Arts Club Cooking Class with David Robertson of Dirty Apron Cooking School

What to cook this spring? We take some lessons from Dirty Apron

We updated this post from 2012 as it’s still so very relevant. Especially with spot prawn season starting this week! The Arts Club Theatre Company is known for it’s theatrical productions, but each spring they produce more than just theatre and host cooking classes.  Each class is put on by one of Vancouver’s renowned chefs at a gorgeous private home and raises money for the company. Over three hours guests enjoy cooking demonstrations, some hands on options and a four-course dinner paired with wine. Unfortunately they aren’t doing these in 2016 but I hope they bring them back!

A few years back we climbed up into the British Properties and joined David Robertson of Dirty Apron Cooking School for a spectacular meal, complete with views, charming guests and left with some new cooking tips up our sleeves and a Dirty Apron Cooking School apron.

First course – Citrus Olive Oil Spot Prawns with Crab Cakes

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Citrus crab cakes, olive oil poached spot prawns, pressed avocado

Citrus Olive Oil Poached BC Spot Prawns

Spot Prawns

1 lb BC Spot Prawns (shelled & deveined)
1 Lemon (Zest & Juice)
1 Orange (Zest & Juice)
1 Lime (Zest & Juice)
6 cloves Garlic
Fleur de Sel
Black Pepper
500 ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil (poaching)

Heat the olive oil slowly with all zest and citrus juice to 135F.
Season the spot prawns with fleur de sel and black pepper. Poach the prawns in the olive oil until just cooked through. Remove them from the olive oil and allow to cool.

Crab Cakes

6 oz Dungeness Crab Meat
2 tbsp Plain Yogurt
1 tbsp Chives (finely sliced)
2 sprigs Italian Parsley
1 sprig Tarragon
¼ Lemon Zest
Pinch Espelette Powder
Salt & Pepper
¼ cup Flour
1 Egg (beaten)
¼ cup Panko (coating)

Pick through the crabmeat and discard any bits of shell or cartilage. Put all ingredients into a bowl and gently mix together and season with salt and pepper. Form the mixture into two patties.

Prepare to dredge the patties by placing 3 bowls side by side. In the first bowl place the flour. In the second bowl whisk the egg. In the third bowl, the panko. Dredge the patties in the flour, and then dip into the egg and finely coat with panko.

In a medium sized pan heat the oil over medium-high heat. Carefully place the cakes into the pan and sear each side until the panko turns golden brown on all sides.

Serve immediately with a salad and Lemon Yogurt

1 cup yogurt
1 lemon

Mix the lemon zest and yogurt together. Keep cold until needed.

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Chef Robertson preps beets

Apple cider marinated beet salad. Herb goat cheese, toasted brioche

Golden Beet Salad

3 Medium Beets
1 head Frisee Lettuce
½ bunch Watercress
½ head Radicchio
1 Whole Apple (thin slices)
60 ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
30 ml Apple Cider Vinegar
Salt & Pepper

Place beet in a large saucepot and cover the beets with water by at least 2 inches.  Bring to a boil; reduce to a gentle simmer and cook until a small knife inserted into the beet comes out with little resistance (about 40 minutes).

Drain and let sit until cool enough to handle.

Trim both ends of the beets and rub off the skins with your fingers.  Dice the beets into 1/2 inch dice size.  Toss the beets in a bowl with sliced apple, watercress, radicchio frisee lettuce, olive oil and apple cider vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper.

Rainbow

Spectacular View from the private residence where this class was held

Sumac roasted lamb loin, celeriac purée, red wine braised shallots

Sumac Roasted Lamb Loin on Celeriac Puree with Red Wine Sauce

2 X 4 oz Lamb Loin
1 clove Garlic
30 ml Olive Oil
1 Lemon (zest)
1 tsp Sumac
1 tsp Cumin (grinded)
1 tsp Coriander seed (grinded)

Preheat oven to 400°F
Coat the lamb with the marinade and marinate until needed. Before cooking, season with salt and pepper.
Sear in a pan over high heat until the meat is browned on all sides then place the pan into the preheated oven for 4-5 minutes to achieve a rare to medium-rare doneness. Allow the lamb to rest before serving.

Celeriac Puree

300 g Celeriac (peeled & chopped)
2 Tbsp Butter
300 ml Milk
1 small Bay Leaf
2 sprigs Thyme
Salt
White Pepper
300g

Place the celeriac into a sauce pan and sauté with the butter.  Do not brown the celeriac.  Add the milk and herbs to the sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Gently simmer for about 25 minutes until the celeriac is very tender.
Drain the celeriac and discard the herbs, reserving the milk.  Put the celeriac into a blender or food processor.  Blend until very smooth, adding enough of the reserved milk to give a creamy consistency.  Once the puree is nice and smooth then season with salt and white pepper.
Keep hot until needed.

