Foodie Fun at the Home and Garden Show

Most people go to the Home and Garden show to look at things related to their homes. See a guy about high-tech new windows, or a security system. Buy a wonder mop, or a jacuzzi tub.

I went for the food demonstrations.

When FoodMode Magazine sent out an email letting people know about the upcoming show, they included a list of who would be doing some food demonstrations. Included on that list were Ron Eade, Food Editor of the Ottawa Citizen, whom I've mentioned before, and Marc Lepine, chef and owner of one of Ottawa's newest restaurants, Atelier. Both would be paired up with a local farmer and would showcase that farms product in their demonstration.

I was in!

First up was Ron, grilling some lovely lamb sliders that were made by Keith Salisbury of Goodwoods Farms, part of a five farm partnership that makes Natural Lamb. While Ron was attempting to keep the flames and smoke to a minimum on the massive Napoleon bbq (which looked to be a wonderful bbq), Keith shared a tonne of information with the audience about his lamb and the lamb industry.

Did you know that China is now the biggest producers of lamb in the world? And that any wool collected from lamb and sheep is now shipped in containers to China, to be returned as a finished product after it is manufactured?

Ron evenually got the flames under control and served up the audience these tasty little sliders, containing Keith's lamb and feta patties, Keith's homemade feta aioli, cherry tomatoes, Ron's homemade caramalized onions and his own balsamic reduction, which he blogged about a few weeks ago, here.

I had the opportunity to speak briefly with Ron after his demonstration, and also asked if he would be posting the recipe for the lamb burgers on his own blog. Since the recipe came from Keith, and not Ron, we will have to have a bit of patience as Keith is in lambing season right now and the new mothers need him more than I need the recipe.

Head on over to Ron's blog to see about the show from his perspective. And look closely at his pictures, see if anyone looks familiar.

Next up was Marc Lapine, who I also had an opportunity to meet after his own demonstration. This quiet, young chef does some amazing things with food and I am only sorry that the battery of my camera chose that time to decide to fizzle out, so I did not get nearly as many pictures as I would have liked. And most of the ones I did get were not as good as I'd have liked.

Marc was paired up with Aartje de Boer, owner of The Pickle Patch. Aartje provided Marc with some pork belly from her own farm, where the pigs are part of the work force and are fed a special diet that includes spend grains from a nearby brewery and whey from a local cheese producer.

My friend and I were the lucky winners of some of Aartje's pork at the end of the demonstration, which we took back to my home and had for dinner, using the recipe supplied with the pork, for Succulent Tamworth Pork Chops. Tasty!

Back to that pork belly.

Atalier is a different type of restaurant, as its chef is skilled in what is known as Molecular Gastronomy. So while Marc briefly grilled the slices of pork belly, he told us about cooking it the night before, slowly, by sous-vide (sealed in a bag, immersed in water and held at a very specific tempurature for a long period of time) for 18 hours! The result, presented on a grilled piece of bbq bread (bbq flavored, and grilled, so double bbq), with an olive sauce and apples that had been "infused" with carbon dioxide, while rosemarry smoke filled the air, was melt in your mouth wonderful.

I could not discribe this dish well enough to do it justice. This sample here, as Marc would present it at the restaurant, included two different variations on caramalized onion, a celery syrup made from juicing celery, with a sprinkling of celery made from dehydrating the pulp left from juicing the celery, then grinding it into a fine powder, and so many more elements. Beautiful!

When I finally do make it to Atelier, I plan to have my camera with me, a notebook, and a back up battery for my camera!

When the show ended, I did have a "bonus" meet up, with Robin, publisher of Ottawa's FoodMode Magazine. What a nice gentleman, who kindly possed for me as he enjoyed Marc's plated sample.

If you've never read FoodMode magazine, since copies can be hard to get, they go so fast I didn't even get one from the Home Show, you can head over to their website and read not only the currently issue, but also back issues. And read Robin's own blog, Gastronomical.

I was not the only blogger in attendance, though I think I was the only one who came early so I could sit front row center. And while I didn't come away from the Home show with quotes for new windows, or even the awning I would like to put up on my back porch, I did come away with a bundle of information about some of our local farmers and producers.

I can't wait for the farmer's markets to open!

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