Tag Archives: food

Saturday Market

Penticton has a thriving farmers’ market that operates in the downtown every Saturday from mid-April until the end of October.

One of the flower stalls.

M and I try do our weekly fruit and vegetable shopping there.

The market has an average of 8000 shoppers every Saturday.

We go early to avoid the crowds and we bring along our list and the shopping bags. Since all the produce is seasonal, we have to be ready to make adjustments.

Part of today’s haul!

Today we found beefsteak tomatoes, white peaches (on the lower left in the photo – the best peaches ever!), patty pan squash (in the bags), and honeycrisp apples. We also found mushrooms, basil, yellow beans, plums, and of course, sunflowers!

Autumn is the season of deliciousness!

Mushroom Pasta Recipe

This recipe is in metric, but I’ve done some imperial conversions that I hope work out. It’s really easy and you can play around with the amounts (more mushrooms!) to your taste. If you would like, you can also add chicken. I don’t always have mascarpone on hand so it’s sometimes left out, and if you’re watching calories, that will help, but the result will be less creamy. I compensate by adding a bit more of the pasta cooking water to make a light sauce. Also, if you’re watching your salt intake, you will need to leave it out of the pasta cooking water.

Ingredients:

– 450 grams (2 cups) pasta, whatever kind you like. I like spaghettini best.

– 30 ml (2 tbsp) olive oil

-2 chopped shallots

– 1 clove minced garlic

-450 g (2 cups) sliced fresh mushrooms, any kind you like or a mixture. In a pinch I’ve used dried ones, but you will need to increase slightly the amount of stock and wine.

-120 ml (half a cup) white wine (the same kind you’re going to have with the pasta)

-120 ml (half a cup) vegetable stock (you can also use chicken stock)

-200 ml (1 cup) mascarpone

-Parmesan

-parsley

– a few red pepper flakes if you would like a little heat

Directions:

In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil and add the pasta; cook for about 10 mins. Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, heat the oil and the shallots and garlic. Cook for a couple of minutes. Add the mushrooms and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Use a pan large enough to avoid crowding the mushrooms (this step is really important so that they don’t become soggy). Add the red pepper flakes (optional). Cook for about 6-7 mins. Turn the heat up and add the wine; cook until it has completely evaporated and the pan is de-glazed. Then add the stock until it reduces to a sauce-like consistency.

Remove the pan from the heat. Add the mascarpone cheese. Stir until it becomes creamy. Drain the pasta, reserving about 200 ml (1 cup) of the pasta water, and transfer to a serving bowl. Add the mushroom mixture and the parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste if desired. Toss well to coat the pasta, adding the reserved pasta water, if needed, to loosen the pasta. Garnish with the chopped parsley and lots of parmesan. Serve immediately and enjoy with a glass of wine.

Kayak2016 and Vanessence, I hope this recipe turns out well for you. Cheers!

Italian, Please

Although my cultural background is very strongly French-Canadian, I love to cook and eat Italian. A big favourite is mushroom pasta.

I find it incredibly comforting and delicious, and together with a glass of wine, one of my most treasured meals.

At some point in the future, (no more Covid!) I hope to spend some time in an Italian cooking school really digging in, in more ways than one!

Happy Monday.

Blueberries

I love blueberries, or as they are also known in French, bleuets. The early French and English explorers invented these words for their languages as they had never before encountered the intensely blue berries. Of course, they were already an ancient staple in the diets of many indigenous peoples.

Blueberries are native to North America and they prefer the cooler climes. Most bleuets purchased in the stores are cultivated, but wild ones are frequently available as well.

They are yummy just on their own or in a pie, pudding or cake. The best part? These sweet little flavour bombs are packed with nutrients which research suggests may protect against heart disease, cancer, cognitive decline, and diabetes.

Pretty great that this terrific treat is also good for you!

Hungry? Thirsty?

Recently I was going through my photos and found that quite a lot of them are pictures of foods or drinks. I enjoy eating, either at home or in a restaurant and my M is quite a good cook. We are also wine collectors, and we have a decent cellar.

But I didn’t quite realise that I’ve been harbouring a large number of food and drink photos in my archive. Here is a small sample:

A beer flight from a brewery in the Okanagan city of Penticton (where my southern home is).

Some homemade Halloween eyes from last week. These were a lot of work to make!

