Monthly Archives: June 2014

A Tale of Two Parties: Utica Tomato Pie

Where to begin with Utica Pie…

Utica PieMy best friend in graduate school would speak about this thing called Tomato Pie in reverent tones and I was so excited to try it when she brought me to her house for my first Easter in New York.  Then I saw this under-dressed, plain, fluffy crust with just a little sauce and cheese, and was completely underwhelmed.  Jen’s face, on the other hand, lit up and she edged a bit closer to the plate.  I took a piece, not wanting to seem rude, and took a bite of what I only expected to be relatively tasteless cheese pizza… and was immediately hooked.  The crust had great texture, crispy on the bottom and fluffy but flavorful throughout.  It only needed a little of the intense sauce and cheese to round out the flavor profile, any more and it would have been cloying.  In future trips to what I would claim as my New York home, one of the things I always looked forward to was to be sent home with extra Tomato Pie… and Roma Bacon, but that’s a different story.

I have to say that as I am posting these recipes I am faced with a trepidation that I didn’t feel when making them for our party guests.  None of the guests at our party have every been to upstate New York, so I could have served up just about anything and stated that it was from upstate and no one would have been the wiser.  Now, however, I know that some of my readers are from upstate and they know what these things are supposed to look like and taste like.  I, however, am making these from memories and partial recipes that I’m piecing together as I go.  The final dishes that result from these recipes are delicious, but it is possible that some of my tweaks in the kitchen may have pulled them away from the real deal dishes.  For my family in New York, I hope you can look past any inaccuracies and just taste the love, since they were made with memories of all the love I experienced when in your homes.  Miss you!

Utica Pie
Adapted in part from Cook’s Illustrated Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza
Ingredients: Makes 2 pies
For the Crust:
3 ¼ cups flour
½ cup cornmeal
1 ½ tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar
1 pkg (2 ¼ tsp.) instant yeast
1 ¼ cups water (room temperature)
7 tbsp. butter, divided
4+ tbsp. olive oil, divided

For the Sauce and Toppings:
3 tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
1 ½ cups freshly grated parmesan

The wet and dry ingredients for the crust.

The wet and dry ingredients for the crust.

Directions:
For the Crust:

  1. Melt 3 tbsp. of the butter and set it aside. Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a stand mixer with a dough hook. Add the water and melted butter, and mix on low speed until ingredients are combined. Then switch to medium speed (speed 2 on most models) and knead until smooth and glossy, about 4-6 minutes. Alternatively you can mix and knead the dough by hand.
  2. Shape the dough into a ball and roll it in a little olive oil in a large bowl so it’s coated with oil all around. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and a towel and set it aside to rise for 45-60 minutes.
  3. Soften the remaining 4 tbsp. butter and set aside. Turn the risen dough out onto a floured surface and shape it into a 12 x 15 inch rectangle. Using an offset spatula spread the softened butter over the dough’s surface leaving a ½ inch border free around the edges.
    Rolling the dough out into a large rectangle.

    Rolling the dough out into a large rectangle.

    Coating the top of the dough with a thin layer of softened butter will result in crispy, buttery layers of dough in the final pie.

    Coating the top of the dough with a thin layer of softened butter will result in crispy, buttery layers of dough in the final pie.

  4. Starting at a short end roll the dough up into a cylinder. Place the cylinder seam side down and roll it out into a 4 x 18 inch rectangle. Cut the rectangle in half crosswise. Set one half aside and work with one at a time.
    The dough cylinder.

    The dough cylinder.

    The long, thin cylinder, encapsulating lovely layers of butter.

    The long, thin cylinder, encapsulating lovely layers of butter.

    Divide the cylinder in half crosswise.

    Divide the cylinder in half crosswise.

  5. Fold the rectangle into thirds. Then pinch the edges of the dough together forming a ball. Repeat with the second piece of dough. Place the balls back into the oiled bowl, covering them with plastic wrap and placing the bowl in the refrigerator to rise for 40-50 minutes, or until doubled in size.
    Folding the two halves into thirds.

    Folding the two halves into thirds.

    The folded dough is then rolled and pinched into a ball.

    The folded dough is then rolled and pinched into a ball.

    One dough ball ready to become a Utica Pie.

    One dough ball ready to become a Utica Pie.

