What we ate in September – Taste of Summerland Potluck

When was the last time you got to have a really good borscht? I mean really good. The kind made with a quart of full fat cream and a wallop and a half of pure, glorious butter. And vegetables, etc.

We had amazing borscht and much more at September’s Taste of Summerland Potluck, hosted by the lovely people at Summerland Arts Council. Extra big thanks to Elaine for organizing. Somehow we managed to subconsciously balance the perfect number of savoury dishes with a few too many desserts, which is exactly the right amount. We set up the tables in a row and sat communal style. We visited and ate, sipped tea, went boldly up for savoury seconds before hitting the desserts. We got to see the Inspired By show one more time before the opening of the Who Gives a Hoot Owl extravaganza (on now until November 17!) Potluck food photos and dramatic descriptions below.

I don’t have an event planned for October but will post November details soon. And December’s Cookie Swap is a go again at Lisa’s. Date and number of cookie info coming soon. I believe I’m relieved enough for all of us when I tell you that I will NOT be in charge of the cookie math this year. The New Year will once again kick off with a lavish potluck at the Summerland Waterfront Resort, followed by a “Church Suppers Through the Ages” meetup at the Service Station at the Lakeside Church in February (Probably. Could be March).

Here’s to being thankful for another year of baking club. If you have ideas for our upcoming 6th year of potlucking awesomeness, please email me and let’s chat.

Onward to the deliciousness!

We got to sample several varieties of apples grown by the lovely people at Carcajou Fruit. It’s a good apple season. There are some very tasty varieties available locally, so support your local farmers and indulge.

This is the borscht that Betty made. It was full of veggies from her garden. My mug nearly ranneth over. I have thought of it every day since eating it.

Janet brought baked ham, local honeyed carrots and red cabbage. Three kinds of mustard to go with the ham. Yeah. So good.

A veggie/pasta/saucey comfort food bake with yummy crunchy topping, brought by Don and Judy. I had two helpings.

I have forgotten the name of the lovely lady who brought this homemade currant jam, which we devoured with cheese and meats and crackers. It was just the right about of sweet, just the right amount of tart. It was just right.

I simply must post two photos of Val’s Plum Galettes. Just look at them.

That’s right. A small vat of the most splendid whipped cream to dollop right on top of a big wedge of one of those beauties. Yes. It happened.

Elaine brought these little apple tarts (made by Sophie?) which were gooey and rich. Would be an excellent breakfast tart, paired with a cup of Earl Grey and a view of the sea on a cold autumn day. One can dream…

Elaine also brought this Bold! Robust! Apple & Walnut Tarte Tatin. If there had been vanilla ice cream present, I would have camped out with the leftovers until I had to be forcibly removed from the building.

Inspired by memories of picking berries with her grandmother, mom and cousins out in Saskatchewan, Denise made a Saskatoon Berry Cream Cheese Crumb Cake, to which she also added four grown-in-Summerand apples. This is one of those cold weather delights. Yum.

Chantelle’s Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars. They were just as glorious as they sound. Oh, yes. I loved these. I had two little pieces the next morning for breakfast, with my tea. The sun was shining and all was right with the world.

Joy made this lovely plum cake with plums from her garden. The perfectly soft, perfectly sweet prune plums were nestled in a light sponge cake. The cake was still warm. I added a big dose of whipped cream and had myself a nice sit down.

Let it be known that I successfully made my first batch of apple fritters. They were better right out of the oil and tossed in sugar. Overnighting in the fridge made them soft and gave them the outer texture of cold rubber. Once bitten they were still tasty, still soft like a hug inside your mouth, but better warm. Would make again.

And that’s the report. I failed to photograph Heather’s hummus. It was tasty. I had it up against the ham and carrots. Nice combo.

Until next time, kitchen witches.

Sx

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Taste of Summerland Potluck

Greetings, everyone!

This month’s potluck is a little bit different – the Arts Council is hosting a Culture Days event on September 29 at the Art Gallery, and as a bonus they’re going host us for our potluck at the gallery in the evening. I’ve made a Facebook event and we have lots of room so feel free to bring someone along.
Start time: 6pmish at the Arts Centre on Wharton.
Theme: Taste of Summerland – a chance to showcase locally grown ingredients or locally made products. Be as simple or as eccentric as you desire.
To bring: A piece of paper or recipe card with either the recipe or list of ingredients. Tupperware for lovely, lovely leftovers. If you’d like to save on using paper plates and plastic cutlery, feel free to bring your own plate, etc.
There are many more events happening all day on Saturday – I hope you can take part in some of them!

