|Bruschetta with Peach Salsa and Melted Brie|
The food blogging community has brought foodies together for many years. We create lifelong friendships and share our passions, ideas and recipes with each other and our readers virtually. Ultimately this is what has brought 5 ladies together to share their love of food, blogging and their commitment to a health conscious lifestyle to create the very 1st ever Virtual Supper Club sponsored by Cooking Light magazine!!!
We share a love for Cooking Light magazine which has an emphasis on healthy eating and living. Each issue covers light cuisine and includes more than 70 delicious and flavourful recipes. It also explores food and nutrition news as well as fitness, health and beauty.
We would love to share these ideas with you each month by putting together a delicious meal for each other through our Virtual Supper Club. The idea is simple because we all share a common interest in cooking and all things "foodie". This is a team effort where we will be getting together virtually once a month and combining what Cooking Light readers like best...good food with great company!!! We will also be featured on the Cooking Light web site as well as sharing their fantastic recipes with you all!!!!!! See us on their blog Test Kitchen Secrets!!
Although distance prevents us from gathering as a group in each others homes we have enjoyed getting to know one another and have developed a menu from Cooking Light magazine that is sure to bring smiles to your own table of friends and family. To continue to get to know each other better we decided to create a menu that would combine local ingredients from the areas in which we live. Two of us are living in British Columbia, Canada (with one of us with deep roots in the eastern province of Quebec), 2 in Florida and one in upper New York State. What is available locally to each of us in each of these regions is what makes this menu diverse and appealing. This months theme is Regional Cooking to highlight our own slice of the world.
To highlight the fruits and cheeses of the Okanagan region I came across this recipe from the Cooking Light archives for "Bruschetta with Peach Salsa and Melted Brie". It makes a delicious starter to our Regional menu. Due to copyright issues you will find the recipe on the pages of Cooking Light's web site at the link above.
Continuing across Canada Helene of La cuisine d'Helene brings both her home of Quebec and her new home in British Columbia together here with Spinach Salad with Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette.
Jamie of Mom's Cooking Club cooks up some Florida hospitality here with Pan-Seared Shrimp Po-Boys for our main dish.
Aggie of Aggie's Kitchen has brought one of the delicious endings to our Regional Cuisine menu here with Key Lime Pie which highlights key limes growing in her region of Florida and for a second dessert Shelby of The Life and Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch whipped up some Double Maple Cupcakes here with amber coloured maple syrup available on her families property.
I am from the Okanagan Valley in the interior of British Columbia, Canada framed by picture-postcard views of lakes and mountains and a cluster of outstanding wineries, restaurants and artisan-food producers who take full advantage of our areas natural abundance. The Okanagan Valley is a gorgeous area of Central British Columbia. Often termed "Canada's Playground," it's the only place in Canada where the weather is consistently hot and dry and the temperatures get really, REALLY warm in the summer (especially in the southernmost regions of the valley around Osoyoos). Along the occasionally rugged roads, there are dozens of public beaches, 97 + golf courses and countless seasonal farm stands selling fresh cherries, apples, pears, and peaches, as well as pies and preserves.
For more than a century, British Columbia's Okanagan Valley has been Canada's fruit bowl, known throughout the western provinces for its fragrant, perfectly ripe peaches and sunny beaches. But it has been changing. In the late 1980s, vintners started taking advantage of the Okanagan's warm climate, turning it into a fast-growing premium wine region. Hot, dry weather, sheltering mountains and rich soil blend to create one of North America's most productive wine regions. The picturesque backdrop to many of these wineries is worth the visit alone with lush vineyards and soaring views. Some wineries are open year-round for tours and tastings, however, most wine-related activities occur spring through fall.
As home to BC's largest wine region the Okanagan is quickly becoming recognized & valued worldwide for the quality of our grapes, the richness of our land & the skill of our vintners. Thanks to this emerging reputation as a destination for serious wine connoisseurs, plus the fact that we have such easy access to hiking, beaches and powder skiing, Frommer's named the Okanagan Valley a Top Travel Destination for 2009.
But in addition to all of these great qualities, the Okanagan Valley boasts a pocket of exceptional artisan cheesemakers as well. Here you can also sample artisan cheeses such as Double Cream Camembert, mild Naramata Bench Blue and intense Tiger Blue cheeses and over 20 varieties of goat cheese from 100 percent goat's milk all produced in the valley.
Let's begin our tour by visiting the southernmost cheesemaker, Gitta Sutherland at Poplar Grove in Naramata. Her fantastic Tiger Blue was featured in the Globe and Mail's biweekly cheese column. Poplar Grove was originally founded as an offshoot of Poplar Grove Winery....makes me wonder why more people haven't thought of pairing wine and cheese - literally.
Moving northward to Kelowna, there's Carmelis (pronounced Car-meleeze) Goat Cheeses located on a gorgeous site in the hills overlooking Okanagan Lake. Ofri and Ofer Barmor are making a spectacular array of 20+ different goat's milk cheeses; their soft-ripened creations are a feast for the eyes and the palate. Recently, they started making a Goat Gruyere in giant Old-World style wheels; they also make the Northwest's only goat's milk blue, the Goatgonzola.
As you move farther north in the valley, there are plenty more cheesemaking adventures to be had. First up as the crow flies is The Village Cheese Co. in Armstrong. Head a bit east of here towarda Lumby and you'll find BC's newest cheesemaker, Triple Island Farm. The Tuijtel family are already selling out of their creamy Ditch-inspired Gouda cheeses. Head farther north toward Salmon Arm, BC, in the heart of the Shushwap, another hour or so to the northwest. Here you'll have the opportunity to visit BC's first small artisan cheesemakers, Gort's Gouda and Happy Days Goat Dairy, where lots of Okanagan brand fresh chevre, goat's milk yogurt and other products are produced. Keep going past Salmon Arm on the Trans-Canada Highway to the village of Chase and you'll run into Mountain Meadow Sheep Dairy, BC's only exclusively sheep's milk cheesemaker.
Should you find yourself visiting Vancouver anytime soon, I highly recommend a stop by my favorite cheese shop, Les Amis du Fromage, which specializes in (among many other things) BC artisan cheesemakers. Or better yet, take a trip here to the Okanagan Valley, where it's easy to lose yourself in wine and cheese.
We are so glad you have taken the time to visit each of our blogs to share our Regional Menu from the pages of Cooking Light. This has given us the opportunity to get to know each other better and the excitement of sharing our ideas with you.
Stop by next month for some great ideas on making your lunches more exciting and appealing, whether it be your kids lunches for school or the lunch you take to work.
You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison.