When I was nine years old my parents decided it was time for all of us to learn to ski. We spent a few weekends driving around the Collingwood, Ontario area north of Toronto looking for a ski chalet. We fell in love with a quaint little chalet at the foot of a small ski resort called Talisman. Like many families from the city we would leave every Friday night and spend the weekends in the country. My brother, sister and I spent whole summers there with our mom while dad continued to commute from the city on weekends.
In summer the country house provided us our first opportunity to have a vegetable garden and I was thrilled to watch what we had sown in spring grow into food for the table. I still compare every tomato I ever eat to the tomatoes of my childhood, warmed by the sun and fresh from the garden below our cottage. No other tomato has come close. I feel the same way about the peaches. As a family we would spend whole afternoons picking peaches at a friend’s nearby orchard. I have never eaten a peach that tasted as good as those Ontario grown peaches of my childhood.
Other food memories from that time include relaxing on Saturday mornings with my father busy in the kitchen kneading dough for cinnamon buns. He would place the dough in the warmth of the sunny windowsill to rise. When ready - into the oven they went, filling the house with the wonderful aroma of cinnamon and baking. Out of the oven they came along with the wait for them to cool before the pleasure of devouring hot fresh cinnamon buns whole.
Every summer we would get all the neighbours together for a potluck dinner and corn roast. We would fill the front yard with borrowed tables and every one would bring their own chair. My sister and I would pick wildflowers and place them in glass jars for the tables. These gatherings were a celebration of summer and its wonderful bounty of fresh local food. It was in preparation for one of these parties that my mother taught me how to make peach pie- my favourite of all pies. Below is her recipe:
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup shortening
2 cups unbleached white flour
1 tsp salt
5 Tbsp cold water
Using a fork, pastry cutter or food processor, cut the butter and shortening into flour and salt until it resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle in water a little at a time, mixing after each addition. Work into two balls. Wrap in plastic and chill for one hour or longer before rolling out. When ready to roll out, let the pastry sit at room temperature for about ten minutes so it is soft enough to roll out. Roll out on a clean flat surface using whole wheat flour to keep dough from sticking to the counter.
Make sure peaches are ripe but not soft. To peel peaches, bring a pot of water to a boil, gently add the peaches and turn off the heat. Allow them to sit for one minute. Drain and rinse with cold water. Now the peels will slip off easily.
Peach Pie Filling:
8-9 ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
2/3 cup of sugar
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 tsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp butter
In a large bowl add the sliced peaches and squeezed the lemon juice together. Coat the peaches with the sugar and cornstarch.
On a floured surface roll out the bottom half of the pastry and place into pie plate. Add the pie filling and dot with butter. Roll out the rest of the pastry and place over the filling. Pinch top and bottom crust together where they meet and cut remaining pastry from around the edge of the pie plate. Insert a knife into the middle a few times to allow hot air to escape while baking.
Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 30 or more minutes, until the pastry is golden brown.
Place foil or baking sheet underneath to catch any syrup that might bubble over.
Tips for making great pastry –
- Definitely using half butter makes for a much tastier and flakier pie crust
- Over handling makes for tough pastry –use a food processor if possible
- Refrigerating the pastry prior to rolling helps keep pastry fluffy
- Rolling the dough out onto whole wheat flour makes it have a rustic look and adds flavour
- Put the assembled pie in the freezer for 15 minutes before putting it into the hot oven
Local Food News
Max Restaurant and the Pub Bar & Grill ~
Max is pleased to feature 100% locally baked breads. In addition to their own River Rock Bread which is made in-house, Park Place Lodge now features locally baked products from Fernie’s Loaf Bakery. If you haven’t tried out the Max Burger lately, the new bun from Loaf has raised it to a whole new level!
Wine Wednesdays at Max Restaurant - Wine fans can enjoy a featured special every Wednesday night with 50% off select wines from their extensive wine list. This month’s featured wines include Louis Latour Pinot Noir from Burgundy France as well as Fetzer Vineyards Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc from California.
Picnic Restaurant and Social ~
Picnic now has a summer menu, with additions including cheese fondue (a great compliment to their “picnic” menu) and a Cincott salad featuring fresh organic produce from Cincott Farms. They have also made changes to some of their main dishes, wine and cocktail lists - avocado margarita anyone?
Picnic is also offering a monthly cooking class the last Monday of each month from 7-9pm. Each month they focus on a different aspect of gourmet cooking. $75 per person, sign up at the restaurant as space is limited to 12.
Join them every week for ‘Tuesday Tastings”. Two course specials paired with two wines for $30.
Loaf Bakery ~
Loaf is hosting a Garden Party Saturday June 12, noon to 9 pm to officially open their café garden. There will be free tasters, give-aways and pizzas in the garden served up with cold beer. Loaf now sells their all-natural bread and baked goods at the Jaffray and Fernie Farmers' Markets from June 19 throughout the summer.
Red Tree Lodge~
Red Tree specializes in weddings, groups and catering services. They offer flexible packages to suit style and budget from extensive table d’hote and a la carte selections to sumptuous breakfast and brunch buffets.
The Old Elevator ~
The Elevator has a new Wednesday special - enjoy one pound of Alaskan Snow Crab for $19.50 and bottles of Stella for $4.25. Also don’t forget the Elevator for weekend brunch and Steak Sandwich Sundays.
The Brickhouse Bar & Grill ~
It’s summer time which means the Brickhouse patio is now open for business! Enjoy an appy and a few pints of beer while you catch some rays or the best people watching in town. Also, make sure to keep Thursday nights open as the popular Jam Night will continue through the summer months.
The Clubhouse Restaurant ~
Every Monday is Local’s Night at the Clubhouse with burgers and beer and on Fridays it’s Prime Rib for $14.75. Also lunch, dinner and daily specials including soups and sandwiches are available on their refurnished patio.
Have you heard of Gnocchi? Here’s some food knowledge courtesy of Mezzaluna.
N'YO-kee is the Italian name for a variety of thick, soft noodles or dumplings. In Uruguay and Argentina, where the cuisine is strongly influenced by Italy, they say that if you eat gnocchi on the 29th of each month, you’ll have plenty of cash for the next thirty days. Some people even place their wallets on their laps or put a couple of bills under their plate to encourage the unknown forces at work.
At Mezzaluna the gnocchi is homemade and served with a butter and sage sauce and are delicioso!