Preserving Classes

We are excited to continue offering preserving classes at The Depanneur in 2014. Stay tuned for details.

Interested in learning how to preserve in the privacy of your own home. I am offering individual or group home classes. I will come prepared with the recipe, the tools and the supplies. You and your friends will walk away with the knowledge and some tasty treats. If this sounds interesting send me an email.

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February 2014: A Canadian Worth Watching

Photo credit: Sauer and Steiner Toolworks

In my previous life, before I became a full time preserver, pickler and jam maker I worked in Marketing. I started off my career in packaged goods, spent a while in traditional marketing and eventually ended up in digital marketing. In the span of years where I was working in traditional marketing I had the pleasure of working with Konrad Sauer. He was an art director at an agency where I was a Project Manager. Kon and I got along like a house on fire. Not only did we work well together but we enjoyed one another's company. He got my sarcastic sense of humour and I think I can go so far as to say he even appreciated it.

Kon took the leap and followed his dreams well before I even knew what my dreams were. See, not only was Konrad an extremely talented designer but Konrad had a talent for woodworking like few others and he had a passion for wood planes.

He had been doing woodworking for long enough to realize that there were not a lot of people out there making quality wood planes and he decided to start a business doing just that. Like me, Konrad didn't just quit his day job and launch into his new business overnight. He moonlighted for quite some time. Being an art director by day and a husband, father and wood plane builder by night. Eventually the time came where he knew it was time to transition and he hasn't looked back since.

Photo credit: Sauer and Steiner Toolworks

I cheered Konrad and his decision to follow his dreams on from the sidelines, and occasionally sit down to read his blog and admire his work. I believe him to be one of the most talented people I know and I am thrilled for the success he has achieved. And I know that Konrad is sitting on the sideline cheering me on in my new venture. 

You should really take a few moments and get lost in his blog. His projects are amazing, his approach is fascinating and the work he does is astounding. He is a Canadian to keep an eye on.

This post is part of The Canadian Food Experience, it began June 7 2013. As we share our collective stories through our regional food experiences, we hope to bring global clarity to our Canadian culinary identity.


Easiest Dessert EVER - Sex in a Pan


Two quick points before I begin.

1) Yes it tastes as good as the name suggests,

2) It tastes that good because there is not one single healthy ingredient in this recipe, except perhaps for the pecans and maybe the milk. But in my case, not even really the milk because I used full on 2%.

Sure, if you wanted to you could make this dessert 'less bad' for you, but my thinking is - what is the point? You could use fat free pudding or low fat cream cheese, but seeing as I only make this dessert once every couple of years, when I make it I simply throw the kitchen sink at it. How bad could 1 slice of this (ahem...maybe 3 or 4 if I am being honest with you) actually be?

Over the past 2 weeks, I have basically been making marmalade every 2nd day. I have taken just over 200lb of Certified Organic Seville Oranges and made a LOT of marmalade. This also means that I have hand cut the skin of over 200lb of oranges. For the past few nights every time I turn my head, I get a shooting pain, which I am now calling Marmalade Neck.

It's now Superbowl Sunday (obviously) and a very good chef friend of mine (whom also happens to be a HUGE football fan) has invited herself over (actually I invited her over, but it sounds better this way) and is basically catering our Superbowl meal. The menu is outstanding and I offered to make dessert.

What does one make for dessert when they are exhausted, tired of being in the kitchen yet know they want something that tastes delicious and everyone is sure to enjoy? SEX.IN.A.PAN

Sex in a Pan (recipe given to me by my mother; Sheila Manning)

1 1/2 cups pecan, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup margarine
8 oz cream cheese
1 cup icing sugar
Large tub cool whip
Instant chocolate pudding (1 package)
Instant vanilla pudding (1 package)
3 cups milk
1/4 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped

Bottom layer:
Combine 1 1/2 cups pecans, 1 1/2 cups flour and 3/4 cup margarine in a bowl and combine throughly. Press mixture into a 9 x 13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Second layer:
Combine 8 oz cream cheese, 1 cup icing sugar and 1/2 tub of cool whip in a large bowl. Cream together and spread on the cooled bottom layer.
Third layer:
Pour contents of both instant pudding packages in a bowl and combine with 3 cups of milk. Mix and let thicken. Once thick, spread over the second layer
Fourth layer:
Spread remaining cool whip over the top of the pudding. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup toasted chopped pecans.
Place in fridge until it is time to consume 

Like I said - easiest dessert ever ;)

My Copper Jam Pot

This is a story about falling in love. If that sentence made you roll your eyes and almost instantly lose interest, would you stick with me if I told you it was with an inanimate object? guessed it. The love that I speak of is with a copper jam pot. If you want to read a blog post about whether preserving with a copper pot is safe, why copper pots are considered great for jam making, etc, then I suggest that you immediately stop reading this blog and click here. Her post may have been written in 2010, but it is thorough and is certain to answer all of your questions. Be sure to scroll through all of the comments as well as there are some hidden gems throughout.

