Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Ocean Wise: Tides of Change

Before fleeing off on my Israeli adventure, I had the opportunity to attend Ocean Wise: Tides of Change, an event held by the Vancouver Aquarium Conservation Program to raise awareness on how Canadian chefs are reshaping the culinary scene using Ocean Wise choices. The event, which was held at Luma, a new addition to the group of about 50 Ocean Wise partners in Toronto, emphasized the need to make ocean-friendly choices for the health of our oceans. With depleting seafood stocks becoming a critical issue (an estimated 90% of all large, predatory fish are gone from the world's oceans), and consumer interest in sustainable seafood, there was no better time for concerned industry representatives, including celebrated chefs Martin Kouprie, Dan Donovan, and Brad Long, writer and sommelier Jamie Drummond, and sustainable seafood advocate Rebecca LeHeup to form the Ocean Wise Advisory Team in Toronto - A team charged with examining the local culinary marketplace and uncovering ways to further engage and educate consumers on the issues surrounding our oceans.
The event highlighted the important work that the Advisory Team is responsible for, as well as informing guests about the many sustainable seafood options that are available to us, and of course what unsustainable seafood we should stay away from. We were introduced to both familiar and unfamiliar sustainable seafood options that stretch across Canada through a delicious and striking tasting menu created by Luma's Executive Chef Jason Bangerter. Taking us across Canada, Chef Bangerter allowed us to taste two different types of fish from each region of Canada through his artfully plated savory seafood creations. Each dish was absolutely delicious, truly showcasing the fresh Canadian fish as the star of each dish, while representing it in a unique and visually appealing way.
Fried Lingcod Po-Boy
seaweed, spicy mayonnaise
Spot Prawn Tartare
chili, mint, coriander
Warm Glazed Mussels
ramp leaves, beech mushroom, béarnaise
Salt Cured Arctic Char
citrus, ginger, basil
Poached Trout Salad
peas, herbs, pickles
Smoked White Fish Fritters
wild leek, daisy caper rémoulade
To learn more about Ocean Wise and sustainable fish in Canada, check out the Ocean Wise website!

Listening To:
Robyn - Dancing On My Own

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Homemade Lemonade

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. With my house up for sale and real estate agents telling us to decorate our kitchen with a big bowl of lemons, the old saying has become very literal for me. I can't believe that after all this time and preparation, the very long process of putting our family home up for sale is nearing its end. Despite how long we've been preparing for this both mentally and physically, it's still a pretty sour situation. I'm not gonna lie, it totally sucks spending your last few months with your home/pool surrounded by painters, contractors, bickering family members, and real estate agents, all the while being prepared to up and drop everything at a moments notice to prep the house for spontaneous showings. I hate it. I hate that the place that I've called my home for my whole life will soon be someone else's, I hate how unclear my future looks right now, and, worst of all, I hate to see how all of this is affecting my parents. I've never been that person who has the right thing to say to offer words of comfort, so instead I always turn to food and drinks to express my compassion. So after a week of glaring at that damn bowl of lemons with distain, a constant reminder of the flux my family and I are all in, I yanked out the dusty citrus juicer and went through almost the entire bowl of lemons to make a pitcher of refreshing lemonade.

Having never made lemonade from scratch before, I was surprised at how easy it was to turn that lip puckeringly sour lemon juice into a sweet and delicious outdoor bevvie. Squeezing those lemons turned out to be pretty therapeutic for me, just as everything else I've cooked or baked in the past month have helped to sooth me. That saying kept repeating in my head: "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade", ie. when life hands you a sour situation, it's in your hands to turn it into something sweet. Despite the chaos in my life right now, deep down I know that this is all for the best. I know my family needs to move on, I know that this change will help to take myself and my family in the direction we need to go, and I know that in the end this experience will help me grow. The situation isn't going to change, so it's up to me to change how I perceive it and turn it into something positive. No, it's certainly not going to be as easy as making lemonade, but at 24 years old, I know the importance of trucking along, looking for the best in every situation, and learning from each experience I go through.

With the stress of work, home, family, and health on our minds, those few moments in my backyard with my mom, sipping on ice cold lemonade in the sun, helped to take our minds of all of the sour for just a moment and appreciate something sweet.

Note: I like some lemon pulp in my lemonade, but if you prefer yours pulp-free, simply strain it out with your seeds.

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup lemon juice (about 6 lemons), with pulp
3-4 cups cold water
lemon slices, for garnish (optional)


  1. In a small saucepan set to medium heat, add the sugar and 1 cup water, stir to combine and cook until sugar has dissolved (about 5 minutes).  Remove from heat, transfer to a container and chill. This is called a simple syrup and can be added to sweeten any cold drink.
  2. Make the lemonade by pouring the lemon juice and pulp into a large pitcher.  Add 3 cups of the cold water and half of the simple syrup. Add more sugar and water to your liking until you have your perfect lemonade! Stir in some ice, garnish with lemon slices, and serve immediately. 

