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Living the Dream

Living The Dream: A book recently published by local Vancouverite Corwin Hiebert.

Corwin is a business manager for creative entrepreneurs. In short, he helps creative people do their creative stuff, and make money at it, too. And then he wrote a book about it. Geared toward those who want to make a living doing what they love, this book gives advice on managing and marketing your work. Here's a teaser video for the book:

The Dirty Apron's very own chef David Robertson has a small feature in the book, along with various other Vancouver creatives and their works. Check it out! Available at online retailers like: AmazonBarnes & NobleChaptersPeachpit, or Waterstones.


The Importance of Eating Earnest

Oscar Wilde says

"One must be serious about something if one wants to have any amusement in life"

and for Earnest Ice Cream's Ben Ernst and Erica Bernardi, ice cream is their serious thing. Just one year ago, Earnest Ice Cream didn't exist, and Ben was sharing ice cream prototypes with his family during thanksgiving. Today the Earnest Ice Cream brand is recognizable and distinguished, and Erica & Ben are busy making ice cream, scooping ice cream (at the Vancouver Farmer's Markets), and making the world a better place.

Why ice cream? They've had a lifelong love of ice cream, and the ice cream medium allows them to play around with flavours.

Why the name 'Earnest'? A few reasons. Partially a play on the word 'Ernst,' which is Ben's last name, and an embodiment of their approach to the ice cream business. Slightly tongue and cheek, calling a playful food such a serious name, but mostly serious, Earnest Ice Cream strives to be transparent, sincere, honest, just like their name suggests.

When they started the business, Ben and Erica decided they wanted to "make something really well, that brings people a little joy, and do it in a way that makes the world a better place." So how does ice cream make the world a better place? Well, for a start it brings happiness, brings people together. But their approach to ice cream making is a huge part of it as well. Their sustainable approach sets an example that helps people notice their zero waste packaging (returnable glass jars), and it connects their customers with the local food system (they get all their dairy locally, and use seasonal ingredients whenever possible). They hope that the flavours they use can even make that connection - take for example their Whiskey Hazelnut ice cream, which uses hazelnuts from the Fraser Valley. A big part of their business is making everything from scratch (including the Rum & Egg Nog ice cream available this holiday season), which helps reduce waste, as well as gives them more control over the quality of their product.

Earnest Ice Cream has released around 40 different flavours of ice cream over the last year. These 40 flavours include popular ones like Salted Caramel, Cardamom, and Mint Chip, while others pop up more seasonally, like the Rhubarb Oat Crumble. How do they choose all these tasty flavours? Well, seasonality is a huge part of their flavour-choosing-process, but they are also inspired and influenced by drinks that they like. (Whiskey, anyone?)

What can we expect from Earnest this winter? Boozy ice creams for sure. Rum & Egg Nog, Rum Raisin, and Cognac are a few. In Ben & Erica's opinion, Cognac is the "vanilla for the holidays." If you visit Earnest Ice Cream at the Winter Farmer's Market at Nat Bailey on December 15, they will be selling Gingerbread Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches along with pints of their ice cream. Yum. And we're excited to start carrying the Rum & Egg Nog ice cream this Friday in our delicatessen! (It's delicious.)

We asked Erica & Ben a few questions... just to get to know them a bit better!

The Dirty Apron - If you HAD to pick just one ingredient from your kitchen that you couldn't live without, what would it be?

Erica - Hot sauce.
Ben - Tamari.

Favourite part about living in Vancouver?

 E - Beauty.
B -  Bikability.

Chocolate cake or french fries?

E - Cake!
B - Cake! 

Sunshine or rain?

E - Sunshine.
B - Sunshine. Or snow.

Is there any food you don't like or refuse to eat?

E - Raw shrimp. But I'll still eat it.
B - Grocery store tomatoes. 

Favourite way to eat ice cream in the winter?

E - At home, in a bowl, with nuttier, richer ice cream flavours.
B - Apple pie (homemade, of course) a la mode. 

(Current) favourite ice cream flavour?

(They both have an ongoing love affair with Whiskey Hazelnut)
E - Cardamom, Lemon, or Custard.
B - Serious Chocolate (a super intense & rich chocolate. not for kids) 

Favourite ice cream pairing?

E - With booze. Boozy milkshake, such as whiskey with Salted Caramel ice cream.
B - Apple Pie with Cardamom ice cream. 


Thanks Earnest Ice Cream for making our world a sweeter, better place. Seriously.

*all photos in this post by joey armstrong


Let's Patch - home gardening made easier!

What is this box with dirt and greenery in it? We're glad you asked. This is a Patch Planter. Patch Planters are easy to use, with a water reservoir in it that makes it difficult to over or under water your plant. How can gardening get any easier? Especially when you can do it from the comfort of your own home! We just started selling the planters (sans dirt and plants), that you can put together at home. All it takes is a few minutes to set it up, 4 litres of soil, seeds or starter plants, and 6 hours of sunlight a day.  

The diagram below shows how the planter works. The wicking leg (in the middle, where all the arrows are coming from) is an important part of the planter - what allows the roots to soak up what water it needs. It's impossible to over-water! 

Founder of Patch, Kent Houston, started the company because of his vision that everyone should have the opportunity to grow their own food, regardless of the amount of available land or access to it. We heartily agree, and can't wait to see how Vancouver keeps becoming more innovative with sustainability. 

Here's an instructional video that shows you how to put together your flat-packed Patch Planter, featuring Kent from Patch, created by City Farmer:


Have questions about your recently purchased Patch Planter? You can find useful info, and FAQs on their website.


Food talks on August 14

Do you like eating food, talking about food, or listening to others talk about food? Yes? Well, then. You will want to attend this month's Food Talks (volume 3) for sure.  

Held at the Westin Grand on Tuesday August 14, 2012, this evening involves tasty appetizers, listening to a fantastic line-up of speakers talk about their passion in the food community, a Question & Answer session, and of course, wine & prizes!

Volume 3 of Food Talks includes some wonderful speakers: Eric Pateman, the founder of Edible Canada, Zach Berman & Ryan Slater, co-founders of The Juice Truck, Lee & Patrick Murphy, co-owners of Vista D'oro Farms & Winery, Mary Mackay, co-owner & head baker at Terra Breads, and Preet Marwaha, the founder of Organic Lives. With a line-up like this, you'll want to clear your schedule on August 14.  

One of the best parts of this event is that $3 from every ticket sale goes towards Growing Chefs, a non profit organization that brings chefs, educators, growers, community groups, and families together to work to bring further awareness of food sustainability.



We love kale

Kale season is starting, and it actually lasts quite a long time. Which means you can buy it locally for a good chunk out of the year. We like to use kale in our deli, as it graces many of our beautiful salads with its color and nutritional content. Have you tried our wilted kale salad with roasted butternut squash, sliced gala apples, and toasted pumpkin seeds? Or our sauted kale salad with green beans, red onion, and kecap manis? We also make a Ribolitta soup with ham, white beans, and kale. Can you tell how much we love kale?

Photo by Joey Armstrong

Kale facts:

  • easy to grow (kale can withstand colder weather and is often grown long into autumn and winter)
  • a form of cabbage
  • often referred to as a 'superfood'
  • good source of beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, calcium
  • baby kale is softer and more commonly eaten raw, while more 'mature' kale is better steamed or sauteed

Some ideas for kale usage:

Wilted kale, butternut squash, gala apple & toasted pumpkin seed salad at the Dirty Apron Deli

Never cooked with kale before? Here's how to destem it:

Image courtesy of

We'd love to know: what's your favorite way to use kale?


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