I was listening to Sheryl MacKay on CBC radio interviewing Michele Genest about her new cookbook, The Boreal Gourmet, and was immediately intrigued when I heard the words “sourdough boot camp.” The idea of building the starter from scratch with some excellent recipes to follow sounded good to me. I was pleased to see the book arrive at the library recently and immediately checked it out. Sourdough boot camp covers 14 days of clearly laid out instructions for building your starter concluding in the care and feeding of the starter. You can try out your starter on sourdough buttermilk cranberry scones; pizza crust; fig, anise, hazelnut and gorgonzola sourdough bread; sourdough hot cakes; and two-day sourdough bread, which is a basic recipe with some suggestions for creating your own variations.
Another area of interest to me was the section on rosehips. Using rosehips in cooking is common in Denmark, where I spent the early years of my life, so I was pleasantly surprised to find them included in this cookbook. There are recipes for basic rosehip puree, simple rosehip jam, rosehip and crabapple ketchup, and rosehip soup.
We enter the realm of the fairies in the section on Magic Food: spruce tips and rose petals. Genest tells us when to pick spruce tips and what to look for, and includes recipes. One simple recipe, which can be used as a rub for salmon, is spruce tips and kosher salt.
As expected, this being a Northern cookbook, there’s a chapter on The Bush Gourmet, as well as a broad selection of recipes from the Yukon. Here’s a sample:
- Braised Moose Ribs with Espresso Stout and Chocolate
- Shaggy Mane and Wild Blueberry Risotto
- Rowan Jelly
- Simple but Excellent Salmon Stock
- Salmon or Arctic Char Poached in White Wine, Gin and Juniper Berries
Some of the ingredients may not be available here — such as indigenous foods foraged in the boreal forest — but you are encouraged to explore in your own backyard for native plants and berries and other local ingredients.
As an added bonus, scattered throughout the book are the author’s personal anecdotes reflecting her love of the North, good food and the friends who share her passion. The photographs by Cathie Archbould are quite wonderful. Check it out!
Comments are welcome!