Tag Archives: Jewel’s Country Market Marshfield PEI

A Canada Day Picnic in St. Peter’s Bay, PEI

Picnic at St. Peter's Bay, PEI
Picnic at St. Peter’s Bay, PEI

One of our usual Canada Day traditions is to go on a red-themed picnic. This year, we headed East to the Greenwich National Park, not far from St. Peter’s Bay. I have been to this park several times before and am always awestruck by its natural beauty.  Before I share photos of our Canada Day picnic, I thought you might like to see photos of the beauty that is Greenwich.

Greenwich National Park, PEI
Greenwich National Park, PEI (Blue Heron in Foreground)

From the parking lot, the trek on the path through the fields and woods and out over the floating boardwalk to the magnificent beach and back is about 5 km. It’s mostly flat terrain (except for a very short jaunt through the woods) and, for the most part, easy walking.

Boardwalk at Greenwich National Park, PEI
Boardwalk at Greenwich National Park, PEI

The only hitch is that you have to share nature with the mosquitoes on the walk on the trail through the field and the woods to reach the boardwalk so, if you head to Greenwich, be sure to bring along some insect repellent to make the experience more enjoyable. Depending on the weather, some sunscreen is also advised.  It’s also a good idea to bring along some water to stay hydrated.

The pink sand dunes of Greenwich National Park, PEI
The pink sand dunes of Greenwich National Park, PEI

The photo you see above is a typical scene along the floating boardwalk at Greenwich National Park.  The pink sand dune in the background is all the work of Mother Nature. At the end of the boardwalk, you arrive at the magnificent beach shown in the photos below.

Entering the beach at Greenwich National Park, PEI
Entering the beach from the end of the floating boardwalk at Greenwich National Park, PEI

You won’t find a finer beach anywhere than this one at Greenwich. I always refer to it as the perfect, unblemished jewel amongst our system of national parks on the Island.

Beach at Greenwich National Park, PEI
Beach at Greenwich National Park, PEI

During lobster fishing season, and from the vantage of this beautiful beach, it’s not uncommon to see the fishing boats returning from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to the nearby harbour with their catch of the day.

Fishing boat returning to port with the day's catch
Fishing boat returning to port with the day’s catch

Apart from the scenery, one of the wonderful aspects of Greenwich National Park is the variety of wildlife and birds. Some, like the Common Tern below, are quite willing to pose for photos!

The little Sandpiper below chose a lovely natural backdrop for its portrait!

Blue herons, common to PEI, are often seen in and around the waters between the sand dunes at Greenwich.

Blue Heron at Greenwich National Park, PEI
Blue Heron at Greenwich National Park, PEI

These are but a few of the many different kinds of birds often sighted at Greenwich so a leisurely walk on the boardwalk between the dunes offers a great opportunity for bird enthusiasts.

By the time we had finished our morning hike through Greenwich, we had worked up an appetite. I had packed a simple picnic lunch and made sure it was stowed in an insulated cooler with lots of ice packs because temperatures soared to 28°C on Wednesday. I use my traditional non-insulated picnic basket (shown in the photo below) to transport non-perishables.

On the way to Greenwich through St. Peter’s Bay, I had noticed a small park with picnic tables by the water. I thought, even though the lighting for photography may not have been the best, this would be a good spot for our picnic.

My picnic menu was not elaborate and was quick and easy to pull together. Ham sandwiches on oat bran bread were the main feature accompanied by salad on a stick with small individual containers of vinaigrette for dipping the vegetables.

Any combination of vegetables and cheese can be selected for threading on to the skewers. This is a simple way to serve salad ingredients and can be prepared before leaving home. It also cuts down on the number of containers of ingredients that need to be transported to the picnic site as well as dirty salad bowls to have to bring back home. I try to pack as minimally and efficiently as I can because I’m never certain how far I might be parked from the picnic table site.

I had just made a fresh batch of rhubarb cordial so that was our red beverage which I served in these cute little glass milk bottles along with red and white straws.