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Road trip adventure to The Grist Mill and Gardens

This week a small contingent of baking club nerds took our meetup on the road. We journeyed to the beautiful Similkameen Valley to the Grist Mill and Gardens.

Our host was the one and only Chris Mathieson – philosopher, history buff, storyteller, and maker of a fine slow cooked beef brisket.

Chris told us some of the history of the site and introduced us to a few of the many goodies on the grow in their lush gardens, including apricots, peaches, wild greens, wheat for the mill, and more than 20 varieties of heritage apples. We learned about the great Zucca melon conspiracy, the history of Canada’s Red Fife wheat, and the best way to use a water mill to produce whole vs sifted flours.

Trying to tell time with the sundial.

The summer kitchen doubles as a stage for the Grist Mill’s annual concert series.

David checking out the rushing water of Keremeos Creek.

There is a spectacular view from the upper gardens.

Over the years, The Grist Mill has become much more than a lovely heritage site. They host a myriad of events throughout the year, from weddings to cooking classes and their annual concert series. Their campground is a relatively new addition, and in true Grist Mill style, they’ve added an option in which they’ll include all your breakfast fixings, from fresh baked muffins to bacon from their own pigs. You can cook up a camper van feast of amazing local food, and give them back the dishes when you’re done. Every year the Grist Mill adds changes and new events, so it’s worth following them on Facebook or Instagram to keep up.

Onward to the food! We potlucked in style and abundance, and even made a couple of new friends who joined us for our meal. In no particular order, we ate three kinds of pasta salad, a bean salad, salmon pie, Mexican-inspired rolls, deviled eggs, quiche, and mini spinach and mushroom quiches. Then, just as things couldn’t get any better, Chris brought out some of the beef brisket they were preparing for that night’s Sunday Dinner event.

We also got to sample from the Grist Mill’s pantry, including pickled garlic scapes, the ultimate addition to your summer caesars. We tried the smoked salsa, which was rich and thick and not too spicy. Chris explained their process of slow cooking and even smoking the tomato skins and it all sounded beyond my everyday kitchen capabilities, so I bought two large jars instead.

We even got to meet one of site’s newest additions, whose soft plumage and quiet peeping was thoroughly adored.

Cookbook and preserves porn!

Before we left, Chris took off into the gardens to forage some greens, and came back five minutes later with a huge bowl overflowing with a mix of wild and cultivated wonders. We munched some fresh lamb’s quarter as we packed up our leftovers.Thank you everyone for putting up with my somewhat sporadic organizing techniques. A huge thank you to Chris for his time, humour, stories, food knowledge, and for everything he does to keep this seed of agricultural history alive and thriving.

Several of us are keen to attend some of this summer’s concerts and/or Sunday dinners, so it looks like there were be additional road trip opportunities over the next few months. Email me at pleasebringcake@gmail.com if you’d like to be put on the carpool list.

Thanks everyone and happy cooking!

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Vegan Potluck at Purple Hemp

This kid. Rylee has been coming to baking club for half her life. During this time she has learned how to quickly scan a well-laden potluck table for anything that might contain bacon. She understands the value of second dessert, and the practical economy of sturdy Tupperware. These are life skills not taught in school. I like to imagine her years from now, at university somewhere, organizing potlucks or bringing cupcakes to study meetups.

There is something about this simple act of sitting down and eating together, enjoying a good chat and a catchup over a resplendent quantity of home cooked awesomeness. In this era of online connection and real life loneliness, that craving for community can be just as strong as the appetite for the food.

Happy 5th Anniversary to our splendid little baking/cooking/potluck/eating club. Thank you to everyone who joins in the ridiculousness and makes this the fabulous group that it is. Thank for you indulging when I throw weird-yet-wonderful themes at you like Bookish Bakes and Full Fat February. Extra thanks to everyone who kept it all going and gave me amazing support when I had to step away. I squeeze you.

As a special anniversary event, we have our first road trip. On Sunday, May 27th, we’ll be carpooling our way down to Keremeos for a lavish picnic potluck at the Grist Mill Gardens. Join the Facebook event or email me at pleasebringcake@gmail.com to sign up. Let me know if you can drive or if you’ll need to join a carpool group.

