Category Archives: Kristeva's Kitchen

Have your voice heard on raw milk debate in Canada

Durham dairy farmer Michael Schmidt was found guilty of selling and distributing raw milk on Wednesday, a decision that overturned his 2010 acquittal.

While it is not against the law to drink unpasteurized milk in Canada, it is illegal to sell it despite the niche demand in Ontario and other provinces.

Health officials maintain that milk must be pasteurized before it is sold, as it can contain pathogens like salmonella, listeria and E. coli – all harmful or deadly if consumed.

But Schmidt, a vocal advocate of food freedom, insists that Canadians shouldn’t be told what they can or cannot drink. He said he won’t give up the fight to endorse and sell raw milk despite the latest court decision.

Like-minded supporters say the pasteurization process kills beneficial micro organisms that aid in digestion and metabolization, among other arguments in favour of the milk.

Do you think people who want to drink raw milk should be able to buy it, if they understand the risks? Should farmers face jail time if they disobey the law? Have you or would you drink unpasteurized milk?

http://www.cbc.ca/news/yourcommunity/2011/09/should-raw-milk-be-sold-in-canada.html#pd_a_5543872

Advertisements

14 Comments

Filed under Food Security, Food Sovereignty, Heritage foods, Milk preservation techniques, personal food sovereignty, Politics of Food, Uncategorized

My book is finally complete!

Well it’s taken a long time for me to get this book finished but it’s finally done and out in the stores for sale! This is thanks to the hard work of the Caitlin Press Publishing crew. I am very happy with how it turned out. Vici (the owner of Caitlin Press) said she wanted to try to get it in color but was not sure it would be possible. But she managed the impossible and it looks great. There are many color photos inside that illustrate what I was up to. Some you will have seen on this blog and some are new.

It was a nice surprise to wake up to a box of my very own book on my front porch last week. Even funnier surprise to hear that my mum bought a copy for my dad for Father’s Day!

15 Comments

Filed under Books, Educational, Food preservation, Food Sovereignty, Hunting, Learning to Farm, personal food sovereignty, Politics of Food, Recipes, Uncategorized

Blogline dating?

 

Goose peperoni shot by Kevin and prepared locally.

Nearly two years ago, not long after I began blogging, a fellow blogger commented on one of my posts. Because I enjoy seeing what other food enthusiasts are up to, I checked out who he was. Kevin Kossowan is a food writer/blogger extraordinaire from Edmonton with an unprecedented passion for all things food and drink. When I clicked on his site I immediately began salivating. It was, quite simply, love at first read. Instantly, I became a devout fan of his blog and spent many reads fantasizing about actually being fed by this man. After several months of quiet devotion, I left a subtle comment, “When can I come to dinner?”

Fast forward 18 months or so and I find myself in Alberta on a cattle drive. Not long after posting that story I received a lovely suggestion, “If you ever get to Edmonton let me know. It would be nice to meet you,” Kevin Kossowan. My first thoughts were: Meeting would be nice, yes. But for the love of god man will you cook me dinner? I wrote him what I hope was a slightly more tactful email than my thought train. He responded with great kindness and generosity which I have come to know is quintessentially Kevin: “1000 times yes!”

Three weeks later I arrived at his doorstep with this deal hashed out: he would feed me and I would help him make apple wine. When he came out to greet me I stuck out my hand to shake his. He looked down at my outstretched arm and nonchalantly batted it away, “I’m a hugger,” he said, then, he helped me with my bags.

“We don’t have a spare room set up yet,” he said over his shoulder as he lead me down the stairs to his basement. “Our facilities are pretty rudimentary but something tells me of all  the people I know, you’ll be able to handle it!” I came down the stairs and ‘my room’ came in to view. There in the middle of his basement was a small bubble tent replete with blankets, pillows, and ’emergency’ flashlight! My dog was thrilled. She jumped into the tent as if she owned the place and turned to me with a look that said, “Wow, this whole room is ours… you coming in?”

 

One off my bucket list: Kevin Kossowan cooks for Kristeva!