I brought along some fresh strawberries for a light dessert (are you seeing the red theme I have going on here!)

I had stopped at Jewel’s Country Market on my way East and picked up this gorgeous red geranium which made a great centerpiece, especially when decked with mini Canada flags. I had taken along one of my small potted herbs which could also be used as a centerpiece because I wasn’t certain I would be able to find a red geranium. Yes, even on a picnic, I like to see a nicely set table.  🙂

DSC_0198

I like small pots of herbs because I can use them in many ways and, while we do have a small in-ground herb garden, I also keep a number growing in pots over the summer. The benefit of having some herbs in pots is that they can be transported to wherever they are needed. I often use them as table centerpieces because, as well as being decorative, they can also be clipped and used to flavour food. In the case of our picnic, the basil was used to flavour the vinaigrette.

This was how we celebrated Canada Day 2015.  I hope you have enjoyed this brief photo tour of PEI’s Greenwich National Park, a unique natural treasure we Islanders are lucky to have in our midst.  If you live on PEI, or have the opportunity to visit the Island, I hope you will travel to Greenwich and experience its beauty for yourself.

To view previous postings of our Canada Day celebrations in years past, click on the following links:  2012, 2013, and 2014.

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A Prince Edward Island-Inspired Menu for Food Day Canada 2014

PEI Mussels Steamed in Beer
PEI Mussels Steamed in Beer

It’s Food Day Canada today (August 2, 2014). This is a day to celebrate and enjoy all the great food that is grown, fished, or otherwise produced in Canada. Coming from Prince Edward Island, we are truly blessed with the abundance and variety of fresh food at our disposal.

As those of you who are regular followers of my food blog know, my focus is on eating local food whenever possible and supporting local food producers, be they farmers, fishers, or other food producers. And, this I do more than one day a year.  It’s a regular occurrence in our household.

Today, I am pleased to share with you the menu and photographs of what is on my table today for Food Day Canada 2014 and where the food came from. The menu includes foods that come from the waters that surround our Island and from the rich, red soil of our land.

Food Day Canada Menu 2014

Starter

PEI Mussels steamed in beer
and dipped in melted butter
Served with Multigrain Bread

Main

PEI Scallops pan-seared in butter
Boiled PEI potatoes
Medley of steamed yellow string beans, broccoli, and carrots

Dessert

Haskap Shortcake
Whipped cream and a rich haskap sauce
sandwiched between layers of old-fashioned sponge cake
with a drizzle of haskap sauce on top

 Wine Pairing

Chardonnay Seyval Blanc, Newman Estate Winery, Gladstone, PEI

Starter

Products & Sources: Mussels – Prince Edward Aqua Farms Inc., Springbrook, PEI
Beer – Gahan’s Sir John A’s Honey Wheat Ale from the Prince Edward Island Brewing Co., Charlottetown, PEI
Bread – Multigrain from the Whole Grain Bakery, Freetown, PEI
Butter – Amalgamated Dairies Limited (ADL), Summerside, PEI

I love mussels! PEI mussels are world famous and my mussels today came from Prince Edward Aqua Farms in Springbrook, on the North side of the Island.

There are many ways in which mussels can be prepared. They can be steamed in water, wine, beer, apple juice, or in just about any liquid that strikes your fancy. The key is to use just a small amount of liquid as too much liquid dilutes the flavour of the mussels. It is the steam that opens the mussel shells, not the amount of liquid used.

While I am not a beer drinker, my preferred liquid for steaming mussels is beer. Today, I am using Gahan’s Sir John A’s Honey Wheat Ale, brewed by the Prince Edward Island Brewing Co. in Charlottetown, PEI (click here to read the story I wrote on the Brewery).

While nothing other than the beer is really required for steaming the mussels, I like to add some herbs, spices, a bit of garlic, onion, carrots, and celery to the steaming liquid for additional flavour. It usually takes only about 7-10 minutes to steam a pot of mussels. The amount of liquid needed will, of course, depend on the size of the pot you are using and how many mussels you are steaming at a time. Remember to discard any shells that have not opened during the steaming process – do not pry them open. If they haven’t opened via the steaming process, they are not considered safe for consumption.