  6. Coat two 9-inch pie pans with 2 tbsp. olive oil each. One at a time transfer each dough ball to your work surface and roll it out into a 13 inch circle. Move each dough circle to its respective pie tin by rolling it loosely around the rolling pin and then draping it into the pie tin. Using your fingers press the dough into the corners of the tin, forming it up the sides. At this point you can continue on making the Utica pies, or you can cover the dough thoroughly with two layers of plastic wrap and freeze them for up to four weeks.

 For the Sauce:

  1. Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and garlic, sauteing until soft but not brown, about 3 minutes.

    Mmmmm.... Oil and garlic...  Who needs more?

    Mmmmm…. Oil and garlic… Who needs more?  I was making a larger batch of the sauce here, so my proportions will be much larger than your’s.  I also have a lot of this in my freezer right now.

  2. Add the tomatoes and dried herbs. Simmer until the sauce thickens, about 15-20 minutes. Be careful, this might bubble like hot lava, and if it gets on your skin it will feel like it too! Yes, this is from personal experience…

    A flavorful sauce the cooks like hot lava.  Be ware of splashes!

    A flavorful sauce the cooks like hot lava. Be ware of splashes!

  3. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Set aside to use with the crust, or refrigerate/freeze for use in the future.

Note: This sauce recipe makes more sauce than you will need for the two pies. The extra sauce can be frozen for use over the next couple of months. Try freezing it in ice cube trays so that you can defrost only the amount you need and keep the rest in the freezer.

 For the pies:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. If using frozen dough, remove the plastic wrap and bake the crusts for 15 minutes until almost cooked through, but not yet browned. Then follow the directions as for room temperature dough.

    From frozen, this crust was baked for about 15 minutes until almost cooked through, but not browned.

    From frozen, this crust was baked for about 15 minutes until almost cooked through, but not browned.

  3. From frozen/pre-baked and room temperature dough: Spread ½ cup of sauce over the dough, then sprinkle half of the cheese over top. Repeat with the second pie.
    You should still be able to see the crust peeking through the sauce.

    You should still be able to see the crust peeking through the sauce.

    A delicious coating of parmesan cheese...  I'm lucky that Little Man was sleeping or he would have stolen the cheese from my bowl.

    A delicious coating of parmesan cheese… I’m lucky that Little Man was sleeping or he would have stolen the cheese from my bowl.

  4. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the cheese melted, about 15 minutes.
    One hot, bubbly pie.

    One hot, bubbly pie.

    And another...

    And another…

  5. Remove the pies from their tins and cut into squares. Enjoy!
Pile them high on a serving platter, and then be sure to elbow your way to the front before they disappear.

Pile them high on a serving platter, and then be sure to elbow your way to the front before they disappear.

Click here for a printable version of Utica Pie.

I hope this recipe can make converts out of you too!  🙂

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Oh, Canada!

My next post will continue the recipes from Dave’s Graduation Party, so if you are waiting for those do not despair.  They are coming, and soon!  This post is a “break from your expected programming” inspired by the fact that Canada Day is just around the corner.  I wanted to share this craft idea with you before the holiday has passed us by, hence the interruption in the grad party recipes.  Spoiler Alert!!!  If you are one of Little Man’s Papas avert your eyes, since this is also your belated Father’s Day gift.  Well, OK… you can peek…  I just wish that I’d been able to get the shirts to you before this was posted.  🙂

The original idea comes from the workmanfamily website, and I thought it was fantastic!  If you would like to see their original post, please click here.

I thought that the workmanfamily post’s idea of using a kid’s hand print as the maple leaf in a Canadian flag was brilliant, and the bonus is that it doesn’t take many supplies beyond a t-shirt and fabric paint.  From the original wormanfamily post they shared the idea of using an empty cereal box for the cardboard to put inside the shirt to keep the paint from seeping from one side of the fabric to the back side as well.  Just another example of renew, reuse, recycle.
Love it!

I was able to get good quality t-shirts on one of those major chain mega sales!  I used a torn up box from our recycle bin for the cardboard between the shirt layers.

I was able to get good quality t-shirts on one of those major chain mega sales! I used a torn up box from our recycle bin for the cardboard between the shirt layers.

I used a small plastic plate to hold the fabric paint, and it was just the perfect size for Little Man's hand.

I used a small plastic plate to hold the fabric paint, and it was just the perfect size for Little Man’s hand.