Red Wine Sauce

1 Shallot (finely diced)
1 clove Garlic (minced)
80 ml Red Wine
80 ml Beef Stock
1 Tbsp Unsalted Butter (cold)
Salt
Black Pepper
Vegetable Oil

In a small saucepot sauté the shallots and garlic in vegetable oil until soft without browning, approx. 2 minutes. Add the red wine and beef stock and reduce to mixture to 1/3. Add the chilled butter, whisking in a little bit at a time and then season with salt and pepper to taste.
Strain the sauce through a fine sieve and keep warm until needed.

Hazelnut orange chocolate pâté

Hazelnut orange chocolate pâté

Chocolate Pate

500 g Dark Chocolate
½ cup Unsalted Butter
330 ml Heavy Cream
Fresh Raspberries (for garnish)
Roasted Hazelnuts (for garnish)

Melt the dark chocolate over a double boiler.  Add the ½ cup butter to the dark chocolate.  Stir the chocolate until smooth and take the bowl off of the heat to let cool to room temperature.
In a separate bowl, beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form.  Using a spatula, fold the cream into the dark chocolate.
Put a layer of saran wrap in the bottom and sides of the pan.  Spoon the dark chocolate mixture into the loaf pan.  Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Remove from fridge before serving and carefully remove the pate from the loaf pan.  Then slice the pate with a hot knife and put onto dessert plate.  Serve with Raspberry coulis, fresh raspberries and toasted hazelnuts.

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Martha Perkins

Diners Enjoying the night 

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Semiahmoo Resort – Luxury Just Across the Border

Semiahamoo Resort – New Chef Brings Revamped Locally Sourced Menu

Grab your passport and head south for a getaway just across the border at the Semiahmoo Resort. My pal Tess and I recently returned from a great night of relaxing, with some spa time and an amazing dinner prepared by Executive Chef Bruno Feldeisen and his team. The next morning, after an delicious breakfast, we did some biking around Birch Bay and a little shopping further south to complete our little getaway.

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The resort has recently gone through a renovation and the guest rooms feature insanely comfortable bedding, complimentary Wi-Fi and modern electronics.

Semihamoo Resort

Our room looked out across the harbour with cool spring winds blowing in through our open window and plenty of sea creatures and sea birds drifting by.

Semihamoo Resort

Semihamoo Resort

The resort sits out on a spit on Semiahmoo Bay and Drayton Harbor, and boasts two golf courses that were ranked among the top courses in Washington in 2015 by Golfweek should golf be your thing. I have yet to learn to swing a club without injuring myself or others.

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The onsite spa offers guests a wide array of seaweed inspired treatments, but I chose an incredibly relaxing and aromatic Herbal Massage with the added scents of calendula and comfrey.

Semiahmoo Resort

Semihamoo Resort

In addition to the guest room and lobby renovations, Semiahmoo Resort updated their restaurants, Packers Oyster Bar and Pierside Kitchen and recently brought Chef Bruno Feldeisen on board. You might know him from YEW Restaurant at the Vancouver Four Seasons Hotel, where we first met him when he oversaw the innovative pastry and dessert program. Feldeisen has been the recipient of awards such as Chocolatier Magazine’s Top Ten Pastry Chefs in America, and was nominated twice for the James Beard Outstanding Pastry Award in 1997 and 1998. Plus he’s super charming and a treat to talk food with! He’s pictured above with Tess.

Semihamoo Resort

Here we are on our way to dinner. Didn’t mean to match, but we decided it was sort of cute. I have my selfie face on AGAIN!

Semiahmoo Resort

Feldeisen’s menu  is focused on showcasing the local bounty available from the areas seaside environs and nearby farms and ranches. The room is gorgeous with views out to the sea, lots of natural wood and a fresh nautical theme.

The revitalized new menu includes seasonal additions such as Seared Jumbo Scallops, Braised Heirloom Tomatoes, Mushrooms, Candied Fennel, Lemon Pop Corn; and cote de boeuf Tomahawk for two.

Semihamoo Resort

White spring salmon. The first of the season!

Semiahmoo Resort

Cioppino, Penn Cove Mussels, Manila Clams, Chorizo, Jumbo Prawns, Saffron, Aioli, Artisan Bread

Semiahmoo Resort

Lamb Loin, Cannellini Beans, Fennel Tomato Salad, Coriander

Semiahmoo Resort

Roasted Pacific Halibut, Celeriac Puree, Brussels Sprouts and Spring Beans

Semiahmoo Resort

Our dinner was exceptional. We shared a variety of smaller plates all leading up to a delightful dessert.