Want to know what we ate in April?

Our Vegan meetup fell during Earth Week (not planned but still splendid) and was held at Purple Hemp. We learned about why Chris and Elaine started the business nearly a year ago, and about their products and the practitioners offering a variety of health services. Baking club member and whole foods aficionado Victoria was our host for the evening. Here she is introducing us to Purple Hemp’s new smoothie menu.

Then we got down to eating. We had salads, we had appies, we had hearty savoury dishes and multiple desserts. It was really a perfectly balanced potluck. I’ve tried to include links to recipes where I have them.

For salads, we enjoyed Tania’s Thai inspired coleslaw, Rosemary & Sandy’s Yin & Yang Salad with jalapeno/tahini dressing, and got our lone non-vegan indulgence by way of the cheese in Jean’s Quinoa Taco Salad. I’ve decided that my only way forward with quinoa is with cheese. Same goes for kale.

For our Dips & Chips course, we devoured Dorthea’s Rustic Italian Caponata with Belgian Endives and/or popped bean crackers, scooped great chipfuls of Chantelle & Rylee’s Oh She Glows Hummus & Pita Chips, used fresh veggies to load up on Gina’s Roasted Beet Hummus, and sprinkled the works with Laura’s Roasted Chickpeas. We also got to try some of the Okanagan Rawsome Carrot Crisps, which Purple Hemp carries in store. Both a salad and a dipping dish, Jan’s Thai Veggie Wraps with peanut dipping sauce. I didn’t get to try one but they sure looked tasty.Now we need to take a minute to talk about Kim. Who is this woman? After five years of baking club, what do we really know about her? That she makes a mean Schneckenbrot, yes. That she can construct a Battenberg Cake using homemade marzipan, certainly. But three month aged vegan cheese? Did she go to some secret culinary school, like Hogwarts but for kitchen wizards?

Behold her epic Fromage et Charcuterie board, featuring:

  • Fennel Salami (raw dried plums, raw almonds, fennel, balsamic vinegar, cognac, black pepper).
  • Smoked Fermented Cashew Cheese, made using traditional cheese making techniques (ie it takes several MONTHS to make) and cold smoked for 6 hours.
  • Rosemary Crisps (flour cultured cashew milk, pomegranate molasses, pumpkin seeds, black sesame seeds, flax seeds, fresh rosemary, baking soda, salt)
  • Pate faux gras with coronation grape and balsamic glaze (raw cashews, coconut oil, mhite miso, cognac, vegan nutritional yeast, tahini, shiitake powder, coronation grapes, balsamic vinegar, agar agar)

All topped off with a zinger of a Quince Paste.

It was amazing. I don’t know what else to say.

This is no time to stop to break – we have the main courses to attend to! In this case we ladled ourselves helpings of Denise’s Tofu Enchiladas and Karen’s Sweet Potato Chickpea Spinach Coconut Curry from Oh She Glows.

Then we ate no less than six desserts. I’m counting Ingrid’s Homemade Aussie Bites as a dessert because they were slightly sweet and would be nice with a cup of tea. We also had slabs of Wendy’s Banana Chocolate Cake (aka Wacky Cake, aka Most Excellent Breakfast Cake). The decadence continued with Victoria’s Chai Spice Chashew Cheesecake and Lory’s Avocado Sweet Potato Brownies. Rylee devoured several of Emily’s Ginger Cookies, and I once again hauled out my old Raw Mango Fruit Tart recipe, which never fails me. I don’t have a formal recipe but I posted a rambling version of a recipe on Instagram.

And that’s everything we ate! I hope you’ll save the date for our trip to the Grist Mill. Thanks for being awesome.

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Delicious Canadian Classics at Maple Roch

Greetings, lovely food enthusiasts of Summerland. Before we begin the tour of What We Ate in March, please save the date for our Vegan/Raw Vegan Potluck on April 19 at Purple Hemp on Victoria Street. Start time: 6pm-ish. RSVP: Join the Facebook event or email me at pleasebringcake@gmail.com to let me know you’re coming. We’ll have the opportunity to meet some of the health practitioners at Purple Hemp and learn a bit more about the company. Notes for this event: If your dish is gluten free, please include a label to help our friends with celiac know which dishes they can safely eat. As always, remember your Tupperware for leftovers!