I’d driven for five hours to get to Kevin’s (all the while dredging up juicy images from his blog and mopping them up with the crusts of my mind) so needless to say I was hungry when I arrived. He introduced me to his wife and children. We took a tour of his yard-garden (which has won ‘edible garden’ recognition by the city of Edmonton). The kids played with Tui until bedtime, when both children and dog were wore out! Finally, his wife and I sat at the dinner table while Kevin prepared the meal.

 

Local cheeses bought at the farmer's market.

It was everything I’d hoped it would be: there were myriad cheeses to be tasted, wines to be quaffed, and several beautifully presented exquisite little courses of home grown and locally sourced food to be savored.

The meal was topped off with a creme brullee, which of course, having a ‘sweet-tooth’, I decided it was a divine finish to a wonderful evening. I only wish I’d taken a photo of that!

 

4 Comments

Filed under Developing Community, Kristeva's Kitchen

Guess what’s coming to dinner

Who knew this would end up on my plate?

OK. So these are the kinds of things your mother doesn’t warn you about when you grow up in the city. I was warned about not talking to strangers, checking the back seat before opening the car when in underground parking, and not walking alone down deserted streets after dark. I was not warned about what I might be offered for dinner at a cattle branding party!

“Testicles anyone?” was not something I ever imagined I’d hear over the dinner table.  Now I will admit to being a pretty finicky eater. In fact, what I might have to eat is something that helped me choose where I would (and would not) do my fieldwork for my Anthropology Degree. Knowing I would never be able to choke down insects limited the scope of possibilities substantially. My mother will confirm this and bore anyone who will listen with stories of how for the first few years of my life she thought I would starve to death because there was very little I would eat!

Now, here I am in the middle of Alberta being offered a ‘delicacy’, the thought of which turns my stomach. “Prairie Oyster Kristeva?” asks Dennis, who has changed out of his chaps and into a clean pair of jeans, but is now shirtless and being affectionately referred to as ‘The Naked Chef’. When I politely try to decline Jeff’s ears ring from across the lawn. He leaps to his feet and charges over, “Oh, you’ve got to be kidding! I tried your goat.”

Somehow, I think that is different.

Desperate to get out of this, I turn to ‘Grandma Ella’. Now in her mid-eighties, she is matriarch of this ranching family. She doesn’t eat prairie oysters, never has, never will. But I quickly realize it’s a battle I’m not going to win. Not even ‘Grandma Ella’  will come to my rescue!

By this stage in the proceedings several sets of expectant eyes are on me, and I cave. “OK, I’ll try one. Just one!” With a healthy dose of trepidation, I peer over the plate in front of me. I am shocked to see they look quite appetizing–that is, if you don’t consider from whence they came.  The tender little morsels are glistening with fat and spread out neatly on the plate amidst fried onions. A waft of warm air heavy with garlic and spices rises up before me. It’s almost enough to make me forget that I’m being offered testicles on a plate.

To help muster some courage I think about the politics of food, the ultimate sacrifice those poor little calves made only a few hours ago, and the starving millions around the world. “At least I know they are fresh!” I say as I reach for my first prairie oyster. There is an unconscious little whimper emitted as I bite down on the testicle (it’s what you don’t see in the photos).

My first bite of a prairie oyster.

I’m still whimpering as I chew and try not to think about what it is I am eating.

At this stage I can't believe I have a calf testicle in my mouth.

The look on my face betrays the fact that I’m losing the battle of keeping the flashes of the morning’s activities at bay as I ponder the texture with my tongue. Texture is big for me when it comes to food. The prairie oyster reminds me of small breakfast sausages, of which I’m not all that fond.

The texture is like a breakfast sausage.

“I see you’ve got the emergency water bottle handy just in case,” Dennis laughs while watching me eat. “Not to mention the ‘whiskey back’,” I reply, raising my red cup up to toast the occasion (I’ve had a few shots to bolster my courage).  As I chew, the delicate flavour mingles in my mouth and over-shadows my misgivings. Much to my chagrin, I have to admit that they actually taste pretty darn good and–although it may have been the whiskey talking–I actually reach for seconds. I don’t, however, let go of my whiskey!