Pierside Kitchen is open for breakfast from 7 to 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday, with brunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, lunch daily 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and  dinner from 5 to 9 p.m.  The full menu is available here.

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The next day we had a tasty breakfast. The must is the cheddar and peanut butter omelette. I know it sounds bizarre, but it’s really a brilliant combination. It’s pictured above in the breakfast trio.

Here’s some biking action!

Paddle and Peddle Adventures

Paddle and Peddle Adventures

Off to Birch Bay the next day for some big wheel biking up into the state park! Paddle and Peddle Adventures has a variety of very cool rides.

Next up for the resort is another five-course wine pairing with JM Cellars on Thursday, May 26, 2016 at 5:30 p.m. Menu will feature a variety of thoughtful pairings including; scallop sashimi prepared with pickled vegetables, yuzu juice and charred Asian pear, paired with JM Cellars’ 2014 Bramble Bump White; Lummi Island wild halibut with butter poached spot prawns, white asparagus and pinot noir reduction, paired with the JM Cellars’ 2013 Chardonnay; spring lamb loin with fava beans, smoked spring purple carrots, thyme jus paired with the 2012 Tre Fanciulli; and rhubarb tart with lemon ice cream, paired with the 2015 rosé for dessert.

CANADIAN DEAL on until May 19 Canadian Dollar at Par

If you want to book a room and pay in Canadian Dollars for the American Rate use the code GOODLIFEVAN. Enter this on the website when booking will extend the Canadian at par rates until  Thursday, May 19.

Honda Accord

Thanks to Honda Canada for the loan of the Honda Accord! Auto Review here.

What’s Good This Week May 10

Events in Vancouver

This is one busy week for those who love great food and wine. The sun is out and patio’s will be hopping, if you have a favourite let us know in the comments as we are putting together a list of our favs. So many events in Vancouver, but don’t miss those spot prawns this week, as although there will be plenty of time to enjoy them in the coming weeks, the gala and festival will be amazing.

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2016 SPRING PATIO WINE TASTING at Dockside – May 12

Speaking of patios, Coal Harbour Liquor Store presents a unique patio wine tasting event for Spring. Celebrate Dockside Restaurant’s sixth consecutive “Best Patio” win in the Georgia Straight Golden Plate Awards with this al fresco tasting event.

The 2016 Pelican Bay Spring Tasting will feature roughly 100 wines from all over the world in a spectacular waterfront patio setting along with carefully selected local craft beers and spirits.

The 2015 Pelican Bay Wine Tasting event is being held on Thursday, May 12th from 5-8PM. Why not make a night of it with dinner at Dockside, your event ticket entitles you to 10% off your food bill on the event day. Buy Tickets

 

Spot Prawn Gala

Spot Prawn Gala -May 13

Hosted by chef Robert Clark with six chefs making their own take on Spot Prawns.  The Spot Prawn Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary with a GALA to benefit Oceanwise. 6:30 pm at the Vancouver Club. Gala tickets

Moët & Chandon Champagne Reception with Canapés by Chris Whittaker – Forage, Vancouver BC

1st course – Sean Cousins – Vancouver Club, Vancouver BC
2nd course – Bill Jones – Deerholme Farm, Duncan BC
3rd course – Matthias Fong – River Café, Calgary AB
4th course – Anthony Walsh – Oliver Bonacini, Toronto ON
5th course – Ned Bell – YEW seafood + bar, Vancouver BC
6th course – Angus An – Maenam, Vancouver BC
Palate Cleanser – Bella Gelateria
Dessert – Christine Beard, Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts

Prawns

Spot Prawn Festival Fisherman’s Wharf – May 15

Chefs from the Lower Mainland gather to serve you fresh-from-the-boat spot prawns. Tickets to the Spot Prawn Festival Boil are $17.50 each. All proceeds will support the Chefs’ Table Society of British ColumbiaTickets get sold out days before the event so please don’t wait!

Spot Prawn Boil Single Admission (all ages – nonrefundable): $17.50 + GST and service fee and include a plate of three succulent BC spot prawns plus a selection of sides dishes and bread from Terra Breads and access to the drink tent (19+ of age only) for free samples from our sponsors: R&B Brewing, and our wine sponsor, Evolve Cellars. TICKETS

white spot

White Spot Donates to the Red Cross – May 11

On Wednesday, May 11, White Spot will donate $2 from the sale of every burger platter or combo to the Canadian Red Cross. All 63 restaurants throughout B.C. and Alberta will be participating, including the BC Ferries vessels who offer White Spot on board.

