Veggie-licious Heirlooms at Evergreen Brick Works

It’s not difficult to convince a foodie to eat second helpings of dessert.A� One can simply offer and it will be had.A� Last night at the Evergreen Bricks Works GE Cafe Chefs Series, Chef Brad Long and growing-guru Vicki Emlaw had us eating thirds!A� Despite the late hours, participants were indulging in warm chocolate chip cookies with late-harvest strawberry compote and fresh cream.A� It was a much needed teaser taster to the warm summer to come. Heirloom Varieties was the theme, and Vicki provided a cornucopia of wild greens for us to play with.A� There was mizuna, miner’s lettuce, collards, chards, waves, and a whole lot of greens no one could even pronounce because they had their mouths full. She also brought with her autumn carrots, black walnuts, butternuts, garlic, shallots, and multiple varieties of potatoes�all illustrating the amazing variety and quality of food Ontario has to offer. Chef Long, advocating respect for local seasonal fair and simple cooking techniques, turned hardly humble greens into masterpieces.A� His St. Lawrence salad and bright sorrel soup with corn fool, technically so simple, had to room in awe.A� The meal was an ode to freshness, a call for real food to be back on our plates.A� Heirloom varieties are the grandparents of the seed world, the ones who just don’t get technology and still roll out pasta by hand.A� They taste better, the grow taller.A� Our food should respect the marvelous things that come out Ontario’s soil like this everyday. I could not conclude this story without mentioning the happy accident that was ‘tomato water risotto’.A� An accident because no one ever intended to make tomato water, but rather misused a tomato machine.A� It’s a blend of over 30 varieties of heirloom tomatoes!A� The risotto was a perfect blend of clear tomato-y goodness, slowly cooked into arborio rice with just a hint of cheese shaved over the top to finish.A� The group last night didn’t even notice there was no meat to be had.A� The bold, spicy and often exotic flavours of heirlooms took center stage, while the lingering conversation of preserving our unique growing history was a supporting roll not to be forgotten. For more information on Vicki’s Veggies and to take a peak at her seed catalog, visit her website.A� Visit her in Prince Edward County over the Victoria Day weekend for a slew of programing and seedling sale. Chef Brad Long is currently the executive chef at Cafe BeLong, slated to open at the Brick Works in Spring 2011.
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