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eG Foodblog: Ann_T - Vancouver Island

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#1 Ann_T

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 06:27 AM

Good Morning from beautiful, sunny Vancouver Island.


My name is Ann and I live with my husband Moe in Duncan, British Columbia right in the heart of the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island. We have a son, Matt, who is 24 and lives just an hour south of us in Victoria. My blog theme is planned around all the wonderful foods that are available here on the island, mostly in the Cowichan Valley and the Victoria/Sidney area.

I have a friend visiting from Toronto this week and Sandra and I plan to drive all over the southern part of Vancouver Island visiting farms, markets and wineries. It is my intention to cook most of our meals using local in-season produce, meats and seafood also from the area. We got started early by going to a couple of the farmers’ markets in Victoria on Saturday and the Cedar Farmer’s Market on Sunday. Duncan has a wonderful farmer’s market that is open every Saturday 12 months of the year and I very seldom miss it. I love this time of year. Each week the selection at the market just gets better and better. I can’t wait until the corn and tomatoes are available.

Actually this week won’t be too much different from the way that I normally cook and plan meals. I’ve always shopped on a daily basis and I’ve never minded driving some distance to find what I want.

Here is a picture of Saturday’s take from the Markets. The garlic is from the James Bay Market and the rest of the produce came from the Moss Street Market.



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It's early here, just 6:15 AM so I'm off to the kitchen to make coffee.

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#2 Megan Blocker

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 06:34 AM

Yes, yes, YES!!!! I cannot wait to see what this week has in store. Ann, I love your food and your photos - please share lots of both. :wink:
"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

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#3 FabulousFoodBabe

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 06:36 AM

Ann, I'm so excited for your blog! My firstborn arrived in Vancouver last Friday and will spend a month there camping and kayaking up and down the island, and researching marine mammals with some biologists. Not only will I get to see your life and life in Vancouver, but I'll get to feel a little connection to the kiddo.

My gosh, that's lovely garlic!
"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office

#4 Lori in PA

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 06:38 AM

I'm glad you are blogging, Ann -- it will be nice to get to know you better.
~ Lori in PA
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#5 Daniel

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 07:02 AM

Good morning Ann... These blogs are like the best of from the dinner thread.. Really looking forward to following you this week.. Have a great time! Thats some looking machine you have there.. Can you tell me about it..

Edited by Daniel, 17 July 2006 - 07:03 AM.


#6 christine007

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 07:13 AM

Ann, I really chuckled when I saw you blogging this morning, I was just looking at your beautiful dishes in the Dinner thread, and I was thinking to myself what a great blog you could do! :biggrin:
Really looking forward to sharing your life and cooking.
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#7 Chufi

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 07:32 AM

Ann, this is going to be fun! beautiful pictures and good food await us!

And how timely to have another BC blog, while I am planning our BC vacation. We still don't know if Vancouver Island will be on the itinerary.. maybe your blog will help us decide!

#8 MarketStEl

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 07:47 AM

As I don't hang out on the "Dinner!" thread that often, this will be an introduction to a new eGer for me. I look forward to learning something new.
Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia
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#9 Bueno

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 09:18 AM

Sweet! I feel like I've hit the BLOG jackpot these last few weeks! I've hit the Blogpot!

#10 Abra

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 09:24 AM

Dinner thread scores again! Ann's pictures alone will make you gain 5 lbs, so everybody loosen your belts.

#11 Ann_T

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 09:50 AM

Thanks everyone. I've never done anything like this before and I'm a little nervous. And to have to follow Bryan's amazing blog on top of that.




Ann,  I'm so excited for your blog!  My firstborn arrived in Vancouver last Friday and will spend a month there camping and kayaking up and down the island, and researching marine mammals with some biologists.  Not only will I get to see your life and life in Vancouver, but I'll get to feel a little connection to the kiddo.

My gosh, that's lovely garlic!

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Fabulous FoodBabe, your son might not want to come home. He will probably fall in love with the Island. We moved our son out here back in 1998 when he was 15 and he says he is never leaving.