The fundraiser is using the social media hashtags #ABfire and #YMMfire.

theatresports

Vancouver TheatreSports Alberta Fires Appeal, May 11

May 11 will be dedicated to raising funds for the Canadian Red Cross’ Alberta Fires Appeal. Net proceeds from the ticket sales of TheatreSports and Off Leash that night will be donated to the fund. In addition, the cast will pass the hat at all 11 performances during the week (May 11 – 15) to raise additional cash. All funds generated will go to The Canadian Red Cross.

Tickets for the May 11th VTSL shows (at The Improv Centre on Granville Island) are available online at vtsl.com.

Sakura Tea

Urban Tea Merchant Sakura Tea Set – offered until May 31st

Celebrate spring with Sakura cherry blossom inspired afternoon tea service. Presented on a beautiful glass platter, this afternoon tea includes delightful Japanese inspired tea-infused savouries and sweets. A beautiful high tea service to be paired with our Sakura! Sakura! Tea.

noble ridge

Noble Ridge Wines at Feast Winery May 15th

Noble Ridge Vineyard & Winery heads to West Vancouver on May 15th, for a 5 course meal thoughtfully crafted by the talented Feast culinary team, each perfectly paired with a fantastic wine. Check out the full menu here! Cost is $125 per person (taxes & gratuity not included)

ernest

Swallow Tail Hemingway themed Secret Supper on May 14

“A Moveable Feast” created by star Chef Jacob Deacon Evans (Wildebeest/West) at the supper club in the garden if it’s nice out. Fabulous multi-course dinner inspired by the life and travels of Ernest Hemingway at Swallow Tail’s long table.
Book a Seat
Menu teasers…
Oysters with sancerre gelee (1920s Paris)
Venetian style lobster risotto (1950s Gritti palace in Venice)
Oxtail stew (1925ish Pamplona)
Rum custard creams (1960’s Cuba) and much more

YEW dessert

Sample YEW’s  latest line up of desserts 

New desserts fresh from the YEW Kitchen  from new arrival Chef Mark Burton include an Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake, Seasonal Fruit Pies, and composed desserts featuring Hazelnut and Lemon, Honey and Key Lime. Frozen dessert lovers will have their pick of home made ice creams and sorbets including an Affogato and over-the-top Sundae Funday dessert. This power sundae pairs vanilla soft-serve with favourite toppings including Amarena Cherries, Honey Comb Candy, Chocolate Covered Almonds, Brownie, Toffee and Beer Caramel.

Hot Pepper Recipes with Quesada

Hot Pepper School

We headed out to Quesada in Burnaby to sample some burritos and caught up with founder Steve Gill who demoed his hot pepper recipes and made some spicy salsa!

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Their chicken burritos were fantastic and their burrito bowls a great way to get your veggies in.

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Check out our video below for the salsa method!

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Steve’s Top 3 Hot Pepper Recipes 

Steve Gill, Founder and CEO of Quesada Burritos & Tacos is constantly in the kitchen experimenting with different flavours. To help recreate fresh and flavourful Mexican-inspired recipes at home, Steve shares his tips & tricks to cooking with hot peppers with his recipes for Ancho Adobo Marinade, Chile De Arbol Oil and Salsa Roja. Enjoy! 

Ancho Adobo Marinade

Ingredients

 

4          Garlic cloves

10        Ancho Chiles

2          Pasilla Chiles

2 tsp    Salt

1-inch  Cinnamon Stick

2          cloves

1 tsp    Coriander

1 tsp    Cumin

2 Tbsp. Oregano

½ cup  White Vinegar

 

Method

 

1.     Roast garlic in foil at 350F for 30-40 minutes until soft.

2.     Peel skins.

3.     Rehydrate chiles in hot water for 30 minutes. Remove stem and seeds.

4.     Grind spices.

5.     Combine all in ingredients in blender and process to form a paste.

Chile De Arbol Oil

Ingredients

 

½ oz.   Chile de Arbol

2          Garlic cloves – smashed

¾ cup  Extra Virgin Olive Oil

½ tsp   Coarse Salt

 

 

Method

 

1.     Heat oil over medium heat until about to boil.

2.     Add garlic to oil until browned.

a.     Remove, set aside

3.     Add Chile de Arbol to oil until slightly blackened.  30-45 seconds.  Watch closely.

a.     Remove, set aside

4.     Remove pan from heat and allow oil to cool until just warm

5.     Add all ingredients to blender and blend on high until thoroughly combined.

6.     Add salt to taste and blend some more.

 

Once cooled, store in refrigerator.