Dip the mussels in good PEI-churned butter (I’m using ADL butter today) and they are simply delicious. Some also like to use the steaming broth in which to dip bread, soaking up the flavors. My recipe for steamed mussels follows at the end of this posting.

Multigrain Bread from the Whole-Grain Bakery in Freetown, PEI
Multigrain Bread from the Whole-Grain Bakery in Freetown, PEI

The bread I am serving with this appetizer comes from the new Whole-Grain Bakery in Freetown, in the central part of the Province. This bakery uses locally-grown organic wheat which the baker grinds just at the time of the bread making. The bread on the table today is a multigrain bread that has a lovely dense texture and exceptionally good flavour. It makes a fine accompaniment to the steamed mussels.


Main Course

Products and Sources: Sea Scallops, fished off East Point, PEI, sourced from MR Seafoods, Charlottetown, PEI
Potatoes – Farm of Brent Craig, Tryon, PEI
Vegetables – Jewel’s Country Market, Marshfield, PEI

Scallops have long been a favourite of mine. Today’s scallops were fished off of East Point in the Eastern end of the Island and were sourced through MR Seafoods in Charlottetown. While there are a host of ways in which sea scallops can be prepared, sometimes I like them simply pan-seared in butter which is how I am serving them today – sear 1½ – 2 minutes on each side, in a hot pan with butter, and this is a quick, easy, simple, and tasty way to prepare scallops.

Pan-searing Sea Scallops in Butter
Pan-searing Sea Scallops in Butter

Add a sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley and serve with a lemon wedge or your favourite tartar sauce, if desired.

Pan-seared PEI Scallops
Pan-seared PEI Scallops

With the early PEI potatoes now on the market, they were a logical choice to serve with the scallops. Just a slather of butter is all that is needed for these! The round white Island spuds come from the farm of Brent Craig of Tryon.

And here is the complete main course, all products of PEI.

This time of the year, there are so many fresh-from-the-garden veggies available. I chose the yellow-orange-green color scheme to add color to the plate: yellow string beans, carrots, and broccoli, which came from Jewel’s Country Market in Marshfield, PEI.

Dessert

Product: Haskap berries – Farm of Lynn and Becky Townshend, Rollo Bay, PEI

For dessert, I headed east to Rollo Bay for haskap berries to make a rich and sumptuous haskap shortcake. I recently shared my recipe for this delightful dessert and you can find the recipe by clicking here.

Haskap Shortcake
Haskap Shortcake

Wine Pairing

My wine of choice for my meal is a Chardonnay that comes from Newman Estate Winery in Gladstone, near Murray River in the Eastern part of PEI. Click here to read the story I previously wrote about my visit to this winery.


It’s so easy to prepare a tasty meal when local foods are sourced. The ingredients are super fresh because they haven’t traveled many miles for many days before they reach the dinner plate.

What’s on your menu to celebrate Food Day Canada today?

Steamed Mussels – My Island Bistro Kitchen Style

Ingredients:

1 cup Gahan’s Sir John A’s Honey Wheat Ale
½ cup onion, chopped
2 tbsp carrots, diced
2 tbsp celery, diced + some celery leaves
½ tsp puréed garlic
⅛ tsp coriander
⅛ tsp fennel
⅛ tsp thyme
⅛ tsp basil
½ tsp parsley
1 lb PEI mussels

Method:

Assemble ingredients.

In 5-litre pot, place all ingredients, except the mussels.

Bring mixture to a boil and boil gently over medium-low heat for 4-5 minutes.

Add mussels.

Increase heat to medium. Cover. Let steam for 7-10 minutes until shells have opened.

Scoop mussels into serving bowl(s). Serve hot with melted butter and your favourite bread which may also be dipped into the steaming broth that was used to steam the mussels.

Yield: 2 appetizer-sized servings.

 

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