Friday, March 13, 2009

Craig Flinn's Fresh & Local

It's always exciting to get a new cookbook. And this one is even more special, since I was lucky enough to interview Chef Craig Flinn of Chives Canadian Bistro for Foodtv when he was writing this masterpiece. (You can follow all the links from here)

I know they say you can't judge a book by its cover...but really...check out how beautiful that Eggplant Cannelloni with Olive Oil poached Field Tomatoes looks. All the photos are equally luscious.

The recipes are spectacular - as one would expect from an award-winning kitchen and in addition to clear directions, there's another plus...the recipes are color coded...green dots mean spring, red is for summer, brown for fall and icy blue is for winter. And why...you ask?

Craig is passionate about favoring local farmers and independent producers and that means sticking to what's available in local markets whenever possible, whatever the season. That means, fresh tomato dishes are best served in the summer, root vegetables in fall and winter...you get the point.

You'll often find him at the Halifax Farmers Market on Saturday mornings, talking to the vendors and finding out what's fresh and wonderful for Chives...the ever-changing menu there reflects his finds.

The dishes showcase his roots (right here in Nova Scotia) and his training as a chef in Europe and North America. All the "chef" basics...perfect stocks, flaky pie dough, demi-glace, roasted garlic puree...maple balsamic syrup!!! needed for his delicious dishes are in their own section to help those of us without chef training to pull off spectacular meals. The "chef secrets" all have straight forward directions - I love it.


If you're lucky enough to be in Halifax, you can taste many of the recipes that made it into the book at his restaurant. And if you're not lucky enough to live here, you can still use the book to cook locally grown and produced delicacies wherever you are. Bottom line...buy what can be produced locally.

Yesterday my family got to savor this pasta dish, made with local organic chicken and mushrooms, which did say "Canadian", I'm just not sure which part of the country.


Roasted Garlic & Cremini Mushroom Pappardelle with Chicken

Tonight we're having a very wintery dish of Root Vegetable Tart.


By the way, I just heard that Chef Craig will be at Chapters/Indigo at the Mic Mac Mall location tomorrow afternoon (Saturday, March 14th). If you're in the neighborhood, he'll be happy to sign a book for you.

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