Now lets get back to the matter at hand. Love. L-O-V-E. The kind of love that makes your throat feel dry, your heart beat faster and all logic to simply slip right out of your brain.

At first, I have to admit that this love was of the shallowest kind. I fell in love based on looks alone. I was immediately pulled in by the beauty of the hammered copper jam pot with it's gleaming brass handles. It's alluring angled sides made this pot one that I could simply sit and stare at for hours. I wanted it simply because it was sexy. You heard me...this is one sexy pot!

Sure, deep down I hoped there were other factors at play when I was entering my Visa # on the online order page and staring at what was really an exhorbinent dollar figure in the total column considering I was just buying a pot for making jam. But were there?

With each number that I entered I would tell myself that there were practical advantages to this purchase. The angled sides of the pot allow for better evaporation and shorter cooking times. That copper is an excellent conductor of heat. It all just sounded like 'yadda, yadda, yadda" in my mind. And I hit ORDER while I still knew instinctively that I had just completed the purchase on looks alone. I was shallow and I could live with that.

I practically bounced right out of my skin on the day it arrived. I couldn't open the box fast enough and when I finally pulled it from it's paper wrapping and held it in my hands I let out a little gasp when I finally saw it in person. Ridiculous really, but true.

Then today I took it with me to the commercial kitchen to make a batch of marmalade. It was the first time I would put it to use. I kept admiring it's brass handles and all of the other physical attributes about it that I loved. But I knew I had fallen into a different kind of love when I actually tasted the finished batch.




Marmalade - Superfine, Fine, Medium or Thick Cut

Superfine peel - best obtained with a zester

When you make your marmalade, do you slice the peel real thin?

Do you zest it very slowly, or cut it while you grin?

Eat that thick cut, thin cut marmalade, but tell me when I ask,

when you make your marmalade, do you cut the peel real fast?

Fine cut peel - best obtained by cutting the peel off with a sharp knife and then chopping it very fine

Medium Cut Peel - best obtained by juicing the orange and then removing all of the membrane from inside the peel, and then cutting into medium size chunks.

Thick cut peel - best obtained by juicing the orange and then removing all of the membrane from inside the peel, and then cutting into thick size chunks.


January 2014: A Canadian Resolution

I love lists. Yes, that may sound strange, but it is true. Nothing pleases me more than a well thought out list, except maybe the joy of crossing things off that list. What a sense of accomplishment that simple act of putting a line through something on your list produces.

So it may now seem strange for a list lover like myself to admit that I have never really been the type to make New Year’s Resolutions. It almost seems like when you make a resolution you are just putting something up on a ‘What I will Fail at This Year’ list. And while that in itself is a list, it isn’t the kind of list I love.

Instead I try to set goals for myself that include a sublist of all of the steps required to help me achieve that goal. These goals don’t get set out at the onset of a New Year, it is an ongoing process; things get added, things get removed.

There are a couple of items on this list that I will share with you. The first is something I knew would be a struggle the moment I decided to hand in my resignation at my full time marketing job back in May of 2013 and go full time on my small preserving business. 

1)   Work/life balance.

While 2013 was a wonderful year filled with many great and wonderful exciting things for Manning Canning, it was definitely a year that fell heavier into the work side of the pendulum. It was to be expected and I weathered the storm, but in 2014 I am going to make a real effort on swinging that back over just a touch.

2)   Carry on family traditions.

Just over a year ago, my nonna passed away. She was 96, she went peacefully in her sleep as she always wanted and she had lived a good life. But after she passed, the hole that she left behind started to feel larger and larger with each passing day. I thought about all that our family had lost with her passing. Not just her presence, but the memories of the past and the skills she brought to the family unit.

I started to want to learn to make all of the wonderful things that she used to bake, I wanted to somehow carry on whatever bits of her knowledge that I could. Last year, I took on her infamous butterhorns and cream puffs and on the list for this year is her Italian Sweet Bread and her gnocchi to start.

My first attempt at the sweet bread produced a heavy, dense bread that was nothing like the light, fluffy bread she would make in her coal/wood burning stove. I could blame my instruments but in actuality I know it is my own personal skills that need tuning. I am not fazed by my failure, quite the opposite. It feels like a challenge and one that I am going to enjoy facing head on. After all, my nona made that bread hundreds of times. I am sure her first batch was not the 'light as air' loaf that I remember from my childhood.

Whatever your approach to your New Year's Resolutions may be, I hope you all succeed at the one's that are the most important to you.

Happy New Year!

This post is part of The Canadian Food Experience, it began June 7 2013. As we share our collective stories through our regional food experiences, we hope to bring global clarity to our Canadian culinary identity.