On 22nd Nov, the Vancouver Aquarium was transformed into a culinary battleground as 12 of Vancouver’s top chefs competed to create the best sustainable chowder before a crowd of hungry seafood lovers. After the last bowls of chowder were sampled, a panel of esteemed judges crowned Chef Chris Whittaker of Forage Restaurant the 2012 Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown Champion. In a surprising sweep, Chef Whittaker’s chowder was also chosen as the winner of the People’s Choice Award.
Chef Whittaker won over the celebrity judges and the crowd with his irresistible recipe for Creamy Spot Prawn Chowder with Poached Egg and Smokey Chicharon, featuring white wine, leeks and bacon.
And here is the recipe Creamy BC Spot Prawn Chowder With poached egg and Smokey Chicharon:
1/3 cup Salted Butter
¾ cup bacon (cut into batons)
2 cups Diced Celeriac
2 cups Diced Tomato
2 cups Diced Onion
1 cup Diced Carrots
1 cup Diced Leeks
¼ cup Flour
½ cup White Wine
3 cups Spot Prawn Stock
1 ½ cups Cream
1 ¼ cups Diced German Butter Potato
1 tsp Finely Chopped Italian Parsley
1 tsp Finely Chopped Thyme
½ tsp Riesling Vinegar
20 piece Wild BC Spot Prawns (split in half)
Salt and White Pepper to taste
Heat sauce pan over medium heat and add bacon and butter. Once melted and bacon has begun to render, add celeriac, onion, leeks and carrots. Saute until vegetables become translucent and add flour and mix until incorporated. Cook for about five minutes on low hear and then deglaze with white wine. Once alcohol is cooked off (about 1 minute) add prawn stock and turn heat back up to medium. Add heavy cream and diced tomatoes and potatoes. Cook for an additional 30 minutes on a gentle simmer and then add riesling vinegar, parsley and thyme. Stir in the raw prawns and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Season with salt and white pepper.
Serves 4 – 6
For the Chicharon
1 pound pork skin (fat removed and diced)
3 cups water
1 tsp salt
Place all ingredients in pot and bring to boil. Cook for at least 30 minutes. Strain and dry in 180f oven for 6 hours or until completely dry. Place in 350f frying oil until they puff nicely. Remove and season with salt. At this point we lightly smoke with applewood chips for 10-15 minutes.(optional)
Place chowder in bowl of your choice and garnish with soft poached egg and chicharon.
Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise™ Program
The Ocean Wise symbol next to a seafood item is the Vancouver Aquarium’s assurance of an ocean-friendly seafood choice. With over 3,100 Ocean Wise partner locations across Canada, Ocean Wise makes it easy for consumers to make sustainable seafood choices that ensure the health of our oceans for generations to come. www.oceanwise.ca
“I’ll meet you at the Bear.” (That would be the 5 foot high stuffed one in the lobby of the Harrison Springs Resort and Spa.) I just loved saying it. Invited for a spring night’s getaway, my two boys and I made the short drive up Highway 1 from Vancouver to Harrison and as my lovely Welsh friend says, I was gob-smacked. A broad lake with an enticing bright yellow slide and bouncy play contraption floating off the beach greeted us as we drove into the resort. A dock for boating and fishing activities anchored the quaint town filled with painted Sasquatch footprints and pedicabs built for 5 ($25/hour, Jamie’s Quadricycle Rentals, 604-703-8951). The shopping in this mining area was great for gifts, and I was able to pick up several specimens of ‘gems’ as a birthday gift for a future geologist.
The room overlooked the lake (I later sat happily on the balcony after the boys were fast asleep) and the fluffy spare blanket was a perfect wrap on the abnormally chilly spring night. Upon arrival the boys were in their swimsuits before I had taken off my shoes. The natural hot springs beconed. Originally used by the Salish Coast Indians for medicinal properties and rejuvenating effects, the Harrison Hot Springs Spa and pools have attracted visitors for years, including famous guests such as Clark Gable, John Wayne, Michael Buble, Robin Williams and Liam Neeson. We’re not nearly as famous – ah-hem – but I could certainly see the rejeuvenating qualities after I’d soaked (and played) in the pools. The resort includes 5 different mineral-fed baths, including a 4,000 square foot outdoor family pool. The tranquil indoor space reminded me of Saratoga in New York or Baden Baden in Germany. The symmetry of the architecture and the echoes of the water made my son decide that we would be celebrating his 5th birthday in this location.
A hike through the grounds through a trellised rose garden and then the forest over 11 bridges led us to the original source of the springs. The 65 DEGREE CELSIUS water is mixed with the cool lakewater to feed the 5 hot springs pools at temperatures ranging from 27 to 36 degrees celsius. And I can’t even set my PVR.