Who knew they'd be so delicious that I'd want seconds!

Besides the prairie oysters, we do have roast beef. These folks have a grand facility replete with butchering shop that will hold about 25 cattle beasts at one time for aging. We head on in to do the de-boning. Actually, Jeff did all the work while the rest of us onlookers ensured a suitable level of general harassment was kept up.

De-boning and preparing roasts for the barbeque.

“It was a plan that was hatched at about 3:30 am one night in a state of utter debauchery,” Dennis tells me shaking his head.  Then looking up, he  swept his arm around the facility, “But we were all here the next day working on it!” The fellows are proud of this establishment, and who wouldn’t be. “You know, we can have an elk on the ground, then butchered, cut, and wrapped in a matter of hours,” Dennis continues, highlighting the various merits of the facility. “For example, this leg has been aged in the back cooler for 25 days,” he says, pointing to the leg Jeff is working on.

Suddenly Jeff looked up, “What, here? In this facility…. oh, we’re taking our chances,” he says, then winks at me. He’s already elbow deep in the work of de-boning yet manages to participate in the camaraderie around the room.

There are recipes and tall stories shared in order to work up an appetite:

“Hey Doug, can I get some of your special brine while I’m here?” someone asks.

“Sure, I’ll make you some right now.”

“Oh. Can I get the actual recipe off you, or is it a family secret?”

“Yep, but you can’t tell Jeff I gave it to you.”

“Why not?”

“Cuz it’s actually his family’s recipe and he doesn’t know I have it!”

A pretty happy pair.

Thanks to the people at the ranch and their generous, inclusive spirit, the weekend was not only enlightening but also a lot of fun. The weather was fantastic, the ranch was beautiful, the jobs were turned into entertainment. A good time was had by this little cowgirl. I got to experience some real Canadian ranch life–I even got to sleep in a horse trailer. Now how is that for an authentic cowhand experience!

10 Comments

Filed under Cattle, Heritage foods, Meat and game cookery

Consumers Rights On Raw Milk Debate Go Unchallenged!

Home pasteurized milk

Home pasteurization is easily done on a stove top. Why then is it illegal to buy?

Ontario made pasteurization of milk mandatory in 1938, but Health Canada did not make it mandatory until 1991. Canada bans the sale of raw milk but not its consumption. Although it is illegal to sell raw milk in Canada, consumers can own a share in the ‘source’ cow, which is what dairy farmer Michael Schmidt’s customers do. On Thursday, January 21st, 2010, Justice of the Peace Paul Kowarsky acquitted Michael Schmidt on 19 charges relating to the distribution of his raw milk. Because Schmidt had made diligent efforts to keep his cow-share program operating “within the confines and the spirit of the legislation”, JP Kowarsky concluded that the alleged offence fell into the category of ‘strict liability’; that is, criminal intent (‘mens rea’) could not be proved.

Schmidt had been prepared to do battle on a human rights level, and challenge the statutes on the ground that they violated his basic human right to ‘life, liberty and security of person’. In November of 2009, the Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF)—an independent, non-partisan, registered charity—announced its support for Schmidt on the grounds that consumers have the rights to choose what they put in their bodies, freedom of contract, and freedom from government regulation that is ‘arbitrary, unreasonable, unnecessary and unfair’. Even the existing cow-share system is an unnecessarily complex response to overly restrictive legislation. However, with Schmidt’s full acquittal, these complex legal issues may go unchallenged.

The Ontario government may choose to let the ruling stand, and live with the reality of cow-share arrangements. However, this is not satisfying the general public, because many people who would like to be able to access raw milk are unable to access a cow-share program; consequently, they have approached the CCF to see if they could pressure the government to change the law. According to Karen Selick (litigation director the CCF), if the government of Ontario wants to take the matter further, it has three options:

1. The government could appeal this decision. This would be a risky move because there is nothing to ensure it would be successful; moreover, it could backfire and escalate the confrontation of citizens and legislators. Schmidt and his long struggle have gained wide public support: the more people learn about his plight and educate themselves on the scientific and potential health benefits of consuming raw milk, the more people will want free access to it.

