Cooking Classes Fall 2012

It has been awhile, but the cooking classes at Two If By Sea in Dartmouth are back! Classes will be held Wednesday nights, at 7pm. Each class is $50. Registration can be done through email at Renee@feistychef.ca. Hope to see you this Fall. Please note that there is no class on Wednesday September 19th.

 

Class #1: (Wednesday September 12th) All Things Must Fall:

On this first evening, we will cook up some Fall favorites such as pumpkin soup, apple and bacon salad, seared scallops with celery root puree and salt roasted pears.

Class #2: (Wednesday September 26th): Ciao Italia:

I am going to Italy this Fall, so tonight we will cook Italian! Fresh potato gnocchi with sage brown butter, tiramisu, spaghetti Carnonara and a very infamous warmcabbage and balsamic salad.

Class #3: (Wednesday October 3rd) Thanksgiving:

A popular class from last year, a take on some Thanksgiving favorites. Brussel sprout and bacon salad, creamy mashed potatoes with grainy mustard, roast pork with crackling and a sweet potato pie.

Class #4: (Wednesday October 10th) A Few of My Favorite Things:

 An ode to some of my favorite dishes: meaty lasagna, frisee salad with lardons and goat cheese, Doug’s No Knead bread and chocolate pudding.

Market Round-Up – August 18, 2012

Summer’s in full swing and the bounty of incredible local and seasonal products couldn’t be better. In this week’s Market Round-Up I share a description of my haul from the Dartmouth Farmers’ Market and the Historic Brewery Market. I already can’t wait for next Saturday!

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Renee & Zoe’s Strawberry Ice Cream

Renee & Zoe’s Strawberry Ice Cream from Doug Townsend on Vimeo.

As I had promised in my blog post last week and as per the video, here is my recipe for Strawberry Ice Cream.

Strawberry Ice Cream

Makes Approximately 2L

2C of strawberries; hulled and washed
1C sugar
2C whole milk
2C 35% cream
1 vanilla bean; scraped (optional)
6 egg yolks

In a pot, add the strawberries and about 1 tbsp of the sugar. Bring to a boil and turn off.

In another pot, add the milk, 1/2C of the sugar and the vanilla bean. Bring to a simmer but not a boil. While this is happening, separate your eggs and whisk yolks with the sugar. Once the milk and cream has come to s simmer, slowly add a ladleful at a time to the egg mixture; constantly whisking so that they eggs do not cook. Add a few more until the egg mixture is tempered then pour back into the pot with the remaining milk and cream.

Slowly cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens and can coat the back of a spoon. Pour through a sieve to remove vanilla beans and any solid and mix with the cooked strawberry mixture.

Cool completely, preferably overnight in the fridge. To make the ice cream the next day, follow the manufacturers instructions on your ice cream machine.

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Berry-Berry Delicious

Strawberry U-Pick

It is that time of year! The smell of sweet strawberries is in the air, and you can find pints of these red berries in abundance everywhere.

My earliest and fondest memory of the ruby red berry is of my father taking me to the local u-pick. Here, he would hand me a large basket and let me roam free to pick and eat as many berries as humanly possible. For what felt like hours, I would scavenge the plants for the biggest and sweetest berries of the bunch; placing half of them in my mouth and the other half in my basket. Once finished picking, we would head home to sit on our front porch and then proceed to hull the berries. One quarter would get frozen, one quarter would get turned into jam, and the other half was left to be eaten by me and my family. Big bowls of the ripe berries would get doused in heavy cream and sprinkled with sugar; every child’s strawberry fantasy.

Now that I have my own children, I decided to keep up the Lavallée tradition and take them strawberry picking. We visited Riverbreeze Farm this past Saturday. 36lbs later, the hulling party began and the first thing I made was strawberry ice cream. As for the other 30-odd pounds, a strawberry jam festivus will take place later this week.

My favorite variety of strawberry is the “Alpine” also known as the “Fraises De Bois” or wild strawberries. This variety bears fruit that is no bigger than your thumbnail, but the flavor is out of this world! Unfortunately, these tiny treasures are very rare in North America, and can now be found almost exclusively in France. Luckily enough growing up, an old woman named Veronique, used to barter with my father and would pay him in wild strawberry jam. 6 jars of heaven would arrive every summer and my mother would keep them hidden until a special occasion arose. The intense strawberry flavor is one that even I cannot describe. I would liberally butter a fresh piece of baguette and gently spoon some of the jam over it; a few moments of pure ecstasy.

Try and take the time this summer to visit a local u-pick to get some fresh berries when in season. Can, jam, freeze or eat, now is the time to seize the berry!

Please stay tuned later this week as I’ll be posting a video on how to make strawberry ice cream. When we shot this video, I had my daughter Zoé at my side helping me through the proces and sneaking a ton of fresh berries along the way… It’s a pretty simple recipe that highlights how incredible this fruit tastes when it’s picked fresh.

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Tuesdays are here to stay.

Tomato Tartine

A slice of summer.

For the past two years, Tuesdays have been the days when my Chronicle Herald column would come out. Now, that my column is no longer running, I felt the need to continue my “Tuesday” stories of food and fun. I promise, whole heartedly,  to have a new post every Tuesday and even a few peppered in between too.

For my first Tuesday post, I want to share a super simple yet beautiful snack that I recently made for my Sunday family dinners. Every second Sunday, my husbands family gathers to eat, talk and hang out. I feel this is very important not only for my husband, but for our two kids. Family time over the dinner table is something that has become extinct, and I am trying to bring it back!

This particular Sunday, the hot house tomatoes had just appeared at the market and Doug had made a batch of his now famous, no-knead bread. With mere minutes to whip up a spectacular looking dinner for ten people, I threw together a few simple and tasty ingredients that were lurking in my fridge; pickled red onions, goats cheese and pea shoots. I quickly toasted slices of the day old bread and gave them a splash of olive oil and salt and pepper. My mixed coloured tomatoes, some fresh basil from my garden and a good splash of olive oil finished the pretty dish. So simple, yet so satisfying. Once placed on a platter on our dinner table, the ooh’s and aah’s came out and everyone tucked in to a delicious treat.

Now that Summer is here, feel free to take what I have made and use it as an outline. I love loading my home made crostinis with everything from smashed peas and mint with feta, to earthy roasted chanterelle mushrooms with bacon.  Invite your family over for dinner and wow them with your simple Sunday meal.

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