Local Food – Naturally!

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(Thanks to Steve Green from the Windsor Essex Food Co-op for the lovely photo of his lovely hens!  I am sure that the free-range eggs he is bringing us will taste just as lovely.)

Greetings from the kitchen – currently back in full gear! This weekend we are hosting one of our favourite groups for a short retreat which, on Sunday night will segue seamlessly (hope, hope) into a gathering of another group close to our hearts … The Local Organic Food Co-op Network.  Monday brings the exciting, annual Source It Here trade-show hosted by Guelph Wellington Local Food – Taste Real.  This is always a fun time, with a chance to see old friends, make new ones, see a  very wide variety of locally produced food(and drink)stuffs AND to stretch a bit as a cook to produce appetizers for the attendees – often using  products donated by those same folks.  This year I am attempting a pate with a generous donation of lamb’s liver (and some juniper berries from out west that I have been hoarding).  Watch this space for the recipe next week  … if it works!

In the meantime, here is one of my favourite appetizers …

Smoked Salmon Cheesecake.

Topping : mix well and set aside …1 ½ c sour cream, 2 T lime juice, 1 t salt and up to 3 T chopped fresh dill

Mix well…  2 c assorted cracker ends – ground fine in a food processor, 1/3 c melted butter or margarine, 2 T lemon juice

Press base into a greased springform pan  (8 or 10 inch is best). Try pressing the mix a short way up the sides to help protect the cheesecake.

Beat until smooth, scrape down sides of bowl and beater then beat again to ensure there are absolutely no lumps …

1 lb of cream cheese – must be at room temperature!

Add and beat at low speed 1 minute …

200 grams of thinly sliced smoked salmon

Add one by one, scraping down bowl and beater in between…

3 eggs

Add …

1/3 c whipping (35%) cream, 1/3 c sour cream or yoghurt, 2 T lime juice, Dash of hot sauce, (2 T chopped dill – optional)

Bake at 325°F for approximately 25 minutes or until almost done but still slightly jiggle-y in the middle.  Pour topping over and smooth out.  Return to oven for 4 minutes.  Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack.  Run a thin-bladed knife around the very edge to loosen the sides slightly, this will help avoid cracking.  Refrigerate when cool.  It will be easier to remove the cake from the pan if it is refrigerated overnight – if you have time.  Another trick is to assemble the springform pan with the bottom smooth side up (not lip side up) so you can run a spatula under the cake and gently slide the cake onto a serving tray or board. 

I have used fresh basil instead of dill which is very nice as well.  Roasted red or yellow peppers add a further touch of colour and depth of flavour.

Bon appétit!