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Chef Gilligan’s Nanaimo bars

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In 776 BC, Coroebus of Elis, a baker, won the stadion (now known as the sprint), making him the first medalist on record at the world's very first Olympiad in Greece. It makes perfect sense, a baker with easy access to carb-filled foods is bound to outrun, let's say, a bricklayer or a sandal maker, right?

So what do these winter games folk eat to keep up their strength and to hopefully end up on the podium with some precious metals hanging around their necks?

Well you will need plenty of protein and of course the carbs that we mentioned, Vancouver is synonymous with the salmon from the Columbia River and with Nanaimo Bars that’s what!

Nanaimo Bars (or N.B.s for short) are one of Canada's favorite confections. The beautiful City of Nanaimo, British Columbia lays claim to these squares, it all began when a Nanaimo housewife entered a recipe for chocolate squares in a magazine contest some 35 years ago. She called her recipe 'Nanaimo Bars' and when she won the contest, not only did her dessert become popular throughout Canada, so did the town they were named after. These no-bake, three layered bars are delicious; they start with a crumb base, followed by a layer of light custard buttercream, topped with a smooth layer of chocolate.

Nanaimo Bars
Servings: Serves 12 to 16 (one square per person)

Ingredients:
Bottom Layer
½ cup unsalted butter (European-style cultured)
¼ cup sugar
5 tablespoons cocoa
1 egg beaten
1 ¼ cups graham wafer crumbs
½ cup finely chopped almonds
1 cup coconut

Method:
Melt first three ingredients in top of double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, coconut, and nuts. Press firmly into an ungreased eight-by-eight-inch pan.

Ingredients:

Second Layer
½ cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons cream
2 tablespoons vanilla custard powder
2 cups icing sugar

Method:

Cream together butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar. Beat until light. Spread over bottom layer.

Ingredients:

Third Layer
4 squares semisweet chocolate (1 ounce each)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Method:
Melt chocolate and butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, but still liquid, pour over second layer and chill in refrigerator. Cut into squares when cooled.

Cedar Plank Salmon
Servings: Serves four

Mingle tastes from the forest and the sea by grilling fresh salmon on a cedar plank. Use this simple recipe when entertaining, grilling on a BBQ, or even camping.

Ingredients:
1 salmon fillet, about 1 to 2 pounds
¼ cup olive oil
Juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon chopped basil
1 tablespoon chopped dill
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh black pepper

Method:
Get a piece of untreated cedar plank, just a little bigger than the fish. Soak the board for several hours in room-temperature water.

Combine all ingredients except the salmon. Marinate the salmon for several hours. Remove the fish from the marinade and place it on the plank. Place plank on a medium-heat grill for about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on thickness (be careful not to overheat the wood, or it will catch fire). Tip: you can purchase cedar planks from specialty food stores, but a less expensive option is to buy a slab of untreated wood at the hardware store.

AND FINALLY…

Q: Why isn’t sun tanning an Olympic sport?
A: Because the best you can ever get is bronze.
(I’ll get me coat!)

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