Local Food, Local Chef Demo: Clark Day of Aqua Terra

When dressing a sandwich or a hotdog, most people wouldn’t believe it’s almost as easy to make your own mustard condiment than it is to squeeze it from a container. Chef Clark Day of AquaTerra was in Market Square this past Saturday demonstrating (among other things) just that: how to make your own mustard from a few simple ingredients: mustard seed, boiling water, vinegar and salt.

Part of the Local Food, Local Chef Cooking Demos (Saturdays at 11:00 in July and August, Market Square), Day said he wanted to use the opportunity to show us how to create something simple, a condiment that is easily replicable in our kitchens at home and can be adapted to a variety of tastes (e.g. by adding garlic, various herbs and spices).

The Social YGK

chef demo, market square, clark day, aqua terra, kingston, ontarioApparently Canada, Saskatchewan specifically, produces 80% of the world’s mustard seed! Even the fancy and expensive Dijon and spicy mustards we import from France are made from Canadian seeds… so why not eliminate the middle wo/man and make our own?

Clark did just that, adding local blueberries which he boiled down first, to the mustard seed mixture. The blueberry mustard was to be the key ingredient in the Watermelon Blueberry Dressing he whipped up next. To make the dressing, he added to a blender:

  • ½ cup watermelon
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • 1 tbls blueberry mustard
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • ½ cup of Kingston Olive Oil Co’s Persian Lime Olive Oil
  • 1tsb chopped garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste

The dressing was then used to top a salad of fresh and wonderfully local ingredients. The salad consisted of:

  • 2 cups local blueberries
  • 2 cups diced watermelon
  • 1 cup of grated Pepper Cheese (Bush Gardens)
  • 2 cups of BBQ corn from Prince Edward County
  • 1 cup of thinly sliced Chorizo Sausage (Seed to Sausage)
  • 2 cups of local baby greens
  • A few sprigs of mint (or any other herb you like)
  • ½ cup of Watermelon Blueberry Dressing

Directions: Toss greens and corn with dressing then top with other ingredients.

The salad was remarkable—bursting with fresh flavours that your taste buds anticipate from just looking at the recipe.

One theme throughout the demo was that recipes are starting points that can and should be adjusted to please your palate and those of your guests. If a recipe calls for mint and you hate mint, why would you add it?! On the other hand, if you’re a mint-fiend, why add only what some piece of paper tells you to?! Go nuts.

chef demo, market square, clark day, aqua terra, kingston, ontarioIf you’re like me, you’ve watched episodes of a cooking show during which the virtues of some amazing, fresh, ingredient are extolled…but you don’t have access to it and certainly can’t taste it. However, when you come to these demos, you sample the dishes and can often go straight to a booth and talk to the farmer who grew or made a given ingredient! What a wonderful way to spend half an hour on Saturday, especially as a means to introduce children to the concept of where food comes from.

To echo Clark, modern farmers are not only incredibly hard-working but just as ingenious, wearing the hats for accounting, animal husbandry and mechanical work…to go with the straw-variety, of course. So, a shout-out to all those who toil in the soil—farmers feed Kingston!

Of course, Clark Day didn’t really need an introduction, but the Local Food, Local Chefs Cooking Demos are great because they bring a variety of local farming flavour and culinary talent to the table. Most weeks (Clark took care of the costs this past Saturday), samples are $2 and I believe the money goes to back to the program. We’ve been to a number of demos the last few years and have always been impressed with how well-organized and even how entertaining they are, hosted by a different (and local) chef each week. Please be aware that members of the (usually-sizeable) audience are encouraged to ask questions, so don’t be shy!

Kudos to the folks at the Downtown Kingston initiative for running these wonderful sessions…and to all the local chefs and farmers who make it possible! Next up is Chef Craig MacLennan from Harper’s Burger Bar. See you at the Kingston Public Market!

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