By Lynn Redl-Huntington
Renée Kohlman loves food. And she wants to share that love with everyone.
The award-winning cookbook author and food blogger has been writing a newspaper column in the Saskatoon StarPhoenix for the last decade. But she has recently turned her attention to developing a series of new pork recipes for Sask Pork and its consumer arm, PickPork Saskatchewan. Kohlman is releasing six new recipes this spring that can be found on the Sask Pork website.
“There are so many excellent cuts to work with. Barbecued ribs, slow-cooked hams, grilled tenderloin, juicy burgers, quick-fried chops and cutlets, Sunday roasts, pulled pork, spicy tacos, crispy pork belly, and of course, bacon. It’s all so good! Whatever your grocery budget, there's a place for pork in your shopping cart,” enthused Kohlman, who has a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art and a diploma in Culinary Arts.
“My mom is a terrific cook, and pork was always on the menu in some capacity. Sunday mornings, the smell of cooked bacon and sausages would rouse me from sleep and I’d stumble into the kitchen, kiss my mom on the cheek, and pluck a juicy sausage from the plate. We ate really well growing up, and living on a farm for the first seven years of my life, I learned early on where food comes from. Some of my earliest memories are running through tall rows of corn, digging up potato plants to unearth the treasures beneath, and sitting on my pet calf, Susie. The connection between farm and fork is something I believe strongly in,” explained Kohlman, who has been cooking and baking professionally for over twenty years.
With 147 farms across Saskatchewan raising 2.2 million pigs a year, Kohlman and home chefs across the province have no shortage of options when it coms to pork.
“Using local ingredients as much as possible is key to my recipe development, and I’m always trying to source local producers as much as possible. We’re so lucky to live in a province that has excellent quality pork, and it’s been a real treat to develop recipes showcasing its incredible flavour and versatility.”
Kohlman’s new recipes for Sask Pork include Pork Cutlets with Lemon Butter Caper Sauce, Slow Cooked Pork Carnitas, Crispy Salt and Pepper Pork Belly, a kid-friendly Ham and Cheese Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole, Baked Gnocchi with Italian Sausage and Ginger Sesame Pork Burgers.
“Burgers don’t just have to be about beef! Ground pork makes for excellent burgers, too. It has a rich flavour that works so well with a variety of toppings and add-ins. And, pork burgers are so juicy. Have lots of napkins on hand,” advised Kohlman.
Kohlman’s best-selling debut cookbook All the Sweet Things won Gold at the Taste Canada Awards in 2018 for Best Single Subject Cookbook. Vegetables: A Love Story, her second cookbook, was published in 2021 and was named one of the top 100 Books of 2021 by The Globe and Mail.
“I really love layering in different flavours and textures to a recipe. And it’s a wonder that a small thing like a teaspoon of mustard or smoked paprika or maple syrup can have a big impact on a recipe. I’m also so pleased when the vision I had in my head works out on the finished plate,” said Kohlman.
Kohlman has worked in a variety of kitchens since graduating from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) in 1999, including a kitchen in the remote Yukon wilderness to fancy pastry kitchens in Edmonton to catering kitchens in Saskatoon. But she said that the kitchen she loves to work best out of is her own.
“I’m always thinking about the home cook, in their very own kitchen, and what they might like to cook to feed their families, said Kohlman. “The Baked Gnocchi with Italian Sausage is already a favourite in my house! It’s a quick recipe, which comes in handy on busy weeknights, and it’s got loads of flavour thanks to the Italian sausage. My barbecue is currently covered in snow, but I can’t wait to grill up the Ginger Sesame Pork Burgers. These are so juicy and delicious, and a nice twist on the typical burger. Plus that special sauce is really special. You’ll use it on everything once it’s in your kitchen.”Source : Saskpork