A Taste of Georgetown, PEI

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Each year, in September, Prince Edward Island celebrates its many fine local foods through a month-long culinary festival known as the PEI Fall Flavours Festival. The festival brings the hottest names in Canadian gastronomy to be guest hosts at various gourmand events held in iconic Island locations.

The celebrity chefs participate in the menu design and meal preparation that feature several of PEI’s local foods that come from the Island’s red fertile soil and rich marine waters that continue to make PEI a world-renowned food destination.  Each September, more and more foodie tourists make PEI their vacation destination so they can explore and enjoy our food culture and see for themselves where our food comes from by visiting farming communities and fishing villages across our picturesque Island.

Chefs Michael Smith (l) and Paul Rogalski (r) Shuck Oysters at "Taste of Georgetown" Event
Chefs Michael Smith (l) and Paul Rogalski (r) Shuck Oysters at “Taste of Georgetown” Event

In early September 2017, Chefs Michael Smith (of Fireworks Restaurant in PEI) and Paul Rogalski (of Calgary’s Rouge Restaurant) teamed up to celebrate the authentic food culture and heritage of Georgetown, PEI, a small, rural town in the eastern part of the Island, about 40 minutes from the capital city of Charlottetown. In what I’d class as an intimate evening of dining in the town’s theatre, the King’s Playhouse, the culinary duo carefully planned a five-course dinner that showcased local chefs and restaurateurs and, of course, fine meat, seafood, and produce, local to the area. This was “A Taste of Georgetown”.

King's Playhouse, Georgetown, PEI
King’s Playhouse, Georgetown, PEI

Upon arrival at the King’s Playhouse, patrons were offered a complimentary glass of Rossignol wine. Rossignol Winery is PEI’s oldest winery and is located in Little Sands, near Murray River.

Serving Rossignol Wine
Serving Rossignol Wine

The option also existed to sample locally-brewed seasonal blueberry ale from Upstreet Craft Brewing in Charlottetown.

Sampling Blueberry Ale from Upstreet Brewing Company
Sampling Blueberry Ale from Upstreet Brewing Company

And then…..the eating commenced with several appetizer stations both inside the theatre and in a tent adjacent to the Playhouse.

Chef, Amil Zavo, serving up Snow Crab Roulade
Chef, Amil Zavo, serving up Snow Crab Roulade

The Kings Playhouse Chef, Amil Zavo, served up Snow Crab Roulade stuffed with smoked mussels, roasted apples and cranberries, and garnished with cured herring roe, all served on a fennel crostini.

Snow Crab Roulade
Snow Crab Roulade

As patrons sipped on their beverage of choice and sampled the Snow Crab Roulade, they stopped to watch local artist, Margaret Wailes, create a painting of a local rural scene.  One lucky patron was the winner of the painting and went home with a lovely momento of the evening.

Artist, Margaret Wailes, create a painting of a local rural scene at "Taste of Georgetown" Event
Artist, Margaret Wailes, create a painting of a local rural scene at “Taste of Georgetown” Event

To the music of local musician, Taylor Johnson, folks made their way to the tent in the AA MacDonald Memorial Gardens just outside the King’s Playhouse.

PEI Musician, Taylor Johnson, Entertains Patrons at "Taste of Georgetown" Event
PEI Musician, Taylor Johnson, Entertains Patrons at “Taste of Georgetown” Event
AA MacDonald Memorial Gardens, Georgetown, PEI
AA MacDonald Memorial Gardens, Georgetown, PEI
Tent at Kings Playhouse for "A Taste of Georgetown" Culinary Event
Tent at Kings Playhouse for “A Taste of Georgetown” Culinary Event

Here, there were several activities underway that included demonstrations of lobster trap rigging and eel pot mending.  It was also fun to pick out a starfish collection to take home from Tranquility Cove Adventures.

Starfish
Starfish
PEI guitarist and singer, Barry O’Brien, performs at "Taste of Georgetown" Event
PEI guitarist and singer, Barry O’Brien, performs at “Taste of Georgetown” Event

Local guitarist and singer, Barry O’Brien, provided musical accompaniment while patrons checked out the shucking skills of Chef Michael Smith and Chef Paul Rogalski who were busy shucking “Brudenell Bully” oysters harvested from the waters in the Georgetown area.

Chefs Michael Smith and Paul Rogalski Shucking Oysters at "Taste of Georgetown" Event, PEI
Chefs Michael Smith and Paul Rogalski Shucking Oysters at “Taste of Georgetown” Event, PEI

 

Brudenell Bully Oysters from Georgetown, PEI
Brudenell Bully Oysters from Georgetown, PEI
Chef Paul Rogalski shucks Brudenell Bully Oysters at Taste of Georgetown Event
Chef Paul Rogalski shucks Brudenell Bully Oysters at Taste of Georgetown Event
Brudenell Bully Oysters from Georgetown, PEI
Brudenell Bully Oysters from Georgetown, PEI
Brudenell Bully Oysters Served with Frozen Bloody Mary
Brudenell Bully Oysters Served with Frozen Bloody Mary

The chefs kept their assistants on the hop making the tacos over an open fire and stuffing the mini tacos with the eel filling.

Eel Tacos
Eel Tacos
Making Tacos at "Taste of Georgetown" event
Making Tacos at “Taste of Georgetown” event

 

Making Eel Tacos at "Taste of Georgetown" event
Making Eel Tacos at “Taste of Georgetown” event

 

Eel Tacos
Eel Tacos

Tranquility Cove Adventures served fresh shucked bar clam hinges.

Clam Hinges
Clam Hinges

Those are some mighty big clams!

Clams
Clams

The MC for the dinner was Haley Zavo, Executive Director of the King’s Playhouse.

Taste of Georgetown 2017 Menu
Taste of Georgetown 2017 Menu

The five-course dinner was a plated meal served at attractively set tables.

Taste of Georgetown Event 2017
Taste of Georgetown Event 2017
Taste of Georgetown Event 2017
Taste of Georgetown Event 2017

To stimulate the appetite, Eden’s Gate Restaurant prepared the amuse-bouche of a seared scallop with lime aioli on micro greens.

Amuse-bouche: Seared scallop with lime aioli
Amuse-bouche: Seared scallop with lime aioli

This was followed by two starters, the first being a chunky home-made seafood chowder and biscuit from the Georgetown Historic Inn, just a stone’s throw from the Kings Playhouse.

Seafood Chowder
Seafood Chowder

The second starter was a salad with greens, smoked Island trout, diced oranges, almonds, pickled red capers, and goat cheese with a citrus poppy seed dressing, prepared by Eden’s Gate Restaurant.

Salad with Smoked Island Trout
Salad with Smoked Island Trout

The main course, inspired and prepared by guest chef, Paul Rogalski, was chargrilled beef petite filet served with baby PEI potatoes and cauliflower sauce.

