29 September 2010

Sweet Endings

Canada is one of those places I've always wanted to visit. In fact it's really kind of strange how I've been able to visit Europe four times but can't seem to plan a trip to Canada even though it's closer in mileage and wouldn't involve crossing any oceans. If there is some way for me to visit Canada, I will take it. Canada was colonized by the French and the British so it's only natural for it to pick up some of those customs and of course the impact those cultures have played on the cuisine. The range in climate and landscape is of course equally influential.

In the southeastern and western plains wheat, barley, fruits, and vegetables are gown and dispersed within Canada and also exported to other countries. Cattle are also raised for meat and dairy. Then of course along the coasts you have plentiful amounts of fish and seafood. The U.S. is pretty much the same in these respects and it makes sense. As I mentioned, a lot of the cuisine is British and French inspired, however, like here there are of course other European dishes that became popular during immigration.

Staples and popular foods in Canada mirror those of the U.S. with potatoes, bread, and pasta playing a huge part. Unlike the U.S. however, rarer meats such as seal blubber, caribou, and buffalo have a small role in certain regions. Another Canadian specialty is wild rice which looks black before being cooked is much longer and larger than the rice we tend to refer to as "wild" rice. In Canada Thanksgiving is also observed, except in October, but it's still the typical turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and pumpkin pie combo that we find here. Because of all the similarities between Canadian cuisine and American cuisine, I wanted to find something that was definitely more Canadian inspired or highlighted their history as a French colony. I also wanted to end things on a sweet note, so yes, I wanted to cook another dessert type dish.

My dish of choice fell into my lap when I learned about a type of dumpling cooked in maple syrup called grandfathers or, more accurately, grandperes. Grandperes is a very old recipe that doesn't have a specific origin other than some sort of French background as seen in the name as it has been passed down through French-Canadian families with no real root of origin. The dumplings were super easy to make and used staples of any cupboard, yes even that of a college student like myself, and the only required purchase was real maple syrup. I paid a pretty penny for my cute jug of syrup, but the authentic maple flavor was worth it. I haven't had real maple syrup in ages so this was definitely a treat for me.

I will say one thing, this recipe is definitely sweet and three of these little guys had me completely full. I ate mine as an afternoon snack with vanilla ice cream after class and what a treat! I don't make dumplings often because they don't keep well and I'm more of a pancake kind of person, but with the maple syrup these were a little reminiscent of that. They also smell delightful, let's just say it's going to be hard to go back to imitation maple syrup after I'm done with my little jug. I definitely wrapped up my thirty country cooking adventure on the right note.

So now that I've reached the light at the end of the tunnel, I am actually a little sad that it's over. Now I have to begin the process of putting together my cookbook, a task that just doesn't sound as fun as actually researching the recipes and cooking them, but as promised that will be my end result and I only have two days to accomplish it. I hope you all enjoyed my recipes, I have future plans to keep expanding my cookbook so keep in touch and I'll let you know when I have this adventure up and running again. For now I must take a small break from a hectic cooking schedule, copy some recipes down, and eat some Italian food. I will be writing one final post before this competition ends, I can't believe this is my penultimate post, September just flew on by and October is nearly upon me.
My sweet endings, click the photo one last time for a recipe. Enjoy and make these anytime you need life to be a little sweeter.

1 comment:

  1. 1 – 1 1/4 c. flour (cake flour is best, but all-purpose will do the job)
    1/2 Tbsp. baking powder
    dash of salt
    1 1/2 Tbsp. butter
    ~1/2 c. milk
    1 cup maple syrup
    1 cup water

    Blend flour (start with only 1 cup), baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles oatmeal. Stir in milk, add more flour if needed to get the dough to a slightly sticky consistency. In a saucepan (try to find a wider one that will fit all your dough balls) boil water and add maple syrup. Reduce to a simmer. Drop the dough in by tablespoons and simmer for 20-25 minutes. One thing I did notice, GENTLY rotate these to avoid burning the bottoms of them. Serve hot with syrup poured over the top. Ice cream is optional but highly recommended.