Because of the diverse nature of the many different restaurants and chefs Brian Henry has worked under he is highly proficient at a wide range of cuisines.

Brian’s cooking is seasonal, inventive and smart, but in no way unapproachable or fussy. When he is coaxed out of the kitchen and starts talking about food, his passion and knowledge are instantly recognizable.

"Chef Brian Henry cooked a series of delicious appetizers for us as we sat around a table in the kitchen". Thanks

Tony Aspler, Wine writer

“Chef Brian Henry puts one hundred percent of his energy into going all the way.”

Birgit Moenke, Editor Stir Media Read More Reviews

Gastronomically yours,

Bovine Milk

 

Humans began consuming the milk of other mammals around 9000 BC. It was at this time that we began domesticating animals which led to the agriculture revolution. Farming practices began in Southwest Asia and grew in commonality through nomadic cultures as it permitted people to move about the land taking their food sources with them instead of the more firmly rooted practice of crop farming.

These nomadic people`s became wandering yet self-sustained micro-economies, who sold dairy and meat derived foods as well as livestock throughout the regions they traversed. At this time global diversity and trade progressed at a nomad’s pace taking almost 4000 years for the practice of dairy farming to reach Europe. After which globalization saw another 1500 years pass before milk harvesting reached the Americas.

At first humans raised sheep and goats for milk production as these smaller creatures were easily cultivated in comparison to the domestication of bovine species as this required the taming of the now extinct auroch which would have been a dangerous feat as these mammals measured 5ft across at their withers which shouldered horns up to three feet in length each.

Although milk is most commonly collected from cows, sheep and goats there are cultures and economies that rely on milk harvested from camels, horses, reindeer, water buffalo, bison and yak.

Today our planet produces in excess of 700 million tons of milk annually to supply the demands of our planets ever growing population. The bulk of this milk is derived from bovine sources of which India is the world’s largest producer of milk. The ever increasing demand for our global consumption of milk products has seen the growth has seen the advancement in automated milking equipment and investment by large conglomerate dairy companies around the world.

Locally we can still savour the taste of smaller scale milk producers like The Kawartha Dairy Company who works cooperatively with smaller farms creating a diverse local economy and is celebrating its 75th year as a Canadian-family owned and operated business. I encourage you to buy some locally produced milk to add to this weeks following recipe.

 

Chunky Potato Soup

Ingredients

½ pound bacon, chopped

¼ cup celery, diced

1 cup cooking onion, diced

1 tsp. garlic, minced

4 cups of potatoes, cut into ½ inch and cubes

3 cups chicken stock

½ cup milk or heavy cream

½ tsp of dried thyme or tarragon

1 tbsp. parsley chopped fine

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a heavy bottomed soup pot cook the bacon over medium heat until desired doneness. Remove the bacon from the pot and set aside. Sauté the celery and onions in the remaining bacon grease until they are tender but not browned. Add the garlic and potatoes to the pot and continue cooking for another 5 minutes while continuously stirring the mixture. Pour in the stock and simmer over medium-low heat until the potatoes are tender. Add the milk, and herbs to the soup. Puree half the soup to let the potato starch act as a natural thickening agent while the remaining potato pieces will allow for the soup to be chunky. Stir the cooked bacon into the soup. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately. Serves 4.

polar fest

Snow Cream is a Scream

It was nice to wake up to a winter like scene this past weekend.  It was fun to get out and play in the snow, make snowmen and see all of our holiday decorations enhanced by snow. Whenever there is a fresh snowfall I can’t help but think about a recipe that I learned to make when I was about six years old… Snow Cream.  As a child, I was amazed how easy and fun it was to make dessert out of snow. I even began to believe that I could end world hunger with all of the snow that fell in my small Ontario home town.

I remember vividly as friends of the family came to visit us from Alabama late one fall to visit during hunting season. As luck would have it we had an early snowstorm which dumped several inches of fresh fluffy snow. Seizing the moment; one of our guests ventured outside with some bowls and collected as much snow as possible and quickly went to work stirring together some milk, sugar and vanilla. Then handful after handful I gradually added the snow while we took turns stirring the mixture. With short work we had created a couple of litres of Snow Cream that we drizzled with maple syrup.

Most people who have regular snowfalls and accumulations are the ones who have never heard of snow cream. This simple dessert seems to be more widely celebrated in the deep south of the United States a place not known for snow. It was not long ago that electricity was not a household item, making chest freezers rarer than the snow needed to make this recipe. So when it did snow in the south, this was an easy way to celebrate in Southern fashion by making do with what you have on hand.

The great thing about making snow cream is that it doesn’t require too many ingredients and those that it does can be found here locally. Naturally my milk and cream came from The Kawartha Dairy Company and my maple syrup came from my own trees leftover from early spring.  Alternately one could use crushed up candy canes instead of maple syrup to make a Christmas style snow cream.

 

The only advice that I give for the following recipe is to make sure the snow is clean. This goes beyond all the yellow snow jokes as you should only use fresh fallen snow, and be aware that it takes at least one to two hours for a fresh snowfall to clean the pollutants from the air, so use only snow that has fallen after that first cleansing snow.

Icefest logoecard-complicated-food

Snow Cream

1/2 cup 35% heavy cream

½ cup 2% milk

1-tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 cup locally produced Maple Syrup

6-8 litres of fresh fallen snow

Prepare an ice bath by filling an extra large mixing bowl with ice or snow half way. Set a slightly smaller bowl into the ice bath. Better yet, take your mixing bowl outside and set it in the snow. Combine the cream, milk, sugar, and in bowl and whisk together. Continue stirring while adding snow to the cream based mixture 1-2 cups at a time. The amount of snow needed will vary depending on the size of the snow crystals and the temperature of the snow. Stir in enough snow to make the cream mixture start to resemble ice cream in consistency.  Garnish with crushed candy canes. Serve and eat immediately as Snow Cream is not to be stored for any period of time.

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