2. The government could create new legislation that specifically outlaws cow-sharing and/or the consumption of raw milk. However, there is strong opinion that, should the government choose this option, it would be met by public outrage, particularly from the burgeoning ‘food freedom’ movement. Furthermore, this would seem to constitute a breach of human rights at a most basic level, so the government would likely find themselves facing the CCF in court. In addition, policing the personal consumption of raw milk would be costly, if not impossible. Is someone going to be assigned to spy on farmers to ensure they are not sneaking a contraband tipple in the privacy of their own milking parlours?

3. The government could develop a regulatory procedure that would facilitate the sale of certified, safe, raw milk for interested consumers without requiring a cow-sharing arrangement. Schmidt and others—like Ontario raw milk advocate James McLaren—have offered to work with government officials to help develop the certification process. As Selick said in her article ‘Got Milk Justice’ (National Post, January 26, 2010), “Michigan is doing it right now. Why shouldn’t Ontario?”

Option 3 would be not only the most satisfactory solution for consumers, but also the most democratic.

Link to The Bovine: is a blog about rights around access to raw milk ,and chronicles the saga of Michael Schmidt, of Glencolton Farms, and his cow share holders with the authorities over the issue of access to raw milk.

18 Comments

Filed under Educational, Ethical farming, Food Security, Food Sovereignty, Milk preservation techniques, personal food sovereignty, Politics of Food

Pumpkin cheese-cake, with low carb version

Fresh pumpkin cheesecake

Crust

1/3 cup sugar (splenda if making low carb version)

1/3 cup butter, melted

1 1/4 cup flour (replace regular flour with soy flour if making low carb version)

1 egg

1 tsp cinnamon

Mix together and press into spring-form pan. Bake at 450 for 5 mins. Remove and cool.

Cheese-cake filling

3 – 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sour cream

2/3 cup sugar (splenda if making low carb version)

2 eggs

2 cups fresh pumpkin, steamed and blended

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Beat cream cheese, sour cream and sugar together well. Add pumpkin and mix until smooth. Then add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Mix in remaining ingredients. Pour over crust Bake 350ºF for 1 hour or until firm.

Chill and garnish with whipping cream. Sprinkle a bit of nutmeg or cinnamon on the whipped cream if desired.

NOTE: for true low carb version, omit the crust all together. Spray the bottom of the pan with non-stick spray.

4 Comments

Filed under Desserts and sweets, Eggs, How to..., Low carb foods, Recipes, Uncategorized

More cooking for Cullen: the dreaded dessert

Homegrown butternut pumpkin cheesecake.

Homegrown butternut pumpkin cheesecake.

I made this cheesecake a week in advance of the dinner  I was hosting for Nathan Cullen because I knew I would be out moose hunting right up until the day he was to arrive. I was a bit apprehensive about how it would turn out because I had never made a butternut pumpkin cheesecake before, and I did not have a recipe to follow. But, having fiddled with cheesecake recipes before I knew that cheesecake is both flexible and forgiving. In addition to these qualities (not to mention it’s sumptuousness), the fact that cheesecake freezes well is just another one of it’s–more than–seven wondrous features.

Having gone to the work of preparing a dessert, I was disheartened when, on the night he was to arrive, a friend (who had eaten with Cullen before) told me, “He’s not much for sweets.”  Always a good source of trivia, she had made mental note of the fact that he didn’t eat any of the sweets served on that occasion. Deflated, but not discouraged, “Well, maybe he’ll like cheesecake” I ventured.

With this in mind, I wasn’t expecting Nathan to eat any. However, I wasn’t too concerned that I’d be left with a whole uneaten cheesecake at the end of the night: I  knew one friend I’d invited would have difficulty stopping himself at one piece!

