What we ate in June – Keto potluck at O’kana Guest Ranch

Hello fellow foodies,

Instead of a regular blog post, I’ve made a little video of our keto potluck adventures at O’kana Guest Ranch in June. We also got to cuddle many puppies and kittens, and swoon over goats and alpacas. It was a wonderful meetup – thank you to LeeAnna and Cam for hosting us.

Save the date: Our next potluck is our annual Two-bite Appy and Pool Party at Lisa’s. The date is set for Thursday, July 25, with a 6pmish start time. Bring along your no-cutlery-needed appetizer to share, your swim suit and a towel!

Enjoy the video!

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What we ate in May – Inspired by the News!

Greetings, fellow food lovers,

This month we had our “Inspired by the News” potluck at the Summerland Review office. Who holds a feast in a newsroom? We do! Thank you to Luc, Nan and John for hosting our little gathering. If you haven’t watched it already, check out the video of the event.

The key learning from this meetup was Put Homemade Yogurt on Everything. Tracy took the newsworthy Instapot trend and ran with it, using a tin of condensed milk to create the a subtly sweet flavour.

Nan told a great story of how she saved her cinnamon rolls from a near disaster, which was lucky, since they were lovely dipped in yogurt. Luc took her inspiration from her Italian heritage, baking up a batch of biscotti best enjoyed with a copy of the latest newspaper and a nice sit down (also nice with yogurt). John plied us with mountains of Death By Chocolate Cookies, a recipe winner from one of Review’s past community cookbook publications. I ate three of these melt-in-your-mouth dreams, but was so overwhelmed I neglected to take a photo of them, so here’s the recipe instead (click to make bigger), as well as a bonus photo of some nuns touting their heavenly Bourbon Balls.

There were several recipes taken from newspapers clippings, including Janice’s mincemeat pie, a recipe that her mom had cut from the paper many moons ago. Wendy, who has tempted us with many a substantial dessert over the years, made an enormous chocolate dream that was even better smothered in yogurt.

Kim’s bake was inspired by the Queen. Thousands baked and scoffed Queen Elizabeth Cakes in celebration of the Queen’s coronation, although the Queen herself apparently did not. Well, she missed a treat, because this heavy date-rich offering is delicious. Also awesome swimming in a small sea of yogurt. The gang at the Review had put out some of the archive papers for us to peruse, and as luck would have it, the page was open to June 4, 1953, where the headline story was none other than the coronation. This calls for even more yogurt!

Karen and I both chose “superfoods” as our news trend inspiration. Karen whipped up a quiona salad (one regular, one spicy, as is Karen’s way), and I made a spring minestrone superfood soup.

Alas, I only got a nibble of Jean’s Perogie Casserole, but what a nibble it was. Worth sacrificing a few points on the cholesterol scale. We also had the chance to toast the lovely Jean and Ken on their 39th anniversary! Hearts and warm fuzzies all around.

And that’s the news and all the treats inspired by it! Join us on June 13 when we visit the beautiful O’kana Guest Ranch for our first ever Keto potluck. The Facebook event page is here, or email me at pleasebringcake@gmail.com for more information.

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The April Curry report

I have been remiss in my duties as deliciousness recorder. In April we had our first every curry potluck, which was hosted by the lovely ladies at Bead Trails. Despite being severely jet-lagged, Val still managed to make a killer Tikka Masala.

Other dishes included “Thai one on” Soup, mango curry dip, Moroccan lemon chicken tagine, butter chicken, chicken curry, thai salmon curry, some amazing thai curry noodles, a rocking curried trail mix, and some robust lemon squares to clean the palate in order to allow us to eat even more curry.

I hereby present some photos of our curry adventures. I was so overwhelmed by filling my plate (twice) that I forgot to take a group photo. I hope we can do another curry meetup someday, for it is truly wonderful.

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Our French Canadian feast at Maple Roch

Hello food loving friends, how are you today? What are you remembering most from our French Canadian potluck? Personally, I have no regrets about eating a piece of Janice’s maple tourlouches that had fallen on the floor (five second rule), nor about my second helping from the glorious, topping-rich poutine station.

My only regret is I was too slow during the snapping up of the leftovers and managed to snag only one of Kim’s Montreal bagels for my breakfast the next day. Sad times. But I did get one, which I plied with copious butter. It was tremendous. In addition, I consoled myself by spreading sourdough toast with lashings of Val’s creton, which one website rightly describes as “highly addictive French Canadian meat spread.” Later for elevenses I enjoyed two kinds of tarte au sucre (thank you, Wendy and Diane!), a large, rich lump of Kathleen’s poudin chomeur, and a big mug of tea.