Chargrilled beef petite filet served with baby PEI potatoes and cauliflower sauce
Chargrilled beef petite filet served with baby PEI potatoes and cauliflower sauce

The Georgetown Historic Inn and Eden’s Gate Restaurant teamed up to prepare the evening’s dessert finale – PEI blueberry cobbler served with vanilla ice cream and an apple rosette in a puff pastry drizzled with PEI Strait Rum and butter sauce.

Blueberry Cobbler
Blueberry Cobbler

Because this was a small dinner for about 80, it offered more direct interaction between patrons and both the celebrity chefs and local chefs who were involved with the meal preparation. Each of the participating chefs/restaurateurs was invited to explain the dish he or she was preparing and from where the ingredients were locally sourced.

Chef from Eden's Gate explains ingredients in salad
Chef from Eden’s Gate explains ingredients in salad

There were lots of opportunities to pose questions of the guest chefs, both of whom were very obliging in their responses.  There was certainly no problem to see how passionate Chef Michael and Chef Paul are about their chosen vocation and of how important it is for them to source fresh, quality ingredients from local food producers, fishers, and farmers.

"Treble with Girls" quartet entertaining at "Taste of Georgetown" Event 2017
“Treble with Girls” quartet entertaining at “Taste of Georgetown” Event 2017

“Treble with Girls”, a quartet of local talented musicians (left to right: Jolee Patkai, Maxine MacLennan, Sheila MacKenzie, and Norman Stewart) provided lively toe-tapping music throughout the evening, alternating with the accomplished pianist, Max Keenlyside, on piano.

Pianist Max Keenlyside entertains at "Taste of Georgetown" event 2017
Pianist Max Keenlyside entertains at “Taste of Georgetown” event 2017

“Taste of Georgetown” was one of three new Fall Flavours Festival culinary events introduced in 2017 (the other two are Taste of Tyne Valley and Taste of North Rustico – Rustico Kitchen Party).  The intent is that the events draw people to smaller local communities across the Island where they can discover all that makes PEI unique – the food, producers, landscapes, and the local people, particularly those involved in the food and music scene.

Because these culinary events tend to draw people who are already passionate about food, the PEI Fall Flavours Festival events are prime opportunities for the many local food and beverage producers and chefs to showcase their products, culinary skills, talents, and passion for authentic regional food to foodies.  Of course, it’s also a great way to introduce visitors to PEI to the vast spectrum of food and beverages available on the Island.

To read stories I have written about other PEI Fall Flavours Culinary Festival events, follow these links:

PEI Shellfish Festival (2012)
Farm Day in the City (2012)
Savour Victoria (2012)
Toes, Taps, and Taters (2013)
Lobster Party on the Beach (2013)
Applelicious (2013)
The Great Island Grilled Cheese Challenge (2013)
Feast of the Fathers (2014)
Lamb Luau at Crowbush Cove (2014)
Feast and Frolic Dinner (PEI International Shellfish Festival) (2014)
Beef and Blues (2014)
A Taste of New Glasgow (2015)
Beef ‘n Blues (2015)
Chef on Board (2015)
Cooking with Chefs Anna & Michael Olson in Brudenell, PEI (2015)
Le Festin acadien avec homard/Acadian Feast with Lobster (2016)
The Great Big Barbeque (2016)
Mussels on the Hill (2016)
Toes, Taps, & Taters (2017)

Local foods starred in the 2017 Taste of Georgetown culinary event, part of the PEI Fall Flavors Festival

 

Mead in Wheatley River, PEI – The Island’s New Honey Wine Meadery

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Island Honey Wine Company's Wildflower Mead
Island Honey Wine Company’s Wildflower Honey Mead

In the small rural community of Wheatley River, not far from Hunter River in central PEI, the Island Honey Wine Company meadery produces unique wines made with fermented honey, otherwise known as “mead”.

Island Honey Company
Island Honey Wine Company, Wheatley River, PEI, Canada

Charles and Laura Lipnicki opened the doors to their meadery on July 7, 2017. The couple had vacationed on the Island a few years earlier, fell in love with it and its people, and decided they wanted to become Islanders too, so five years ago, they moved to PEI, first to North Rustico then later settling on to the farm in Wheatley River.

Charles and Laura Lipnicki, Owners of Island Honey Wine Company, Wheatley River, PEI, Canada
Charles and Laura Lipnicki, Owners of Island Honey Wine Company, Wheatley River, PEI, Canada

Charles had been making wine as a hobby for 25 years and always had a fascination with yeast.  Laura has a love of lavender and, having seen fields of lavender in Provence, wanted to have her own lavender field. Opportunity presented itself for location amidst the gentle rolling hills in Wheatley River and Laura now has that beautiful field of 1500 lavender plants and Charles has a new career in winemaking which, interestingly enough, merges with the lavender from the couple’s field, wildflowers, and fruits grown on the farm.

Lavender Field
Section of the Lavender Field in Bloom at Island Honey Wine Company, Wheatley River, PEI (Photo Submitted by Island Honey Wine Company)

In addition to the meadery itself, the couple operates a small certified organic farm called “La Serena” where they have six acres of fruit production that include hascaps, elderberries, and apples and they also raise some sheep, hens, and ducks.

The "grasscutting crew" at the Island Honey Wine Company, Wheatley River, PEI
The “grasscutting crew” at La Serena farm, home of the Island Honey Wine Company, Wheatley River, PEI

Charles says he started the meadery because he likes making “a value-added product that originates with products produced on the farm, products like honey, lavender, and fruits such as haskaps”.

Fermentation Tank at Island Honey Wine Company, Wheatley River, PEI
Fermentation Tank at Island Honey Wine Company, Wheatley River, PEI

Now, I have to be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of flavor of mead. I say this because, several years ago, I was served a glass of mead in a castle in Ireland and, well, the drink was not to my liking.  However, I went on my visit to Island Honey Wine meadery with an open mind and I was more than pleasantly surprised.  The honey wine from the Island meadery is quite lovely.

Island Honey Wine Company's Wildflower Mead
Island Honey Wine Company’s Wildflower Honey Mead

The Island Honey Wine Company is currently producing four different kinds of meads for sale – lavender, wildflower, haskap, and nectar sweet dessert wine.  The products are presently sold only onsite at the meadery but Charles says they will soon be carried by the PEI Liquor Commission in their retail outlets.

Island Honey Wine Company's Wildflower Honey Mead
Island Honey Wine Company’s Wildflower Honey Mead

Of the four meads, I asked Charles which is the most popular.  He says the Wildflower mead is most popular and he believes this is because a glass of this mead takes one on a journey as flavor notes can be found in each taste based on the many different wildflowers the honeybees have visited which transfers into the flavor of the honey they produce. The wildflower wine is the most food-friendly and versatile of the three meads and I’ll talk a bit more about what that means later.