This month we enjoyed a spectacular Canada-inspired potluck at Maple Roch’s beautiful new store on Victoria Street. Our hostess was the one and only Mirjana, who made us maple-spiked Caesars and let us be among the first to sample the maple syrup that was recently tapped from Summerland trees. We discovered this was to sweeten us up for Mirjana’s Really Hard Canadian Food Quiz. I scored a whopping three points. Download the quiz to learn some interesting Canada Food Facts.

As always, I missed out on some photos, including LeeAnna’s Mars Bar Smartie Squares (Because Mars Bars are Canadian!) You’ll just have to imagine the chocolate gooey goodness punctuated with nubbins of sweet smartie.

It’s worth noting that this meetup marked the first time a hair dryer was used as a warming tool. Challenged with refreshing the meltiness of the cheese for her Deconstructed Bacon Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Onion Marmalade, Dorthea deftly employed the hair dryer to achieve ideal cheesy softness. I hope the next time a cheese sandwich needs heating someone will carry on Dorthea’s boldness and attempt the Sam method.Onward with the rest of the treats!

Jan’s Saskatoon Berry Tarts. What a treat to eat Saskatoons out of season. They were just sweet enough, just tart enough, and absolutely lovely.

The recipe for Jan’s Saskatoon Tarts. Click to see a larger version.

Lorraine’s Beef Is Canadian! Swiss Steak. Rich gravy = extremely tasty.

Kim’s Red Fife & Barley Winter Salad. Part of why I love the whip round is it gives a chance to tell the stories of our culinary adventures. Kim is a natural storyteller and I love hearing the tales she brings to go with her creations. This time we learned how wheat made its planting debut in 1005, and how in 1842, David Fife began growing Red Fife (which has its origins in what is now Western Ukraine) in Ontario. She shared that barley was first grown in Newfoundland in 1578 and that in 1668 the first brewery opened in Quebec City. Commercial crop production of barley began in 1812. Mmmmm…delicious food knowledge.

Jean’s “Maple” Maple Cookies. Jean is extremely good at this kind of crisp-yet-buttery style of cookie, as those of you who experienced her tea bag cookies at our Victorian High Tea meetup back in 2014 can attest to. Click the photo to relive the recipes of our tea party adventure.

Jean also whipped up a batch of Maple Cream Puffs. As one does. Don’t you just want to pick one up and eat one right now? I do.

Tangy alert! Victoria’s Cranapple Maple Baked Beans. Vegan and gluten free, it was very hearty and warming. I must try this for myself.

Val’s Maple Coffee Cake. This cake had presence. It was a splendid match with my cup of breakfast tea the next morning.

A full cup of maple syrup went into Janice’s Maple Bread Pudding. Comfort food of the gods.

Welcome back to Summerland, Beth! And thank you for bringing Chocolate Truffle Balls spiked with maple. These were also nice with a cup of tea. Click the recipe below for the larger image.

Sophia’s Smoked Salmon Mousse with True Grain 9-Grain Crackers. A quick recipe when you’re pressed for time but want something decadent. Click the photo for the recipe.

Don, who says he could happily live on salmon, paired his marinated salmon dish with a lovely 2017 Tangle Tree Cabernet Sauvignon from South Africa. I hope no one wants any more of the wine, as my sources tell me Don has scoured the valley for the remaining bottles.

Laura’s Barley & Corn Casserole. I feel healthier every time I look at this photo. Also very nice with red wine.

We didn’t have any Nanaimo Bars, but our Canadian Classics challenge was enhanced when Chantelle revealed she’d brought Butter Tarts.

And that’s what we ate in March. I hope I didn’t forget anything. A wonderful time was had by all. Thanks again to Mirjana and to Maple Roch for hosting our wild gang.  See you at Purple Hemp for Vegan night!

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Canadian Classics Potluck!

Hope to see you next week!

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The bacon we ate in January

We need to talk about Bacon. About dates stuffed with almonds and wrapped in bacon. Water chestnuts wrapped in bacon. Tater tots wrapped in bacon. Pork tenderloin wrapped in bacon. Meatballs stuffed with jalapeno Havarti cheese wrapped in bacon. Cake…you guessed it…wrapped in bacon.

