Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Local Canadian Food Heroes

This month's Canadian Food Experience Project challenge was a tough one. First I had to come up with who my local Canadian Food Hero was and then I had to come up with a recipe to share from that hero.

For me the challenge wasn't coming up with a hero, it was choosing just one! I go to my local farmer's market as often as I can to buy fresh veggies and Artisan products. I also love going to cooking classes in my city and learning from culinary instructors always makes me excited because I know I'll be able to bring home new techniques. Finally I love shopping at boutique food stores and promoting buying local. If all those people aren't food heroes, I don't know what is.

I finally came up with a duo of heroes and I know anyone who's visited Silk Road or attended a Heidi Fink cooking class will agree that I made the right decision. Silk Road is a local Victoria BC tea store and Heidi Fink shares her food knowledge through cooking classes, local Victoria China Town tours, and has also created one of my favourite Silk Road tea salad dressings.

I've used Heidi's salad dressing in a quick and yummy Asian stir fry. The sweet, smokey, and savoury salad dressing makes each bite of this stir fry amazing - and it's all due to the beautiful Silk Road Lapsang Souchong tea.

Mango and Greens Stir Fry with Smokey Maple Sauce - serves 4

2 teaspoons Lapsang Souchong tea
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon each of Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper
3/4 cup olive oil
3 individual packages of udon noodles 
4 cups of baby spinach or mixed baby greens, packed
2 mangoes, cut into bite sized pieces 
1/4 cup sliced almonds 

1. Start by making Heidi's salad dressing for your stir fry's sauce. In a small sauce pan, combine the vinegar and maple syrup. Bring the mixture to a boil and add the tea leaves to steep for about 6 minutes. Strain but don't press down on the tea leaves to extract more flavour. Discard the tea leaves. 

2. Add all remaining ingredients, except for the oil. Whisk the mixture together and then slowly pour in the oil to emulsify the salad dressing / sauce. Set aside. 

3. In a large sauce pan, add the udon noodles and greens. Pour a tablespoon or two of the salad dressing over top and stir fry until the greens wilt. Add the mango and enough salad dressing / sauce to coat everything. 

4. Serve and garnish with sliced almonds and more of the Lapsang Souchong tea sauce, if desired. 

One of the best things about Silk Road is that they allow out of towners to order their tea online! So you can make this yummy dish even if you live outside of Victoria, BC! 

The Canadian Food Experience Project began June 7 2013. As we (participants) share our collective stories through our regional food experiences, we hope to bring global clarity to our Canadian culinary identity.


  1. Sarah you always amaze me with your talent! This looks so delish!!!!

  2. Thanks Lesley! You always have such lovely things to say!

  3. wow! Thanks for choosing me as one of your food heroes! I'm proud to share with Silk Road - a favourite foodie place of mine :)

    1. Thanks for having such great classes! I loved your Truly Thai at Home class.

      On another note, one of my friends saw this post and wondered if you were from Red Deer AB and had a sister named Elizabeth Fink. She'd love to reconnect with Elizabeth. I'll send you my email address, if that's you.