The quality of the mead produced at the Island Honey Wine Company has recently been validated through the winning of  medals at an International Wine competition in Virginia especially for non-grape wines.  The Nectar Sweet wine, with its sweet and lingering taste, secured a silver medal both the Wildflower and Haskap wines attained bronze medals. I think, once you sample their honey-based wines, you’ll understand why the wines have garnered these awards.

Honey
Honey

Honey, a fermentable sugar, is the base for all the meads and only raw honey is used. While the meadery has some beehives on the farm, they don’t have enough for adequate supply for the mead making.  Therefore, they source honey from other local producers. Most of the honey wine is produced in the winter months. According to Charles, the process for making honey-based mead is not a lot different from making traditional grape-based wines and the honey mead will take about 2½ – 3 months fermentation.

Fermentation Tanks
Stainless Steel Fermentation Tanks

Charles says one of his greatest satisfactions of making mead is seeing how people enjoy something that started just as an idea and that turned into a liquid to be enjoyed. Each of the honey wines has its own benefits and uses for certain times and, as Charles says, “each one is a snapshot in time and place with regards to honey because of the different flowers the bees visit“.

each one is a snapshot in time and place with regards to honey because of the different flowers the bees visit

I asked Charles to tell me how he would suggest pairing the three meads with foods.  Here are his recommendations:

Wildflower – With the broadest notes, this is the most food-friendly of the three meads. Pair this honey wine with poultry dishes, cheese, with desserts such as apple pie, or enjoy as a sipping wine after a day at the beach.

Wildflower Honey Mead from the Island Honey Wine Company, Wheatley River, PEI, Canada
Wildflower Honey Mead from the Island Honey Wine Company, Wheatley River, PEI, Canada
Lavender
Lavender

Lavender – This one-of-a-kind mead lends itself to saltier foods. This honey wine is a lovely accompaniment to PEI lobster, brook trout, sharp cheeses, and desserts like walnut baklava.  It also pairs particularly well with charcuterie trays. Charles says this is a unique and intimate wine reminiscent of the intimate relationship the bees share with the lavender flowers.  This is a versatile wine to be shared with good company or simply enjoyed solo with a good book.

Lavender Honey Mead from the Island Honey Wine Company, Wheatley River, PEI, Canada
Lavender Honey Mead from the Island Honey Wine Company, Wheatley River, PEI, Canada
Lavender Honey Mead (Photo Submitted by Island Honey Wine Company)
Lavender Honey Mead (Photo Submitted by Island Honey Wine Company)

Nectar Sweet – Classed as a dessert wine, Nectar Sweet pairs well with Brie cheese, dairy desserts like cheesecakes, crème brulée, and German chocolate cakes and caramel desserts.

Nectar Sweet Honey Mead from the Island Honey Wine Company, Wheatley River, PEI, Canada
Nectar Sweet Honey Mead from the Island Honey Wine Company, Wheatley River, PEI, Canada

You will also find some local artwork in the meadery’s tasting room along with several lavender products including locally-made lavender shortbread, soap, and similar items.

Island Honey Wine Company, Wheatley River, PEI
Inside the Tasting Room and Retail Shop at the Island Honey Wine Company, Wheatley River, PEI
Lavender Shortbread
Lavender Shortbread
Homemade Soaps from the Island Honey Wine Company, Wheatley River, PEI, Canada
Homemade Soaps from the Island Honey Wine Company, Wheatley River, PEI, Canada

Product tasting is available onsite in the newly-constructed meadery.  The wooden tasting bar is made from repurposed wood that came from one of the large old elm trees that had to be removed from the city of Charlottetown.

Charles Lipnicki pours a sample of one of his honey meads made at Island Honey Wine Company in Wheatley River, PEI
Charles Lipnicki pours a sample of one of his honey meads made at Island Honey Wine Company in Wheatley River, PEI
Island Honey Wine Company, Wheatley River, PEI, is PEI's first meadery dedicated to making mead with fermented honey and flowers and fruits from its own farm

The Island Honey Wine Company’s meadery is located at 820 Millboro Road in Wheatley River, in central PEI. For hours of operation and more information, visit their website at https://www.islandhoneywine.ca/

Herb Cubes – A Way to Preserve Herbs for Winter Use

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Basil
Basil

I love my herb garden and being able to snip fresh herbs whenever I need them.  I miss them in the winter. One way that I preserve some of my summer herbs for use throughout the rest of the year is to freeze them in olive oil in ice cube trays making what I call “herb cubes”.

Frozen Herb Cubes
Frozen Herb Cubes

There is no recipe as such for these herb cubes. I simply go out to my herb garden and snip bunches of whatever herbs I have – basil, oregano, dill, parsley, chives, tarragon, sage, rosemary, and so forth.

Fresh Herbs
Fresh Herbs

You can, of course, make the cubes with all one kind of herb or any combination you like.  Make sure you strip the leaves from any stems that are hard, like thyme and rosemary, for example.

Fresh Herbs
Fresh Herbs

All I do is bunch together the herbs on a cutting board and chop them relatively finely.

Chopped Herbs
Chopped Herbs

I line the ice cube trays with plastic wrap for two reasons. First, I don’t want my trays left smelling like herbs – herb-flavored ice cubes don’t work in every beverage! Second, it’s easy to pull the ends of the wrap up and lift the cubes out of the tray.  For these, I’m using a slightly deeper-than-normal ice cube tray because I want the cube capacity to be a good tablespoon size.

To make the cubes, simply push the plastic wrap down into the cube cavities and start stuffing the individual cubes with chopped herbs.

Chopped Herbs for Herb Cubes
Chopped Herbs for Herb Cubes

Pour olive oil into each cube, filling to just below the top level of each cube.

Pouring Olive Oil into Herb Cubes
Pouring Olive Oil into Herb Cubes

Let the herb cubes sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes to allow the olive oil to settle and distribute itself among the herbs.  Top up the oil in each cube if it has sunk down and then place the trays in the freezer for 24 hours.

Herb Cubes
Herb Cubes

Remove the frozen herb cubes from the trays by lifting out the plastic wrap liner, peeling off the herb cubes. Then, transfer the cubes to an airtight freezer container, separating each cube with a small piece of wax paper so they don’t freeze together, making them difficult to separate.

Frozen Herb Cubes
Frozen Herb Cubes

I use these herb cubes for stir fries and for sautéing aromatics for soups and casseroles — each cube provides the sautéing oil for the garlic, onions, and vegetables and the herbs provide wonderful seasoning. Simply toss the cube into a saucepan, frypan, or wok and melt it over medium heat and you are good to go!

