough and precise data collection for open distribution and equal utility for all:

As you can see from the above chart, testing was thorough and extensive. (Click on image to enlarge.)

To insure quality data collection, the wines were also carefully presented in a random fashion so as not to influence perceptions by "shelf location."

Here is the list of participants:

Gazela (product of Portugal)
See Ya Later Nelly 2009
Road 13 Honest John's 2009 rose
Dunham Frose rose 2009
Dirty Laundry Hush 2009
Quails Gate rose 2009
Silkscarf 2008 shiraz saignee
Tinhorn Creek oldfield series 2bench rose 2009
Marques de Caceres 2009 rioja (Spain)
Domaine Clair Dau Rose de Marsannay Louis Jadot 2008
Jackson Triggs unity white merlot
Chat-en-Oeuf 2009 (france)
The View Distraction 2009
Emeri pink Moscato (south eastern australia)
Quinta Ferreira rose 2009
Le Vieux Pin Vaila 2009
Pascual Toso Malbec rose 2009 (argentina)
Seven Stones Speaking Rock 2009 pinot rose
Strut Risque rose 2008 (half bottle remains)
Arrowleaf Red Reather rose 2008 (half bottle remains)
Jackson Triggs 2008 Proprietors Reserve rose
Henkell rose
Gray Monk 2008 Rotberger
La Vieille Ferme Recolte 2009

A few things caught my attention.

1. Seven Stones won the gold, Tinhorn the silver and LVP Viala, Marques de Caceres, Road 13 and Dunham Froese tied for bronze.

2. There were four bottles of road 13's Rose and 3 bottles of Qunita Fererria, with people lunging for the '08

3. The Dunham and Froese had the most votes in the #2 colum "wouldn't pass it up" with seven votes, while the most anyone else got was two. A bronze in the "excellent" class, a gold in the "wouldn't pass up" class.

4. The wine that got the most "nice try" votes was a rose made from Malbec grapes.

The remaining wine from the evening was combined and inoculated with organic cider vinegar with the intent of making a red/rose wine vinegar from the event. Hopefully it can mother the wines of the next event!

Now on to Meat Fest:

The obvious place to start is with the pig as it is from the pig that so much radiated...

...Like bacon caramel

...and bacon popcorn peanut pop on a stick what nots

...don't forget blood thickened pasta with pig tails.

Of course there was beef. And while the beef was a little less conspicuous than the pork, it was staggeringly good. Like tripe in jelly.

UNBELIEVEABLE! Can someone remind me again why tripe-in-jelly isn't on at least one charcuterie plate here in the valley? Oh, and don't give me that ol' "people don't eat tripe and we won't be able to sell it and make money" line of nonsense--that's not a suitable answer for anything--least of all around here.

Then there was Okanagan's Finest Angus Beef heart sashimi marinated in the new, unreleased Note Bene (and a pair of white creepers no less!)

Said another way, local cows, fed local wine at a local feed lot, processed (somewhat less) locally, marinated in local wine, fed to people of that locality.


There was also a bit of tallow--for a while anyway, until disaster struck and tallow clogged the gas jets ending the fun and, for all intents and purposes, ruining Meat Fest. (winking face emoticon here.)

The rig was up and running long enough to deep fry some cheeseburger spring rolls (delicious) and a pepper construction featuring cream cheese stuffing, bacon wrapping and all around breading (delicious as well.)

In the "other" category there was bear sausage (yum!)

and elk (made into tacos) and salmon (lox) which sadly did not their photo taken.

Lastly, and clearly most importantly was the very beautiful and thoughtfully made Meat Fest II cake--a cake for the ages that we hold dear to our hearts and will remember and cherish for all times by everyone.

There was also a wonderful pumpkin cheese cake that was hidden from the guests so it could be savoured in private.

I know I've left things out...that's what the comments section is for.

A smashing success all in all. A big thank you to everyone who came, brought and/or cooked.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Your Ideas Are Not Your Ideas

Taken from Paul Arden's book It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be

Hey Okanagan food, how good do you want to be?

Pedal or coast? Mike Love or Brian Wilson?

Now that "the season" is ending, what's up for your down time?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

Lunch feature 10.10.10

Roasted Leg of Venison on Herb Focaccia
Caramelized Onions, Porcini Spread
Red Wine Mayo, Tomato & Arugula Sprouts

Roasted Local Bell Pepper & Tomato Soup

I love this special. Mostly because it was an excuse to make bread again. Soup and sandwich is just a great lunch on a cool October day.

This is the first time that I have ever winged a Focaccia dough and it was possibly the best one that I have ever made. The crumb and texture were spot on and the flavor was right where it should have been. As soon as this bread came out of the oven I knew that we would be serving up a good sandwich.

Shaved venison leg cooked and cooled to a perfect medium rare is always something that makes my mouth water. All the other accoutrement on this sandwich blended together to create a truly salivary sandwich spectacular.

