There are so many people on Bowen who not only love to eat, but love to cook. While some our foodie friends kindly offer us the opportunity to taste their food by opening up restaurants, there are so many others whose food-lives are unknown to us. This column is an attempt to pry open the kitchen windows of our local friends and neighbours who have a passion for cooking. Some of them are trained chefs, some of them make a living from cooking, and others are self-taught, excellent, passionate home-cooks.
If you know of a foodie who needs featuring, please contact:
What’s your favourite kitchen utensil? (of all time, or maybe of the moment)
I love my grandmother’s potato ricer, but then again I have this fantastic pepper mill. Finding the right pepper mill is like finding the right relationship, it can take a lifetime. This one’s a Peugot, and I bought it from Ming Wo.
What’s your comfort food?
Poached eggs made with eggs hatched fresh from Black Cat Farms on Taylor Road.
Who’s your biggest culinary inﬂuence, and what did they teach you?
Chef Cyril Nytard in Lyon. I spent a year cooking beside him in France and Italy, he challenged my knowledge, speed, and character in cooking. I worked for him in three restaurants on many classic and modern French and Italian dishes.
He taught me, for instance, adding stock to risotto is done to make the rice to rise to the heavens, not for it to be absorbed into the Arborio rice. Also risotto is not to be stirred much and is to be served on a plate and gently shaken to be within the rim of the plate. He trained from Gualtiero Marchesi in Milano who founded modern Italian cuisine.
When did you realize you loved to cook?
I realized I loved to cook when discovered I could use all my senses in the task. I also realized I could create, give recipes away, and always try something new.
Tell me about a culinary challenge, and how you overcame it.
Owning a restaurant was extremely challenging. It’s hard to please everyone, and I am my own toughest critic. After selling Leftbank I rested and have finally started to feel better. I really like cooking for a few good friends now!
What are you cooking/eating lately?
I’ve been making lemon curd, baked chocolate mousse, and crème brulee for friends. My cholesterol dropped as I do not eat pommes frites and mayonnaise on a daily basis. I love kale, collards, broccolini, fish or rib-eye steak and Saint Agur compound butter. Oops. I joined Weight Watchers on the north shore and lost twenty pounds too!
Becky's choice recipe: Colourful Quinoa Party on a plate
I used organic quinoa one of the oldest south American grains and hip in today’s cooking for its high protein.
1 cup organic quinoa
2 cups water
Cook quinoa, by bringing mixture to simmer on medium high, turn down to a very low simmer for 5 minutes, turn off heat let rest for 20 minutes.
Remove quinoa to your preparation bowl, fluff with fork to disperse grains.
Ingredients and Method:
Chop all vegetables to 1 cm in size which is about the same length of a solitary pumpkin seed.
2 cupskale, washed, clean towel dried, diced finely
½ cup pumpkin seeds
½ cup celery stalks, washed, peeled, and diced
1 cup red pepper, washed, seeded, and diced
½ cup red onion, diced
1 cup edamame, shelled, and defrosted
1 cup butternut squash, peeled and diced
2 tspcumin powder
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1red beet, peeled, sliced thinly cut julienne (or grated)
1.Add raw kale to warm quinoa and mix through.
2. Heat a skillet to medium heat. Add ½ tsp grapeseed oil, heat oil, add pumpkin seeds, very careful not to burn, toast seeds by moving seeds briskly to pop, add pinch to salt and freshly ground pepper, remove from skillet and set aside for garnish.
3. Reheat skillet, add ½ tsp grapeseed oil, heat oil, add celery and red pepper, pinch salt and pepper, and sauté for 30 seconds. Remove from pan and add to quinoa. Wipe pan dry.
4. Reheat skillet, add ½ tsp grapeseed oil, heat oil add red onion, pinch salt and pepper, sauté until golden, add edamame, sauté with onion for 15 seconds, remove from skillet and add to quinoa. Wipe pan dry.
5. Reheat skillet, add ½ tsp grapeseed oil, heat oil, add butternut squash, pinch salt and pepper, shake pan so all dice are uniform in pan, let sit on heat
until one dice is golden and shake pan to evenly colour. Sprinkle cumin on squash and shake skillet gently for 15 seconds. Add to quinoa.
6. Peel two oranges for segments and add to quinoa mixture.
7. Gently mix quinoa with all ingredients except pumpkin seeds and beet. For dressing add juice of the remaining 2 mandarin oranges and olive oil, check seasonings. Place quinoa mixture in your presentation bowl.
8. To garnish, decorate beet and pumpkin seeds, alternating around the circumference of the bowl. Its festive and ready to serve. Bon Appetit!