 

 quesada

Salsa Roja

Ingredients

 

4          Tomatillos

3          Medium Tomatoes

⅓ cup  Water

10-20   Chile de Arbol (Depending on desired heat level)

1          Garlic clove

1 tsp    Oregano

½         Small onion

½ tsp   Salt

1/3 cup water

 

Method

 

1.     Pre-heat oven to 450F.

2.     Bring small pan of water to boil

3.     Remove husks from tomatillos and rinse to remove soap-like film.

a.     Place tomatillos in boiling water and boil for approx. 10 minutes until soft but not broken.

b.     Remove from boiling water, set aside

4.     Place Chile de Arbol on baking tray into heated oven and roast for 60 seconds until slightly blackened.

a.     Remove and grind the chiles.

b.     Be careful to avoid contact with eyes.

5.     Wash and score the tomatoes with an X pattern across the top.

a.     Place on baking sheet in oven and roast for 10 minutes until soft and slightly charred

6.     Combine roasted tomatoes, blackened chiles, boiled tomatillos with garlic, oregano, onions, salt and water in container and blend on high until desired consistency.

7.     Place salsa in small pot and simmer for 10 minutes to smooth out flavours.

About Quesada

Quesada is a homegrown Canadian success story started by an active guy with a passion for snowboarding and Mexican food. Steve Gill loved a good burrito after a day on the hill. In 2004, he finally decided to leave his well-paying tech job to open the first Quesada in Toronto on Wellington Street. People thought he was crazy. He proved them wrong! There are now nearly 59 locations and growing across Canada and Steve vows that nothing at Quesada will ever come from a can.

*sponsored by Quesada

Grain Donates a Ton of Chickpeas Vancouver Food Networks

May 1-9 is Chickpeas Fest in Vancouver – Vancouver Food Networks Celebrate Year of the Pulses

Grain, a farmer-direct, socially and sustainably focused dry goods business recently donated 2,000 of chickpeas to Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks. These visually imperfect, but otherwise completely consumable legumes couldn’t be sold through Grain’s regular channels, so the company wanted to make sure they go to feed those in need.

Monday at Little Mountain Neighbourhood House is the Newcomers Community Kitchen; Tuesday is Seniors Lunch at Kits Neighbourhood House; Thursday at Cityview Church is the Open Table Lunch; Friday at Little Mountain is the Community Meal and at Strathcona Community Centre is the backpack program which includes the chickpeas.

chickpea festival

Food security is a city-wide issue in Vancouver.  It is reported that with the rising housing costs, healthy food choices are compromised as more people are sliding into a ‘hunger zone’. It is estimated that close to one in five Vancouver households report some level of food insecurity – meaning they feel they cannot always access healthy food.

chickpeas

Kiwassa Neighbourhood House food bank volunteers and staff packed chickpeas into 10kg bags which have been distributed to partners through the Vancouver Food Bank Society.  Chickpeas will be on the menu at community kitchens, community meals, and food hampers this month with the Chickpea Fest showcasing recipes, hummus workshops, during the May 1- 9th festival.

Neighbourhood Food Network spokesperson, Joanne MacKinnon says, “Quality donations need to increase, but we also need better kitchens, storage and increased staffing to handle the donations.  We follow the good food principles to accept donations of healthy, fresh food and not highly processed foods high in sugars, sodium and trans fats.”  The Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks are positioned to increase our community capacity and to ensure that all our residents have access to healthy food.  

Vancouver Food Network

About Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks

The Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Network Coordinators (VNFNs) are part of the City’s Greenest City Action Plan to address food security in the city.  They are currently in 11 Vancouver neighbourhoods supporting food access and healthy eating for all our community members. They include networks of community members, organizations, and agencies who collaborate on food-based initiatives and programs at the neighbourhood level and that support food security and food access, in particular, for vulnerable community members.

hummus

Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi’s Basic Hummus

Author Notes: This recipe is simple and the results are perfect, but here’s the real coup: Most from-scratch hummus recipes involve simmering the chickpeas for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Ottolenghi and Tamimi’s are done in 20 to 40 minutes. How? See step 2. Briefly cooking the soaked chickpeas directly with baking soda scruffs up the skins and allows them to cook much faster and puree smoother. (Without having to peel the chickpeas by hand.) Recipe adapted slightly from Jerusalem (Ten Speed Press, 2013) (less)Genius Recipes