We did three shirts in one go, so set up the little work area for Little Man's hand prints.

We did three shirts in one go, making a little assembly line for Little Man’s hand prints.

Then I started the bars.  I began by painting the main column.

Then I started the bars. I began by painting the main column.

Then I went back and darkened in the column.

Then I went back and darkened in the column.

They I went back and strengthened the straight lines on all four edges.

They I went back and strengthened the straight lines on all four edges.  I know the edges don’t look straight here, but that’s partly from the rotation of the image.  It’s also a craft, so I can claim “rustic” just like in cooking and that makes it look better, right?

Oh, Canada!

Oh, Canada!

Two shirts for Papas and one for Daddy!

Two shirts for Papas and one for Daddy!

This Canada Day marks our one year anniversary for living in this amazing nation!  What an awesome and crazy year this has been.  I can’t wait to see what this next year has in store…

A Tale of Two Parties: Our Island Party and the Food

Now that we set the stage with the amazing party in New West… no pressure, right?  Oy…  Now I have to begin with confessing that some how, and I’m not exactly sure what happened, but we ended up with next to no pictures from Dave’s graduation party at our house.  I know…  I don’t know what happened…  I did, luckily, take pictures of the food (mostly) while I was preparing the dishes so at least that’s something.  But seriously… no pictures?  Ugh…

Here's our happy graduate!

Here’s our happy graduate!

On the brighter side, let’s talk about food.  Here’s the menu for Dave’s graduation party.

Dave’s Graduation Party Menu
Spiedies: Italian marinated pork or chicken that is skewered and grilled. Served on a bun with sauteed onions, mustard and mayonnaise.
White T-Shirt Shrimp: A Cajun spiced shrimp boil with beer and butter. Served with bread to dip.
Utica Pie: A deep dish tomato and parmesan “pie” with a Chicago-style crust.
Red, White and Blue Coleslaw: An homage to one of our favorite restaurants in Ithaca, NY, this is red cabbage, white cabbage and blue cheese slaw.
Half Moon Cookies: Made famous through Seinfeld, these Black and White cookies are claimed to have originated in Utica, NY, as Half Moons.

A fantastic blend of neighbors, family and friends.  What an amazing blessing!

A fantastic blend of neighbors, family and friends. What an amazing blessing!

It’ll take me a few posts to get all of the recipes posted, but today we are going to start with the Spiedies and White T-Shirt Shrimp, the two recipes that I don’t have images for.  This just means that you’ll have to try the recipes and send me pictures from your creations.  🙂  I’d love to see them!

Spiedies are a classic Binghamton, NY, dish.  This is the perfect festival food from Binghamton, honored yearly by the Spiedie Fest.  In fact, at my bachlorette party my fantastic ladies made a version to serve along with other bites of New York.  I hope I did them all justice with this recipe.  While the pork spiedie is the classic, we also offered a chicken version.  They were both delicious, especially with a heap of sauteed onions.

Spiedies
Ingredients
:
5 lbs. of pork loin or chicken, cubed
2 cups plus ¼ cup olive oil
½ cup cider vinegar
1 tbsp. smoked paprika
1 tbsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. dried thyme
1 tbsp. dried basil
1 tbsp. dried rosemary
1 tbsp. garlic powder
4 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Combine the meat with 2 cups of olive oil, the vinegar, and all the dried spices in a large, nonreactive bowl or resealable plastic bag. If using a plastic bag be sure to place it in a casserole dish or other walled dish or bowl in case of any leaks. Place the meat and marinade in the refrigerator and chill for several hours or overnight. In a pinch, 30 minutes will get you some flavor, but longer is better.
  2. Meanwhile heat ¼ cup of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat and add the onions. Be prepared to cry a little… or a lot. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté the onions until they start to brown on the edges, then turn down the heat to medium and slowly cook them until they are soft and golden. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Put the onions into a serving bowl and set aside. If making the spiedies in advance you can refrigerate the onions for up to 2 days and then reheat them in the microwave before setting them out with the other condiments and buns.
  3. When you are ready to grill the meat, prepare the skewers. Skewer the meat, leaving some space between the cubes to ensure even cooking. If using bamboo skewers be sure to soak them according to package directions in advance. Grill the skewers over high heat to get a char on your kebabs. Depending on the size of your cubes this can happen quickly, so watch them like a hawk. Test individual skewers to ensure for doneness.
  4. Remove the meat from the skewers and place it in a serving bowl. Serve the grilled meat with torpedo buns, the delicious, golden onions, as well as mustard and mayonnaise. Enjoy!