Melting Frozen Herb Cube
Melting Frozen Herb Cube

So, if you have excess herbs in the garden, this is an easy way to carry them over for winter use.

Tap the Toes and Taste the Taters!

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PEI is Canada's Food Island
PEI is Canada’s Food Island

Well, what’s a potato farmer on Canada’s Food Island to do if he has a big warehouse empty and waiting for this fall’s crop to be dug from the rich red soil of Prince Edward Island?  Might as well have a party in that warehouse and may as well include a couple of hundred people and a celebrity chef too!

That’s exactly what potato producer, Alex Docherty of Sherwood Produce Inc., did on September 8, 2017, when he provided the host location for a big potato-themed kitchen-style party.  For anyone who wanted to hobnob with a culinary celebrity, chow down on some good PEI food, and enjoy some fine traditional PEI music, this event offered the perfect way to indulge all three.

Dinner in the Warehouse
Dinner in the Warehouse

Toes, Taps, and Taters is an annual event that is part of the PEI Fall Flavours Culinary Festival.  I had attended this event in 2013 when it was held in the Potato Museum in O’Leary and it was a rollicking good time (click here for the link to that story).  This year, the location changed to a potato warehouse in Canoe Cove on the Island’s South Shore, about a 20-25 minute drive from Charlottetown and organizers pulled out all the stops! Toes, Taps, and Taters is a signature event of the Festival which means that a celebrity chef is in the house as guest host; this year, that was Chef Chuck Hughes who is quite the character! There is never a dull moment when Chef Chuck is at a culinary event!

Chef Chuck Hughes
Chef Chuck Hughes

I arrived at the location around 5:15pm on a beautiful, sunny September evening, one of those late summer days that is just made for a fun party with outside activities.  As folks arrived, they were greeted with the evocative skirl of bagpipes from a lone piper just up the hill from the warehouse.

Piper
Piper at Toes, Taps, and Taters – PEI Fall Flavours 2017

Of course, Tate, the PEI potato mascot, was on hand and loved to have his photo taken.

Tate
Tate – The mascot for the PEI Potato Industry

Anyone wishing to go and experience digging his or her own potatoes was welcome to board the haywagon and go for a hayride to the potato field.

Off to the Field to Dig Potatoes!
Off to the Field to Dig Potatoes!

Take a gander at the size of that little tractor!

Hayride
Hayride to the Potato Field

Just at the entrance to the warehouse, well-known local chef and cheesemaker, Jeff McCourt from Glasgow Glen Farm, was cooking up a storm and the scent of food cooking over an open fire was an automatic draw to see what he was up to. He brought along some of the Gouda cheese he makes and tantalized taste buds with his Island-style Raclette.

Raclette
Island-style Raclette

Raclette, of Swiss-German origins, involves heating cheese over an open fire then scraping it with a knife over cooked (usually boiled) potatoes. Well, you had me at melted gouda! And, those sweet little multi-colored PEI baby potatoes!

PEI Baby Potatoes
PEI Baby Potatoes

That’s a gooda Gouda!

Raclette
Raclette in the making

The potatoes were cooked in cast iron pots over free-standing burning logs and the cheese was carefully melted over similar log fires under the watchful eye of Chef Jeff.

Cooking Potatoes Over an Log Fire
Cooking Potatoes Over an Log Fire

Part of the experience of attending culinary events is to see and learn different ways of cooking and experience traditional foods like potato and cheese turned into a different form.

Melting Cheese for Raclette
Chef Jeff McCourt melts Gouda cheese over open fire for Raclette

Why does food cooked outdoors always seem to smell and taste sooooo good?

Oyster Bay Bubbly
Oyster Bay Bubbly

Upon entering the warehouse, diners were greeted with a glass of Oyster Bay bubbly. They also had the opportunity to sample blueberry ale brewed by Upstreet Craft Brewing of Charlottetown.

Upstreet Brewing Company's Blueberry Ale
Upstreet Craft Brewing’s Blueberry Ale

Several stations with hors d’oeuvres were set up and folks moved around the stations at their leisure.

Toes, Taps, and Taters Reception (2017)
Toes, Taps, and Taters Reception (2017)

Potatoes, of course, featured prominently in most of the hors d’oeuvres starting with Russet Potato Risotto Style.

Russet Potato Risotto with Aged Island Gouda and Pickled Red Onion
Russet Potato Risotto with Aged Island Gouda and Pickled Red Onion

These two guys were kept busy preparing the tasty Risotta!

Making Russet Potato Risotto
Making Russet Potato Risotto

With hand pies being a trendy item, the Bacon-Leek Potato Hand Pies served with sour cream and chives proved to be a popular stop on the hors d’oeuvres circuit.

Bacon-Leek Potato Hand Pies served with sour cream and chives
Bacon-Leek Potato Hand Pies served with sour cream and chives

There were, of course, lots of options to try from the PEI charcuterie table.

PEI Charcuterie Table
PEI Charcuterie Table

Zillions of fries are made each year from PEI potatoes so, naturally, French Fries would have to factor in somewhere during the event.  Islanders love their mussels and their fries so Chef Irwin MacKinnon (pictured below) combined the two and served the mussels with roasted garlic aioli. At this point, little did I know that this guy was also in charge of catering the main meal, too!

Moules Frites
Chef Irwin MacKinnon serves up Mussels and Fries with Roasted Garlic Aioli

Yes, these Moules Frites were “right some good”!

Moules Frites (Mussels with Fries)
Moules Frites (Mussels with Fries)

There can’t be a good party on PEI without great music and Sheila MacKenzie on fiddle and Norman Stewart on guitar provided lively toe-tapping music throughout the reception preceding the dinner. It was traditional PEI ceilidh style music.

Entertainers Sheila MacKenzie (fiddle) and Norman Stewart (guitar)
Entertainers Sheila MacKenzie (fiddle) and Norman Stewart (guitar)

They were also joined by two very talented and energetic step dancers, Alanna and Shelby Dalziel.

Entertainers Sheila MacKenzie (fiddle) and Norman Stewart (guitar)
Entertainers Sheila MacKenzie (fiddle) and Norman Stewart (guitar) with step dancers Alanna and Shelby Dalziel

Rob Barry proved to be an entertaining MC and he and Chef Chuck Hughes kept the evening lively with lots of banter and audience engagement.

Celebrity Chef Chuck Hughes (left) and MC Rob Berry (right) at Toes, Taps & Taters PEI Fall Flavors Culinary Festival Event (2017)
Celebrity Chef Chuck Hughes (left) and MC Rob Barry (right) at Toes, Taps & Taters PEI Fall Flavours Culinary Festival Event (2017)

Part of the evening included the swearing in of everyone in attendance as honorary Islanders for the evening which involved the citing of the Potato Oath and, of course, a little swig of, umm, perhaps potato vodka, to make it official. This was followed by a rousing chorus of Stompin’ Tom’s “Bud the Spud”.

