The Food Edition…
I’m sure you, like us, love food. Whether you love to prepare food, or just consume It, food is exciting! Its fun to try new foods, seek out new places to dine, and travel to far away places, to try new cuisines. I think one thing the pandemic has taught us, is that we really missed sharing food with relatives and friends at special times like birthdays, holidays and special occasions. What the vaccines have done for us during Covid though, is given us some sense of comfort that its ok to gather again and meet with friends and family who are vaccinated, to share a meal, and if you’re comfortable, even eat inside a restaurant again!
Last evening we had the most amazing salmon done on the BBQ, with cedar planks. Its not just the recipe that makes eating the food great though in our opinion, its the whole experience of sourcing out the food, preparing the food, cooking the food and then eating the food!
We purchased our fresh steelhead salmon from the Fanny Bay Oysters seafood market in Buckley Bay which is 7.1km north of us on the Island Hwy. Knowing where to get fresh salmon at this time of year is part of the adventure of knowing we’re going to have a great meal. For most of yesterday Richard soaked the cedar planks in the sink in cold water. Plank cooking is a Native American technique that imparts a subtle smoky flavour to fish. The cedar we were using was western, red cedar made specifically for cooking purposes. When I was finished yesterday’s blog, I started making the Epicurious recipe for Maple Cedar Planked Salmon as follows:
Maple Glazed Planked Salmon
1 Cup pure maple syrup (we use Dougies own Maple Syrup made by our good friend Doug Kurtin and his wife Heather at their Kabin in the Grey Highlands of Ontario)
2 TBSP finely grated peeled fresh gingerroot
4 TBSP fresh lemon juice
3 TBSP soy sauce (I use tamari instead of soy sauce as it is gluten free)
1 and a half TSP of minced garlic
Mix all of these ingredients in a pan and slowly simmer down for about 30 minutes until you have a glaze. Cool the glaze in the refrigerator
Take 1 bunch of green scallions and wash them.
Dry the salmon well with a paper towel, salt and pepper the salmon to taste.
Cook cedar planks on the BBQ until they are warm (10-12 minutes).
Take the cedar planks off the BBQ, lay the scallions on the planks, then put the salmon on the planks, skin side on the plank. Take a basting brush and add some maple glaze on the salmon. Put the cedar planks with the salmon on the BBQ and cook until the salmon is cooked and is flaky, but not dry.
Once the salmon is cooked, transfer to a plate and put the maple glaze over the salmon. The heat of the salmon will make the glaze warm up, so it becomes a more liquid sauce. Enjoy!
Making the maple glaze.
Assembling the salmon on the cedar planks. Notice the glass of Chardonnay on the side of the BBQ. Guess who is doing the BBQ?
The salmon is on and cooking!
Maple glazed planked salmon, with bacon cheese mashed potatoes, green beans and broccoli. Delicious!
The reason why I’m doing ‘The Food Edition’ today is a tribute to CBS Sunday Morning which always has ‘The Food Edition’ the Sunday before US Thanksgiving. To watch CBS Sunday Morning on the West Coast, I would have to be up at 6am on a Sunday, so since that wasn’t going to happen, I watched it tonight on my IPAD. I was surprised I was able to Google CBS Sunday Morning and ’The Food Edition’ came right up, and without commercials too! The show was very interesting today and we learned a lot by watching it. I’m definitely more inspired to cook and bake after watching today’s ‘The Food Edition’ show on CBS Sunday Morning.
This morning I had a big workout in Newman and then we went to Courtenay to meet our friends Mark and Kerry at ‘Locals’ for Sunday brunch. Locals Restaurant bills itself as ‘Food from the Heart of the Island’. The eggs are from Farmer Ben’s, Artisan bacon and ham and Rhonda Viani, the pastry chef, prepares the homemade savoury biscuits served with the eggs benny! Everything is made from in house and from scratch. They even have a warning on their website that they welcome young diners earlier in the evening and since they have NO deep fryer, their children’s menu is healthy and varied. I think that warning might be a deterrent to some parent’s looking to bring their kids to Locals for a meal! Brunch is something I enjoy as long as someone else makes it, so I was really looking forward to our brunch today, and to seeing Mark and Kerry too!
Richard ready for brunch at Locals.
Locals is just off the Coastal Highway in Courtenay, and is very close to the Courtenay Riverway Heritage Walk, which it overlooks off its back patio.
I thought this was kind of cool…Locals name in the sidewalk entrance to the restaurant
Its never a Sunday brunch without a mimosa for me! Kerry and me posing for Richard before brunch. We had so much to catch up with Mark and Kerry since we hadn’t seen them since we were last here in March, 2021.
