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  • simonathibault 3:51 pm on May 26, 2010 Permalink | Reply
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    Changing seasons in the first person 

    My kitchen and I are in between seasons.

    I have spent the past few months eating root veggies and squash, cooking meats over slow heat, to help heat the house and make decent dinners.  If only I could have some fresh greens to go with my wine-braised rabbit.  I’m getting tired of celeriac.  It’s not easy to eat seasonally in this province.

    Spring is a time of birth.  It is also a very brief and occasionally difficult time of transience in Nova Scotia.

    Farmers are still worrying about frost damaging their crops.  People in kitchens are dreaming of the upcoming bounty.  And I’m already starting to miss the heat of the oven, the slowing down of time that comes with simmering and roasting.  No matter how excited we get for the first green shoots to come up out of the ground –  the early rhubarb, the asparagus- there’s a part of me that still wishes we had room to make slow-simmered pots of food.

    It’s late May, on a sunny afternoon, and I am in the kitchen, making an apple crisp with frozen apples that I had already cored and peeled and put into Ziploc baggies for the dead of winter.  I also added some frozen cranberries that my mother and father have picked themselves, in a small bog not far from there home.  If my memory serves me, my father got poison ivy getting me these berries.  Thanks again Dad.

    For dinner tonight, I am making a salad with some of the first radishes of the season.  But I am making a compromise to the seasons:  braised ox tails are slowly simmering in the oven.  I open the windows to make the best of both world. Fresh air coming in, and the heat of the oven slowly dissipating toward the incoming season.

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  • eastsidekp 9:12 am on May 18, 2010 Permalink | Reply
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    Seasonal Suppers – Fiddlehead Pasta 

    Fiddleheads have been at the market for a couple of weeks now, and probably will be for a couple more. Every spring, this delicacy is one of the earliest crops available for local eaters. While it seems to me that Fiddleheads were once more of a curiosity – something that only dedicated Maritime locavores picked up on visits to the market – in the last few years I see them everywhere this time of year, including at large grocery stores. As this seasonal treat b

    ecomes more and more common on the dinner table, we all need a few more options for cooking.

    With Fiddleheads in the fridge on a weeknight, my SO and I were looking for quick way to get them ready and to the table.  Aglio e Olio has for us been a weeknight standby – simple and tasty: garlic, oil, pasta and chilies, it’s pretty easy to throw together after a day a work. Knowing that the addition of asparagus is a great way to embellish the dish – fiddleheads didn’t seem like much of a leap from there.

    If you’ve never eaten fiddleheads – or even if you have – a good idea is to read up a bit about food safety and this seasonal treat. Eating undercooked fiddleheads can make you sick – so for this pasta you can’t just sauté them up with your garlic – you need to steam or boil them a bit first and then discard the boiling water.  Once you’ve done that step, the rest is simple. We made one other variation on traditional Aglio e Olio – instead of using Olive Oil, we sautéd our garlic and parboiled Fiddleheads in butter.  Add a splash of lemon juice and some dried chilies and toss with al dente pasta (spaghettini  is the pasta of choice around here).

    Want to add wine to your meal?  This guy says that Sauvignon Blanc is the way to go for pairing wine with spring veggies like asparagus and fiddleheads.  We didn’t have any of that in the house. After reading in various places that dedicated asparagus fans pair Muscat with that spring veggie we toasted our luck at having just visited some Annapolis Valley wineries and picked up a bottle of 2008 Muscat from Gaspereau Wines. The pairing of the fruity Muscat with the earthly and slightly spicy pasta was perfect.

     
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