Potato Oath
Potato Oath

Part of the warehouse was transformed into a large country dining room with tables attractively set with red and white checkered tablecloths.

Toes, Taps, and Taters Dinner - PEI Fall Flavors Culinary Festival 2017, Canoe Cove
Toes, Taps, and Taters Dinner – PEI Fall Flavours Culinary Festival 2017, Canoe Cove

Creative centerpieces were mason jars filled with multi-colored baby PEI potatoes and mini lights.

PEI Baby Potatoes Light up the Tables
PEI Baby Potatoes Light up the Tables

Here’s a closer look at one of the tables.

Close-up of one of the tables at Toes, Taps, and Taters Dinner, Canoe Cove, PEI (2017)
Close-up of one of the tables at Toes, Taps, and Taters Dinner, Canoe Cove, PEI (2017)

Can you imagine that this was all taking place in a huge potato warehouse in which, up to three weeks previous, had tons of potatoes in it? It’s true.

Toes, Taps, and Taters Dinner 2017
Toes, Taps, and Taters Dinner 2017
Placesetting at Toes, Taps, and Taters Dinner 2017
Placesetting at Toes, Taps, and Taters Dinner 2017

And, here was the menu:

Menu for 2017 Toes, Taps, and Taters Dinner
Menu for 2017 Toes, Taps, and Taters Dinner

As you might guess, the dinner was a potato feast and potato was featured in each of the courses starting with the appetizer which was a delectable salmon-haddock potato fish cake that was served with marinated Island Blue Mussel salad and lemon caper dill. This was plated very attractively. (Apologies for the quality of these photos as they don’t do the meal justice but this was all taking place inside a huge cavernous warehouse that was eating up the light so studio quality photography wasn’t an option. Hopefully, though, the photos will give readers a ‘flavour’ for the menu items.)

Appetizer - Salmon Haddock Potato Fish Cake, Marinated Island Blue Mussel Salad, Lemon Caper Dill (Toes, Taps, and Taters Dinner 2017)
Appetizer – Salmon Haddock Potato Fish Cake, Marinated Island Blue Mussel Salad, Lemon Caper Dill (Toes, Taps, and Taters Dinner 2017)

The main course consisted of slow-roasted certified Island beef prime rib cooked to perfection and served with red wine Rosemary jus, beef drippings Yorkshire pudding, roasted garlic-horseradish whipped PEI potatoes, sweet pea purée, roasted squash stuffed with seasonal vegetables. This was a potato and beef lover’s dream meal!

PEI Prime Rib, Yorkshire Pudding, Whipped PEI Potatoes, Sweet Pea Purée, and Seasonal Vegetables Stuffed in Roasted Squash (Toes, Taps, and Taters Dinner 2017)
PEI Prime Rib, Yorkshire Pudding, Whipped PEI Potatoes, Sweet Pea Purée, and Seasonal Vegetables Stuffed in Roasted Squash (Toes, Taps, and Taters Dinner 2017)
PEI Prime Rib, Yorkshire Pudding, Whipped PEI Potatoes, Sweet Pea Purée, and Seasonal Vegetables Stuffed in Roasted Squash (Toes, Taps, and Taters Dinner 2017)
PEI Prime Rib, Yorkshire Pudding, Whipped PEI Potatoes, Sweet Pea Purée, and Seasonal Vegetables Stuffed in Roasted Squash (Toes, Taps, and Taters Dinner 2017)

And, for dessert, a delectable wild blueberry cobbler was served in a mason jar and garnished with a chocolate-dipped potato chip and whipped cream. Yes, even the dessert had potato in it!

Blueberry Cobbler with Chocolate Dipped Potato Chip and Whipped Cream (Toes, Taps, and Taters Dinner 2017)
Blueberry Cobbler with Chocolate Dipped Potato Chip and Whipped Cream (Toes, Taps, and Taters Dinner 2017)

Now, you might wonder how such an elaborate meal could be served in a potato warehouse for some 200 people.  Well, Chef Irwin MacKinnon from Papa Joe’s Restaurant in Charlottetown was in charge of the meal preparation and the mobile kitchen in the photo below is the one he brought into the warehouse to use for the meal preparation.

PEI Chef, Irwin MacKinnon, Caterer to the 2017 Toes, Taps, and Taters Dinner in Canoe Cove, PEI
PEI Chef, Irwin MacKinnon, Caterer to the 2017 Toes, Taps, and Taters Dinner in Canoe Cove, PEI

Can you imagine the amount of organization and coordination that would have been involved to prepare and serve this meal and it was all done in a trailer/mobile kitchen inside a potato warehouse!

Behind the Scenes at Toes, Taps, and Taters Dinner 2017
Behind the Scenes at Toes, Taps, and Taters Dinner 2017
Behind the Scenes at Toes, Taps, and Taters Dinner 2017
Behind the Scenes at Toes, Taps, and Taters Dinner 2017

The evening ended with a performance by Trinity Bradshaw, an up and coming country music artist from Summerside, PEI.

Islander and Upcoming Country Music Artist, Trinity Bradshaw, Performs at the 2017 Toes, Taps, and Taters Dinner in Canoe Cove, PEI
Islander and Upcoming Country Music Artist, Trinity Bradshaw, Performs at the 2017 Toes, Taps, and Taters Dinner in Canoe Cove, PEI

This event was the full-meal deal – great food and entertainment. It was very well coordinated and the attention to detail by organizers and chefs ensured this was a first-rate event.  The passion and pride of the PEI potato farming community was displayed at every turn.

Toes, Taps, and Taters Dinner in Canoe Cove, PEI (2017)
Toes, Taps, and Taters Dinner in Canoe Cove, PEI (2017)

I have always said two of the best ways to experience the culture of a place are to check out the local food and regional music. Visitors can learn a lot about a place through the food a place produces and the genres that form the local music scene. There were a large number of visitors from off-Island who sought out this event with the farthest coming from Belgium.  Some attendees schedule their entire vacations around the festival and return year after year.  In fact, at my table, there were new visitors from Ontario and repeat visitors from Western Canada and this was their fourth year coming for the Fall Flavours Festival.  This year they attended three culinary events, including the popular Lobster on the Beach event for their third time.  A testament to the calibre of the PEI Fall Flavours events that showcase the wonderful food of this very special food island on Canada’s east coast.

