Monday, September 29, 2008

If you're looking for something to do this weekend...

Anyone in the Victoria area concerned about the future of local food? This Sunday the Friends of Madrona Farm Society is putting the "fun" in fundraising and hosting the Island Chefs' Survival Challenge at Madrona Farm. Come and watch 10 high-profile Victoria chefs battle the elements, run a farm-related obstacle race and hunt for their own veggies, then strip their equipment down to basics and create masterpiece meals with what really matters - quality local ingredients! Participants can interact with the chefs, and bid on a made-before-you mouthwatering meal featuring the deliciousness that comes from the farm. Proceeds go to The Land Conservancy for the purchase of Madrona Farm - this project will keep Madrona Farm as a productive, sustainable food farm forever. For more information, see Tickets available at the farm gate Wed-Sat 11-3, 4317 Blenkinsop Rd.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

tropical finds

Our time in Hawaii is at an end, and I have a few minutes to share the tropical food wisdom I have gleaned:

- Breadfruit is delicious. I wish I could grow it in Victoria. It's like sweet potato, only easier to deal with and tastier. So yummy! Leave it until it's really ripe and squishy, scoop it out and plop it in a frying pan with butter into little pancake-things. Total convenience food, yummy and probably even healthy-ish.

- There must be some good grass on the north end of Oahu, because the grass-fed beef is amazing. Some of the best steaks I've ever had. Not quite as good as Tabasco, but close.

- Supermarkets suck, except for the sushi. I guess it's all about what sells, but the majority of stuff in the supermarkets here comes from Thailand or Ecuador (like, seriously, importing *bananas* in Hawaii???). The packaged sushi is fantastic though, and a much, much wider variety than Victoria restaurants even.

- Jackfruit looks really fun, but doesn't taste good enough to actually buy any. Those suckers are HUGE. Even a slice is too much to eat. And it's so... not refreshing. I dunno, it's really sweet, really rich, and more than a bite or two is too much. Which is unfortunate, because they grow up to like 30 lbs each, and one would keep you going for a while if you could actually eat it. It's the irony of the fruit world.

- Starfruit, on the other hand, is REALLY refreshing, especially if you pick it yourself.

- The bananas that DO grow here are much tastier than the standard Chiquita tpe. They're called apple bananas, and while they don't taste like apples, they are more tart, firmer, and have a whole pile more flavour. Especially if they're wrapped in a wonton wrapper and deep-fried. Mmmmmm.

- You can eat too many papayas. And mango season ends about now, apparently, but when it's going, it's gooooood.

- Wheat beer brewed with lili'koi (passionfruit) is absolutely lovely, and just what you need after a long day of kayaking and whatnot.

That's about it. Back to Victoria now, and I'll be without computer for a few days.

Monday, September 01, 2008

from muskox to mai tais

Aloha, all 3 loyal readers.

This will be a brief post to apologize for the lack of recent postings and provide a quick update to my culinary adventures.

Our visit to the Yukon was highlighted by the successful hunting trip executed by Anna and Stirling into the wilds of the Nisutlin River, wherein they shot and expertly dismembered a most delicious and tender young bull moose. So far it has been nothing short of exceptional; recipes for moose-liver pate will most likely follow at some point, which really are more for taunting than following since it's unlikely most people have access to any moose liver, never mind super-fresh liver from a two-year-old willow-and-grass-fed bull. Oh, and I had a muskox burger that tasted exactly how I expected muskox to taste, but I hereby fail in my attempts at food journalism because I couldn't describe it to save my life. It was tough though, and Rowan wouldn't eat it. They should have added some pork fat and breadcrumbs or something. Also, mossberries are a good thing.

Ok, so then we had a brief stop in Victoria where I frantically picked blackberries, made a pie, then tossed the rest in the freezer due to lack of time. Then we jetted off again, to Hawaii. Waikiki to be exact. And so far, the food is kind of crappy, except for one Korean place and the sushi bar next to it which is cozy and delightful. And cheap - I think we had the cheapest sushi dinner we've ever had there, but that was probably because they were out of ikura and Rowan usually eats a horrifying amount of it.

But. Waikiki makes up for the crappy food (or disguises it) by having rivers of booze pouring out of all the hotel bars. I just popped down to the Marriott to have my obligatory mai tai and ordered it after overcoming my initial shock at the $10 price tag. That's easily twice as much as a "mai tai" in Victoria would cost. However, it turned out to be a veritable bargain, because there is easily four times as much booze in the ones here. Honestly, I felt bloody heroic for finishing it, even though I made the bartender add some juice. Because there wasn't any. In an eight-ounce drink. I think. Hard to say now, but I know my own alcohol tolerance pretty well, I am NOT at a thin, easily-boozed state of my life right now, but I am seriously borderline for dinner with the in-laws and it was only ONE drink. So, fun. Should have left more time for that.

So that's the update, I'll try to post more later, but now I'm off to cook my grass-fed beef steak on a probably inadquate electric bbq, and attempt to brainwash my dear father-in-law into understanding why MY steak is a better deal than his marked-down "kobe" steak he got at walmart or wherever it is they shop here. (There is a very good farmer's market... more on that later.)