With fall comes the short, but sweet season we can enjoy fresh blue Coronation table grapes, a variety that is virtually seedless, that was developed at the federal Pacific Agri-food Research Centre in Summerland.
These sweet/tart, flavourful grapes are terrific for cooking and I often add them to desserts or baking, sometimes substituting them for other fruit such as blueberries, for a completely new flavour.
They’re also good for snacking, and for sauces with main dishes as well as tossing them directly into salads, or slicing them in half first.
While the Okanagan’s main grape crop goes to produce world-class wines, Coronations produce world-class flavours for both home cooks and chefs to create with, so try them in some of your family’s favourite dishes.
We are also producing some delicious ciders in the Okanagan now as well, including Okanagan Premium Cider, now available in a new ginger apple flavour which is delightful to cook with. I tried it with clams instead of wine, and it was a great match.
These ciders are produced by Mark Anthony Brands.
Luckily, we can purchase OceanWise-certified seafood locally; sustainably-caught and brought in regularly to ensure freshness here in Kelowna, at Codfather’s Seafood Market, including the Manila clams, beach raised on Desolation Sound on the B.C. coast.
For hundreds of recipes using local B.C. ingredients, organized by the season, pick up a copy of my book, Jude’s Kitchen wherever books are sold.
Coronation Grape Pavlova
The sweetness of the crisp meringue contrasts nicely with the tartness of the Okanagan-bred Coronation table grapes now available for a limited time in local stores. Thanks to local grape growers for this recipe.
4 egg whites
1/8 tsp. (.5 ml) salt
1/8 tsp. (.5 ml) cream of tartar
1 1/4 c. (375 ml) sugar, divided
2 c. (500 ml) B.C. grapes
1/4 c. (60 ml) packed golden sugar
grated peel of 1 orange
1 tbsp. (15 ml) cornstarch
1 tbsp. (15 ml) orange juice
2 1/2 cups (625 ml) whipping cream
Pre-heat oven to 275 F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Put egg whites in a large bowl and beat at high speed with an electric mixer with a whip attachment until frothy. Continue beating as you add the salt and cream of tartar.
When whites are nearly stiff, gradually add one cup of the sugar as you beat. Continue beating for about a minute or until very stiff and a glossy meringue has formed.
Use a plastic spatula to transfer the meringue to the centre of the parchment-lined pan. Swirl into a circle, or any desired shape, slightly hollowing out the centre.
Bake one hour, then turn off the oven and leave the pavlova for another hour to dry out. Remove and gently lift from parchment paper to a plate. Use within three or four hours to avoid problems with cracking.
Combine grapes, golden sugar, orange zest and the cornstarch which has been combined with a spoonful of juice, in a small pot over medium heat.
Cook, stirring, just until grapes start to split and the mixture has thickened. Cool completely.
When ready to serve, beat the whipping cream until it is stiff, beating in the remaining quarter cup of sugar at the end.
Pile cream and cooked grape mixture into the pavlova and serve at once.
Clams & Cider
Ciders are becoming pretty popular and we have quite a few cideries now operating and more getting ready to open in the Okanagan. Here’s a great way to cook with cider, particularly the ginger apple cider recently released by Okanagan Cider. I used Oceanwise Manila clams raised sustainably on the beach in Desolation Sound, and available at Codfather’s. We served this with crusty bread and a spicy pork fried rice.
1 lb. (454 g) Manila clams
1 tbsp. (15 ml) butter
2 tsp. (10 ml) fresh ginger
3 green onions
1/2 c. (125 ml) cider
salt & pepper, to taste
Rinse clams and discard any that don’t close.
Slice green onions and mince fresh ginger.
Melt butter in a deep frypan or pot over medium heat and add the ginger and the white part of the green onions, turning about for a couple of minutes.
Add ginger apple cider, then clams and season with freshly-ground black pepper and sea salt. Toss most of the remaining green, minced onion tops over top, reserving a handful to sprinkle on as you serve.
Cover and let steam for three to five minutes, just until the shells open.