Whenever we travel to another country and return home, we realize how fortunate we are to be living in such a beautiful country. As much as we sometimes complain about Canadian weather—summer in Canada is when it stops snowing, around March, no, April, well, probably more like mid-May—it is a privilege to be a Canadian citizen.
For this week’s Tasty Tuesday (I know it’s not Tuesday, but I’m moving the day up to coincide with Canada Day), I wanted to feature a few traditional Canadian recipes.
I asked my fellow Canuks on Facebook for suggestions, because I was stumped. Canada has such a diverse and beautiful mixture of cultures and nationalities that we really don’t have a lot of dishes that we can say are authentic Canadian meals. Sure, there are recipes that include maple syrup, back bacon and beer, but those recipes are an infusion of recipes which originated from other countries.
However, we do have a few authentic Canadian dishes and ingredients that are only available in Canada, which is what I will feature for this week’s recipes.
POUTINE, also known as heart attack in a bowl, seems to have been a popular suggestion…recipe is simple, french fries, cheese curds and hot brown gravy. Personally, I prefer to eat my French fries drenched in malt vinegar and sprinkled with sea salt, but Canada is the land of the free and toque wearing brave, so to each his/her own.
BEAVER TAILS were also another popular suggestion. Don’t worry, no beavers are injured nor are their tails chopped off. Basically, it’s flat fried dough, topped with brown sugar, or maple syrup…actually, anything goes on a beaver tail….(raunchy jokes aside).
SMARTIES are our national candy—okay, I admit, I have assigned them as our national candy, pop a few in your mouth and you will see why. Smarties resemble M&M’s, but taste better.
There is a timeless song that crosses all generations to honor Smarties.
Rumor has it that the talented Canadian romance author, Kelly Jamieson can belt this song out Winnipeg style. One of these days I’m going to show her how we sing it out here in the east.
Come on, sing along with us, you know you want to. Don’t worry, you won’t have to inject an “eh” or an “aboot” anywhere in the song.
Let’s sing together….
“When you eat your Smarties, do you eat the red ones last? Do you suck them very slowly, or crunch them very fast? Eat those candy-coated chocolates, but tell me when I ask, when you eat your Smarties, do you eat the red ones last?”
In our home it is tradition that birthday cakes (chocolate of course) are decorated with Smarties.
NANAIMO BARS: This popular dessert was created in Nanaimo, British Columbia. Best part about making Nanaimo Bars, they’re easy to make, they’re chocolately….but I must warn you, they are extremely rich and even the most rabid chocoholic can only eat a small piece.
They are delicious with vanilla frozen yogurt (or ice-cream) and require 45 minutes on the treadmill afterward, but it’s so worth it.
1 cup Graham Cracker Crumbs
1/3 cup Finely Chopped Walnut Halves (you can use slivered almonds if you prefer)
1/4 cup Cocoa Powder
1/4 cup White Sugar
1/3 cup Butter, melted
1 egg, Lightly Beaten
1/4 cup Butter
2 tbsp Custard Powder
1/2 tsp Vanilla
2 cups Confectioner’s Sugar
2 tbsp Milk
4 oz milk chocolate, good quality, chopped
1 TBSP Butter
Preheat oven to 350.
Line a metal cake pan (8 or 9 inch pan) with parchment paper.
In bowl, stir together: graham crumbs, walnuts, cocoa powder and sugar. Drizzle with butter and egg; stir until combined.
Press crumb mixture into baking pan and bake for 10 minutes (until firm).
Set aside and let cool.
Make the filling: In bowl, beat together butter, custard powder and vanilla. Beat in confectioner’s sugar alternately with milk until smooth (you may need one teaspoon of additional milk if it’s too thick).
Spread this custard mixture over the graham cracker base (make sure graham cracker base is cool).
Refrigerate for one hour (until firm).
Make the Chocolate Icing: Boil water in a sauce pan. Turn heat down to a low simmer (make sure water is no longer boiling).
Use a heatproof bowl and put over the sauce pan, add chocolate with better and stir, until all chocolate is melted and it’s smooth.
Spread chocolate over filling.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Remove from fridge and with the tip of a sharp knife, cut them into bars.
Refrigerate for an hour, until chocolate is set.
Can be wrapped in foil and put in the freezer.
BLOODY CAESAR: Just to be clear, this drink has nothing to do with Vampires and I do realize this cocktail sounds rather ominous, but it’s a great way to have your v
odka and vegetables as well. This cocktail was invented in Calgary, Alberta. Cowboys and vodka—personally, I would have thought it would be a cocktail using a Molson’s (beer) because cowboys and vodka is not a visual I would have imagined, but, they do get credit for the Caesar.
1 1/2 ounces Vodka
4 ounces Clamato Juice
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
Dash of Tabasco Sauce
Celery salt and salt and pepper mixture
Optional: If you’re feeling adventurous, add a bit of horseradish
- Rim a high ball glass with the juice from a lemon wedge, then dip it in a combination of: celery salt, salt & black pepper.
- Add the vodka and clamato juice.
- Add Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces to taste.
- Stir well.
- Add a celery stick.
HAPPY CANADA DAY