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My friend’s chickens are a hoot, each with their own silly personality. There’s nothing silly about their eggs though, and I’m lucky enough to get a share of them. Yum!
Here is what’s on the menu for tonight:
Greens with Balsamic Vinegar and Truffle Oil
Braised Moose Ribs with Espresso Stout and Chocolate (from Michele Genest’s ‘The Boreal Gourmet’)
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Squash and Rutabaga
Served with a Saxenburg Guinea Fowl red, an acquisition from the recent wine festival. I’m hoping the smokiness of this wine will be perfect with the strong flavours of the ribs. For those who don’t like that, there’ll be other choices but the Guinea Fowl is the one that I’m hoping will sing with this meal.
And for dessert:
Apple and Wild Cranberry Tart (also from ‘The Boreal Gourmet’)
Served with a Canadian ice-wine (Jackson-Triggs).
My challenge will be to pull this off without much access to water. There’s a blockage in our greywater pipe so using sinks, shower, and especially toilets is off limits at the moment. Someone is supposed to come this morning to try again to unblock it (no success yesterday) so I’m hoping we’ll be back to normal before guests come. Otherwise we might have to move the entire meal to a friend’s house. Wish us luck.
Our daughter came home for the week-end. She’s going through some tough times so it was good just to have a chance to talk and hang out. We watched movies on Saturday night, went out for our traditional eggs bennie breakfast on Sunday morning, and spent Sunday evening at a friend’s house where we had a belated Thanksgiving meal. She flies back to Vancouver this morning, hopefully feeling a bit more centred and supported.
Joe and I went to a wine tasting festival last night. With something like 182 wines on offer and more than 500 people crowded into the Convention Centre, it was a bit overwhelming. I’d much prefer a few friends gathered around several bottles of wine.
However we did find some wines that we quite enjoyed. My favourite of the night was the Saxenburg Guinea Fowl Red from South Africa. It was smoky; almost peaty. It was as if I were tasting a scotch. The woman representing the company that was selling it said you could spend an hour drinking a glass of this wine while curled up by the fire reading a book, and every sip would taste different.
Other favourites included a spicy syrah from Sicily (Santa Margherita Syrah Sicilia IGT), a malbec from France (Rigal Original Malbec), and a carmenere and a chardonnay from Chile (Tamaya Carmenere Reserva and Tamaya Viognier Chardonnay Reserva). The last two were being sold by Stile Wines of Vancouver. I recognized the name because it’s run by the same family that owns my favourite shoe store on Commercial Drive. They said the next time I was shopping for shoes I should go upstairs in the same building to see their wine operation.
The choice of Canadian wines was disappointing, with Grey Monk the only offering from this country. Everyone is familiar with Grey Monk; I was looking to try some things I hadn’t before, but no luck on that front.
All in all it was an interesting evening that resulted in some new bottles of wine in my stash. But would I go again? I’m not sure.
A long-time friend of mine emailed me the other day to say his young daughter had discovered Mary Poppins. Not only has this given him a chance to relive this endearing movie many times over, but it prompted him to search out a book that has been sitting on his shelf for thirty years. The book is entitled Maria Poppina.
In his email, my friend wrote: “The original drawings are great; very different from the movie, but the chalk drawing they jump into is there. Sadly, my Latin isn’t any better at 51 than it was at 21.”
I was intrigued. I had never heard of a Latin version of Mary Poppins. I was curious as to where my friend would have uncovered such a book.
I replied to his email, writing: “I don’t think I’ve ever seen that book. I’ll have to go looking for it in the library.”
His response almost knocked me off my chair, literally.
“Oh yes you have (seen Maria Poppina). You gave it to me as a present in 1978. Tee hee hee.”
I spent the next several minutes first systematically and then frantically searching for any such memory. But there wasn’t a hint of it in my grey mush of a brain. Not a whisper. Not a shadow. Not a ghost. Nothing.
This shocked me. It also scared me a little bit. I often forget things, but when people prompt me I am able to retrieve at least a partial picture. This is the first time I can remember losing a memory so totally and completely.
So my question is, where do memories go when they get lost?
Lated edited to say: I have since found out that I hand wrote a short dedication in the front of the book, all in Latin. I have no knowledge of Latin so now I’m thoroughly puzzled by this whole thing.
I woke up this morning craving fall flavours. I was in the kitchen bright and early making pumpkin muffins, red cabbage with apples, and a casserole of potatoes, squash, onions and mushrooms. It might be winter outside but inside we’re still in the throws of fall with all its great smells and tastes.
I love this salute to a modern day Johnny Appleseed. It brought back memories of the three ancient elm trees that used to grow in my parent’s yard.
I had a pretty decent crop of potatoes this year. Until this morning, my spud harvest was sitting in boxes on the floor of my garage. But with the frosty weather upon us, I needed to figure out a more long-term storage solution, since – like most Yukoners – my garage is not heated and the freezing temperatures would have turned my tatts into mush.
