Polar vortex or not, it is officially spring. To celebrate I spent my spring break holiday in northern Canada where it is definitely still winter. Despite the winter weather I kept warm with bundled up walks along the ice covered river, days spent on the couch in my pajamas reading and a glass (or two) of restorative red wine.
But, after a relaxing week of warming holiday comfort food, and with optimism in mind, I’m craving the tastes of spring. One of the first crops that is poking up out of the ground this year are the radishes. Continue reading →
When I get home from school I need to eat something. It’s been a few hours since lunch and I’m hungry. But deciding what to eat is the challenge. Too much and I will still be full come dinner hour, too little and I’ll still be hungry wondering why I even bothered. My snack choices usually include something like hummus and cut vegetables, maybe a couple dolmathes and some almonds, or sometimes just a hardboiled egg. But, I can’t lie, what I really want is crackers and cheese. I’m not saying I have it, but that’s what I am usually craving.
But I grew up with all things Scottish so I think that through osmosis I have absorbed some Scottish blood. I must have. Otherwise why would the sound of the bagpipes make me happy and the sight of men in kilts make me swoon? There is no other explanation. I don’t listen to the pipes often (or hang out with men in kilts for that matter) but to keep a little Scottish in my life I have adopted the annual tradition of a Burns dinner.
I spent most of my formative years thinking Robbie Burns day was just another night as my friends and I, performed the requisite highland dances at events and watched our parents drink, laugh and let loose. But as I grow older I have been able to look back and realize what great moments those were. I now realize that traditional or not, what a Robbie Burns day dinner has to offer is poetry, food, music and friends. Like all great meals it is a chance to gather and share. Last year I hosted my first annual Robbie Burns dinner. Just a small group of people but with lots of laughs, music, and good food. By purists standards probably not traditionally acceptable, but for my gang, just what the scotsman ordered.
I have a confession. I’m in love. My new love is green, small and occasionally a bit spicy. No, not a leprechaun, wrong season and country, but the padron pepper from Spain.
It boggles my mind that not only have I never really eaten them before, but that I haven’t been growing them myself. Don’t worry, I’ve already made a note to plant some next year. Thankfully, this year, my local farmers market has had lots for me to try. And try them I have. Continue reading →
It is so green and spring like here. The garden is growing, the neighbourhood outdoor pool is beckoning and the farmers markets have officially opened for business. It however is definitely not summer. That does not make me a happy girl. The one thing that does make me happy is that the cooler weather means there is still some time to enjoy spring vegetables. After a week of travelling and eating delectably delicious (but exceptionally rich) food I have been craving the light, fresh taste of spring. I’ve had lettuce from the garden, simple chopped kale salads and radishes pulled fresh from the dirt. And peas. Lots of peas. I’ve had them curried, in salads, in the pod and as a quick and versatile pea pesto.
Remember the story about the ugly duckling? You know, the poor little thing who was a bit unfortunate looking but when given a chance and a bit of time was a real beauty? Well today our little ducks name is Sunchoke. Or more formally, Jerusalem artichoke. You’ve never heard of the poor little thing have you? It’s okay. Don’t feel badly. We’ve only become acquainted, and I admit, it was a confusing and a rocky start.
“Manzo or cavallo?” These were the words directed at my husband as he ordered bresaola at the butcher in Morciano, Italy. Now before you run grab your translation dictionary let me help you out. Cow or horse. Hmmm. Not a choice I usually get from Ed my local butcher.
This was in the baby food aisle!
Now while I know some of you may shudder at either choice, I am pleased to say that he chose the cow.
So, with that cleared up, lets talk about Bresaola. I admit it, I’m addicted. Thankfully it isn’t that easy to obtain here in Vancouver (neither for that matter is horse. But that’s a different blog).
In Italy however this salted, air dried cured beef from the top inside round is quite easy to find.
If you haven’t tried it you’re missing out. Search it out at your local butcher. It is perfect and easy to make as an appetizer or a light summer meal (especially after a day on your cavallo!). Simply place the bresaola on a plate, squeeze some fresh lemon overtop and garnish with some shavings of fresh parmesan. For a bit more of a meal place on a bed of arugula. Enjoy.
And please, if you’re brave enough to try the cavallo bresaola let me know.