Please click here for a printable version of the Spiedies recipe.

Our front yard was festooned with balloons... and then we spent the entire time on our fantastic new back deck.  Ah well...

Our front yard was festooned with balloons… and then we spent the entire time on our fantastic new back deck. Ah well…

I cannot believe that I don’t have a single picture of the White T-Shirt Shrimp served at the party.  Ugh!  So you’ll just have to use your great imaginations to picture a vat of spicy sauce comprised predominately of butter and beer with succulent shrimp, served in bowls with crusty bread to soak up that delicious sauce.  My mouth is already watering…  The name for this dish comes from when Dave first tried it at a wonderful cabin (aka “camp”) up on Otter Lake.  He was wearing a brand new, white t-shirt he’d received for his birthday.  He took one bite of a shrimp, and watched the tail flip down in slow motion splattering his front with bright red, spicy butter sauce.  Dave now recommends a bib when eating these shrimp, but I’d wear a trash bag if I had to just to get a bowl of that sauce with a hunk of bread.  At the party we served the White T-Shirt Shrimp on a warming tray with a platter of warmed baguettes next to it to keep them both hot throughout the party.

White T-Shirt Shrimp
Ingredients
:
4 bottles of beer
¾ cup Worcestershire sauce
½ cup Cajun spice
4 lemons, juiced
1 lb. butter
5 lbs. shrimp, shell on, uncooked

Directions:

  1. Heat all of the ingredients except for the shrimp in a large pot. Bring the liquid to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the shrimp and cook for 7-8 minutes or until the shrimp are pink and cooked through.
  3. Serve with bowls and lots of crusty bread to soak up the amazing boil. Enjoy!

Please click here for a printable version of the White T-Shirt Shrimp recipe.

 

New DeckStay tuned for more recipes… with pictures… from the party!  😉

 

A Tale of Two Parties: Celebrating a Graduation in Style

Let me begin by stating how proud I am of my husband for completing his Ph.D. in Anthropology!!!  Done baby, done!

Here comes Dr. David Hopwood.

Here comes Dr. David Hopwood.

Many of us are familiar with celebrating high school and university graduations, but when you start getting to the advanced degrees the line that marks when you are done can be tricky to find.  Dave and I both earned our doctorates (how cool is that to say!) from Binghamton University, State University of New York.  At Binghamton University the completion date of your doctoral degree is when you have a public presentation to “defend” your dissertation.  This date can happen any time during the year, as long as you are done and your committee can attend.  So not only does your degree often finish at a random point on the calendar, it is also a singular accomplishment… meaning that you are not completing with anyone else and certainly not with a class of hundreds of fellow students.

I remember leaving my defense feeling elated about having passed that hurdle, stepping outside of the Science 1 building and looking around to seeing life continuing for everyone else as if nothing had happened.  The same students rushing to class already late, the same fervent clutching of coffee mugs, the same professors avoiding eye contact with students so no one asks them if the exams are graded yet…  My entire universe had just changed, but the rest of the university trucked on as if nothing had happened.  I wanted a parade.  I wanted acrobats flipping down the pathways, people blowing fire from the library fountain, fireworks from the clock tower, and sparklers for every single person on campus.  Alas, all I got was tepid coffee from an indifferent barista who was studying her note cards furiously behind the counter.

So when Dave was finishing his dissertation I started dreaming about how we’d celebrate his incredible accomplishment.  Needless to say that I was dreaming big, and when the actual date came around I had to seriously scale myself back based on budget (sorry, no acrobats) and my available time (aka how to I pull off a great party with the time available to a stay-at-home mom with a young child… aka not a lot of “free” time).  A number of my ideas had to fall by the wayside, but I think I was able to pull off my main goal of truly honoring all of Dave’s hard work.

Dave and three of The Ladies wearing the amazing construction paper grad caps.  From left to right: Loree, Sue and Ruth.

Dave and three of The Ladies wearing the amazing construction paper grad caps. From left to right: Loree, Sue and Ruth.

