from Jude’s Kitchen: my last column

Here's wishing you a Happy New Year and the very best in a year of changes: 2014.

Carmelis Goatgonzola spread

Carmelis Goatgonzola spread

It has been decided that my food column will no longer run in the Kelowna Capital News, so this is the last one, after 824 columns ‘from Jude’s Kitchen.’

It’s been 15 years and 10 months and it’s been great fun. I’ve enjoyed the hundreds of comments I’ve received from readers over the years. Even the criticism about a typing error or omission has nearly always included a compliment as well. Thanks everyone.

Over the years, I’ve met all kinds of terrific people from cookbook authors to home cooks, including youngsters learning to cook and men in boardrooms and industry, who love to cook too. The enjoyment of good food is a great equalizer.

I’ve had the opportunity to get to know many of the Okanagan’s world class chefs who have been incredibly supportive over the years, as have those in the grape and wine industry that I’ve chronicled as it’s  taken root and grown into an award winner in this country.

Thanks to all of you who have contributed so much to this column over the years, including our farmers and food producers.

As we begin a new year, it seems right to look back over the previous 12 months—a bit of a watershed year in my life—and then to consider some hopes and dreams for the coming year.

I hope your 2014 is terrific.

Remember to continue supporting local farmers, producers, retailers, chefs, wineries and restaurants. Buy local products whenever possible.

By doing so, you end up helping yourself with fresher, healthier food while helping all of your neighbours who are making their living by providing top quality food for you. In the process you support your community—and yourself—by helping the local economy stay healthy too.

For more recipes using fresh, local ingredients, in season, pick up a copy of my book, Jude’s Kitchen, at local bookstores or wine boutiques.

Carmelis Goatgonzola Spread with Cranberries & Pecans

This spread is simple to prepare, yummy to eat, and it’s quite elegant. It is a fabulous match for Mission Hill Family Estate’s Late Harvest Vidal wine. This pair would make an excellent partner to see the new year in with.

Craisins are an Ocean Spray product. Ocean Spray is a co-operative of cranberry growers from throughout North America. Most of B.C.’s cranberry growers are members.

Carmelis was founded by a local family of cheese makers, who raise their own goats and make a wide variety of delicious cheeses from goat’s milk.

4 oz. (120 g) Carmelis Goatgonzola

4 oz. (120 g) cream cheese

1/4 c. (60 ml) Ocean Spray Craisins

1/4 c. (60 ml) toasted pecan pieces

fresh-ground black pepper, to taste

coarse-ground sea salt, to taste

Grate or crumble, or a bit of each, the Carmelis Goatgonzola. You may substitute another blue or Roquefort-style cheese, but this is an excellent local cheese. It’s available at such shops as Okanagan Grocery and Urban Fare when Carmelis is closed in winter.

Bring the cheeses to room temperature in a medium-sized mixing bowl, then gently combine them, leaving a few small lumps of the crumbled Goatgonzola.

Coarsely chop the Craisins and toasted pecans, reserving a few larger pieces for garnishing.

Add Craisins and toasted pecan pieces and combine well with the cheese mixture.

Season with fresh-ground black pepper and coarsely-ground sea salt.

Serve garnished with a couple of Craisins and pecans with your favourite crackers or on crostini slices.

Peppered Steak

This is an old favourite, but the recipe is simple and delicious, so with a good piece of locally-produced meat, it becomes a very special meal, suitable for seeing in a new year with.

2 tender B.C. steaks

2 tbsp. (30 ml) peppercorns

2 tbsp. (30 ml) butter

1 green onion

3 tbsp. (45 ml) cognac

1/4 c. (60 ml) beef stock

2 tbsp. (30 ml) cream

Use a rolling pin to coarsely crush the peppercorns. I generally used a mix of black, white, green and red, but just black is fine.

Finely chop green onion.

We prefer 3/4-inch thick rib-eye beef steaks, but a sirloin or whatever your favourite tender steak is, will do just as well.

Press both sides of each steak into the cracked peppercorns, then let stand for a half-hour or so.

Heat a cast iron pan or other heavy-bottomed frypan, then melt butter in it and when it’s sizzling well, add the steaks, cooking for 2-3 minutes each side for medium-rare.

Remove to a heated platter and keep warm.

Add green onion to pan, turn it about for a minute, then add cognac and flame it. Add beef stock and mix well with all the brown bits from the pan, then simmer until it’s slightly reduced before stirring in the cream.

Spoon over meat on platter and serve immediately.

Serves 2 or so.



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