Friday, July 11, 2014

Made In Canada

Happy Summer Sandwich-Lovers, and I hope your Canada Day 2014 was wonderful!

Canada Day has always marked the beginning of summer with some sort of party or BBQ. When I was growing up, my family of teachers would almost always head down to my grandparents’ house in Olds to celebrate the end of the school year and my cousin’s birthday. Now as a teacher myself, I appreciate the gloriousness of July 1 even more and the party/BBQ tradition has continued – I have even hosted! Canada Day is always a great day to get together with friends and family, wear the red and white and eat/drink all in the name of summer and patriotism.

Since my husband and I are moving to France next month, there is a good chance this July 1 marked the last Canada Day we’ll spend in Canada for a while. This upcoming move is definitely an exciting opportunity for us both and the support from our family and friends continues to be amazing.  We are definitely looking forward to the adventure but still, it’s a bit bittersweet.

I am, and always will be, a proud Canadian and moving away from the True North Strong and Free won’t change that. We will find new ways to celebrate - there’s a rumor that the Eiffel Tower is lit up red and white on July 1 – and we’ll make new traditions. But I am certain there’s one thing that will never change, regardless of where we are and that’s the tradition of eating great food with great people.

To mark this special Canada Day, I made a delicious sandwich of all-Canadian ingredients and my favorite Oh Canada Cookies.  Enjoy!

All-Canadian Ingredients for this sandwich!
The Made In Canada Sandwich needs:

Dempster’s Whole Grain Canadian Bread
Maple Leaf Natural Selections Turkey and Ham
Maple Leaf Bacon
Sobey’s Sensations Canadian Cheddar
French’s Mustard (not actually a Canadian brand but it works to honour French as one of our official languages)
Lettuce and Radishes (from our own garden!)  

1-Cook the bacon according to your preference for crispy/soft. Drain on paper towels and set aside. (Remember, don’t pour the grease down the sink!)
2-Toast the bread.
3-Spread the mustard on one piece of bread, the mayo on the other.
4-Layer on the turkey, ham, cheddar and bacon.
5-Top with radish slices and lettuce.
6-Slice and serve with some Oh Canada Cookies and your favorite cold beverage.

The recipe for the Oh Canada Cookies is a basic sugar cookie recipe from an old issue of Inspired, the free magazine Sobey’s used to put out a few times a year. I like this recipe because it’s really simple and easy to adapt to make other kinds of sugar-cookie type cookies.

All these Maple Leaves need is their red!
You will need:
2 butter sticks, or 1 cup of butter, softened (I leave the butter out for several hours to get really soft)
1 cup white sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 egg (the original recipe says it should be warmed to room temperature, but I don’t think it makes a huge difference either way)
2 ½ cups of flour
Electric or stand mixer

Cookie Prep:
1-Combine the butter, sugar and vanilla and mix until smooth.
2-Add the egg and continue mixing*.

*It’s very important to add the egg BEFORE you mix in the flour. I learned this the hard way and ended up with very flaky and crumbly dough. It ended up being alright eventually, but it meant I had to spend more time kneading the dough so it wouldn’t crumble when I tried to roll it out.

3-Add the flour and mix until a dough forms.
4-Knead the dough in the bowl with flour-covered hands until smooth.
5-Place dough ball in a covered bowl and chill for at least 20 minutes.
6-Roll dough out to desired thickness. (Some people like to cover the dough in parchment paper to do this. It’s up to you.)
7-Use a Maple Leaf cookie cutter to cut out the beautiful cookies. Leave some space between each cookie on your baking sheet  
8-Bake at 350F in the middle of the oven for 10-12 minutes.
9-Transfer cookies to a rack to cool completely before decorating.

Oh Canada Cookies with red maple butter cream icing.
While the cookies bake, make the Red Maple Butter Cream Icing:

1-Mix ½ cup softened butter with 2 cups icing sugar.
2-Add ½ tsp maple syrup (more if you like!) and 2 Tbsp milk or water.
3-Mix until desired smoothness; add more icing sugar or liquid if required and 3-4 drops of red food colouring.

To 'set' the icing, I recommend chilling the cookies in the fridge for 15-20 minutes.

The sandwiches and cookies were devoured while we watched the newest music video from Canada’s favorite astronaut, Col. Chris Hadfield and his brother Dave. If you haven't seen it yet, you're in for a treat! 

Then, we went to Telus Field to watch the Edmonton Prospects baseball game with some friends. Our seats also gave us prime view of the fireworks and the much anticipated light-up of the Highlevel Bridge.  What a show!

It was a spectacular summer night celebrating this amazing country that I will always call my home no matter where I am.  Next summer, we will celebrate Canada Day in Europe. We’ll wear our red and white, we’ll play some Rush or Tragically Hip, and we’ll be with friends - Canadian and European.  I hope they will enjoy this small taste of Canada.

I hope you enjoy it too. Je t’aime, Canada! Cheers!

Made in Canada Sandwich and Oh Canada Cookies.