I thought about using the crawl space, but the mental image of me having to wiggle my way down there every time I wanted a potato didn’t appeal. Instead, I opted for storing them in Alan’s now vacant bedroom, which isn’t heated. As long as I keep the door closed, and when I get a moment layer the potatoes between sheets of newspaper, those spuds should be just fine.
Come to think of it, that room would be a good place to keep my wine too. And the saurkraut I’m making. And my pickles. Hmmm. Could make an interesting sleeping experience for any overnight guests we have this winter!
All over Canada this week-end, people will be eating cranberry sauce with their Thanksgiving fowl. I was never a great fan of the stuff until several years ago, when Joe discovered a recipe for cranberry chutney in one of our East Indian cookbooks. I’m posting it here because, in my very humble opinion, it leaves all other cranberry sauces in the dust. If you decide to make it, let me know what you think.
Cranberry Chutney (Topokul Chatni)
From ‘The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking’ by Yamuna Devi
3-inch piece of cinnamon stick
3-4 green cardamom pods, crushed open
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1-2 hot green chilies, seeded
3-inch piece of orange zest
1 1/2 cup white grape juice (I’m sure other fruit juices would work too)
3/4 cup raw sugar or maple syrup (I used part birch syrup and part maple syrup)
1/2 cup pitted dates, sliced
1 pound cranberries (I use wild but I’m sure domesticated berries work equally well)
Tie the cinnamon, cardamom pods, cloves, green chilies and orange zest in a small piece of cheesecloth.
Combine the juice, sweetener, dates and spice bag in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over moderate heat, and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for half an hour.
Remove the spice bag, pressing it to extract the flavour. Stir in the cranberries and cook for 7 – 10 minutes or until the mixture thickens and the berries pop.
Serve at room temperature or cover and refrigerate for up to a week.
Note: makes about three cups.
Came across a pretty interesting blog today written by a woman who as an experiment went a month without eating any genetically modified foods. Her website is called A Month Without Monsanto. Check it out. It helped me get at least a partial picture of what foods to avoid purchasing myself. I have not been able to find a Canadian GM food list, although this one from the U.S. does make some references to Canada.
My mom was a worrier. Growing up it drove me nuts. I used to grumble under my breath that if she wasn’t worrying about something, she was worried that she wasn’t worrying.
I now realize I am my mother’s daughter. My name is Janet and I am a worrier. I worry about my kids, particularly my youngest at the moment. I worry about Joe’s mom. I worry about a friend who is in dire financial straits. I worry about the future of the planet.
I fully realize that worrying is a wasted pastime. I work hard during my yoga/meditation practice at banishing the worry from mind and body. But it always finds its way back like a virile virus.
Last night worry invaded my dream world. I dreamed that I was walking a pack of wolves. They were running off here, there and everywhere and I was concerned that other people who were out walking their dogs would be afraid of them. Finally I got them reasonably together and turned around to walk them home again. But it was such a struggle to move forward…it was like I was walking on the moon. Every step was a major accomplishment. I remember thinking, “Why is the simple act of walking so difficult?”
So dear friends, here’s the question of the day: are you a worrier? If you are, how do you get rid of your worries?
Saw a great film last night called ‘Dirt! The Movie’. Here’s a link to the trailer. It was the first time I’d heard soil described as the earth’s skin, but of course that’s exactly what it is. Here’s a slightly different promo for the film. If you like what you see here and want to borrow my copy of the movie, and you’re in Whitehorse, let me know and I’ll lend it to you.
Switching mediums now, here’s an article from yesterday’s Yukon News about backyard chickens in Whitehorse. Sounds like we are slowly making moves towards legalizing urban chooks.
Several more cups of wild cranberries picked and in the freezer – check (thanks Joe).
A big pile of carrots cut, blanched, and put in the freezer for soups and stews – check.
‘Finished’ compost spread over gardens – check.
Leaves mulched and added to ’working’ compost pile – check (again, thank you Joe).
Wheelbarrow wheel replaced – check.
Horse manure collected from colleague and spread over gardens (with help from Joe and a now functioning wheelbarrow) - check.
Garden tools cleaned and put away – check.
Come on winter. I dare you. Make my day!!
P.S. I also oven dried some plums today. Is it my imagination or do they not look like little vaginas?
I knew this day was coming. I’ve been dreading it for weeks. Now it’s here and I just have to face the facts. I am going to have to go grocery shopping.
What with the garden, supplemented with wild meat and fish, I haven’t done a grocery shop all summer except for picking up a few staples like sugar, oil, milk and cheese. And while I do have lots of carrots and potatoes in storage, all the rest of the fresh garden veggies are now just a memory, apart from a few tomatoes that are struggling to ripen on my counter and a forgotten baby zucchini that I just found at the back of my crisper.
Yes, this is a sad day at the Taibhsearachd Gardens.