Good morning Ann... These blogs are like the best of from the dinner thread..  Really looking forward to following you this week.. Have a great time!  Thats some looking machine you have there.. Can you tell me about it..

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Daniel, the espresso machine is a Saeco Incanto Sirius, one of the super automatics. We are really happy with its performance. It is all we drink now.


Ann, this is going to be fun! beautiful pictures and good food await us!

And how timely to have another BC blog, while I am planning our BC vacation. We still don't know if Vancouver Island will be on the itinerary.. maybe your blog will help us decide!

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Klary, I hope you find time to visit the Island. Especially if you haven't been here before. It really is beautiful.


As I don't hang out on the "Dinner!" thread that often, this will be an introduction to a new eGer for me.  I look forward to learning something new.

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MarketStEl, The Dinner thread is the thread that I hang out the most on so I don't think that many members will know me. Hopefully my blog will change that.


I promised Moe and Sandra scones this morning so that is what we had. Blackberry Scones.

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We are going to spend some time driving around Lake Cowichan this afternoon. I'm hoping that we will find a nice place for lunch. See you all later.


Ann

#12 Shaya

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 10:02 AM

Great to see you blogging Ann. I am always tantalized by your food and photos, and I've never been to BC. This will be great!

#13 canucklehead

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 10:44 AM

Ann - really excited to see Vancouver Island through a pro's eyes. I have not really visited and explored the Island in ages.

#14 mizducky

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 11:32 AM

I thought that blog teaser photo looked like it might have been from somewhere on Vancouver Island. Truly a beautiful part of the world. Have a great blog!

#15 little ms foodie

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 11:37 AM

Hi Ann, you are going to do great!!

I LOVE those dishes in the scone picture- beautiful!!

#16 Ling

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 12:00 PM

I'm a fan of your photos, Ann...as you already know from the "Dinner" thread. :wink: I've been to Vancouver Island a few times, but mainly to do the touristy things like having high tea and visiting the wax museum. Looking forward to seeing more of the local produce and cheeses!

#17 snowangel

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 01:04 PM

Welcome to blogging, Ann!

The sweet corn is in here. We had some earlier this week that was very disappointing, but our very favorite corn stand was open last night, and did not disappoint. My family always sighs over the first corn of the season because they know that it will be on the table 7 nights a week for quite a few weeks. The days here have been HOT, and one of the vendors at the farmer's market was predicting tomatoes in the very near future. This is indeed a glorious and bountious time of year!

BTW, Ann's scone recipe is in RecipeGullet -- right here.
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#18 christine007

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 01:21 PM

ann are you of English heritage? I ask because my english mom makes scones a lot. Sometimes we put strawberry jam right in the batter.
Do you serve clotted cream with your sometimes?
they are beatiful, btw, love the blackberries in them.
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#19 Daddy-A

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 02:08 PM

AWESOME!

The Cowichan is one of my favorite parts of BC. We're in for a real treat.

Ann, any chance you'll be visiting some of the wineries? There are some real gems over there.

A.

#20 Kim Shook

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 06:27 PM

Ann, I am SO glad that you are blogging. I love your photos and meals in the dinner thread and I would love to visit British Columbia! I am really looking forward to this thread!

#21 fou de Bassan

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 06:37 PM

Your scones look scrumptious! I completely missed the last blog and so am happy to come in at the the beginning of yours.
Is the lavender from your garden? It's beautiful :wub:
If only Jack Nicholson could have narrated my dinner, it would have been perfect.

#22 Ann_T

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 10:19 PM

Welcome to blogging, Ann!

The sweet corn is in here.  We had some earlier this week that was very disappointing, but our very favorite corn stand was open last night, and did not disappoint.  My family always sighs over the first corn of the season because they know that it will be on the table 7 nights a week for quite a few weeks.  The days here have been HOT, and one of the vendors at the farmer's market was predicting tomatoes in the very near future.  This is indeed a glorious and bountious time of year!

BTW, Ann's scone recipe is in RecipeGullet -- right here.