First Nations have known about the water for 100’s of years…The hot springs themselves were originally used and revered by the Sts’Ailes (Chehalis) First Nations people who live along the Harrison River nearby. The first Europeans may have been exhausted gold miners returning from the Cariboo Gold Fields in the early 1860’s – falling out of their canoe on the southern shore of what is now Harrison Lake only to find the water warm.
The Healing Springs Spa on the resort premises invited me for a facial which ended up being one of the best I’d ever had. Ironically, my kids were with me. (Don’t laugh – I’ve even had a massage while nursing one of them). The boys thought the waterfall in the spa lobby was cool and each picked a nail polish they wanted me to buy. For them. The highlight, though (for all of us), came when the spa manager took them to Miss Margaret’s – an in-house cafe – for a giant and fantastically delicious cookie.
With great room service, the ability to tire out the kids and pet friendly policies, I’ll be back. For a birthday party apparently. And I think there will be gems and giant cookies in every goody bag.
Why are we so hard on ourselves? When did weight become so debilitating that it can actually change the way we live our life? Talking to people about the #MommyFit 2011 Competition I have learned that many people who are unhappy with their weight actually avoid social situations as they are uncomfortable in a room of “thinner people!”
You know the one I’m talking about… the one that doesn’t allow you to buy new clothes when your child is asking for a bike? The one that makes you cancel the babysitter because the baby is teething?
Or how about the one that makes you sleep on the couch when the kids have had a bad dream and there’s no room left in your bed?
Yep, that’s the one. GUILT.
Week five is rolling to an end and I only have three weeks left to obtain my goals and win #MommyFit2011! This is scary considering how unmotivated I have been this week! However, wouldn’t you know that THIS is the week that everyone says how great I look and what a big difference I’ve made?! There really is no time to be unmotivated – I made the “mistake” of telling literally hundreds of people that I was a finalist for Mommy Fit 2011. Therefore, whether I go to work, my son’s school, my son’s daycare, my sister’s house, even online, someone, somewhere is asking me “How is it going?” “It” being the Mommy Fit weight loss challenge. These people are definitely keeping me accountable whether they are in Hawaii (private Facebook messages and encouragements from my bestie), at my sibling’s house (“that shirt looks so much better on you now!) or at their desk (“what plan are you on, I think I need to start it!”).
I ended last week full of intentions, plans and the determination to succeed. I went grocery shopping, prepared my lunch for Monday, kissed my children good night and went down for a full night’s rest before the alarm went off at six for my workout. Then… IT happened. The mother of all de-railers – the FLU.
To recap: week two was a disaster for me; mentally – I was very negative, emotionally – I was riding a rollercoaster and physically – well, only one pound was lost (amazed that I even lost that!). A tremendous high followed by a disastrous low, as extreme as those two weeks were, week three was neither. Although the meal plans are incredible (both in taste and nutrients), I began to take what I was learning about portion sizing and nutritional content to create some of my own meals. Workouts were done for part of the week – they felt great yet did not provide the high I experienced within the first week. Stepping back on the scale, I was shocked and encouraged to discover further loss. What contributed to my success this week? I would have to say it’s “the little things” – portion sizing – the size of my stomach is not directly related to the size of my appetite, I am not a human garbage can – I do not need to finish my boys’ drinks, snacks and meals, water is my friend – it keeps me from drinking my calories and eating a real breakfast allows for quality bonding time with my children.
Heading to the car with luggage, 2 screaming toddlers and wearing a ducky backpack (that quacks), I wasn’t too sure about the whole vacation-in-my-own-city. Pulling up to the stunning Fairmont Pacific Rim, though, things improved quickly. We were greeted with juice boxes, and the doorman remembered the kids (by name) from the time we had come to Oru for lunch. (Orange chopsticks and the best kids menu ever keep us coming back).
Summer may be over but Halloween is just around the corner! Here are some tips for enjoying fireworks with the family – including your kids and babies:
1. Bring ear plugs or leave babies, very young ones and other easily frightened children, with a sitter. The noise of the fireworks can be very scary for little ones and you want to avoid causing them to develop an early fear of fireworks. Ear plugs or head phones should do the trick (if they keep them on).
2. Bring a blanket, water, sunscreen, snacks and activities if you’re staking out a spot early. There are often summer treats at fireworks events. It’s OK to have a treat but make sure the kids have enough nutrition too.
3. Be aware of who is around you. Some fireworks events have a history of attracting a few rowdy folks. That shouldn’t deter you from taking your family, but just keep one eye on who is around you and if you’re concerned about someone’s behaviour, don’t hesitate to find a different spot before something happens near your little ones. Alternatively, you can alert an event organizer or event security if you are concerned about someone’s behaviour.
4. Take your garbage with you. Before it gets dark, round up all of your garbage and make sure to dispose of it properly. It’s important to help keep our beaches and parks clean for other families who will visit them the next day.
5. Enjoy the fireworks! They are an awe-inspiring feat of chemistry and artistry! You can use the time to teach your kids what science can do and feel the magic of the moment at the same time.