Happy Canada Day to all (official and non-official) Canadians!
My original plan for today was to post my Sweet Potato Enchilada recipe to go with the chipotle mole I posted on Friday. As soon as I sat down to work on it however, I realized, as delicious as that recipe is, it can wait in lieu of being a little more patriotic.
As you can see below even my two ex-pats are having some fun in the sun today. On hot days like this make sure your doggies are well hydrated. Mine have a pool but they use it as a super big water dish most of the time!
Back to the food talk! The beauty of Canadian cuisine is that the Greek style of cooking is no more identified as Canadian cuisine than Lebanese, Polish or Chinese food. They all have their own wonderful place, along with so many other cultures that make up one glorious food culture. I myself would not want it any other way.
Depending where you live in Canada you will have regional dishes that have specific cultural influence that may or may not be shared with the province or territory next to you. In Nova Scotia, I think the primary cultural influences in our food are French, English and Aboriginal.
Pointing out the obvious, lets talk about maple syrup. I love it. I would use it as my primary sweetener if I could afford to do so. I do use it in baking, on pancakes and crepes, and sometimes to flavour whipped cream. Pour it over ice cream, amazing! You can buy maple sugar, maple cream, maple butter, maple candies and cookies and if you need to know more about Nova Scotian Maple products check out MPANS.
What was discovered by the aboriginal people of Canada soon caught on and now we feel maple syrups presence mostly with the dishes from Acadian and Quebecois food. My favorite example of this? Tarte au Sucre (aka sugar pie). You will find variations of this pie if you search for it, but traditionally it should be made with maple syrup (like this recipe on Tastfully Julie). Beware though even my Mom has been making her regional variation called butterscotch pie, which offers the same flavours but not the traditional ingredients. Does it mean it’s any less delicious, of course not, but if you are trying to impress your dates French Canadian family, go with the first option.
It is of my opinion that we also got the butter tart thing from the same school of thought as the tarte au sucre. Butter tarts, if you are unfamiliar, are small pies/tarts made in muffin tins. They are a pie pastry bottom and filled with the same sugar and butter heaven as the above pies, however they generally have pecans or raisins throw into the mix for good measure. Despite the name, I found a vegan version here from Vegan Dad or if you want to fulfill your buttery dreams check out this recipe for Erica’s Edibles!
A lot of Nova Scotian food culture, because we are a fishing and farming community, is largely based on animal products. I’ve obviously chosen to leave out those foods because this is a vegetarian blog however there are some that sit on the edge. I’m guessing you want an example? Well my answer is poutine! Poutine is one of those foods, in my mind it is our national dish, that can be made vegetarian by making veggie gravy. Another meaty made veggie counterpart are these dang donairs I keep mentioning (mentions here, here and here). The recipe is still under construction and on my summer bucket list, have no fear!
So what is Nova Scotian, but not a meat mockery? Well I have three answers for you. The first are oatcakes the recipe is a few posts back.
The second on the list is a summer dessert favorite called blueberry grunt. Blueberry grunt is a pretty much a blueberry cobbler, with a sweet fruit bottom topped with a drop biscuit top. It’s usually served with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Thirdly, and yet another summer treat is hodge podge. Hodge podge is a chunky vegetable, milk based soup usually throw together at the end of the summer when all your vegetables from your garden are ready for harvest. It’s usually made of new potatoes, baby carrots, corn, peas and green beans and is best served with a homemade bread.
Not to ignore the rest of the Canadian food treasure out there so I’ve come up with some honorable mentions go to Nanaimo bars, toutins, Montreal-style bagels, potato cheese perogies, Wunderbars and Ketchup flavoured potato chips!