Our Food: Fresh, Local & Healthy

Nik Milonas: Executive Chef of The Cridge Seniors Village Centre

 

When it comes to food there’s nothing better than something that is raised, harvested or produced locally. The benefits in procuring local ingredients for your table are many. To begin with, you help support our local community and economy. From agriculture to hospitality to the retail food market, the jobs are many and keeping them here ensures not only a viable local economy but also our welfare.  Secondly the food is of the highest quality: it hasn’t traveled very far therefore it retains its freshness and nutrition longer, making it taste better. You also help support biodiversity because our farmers are able to grow several varieties that are specific to our region. They all work in balance with our environment and thereby produce some exceptional products.

We are lucky to live in British Columbia where a temperate climate produces a wide range of diverse crops from apples and pears in the fall, berries and cherries in the summer to grapes that are being used to make top quality wines. Besides crops, there are local chicken farmers in Metchosin and Sooke, and in the Cowichan Valley along with local ranches that raise cattle, pigs and turkeys.

Chefs everywhere have an ethical responsibility in the management of our food supply because they buy in bulk which has a global impact on our food chain. For me, building relationships with people who grow our food is absolutely essential in providing healthy nutritious meals to everyone at The Cridge Village Seniors Centre. So sustainability is a key element in the choices we make when it comes to creating our menus and purchasing our food. This has become the trend, especially over the last ten years, as more people insist not only on excellent value but recognize the role nutrition has on our health and the environment. Many of the restaurants and hotels in Victoria feature local products, recognizing the customers demand for domestic, fresh, artisan made products. I’ve been fortunate enough to build some strong relationships with many local producers, like Cowichan Valley Meat Market who have a large store in Duncan and a family farm in Chemainus. They really take pride in how they raise their animals. They are free of antibiotics and growth hormones, and are allowed to graze on large pastures living in balance with nature. You can really taste the difference.

Another local supplier is Gavin’s Fresh Herbs who absolutely loves his craft and grows amazingly fragrant and beautiful plants. Sysco supplies us with all our seafood, primarily from Ocean Wise. This is a program set up by the Vancouver Aquarium to conserve, educate and empower consumers about the issues surrounding sustainable seafood. Next time you’re in the grocery store, look for their logo. Saanich Organics is a co-operative farming community that supplies us with some produce during the spring, summer and autumn seasons. You will find their farmers selling amazingly beautiful and delicious produce at the Moss St. Market and the Victoria Public Market, as well as various other markets. Along with GFS, Sysco and Islands West Produce we are able to acquire high quality products for the best value that we can offer our residents, guests and staff. I encourage you to make an effort and build relationships with your butcher, your baker and your farmer; I guarantee you a really tasty experience that you can feel great about!

Chef’s Corner: Pumpkin Pie with Pastry Cream

Everywhere you look this time of year it’s pumpkin spice this and pumpkin pie flavoured that. Why not just go with the real thing – creamy, spicy, satisfying pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin Pie 

Ingredients:

Group A:

  • 5ml Ginger
  • 5ml Cinnamon
  • 2ml Nutmeg
  • 1ml Cloves (ground)
  • 65ml Hot water
  • 2.5ml Vanilla

Group B:

  • 2 Eggs
  • 140g Brown sugar
  • 2ml Salt
  • 195ml Evaporated milk
  • 35ml Orange juice
  • 325g Canned Pumpkin
  • Zest of ½ orange

Group C:  1 pie shell – homemade or your favourite pre-made brand

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • Combine A and mix well
  • Add A to B and mix well
  • Prick pie shells and pre-bake for 5 minutes, then fill and bake at 350°F until brown and set – about 30 minutes. Check pies and if browning too quickly drop temperature to 325°F.

Pastry Cream (Yield: 450 ml)

Group A:

  • 315 ml Milk
  • 50g Sugar
  • Pinch Salt

Group B:

  • 25g Cornstarch
  • 40ml Cold milk

Group C:

  • 2 Egg yolks

Group D:

  • 10g Unsalted butter (soft)
  • 2.5ml Vanilla or other
  • flavouring as desired

Method:

  • Scald A
  • Combine B to dissolve starch and set aside
  • Add B to A slowly, stirring constantly
  • Cook on low heat 5 – 8 minutes until no starch taste remains
  • Temper C with the hot mixture and add into the cream
  • Mix well and cook an additional five minutes.
  • Remove from heat. Blend in D. Cover with cling film right on top of the cream so no air gets in.