Listening To:
Cults - Go Outside

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Klondike Rose - Jalapeño Popper-Inspired Twice Baked Potatoes

Nothing like answering the door to a FedEx delivery man stating "a box of potatoes for a Danielle Rose....", amazing! When I was contacted by Earth Fresh to work with them on their Klondike Rose Potatoes contest, I jumped at the chance to be involved! Potatoes are always a staple at my house during the summer whether its a baked potato alongside steak, potato salad at our barbecues, homemade french fries, or good ol' home fries with breakfast, potatoes pretty much become part of the Rose family all summer long! Because I've come up with so many delicious potato recipes in the past, I have a tendency to go back to those recipes time and time again, or adjust them just slightly to suit what I have on hand. I love getting to taste my favourite potato recipes again and again, but I've been itching to try something new.  The Klondike Rose Potato contest was the perfect kick to get my potato wheels a turnin' to come up with a new and unique recipe using these delicious red skin golden flesh potatoes. 

Because I missed Cinco de Mayo this year while I was enjoying my falafels in Israel, I haven't been able to get jalapêno poppers, my 2011 Cinco de Mayo dish, out of my head!  With jalapeño poppers on the brain, my Klondike Rose Potato recipe really couldn't go in any other direction, I knew the flavours and textures would be great together! Having never tried this recipe before, improvising as I went, with a deadline on my heels, I was a little nervous that the dish wouldn't turn out. Would the potatoes be too spicy? Bland? Would the texture be off? Would they look nice in a photo? The easiest way to set your nerves aside is to simply begin tasting.  Taste every single step that goes into those potatoes and you can't go wrong!  My potatoes turned out to be a huge success! My family and I absolutely loved the flavours, textures, and even the presentation! What's better? Leftover potatoes can be kept in the fridge to be wrapped in tin foil and popped in the oven when ready to eat, and they still taste fantastic! Because of their smaller size and festive filling, I love the idea of serving these spicy potatoes up for guests at a backyard barbeque to show up the typical potato salad side.  Thanks to Earth Fresh Klondike Rose Potatoes for inviting me to take part in this fun contest!

Tip: I learned the hard way to wear gloves when de-skinning jalapeños. No gloves means severely stinging hands later! If you don't have gloves and have to use bare hands, I found that aloe vera gel gave me some relief. A hot shower made it 100x worse!!

8 Klondike Rose red skin golden flesh potatoes, washed and scrubbed
olive oil, for frying and coating potatoes
kosher salt
1 250g package cream cheese, softened
2 jalapeño peppers
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated
2 cooked bacon slices, crumbled
2 tbsp cream
about 1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 green onion, chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 400º
  2. Pierce potatoes several times with a fork. Rub potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle generously with kosher salt. Place potatoes directly on top rack of oven and bake for about 1 hour, or until potatoes are tender when inserted with a fork.
  3. Pierce jalapeños with wooden skewers that have been soaked in water for at least 30 minutes. Using a gas stove or BBQ, turn on flame and carefully place jalapeños directly on flame. Char jalapeños on all sides so that they are black and blistered. Remove skewers, place immediately in a glass bowl, and cover the top with plastic wrap. Let stand for 10 minutes. Wearing gloves, rub the jalapeños with your hands until all the skins are removed. Cut jalapeños in half and remove as much of the seeds and membrane to your liking (they are the spicy parts of the jalapeño, so use your discretion!). Chop finely.
  4. Warm 1 tbsp of olive oil in a small skillet at medium heat. Add the chopped onion and fry, stirring occasionally, until transparent. Add the jalapeños and continue to cook until softened and onions are golden.
  5. In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese with the jalapeños, garlic, cayenne pepper, paprika, oregano, and thyme. Mix in the mozzarella, cheddar, and bacon and set aside.
  6. Once the potatoes are baked and are cool enough to handle, slice off the top 1/4 of each potato. Using a small spoon, carefully scoop out the filling, leaving a 1/4-inch thick layer around the skin, and place insides in a medium bowl. Mash the potato insides with a potato masher or fork and stir in the cream. Mix in the cream cheese until well combined.
  7. Using a small spoon, carefully re-fill the potato skins evenly with the cream cheese and potato filling. Sprinkle the tops evenly with Panko bread crumbs and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until bread crumbs are golden. Top with green onions and serve immediately.
Listening To:
Florence & The Machine - No Light, No Light

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