As I was getting the dessert out of the fridge, Nathan excused himself from the conversation, joined me in the kitchen and asked if there was anything he could do to help. Not one to turn down such gracious offers, I thrust the hand blender at him and searched for a bowl to whip the cream in. “How much?” he asked as he poured the cream into the bowl. Level decided, he went to work on the liquid as I tossed in some vanilla and sugar, and we continued our conversation over the whir of the beaters.

Whipped cream ready, he returned to the table and served up the cheesecake slices with generous dollops of cream, passing them around the table before setting himself up with a respectable piece.

NathanCullen&Kristeva

The very gracious Nathan Cullen and me after dinner still enjoying the evening's conversation.

After swallowing his first bite he looked up, face revealing a mixture of wonder and  disbelief, “Wow, this is delicious!” He took a second bite and as if the puppet master of his eyes, his eyebrows shot to the crest of his forehead and maneuvered expertly across it making his eyes dance between the slice of cake on his plate and the various people around the table, “Who made it?”

I was charmed by his lack of presumption (as to who made the cheesecake) and felt a sweet butternut pumpkin victory as I answered his question, “I did… I even grew the squash myself!”

HDR’s Butternut Pumpkin Cheesecake

Crust:
1/4 cup butter
1 1/4 cup graham crackers or ginger snaps, crushed into crumbs

Melt butter in a saucepan and stir in crumbs. Press into ungreased 9″x9″ springform pan and bake 350°F for 10 minutes.

Filling:
2 – 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 – small butternut pumpkin, steam cooked and peeled
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger

Beat cream cheese and sugar together well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Mix in remaining ingredients being sure to blend in the pumpkin pieces well. Blend until there are no lumps left. Pour over crust Bake 350ºF for 50 minutes or until firm.

Chill and garnish with whipping cream. Sprinkle a bit of nutmeg or ginger on the whipped cream if desired.

Serves 10-12.

NOTE: to make it low carb, omit the crust and replace some or all of the sugar with sugar substitute.

4 Comments

Filed under Desserts and sweets, Recipes

Slow roast goat leg

Cooking for Cullen

I’m hosting our National Member of Parliament for dinner tonight, Nathan Cullen. Consequently, I had to find something to cook! Having recently butchered one of my goats (and checked with his reps that he doesn’t have any food allergies or dislikes, I decided to try finding an interesting recipe for goat leg. This recipe is inspired by Chocolate and Zucchini which calls for a lamb shoulder and I’ve made some adjustments to suit my taste and the goat leg.

For the seasoning paste:

1 bushy sprig of fresh rosemary (you can substitute 1 tablespoon dried rosemary, but fresh really is preferable)

lemon (organic if possible)

50 gm filets of anchovies packed in olive oil, drained (if you don’t have anchovies, then use a combination of green and/or black olives!)

4 cloves garlic, peeled

2 teaspoons whole mustard seeds

A fresh ground black pepper to taste, or several good turns of the mill

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

3 teaspoons olive oil

For the meat:

2.2 kg (5 pounds) bone-in Goat Leg

8 small ripe tomatoes, about 650g (1 1/3 pounds)

8 small onions, quartered

4 cloves garlic,

Serves 6 to 8.

Pluck the needles of rosemary and discard the tough central stem (you can leave it to dry and use it as a skewer on a later occasion). Peel the zest of the lemon using a zester or a simple vegetable peeler (save the naked lemon for another use).

Using a mortar and pestle, combine the rosemary, lemon zest, anchovies, peeled garlic, mustard seeds, pepper, vinegar, and oil. Grind until the mixture turns into a coarse paste.

Place the leg of goat in a baking dish large enough to accommodate it, and rub in the seasoning paste, taking care to spread it well, and on all sides. (Clean your hands meticulously before and after the rubbing.) Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour, preferably 3 or 4.

Remove the meat from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking to bring it back to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 220°C (430°F). Remove the plastic wrap from the baking dish. Add the unpeeled garlic cloves and the tomatoes, cored and halved, slipping them under and around the meat, wherever you can and place the quartered onions all around the goat leg and drizzle with olive oil.