To read stories I have written about other PEI Fall Flavours Culinary Festival events, follow these links:

PEI Shellfish Festival (2012)
Farm Day in the City (2012)
Savour Victoria (2012)
Toes, Taps, and Taters (2013)
Lobster Party on the Beach (2013)
Applelicious (2013)
The Great Island Grilled Cheese Challenge (2013)
Feast of the Fathers (2014)
Lamb Luau at Crowbush Cove (2014)
Feast and Frolic Dinner (PEI International Shellfish Festival) (2014)
Beef and Blues (2014)
A Taste of New Glasgow (2015)
Beef ‘n Blues (2015)
Chef on Board (2015)
Cooking with Chefs Anna & Michael Olson in Brudenell, PEI (2015)
Le Festin acadien avec homard/Acadian Feast with Lobster (2016)
The Great Big Barbeque (2016)
Mussels on the Hill (2016)

Photos and story about the 2017 Toes, Taps, and Taters culinary event that was part of the Prince Edward Island Fall Flavors Festival

 

Mango Salad Dressing Recipe

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Mango Dressing
Mango Dressing

Salads are a big part of our diet, especially in the summer and early fall when we eat from our garden and, this year, my go-to recipe has been this delicious Mango Salad Dressing which, I must admit, I eat like candy!  It is lusciously smooth, bright colored, and has a lovely flavor that complements many different kinds of salads.

Mango Salad Dressing
Mango Salad Dressing

Mango Salad Dressing is very easy to make, especially if you have a blender as all the ingredients get puréed. A little sweet with a little citrus tang would be how I would  describe this yummy dressing.

This bright yellow attractive dressing works well on a traditional garden salad.

Mango Salad Dressing
Mango Salad Dressing

The appetizing Mango Salad Dressing is especially good on salads where cold chicken or turkey slices and quinoa or rice are added.

Mango Salad Dressing on Chicken and Quinoa Salad
Mango Salad Dressing on Chicken and Quinoa Salad

It’s also tasty on salads that have a mix of both fruits and vegetables.

Mango Dressing
Mango Dressing

And, because of its showy color (as well as its taste, of course!), it is a lovely complement to a stylized starter salad such as the roasted beet and feta cheese salad shown in the photo below. It has a somewhat thick consistency so stays in place when applied to a salad or plate. It adds spectacular color (and flavor) to many different salad combinations.

Beet and Feta Salad with Mango Salad Dressing
Beet and Feta Salad with Mango Salad Dressing

A little tropical, a little citrusy, a little sweet, and just a little spicy depending on how much garlic and what combination of fresh herbs are used, this colorful Mango Salad Dressing is a versatile addition to have in your repertoire of salad dressings.

Mango Salad Dressing
Mango Salad Dressing
This tasty easy-to-make Mango Salad Dressing is a wonderful balance of citrus and sweetness and complements many different kinds of salads well

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Mango Salad Dressing

Ingredients:

1 cup diced mango (about ¾ of a mango)
1 tbsp + 1 tsp white wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
¼ cup orange juice
½ tbsp lime juice
2 tsp honey
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp red onion, finely chopped
2 tsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
½ tsp fresh dill, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Method:

Place mango and vinegar, along with orange and lime juices, in blender.  Purée until smooth. Add honey, garlic, red onion, mustard, and fresh herbs and pulse until mixture is just blended. With blender running, slowly add the olive oil in steady stream. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Transfer salad dressing to serving vessel if using immediately or, for later use, to a bottle with airtight cap. Refrigerate for up to 4 days. Serve chilled.

Yield:  Apx. 1½ cups

Mango Salad Dressing Recipe

Yield: Apx. 1 1/2 cups

A delicious easy-to-make dressing for salads. As tasty as it is showy, this mango dressing is a little sweet and a little citrusy. Perfect complement to many salad variations.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup diced mango (about ¾ of a mango)
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp white wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • ½ tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Place mango and vinegar, along with orange and lime juices, in blender. Purée until smooth. Add honey, garlic, red onion, mustard, and fresh herbs and pulse until mixture is just blended. With blender running, slowly add the olive oil in steady stream. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer salad dressing to serving vessel if using immediately or, for later use, to a bottle with airtight cap. Refrigerate for up to 4 days. Serve chilled.
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Also, try these other salad dressings from My Island Bistro Kitchen:

Rhubarb Vinaigrette
Peach Balsamic Vinaigrette
Star Anise and Orange Vinaigrette

Pretty in Pink Summer Tablesetting

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"Pretty in Pink" Tablesetting
“Pretty in Pink” Tablesetting

I love setting beautiful tables and making them season-friendly.  In our all-too-short summer season here on Prince Edward Island, I like to use fresh locally-grown flowers whenever I can. With beautiful pink flowers like those in the photo below, it’s easy to set a pretty alfresco dining table.

Multiple Floral Arrangements in Tablescape
Multiple Floral Arrangements in Tablescape

I have a collection of white milk glass and like its clean look. I find it transitions well to any season and any color of flowers.  One of the biggest advantages I find to using the white vases is that they  conceal the stems and make a cleaner-looking tabletop. When I add to my collection, I try to find pieces of the milk glass that are different shapes and sizes and, when using them in a tablesetting, I use varying sizes and shapes to add more interest to the tablescape. Taller vases add a dramatic effect and “lift” to the tabletop. Just make sure that they and the flowers are not so tall as to block guests’ views of each other as this makes tabletop conversation more difficult and gives an obstructive ambiance to the setting.

Multiple Vases in Floral Arrangement
Multiple Vases in Floral Arrangement

This setting lends itself well to the use of my vintage Grindley (England) Cream Petal dinnerware in the apple blossom pattern.

"Pretty in Pink" Summer Tablesetting
“Pretty in Pink” Summer Tablesetting (Grindley Cream Petal dinnerware)

When I am setting a table, I first decide on whether it will be a casual, informal, or formal setting. Then, I choose my dinnerware accordingly and then select linens, flowers, vases, and glassware that will complement the dishes. Pink was an obvious theme color for this setting and was derived from the pink pattern on the dinnerware.

"Pretty in Pink" Summer Tablesetting
“Pretty in Pink” Summer Tablesetting

In this case, I chose a small-checked pink tablecloth and simple ivory-colored napkins to match the off-white color in the dinnerware’s background.  Because I am using a collection of vases on the table, I need to use table linens that are fairly solid in color so they don’t distract the eye and create a chaotic look. The checks in this tablecloth were sufficiently small that they work. And, of course, it goes without saying that, regardless how casual or formal the event, the tablecloth must be ironed and all creases from any folds removed. It’s a sign of a well-set and dressed table when the linens are pressed and wrinkle-free. A casual style tablesetting does not extend to the point that the host/hostess has not taken the time to properly prepare the linens.

When using patterned dinnerware and you want to show off the pattern, choose plain colored napkins and a napkin fold that is placed on the table rather than on the plate covering up the dinnerware pattern. The napkins on this table have an embossed pattern which adds a level of texture to the table. To keep tablesettings simple for a casual dinner, use a basic napkin fold and position it under the fork(s). If you aren’t adept with fancy napkin folding, this is the easiest fold to do and it is always classy and always in style.

