Friday, September 7, 2012

Foodie Friday: Meet Kit from Off the Record

Today I'm so pleased to welcome Kit to Foodie Friday. You can read all about Kit in Camryn Rhys' Off the Record, and visit Camryn's blog to learn more about her and her books!

Canadian Food from Kit’s Kitchen

Hi, I’m Kit, from Cam’s book Off the Record, where I meet the love of my life. Not to give anything away, but in the beginning of the story, I open my own restaurant called “Poutine”, which is a gourmet Canadian restaurant in the middle of the American South.
Canadian restaurant? (you might ask). Trust me, honey, I’ve heard it all before. Canadian cuisine, like American cuisine, is regional and has its high and low notes. Since I grew up in the middle of the country, I tend toward the more German/Polish/Ukrainian/Irish dishes.
There’s a level of nostalgia present in everyone’s cooking. Either they’re trying to get away from the food they grew up with, or they’re trying to get back to it. In my case, I want to recapture something magical about the food of my childhood, but elevate it to a new level.
Hence the gourmet poutine, the drunken butter tarts (see the back of Cam’s book about me), the many iterations of pierogies. Canadian cuisine, like any regional form of American cuisine, can produce a lot of very interesting variety if you apply a little bit of imagination.
Butter tarts, for instance, which every Canadian grew up eating, are a great palate for experimentation. Pie crust could become a shortbread crust or other cookie crust. The caramelly, custardy sauce could be revamped, enhanced with flavor, or in some cases, replaced. The raisins, similarly. Nuts, also. Lots of room for variation. A chef loves this. If I can change one piece of the recipe, but leave it essentially recognizable to the general palate, then success.
That’s part of what I’ve attempted to do here, as I work in my test kitchen. I wanted to make something innately recognizable, but just a bit different from what I grew up with. So without further ado, since this is the foodie blog to end all foodie blogs, here’s my recipe. I hope you enjoy!

Kit’s Prairie-Style Butter Tart Bars

1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
Pinch salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
3/4 cup chopped pecans

Line 9-inch (2.5 L) square metal cake pan with parchment paper; set aside.

Base: In large bowl, mix flour with brown sugar. With pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture is moist and crumbly. Press firmly over prepared pan. Bake in centre of 350°F (180°C) oven for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with pecans and press lightly; bake for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in bowl, beat butter, sugar and corn syrup until smooth; beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour and sa< pour over base. Bake until darkened and slightly jiggly when shaken, about 20 minutes. Let cool on rack. (Make-ahead: Wrap and store in airtight container for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 weeks.) Cut into bars.