Calling all foodies — Canada has a national food celebration called Food Day Canada!
This day is a full-on celebration for Canadians to praise our local farmers, chefs, researchers and, above all, the home cook. Restaurants across Canada are preparing regional foods, but we are encouraging everyone to get out there and plan your own food party! Paddle to a distant shore to light a campfire…barbecue some fish… sweep off the deck for a neighborhood supper… dig a roasting pit… build an oven… fire up the grill… and use only Canadian ingredients to create a feast or a simple dinner that honours our extraordinary culinary history and points the way to the future, together.
It’s a day to also be thankful for the talent we have in our country, ranging from the skills of our chefs to the farmers and fishers across the nation. It’s an awareness that is taking place from coast to coast, whether it’s being enjoyed in a restaurant or within your own kitchen with your friends and family.
Food Day Canada is initiated by Anita Stewart, who is a culinary advocate, the Food Laureate at University of Guelph and a member of the Order of Canada with many other credentials that make her “the voice” in the Canadian food industry. I met Anita during my first week of work at Book to Cooks in Vancouver where she was promoting her book Flavours of Canada. Since that time, Anita has been at the forefront of promoting Canadian food within our country and abroad.
When I asked why this day was so important for her, Anita replied: “Food is the foundation of life and it seemed to me that it was time to honour our own. By eating as seasonally as possible from our own food sheds, we keep our neighbours in business and preserve the ability to feed ourselves. And besides that… we really do need a mid-summer culinary party!”
The following recipe is from Anita’s website and is one of my favourite entertaining go-tos. As we say at From Scratch, everything is better with bacon!
Bacon & Onion-stuffed Rolls (Piradzini)*
They are fabulous with a salad for a quick lunch or, if you make them smaller, are great cocktail appetizers.
1 medium potato, peeled and diced
250 ml (1 cup) water
5 ml (1 tsp) salt
15 ml (1 tbsp) granulated sugar
30 ml (2 tbsp) butter
375 – 500 ml (1 1/2 – 2 cups) all-purpose flour
10 ml (2 tsp) instant yeast
110 g (¼ lb) lean side bacon, finely diced
2 small onions, finely minced
1 green onion, minced
125 ml (½ cup) finely diced ham
2 ml (½ tsp) freshly ground pepper
1 egg yolk
60 ml (¼ cup) milk
• In a saucepan, combine the potato, water and salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender. Drain, reserving liquid and mash thoroughly. Stir in sugar, butter and reserved water. Let cool till lukewarm.
• Beat in 125 ml (1/2 cup) of the flour. Add yeast, beating vigorously till well combined, one to two minutes. Add enough of the remaining flour to make a stiff dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead, adding flour as needed to keep from sticking, until smooth and elastic, about four to five minutes. Place in a well-oiled bowl, cover with a damp towel and let rise till doubled, about one to 1.25 hours.
• Meanwhile, make the filling. In a heavy saucepan, cook bacon, onions, green onion, diced ham and pepper, until onion is softened and bacon begins to crisp. Let cool completely.
• When the dough has doubled, punch down and divide into 16 pieces. Roll each piece to flatten slightly. Place a spoonful of the bacon mixture onto the centre of each bit of dough. With floured fingertips, pinch edges together to make crescent. Place each piradzini about five centimetres (two inches) apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Slash tops with a sharp knife. Cover loosely with a towel. Let rise until doubled, about 50 to 60 minutes.
• Whisk the egg yolk and milk together. Brush over crescents. Bake in a preheated 190 C (375 F) oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until very well browned.
Enjoy your Food Day Canada and appreciate all the amazing food our country has to offer. At From Scratch – A Mountain Kitchen, we will be featuring local food on our menu that day — we will be celebrating!
Check out the website at fooddaycanada.ca for more info.
*Recipe from Anita Stewart’s CANADA: The Food, The Recipes, The Stories (HarperCollins Canada 2008)
Lara McCormack is one of the owners of From Scratch – A Mountain Kitchen in Fairmont Hot Springs where one can savour fabulous seasonal food, sip from a selection of beverages including B.C. wines and enjoy the views of our gorgeous valley landscape.