And those are just things wrapped in bacon. There are also crackers made with cheese and bacon, topped with delicate prawns. There are Hungarian biscuits made with butter and bacon. Balls of cream cheese rolled in bacon bits. Tiny maple bacon tarts. Quiche with bacon. Creamy bacon dip. Yams with bacon. Bacon bombs. We’re talking literal explosions of BACON.

We haven’t even touched on the facon. Bacon that isn’t bacon. Because it’s facon. Infused with coconut mystery and embedded in cornbread and macaroni cheese.

In the nearly five years of running this fabulous group (Summerland Bakers’ 5th anniversary is coming up at the end of April – should we have a party?), I continue to be awed by our collective culinary creativity. Thank you to everyone who answered the call of BACON, and to the glorious Lisa and the Summerland Waterfront Resort for once again hosting our giant January potluck. Before I begin with the photos, SAVE THE DATE for our upcoming gathering:

  • When: Wednesday, March 14th, about 6ish
  • Where: Maple Roch’s new location on Victoria Street
  • Theme: Canadian Classics. This can be a classic Canadian dish or something that features an iconic Canadian ingredient. Call shotgun if you’re doing Nanaimo bars or butter tarts, so we don’t have end up with too many.

Onward with the photos! There are several dishes that I’ve missed. When there are more than 20 of us at a meetup I get a little sensually overwhelmed and struggle to maintain focus.

Laura’s Five Cheese Mac n’ Cheese with 2 kinds of facon. I forgot to ask her what those were. No matter. It all came together in a cheesy, facony gooey delight.

We were treated to another of Denise’s one-of-a-kind recipes, this time her Brie, Applewood Bacon, Spicy Peach Chutney & Green Onion, Topped With Asiago Tarts.

Janice’s Bacon and Three Cheese Bombs. Mmmm…tiny bacon explosions.

It may have been her first Bakers meetup but Sheila really went for it with her Bacon Cheese Crackers topped with more bacon and sliced prawn cooked in Maple Roch syrup and Union Kitchen Habanero Sauce.

Dorthea’s Bacon Pecan Toffee Sticky Buns would be soooo good with ice cream.

If you’re ever thinking of making the ultimate Superbowl weekend menu, I would add Ingrid’s Bacon-Wrapped, Jalapeno Harvarti Cheese-Stuffed Meatballs.

Another one you may want to pair with a salad to make you feel better. Thank you to Tracy & Mackenzie for introducing us to Bacon-Wrapped Tater Tots with Cheese & Brown Sugar.

Judith used Maple Roch Maple Syrup for her Balsamic Maple Bracon Strips.

Bourbon and Bacon – what a delight. These are Tracy’s Signature Cookies with Chocolate Bourbon Icing and BACON.

Kim aged her homemade coconut facon for three days in order to make her cornbread. This is a woman who once made her own marzipan to wrap around her homemade Battenberg cake. Aged facon is nothing to such culinary wizards.

These are Cream Cheese Bacon Balls, made by Judith. Don’t you just want to get a knife and smear the whole thing on a cracker?

I think these are Wendy’s Almond-stuffed dates wrapped in Bacon. Which means I didn’t get a photo of LeeAnna’s Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts. Be assured both were delicious.

Peter (also known as Peter the Brave for once again being the lone male among 25 women) made Hungarian Pogácsa, a bacon biscuit often made with lard and crackling, but for this is recipe used butter and bacon.

Lory’s Maple Bacon Butter Tarts could be the ultimate Canadian snack.

Mirjana’s Maple Bacon Cake was resplendent with both strips and sprinklings of bacon.

Maple Roch once again made an appearance for Betty-Ann’s Maple Bacon Crack.

Chantelle and Rylee’s Maple Bacon Chocolate Pecan Butter Tarts. Look at them. Imagine them. They were that good.

The delicious Bacon-wrapped Pork Tenderloin was brought by Lorraine, courtesy of her eldest son.

Classic Quiche Lorraine! Zero leftovers for this dish. Thank you, Theresa.

Sophia’s Sour Cream & Bacon Deviled Eggs. I’ve now made them twice, and I’d make them yet again.

Cathy gave her Spanokopita a “bacon twist.”

An example of the glorious bacon chaos upon a plate. The plate owner asked to remain anonymous.

Thank you everyone! Here’s to another year of decadence for no reason other than we can.

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