On Tuesday July 1, 2008 Canada will be celebrating it's 141st birthday. To celebrate I decided to join the food event Taste Canada, hosted by Confessions of a Cardamom Addict. For this event she is asking bloggers to write about what Canada tastes like to them - savoury or sweet. Confessions of a Cardamom Addict is hosting the savoury side of Canada and Jennifer of Domestic Goddess is hosting the sweet side of Canada.
Canada is known as a melting pot of different cultures, races and religions. Such diversity has brought so many great culinary delights to this nation. The days of going out to your traditional St. Hubert's (a traditional Quebec/Ontario restaurant) are far gone. Today going out for dinner can be a all day ordeal trying to figure out if you are in the mood for japanese, chinese, korean, italian, african, greek, indian, thai, english pub fare, mexican etc....
When it comes to Canadian food there are so many foods to think of from coast to coast and season to season (not to mention all the beer & wines). Rather than going through them all I will tell you what Canada Tastes like to me in my region.
I grew up in a small town in Ontario on the border of Quebec (near Ottawa and Montreal), thus some of my meals growing up were traditionally french- canadian. As a kid I remember eating Habitant French Canadian Pea Soup with grill cheese sandwiches, Poutine from the local frie stand with squeaking St. Albert's cheese curds, Montreal Smoked meat sandwiches, tourtiere/meat pie, butter tarts, and my all time favourite strawberry shortcake.
My background is not really known, but we figure my dad's ancestors were from England and my mother's from Italy. So there is a mixture of english-italian living in a french-english community. My husband's roots are thought to be from Ireland & Belgium before settling in French Canada. To this day they continue on with many of their traditional meals of pancakes with maple syrup, pate a rague, creton, peameal bacon and sucre a creme.
Now that I am living in the nation's capital, Ottawa, Canada taste's like Beavertales after skating on the canal; pints of a local cold brew (Clocktower) on a patio in the hot summer sun; a Poutine from Elgin Street Dinner (ESD). It tastes like local fresh berries from the Byward Market, tomatoes & cucumbers from my dad garden, backyard bbq's and my favorite - corn on the cob.
Canada Day itself use to make me think of partying in the capital in the Byward Market and on Parliament Hill. These days Canada Day is symbolic for cottaging with friends, bbq and beer and that is exactly what I will be doing. So as I will not be around to blog have a
Tonight I was going to make a traditional backyard bbq with burgers or a beer butt chicken. But with the rain, I decided to stay indoors and make Steamed PEI mussels from LaPointe's Fishmarket in the Byward Market with Mill St. Wheat Beer, brewed at the Mill St. Brewery in Toronto. The flavor and aroma of this dish in incredible. I believe my husband found this recipe from Bobby Flay. I kind of went crazy on the pics!
Spicy Mussels in Wheat Beer
3 T olive oil
1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp dried curshed red pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 lemon sliced
1/4 inch thick
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 lbs fresh mussels, cleaned
1 medium to large chopped and seeded tomato
Serve with crusty whole wheat italian bread.
Heat the stove to high. Heat oil in large pot and add onion, cook until soft. Add garlic, fennel seeds, crushed red pepper and salt. Cook for 1 minute. Add wheat beer (or use a white wine), lemon slices and 1/4 cup of parsley, bring to a boil.
Add mussels. Cover pot and cook until mussel shells open, stirring once, about 6 minutes. Discard any mussels that do not open. Using spoon, transfer mussels to large shallow bowl. Boil broth in pot until reduced to 1 cup (about 3 mins). Season with pepper and salt. Pour broth over mussels and sprinkle with the tomatoes and remaining parsley.
Skating on the Rideau Canal on Valentine's Day....Mmmm Beavertails.