A warm bowl of soup made from all local ingredients, aside from the cream (why isn't there a dairy here?) was perfect to warm people up and also great for dipping the sandwich. Had we not sold out so fast I would have loved to enjoy one myself.

Sean Peltier

Lunch feature 08.10.10

Pan Seared Ling Cod & Qualicum Scallop
Scallop & Clam Risotto
Stewed Tomatoes

More fish to end the season off with. Ling cod again, this time with the addition of scallops and clams. A real smorg of seafood to please the dessert dwellers.

This whole plate is really simple and easy to do. A few little refinements take this simple dish to a slightly elevated level.

Firstly, scallops have a little adductor muscle on on it that everyone says is unusable and too tough to eat. I personally, like to use every little bit I can. The seafood that we get has made such a journey to get here, it would be a shame to throw any of it away. What I like to do with these muscles is dehydrate them and then grind them into a powder. Once in powder form they can be used to flavor soups, sauces or in this case a risotto. We didn't have a dehydrator at work so I used the microwave. Using the defrost setting for about an hour the adductor muscles were dehydrated but also roasted a little bit. I wasn't expecting the roasted result, which turned out to be a great thing after all.
So, I made the risotto as one does, then added in the scallop powder and the liquid from cooking the clams. At service the clam meat was added just before going to the plate. I couldn't eat this risotto thanks to allergies however, I got very positive feedback on it.

The second little refinement that I did was with the stewed tomatoes. Nothing over the top, just removing the skin and seeds from the tomatoes. As I said, nothing over the top. You just end up with a much nicer stewed tomato if the skin and seeds are removed. All that I did was sautee onions and garlic then added the tomato flesh. I put the seeds in a fine mesh strainer and pushed all the remaining juice into the stew as well.

Great dish, wish I was serving it a little closer to salty water, but hey, that's what the people want.

Sean Peltier

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Okanagan Winners!

I know you all keep up with, but in the off chance you don't, they did a wonderful write up on two winning winners working in the Okanagan: Robyn Sigurdson and Brent Pillion.

Robyn won the “Farm to Fork Global Sponsorship” and, as a result, shall spend 10 weeks in Italy--which is where food was invented.

Brent won the Alexis de Portneuf Fine Cheesemakers “Young Chefs” competition. Well done Brent Alexis de Portneuf Top Young Chef Pillon!


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Big fishy, little piggy.

Summer time surf n' turf, with a little asian influence.

Pan Seared, basil crusted Ahi tuna
Pulled pork and lake country cabbage springroll,
Lemongrass and kafir aioli, yellow wax beans,
chive oil, Harkers micro greens, lemon olive oil.

This special hit the spot one fine okanagan evening, paired with a crisp Naramata Viogner. SOLD.

Cheers, Mark Crofton.

Pork n' Beanz

As the summer comes to an end, fall appears. Cold weather, comfort food and hearty features tend to make there presence. With a stalked pantry, tender pork cuts and the means to create a stick to your rib special the final product is closing in.

A good friend and previous Mentor chef had the good heart to pass on his ridiculously tasty cassoulet recipe on.Thanks Rob!

Without further a due...

Pan roasted, herb crusted slopping hills Pork tenderloin.
Flageolet and beluga lentil cassoulet, braised cippolini onions,pickled lake country
organic carrots and green beans. Harkers Heirloom tomatoes,
truffled micro arugula salad, fleur de sel.

Mark Crofton

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Two Okanagan Events!

Two events that might be of interest.

Cultivating the Wild--gardening with Native Plants of B.C.'s Southern Interior with Eva Durance, author of Cultivating the Wild. The event is free at the Oliver Public Library, October 21st, 7pm.

And then there is the First Annual "Slow" Fibre festival. We all love slow food, so we will all probably love slow fibre. That event is in Summerland, October 9, 2010

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Lunch feature 02.10.10

Bacon Wrapped Ling Cod
Spot Prawn Risotto
Bell Pepper & Pear Slaw

There are two things in a North American kitchen that will guarantee food sales. What are they you ask? 1) Bacon 2) Prawns. I am quite convinced that with these two simple ingredients you can sell just about anything to anyone, that is of course not including those with religious dogma hovering over their eating habits. Here, lets try a little experiment. You be the guest and I`ll be the server.

``Today`s feature is a warm bacon wrapped parking lot poop with a lovely prawn infused baby dolphin vomit``

``Well, I really don`t usually like to eat poop and I don`t usually find dolphin vomit that appealing either, baby or otherwise. However, I really do like bacon, and prawns are one of my all time favorites. Oh what the heck, we`ll each have it, why not, it is our anniversary after all.``

See, I told you those two ingredients would sell anything.

Now, this is not to say that ling cod needs bacon and prawns to make it appealing. It does however, make selling it a whole lot easier.

Simple feature today. I just wrapped the ling cod in house made bacon and then pan seared it. For the risotto, I used a spot prawn and vanilla bisque to cook the rice in. For the slaw I just did matchstick cuts of local bell peppers and pears, then I tossed it with lemon olive oil and some micro greens.

That`s it folks.

Sean Peltier