A Magic Night of Northern Food

It was a packed house again for the 2nd Annual Northern Food Night held at our home on March 31st. We enlisted the talents of local chefs and foodies to take on some of the challenges of working with northern cuisine. A total of 15 dishes were created using ingredients such as pickerel, caribou, ptarmigan, musk ox and Arctic Char. Gail Hall’s Provencale caribou chops served with a Diable sauce were spectacular as was Brad Smoliak’s delicate whitefish carpaccio. Carla Alexander of Soul Soup used her magic to concoct an Arctic Char and whitefish chowder that should be designated a main staple of every Canadian’s diet, and Gavin Strombecky roasted to perfection a 13 pound caribou roast complete with succulent Alley Kat Kiltlifter-enhanced gravy. Whitefish caviar was served two ways by Mary Bailey: on rounds of Little Potato Company steamed potatoes with crème fraiche, as well as on endive with strips of Arctic Char. Wow.
whitefish caviar appetizers

Ground musk ox was served up as Thai spiced meatballs and in a Vietnamese recipe wrapped around lemon grass stalks and grilled.

The pickerel fillets were so fresh you would swear they came out of the lake only moments before. They didn’t need much, just some Back Eddy seasoning before being pan fried in butter.

Neil Herbst of Alley Kat Brewing Company supplied a sampling of his fine locally brewed beer to compliment the flavours of our northern foods and Stacey-Jo Strombecky of Fine Wines by Liquor Select oversaw the pairings of wines, not an easy feat considering the amount of dishes with flavours from all around the world.

Those lucky enough to attend the event were also treated to lip-smacking grilled musk ox chops, a tagine of ptarmigan and musk ox, and Davis Strait shrimp ceviche. Steve’s smoky paella made with caribou sausage, whitefish and shrimp would give San Francisco’s notable B44 restaurant a run for their money. As an added bonus, we introduced two newly discovered British Columbian products: Carmeli’s handcrafted goat cheeses of Kelowna and the Oysterman’s smoked oysters of Cortes Island.

Carmeli’s, a family run dairy farm in Kelowna, offers a wide variety of artisan goat cheese products made from milk containing no additives or preservatives. The cheese is produced using traditional techniques learned during visits to France and other parts of Europe and are made from 100% goat milk produced on the farm, as well as from milk bought from an organic goat farmer in Grand Forks. With names such as Blue Velvet, Heavenly and Moonlight, you just knew these cheeses were going to be exquisite, and they were.

The second discovery from B.C. was of the Oyster Man’s no preservative, no oil added smoked oysters. If you’re a smoked oyster virgin, please let these be your first; you’ll be smitten. Once you’ve tried the Oyster Man’s sweet morsels, all other smoked oysters in your world will be obsolete. All supplier information is listed below.

The evening ended on a sweet note with a cool and creamy camomile panna cotta topped with homemade rhubarb raspberry ice cream. Thanks to the creative dessertress, Tara Zieminek, for that delicious contribution.

Panna Cotta

As well, many thanks go to those volunteers who helped prepare foods and shell 10 kgs of Davis Strait shrimp.

The intended goal of the event was to inform people of what the north has to offer food wise and to blend those foods with local ingredients. Without a doubt, this goal was achieved. The event provided a unique offering of northern fare creatively prepared, resulting in a culinary explosion of tastes. We enjoyed sharing great food and drink with everyone there and look forward to the 3rd annual event in 2008!


The menu:
Mint Marinated Muskox Chops
Pan-fried Pickerel with Back Eddy Spice
Whitefish Carpaccio with Bee Pollen
Chili Sundried Tomato Arctic Char & Whitefish Chowder
Caribou Chops a la Provencale with Diable Sauce
Kiltlifter Caribou Roast
Whitefish Caviar on Steamed Potato Rounds with Crème Fraiche
Arctic Paella with Caribou Sausage, Shrimp & Whitefish
Tagine of Muskox & Ptarmigan
Blackened Whitefish on Tostaditas
Muskox on Lemongrass Skewers
Davis Strait Shrimp Ceviche
Smoked Arctic Char Rugalach
Thai-Spiced Muskox Meatballs
Gourmet Smoked Oysters
Assorted Cheeses from Carmeli’s
Vanilla Panna Cotta with Rhubarb Ice Cream, Saskatoon Coulis & Oatmeal Honey Tuile

The suppliers:
Kitikmeot Foods – musk ox, char
Tel: (867) 983-2881

Kivalliq Foods – caribou, char
Tel: (867) 645-3137

Iqaluit Enterprises – char
Tel: (867) 979-4458.
E-mail: jcurrie@nunanet.com

Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation – pickerel, shrimp, whitefish
Tel: (204) 983-6601

Carmeli’s Goat Cheese
(250) 764-9033

Back Eddy’s Spice
(Law’s Fine Foods)

The Oyster Man’s Oysters
Tel: (250) 505-3251

Alley Kat Brewing Company

Fine Wines by Liquor Select