YIELD: One beautiful pie


Nik Seniors' ServicesNik Milonas, Executive Chef at The Cridge Village Seniors Centre, is a Certified Chef de Cuisine.

Nik believes that “cooking is the best gift you can give. I believe in serving people fresh food grown as close to home as possible as it provides the best taste and nutrition.”

Chef’s Corner: Apple & Celery Turkey Sliders

Fresh, crisp, and fun – what more could you want in a weekend meal? This take on the slider trend makes use of lean ground turkey and the snap of apple and celery.

Apple and Celery Turkey Sliders 

Yield: makes about 20 small patties

  • 1 kg ground turkey mixed
  • 100 ml green onions chopped
  • 200 ml celery minced
  • 2 apples peel on and small diced (any local apple that you like)
  • 45 g butter unsalted
  • 10 ml salt
  • 3 ml white pepper
  • ½ lemon juice and zest
  • ½ bunch parsley minced
  • 2.5 ml ground sage

Method:

  • Cook the green onions, celery and apples in butter until tender. Let cool.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and combine.
  • Using a scoop or tablespoon form into patties.
  • Refrigerate approximately two hours (they can also be refrigerated overnight for use the next day).
  • Cook in a skillet using a small amount of butter until golden on both sides.
  • Place on a rack and finish cooking in the oven @ 350 °F until an internal temperature of 74°C or 165°F is reached (use a probe thermometer).
  • Serve on small buns or on their own with a side salad dressed with cranberry mayo (consisting of equal amounts of cranberry sauce and mayo) or your favorite condiment.

Nik Seniors' ServicesNik Milonas, Executive Chef at The Cridge Village Seniors Centre, is a Certified Chef de Cuisine.

Nik believes that “cooking is the best gift you can give. I believe in serving people fresh food grown as close to home as possible as it provides the best taste and nutrition.”

Chef’s Corner: Frozen Strawberry Mousse

strawberry_mousseYou’ve had a lovely quiet evening. Maybe you had a delicious dinner of Greek Style Chicken for 2 to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Now you’re ready to finish it off with a light, luxurious touch. What could be better than frozen mousse in a heart-shaped mold, maybe drizzled with a little melted chocolate?

Of course, we’ve offered you some other flavour variations for other special occasions as well.

Frozen Mousse

Create the Meringue:

  • 125 g (approx. 4) egg whites
  • 1 ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water

Heat the sugar and water in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture boils.
Have a pastry brush in a cup of warm water handy in case any sugar crystals form.
If this happens just wash them down.
Boil until the syrup registers 117°C on a sugar thermometer.
While the syrup is cooking, beat the egg whites in a mixing machine until they form soft peaks.
With the machine running, very slowly beat in the hot syrup avoiding the whisk.
Continue to beat until the meringue is cool and forms firm peaks.

Add Flavour Variation:

  • Berry Mousse – Force 250 g fresh or frozen berries through a sieve. Add to the meringue
  • Liquer Mousse – Add 90 ml liquor like brandy or dark rum to finished meringue (blend in)
  • Chocolate Mousse – Melt 125 g chocolate- stir in some meringue then fold chocolate mixture into finished meringue
  • Lemon Mousse – Add 90 ml lemon juice and the grated zest of 1 lemon to the meringue
  • Apricot Mousse – Soak 200 g apricots overnight, then simmer until tender. Drain and puree, then fold into meringue.

Add Cream to Flavoured Meringue:

  • 375 ml Heavy cream

Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks then fold into the cooled meringue and freeze in spring form pan, heart shaped mould,  or freezable container.

For Frozen Raspberry Mousse Cake, freeze the mixture in a spring form pan and unmold before serving cutting into desired size. I suggest serving with warm berry compote, chopped fresh berries, or a drizzle of melted dark chocolate.


Nik Seniors' ServicesNik Milonas, Executive Chef at The Cridge Village Seniors Centre, is a Certified Chef de Cuisine.