I was not the only one wanting to celebrate Dave’s graduation, and the lucky boy was also honored with a party at his family’s home.  The two parties were a week apart and were completely different from each other except for the fact that they were both filled with people who wanted to celebrate Dave.  He’s going to be impossible to live with after receiving weeks of unbridled praise!  😉  Just kidding.  He deserved every word and more… but I digress.

Hand poured chocolate graduation pops.  Ruth made dark chocolate, milk chocolate, mint chocolate and white chocolate.

Hand poured chocolate graduation pops. Ruth made dark chocolate, milk chocolate, mint chocolate and white chocolate.

While all you see is the "jewel" topping, this was the most amazingly rich and moist berry cake I've ever had.  The berries on top looked like a glittering tray of jewels. Stunning!

While all you see is the “jewel” topping, this was the most amazingly rich and moist berry cake I’ve ever had. The berries on top looked like a glittering tray of jewels. Stunning!

Special ordered celebratory pencils.

Special ordered celebratory pencils.

These diplomas were actually fun trivia questions about Dave and is degree.  Winner gets a prize!

These diplomas were actually fun trivia questions about Dave and is degree. Winner gets a prize!

We had such a great time at both parties.  Some of my favorite parts of Dave’s Family’s party were the special things they made by hand.  They made amazing construction paper graduation caps for everyone to wear, hand decorated graduation cap cookies, and had two young women to play with the kids and do crafts downstairs allowing the parents to be adults upstairs.  It was fantastic!

These cookies must have taken days!!! Each one was baked by Ruth and hand decorated by Erin.  I think they should go into business with these.

These cookies must have taken days!!! Each one was baked by Ruth and hand decorated by Erin. I think they should go into business with these.

The amazing spread at Dave's New Westminster party.  The wolves would fall on this table soon, so we had to take the picture fast.

The amazing spread at Dave’s New Westminster party. The wolves would fall on this table soon, so we had to take the picture fast.

We were also able to hold our own Hooding Ceremony.  In a traditional doctoral graduation ceremony the graduate is “hooded” with the special colors of your degree by a mentor or advisor of your choice.  This is a leveling of the playing field, and a very special moment of being brought into the professional field that you have worked so hard to attain.  Since we couldn’t get out to New York for Dave’s graduation, we held our own hooding ceremony at his party and it was my honor to be able to hood Dave.

Done, Baby... Done!

Done, Baby… Done!

A toast by Dave's proud dad, Joe.  This is where we all lost it.

A toast by Dave’s proud dad, Joe. This is where we all lost it.

I know that I’ve been teasing people with promising to post recipes from our Vancouver Island party on this blog, but I had to share the New West party first.  Stay tuned and the next post will start the recipes, I promise.  But first…  Sometimes we get so wrapped up with our own ideas of what our graduations mean to us personally that we forget about all that our families and loved ones have invested in the graduation as well.  This graduation for Dave coincided with his return to Canada as a university professor,  a husband and a dad.  A lot has changed since Dave first left for graduate school in New York.  The party in New West was an amazing time to also honor Dave’s family and their own achievement in getting their son/brother graduated.  Cheers to all you Hopwoods!

Decorations

Grilled Salmon, Fresh Off the Line

Until just a couple of days ago, the best salmon I have ever had was grilled up by Dave’s dad, Joe, at their cabin.  I should say that pretty much whenever Joe is grilling salmon, that’s my favorite.  It’s amazing.  That was the truth until a couple days ago when Dave grilled up some Lemon Garlic Salmon. This fish was incredibly tender, almost creamy in texture, but not mushy.  There wasn’t a hint of fishiness anywhere, and if you associate salmon with a fishy taste that probably means that you’ve been eating farm raised salmon.  Yuck.  Wild caught salmon from the Pacific Northwest has a fresh taste that has absolutely nothing in comparison to the muddy, fishy flavor of farm raised salmon.

The Lemon Garlic Salmon that Dave grilled up wasn’t just wild caught, it was caught by a cousin who just happened to be coming to our home for Dave’s graduation party (recipes from that party will be appearing next week).  This wonderful cousin, of whom poets should sing, showed up at the party with a large, red cooler.  He plunked it down in our kitchen and called Dave over.  As he lifted the white plastic lid I think I heard angels singing, because inside were two enormous sides of the most beautiful pink salmon I’ve ever seen. I had learned early in our relationship that one of the benefits of marrying a west coast Canadian boy was that this got me into closer proximity to some of the best salmon in the world.  I had no idea that this would also grant me family who showed up bearing gifts of fresh caught salmon.