The beans! Do you remember the beans? Two kinds of slow baked, maple syrup laden Feves au lard? I ate Karen’s alongside Jean’s perfect little tourtiere pockets and Kathleen’s next to a slice of Lisa’s onion & bacon tart. Did you get to try the maple lavender tea, and a dram of the Sortilege Gina regaled us with? And what of the two crock pots of pea soup? I liked Candace’s better than mine – it had more ham flavour. Next time, more ham!

But I must think again about the poutine. Crispy fries, big nuggets of cheese curd, generous crumblings of BACON, thick gravy with maple, maple garlic scapes and chopped pickles. It’s the kind of dish that’s a party all by itself.

Mirjana and Lacey decked out the front of the Maple Roch store with tables and chairs and cleared all the counters for our offerings. The shop resembled a busy pop-up bistro, and people walking by on Victoria Street peered in with curiosity. Mirjana gave us an update on a few of the fun projects the Maple Roch team is working on, the most notable being the tapping of Summerland maple trees to turn into maple syrup.

Thank you to Maple Roch for hosting us and to everyone who came out to make it such a great evening, full of laughter and good catch-ups. Kathleen proposed the splendid idea of adding a fondue theme to our winter meetup schedule. In the meantime, our next potluck gathering will be April 25 at Bead Trails. Your culinary challenge in one word: Curry.

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French Canadian potluck at Maple Roch

After traveling around Eastern Europe for our last potluck, it’s time to get inspired a little closer to home. Join us for all things French Canadian at Maple Roch!

  • Date: Thursday, March 21
  • Time: 6pm-ish
  • Location: Maple Roch Pure Canadian Maple Syrup, 13224 Victoria Road
  • What to bring: Feel free to put your personal twist on traditional French Canadian dishes, from tourtiere to pea soup. If anyone is daring enough to attempt poutine, I will swoon. If dessert options don’t start out drenched in maple syrup, they soon will be. Along with your dish, lug along a plate and some cutlery (there will be extra if you forget), along with a Tupperware for leftovers.

Join the Facebook event or email me at pleasebringcake@gmail.com to let me know you’re coming. Hope to see you there!

 

 

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What we ate in January – Recipes from the 15 post-Soviet states

Dear ones, have you recovered? Are your minds still sifting through the memories of potatoes and bacon, deep fried wonders and sour cream with everything?

I wish I had an audio recording of Laura’s sigh after she was so full she couldn’t move. Seriously, I could sell that sigh. Satisfied, a little sleepy, with just a hint of a regret in the base note.

Thank you everyone who took part in what was generally agreed to be our most challenging theme to date. Some people had no trouble with their recipes, while others told tales of stove-side swearfests. Lisa described the sense of awe that blossomed in her during her two-batch struggle to perfect her grandmother’s family-famous pirukad. “I have a new, deeper respect for her. She worked full time, volunteered, gardened, had a really active social life AND made these from scratch for every special event.” Many people had stories that connected them to the dish they’d brought, and how someone else’s dish reminded them of another time when they’d eaten something just like it. Val’s Grahi Varivah, with slow-cooked beans (that she thought would NEVER cook) and hearty pork hock flavour, could have been something my grandmother made. Brandy had fond memories of a soccer mom who would bring a small vat of potato pancakes to every game. Jeremy was perplexed and annoyed (swearfest) when the pork dumpling dough refused to behave. He’d watched his grandmother make them countless times – how dare they not turn out! Kim became so immersed in the culture that she became her own country among the ‘stans.Lisa brought a collection of Estonian items from home, including beautiful leather work, bead work, sweet little dolls, and of course, Estonian recipe books.

In total there were five dishes containing BACON, and to no-one’s surprise, our President of Bacony Delights was in no way intimidated by this, despite the array heavy starches into which the BACON was embedded. She was later found growling under the table, but eventually emerged, smiling in bacon-induced delirium in time to forget her coat.

Here they are – as close to her Vana Ema’s pirukad recipe as she could get. She told me that by the end of rolling out the dough for 48 of these little beauties, she was hunched over the rolling pin and talking to herself just to make it through. Deep fried and served with dipping mustard, these were sooo good.

It was a good thing Lisa brought cucumbers in sour cream and dill & cucumbers in vinegar & dill. This wise woman, noting the volume of potatoes and bread in the pre-meetup Facebook discussions, thought to herself “we’re going to need something with some acidity.” Sure enough, those salads went with just about everything.

Laura’s apple cake was like soft apples nestled in custard. I could eat it everyday.

Betty brought what I have taken to calling The Borscht. She makes it with a full pound of butter and more than a litre of whipping cream. I get all dreamy just looking at the photo.

Peter and Dorthea were inspired by Latvian Lunchroom to make these Small Maizites, open-faced sandwiches. Normally theses call for little fish called sprats on dark rye, but they used Pumpernickel, fresh goat cheese, sardines in mustard sauce, pickles and fresh daikon.

