Category Archives: Rita Smith’s Cooking Videos

French Canadian Potage – vegetables+

potagestill

My friend Benoit Violette, who is French from New Brunswick, taught me how to make authentic Potage, the ultimate vegetable soup. There was nothing more welcome on a cold, snowy Ottawa day than to arrive home and smell Ben’s delicious, comforting Potage cooking on the stove!

Click here for the video.

(Once, when my dad was visiting Ottawa I was cooking t-bone steaks for our dinner; while I was preparing steaks, Dad ate 3 bowls of Ben’s Potage with french bread – he could not stop eating it. He ended up skipping the steak altogether as he had completely filled up on Potage!)

The only thing I have changed is that I add fresh ginger to the pan with all of the other vegetables; I like ginger with root vegetables.

One bowl of Potage can basically provide you with all the vegetables you are supposed to eat in a day.

 

 

 

Why does food stick to my cast iron pan?

fry egg still

A well-seasoned cast iron frying pan is a thing of beauty, whether it is two months old or 25 years old – or even older!

However, if you are an impatient cook and can’t allow the time it takes to heat up the pan adequately before dropping in the food, items will stick, cook unevenly and leave a mess in your pan that requires clean up and damages the seasoning you want to protect.

Don’t just take my word for it – watch this! 

Are you a Food Fairy?

farmers market

The world is made up of “Food Fairies,” and “Non-Food Fairies.”

How do you find out which one you are? And, how to you get to be “The #1 Food Fairy”? (It was easier than you might think!) 

Blogsvertise suggested I create an video to introduce myself, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to actually explain what a Food Fairy is. Are you a Food Fairy?

Make great home-made broth: turkey or chicken

turkey

While there are LOTS of methods available to make broth – often chicken broth recipes will call for the whole chicken to be boiled, or just legs and thighs – over the decades I have found nothing tastes better than broth made from a bird that has been roasted first. This is known as a “dark” broth (owing to the roasted, caramelized flavour which is the result of the roasted bones and drippings) versus a “light” broth (which comes from boiling a raw bird or raw pieces).

Sometimes, I roast a bird JUST to make broth. Other times, I take advantage of a big family roast turkey-or-chicken meal to do double duty – platters of meat being served at the table while the stock pot is already bubbling on the stove. It’s win/win, either way. I hope you find the visuals here helpful: when someone says “Clean a turkey” to a new cook, it can be somewhat overwhelming! Here is a step by step demonstration.

 

Cast iron vs Non-stick pans: which is better?

This was the first video I ever shot, because my friend Law Cummer asked me, “What is the difference between cooking in cast iron, or cooking in non-stick?”

I actually did a real-time, side-by-side comparison for him, which was apparently so persuasive that several of my friends who viewed it went straight out and bought cast iron frying pans! Which is a great outcome. In a well-seasoned cast iron pan, you actually need  LESS fat than you do in a non-stick pan; and food cooked in cast iron is higher in dietary iron (especially, if you are cooking tomatoes in cast iron).

Update: Health Canada releases it’s guidelines on metals and cookware. This is a great summary and confirms much of what I explained in the video.

maple syrup

Update #2: Thank you David Lindsay for posting these photos of a real sugar bush operation in 2015. I was a little worried that people would think my commentary was out of date because most sugar bush farms now use plastic tubing from tree to bucket – however as we can see from David’s March 2015 photos, they are still using cast iron to boil the sap! And the people who purchased that cauldron expect it to be in use for 100 years, or more.