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Susan, you are so lucky to have fresh local corn. I think it is still a few weeks away here. I'm looking forward to a dinner of just corn. Corn and butter. Nothing else.


ann are  you of English heritage? I ask because my english mom makes scones a lot. Sometimes we put strawberry jam right in the batter.
Do you serve clotted cream with your sometimes?
they are beatiful, btw, love the blackberries in them.

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Christine, I love clotted cream with scones.

AWESOME!

The Cowichan is one of my favorite parts of BC.  We're in for a real treat.

Ann, any chance you'll be visiting some of the wineries?  There are some real gems over there.

A.

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Daniel, We are going to drive around the Saanich Peninsula on Thursday, stopping at some of the farms, wineries and the Farmers Market in Sidney that evening.

I hadn't been to Lake Cowichan in about 4 years so we headed over that way today. We had a forgettable lunch and even though I had my camera with me, I totally forgot to take a picture. Sorry. I'll try to do better. I did take a picture that shows just how beautiful the area is.

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On the way home I stopped at my favourite butcher, The Cowichan Valley Meat market and picked up some veal shanks for dinner. This store is unique. They raise all their own animals , control what their livestock is fed, by owning their own feed mill. I took a few pictures.

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I also stopped at the Cowichan Bay Farm and bought duck breasts for tomorrow night's dinner. A number of local farms that sell produce or eggs operate on the honor systems. There is a cash box and you leave either cash or a cheque and just help yourself to what is available.

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Dinner was based on a Lidia Matticchio Bastianich recipe that calls for a whole veal shank. I made it more like osso bucco.


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I used some of the vegetables I bought at the farmers markets on Saturday.

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#23 FabulousFoodBabe

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Posted 18 July 2006 - 04:24 AM

Ann_T, today I'm jealous that you have that butcher shop within reach. How wonderful! Now I have to go figure out the exchange rate so I can see what the prices are in $US.

Are there many places like that where you live?

Mmmmmm, corn and butter. No salt?
"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office

#24 Kerry Beal

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Posted 18 July 2006 - 04:57 AM

Ann,

I clicked on your blog and my screen rolled right down to the picture of Cowichan Bay meats and I was washed away with wonderful memories.

My mother grew up in Cowichan Bay in a house put together from several cottages, right across from the original Cowichan Inn. My grandparents owned a marina and guiding business there.

Food memories are flooding back now, the 'Indian candy' smoked salmon made by Minnie, who lived with my grannie, the home made lemonade, figs warm off the tree outside the kitchen window. The berries we picked by the pail to made pies and crumbles.

My Cowichan Indian sweaters, driving go-carts around my cousins place in Maple Bay, catching a dog fish, getting hooked with the gaf hook as my father fell backwards out of the fishing boat...

Thanks for the memories.

#25 Shaya

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Posted 18 July 2006 - 05:50 AM

Gorgoeous osso buco Ann. What gives it that creamy yellow goodness?

Your website is beautiful, by the way. You seem to cook and bake a lot of great food. Do you teach cooking or do anything else professionally in the buisiness or is this all for leisure?

#26 snowangel

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Posted 18 July 2006 - 07:22 AM

Ann, what's your food background? Where did you live before moving to Vancouver Island?
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#27 Ann_T

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Posted 18 July 2006 - 08:34 AM

Ann_T, today I'm jealous that you have that butcher shop within reach.  How wonderful!  Now I have to go figure out the exchange rate so I can see what the prices are in $US.

Are there many places like that where you live? 

Mmmmmm, corn and butter.  No salt?

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FabulousFoodBabe, there are a number of farms in the area where you can buy free range chicken, beef, duck and of course fresh produce. I bought a baby goat from one of the local farmers back in April. I still have quite a bit of it still in the freezer.

I should have said just corn, butter, salt and pepper. Got to have fresh ground pepper too. But when corn is ready it takes centre stage. We will make a meal of just corn, nothing else. Thankfully I have a husband who loves fresh corn as much as I do. We both grew up in Ontario. He is from the Windsor area and I'm from the Toronto area.


