Recognize the title of the post? Thanks portlandia:
Last weekend Graham and I went to the Farmer’s Market. It was the busiest I have ever seen it: bouncy castle, roads closed off for extra stands, with massive and tiny tents alike. We spent something like $60 on produce, but came home with quite a haul.
Then we were tasked with the challenging of using it all. Last month we got a new food dehydrator, and it is great. It has 9 big trays and a themostat, it seems to work pretty well.
We bought a bunch of jars at SuperStore and also made some pickles: 2 kinds of bread-and-butter (sour and sour-er for Graham), Dill cukes, Dill beets, and Spicy beets.
I also tried my hand at nectarine jam. It has less sugar than most jams and set really well without pectin! I think this will be great with yogurt.
“Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
Most of my time is spent at my desk pushing my keyboard-plow, but this week I had the chance to go out to a colleague’s grain farm with some students. It was a great example of a small family farm – if you can count 1200 acres as a ‘small farm’. Although this is an order of magnitude more than a farm in BC or Ontario, it is also an order of magnitude smaller than the mega-agri-business conglomerate farms in SK: lots over 10 000!
It was a really nice mix of field crops: canola, barley, oats, and peas; animals: sheep, beef cattle and kitties; fruit: sour cherries, seabuckthorn, 2 kinds of raspberries, saskatoon berries, huskap, and apples. I think I sampled everything, and mowed down 100 cherries of the tree… though it still had lots on it. I also saw lamb’s quarters in the orchard lanes, so I’d love to go back with a bucket (or 10) one day.
Overall it was a very charming place and made me really nostalgic for rural living. One of the nicest parts was the warm reception we got; my colleague’s mum Joan made us cucumber sandwiches and potato salad out of the garden, along with fresh berry tarts and a bowl of awesome local sour cherries. We had a sunny picnic in the garden and topped it off with a multi-treat fika that would make any Swede proud.
There was lots of farm equipment to look at too, but I’ll include that in another post.
Korean markets are lots of fun. Open and varied and busy, not unlike open markets in Hong Kong int hat you will see a lot of things you aren’t used to, including food at different stages of preparation than you get in a typical Superstore.
Food is great in Korea, partly due to the great agriculture but also the gusto approach to spicing. Chili and garlic keeps every dish exciting, and the freshness of the food is amazing – fresh form a garden or octopus that still wiggles as you chomp it up (wish I was kidding).
October 14 was Mom’s 70th birthday party at my parent’s home in Mission. What a fun day! Elizabeth and I had been planning it for weeks, and happily many of our family and friends were able to make the trip. Even Koljeet, my Mom’s best friend from childhood and maid of honour made it! It was a great event, and I hope those of you that were there enjoy reliving the memories with the photos. Thank you all for coming, Mom was delighted. It was also really great for me to see some folks that I had not seen since leaving for Sweden.
I was daunted at the idea of flying into Vancouver, grocery shopping, and cooking for more than 30 people, but I wanted to throw mom a party, not invite a bunch of people and give her the job of feeding them. Mom has fed all of us many MANY times, and even though she loves cooking and nurturing and hosting, she deserved a break from the kitchen jobs. So, the even was catered by the fabulous Silver Teapot Company, owned by family friend Tania. The food was outstanding: an Italian-themed tea/luncehon. Here is menu:
Fresh Figs wrapped in Proscuitto
Citrus and Rosemary Marinated olives
Seasonal Grilled Vegetables
Oven Dried Roma Tomatoes
Caramelized Onion Foccacia
Tuscan White Bean Crostini
Parmigano Reggiano drizzled with honey
Insalata Mista (Mixed local greens)
Panzanella(Grilled bread salad)
Pesto Orzo Pasta Salad
Pasta Shells stuffed with Spinach and Ricotta in Marinara
Cornmeal dusted scones with Marscapone creama
Amaretti, Biscotti, Brutti ma Buoni
Limoncello Lemon Tarts
It was wonderful to be able to mingle and hangout with guests which was made possible by my dear friend Tania, and her catering and full Tea service company, Silver Teapot Company. They even brought stunning porcelain, and did the dishes! A few people have asked about the catering; you can contact the Silver Teapot Company via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dad provided coffee service, which was delicious as always, dad! And with the help of his new carafe he was able to ‘stay ahead of the demand’ for delicious fresh-ground nectar of the gods.
Here are some silly time pictures:
Here are some pictures of our treasured celebrating guests:
Cake Time with Tania Chiasson’s family recipe, to complete our stunning meal with Italian themed decadence, was a Tiramisu light as air, and rich and creamy, and made with love. Thank you for such an amazing celebration treat Tania!
Throughout the event there were many lil’ Fae who added to the celebration by gradually sneaking in mini sugar-pumpkins, 70 of them to be precise, one at a time, and hiding them all over the house to be found for days to come. Well done David! This kind gesture was a gradual surprise that escalated when Annabelle stole away to use the loo, and then the remaining pumpkins were brought in all at once, and Annabelle emerged to a pumpkin-punctuated party! (sometimes alliteration happens)
A rainy autumn event needs to have a place to put the soggy jackets, here M&D’s king-sized bed covered in a shower curtain is providing a safe and dry surface for the coats.
Thank you so very much everyone who came, we hope you had a lovely time. Thank you very much for braving the weather and joining in on celebrating mum’s birthday.
Thank you to Tania, Sandra and the Silver Teapot Company for the beautiful food, and piece of mind, you provided for our celebration.
This weekend I spent some time by the stove working with surplus produce. I got 5lbs of little garden cucumbers from a colleague, so I made bread and butter pickles. This was my first time making cucumber pickles, although I have pickled beets a lot. I didn’t have any celery seed, but the pickles taste good and are crunchier than commercial ones.
I also picked some rowan berries to finally make rönnbär jelly as described by Per when I was in Sweden. The berries are tart and bitter as all-get out, with a LOT of pectin. I have not made jelly before and I heard it can be tricky to get it to gel properly, but no worries here. Bill Cosby could make jello jigglers out of this stuff.
McDonalds has some different stuff in every country. In France I am a little shy to say that I had an iced coffee and macaron at McDonalds – and the macaron was not only serviceable but better than many I have had in Canada. In the Canadian Maritimes you can get a Mc Lobster, when in season. I never plan to eat one, but I can see that maybe some of the local specialties are not that bad, if you are into that type of thing.
‘Havtorn’ is the Swedish word for ‘Sea buckthorn‘ and has almost the same meaning: “Sea thorn”. I was really surprised at the Farmers Market last year to find out that it grows in Saskatchewan, despite being no where near the sea. I suppose something about the windswept prairie appeals to them. The Farmers’ Market ones grow up North, and I didn’t expect to see any around town… but Saturday coming home from shopping I spied something golden out the corner of my eye – massive Seabuckthorn TREES with LOTS of berries. They were even more loaded down than LT’s bushes. In about an hour I picked about 4 litres, although not without some sacrifice… the berries do not come off the bush easily, and the ‘thorn’ in the name is for realz. You know when you get lemon juice on a tiny cut it magnifies the sting? Well, I got a lot of scrapes and pokes, and also burst a lot of berries which dripped all gown my arms and all over my shirt. It was very uneven ground and kind of dusty, so I got very dirty and sticky on top of the scratches. Sea buckthorn has more Vitamin C than almost anything else,as well as carotinoids, vitamin E, and minerals. They also taste fantastic, and I can’t wait to have some havtorn ice cream this Fall!