We tightly wrapped and froze much of the salmon, but Dave saved out a large portion for the grill.  Then he went into research mode, trying to figure out the flavor profile he wanted.  In the end he chose a beautifully simple combination of lemon and garlic with just enough seasoning to highlight the amazing flavor of the salmon.  Dave adapted this recipe from an Essence of Emeril recipe tweaking it a bit here and there.  You could also use another firm fleshed fish like halibut or cod, but just be careful with the cooking time if you go for a smaller fish size.  The perfect accompaniments for the Lemon Salmon are the Cabin Grilled Potatoes and a fresh green salad…  especially if it is served with a glass of wine.  In true style of not wanting to let anything go to waste, we toasted the salmon with glasses of sparkling wine leftover from the graduation party that had gone slightly flat.  As luck would have it, the sparkling wine was so good that even the slightly flat version was still crisp with a slight effervescence that was amazing with the salmon.  It was a perfect meal on the deck with my two amazing boys.

Note: When Garlic Turns Blue…

The salmon smelled fantastic.  We brought the packet to the table and Dave did the big reveal, peeling the foil back, the delicious steam poured out revealing the perfectly cooked salmon layered with the beautiful golden lemons and studded with…  cyanide blue garlic?  What on earth had happened?  Was the salmon safe to eat?  And why on earth had turned the garlic turquoise blue?  A bit of quick internet research later and I learned that it is an interesting, but non-toxic, effect that sometimes happens with young garlic, especially when it comes in contact with other acids like lemon, onion or wine, and low heat.  So please enjoy the lovely turquoise hue of the garlic in our pictures and know that it tasted delicious.  If you are curious about the glories of blue-green garlic, here’s a NY Times article on the subject.

Lemon Garlic SalmonLemon Garlic Salmon
Ingredients
:
1 side of salmon, skin on
2 tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. white pepper
2 tsp. fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced
8 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup olive oil, divided

Directions:

  1. Preheat your grill or oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Rinse the salmon under cold running water and then pat dry.
  3. Lay a long piece of foil down on the work surface. The foil should be twice the length of your salmon, or use two pieces to be sure to cover your salmon completely.
  4. Butter the foil, leaving a couple inch border around the edges for sealing later on. Drizzle a little olive oil over the foil, and then lay the salmon onto the foil skin side down. Sprinkle with the salt and white pepper.
  5. In a small bowl mix the minced garlic with a little olive oil and salt, smashing the garlic against the side of the bowl with a spoon to make it a loose paste. Smear the garlic paste all over the salmon, and sprinkle the fresh rosemary over top.
  6. Layer the lemon slices over the salmon, covering as much of the surface as you can. Then sprinkle the onions over the lemon slices, and drizzle the entire packet with the remaining olive oil.
  7. Fold the foil edges up to seal the salmon tightly on all sides in the packet. Place the foil packet on the grill and monitor it closely. The salmon should steam inside the packet, retaining all the amazing moisture and flavor of the lemon, garlic and onions.
  8. Cook the salmon packet for 15-20 minutes, or until just cooked through but still moist. The cooking time will vary based on the thickness of your salmon, thinner pieces cooking faster than thicker ones.
  9. Remove the packet to a serving plate and bring it to the table to serve from the foil. If your salmon had pin bones be careful to remove them carefully as you go, warning all diners that there could be pin bones in their portion. Enjoy!

Lemon Garlic SalmonClick here for a printable version of the Lemon Garlic Salmon recipe.

