That said, the first full day was Canada day! It was good that it was a Saturday. We started out with a Lumberjack Breakfast! Folklore states that the first lumberjack breakfast was served at an inn near Vancouver in the 1800s. Whether or not that actually happened, the lumberjack breakfast is a staple across the continent and consists of pancakes, eggs, toast, bacon, sausage, Canadian bacon and orange juice (or coffee). We made sure to serve it with pure maple syrup!
Since breakfast was so big, we skipped lunch and had an early dinner of Calgary -style Ginger Beef. I found the recipe here.
To make Calgary-style Ginger Beef, you need:
- 4 cups of oil for deep frying
- 1 pound beef
- 1 celery stalk
- 1 carrot
- 3 hot chili peppers
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil (I used sesame chili oil)
- 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon cooking wine
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons ginger juice
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup flour
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon wine
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce (I used regular soy sauce)
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons water
Begin by slicing the beef into thin strips. Mix the four marinade ingredients in a medium bowl. Add the meat and marinate for 30 minutes.
While the meat is marinating, cut the carrots, celery and chili peppers into thin slices. Mince the garlic and ginger.
Next, mix the sauce ingredients and set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, beat the egg white and add the water. Slowly add the flour and cornstarch. Make sure you mix the batter completely.
Heat the wok and add the oil. After the oil begins to crackle, coat 1/4 of the meat pieces with batter and put into the oil. Fry the beef until the coating is golden brown. Remove from oil and set aside. When the oil temperature is higher again, add the next batch. Continue until all the meat is fried.
In a saute pan, heat a tablespoon of oil. Add the vegetables. After about a minute, pour in the sauce.
Let it come to a boil. Add the beef and quickly mix to get a light coating of sauce.
For dessert, we had Nanaimo Bars, which originated near Nanaimo, British Columbia. I got this recipe from a Canadian relative (Thanks Donna!).
To make Nanaimo Bars, you need:
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3 tbsp cocoa
- 1 egg
- 2 cups graham crackers, crushed into crumbs
- 1/2 cup chopped nuts
- 1 cup coconut
- 1/2 cup butter
- 3 tbsp milk
- 2 tbsp vanilla custard powder (I couldn't find any so I substituted Vanilla pudding mix)
- 2 cups icing sugar
- 4 full squares semi sweet chocolate
- 1 tbsp butter
and pack into the bottom of an 8 or 9 inch square pan.
Combine milk and custard powder together and blend into butter forming mixture. Blend in icing sugar. Spread mixture on base. Let stand 15 minutes.
Let stand until chocolate hardens. I put it in the fridge for about 30 minutes to speed the process. In order to cut it, let it warm to room temperature. You may want to cut it into small squares as it is very rich.
Everyone loved breakfast, although Bug and Ebabe weren't fond of the Canadian bacon or the sausage. This is not at all a suprise since everyone but me loves breakfast foods.
The Ginger Beef was very tasty. The peppers were a bit too hot but we ate around them. The meat was quite flavorful which Chip, Boo and I appreciated but Bug and Ebabe didn't particularly care for.
The Nanaimo bars were a hit. Since I am not a huge chocolate fan, I was somewhat suprised that I enjoyed my small portion. The kids (and I'm including Chip in this!) LOVED them. I am not sure that the pudding mix worked as well as a custard powder might have. The filling part didn't firm up the way I thought it should but still tasted just fine.
Click here to see what we did/ate when we studied Canada in the 2008 Olympics.