Makes 6 servings

  • 1 1/4 cups dried chickpeas
  • teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 1/2 cups water
  • cup plus 2 tablespoons tahini (light roast)
  • tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • cloves garlic, crushed
  • 6 1/2tablespoons ice cold water
  • Salt
  • Good quality olive oil, to serve (optional)
  1. The night before, put the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover them with cold water at least twice their volume. Leave to soak overnight.
  2. The next day, drain the chickpeas. Place a medium saucepan over high heat and add the drained chickpeas and baking soda. Cook for about three minutes, stirring constantly. Add the water and bring to a boil. Cook, skimming off any foam and any skins that float to the surface. The chickpeas will need to cook for 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the type and freshness, sometimes even longer. Once done, they should be very tender, breaking up easily when pressed between your thumb and finger, almost but not quite mushy.
  3. Drain the chickpeas. You should have roughly 3 2/3 cups now. Place the chickpeas in a food processor and process until you get a stiff paste. Then, with the machine sill running, add the tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Finally, slowly drizzle in the ice water and allow it to mix for about five minutes, until you get a very smooth and creamy paste.
  4. Transfer the hummus to a bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap, and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. If not using straightaway, refrigerate until needed. Make sure to take it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before serving. Optionally, to serve, top with a layer of good quality olive oil. This hummus will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Exploring Abbotsford Tulips and Craft Beer

What’s up in Abbotsford these days? Blossoms and beer!

Abbotsford is growing rapidly of late and the city is attracting all sorts of new and very cool businesses and festivals! We recently ventured out for the Abbotsford Tulip Festival (on until May 1, 2016), and on the way back stopped in for some craft beer and a locally sourced dinner.

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The area is known for it’s farmland and while the Tulip Festival is seasonal, many farms and attractions are open year round; check the Circle Farm Tour website for touring suggestions here.

Be sure to mark your calendar for August 19, 2016 when the Applebarn at Taves Family Farm opens for the season and plan a day in the country.

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The newest brewery is Field House Brewing and they’ve got a variety of seasonal beers and a gorgeous tasting room.

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Bonnie Friesan and her efficient crew Faspa and Co Catering and the brewery and chef worked together to produce a well-paired dinner at the brewery using local and seasonal ingredients

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The long table was beautifully set using local foliage.

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Beets, spinach and ricotta.

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Local duck and fiddleheads!

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Delicious rhubarb!

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Ladies!

For more on Abbotsford, check out our last stay in Abbotsford at Brookside Inn. 

Mother’s Day Gifts – Global TV

Mother’s Day Gifts

Global TV asked us to suss out some items that won’t break the bank for Mother’s Day and we delivered!

You don’t have to cheap out when it comes to Mother’s Day! You can find some great buys around, all less than (mostly) $30. Just remember to buy something that your mother may not spoil herself with.  No ironing boards!

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salt spring coffee

Oxo French Press – 4 Cup $39 (Cook Culture) Salt Spring Coffee and Mug

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Purdy’s Mother’s Day Chocolate $21 (Purdys)

oxo good grips hand held spiralizer

Oxo Good Grips Hand Spiralizer $20 (Cook Culture, Well Seasoned Langley)

Presidents Choice Cheese Board $10, Natural Pastures Cheese (IGA) $10 Cuispro Cheese Slicer $19 (Cook Culture)

floral tea set

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Indigo Floral Tea Set $25 with TWG Tea (Urban Tea Merchant)

message board

Indigo Message Board $25 (Indigo)

fridge magnets

pencil case

Indigo Pencil Case $18 and Fridge Magnets $10

pink

Indigo Candle $29

time of your life margaret trudeau

Margaret Trudeau – The Time of Your Life $20 (Indigo)

geraniums web

Geraniums $5 and Pot $10 (Hunter Garden Centre)

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Sons of Vancouver Amaretto $25 (Legacy Liquor)

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A Spicy Touch Noorbanu Nimji’s Kitchen $35 (Books to Cooks)

What’s Good This Week April 26

Events in Vancouver

We’re back from our Okanagan getaway and seem to have brought the sun back with us! Perfect weather to check out indoor and outdoor events in Vancouver!
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The Greasy Spoon Vol 14. Featuring Trevor Bird from Fable Kitchen – April 26

An evening affair that will defy your preconceptions of diner food!The Greasy Spoon Diner was conceived by a group of passionate Vancouverites led by Mark Brand who hosts it monthly at his Save On Meats diner. It pairs a chef and his chosen team, often from many other kitchens, alongside a front of house team comprised of people from all sectors in our city. A new menu is created each month which fuses together fine dining and diner food to deliver a four course meal to remember. Proceeds from this edition will be going towards a great cause which focuses on hunger solutions: A Better Life Foundation.

royaldinette uglyduckling mousse creditleilakwok

BIRDS OF A FEATHER: ROYAL DINETTE’S JACK CHEN AND BURDOCK & CO.’S ANDREA CARLSON TAKE FLIGHT FOR FIFTH “UGLY DUCKLING” DINNER – APRIL 26 

To Spotlight Food-Waste Awareness, Sustainability Issues Through Multi-Course Dinner – Fundraiser for Les Dames d’Escoffier and Two Rivers Meat scholarship for Tina Fineza

Royal Dinette adds another entry to its popular series of Ugly Duckling Dinners on Tuesday, April 26 when Head Chef Jack Chen welcomes guest chef Andrea Carlson of Burdock & Co. and Harvest Community Foods into the kitchen to prepare a collaborative sustainably-focused feast.