Cabin Grilled PotatoesCabin Grilled Potatoes
Ingredients
:
6 medium red skinned potatoes
1 medium onion, halved
6 tbsp. butter
Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat your grill or oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Thinly slice your potatoes and set them aside. Thinly slice your onions and set them aside.
  3. Place a baking sheet on your work station and cover it with a sheet of aluminum foil that overlaps each side by an inch or two. Generously butter the foil, leaving a couple inches of border all around for when you close the packets.
  4. Layer half of the potatoes across the foil, overlapping them slightly and leaving enough foil around the edges that the packet can be sealed for the grill or oven. Dot the potatoes with thin slices of half of the butter.
  5. Layer half of the onions over top of the potatoes, and sprinkle the entire packet with salt and pepper.
  6. Layer the remaining potatoes over the onions, and dot the potatoes with thin slices of the remaining butter.
  7. Layer the remaining onions on top of the potatoes, and sprinkle the entire packet with salt and pepper.
  8. Place a second piece of foil over top of the potatoes and onions, and fold the edges up to seal the packet on all sides.
  9. Place the packet into your grill and cook for approximately 20 minutes. Monitor the heat during the cooking, adjusting as necessary. The sealed packet will steam the potatoes, but the heat should also create a golden crust on the bottom. Be careful that the bottom layer doesn’t “over caramelize” (aka burn).
  10. Remove the packet to a serving plate and bring it to the table. Rip open the foil to let the aroma of browned buttery potatoes and onions float across the table. Serve family style. Enjoy!

Click here for a printable version of the Cabin Grilled Potatoes recipe.

Cabin Grilled Potatoes

Magic Garden Songs, First Strawberries and Kids in the Garden

A week into our gardening season and I haven’t killed anything yet.  Yet.  I count that as a success.

As a professor that studies food politics and who has worked with community supported agricuture (CSAs in the States) and small farmers for years, it is funny to be on this end of the food production scale.  This is the first place that we’ve lived where I have been able to have real garden space, not just containers.  I am also, however, surrounded by gardens tended by expert gardeners who have been at it for years.  I am relying heavily on their knowledge, picking their brains about everything from how to prune tomato plants to the best time to water plants and which plants grow better in compost versus manure-based soils.

I also find myself comparing my funky garden to their amazing plots.  Due to the construction of our garden space, I didn’t get my seeds planted until a bit late in the season, and most were seeds sown into the ground rather than seedlings.  So my neighbors have a few weeks of a head start on me, and their gardens look like magic.  They look like a sort of Magician’s Apprentice version of gardening.  These staid Canadians must go out to their gardens in the cool morning mist, and sing a song conjuring their plants to rise as they slowly lift their arms.  Green shoots obligingly spring from the earth at their command, quickly growing into full fledged fruiting plants.  Or so it seems.

I find myself greedily staring at the dark brown soil every morning, looking for new green shoots that will hopefully provide my table with gorgeous (or at least delicious) veges in the not too distant future.  Little Man’s favorite thing to do in the evenings before dinner is to go to the green house and play with the strawberries.  He moves from plant to plant, carefully holding each berry in his little hand before moving on to the next.

The other day the first strawberry was finally ripe, and I plucked it from the plant to share it with him.  I took a bite of one of the warmest, sweetest strawberries I’ve ever had and held the other half out to Little Man to sample.  I thought this would be a wonderful moment, sharing with him the first fruit of the season.  He, on the other hand, looked at me in horror that I would eat one of his small red toys that just happened to be growing on a plant in the greenhouse.  At that moment I thought of all the blogs, web pages, farmers market people, etc. who talk about how meaningful it can be for little kids to grow their own food, how for many kids this helps them start eating more vegetables, and how angels sing whenever a young child helps tend a garden.  Apparently we are going to need a bit more help in this area…

Eating Culture: The Anthropology of Food

It’s official, I will be teaching Eating Culture: The Anthropology of Food at the University of Victoria this Fall (2014) semester!  I am completely excited to be getting my toes back into university teaching, and it doesn’t suck that the course I will be teaching is one of my favorites.  Please share the news with anyone you know that attends the university, and feel free to share information about the class.  If anyone has any questions about the course, please just send me a comment to this post.

Here is the basic course information:

ANTH 393:A02
Eating Culture: The Anthropology of Food
Dr. Marie Hopwood

Course Description:
What does it mean to “eat” culture? And what is “food” anyway? Through this course students will explore the cultural creation of food, specifically how food is used to create and maintain identity; be this ethnic, national, religious, or gendered. Issues of food production, including the effects of industrialization and McDonaldization on workers, consumers, and the food itself, will be discussed. Course topics will be drawn from examples around the globe, as well as from our own cultural milieu. Students will use the skills gained over the course of the semester to formulate a research paper that will be presented in a class-based anthropology of food “conference.” The topic of research is open for students to be inspired by the broad range of topics available.