Kim’s made a map to help us navigate through her collection of dishes inspired by the ‘stans: Sweet Onion Salad (Uzbekistan), Turcoman Flatbread (Turkmenistan), and Chickpea & Onion Stew (Tajikistan). The stew, which was served with yogurt, had a wonderful subtle spiciness to it, and Kim said the flatbread only took five days to make!

Tracy, your Nachynka was so good! Tracy wasn’t keen on her Ukrainian cornmeal stuffing, but others were. And it had BACON.

Denise took us to Armenia with her Borek. They were delicate and rich at the same time, with a bit of nuttiness from the sesame seeds on top. Oh yes.

Both Maureen and I made the potato-laden Lithuanian Kugelis, with butter and cream and BACON and onions. Would make again. Would be a great accompaniment to corn on the cob.

Rich with potatoes and BACON and packing a lovely outer crunch, Nick’s Pannileib was a total hit. There was much discussion of it’s awesomeness during the lingering-in-a-food-coma-daze part of the evening.

These are the Pork Dumplings in Mushroom & Shallot Creme Fraiche that so vexed Jeremy. There were no leftovers.

Mirjana called on her family’s Bosnian heritage with her Knedle Sa Slijuuma (Dumplings with plums). But they had a Summerland twist – she sautéed them in Maple Roch maple syrup. Yum.

Kathleen’s Ukrainian Kotleti! Breaded meatballs? Yes please. These were gluten free. I forgave them.

Georgian Kharcho (Beef stew)
A strange stew with rice and dill and even lemon juice. But lovely. Would make again.

Brandy’s Pankuka didn’t last long – I got the last one. So good, served with sour cream and green onions.

The surprise dish of the night for several people – Janice’s Latvian Cottage Cheese Biscuits. Because they were kind of savoury and kind of sweet, with this amazing buttery, soft, flaky texture. Very subtle flavours, but golly.

Jean’s Armenian Boyrek. Pastry filled with feta and egg? Um, yes. Imagine one of these with a beef stew.

My photo does not capture the Yum that was Val’s Grahi Varivah – Croatian bean soup. It’s the kind of soup that tastes like it’s taken time. Soaking the beans, slow cooking with the pork hock for maximum flavour. Three cheers to Tony’s meats for their excellent contribution to this dish. It’s usually served with crusty bread and a nice beer. We didn’t have the beer but Val did bring a Baltic sourdough for dipping.

Tina and Laura both made Russian Piroshki, swapping out the cabbage and egg filling for seasoned beef. A perfect winter dish. I dipped them in sour cream. I pretty much dipped everything in sour cream. Can you believe we had no cabbage at this meetup?

Wendy and Manfred brought these soft, just-sweet-enough Russian Sugar Cookies. I’ve already started craving them again, so yes they were very good.

And to top it off, Brandy brought me muffins to take home!

That’s all the news from our January potluck extravaganza. I hope I haven’t forgotten anything. Massive thanks to Lisa and the Summerland Waterfront Resort for hosting our foodie adventure evening.

I don’t have anything planned for February yet, but it looks like we’ll be back in March with “French Canadian” at Maple Roch.

Thanks, everyone!

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January meetup – are you up for the challenge?

Every year we have the opportunity to stretch out, both creatively with a new and wonderful culinary challenge, and physically, as we are hosted by the lovely people at the Summerland Waterfront Resort, in their spacious ballroom.

This year we have a challenge like no other. In honour of our hostess Lisa’s Estonian heritage, our quest will be to prepare recipes from the 15 post Soviet states. I’m rather excited about this theme. It’s not like anything we’ve tried before, which means pretty much all of us will be out of our kitchen comfort zones. We’ll get to learn about countries we didn’t know before, and eat amazing new things.

  • Meetup date: Wednesday, January 30
  • Where: 13011 Lakeshore Drive South. Please park in the underground parking lot to leave the outdoor lot free for Local on Lakeshore guests.
  • Time: 6pm-ish
  • What to bring: Your friends! We have lots of room for this event, so feel free to invite people to participate. Also, along with your dish, please bring a note card or print out of your recipe, which includes the country it comes from.
  • Extra fun: I’m gathering a Youtube playlist of tourism videos from the different countries, to hopefully play in the background while we eat.

To help get you started, here is a list of the countries that will be inspiring us. Happy cooking! Let me know what you’re making.

Central Asia

  • Kazakhstan
  •  Kyrgyzstan
  •  Tajikistan
  •  Turkmenistan
  •  Uzbekistan

Eastern Europe

  • Belarus
  •  Moldova
  •  Ukraine

Eurasia

  • Russia

Transcaucasia

  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Georgia

Baltic states

  • Estonia
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania

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