"Pretty in Pink" Summer Tablesetting
“Pretty in Pink” Summer Tablesetting

When using multiple bouquets as a tablescape, it’s best that they be in odd number format, versus even, as this is more aesthetically pleasing to the eye.  It’s also preferable to vary the height and size of the vases as this adds interest to the setting. The great thing about using individual vases is that they can be configured in any format on the table – i.e., spread out the length of the table as I have done here, clustered altogether in the table’s center, or they can be clustered into small individual groupings here and there along the center of the table. If spreading the vases out, I recommend placing them in an “S” shape, as shown in the photo below, to make the arrangement more interesting.

Multiple Vases in "S" Pattern in Table Center
Multiple Vases in “S” Pattern in Table Center

The main thing to keep in mind with this type of arrangement is not to overfill the vases with flowers, trying to create an entire full bouquet in each.  Keep it simple and casual by placing only one or two stems and perhaps a bit of  greenery in some (but not nesssarily all) of the vases and varying the size and variety of the flowers used.

Simplistic Floral Arrangements
Simplistic Floral Arrangements

In this arrangement, I have chosen, among others, Sweet William, Sweet Peas, Estoma Lisianthia, and cress, varying the size, shape, and color intensity of the flowers chosen. The colors range from soft white to pale pink to medium-deep pink.  By keeping the colors in the same palette and varying the color intensity just a little, it is less chaotic and more calming to the eye.  The use of vivid colors on this tabletop would have provided too much contrast and taken away from the dinnerware.  A tip to keep in mind when selecting flowers to use as single stems in vases is to ensure they have strong enough stems to stand on their own without drooping over giving the impression that they are wilting on the table.

My choice of floral varieties was deliberate because I wanted them to be the varieties that would suit vintage dishes and the flowers chosen are all ones that would have been found in old English-style gardens from long ago.  All flowers came from Island Meadow Farm in York, PEI.  Owner, Barb Jewell, grows the most amazing array of beautiful flowers and I love to pay her a visit to find some wonderful  flowers for my tablesettings. You can check out her website here. She is the florist of choice on PEI for many brides for their summer weddings and I have seen photos of weddings in which brides carried stunning bouquets that came out of Barb’s small flower shop.

You can also check out this link to another, more formal tablesetting, I did using this Cream Petal dinnerware and beautiful flowers from Island Meadow Farm.

"Sweet William"
“Sweet William”
"Estoma Lisianthia"
“Estoma Lisianthia”
"Sweet Peas"
“Sweet Peas”

When constructing a casual tablesetting, don’t hesitate to use mixed glassware as not everything has to be perfectly matched.  Here, I have used my vintage water and wine glasses and they are not a matched set. Because the dinnerware is vintage, I have chosen to use similar style glassware as opposed to sleek, contemporary stemware. Of course, the more cuts in the glass, the more sparkle and life that natural sunlight will add to the table.

Mixed vintage glassware works in casual tablesettings
Mixed vintage glassware works in casual tablesettings

As you can see from the photo below, this setting was for an alfresco dinner held on a beautiful summer day.

"Pretty in Pink" Summer Tablesetting
“Pretty in Pink” Summer Tablesetting

Even for casual tablesettings, I tend to arrange the placesettings that reflect the order of the meal to be had.  Here, the placement of the salad plate on top of the dinner plate and the addition of two forks, suggests a starter salad will precede the dinner. While it is not necessary to place the plates on the table if the meal will be plated from the kitchen, doing so sets a pretty and inviting table as guests arrive. Without the plates, I would find the placesettings to be missing something.

Grindley (England) Cream Petal Dishes (Apple Blossom Pattern)
Grindley (England) Cream Petal Dishes (Apple Blossom Pattern)
This Pretty in Pink Tablesetting uses multiple floral arrangements to create an effective tablescape for this casual summer dinner.

 

Deli-style Gluten-Free Beet Muffins

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Beet Muffin
Gluten-Free Beet Muffin

We have all heard of carrot muffins and don’t think twice about including the carrot vegetable into baked goods.  What is less commonly heard of is the use of beets for the same purpose. Today, I am sharing my newly-created and tested recipe for deli-style gluten-free beet muffins which are moist and packed full of wonderful flavor.  This is definitely in the category of “don’t knock it till you’ve tried it“!

Beets
Beets

Our garden did extremely well this year and our beets, in particular, grew very well….to the point that we had way more than what we could eat fresh or pickled.  I am always looking to add new gluten-free muffins to my recipe repertoire so, with an abundance of beets available, I figured this was a good time to experiment with them and I am very pleased with the results.  These deli-style gluten-free beet muffins have undergone several testings, in different ovens, and have produced consistently good results to the point that I am ready to publish my recipe here on my website.

Beet Muffin
Gluten-Free Beet Muffin

For those of you who follow a gluten-free diet, you are likely aware that it is often difficult to get good quality baked goods that reasonably replicate gluten baked goods and that are appetizing and tasty.  I have been doing a lot of experimenting with gluten-free recipe creation over the past while and am having very good results, particularly with muffins.  I love a muffin for coffeebreak at work every day and I absolutely detest any muffin with a flat top!  I expect my muffins to resemble deli-style muffins – those that are beautifully raised, with the dome top, and are a reasonably good sized muffin.

 Beet Muffins
Gluten-free Beet Muffins

In order to get that deli-style muffin, I have learned that gluten-free muffins take more leavening. This is probably due to the properties in the gluten-free flours and they obviously must take more leavening.  I find some gluten-free flours produce baked goods that have a “gritty” texture to them while others will result in a “gummy” textured product, and still others can have an offputting taste that is just not very appetizing.  I have come up with a flour mixture blend that alleviates these issues and I attribute a lot of that to my use of small amounts of almond and coconut flours in my baked products.  These flours cannot be used cup-for-cup substitutions for all-purpose flours because they react to liquid differently and, hence, the use of them in any quantity requires modifications to the liquid content in a recipe.  However, small amounts of them can be used and I find they do enhance both the texture and certainly the flavor of baked goods like cookies and muffins.

Beet Muffin
Gluten-free Beet Muffin

The other thing I have learned about gluten-free baking is that the addition of several flavor enhancers greatly improves the flavor of the baked product. This is where the use of yogurt, vegetables (such as beets), maple syrup, cocoa, and so forth come in. For this beet muffin recipe, I use a thick Mediterranean-style/Greek yogurt.  Many recipes will call for the use of plain yogurt and that certainly works in this muffin recipe.  However, I have also tested it with coconut and lavender (yes, lavender!) flavored yogurts and both are very good in these muffins.  Don’t substitute regular yogurt for the thick Mediterranean-style yogurt in this recipe as the regular yogurt will be too watery and will change the ratio of wet-to-dry ingredients in the muffins.

