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
PEI Mussels steamed in beer
and dipped in melted butter
Served with Multigrain Bread
PEI Scallops pan-seared in butter
Boiled PEI potatoes
Medley of steamed yellow string beans, broccoli, and carrots
Whipped cream and a rich haskap sauce
sandwiched between layers of old-fashioned sponge cake
with a drizzle of haskap sauce on top
Chardonnay Seyval Blanc, Newman Estate Winery, Gladstone, PEI
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 (Update Note 2021 – this beer is expected to undergo a name change shortly)
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). [2021 Update: This beer is expected to undergo a name change shortly]
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.
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.
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.
Add a sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley and serve with a lemon wedge or your favourite tartar sauce, if desired.
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.
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.
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
1 cup Gahan’s Sir John A’s Honey Wheat Ale [2021 Update: Note that this beer is expected to undergo a branding name change shortly]
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
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.
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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