Place the dish in the oven to cook for 30 minutes. Lower the heat to 130°C (270°F) and cook for another 2 1/2 hours, basting and flipping the meat every 30 minutes or so. Cover with a sheet of foil if it seems to brown too quickly.

Let rest on the counter under a sheet of foil for 5 minutes. Carve the meat table-side and serve. (The leftovers are even better the next day.)

Goes well with greek style roasted new potatoes or brown basmatti rice.

18 Comments

Filed under Goats, How to..., Low carb foods, Meat and game cookery, Recipes

Dehydrating veggies

DRYING ZUCCHINI

Yellow zucchini ready for dehydrating.

Yellow zucchini ready for dehydrating.

A summer challenge for most gardeners is what to do with all that zucchini when it “comes on”; it’s like watching a marathon where most of the runners finish together, rather than spaced out in an orderly fashion that one can deal with.

sliced zucsIMGP3037

My solution is to pick the vegetable small (up to 8 inches) and often (once a day, ideally, especially if it rains). Then it’s matter of slicing—

Then laying them out on your drying rack (the photo shows undried zucchini slices on the left, and dried on the right):

Zucchinis, before and after dehydrating.

Zucchinis, before and after dehydrating.

I use an Excalibur dehydrator in my garage, but even though it has a capacious 9 shelves, I often need more, so I have two other older models (5 tray) as well.

My Excalibur dehydrating machine set to go to work!

My Excalibur dehydrating machine set to go to work!

I set the timer to 4 hours usually, but often check earlier than that. It’s tempting to stop the process when the vegetable is pliable and ‘chewy’ but I’ve learnt, from having to abandon some mouldy packets, that crisp is best, and safest.

I usually fill ziplock bags with the dried product, press out extra air as I seal them, and keep them in a tote, in the dark.

However, some of them I am so proud of, and so enjoy looking at the varied shapes and colours, that I keep them in jars on my kitchen bench. You really shouldn’t, since sunlight advances oxidation, but don’t they look great?

I like having my dried veggies on hand in the kitchen; they're part of my Fast, Slow Food pantry.

I like having my dried veggies on hand in the kitchen; they're part of my Fast, Slow Food pantry.

5 Comments

Filed under Food preservation, Preserving the harvest, Uncategorized

Tasting Sundown

Two beautiful sides of goat for the eating.

Two beautiful sides of goat for the eating.

As many of you will know, I butchered my first goat last weekend. Her name was Sundown. When my friend Clarence and I were butchering her he asked me how I chose her to do in. I told him my reasoning: she was the only doe not to get pregnant last year, she is the bottom of the heap in the other goats’ eyes, and the most stand-offish goat in the paddock with me. So, I rationalized, even if she were to get pregnant next time, I didn’t want her teaching her kids to be stand-offish with me. Summing up, it was obvious that she had to go.

I took her to the local butcher for hanging. She hung for 5 days and then the butcher cut, packed, and wrapped her for me–all 40 lbs of her. Clarence was keen to help me do that piece as well, but the weather has turned and I just wanted the job done. I am more interested at learning how to cook her.

I have just made my first goat curry and enjoyed every bite.

Curried Sundown

1 lb goat meat cut into stewing pieces

1 onion, chopped

3-4 tbsp oil (I use olive, but for more traditional curry you should use canola or vegetable)

2-3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 in piece fresh ginger, grated

1 package A Taste of India Hyderabadi Biriyani mix

1/2 can coconut milk

vegetables such as zucchini, peas, green peppers (or a mixture of them)

salt to taste

3-5 tbsp cilantro, al gusto

Fry onions in oil until translucent and tender. Add goat meat and cook until all pink is gone. Add ginger, garlic, and Hyderabadi biriyani paste along with a cup or two of water. Then add 1/2 can coconut milk and simmer for several hours until goat meat is tender. Add the vegetables. When the veggies are tender, add the cilantro. Adjust salt to taste and serve with steamed rice and naan.

7 Comments

Filed under Butchering, Recipes, Uncategorized