A Little About Michele Genest's New Cookbook, The Boreal Feast.
I just got off the phone with Yukon cookbook author and Canadian food magazine columnist Michele Genest. She is speaking at the library this Saturday, and I'm on the board, plus I like books and authors-- and I don't why I didn't think of this sooner-- but figured I'd share the good news when an author comes to town about his or her work -- plus it is nice to talk to other writers, so, this morning Michele, who lives in nearby Whitehorse, Yukon Territory and I chatted a while, and now I'm hungry and thinking I should thaw some deer steaks and pick some cherries and pull some carrots and beets and make something better than usual with it all. Braise and sauce it up, you know? (She did say we have more choices in local foods down here -- fish, game, vegetables, fruit-- but that the Yukon has a lot drier weather, so it's a trade off.) But it's not all local-local-- though she always has at least one local ingredient. Her recipe for thin bread is made from corn meal and seeds and fennel and she says it is so good and easy to make that it is worth buying the cookbook for, plus is gluten free. Although this is not a bark-eating kind of local foods cookbook--Michele is an omnivore and she likes to simmer and braise and bake and frost. Her favorite recipe in the new cookbook, The Boreal Feast (her first, The Boreal Gourmet, was a bestseller for good reason), is bison ribs braised and then browned in the oven with a coating of butter, bread crumbs and morel mushrooms. (It's on the plate pictured on the cover.) I can smell it now. She also began each explanation of a recipe to me with a story-- and she does that in the book too--she mixes up recipes with stories in a kind of Northern, cross-cultural smorgasbord. For this cookbook Michele traveled to Sweden (she has family there) and Finland and Norway to learn how other northern places prepare and serve local foods both in homes and in fancy restaurants. She said she became very fond of the Swedish tradition of afternoon coffee and a snack- a little meal-- like English tea I suppose-- which is also, she says, a nice pause in the day. A section of the new book is devoted to the treats associated with coffee time. She will be serving some of those at her talk, "Cranberry lemon-squares; raspberry brownies with ganache icing; blueberry, white chocolate and whipped cream parfait..." Need she say more?
Michele will be speaking and signing books at the Haines library this Saturday at 1:00pm, and in Skagway Tuesday at 1:00pm at The Skaguay News Depot bookstore on Broadway, and in Juneau at Rainbow Foods 1:00 pm August 23. She plans to be in Anchorage in November.