Sunday, December 17, 2006

My First Christmas Catering Season

Now that I finally have a moment to breathe/eat/write.............I appear to have survived my first season of Christmas catering. In the summer/fall, people kept saying "you're going to be so busy at Christmas, just wait." I assumed things would pick up a little, but given the fact that my catering business really only launched in the Fall, I thought, how busy could I possibly get? Well, numerous 16, 17, 18 & a few 19 hour-days later (mostly back to back), I am shocked at the response to my catering services. This past Friday marked my 'banner' day in terms of who I catered for: Cameco, PotashCorp, followed by the Court of Queen's Bench. I still have some catering this week, but I have made it over the 'hump'.

I was happy to have been able to attend yesterday's Farmer's Market, as I was forced to miss last week's (& it was a special Christmas Market, no less) because of the catering. Despite another snowy/blizzardy day, the Market was still bustling. The live cedar & pine wreathes by Gail from Wally's Market Garden ( are amazing - I bought a couple of seed wreaths from her 2 weeds ago. It appears that I will be doing my Christmas shopping at the Dec 21st or 23rd Market - if you're not done your shopping either, check out the Market for some wonderful, locally-created gifts.

My cooking classes have wound down for the year, with the exception of a couple of custom private classes. I'll be setting the schedule for the first few months of 2007 during the last week of December. I can't wait to attend some of the classes myself, as I will be bringing in a few local chefs, food writers and a sommelier to guest-host/co-host some classes! watch for the schedule ;)


wild serendipity foods

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Finding Nirvana in Navan

It would appear that, in a single sip, I have found 'my drink'. I finally purchased Navan, a vanilla-infused cognac (a Grand Marnier product). I had yet to try it, but I knew that I wanted to do truffles with it for the upcoming holiday season..........and of course, I love vanilla, so it was beckoning me. Forgetting, at first, that you are to warm the cognac slightly before sipping, I inhaled the vapours & nearly choked. I thought I was in for a huge disappointment...........memories of sipping straight whiskey from parent's liquor cabinets at a ridicuously young age came flooding back. I took a sip anyway, after all, I had already poured are instantly hit with an intense vanilla flavour. Truly amazing. The taste on your lips afterwards is sweet, and totally vanilla. I am in love ;)

wild serendipity foods

Monday, November 06, 2006

More Reasons to Spice Up Your Life

There was a fascinating article today from CBC - "The Healing Power of Spices". I'm sure the link won't last forever, but here it is

The timing of the article, I'm sure, is based on the recent publication regarding the proven benefits of turmeric for arthritis.

For those that know me, I'm all about spices..........mainly by the way of East Indian cuisine. I've recently been implementing a few of Mexican/Southwest dishes into the Market, which also use a lot of spice (ie. cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cayenne, chili powder, oregano)

Some of the interesting facts includes:

Cayenne: increased metabolism & the body's fat-burning ability, by up to 25%!!!

Cinnamon - a 2003 study apparently showed that ~1/2 tsp. lowered blood glucose, cholesterol and triglyceride levels

Mustard (of course I would mention this one, although I already knew this from my research on the subject) - remember those 'mustard plasters?' These have been used for hundreds of years to relieve respiratory problems. I recall that the mustard itself acts as an irritant to the skin, because of it's heat factor, which brings about an increase in circulation to the area of contact.

Rosemary - apparently both a stimulant and analgesic (you smell it & you know it must be powerful!), it's been used to treat headaches and poor circulation.

Saffron - a 2005 study found that it may (?) help cases of mild to moderate depression. However, the dent in you wallet, if you choose to use it regularly, may increase the depression (that part was not in the article)

Wasabi - now this is interesting. Remember when, before we knew that uclers were caused by bacteria, and people with them avoided spicy foods? Well, apparently wasabi may help prevent ulcers by killing some of bacteria that causes them.

So bring on the spices!! And please don't store your spices above your stove - to maximize their shelf life, keep them sealed in a dark, relatively cool place, and buy them in small quantities, unless you use them a lot. I tell people in my cooking classes to buy the bagged spice in the East Indian aisle, then divy them up with friends. :)

michelle zimmer
owner, wild serendipity foods

Monday, October 30, 2006

Life is Short

It is with a heavy heart & hollow feeling that I'm writing this today. I was just informed that a cousin, only 2 years older than me, married to an amazing woman who struggles with MS, with a very young daughter, has suddenly died.

Life can & will be snatched away with no cannot plan for death, especially the untimely one.

Do what you love. Life is too short to spend it any other way.

Michelle Zimmer
Owner, Wild Serendipity Foods

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Inaugural Post

Today was the last Saskatoon Farmer's Market before Halloween - many of the vendors (& children) were decked out in costume, lots of themed items were available. For my booth, I added some mango puree to the Dal Makhani I made to give it the appropriate orange-hue, and I also had some black & orange spiral cream cheese cookies (this is the cookie recipe we made this week in my after-school cooking series) and put my pita crisps in Halloween cello bags.

I have a Cinderalla pumpkin in my store now, which I purchased from the Market. These go from a pale orange to a deep red, at which point, they are apparently ready to eat (yes, raw, drizzled with honey I'm told.....eaten as you would eat a watermelon). I'll let you know how it is!

Michelle Zimmer
Owner - Wild Serendipty Foods