Pumpkin-Palooza and Pickles

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Really Orange Pumpkins

I’m getting very excited about a class I’m teaching next Wednesday night, October 5th at Cook Culture in Victoria.  It’s called Pumpkin-Palooza, and it’s an all-vegetarian class designed to show you some really neat and easy things you can do with pumpkin, or squash, which is around everywhere this time of year.  How about a pumpkin beignet to greet you, and then a few dynamite Italian dishes like tortelli di zucca, squash risotto and zucca agridolce (sweet and sour pumpkin) to nibble on as I demonstrate the recipes.  Dessert will be something like a pumpkin chiffon cake or something equally decadent. Call 250-590-8161 to register or click on this link to take you to an on-line registration system.

My Pickles and Preserves
My Pickles and Preserves

If it’s one thing I love making, and eating, it is pickled and preserved foods. I grew up eating all kinds of pickled cucumbers, pickled beets, beans, onions and more, all prepared at the expert hands of my mom and my aunties. Now I make my own pickles and I guess I have become enough of an expert to be asked to judge a neat pickle contest that everyone in BC can enter, but you have to do it…uh, right now! Here are some details:

This Saturday (October 1st, 2011) home canners and amateur chefs are invited to submit their pickles for the first round of a BC-wide pickle contest. Drop your best pickles off at four Farmers Markets, or send them directly to the judging office by Oct 3rd, and have your pickles judged by a panel of food writers, chefs and “pickle experts”. The top eight pickles will move forward to a live pickle tasting on Saturday, October 15th at the Trout Lake Farmers’ Market.

Pickles can be dropped off this Saturday at Trout Lake Farmers’ Market in Vancouver; Moss Street Market in Victoria; Penticton Community Market in the Okanagan and the Haney Farmers’ Market in Maple Ridge BC or sent directly to the judging office. The winner receives an all expense paid, airfare included, trip for two to Montréal, dinner at Montréal’s Dunn’s Famous Restaurant Deli and pickles for life at the first Western Canadian Dunn’s location in Vancouver and runners up will receive consolation prizes.

Contestants must supply an original pickle recipe along with no less than a total of 30 pickles in sealed glass jars, whole or whole spears pickling cucumbers only. Pickles can be dropped off on Saturday, October 1st at the Dunn’s pickle contest table located at four farmer’s markets in Vancouver, Victoria, Penticton and the Fraser Valley. Using a point system for flavour, presentation, taste and texture eight finalists will be chosen by secret ballot. The pickles from the eight finalists will be judged live at Trout Lake Farmers’ Market at 11am Saturday, October 15th with the grand winner chosen and runners up prizes distributed to the rest of the finalists.

Complete details and registration can be found at this link. Good luck!  And good luck to me as well, as one of the judges.  I hope these pickles are as good as mine 😉

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