From the garden to the plate...

From the garden to the plate...Since the time of New France, the summer has always been a plentiful period in terms of food. People can finally set aside the eternal turnips, cabbages, onions and peas and enjoy a larger variety of fruits and vegetables such as strawberries and raspberries, cucumbers, lettuce and asparagus. Even today, despite the fact that it is possible to import products year-round, nothing tastes better than freshly harvested fruits and vegetables.

During this fall season, Maison Saint-Gabriel offers you recipes using fruits, vegetables and flowers that you can grow in your garden or find in public markets. These chronicles provide a wonderful complement to the horticultural lectures that were presented in Maison Saint-Gabriel’s garden during the summer.

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First episode
Matteuccia struthiopteris – FIDDLEHEADS

Matteuccia struthiopteris – FIDDLEHEADSThis fern, which grows in moist, rich soil throughout Canada, is renowned for its delicious, curled sprouts which look like the head of a fiddle. Native Peoples from New Brunswick to British Columbia have long been familiar with their flavor and medicinal properties. Rich in Vitamins A and C, fiddleheads are a delicate, refined dish.

Great care must be taken when preparing fiddleheads. In order to prevent poisoning, they must be shaken in a plastic bag in order to remove any brown particles, then washed in water. Fiddleheads must be cooked at least 15 minutes in boiling water or steamed for 10-12 minutes, until they are tender.


Cream of fiddleheads and pears

2 liters of chicken stock
500 g of fiddleheads
1/2 can of pears, with juice
2 sprigs of tarragon
Salt, pepper
Lime juice
Small croutons
2 tbsp of chopped parsley

Wash fiddleheads thoroughly.
Soak them in icy water.
Heat the chicken stock to boiling, then place the fiddleheads in it.
Add the pears, tarragon, cream, salt and pepper to the bouillon; cook 20 minutes.
Add lime juice and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
Pass mixture through a food processor.
Garnish with croutons that have been sautéed with butter and sprinkle with parsley.


Fiddleheads with mushrooms

500 g of fiddleheads
4 tbsp of butter
24 mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp of orange peel
Salt, pepper

Clean the fiddleheads, then steam them or boil them in salted water until tender.
Take care when cooking fiddleheads; they must not be under-or over-cooked.
In a thick fry pan, melt the butter.
Sautee the mushrooms and fiddleheads.
Add orange peel and spices.
Cook until mushrooms are done.


Our next chronicle will cover Sage.
We invite you to return on July 25, 2006. Meanwhile, bon appétit!

Second episode
Salvia officinalis – SAGE

Salvia officinalis – SAGESage originally came from the north shore of the Mediterranean Sea. The Latin name for the plant comes from salvare, which means to heal, since sage was used for its medicinal properties for a long time. In Canada, certain Native peoples mixed it with bear fat to cure skin diseases. Today it is better known as an aromatic plant and used to add flavor to veal, pork, tuna and tomato sauce.


Pork chops with sage

4 pork chops
8 sage leaves
2 sprigs of rosemary
2 cloves of garlic
4 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp paprika
Salt, peppe

Chop the sage, garlic and rosemary; add the oil, paprika, salt and pepper. Rub the pork with this mixture, and marinate 1 hour in the refrigerator.
Drain pork chops and cook on grill.
Baste frequently with remainder of marinade.


Rice with sage

250 g rice
Parmesan cheese
50 g butter
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
8 leaves of fresh sage

Cook rice in boiling, salted water.
Drain while still firm and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
Melt butter in a large pan, with garlic and sage.
Add rice and mix.


Our next chronicle will cover Hostas.
We invite you to return on August 8, 2006. Meanwhile, bon appétit!

Third episode
Hosta – HOSTAS

Hosta – LES HOSTASHostas originally came from China, Korea and Japan. Between 1784 and 1789, the first seeds were sent to Europe by Charles de Guignes, the French consul in Macao. As in the case of many other flowers, hosta flowers are edible, as are their buds. This flower can be eaten cooked, fried in pastry, used in salads or jams, or marinated.


Daylilies stuffed with smoked sea delicacies


Daylily flowers
Hosta flowers
Smoked salmon
Purple onion
Olive oil
Lemon juice

Place the daylily flowers in small, clear desert cups. Roll the slices of smoked salmon and place them in the centre of the flowers.
Arrange a few capers around the rolled fish. Garnish with slices of purple onion and hosta flowers. Sprinkle with olive oil and lemon juice.
If desired, add cream cheese and pepper.


Our next chronicle will cover fine herbs.
We invite you to return on August 22, 2006. Meanwhile, bon appétit!

Fourth episode

FINE HERBSFine herbs have long been appreciated for the flavors they add to food. In New France, where spices were expensive, people used a large variety of herbs: borage, chervil, chives, shallots, hyssop, marjoram, parsley, thyme. In order to store these herbs, they would be dried and then macerated in salt, to preserve their full flavor. Salted herbs, which are still very popular in the Lower St. Lawrence, Gaspé and North shore regions, complement soups and mashed potatoes. Several herbs, such as thyme and borage, also have medicinal properties.


Filet of sole with yogurt sauce and fine herbs

2 lbs. sole filets
2 tbsp lemon juice
4 tomatoes, peeled and sliced
Salt, pepper
2 slices of bacon, cubed
1 onion, chopped
3/4 cup plain yogurt
1 1/2 tbsp flour
1 1/2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 1/2 tbsp finely sliced chives or shallots
3/4 tsp tarragon
3/4 tsp chervil
2 tbsp bread crumbs

Sprinkle the filets with lemon juice, and set aside.
Grease a baking dish and arrange the tomato slices in it. Salt and pepper.
In a small pan, sautee the bacon and onions.
Mix the yogurt, flour, parsley, chives, tarragon and chervil.
Place the sole filets on the tomatoes.
Pour the yogurt mixture over top.
Cover with bacon and onions.
Sprinkle bread crumbs on top.
Place in oven at 350 °F for 25-30 minutes or until the fish can be separated with a fork.
Serve immediately.