Yummy, bacon eggs benny with homemade biscuits. Richard had the lox eggs benny. So delicious!
We had a very long almost 3 hour catch up with Mark and Kerry and its too bad we won’t be here longer to see them again, but we have invited them to Florida if the weather is too bad for them over the winter…and we really mean it! Mark is an avid golfer and I think he would really like our golf course at Lone Palm, in Lakeland! Mark and Kerry are big e-bikers on the Island and I think e-bikes are definitely something we’ll be investing in next year!
I was inspired after lunch to go and get all of the ingredients I needed for Christmas baking! I know its still early for Christmas baking, but there is a certain someone in Victoria who would love some of his mom’s homemade Christmas baking before I leave the Island.
To stock up on what I needed, we stopped at the Quality Foods in Courtenay to do some shopping. We had heard from Kerry that people were starting to hoard food and toilet paper, given the State of Emergency in B.C., so I was worried what we might find at the grocery store. Luckily, the shelves were still full and there didn’t seem to be any shortages of anything, so I was able to get what I needed to start my baking. I’ve got to get the baking done before Saturday, and wouldn’t you know it, there is another ‘Atmospheric River‘ heading to Northern B.C. tomorrow, with a lesser amount of rain coming our way in the south later in the day. A good time to get baking if the weather is bad!
And what am I baking for Christmas?
Swedish Butter Balls
1 Cup of butter softened
1/2 Cup of icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract (I’ll be using the good stuff Richard just brought me from Mexico)
2 and a quarter cups Cake & Pastry flour
1 cup finely chopped pecans
Sifted icing sugar
Preheat oven to 400F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cream butter, icing sugar and vanilla together thoroughly in a large mixing bowl.
Add flour. Mix well. Stir in nuts.
Shape dough into 1” balls. Place on baking trays. Bake for 8-12 min until very light golden. Cool on racks and roll in sifted icing sugar. Store in air tight containers and these will last until Christmas if you can resist eating them all!
Lemon squares with shortbread crust
Prepare the crust. Preheat the oven to 325F. Line the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the sides to lift the finished bars out.
1 Cup butter, melted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups and 2 TBSP all purpose flour
Mix all of the crust ingredients listed above together in a mixer and then press firmly into a 9x13 baking pan. Pre-bake the crust for 20-22 minutes until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and using a fork, poke holes all over the top of the warm crust but not all the way through the crust.
While the crust is baking prepare the lemon filling for the squares.
2 Cups granulated sugar
6 TBSP all purpose flour
6 large eggs
1 Cup lemon juice or juice from 4 lemons
Sift the sugar and flour together in a bowl. Whisk in the eggs and then the lemon juice until completely combined. Pour the filling over the warm crust. Bake the bars for 22-26 minutes or until the center is relatively set and no longer jiggles. Remove bars and cool them for 2 hours at room temperature and then stick in the refrigerator for 1-2 more hours until pretty chilled. Once chilled, lift the parchment paper out and cut the lemon squares. You can dust with confectioners sugar on top of the lemon squares if you like. The squares can be cut and stored in the refrigerator or even frozen to last until Christmas (if they last).
When we got home from brunch Richard worked on Newman. He was under Newman lubricating the jacks, starting the Diesel engine and making sure that Newman will be ready to roll on Saturday. Tomorrow he is going to run Newman’s diesel generator to make sure its working fine as well. We’ll have to spend some time tidying up a bit too and cleaning inside this week, since we have more things packed away when we’re rolling down the highway, than when we are stationary for a long time. My larger kitchen appliances like the Vitamix and Kitchenaid stand mixer will all be stowed safely in Newman’s basement. There is no way we want those items falling off the counter and smashing on the tile floor when we are driving down the highway!
Richard was on the phone to St. Stephen talking about what he was going to do to prepare Newman for our journey this week.
While Richard worked on Newman, I wandered around the RV park taking some photos. I will miss the view we have here at Lighthouse RV Park, in Fanny Bay, but I’m looking forward to new adventures and our epic road trip across the USA to Florida. Speaking of Florida, Richard’s brother Norm and his lovely wife Jo started their journey to Florida today from Ottawa, and are safely in Virginia for the evening. Weather permitting, they should be in Florida within then next 2 days. Let’s hope they have a great drive the rest of the way to Florida! We’ll see them once we get there!
Oyster fishing boats in Fanny Bay.
Just as blue hour was coming in, someone was out on the point sitting by a fire. It was 8C today, but it felt cooler outside.
Let’s hope I’ve inspired you with our version of ‘The Food Edition’ today, and you’ll get inspired to cook and bake and prepare for the holidays too!