from Jude's Kitchen: happy local new year

Prawn risotto - Judie Steeves/Capital News
Prawn risotto
— image credit: Judie Steeves/Capital News

happy local new year

from Jude’s Kitchen

It seems totally appropriate to me to celebrate the beginning of a new year with a re-newed commitment to eat local; to support the Okanagan’s  farmers, ranchers, orchardists and grape-growers; its wine, cheese and bread-makers; as well as those who bring in fresh seafood from B.C.’s vast coastal resource and those who reap this harvest to provide scrumptious meals for us, made with our bounty of local produce: the chefs of the Okanagan.

And, that is what fellow food writer Jennifer Schell has done in her new book, The Butcher, The Baker, The Wine & Cheese Maker, a collection of recipes contributed by local chefs throughout the Okanagan, as well as a few home made ones.

Many of the colour photos are mouth-watering and she’s included a bit of background information about each of the local producers, winemakers and chefs who contributed to this book, which makes it a fascinating read for local foodies.

A portion of the proceeds from book sales are to be donated to the newly-created FarmGate Foundation, in cooperation with the Okanagan Chefs Association. The idea is to support community gardens, growing food for donation to needy organizations, educational opportunities, cooking demonstrations and building relationships between farmers and the community.

As with any cookbook, have a careful look to ensure you’re comfortable with the recipes, unless you’re looking for a souvenir book, although these vary considerably, since they’re all written by different people…

Whatever you serve this New Year’s eve, take the opportunity to resolve to pay more attention to where each item of your food comes from; read labels and insist stores are clear about where food products are grown or manufactured.

Then, make a conscious decision to favour local, B.C. products wherever possible, for your health and to support your neighbours.

That’s also the focus of my book, Jude’s Kitchen, which is packed with recipes, arranged by the season, for dishes that feature B.C. products. It’s available wherever books are sold.

Happy New Year!


Blueberry & Almond Financier

Chef Giulio Piccoli of the Rotten Grape in Kelowna submitted this recipe to Jennifer’s book, and he suggests serving it with a wedge of brie cheese such as that made at Upper Bench Cheese in Penticton. He advises removing it from the fridge well ahead of time so it can slowly be brought to room temperature. This is a gluten-free recipe.

2.6 oz. (75 g) unsalted butter

2.6 oz. (75 g) ground almonds

1 c. (250 ml) icing sugar

1 tsp. (5 ml) baking powder

5 tbsp. (75 ml) buckwheat flour

3 egg whites

1/2 c. (125 ml) blueberries

splash or amaretto

blueberries, to garnish

Pre-heat the oven to 375 F.

Melt the butter on low heat until the solids separate and sink to the bottom and begin to brown. This gives a toasty hazelnut colour typical of brown butter. Remove from the heat and allow it to cool. Strain through a cheesecloth.

Roast the ground almonds for a few minutes until the start to change colour to a light golden brown.

In a bowl or in a mixer with the paddle attachment, mix your dry ingredients: icing sugar, baking powder, ground almonds and flour.

Add the egg whites, one at a time, making sure that the first one is well-incorporated before adding the second. Then, add the butter. The mixture should be sticky.

Add blueberries, fresh or frozen, making sure to add any juices in the bowl. Add a splash of amaretto.

Pour into muffin/cupcake tin and fill each almost to the top. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, and they are slightly crisp and brown around the edges.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes.

You may decorate the plate with a little berry sauce, a few blueberries and the brie cheese.


Casavant Spot Prawn Risotto

A creation of Manteo chef Bernard Casavant, this risotto is just heavenly. We served it over fresh baby spinach instead of the organic greens recommended, and the crisp buttery leaves, slightly wilted where the risotto lay, was a great combination. Pair it with a decadent wine such as Summerhill’s sparkling wines or Sandhill’s 2010 Chardonnay from its Small Lots Program. This wine brought home a gold medal from the Chardonnay Du Monde this year, the only Canadian wine to do so. Sandhill’s viognier, with its flavours of many fruits, and its fresh, crisp finish would also be a terrific match with this dish.

4 c. (1 l) vegetable stock

1 tbsp. (15 ml) butter

1 tbsp. (15 ml) olive oil

1 c. (250 ml) finely-diced onions

1 c. (250 ml) arborio rice

1/2 c. (125 ml) white wine

30 wild B.C. spot prawns

1 tbsp. (15 ml) butter

1 1/2 c. (375 ml) fresh chevre

sea salt and black pepper, to taste

2 tbsp. (30 ml) chives, finely minced

Bring the stock to a rolling boil and reduce to a simmer.

In a pot large enough to hold all ingredients, over medium heat, heat the oil and butter and add the onion. Saute briefly until soft. Do not allow it to brown.

Add the arborio rice and saute until the grains are well-coated and the arborio changes to a light white colour.

Add in the white wine, stir and reduce.

Using a four-ounce ladle, carefully add the stock a ladle at a time, stirring until the liquid is almost evaporated. Repeat, adding the stock until it is almost finished.

When the rice is fully-cooked, but still a little crunchy in the centre, stop adding stock and fold in the spot prawns and mix thoroughly. Do not overmix as the risotto will become mushy.

Add in the butter, chevre (Carmelis makes a beautiful local soft goat cheese), salt and pepper and mix again. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Add in a half-ladle of stock and the chives and mix very lightly.

Serve immediately and enjoy.

Serves 4.








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