TICKETS
Royal Dinette’s fifth Ugly Duckling Dinner takes place on Tuesday, April 26 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are available via Eventbrite and include a multi-course menu with beverage pairings for $79 per person plus tax and gratuity. Five percent of sales will be donated to Les Dames d’Escoffier BC Chapter for their Service Excellence Scholarship Fund in honour of Tina Fineza.

bison meatballs

Siena – The Balls to battle Cancer – until May 12th 

Even the strongest man is sensitive and vulnerable in some parts. Balls-themed menu as a Men’s Cancer Fundraiser, featuring mouthwatering versions of Siena’s Arancini, Meatballs, Bocconcini, Burrata, Croquettes, Profiteroles and more!

$7.00 from the sale from each prix-fixe “Balls” menu goes to the Canadian Cancer Society, BC and Yukon Division, directed towards research and prevention of male cancers. The “Balls Menu” is offered in addition to the regular menu.

nicoise

Provence Poisson d’Avril until April 30

Enjoy Provence’s Poisson d’Avril menu and fish from their fishbowl to win great prizes and fun pranks.  Poisson d’Avril dinner menu ($56) with optional wine-pairing ($24). Every card contains a unique prize, so get ready to enjoy a great Ocean Wise meal and Go-Fish. Click for details

farmacie

Farmacie Dinner – April 28

The Pipe Shop on the North Shore hosts a plant-based FARMACIE long table dinner in partnership with Saje Wellness!

100% of proceeds will go directly to support Girlvana! Girlvana’s goal is simple; to teach teen girls the tools of yoga and meditation while providing strong mentorship with a raw and heartfelt approach.

The menu is curated by To Die For’s Erin Ireland featuring: Chef Karen McAthy of Blue Heron Cheese, Chef Marika Richoz, The Juice Truck Chefs Scotia Corinne & Alina Bobyleva and Kitskitchen. Alison Ramage of Design to Dine will be hosting a multi-sensory cocktail garden using goods from Rise Kombucha, Deep Cove Brewers, The Juicery Co., & Odd Society Spirits to name a few!

The place decked to the nines with help from MAIWA and Room 6, so arrive farm chic and expect to be wowed. Grab your tickets at FARMACIE.CA

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WINE FOR WAVES NARAMATA BENCH WINERIES SPRING WINE RELEASE IN VANCOUVER – APRIL 28 

The Naramata Bench Wineries announces their annual and much anticipated Spring Wine Release Event, WINE FOR WAVES, in partnership with the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program. The event will take place on Thursday, April 28, at the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver at 7 PM.

Enjoy the best  and newest wine releases from 26 Naramata Bench wineries while sampling culinary offerings from  YEW seafood + bar; Mosquito, Fanny Bay Oyster Bar, Vancouver Fish Company, Vancouver Aquarium; and the Naramata Bench’s own Hillside Winery Bistro,  Red Rooster’s Pecking Room Grill, and Upper Bench Winery and Creamery. Info and Tickets go to vanaqua.org/wineforwaves Time: 7:00 – 9:30 PM.  Tickets: $110.

All proceeds to benefit Ocean Wise.

 

Canadian Cheese Recipe – Cod You Believe It’s Shmoked Mac n’ Cheese

Canadian Cheese stars in a Seafood-based Mac n’ Cheese

We’ve always got some sort of Canadian Cheese in our refrigerator and pasta is never complete without a grating of a little extra atop.

Last week four top chefs and foodies from across Canada took to the stage in an attempt to create the ultimate comfort food using Canadian cheese, pasta and a little imagination.

tran

Alexandra Feswick, Chef de Cuisine at the Drake Hotel in Toronto, today emerged victorious in one of Canada’s highest profile culinary comfort food battles, Dairy Farmers of Canada’s (DFC) Grate Canadian Cheese Cook-Off.

With Mac & Cheese again as its theme, the biannual showdown took place at DFC’s Canadian Cheese Counter at the Toronto Food & Drink Market.

From BC Chef Thompson Tran from The Wooden Boat, in Port Moody, BC represented our province with the Cod You Believe It’s Shmoked Mac n’ Cheese and we recreated it at home and suggest you do the same.

British Columbia is well-known for its abundance of fresh sustainable seafood and quality hand-crafted products. Tran combined the bold, elegant and earthy flavours of smoked fish with the unctuous, sharp salty characteristics found in some of my favourite Canadian cheeses.

