A challenge I’ve had this summer has been deciding what to cook when a rogue, inopportune item shows up in our CSA. Example: a lone turnip in mid July. Call me a purist, but around here turnips usually have a place on the table once October or November rolls around. Now and then, odd-timed items like this have steered a whole meal. The test here was what to cook with our single tuber. Again, in mid July.
Roast Beef and Turnips
- 3 lbs. – Eye of the round roast (tied around the centre)
- 1 – Shallots (finely minced)
- 1 – Large turnip (diced)
- 1/4 Cup – Red wine
- 2 tbsp – Butter
- Salt and pepper
- Pre-heat oven to 300° and a large steel frying pan to medium-high.
- Coat the roast with salt and pepper on all sides.
- Sear the meat approximately 3 to 4 minutes on both sides.
- Move the meat to a plate and cover with foil. Keep the pan on the heat.
- Put the butter in the pan and swirl it around. Once it’s melted and the bubbling stops add the shallots. Cook until translucent.
- Add the turnip pieces and cook until they’re brown, about 5 minutes.
- Once the turnip pieces have browned clear the centre of the pan and place the roast back. Pour in any juices left in the plate.
- Use a meat thermometer with the alarm set to go off at 130°.
- Pour the red wine over the roast and place the pan in the oven.
- Once the meat has hit temperature remove it from the oven.
- Place the roast on a clean plate and tent with foil again. Let it rest for at least 10 minutes. Pour the cooked turnips into a serving bowl.
- Carve meat and serve.
Zucchini/Potato pancakes (makes 4 pancakes)
- 1 large – Zucchini
- 1 large – Potato
- 2 tbsp – Flour
- 2 – Egg yokes
- 4 tbsp – Butter (2 tbsp per batch)
- Salt and pepper
- Trim top and bottom of zucchini and peal the potato.
- Shred both through a large grater.
- Pile grated vegetables in a tea-towel and squeeze out as much juice as possible.
- Pre-heat large frying pan on medium heat.
- In a bowl, mix together vegetables with the flour, yokes, salt and pepper.
- Put 2 tbsp of the butter in the hot pan and swirl it around. Once it’s melted and the bubbling stops make two round pancakes in the pan with half of the mixture.
- Cook for 4 to 5 minutes until golden brown on first side.
- Flip and cook on the other side for 3 to 4 minutes.
- When the pancakes are cooked, place them on a cooling rack.
- Repeat steps 6 – 9 for second batch.
Sure, doesn’t this meal seem more like a fall or winter dish? Maybe. But llet me tell you it was perfect for a summer night outside on the deck.
Pulling over his vehicle on a Cape Breton roadside to take my phone call, Chef Ardon Mofford is in the homestretch of sourcing the local Nova Scotia products that will be diced, seared, pureed, and certainly transformed by visiting Michelin-star chefs starting in one week (August 25) for the Right Some Good culinary event.
The event has multiple locales throughout Cape Breton Island during the next few weeks. Ingredients going into the menus are just as rooted, coming from farms across the island.
“I’m sourcing all vegetable products from local farmers as well as lamb, duck, foie gras, caviar. I’m still sourcing protein right now,” Ardon says.
Chef Ardon had just recently driven through Iona and popped in to see a couple of farms. Going to farmers’ markets, driving around the island to meet new people, and finding out first-hand what’s in season is what he’s been doing since January 2011 for the Right Some Good menus.
“What stands out is just how many farmers are on the island committed to growing product. I’ve been a chef for so long and we don’t really appreciate what they are doing until you go out and visit the farms and get the farm-to-table feel.”
- Chef Ardon Mofford.
As a chef in the second-generation, family owned Governor’s Pub and Eatery in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Ardon is also drawing on his existing, deep connections, especially to source dockside-fresh fish from Louisbourg Seafoods. And speaking of family and deep connections, Ardon’s sister, Pearleen Mofford, is the founder of the Right Some Good event on Cape Breton Island.
Pearleen tells me she remembers as a child watching her father, as a chef, fillet and portion halibut the size of a tabletop. “He spent three hours cutting it down to pieces, and he used to share with his line cooks how to do that as well,” she says.
“That’s why we are doing Right Some Good – it is about sharing, and collaborating, and learning from each other.”
- Pearleen Mofford.
In this day and age where fish is often pre-filleted, skills like this still need to be shared today to pass along generations of knowledge and technique, which is part of the behind-the-scenes benefit of Right Some Good.
Teaming up with the ten visiting Michelin-star chefs are local Cape Breton chefs and junior chefs (enrolled or recently graduated) from culinary programs across Canada.
“Just to work with every one of those chefs is just going to be amazing for me,” says Chef Ardon. “I’d have to travel to ten different countries to experience this, so as a chef it’s amazing and a wonderful opportunity for all of us.”
And what local menu item, soon to be in the hands of a visiting Michelin-star master and team of inspired Canadians, has piqued particular pondering and culinary curiosity…
Pearleen? – “Nobody locally prepares the sea cucumber. I’m really looking forward to seeing it prepared and tasting it.”
Ardon? — “The sea cucumber is very unique to me. It’s about the size of a cucumber and the yield is about a tablespoon of meat. I can’t wait to work with it because it is a product we have in Cape Breton, but I’ve never seen what chefs do with it.”
This is tough for me to write. But it needs to be done. Trust me when I say I’ve given this a lot of thought. So here is it: We need to break up.
It’s not you, it’s me. Really. It feels like we just want different things. The late-night romps at the drive-thru aren’t enough for me anymore. I mean, it’s fun for a moment but then poof, that great feeling just evaporates. And to be honest — and I know this might hurt your feelings — I often feel like crap right after I see you. I should have told you this earlier, I know. I’m sorry for that. But when you think about it, you must have known something was up. I mean, we haven’t seen each other for a while.
To be completely honest, I’m seeing someone new. There’s no need for names so I’m just going to call him CSA. It’s been about eight weeks and things are going great. I feel fulfilled and satisfied, like this relationship is really going to last. It feels… healthy.
We see each other on Tuesdays, and there’s enough variety every week to keep things spicy. I shouldn’t rub it in, but people tell me I’m glowing.
So, I won’t be coming around anymore. Not for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, late dinner, midnight snack, etc. Don’t even try to tempt me by flashing those bewitching golden you-know-whats. I’ll just change my jogging route. (That’s right, I exercise now)
I have no doubt you’ll find someone new. You are very charismatic.
Thanks for the memories,