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July, 2007

  1. Cooking Homemade Burgers…

    July 21, 2007 by TheCanadianFoodie

    Tip of the week:

    It was BBQ time here in Barrie this weekend and we had a small BYO-BBQ gathering with family and friends…

    One family member (who will remain nameless) brought a box of pre-formed pattys to cook.

    Now, if you look at two burgers sizzling away on a grill, one store bought and the other homemade, it’s pretty easy to tell which is which.

    I’ve never come across an out-of-the-box burger that doesn’t look like a thin slice off the end of a big ground-beef meat stick; and when you’re looking at the two burgers on a grill, that flat processed piece of meat looks about as appealing as it tastes, especially compared to it’s thicker hand-made counterpart.

    But the mechanically flattened factory burger does have one advantage… and that’s, consistent heating (and cooking) across the entire burger.

    Unfortunately the same is not always the case for the tastier (and usually larger) homemade burgers. Homemades tend to swell more when cooked and often end up with a much thicker center. Which means, if you want to serve burgers and not meatballs, you have to spend some of the burgers cooking time trying to flatten it out on the grill. The bigger problem is of course that, round burgers tend to have crispy outsides and barely cooked innards.

    So what to do?

    The rule of thumb here is to prepare the burger before it goes on the grill by making an indentation in the center of each patty about the size of a loonie (or a little bigger than a quarter for all you non-Canadians) and about 1/4 to 1/2 way deep.

    The thinned out center means you will always be assured of a perfectly cooked burger, and one that won’t swell as much.

    And don’t worry about anyone making comments about a thumb-print in their burger because it should swell just enough that the indent is no longer visible when it comes time to serve!


  2. BBQ Beef Tips…

    July 13, 2007 by TheCanadianFoodie

    The summer is heating up and, going into a nice weekend my thoughts are on my BBQ so I thought I’d share a few hints that will come in handy if you plan on Grilling up some Beef this weekend:

    • Choose choice or prime cuts for the BBQ. The more abundant marbling adds tons of flavour after sizzling on a grill
    • Always marinate less tender cuts of beef before grilling. In order to properly tenderize, your marinade must contain an acidic ingredient.  Good additions to a tenderizing marinade include fruit or vegetable juice, yogurt, wine or a vinegar
    • For a really tender and juicy steak, let your meat sit at room temperature for 30 – 45 minutes and then salt it just before grilling
    • If you are the kind of BBQ chef who likes to deliver a side of beef with perfect grilling lines charred into your meat, try lightly brushing your next steak with an extra-virgin olive oil just before placing it on the BBQ

  3. CSA Barrie – Week 3

    July 8, 2007 by TheCanadianFoodie

    We’re headed down to the Barrie Farmer’s Market first thing in the morning Saturday after heading out to Heritage Hill Farm (our CSA Farm) .

    We didn’t have enough time to head to the Orillia Farmers Market this week (which is bigger and offers more) as Mrs. Foodie had family visiting from Ottawa, but still managed to pick up enough produce to get us through the week :)

    Still VERY dry in the Barrie area lately and most of the local produce is pretty scrawny…

    July 7 th —

    Here’s what we picked up from the CSA Farm for Week 3 (still only $10 per week!):

    Garlic Scapes (only a few, probably the last we’ll see)
    1 bag assorted greens
    1 bag mustard greens
    1 bag bok choy
    1 bag of very large peas (different variety this week)
    1 bunch small green onions
    about 12 baby (golf ball size) potatoes
    1 quart strawberries (getting near the end of strawberry season!)
    Assorted herbs (basil, chives, thyme, mint, etc)

    Still a little light, but the lack of rain is to blame there.

    Still hoping for radishes, cucumber, tomatoes, or broccoli etc soon!

    I was excited to see purple potatoes in the mix. These were too small to do much with, but they will get bigger. I was introduced to purple (or blue) potatoes in university and can attest that this tasty potato can be quite shocking when served as mashed potatoes (or shepherd’s pie) and makes a great addition (and conversation piece) to any guest dinner!

    We made a delicious stir fry using a little bit of everything this week (except the greens and strawberries; which were mixed together and served separately!) I’ve never used bok choy in a stir fry previously but it made a great addition to the dish.


  4. Garlic Scapes / Flowers

    July 5, 2007 by TheCanadianFoodie

    We steamed up a bowlful of Garlic Scapes for dinner last night (for $2.50 we picked up an entire grocery bag stuffed with them at the Orillia Farmers’ Market) and were very happy with the results.garlic-scapes2.jpg

    I’ve never had Garlic Scapes before to my knowledge and this was a really simple-to-prepare treat.

    I wasn’t sure if you could eat the flower bulb or not so decided to cook the scape in its entirety. After washing about 1/4 of the grocery bag (approximately 7-10 Scapes per person) I stuffed them into our vegetable steamer and set the timer for 30 minutes (about the same as I would cook asparagus).

    Once the timer was up, I sampled one and found the top to be relatively non-edible (from the bulb to the pointy tip) as it was still very ‘woody’. Removing them though was easy; simply grasp the bulb in one hand and gently tug the tip which should pop right off.

    I tossed all the Scapes in a bowl with butter and liberally sprinkled Ricotta cheese.

    The result was a pleasant and unique side veggie dish.

    It looks like Garlic Scapes are fairly hardy and should last in your fridge (or even in a cool dry location) for quite awhile as I’ve had a few Scapes sitting in the bottom of my fridge since my first CSA farm visit and they haven’t wilted in the least.

    I mention this because, as much as I enjoyed our Garlic Scape dish, I think I’d prefer to use them as embellishment to other veggies more often than as a primary vegetable dish.

    The mild garlic flavour would be a nice addition to most dishes!


  5. New! Ontario Farmers’ Market Guide

    July 5, 2007 by TheCanadianFoodie

    I was busy all long weekend compiling a list of all the Farmers’ Markets available in Ontario in order to create this guide.

    It’s going to to take awhile to populate information for each market, but I will be finishing a few every week.

    For now you can use this guide to find the Farmers’ Markets in your area!

    You can access the new Ontario Farmers’ Markets Guide from the Food Guides section of our menu (down the right hand side of the screen)

    Or click this link now!


  6. New! What’s In-Season Guide

    July 5, 2007 by TheCanadianFoodie

    Eating locally produced fruits and vegetables is healthier, cheaper and better for the environment than purchasing from your local Grocers, but do you know what to expect in any given month?

    I’ve added a new feature called In-Season Produce Guide that will keep you up to date with the freshest fruits and vegetables you can expect to find at your local CSA Farm or Farmers Market as the growing season progresses!

    You can access the new In-Season Produce Guide from the Food Guides section of our menu (down the right hand side of the screen)

    Or click this link now!


  7. Happy Canada’s Day!

    July 1, 2007 by TheCanadianFoodie

    To everyone in Barrie, Ontario, Canada and Beyond…

    Have a great day celebrating our wonderful country!

    Here’s wishing all the foodies out there get a chance to fit in a good meal, and relax with a good bottle of wine…

    Salut, Eh!