For this recipe, I incorporate beets in two ways – as a purée and in shredded form.  The purée should be of the consistency of applesauce or baby food and should look like this.

Beet Purée
Beet Purée

A small food processor or blender works well for the purée but I often use my immersion blender. If the beets are soft enough, the immersion blender will work. I use my tall 2-cup measuring cup when using the immersion blender to purée these beets as it contains any splatters – you really do see how red beets can be if you find splatters on the wall!

To shred the remaining beet(s) required for the recipe, I use a simple shredder like the one shown in the photo below. As you can see, the beets are shredded rather coarsely.

Shredded Cooked Beets
Shredded Cooked Beets

Some recipes call for shredded uncooked beets to be used in muffins; however, these muffins only take about 20 minutes to bake and, since beets are firm and take a while to cook I find, to ensure the beets are cooked in the muffins, I have better success using cooked beets in this recipe. Both the beet purée and shredded beets give these muffins flavor and moisture.

Beet Muffins
Gluten-free Beet Muffins

I love chocolate so have incorporated some cocoa and chocolate chips into the muffins as both add lovely flavor to the baked product.

While I cook the beets especially for these muffins, if you happen to have cooked too many beets for another purpose, these muffins would be a good way to use the left-over beets. Three-quarters of a pound of beets (weighed after leaves removed) are required for this recipe. The ones in the photo below are from our garden so, as you can see, they are of varying sizes! Just know that the bigger beet is going to take longer to cook to fork-tender state. Don’t split the beets before they are cooked as they will bleed and their goodness will be poured down the drain.

Beets
Beets

As always, make sure that all the ingredients called for in the recipe are gluten free.

Beet Muffins
Gluten-free Beet Muffins

These are great muffins to make in the summer and fall when you have fresh beets in the garden or can access them at local farmers markets or roadside farm market stands. These muffins freeze well.

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Gluten-Free Beet Muffins

Ingredients:

¾ lb beets

1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour (or gluten-free one-to-one flour)
1/3 cup gluten-free oat flour
¼ cup almond flour
¼ cup coconut flour
2 tbsp arrowroot starch
1¼ tsp zanthan gum
¼ cup gluten-free small flake rolled oats
5½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp ground chia seeds
1/3 cup cocoa
Scant 2/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
¾ tsp cinnamon

2 extra-large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
½ cup almond milk or whole milk
¼ cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
1/3 cup Mediterranean-style/Greek yogurt (plain, coconut, or lavender flavor)
4 oz beet purée (see method below)
2 tbsp maple syrup
1½ tsp vanilla
½ cup shredded cooked beets

½ cup chocolate chips (optional)

Method:

Remove leaves, leaving about 1½“ stems along with the roots on the beets. Wash beets. Cook beets in boiling salted water until fork tender.  Let beets cool enough to handle, then peel. Loosely chop 4 oz beets into a small food processor or a blender and purée until smooth (an immersion blender may also be used). Consistency of puréed beets should be similar to apple sauce or baby food. Shred remaining beets to fill ½ cup measuring cup.

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Use muffin tins with cups that have ½-cup holding capacity. Prepare muffin tins by greasing or spraying each muffin cup with cooking oil, ensuring the top of the muffin tin is also well greased. Alternatively, line with parchment paper cups.

In large bowl, combine the dry ingredients by whisking very well.  Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and set aside.

In separate bowl, or large measuring cup, whisk together the lightly beaten eggs, almond or whole milk, coconut oil, yogurt, beet purée, maple syrup, vanilla, and shredded beet.

Pour wet ingredients into well in the dry ingredients.  Combine just until dry ingredients are barely incorporated. Do not overmix. Gently stir in the chocolate chips, if using.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins, filling almost to the muffin cup rim.  Let batter sit for 5 minutes before baking.

Transfer muffins to oven and immediately reduce heat to 400°F.  Bake 20-22 minutes or until muffins are just firm to the touch and a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Let muffins rest in muffin cups for 5-7 minutes then gently remove from pan and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: 15 muffins

Gluten Free Beet Muffins

Yield: 15 muffins

A deli-style gluten free muffin that combines beets with chocolate to create a moist, tasty muffin

Ingredients

  • ¾ lb beets
  • 1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour (or gluten-free one-to-one flour)
  • 1/3 cup gluten-free oat flour
  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot starch
  • 1¼ tsp zanthan gum
  • ¼ cup gluten-free small flake rolled oats
  • 5½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp ground chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • Scant 2/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • ¾ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 extra-large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup almond milk or whole milk
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 1/3 cup Mediterranean-style/Greek yogurt (plain, coconut, or lavender flavor)
  • 4 oz beet purée (see method below)
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1½ tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup shredded cooked beets
  • ½ cup chocolate chips (optional)

Instructions

  1. Remove leaves, leaving about 1½“ stems along with the roots on the beets. Wash beets. Cook beets in boiling salted water until fork tender. Let beets cool enough to handle, then peel. Loosely chop 4 oz beets into a small food processor or a blender and purée until smooth (an immersion blender may also be used). Consistency of puréed beets should be similar to apple sauce or baby food. Shred remaining beets to fill ½ cup measuring cup.
  2. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  3. Use muffin tins with cups that have ½-cup holding capacity. Prepare muffin tins by greasing or spraying each muffin cup with cooking oil, ensuring the top of the muffin tin is also well greased. Alternatively, line with parchment paper cups.
  4. In large bowl, combine the dry ingredients by whisking very well. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and set aside.
  5. In separate bowl, or large measuring cup, whisk together the lightly beaten eggs, almond or whole milk, coconut oil, yogurt, beet purée, maple syrup, vanilla, and shredded beet.
  6. Pour wet ingredients into well in the dry ingredients. Combine just until dry ingredients are barely incorporated. Do not overmix. Gently stir in the chocolate chips, if using.
  7. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins, filling almost to the muffin cup rim. Let batter sit for 5 minutes before baking.
  8. Transfer muffins to oven and immediately reduce heat to 400°F. Bake 20-22 minutes or until muffins are just firm to the touch and a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  9. Let muffins rest in muffin cups for 5-7 minutes then gently remove from pan and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
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Beet Muffins
Gluten free Beet Muffins

 

For another great gluten-free muffin recipe from My Island Bistro Kitchen, try this Blueberry Muffin recipe.

These delicious Deli-style Gluten-free Beet Muffins are made with cooked beets and chocolate to create moist,tasty muffins.

Gluten-free Beet Muffins

 

(Mostly) PEI and Maritime Food – Good Food for a Good Life!