Source: Soeur Berthe. Ma cuisine au yogourt, Montréal, VLB, 1981, 282 p.

Fine herb pie

50 leaves of tarragon
50 blades of chives
10 mint leaves
10 sprigs of flat parsley
2/3 cup 35% cream
3 whole eggs + 2 egg yolks
1/2 cup of grated gruyère cheese
Salt and ground pepper
Pie crust

Wash the herbs and dry them fully with a cloth.
Chop finely on a cutting board with a mezzaluna or cut with scissors.
Pour the fresh cream into a bowl. Add the 2 egg yolks. Mix, then add the whole eggs.
Mix again before adding the grated gruyère cheese. Beat with a fork, then add salt and pepper.
Divide the pastry into 2 equal balls. Roll one into a circle and the other into a square, from which you then cut 4 triangles.
Butter the pie plate and place the round pastry into it. Stick the 4 triangles to the edges by wetting them.
Garnish with the preparation and fold the triangles into the centre. Make a small flower in the middle with the pastry remnants.
Bake in oven at 350° F.

Source: Secrets et astuces d’autrefois: décor, cuisine, jardin, beauté et santé, Montréal, Sélection du Reader’s Digest, 1998, 304 p.

Our next chronicle will cover the Carrott.
We invite you to return on September 5, 2006. Meanwhile, bon appétit!

Fifth episode
Daucus carotta – CARROT

Daucus carotta – CARROTThe carrot was supposedly discovered several thousand years ago in what is now Afghanistan. Red or purple in color, it grew there wild. The carrot rapidly spread to the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Europe. It was found in New France as of 1620. The most common variety of carrot today, the orange carrot, was a human invention. Through cross-breeding, it was produced for the first time in Holland in the 16th century. In addition to being a pleasant tasting and versatile vegetable, the carrot has also served for medicinal purposes. During antiquity, wild carrot seeds were used as “day after” pills to prevent pregnancy.


Carrot and pineapple salad

2 cups of grated carrots
1 cup of diced celery
1 can (14 oz.) of diced pineapple
1/2 cup of chopped dates
1 cup of plain yogurt

Mix the carrots, celery, pineapple and dates. Chill.
To serve, salt and add yogurt.
Serve on lettuce.Mix the carrots, celery, pineapple and dates. Chill.
To serve, salt and add yogurt.
Serve on lettuce.

Source: Soeur Berthe. Ma cuisine au yogourt, Montréal, VLB Éditeur, 1981, 282 p.

Carrot cookies

1 cup of butter
3/4 cup of sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups of flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup of cooked carrots, mashed
1 tbsp butter
1 cup of icing sugar
Orange juice

Beat the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla.
In another bowl, mix the flour and baking powder.
Add the dry ingredients to the first mixture and carrots. Mix well.
Spoon onto a cookie sheet and bake at 350° F for 10-15 minutes.
For the icing, mix the butter, icing sugar and orange juice to obtain the desired consistency.


Cream of pumpkin and carrot

1 kg of pumpkin
500 g of carrots
2 potatoes
1 clove of garlic
1 onion
2 cups of milk
2 cups of chicken broth
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt, pepper
1/3 cup of cream (optional)

Peel and cut the pumpkin, potatoes and carrots.
Chop garlic and onion.
Sautee onion in the olive oil.
Add all of the vegetables and the garlic, followed by the broth and milk.
Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste and allow to cook for about 30 minutes.
Pass through food processor, add cream, and season to taste.


Our next chronicle will cover the Jerusalem artichoke.
We invite you to return on September 19, 2006. Meanwhile, bon appétit!

Sixth episode
Helianthus tuberosus – JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE

Helianthus tuberosus – JERUSALEM ARTICHOKEThe Jerusalem artichoke is native to North America and was eaten by the Amerindians. Although it is often compared to the potato, it does not belong to the same family. The Jerusalem artichoke is a member of the Asteraceae family, along with the artichoke, lettuce and the sunflower. Samuel de Champlain introduced it to France, where it was called the “Canadian artichoke”, as a result of its taste. Its French name, “topinambour”, was inspired by the name of a Brazilian people, the “Topinambous”, simply because members of this tribe were presented to the French court during the same years as this tuber. The Jerusalem artichoke has been eclipsed by the potato and only resurfaces during war and times of famine. The roots, young leaves, sprouts and flowers of this plant can be eaten..


Warm Jerusalem artichoke salad

450 g of Jerusalem artichokes
3 tbsp capers
3 medium endives
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Salt, ground pepper

Wash the Jerusalem artichokes thoroughly.
Cook in salted water over medium heat for 10 minutes (they should still be firm).
Scrape off the peel and dice the Jerusalem artichokes with a sharp knife.
Keep in a warm oven.
To serve, place Jerusalem artichokes on four plates.
Sprinkle with chopped capers and garnish with endives.
Sprinkle each plate with olive oil and vinegar.
Salt, pepper.
Serve when the Jerusalem artichokes are still warm


Sautéed Jerusalem artichokes

500 g of Jerusalem artichokes
50 g of butter
1 lemon
15 g coarse sal

Rub the Jerusalem artichokes with a hard brush under water.
Dry thoroughly.
Bring 2 liters of water and lemon juice to a boil.
Add salt.
Add Jerusalem artichokes and cook in boiling water for about 20 minutes.
Peel and cut into rings.
Sautée in hot butter, without placing them on top of one another.
Lower heat and cover, to complete cooking.


This is the last of the series of chronicles From the garden to the plate....