Cod You Believe It’s Shmoked Mac n’ Cheese

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: about 16 minutes
Baking time: 10 to 12 minutes
Yield: 4 to 6 servings

½ lb (250 g) gemeli pasta
½ cup (125 mL) dry white wine
¼ cup (50 mL) fish stock
1 cup (250 mL) milk
¾ cup (175 mL) 18% table cream
1/3 cup (75 mL) unsalted butter, divided
Grated zest of 1 lemon, divided
4 to 6 drops truffle oil
2 slices sourdough bread, cut in ½-inch (1 cm) cubes
1½ tbsp (22 mL) all-purpose flour
1¼ cup (300 mL) shredded Canadian Emmental cheese, divided
¾ cup (175 mL) shredded Canadian 4-year-old Cheddar cheese, divided
2/3 cup (150 mL) 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubed smoked BC black cod or any smoked mild white fish
½ cup (125 mL) roughly chopped cabbage
1 tbsp (15 mL) finely sliced, de-seeded serrano chili pepper or to taste
1 tbsp (15 mL) finely chopped fresh tarragon

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Butter an 8 or 9-inch (20 to 23 cm) square oven-proof baking dish.

In large pot of boiling, salted water cook pasta according to package directions, about 7 minutes. Drain half of the pasta in colander, rinse in cool water and drain; combine with remaining unrinsed pasta. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in small skillet, combine wine and fish stock; cook on high heat until half of the liquid has evaporated, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in milk and cream. Set aside.

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In small skillet, melt 2 tbsp (30 mL) of butter over medium heat. Add half of the lemon zest, truffle oil and bread cubes, sauté until bread is light golden brown, about 3 minutes. Set aside.

In large pot, melt remaining butter over medium heat, until frothy. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in reserved milk mixture. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 3 minutes or until thickened, whisking occasionally.

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Remove from heat; stir in ¾ cup (175 mL) of Emmental cheese and ½ cup (125 mL) of Cheddar cheese. Add drained pasta, smoked cod, cabbage, serrano chili pepper, and remaining lemon zest. Pour into prepared dish. Top with bread cubes, remaining Emmental and Cheddar cheeses. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Serve immediately, sprinkled with tarragon and a very light squeeze of lemon.

We poured ourselves a nice glass of NZ Sauvignon Blanc!

Skipper Otto’s Cortes Island Oysters #UglytoAwesome

Taking Skipper Otto’s Cortes Island Oysters from Ugly to Awesome

If you are an oyster lover, you know oysters come in all sizes and shapes. Some are best slurped fresh, right out of the shell, some dressed up with a bit of mignonette, and some of the bigger ones are better in stews or baked. Recently we were offered a sample of Skipper Otto’s Cortes Island oysters, a gnarly bunch of creatures that aren’t exactly supermarket shelf pretty as they cling to each other and are wildly misshapen. However ugly these may be deemed, they are absolutely delicious, and at $9 a dozen, an amazing deal. Fantastic recipe and looks delicious! If people are interested in CSF, memberships start at just $100 and get you $100 worth of Ocean Wise, fisherman-direct, fair trade seafood anytime throughout the year at a variety of pick-up dates and locations. Join by May 31st at www.skipperotto.ca

Skipper Ottos

They can be picked up down in Granville Island at Fisherman’s Wharf and around Vancouver. Check the schedule here.

Skipper Ottos

Skipper Otto's

We decided to make a version of Oysters Rockefeller with ours, but as they were a bit clingy we started them off on the barbecue so they’d pop open and be easier to deal with. We then transferred them to a shell and topped with the spinach mixture and cheese and baked in the oven indoors.

Sasquatch Stout

The result? Deliciously beautiful oysters! A bit of bread and perhaps a salad and you’ve got a meal. Don’t forget the craft beer!

Spinachy Oysters

2 garlic cloves
2 cups loosely packed fresh spinach
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup panko crumbs

1 pound (about) rock salt
24 fresh oysters, shucked, shells reserved
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Barbecue oysters until they start to pop open and then bring into the kitchen to finish in the oven.

Position rack in top third of oven and preheat to 450°F. Finely chop garlic in processor. Add spinach and green onions to garlic. Process, using on/off turns, until mixture is finely chopped. Transfer mixture to medium bowl.
Combine butter, breadcrumbs and process until well blended. Return spinach mixture to processor. Process, using on/off turns, just until mixtures are blended. Season with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle rock salt over large baking sheet to depth of 1/2 inch. Arrange oysters in half shells atop rock salt. Top each oyster with 1 tablespoon spinach mixture. Sprinkle with cheese.
Bake until spinach mixture browns on top, about 8 minutes.

Good Life Vancouver is all about the good life in and around Vancouver and often far beyond!