Ann,

I clicked on your blog and my screen rolled right down to the picture of Cowichan Bay meats and I was washed away with wonderful memories.

My mother grew up in Cowichan Bay in a house put together from several cottages, right across from the original Cowichan Inn.  My grandparents owned a marina and guiding business there. 

Food memories are flooding back now, the 'Indian candy' smoked salmon made by Minnie, who lived with my grannie, the home made lemonade, figs warm off the tree outside the kitchen window.  The berries we picked by the pail to made pies and crumbles. 

My Cowichan Indian sweaters, driving go-carts around my cousins place in Maple Bay, catching a dog fish, getting hooked with the gaf hook as my father fell backwards out of the fishing boat...

Thanks for the memories.

View Post



Wow Kerry, you do have some wonderful memories. I'm glad my pictures are jogging them for you. I'll try to post a few more of the local scenery this week.

Gorgoeous osso buco Ann.  What gives it that creamy yellow goodness?

Your website is beautiful, by the way.  You seem to cook and bake a lot of great food.  Do you teach cooking or do anything else professionally in the buisiness or is this all for leisure?

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Thanks Shaya.

I just love good food and I like to cook and bake. Just for leisure. I've been a stay at home wife/mom for 27 years.

The veal shanks are browned and cooked with onions, garlic and a carrot (I hate carrots, but can handle the flavour and sweetness that one adds) , seasoned with fresh rosemary and sage, a little white wine and some chicken broth. And then roasted in the oven, basting often, until tender. I covered them for the first hour and just basted for the last hour. I used the stick blender to puree the veggies into the sauce.


Ann, what's your food background?  Where did you live before moving to Vancouver Island?

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Susan, I don't really have a food background, except for the fact that I have always loved to cook and to eat. I'm originally from the Toronto area but have moved around a bit. Just after we were married we moved to Grand Rapids Michigan for a couple of years. I took a few hands on cooking lessons from Pat Davis. She ran a cooking school in her home. Matthew was born while we were in Grand Rapids so he actually has dual citizenship. We moved back to the Toronto area and lived there for the next 12 years and then ended up in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario for 5 years before moving to Vancouver back in 1998. Then we ended up in Dunkirk, NY for two years. I really liked living there. I was only an hour from Buffalo, Erie, PA and Jamestown , and all of these cities had Wegman grocery stores. So I went into Buffalo at least once a week and usually into Erie and Jamestown once a week too. And we were less than three hours from Toronto. So we would get down to Toronto quite often.

We moved back out west the summer of 2001 and lived in Nanaimo for 3 1/2 years before selling our house and moving to Vancouver for a year. Moe was working on a few things and it was easier to do from Vancouver. Matt lives in Victoria and we really missed seeing him whenever we felt like it so we moved back to the island last December. Since we are less than an hour from Victoria we see a lot of Matt now. Thankfully he is happy to have us so close too. My son is a real foodie too and is becoming quite a good cook. I recently gave him my Cuisinart . It was an excuse to buy a new one for myself. Here are my new toys.

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Breakfast wasn't too exciting. But the bread is homemade french bread and the honey is local. I didn't hear any complaints.



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Oh and I forgot to post a picture of my fridge. Since I shop on a regular basis, I don't keep a lot in it and I'm not big on leftovers so I try to not save anything that I will just end up throwing out a week later.


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#28 Lori in PA

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Posted 18 July 2006 - 08:42 AM

Nice looking bread, Ann! I'd really like to move from baking my home-y, old-fashioned breads to learning how to bake even older (?), but new-fashioned artisinal-style breads. I'm assuming you baked that yourself? How did you learn?
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#29 Grub

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Posted 18 July 2006 - 09:15 AM

Beautiful veal shanks... Absolutely luscious. Great stuff so far.

#30 Abra

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Posted 18 July 2006 - 09:19 AM

That's lovely bread, Ann, and you absolutely get the eG Award for Fridge Emptiness. My fridge hasn't looked like that since the day it was born.





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