Nik believes that “cooking is the best gift you can give. I believe in serving people fresh food grown as close to home as possible as it provides the best taste and nutrition.”

Chef’s Corner: Greek Style Grilled Chicken for 2

Whenever we see 'Greek Style' in the description on the menus here at The Cridge Centre, we know we are in for a real treat. Chef Nik learned his love of cooking at the side of his Greek mother and grandmother, and the passion, love and care they put into their food continues on through Nik's skill. 

Greek Style Grilled Chicken for 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 lemon (zest & juice)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbp. oregano
  • 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp each of salt & pepper
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Method:

  • Combine first 6 ingredients in a bowl.
  • Rinse chicken breasts under cold water and pat dry.
  • Add chicken to the marinade and allow to take in these flavours for minimum 30 minutes to 2 hours.
  • Preheat your barbeque. Now here’s where the adventure begins!
  • With your tongs lift the chicken out of the bowl scraping any excess marinade off on the lip of the bowl and place chicken on the hot part of your barbeque (be careful – there will be flames).
  • Sear the chicken on both sides (about 2 minutes per side)
  • Move the chicken to the medium heat part of your barbeque.
  • With the remaining marinade that is in the bowl start basting your chicken, turning over as needed to cook the chicken thoroughly and evenly.
  • Use up your marinade before the chicken is done because you don’t want to add any of the marinade to the chicken after it is cooked; that would not be safe. You want to cook the chicken with the marinade.
  • Cook the chicken until clear juices are flowing or to an internal temperature of 74 degrees Celsius.
  • Finish it with a squirt of lemon and some good extra virgin olive oil on the plate.
  • Serve this with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc if you like wine, and your favourite salad.

YIELD: 2 servings


Nik Seniors' ServicesNik Milonas, Executive Chef at The Cridge Village Seniors Centre, is a Certified Chef de Cuisine.

Nik believes that "cooking is the best gift you can give. I believe in serving people fresh food grown as close to home as possible as it provides the best taste and nutrition."

 

 

Chef’s Corner: Chef Nik’s Flourless Chocolate Fudge Cookies

This is what you picture when you picture the perfect cookie and a chocoholics dream: three kinds of chocolate, crackling cocoa outside, chewy gooey fudge on the inside, and a nice crunch of nut to give it texture. This is the kind of cookie that has to be locked away or it goes missing.

Chef Nik’s Flourless Chocolate Fudge Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 400 g (3 cups) dark chocolate chopped up or good quality chips
  • 50 g (1/3 cup) unsweeted or bittersweet chocolate chopped
  • 60 g (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 15 ml vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 350 g (1 3/4 cup) sugar
  • 60 g (2/3 cup) cocoa
  • 1.5 ml salt
  • 5 ml baking powder
  • 125 g (1 cup) roasted chopped pecans or chopped walnuts
  • 170 g  (1/2 cup) each of dark and white chocolate chips

Method:

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  • Melt the dark and unsweetened chocolate with the butter over a double boiler gently (you want to melt not cook).
  • Whisk the chocolate butter mixture smooth and set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer with the wire attachment or with a hand held electric beater, beat the eggs with the sugar until thick and fluffy (ribbon stage).
  • Add the vanilla and chocolate mixture to the eggs and beat in.
  • Combine the cocoa, salt and baking powder in a bowl and whisk together until smooth and combined.
  • Add with the nuts and chocolate chips and blend on low speed until all combined.
  • Pour the batter in a pan cover with clear wrap and let sit for 15 to 30 minutes for the mixture to set.
  • Scoop out using a small ice cream scoop or use a teaspoon to drop small cookies onto parchment line cookie sheets leaving an inch between cookies, do not press down.
  • If you have a convection oven you can bake 3 trays at a time. If you have a conventional oven set the rack in the middle part.
  • Bake cookies for 8 minutes do not over bake or they will be dry. They will be shiny and have cracks on top. Let cool before devouring (if you can!).

Makes about 48 small cookies.


Nik Seniors' ServicesNik Milonas, Executive Chef at The Cridge Village Seniors Centre, is a Certified Chef de Cuisine.

Nik believes that “cooking is the best gift you can give. I believe in serving people fresh food grown as close to home as possible as it provides the best taste and nutrition.”