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Going local in the kitchen brings tastes alive

Last weekend, ‘The Culinary Studio’ played a great role at the Total Woman Show, which is held at Bingemans every year. We sponsored the Cooking Stage and invited local chefs, butchers, fishmongers and cooks on stage to enrich the audience’s knowledge about everything food. The overall theme was definitely a local one.
According to the National Restaurant Association the top three food trends for 2011 are:

1. Locally sourced meats and seafood – it’s already pretty well known that there can be a large disconnect between consumers and the source of our meat and seafood. I think most of us know too that it’s time for a change. Using and promoting locally sourced meat and seafood, as we do at The Culinary Studio, not only improves our diets but also greatly impacts the local economy and the lives of our farmer neighbors.

2. Locally grown produce – just like meat and seafood, it’s time to not only know where our produce comes from, but to source out foods close to home. Especially in an area like ours, where we are blessed with substantial and exceptional produce, there is no need to go further than our backyard.

3. Sustainability – this is the capacity to endure, to diversify, produce and last. This emerging trend has many facets but essentially encourages consumers to think more about what they are eating, and to eat smarter. It means eating food that is healthier for people, and the planet. Think about producing food using less finite resources, emitting less greenhouse gases, treating those in the food chain better and making money for further production.

Three Grain and Caramelized Onion Salad

  • 1 cup of red Quinoa
  • 1 cup of brown couscous
  • 1 cup of brown or green lentils
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • 3 cooking onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4-cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2-cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2-cup pumpkin (pepita) seeds
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Each day on the cooking stage we demonstrated and sampled this simple dish of a grain salad. Quinoa contains all 12 amino acids that make up a complete protein, and coupled with seeds this salad makes a complete and healthy lunch. We served it with pan-seared Norwegian salmon from T&J Seafoods in Kitchener, and it would be fabulous with sautéed local vegetables or even roasted local pork. It was such a hit that we want to share the recipe with you here. We found all of the grains and seeds at a bulk food store, where each grain came with cooking directions. Be sure to add a good pinch of salt while cooking each grain.

Cook each grain separately, according to package directions;

After each grain is cooked to al dente, drain and spread out on a baking sheet to cool down;

Meanwhile, heat about 1 tbsp of oil in a frying pan and cook onions slowly, about 45 minutes over low heat, until well caramelized;

Toss all grains with onions, lemon juice, seeds and salt and pepper to taste; add olive oil to moisten;

Enjoy this salad warm, cold or at room temperature.

A little more local for your inbox.

Seven days. One newsletter. Local reporting about people and places you
won't find anywhere else. Stay caught up with The Observer This Week.

Enter your email to subscribe. Unsubscribe anytime. We may send you promotional messages.
Please read our privacy policy.

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