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  • eastsidekp 10:32 pm on June 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Cordial drinking for Canada 

    The weather for Canada Day in Halifax is looking good. So while you’re (hopefully) enjoying a day off, you’ll need a few good drink recipes to show what a patriot you are.

    Make a rhubarb toast to our nation

    The beginning of July is pretty much the end of rhubarb season – but if you’ve got a few stalks left , try drinking them. That’s right: I’ve become a big fan of rhubarb based drinks.  The basic principle for all the rhubarb drinks I’ve tried is the same: pull your rhubarb, cut it up, simmer it and pour the liquid through a strainer to remove most of the solid fruit. The result is a tasty liquid  you can use in alcoholic or nonalcoholic drinks. As a bonus, you can throw the remaining rhubarb chunks into some dessert baking, bearing in mind its reduced flavour.

    While the internet abounds with recipes for making  cordials, I’ve decided that working on a cup for cup basis works well – 1 cup chopped rhubarb to 1 cup water.  Simmer 15 to 20 minutes – I like to do it half the time with the lid on and half with the lid off, and aim to have half the amount of liquid that I started with by the end. With this you’ll have a decently strong cordial to proceed with.

    If you’re planning on using water as the liquid to dilute your cordial with – add some sugar while the brew is still hot and stir vigourously to get the sugar mixed in.  If you’ll be mixing your cordial with something other than water, consider the sugar content of that mix before adding too much sweetener.  Dilute the cordial to taste, and serve cold.  Mixing with clear soda-like Sprite or 7UP- is a good way to add sweetness and bubbles.

    If you like a bit of kick in your drinks – try the sweetened cordial with gin and soda water or tonic (I made the switch to soda a few years ago after realizing the sugar content of tonic water-but either works), some lime and a touch of fresh mint if you’ve got it.  But the pièce de résistance of summer rhubarb drinks has to be this slushie recipe that I recently encountered on a trip to New Brunswick:

    Boozy rhubarb slushie

    Make your cordial from 8 cups each of water and rhubarb. Pour off the liquid and combine with 2 cans of frozen pink lemonaid and 1 pint of gin. Freeze for 24 hours.  Once frozen, stir the slush to get the parts mixed more evenly, scoop into a tall glass and top with soda water (or tonic, or Sprite/7UP, if you’ve got a sweeter tooth).

    Happy Canada Day!

  • 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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