RIPE: Local Fruit – Use it fresh, preserve the rest

A couple months ago Ann Kask got a hold of me through the NVICA grapevine and asked me to contribute a recipe for her new berry-themed cookbook. Flattered as all get out I readily agreed and proffered my classic Blackberry Hoisin BBQ Sauce recipe to add to the already stacked list. Now just in time for Christmas the cookbook of your dreams has arrived: RIPE: Local Fruit – Use it fresh, preserve the rest features recipes from over thirty Campbell River and Comox Valley food service folk that run the gamut of restaurant-ready (lookin at your chicken recipe Ronald!) to simple home kitchen afternoon affairs. The best part is that Ann is donating all proceeds from the cookbook to Diabetes Canada!

So if your holiday shopping for that foodie freak who already has every gadget and tome, pick up a copy of RIPE, I guarantee they won’t have it in their collection yet. The book is available around the Comox Valley at various booksellers and gourmet shops and Ann has a booth at the Saturday Comox Valley Farmer’s Market. Toss some sheckles her way, it’s for a good cause and the recipes are really top-notch… Especially mine. *laughs*

 

Read More

2018 Autumn BC Beer List

It’s been almost a year since my last beer list and the landscape of my local liquor store has once again reconfigured Matrix-style to suit the tastes ‘n times.  I’m happy to report that the BC craft beer industry in general has mostly marched past the pumpkin spice frenzy of Octobers past (only counted two!) and has focused on more quality-crafted brews with, say a new strain of hops standing in for what used to be a lot of guava and Vanilla-Rooibis nonsense. (more…)

Read More

Goodbye Uncle Tony

If you’re a professional chef or cook, read food blogs or watch TV you already know the bad news. Chef and TV personality Anthony Bourdain passed away yesterday morning in a French hotel room while filming his show Parts Unknown. He was 61 year old and left behind a daughter plus a legion of fans and admirers who run the gamut from industry kin to casual TV watchers.

The response has been immediate and overwhelming. Not since Bowie has the social media collective spoken so warmly about the loss of a prominent media figure and I think it’s probably due to the fact that beyond his celebrity status, Tony Bourdain was a really great person. (more…)

Read More

Spot Prawns!

It was early on a Friday afternoon and despite the breezy grey weather I was soaked to my screaming bones with sweat and cursing Crystal’s Uncle Calvin (who got me into my current situation) under my breath. Brycen (Cal’s son) and I were hauling a very sketchy aluminum rickshaw overflowing with heavy metal crab traps up an impossibly steep gangway. It took both of us to get the beast up and over to Calvin and his new friends; a gang of grizzled old fisherman who did nothing to help us, but sure seem to have opinions on how we’re doing it wrong.

I was trying my very best to look tough in front of this motley collection of bums and pirates, despite my suspicion that there was a better way to go about this whole affair. Of course I was the only one on this particular commercial fishing dock that had no sea legs. Calvin and Brycen both grew up on fishing boats as (I suspect) Cal’s father and maybe even father’s father did. They knew all the moves, the lingo and the unspoken rules of the dock. Me, I was just an extra pair of hands. (more…)

Read More

Beautiful Things : Notes From the NVICA Charcuterie Workshop

My father told me once that there are three things in life that we must do: Work hard, be honest and make beautiful things” With these words John Van Der Lieck plunged his hands into a dark, shimmering paste of pork liver to the reverent, nodding ascent of a roomful of chefs.

We were in the spacious commercial kitchen of North Island College’s Culinary Arts department for the NVICA Charcuterie Workshop; a two-day journey through the world of salting, curing, pressing and preserving meats. There were twenty or so of us foodservice pros gathered around John as he guided us from whole hog (literally!) to finished product and every critical step in between. (more…)

Read More