Hors d’oeuvre from my M. Or, snack time in the d’Arty-Cross household. 😉

Okanagan wine. This was a lovely bottle for a lovely meal.

A picnic. Also lovely, particularly because it was January!

Butter tarts. A Canadian favourite. M made these.

For someone who likes to take landscape and nature photos, there are an awful lot of consumables pictures hanging around in my  storage.

And this also explains why my pants can get tight and then I have to lay off for a while. I used to be able to eat what I wanted, but turning 40 changed all that. As I age though, I’m tempted to think, yeah, but I’m getting older, I can cheat some. I’ve earned it, right? I don’t care about a gorgeous (well, I was never gorgeous, but you know) corpse. When I shuffle off this mortal coil, my body should be done, spent, finished, toast, well past the sell-by date, expired, smoked … Really, who’s going to care when I’m taking the big dirt nap? 

Having said all that though, I am circumspect up to a point. I do watch my weight and I make a point of exercising because I have to pass medicals every six months. My one virtue is that I’ve never been a junk food person.

What do you think?

Do you like a good meal? Do you worry about your age and the extra baggage? Do you care what you look like, especially if you’re “getting up there” ?

But one final photo. Okanagan peaches. Yum. 🙂

Salt River

The Salt River runs through the town of Fort Smith, NWT.

All is very green right now because recently, there has been a lot of rain.

The Salt River is not salty, but is named for the nearby salt plains. The plains can be found in Wood Buffalo National Park and are very attractive to the many types of animals who like to lick the salt that has worked its way up from deep inside the earth.

During the fur trading days, the salt was collected for seasoning. It could still be used for this purpose today.

Happy Independence Day to our American friends and greetings from the non-salty Salt River. 🙂

Jitter All the Way

I’m not a morning person, but even if I was, I would still love coffee. Strong coffee. Turkish coffee. Arabic coffee. Cafe mocha. To me, coffee has all the nuance and complexity of a good wine.

Unless it’s plonk coffee.

And I know that this is some sort of national heresy, but when I think plonk, Tim Horton’s springs to mind. Well, it doesn’t spring. Their coffee has all the kick of grandpa’s walker.

Coffee is one of the best times of the day, even if it does mean that I’m propped up somewhere instead of sleeping.

Coffee has done a lot for me, too. For one thing, it has kept me awake enough to be employed. For another, it’s probably saved me from countless charges of road rage and the like.

Without coffee, I’d be unemployed and in jail. It’s amazing what coffee can do.

But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become sensitive to it. Which is weird, because it seems like everything else is desensitizing. I don’t see as well. I don’t hear as well. Calories arrive and take up permanent residence anywhere they can find a squat. I consider it to be a good day if I don’t wake up to another sag.

It used to be that coffee would never keep me awake, no matter what time I drank it. Then I couldn’t drink it in the evenings. Then I noticed that the afternoons were problematic. Then I noticed that it could make me a little shaky. Drinking coffee all day became a thing of the past.

Mornings, though. Those were sacrosanct.

So this morning while sitting at work, I noticed a slight tremor in my hands. I also felt a little jittery. As I reached for my coffee, I realized that I was consuming my fourth large cup. Could my hands and the coffee be related???

My cup holds a quarter of a litre.

Oh oh. Was I on my way to drinking a litre of coffee a morning??? Oi.

I thought about it. I thought, I don’t usually drink this much coffee.

Then I thought, yes I do.

Shit.

And no, I don’t mean poo-poop-de-do civet coffee, either.

However.

I’m not giving up coffee. I’ll cut back, but I’m not giving it up.

While I was thinking about it, I decided that there’s some other stuff I’m not giving up.

Chocolate.

Steak.

Red wine.

Maybe the odd cigar.

You’ll have to pry this stuff from my cold shaking hands.

Well okay, okay. Maybe I will have to sort of give it up at some time.

But never completely.

What will you never give up?

 

Fruitcake, Anyone???

I have an uneasy relationship with fruitcakes.

You know, the stuff you eat. Well, I suppose you eat it. I mean, from what I’ve heard, no one eats it. It gets shoved into the back of some cupboard, or into the corner of a freezer, and there it stays until is discovered, like an Indiana Jones artifact. You have to dig it out with a pick.

And by then, it will have acquired the density of a hockey puck.

But my questions is, if so many people hate it, why does it keep showing up on store shelves? Somebody must be buying this dreck.

And what about the people who make them?

If you stop and think about it, there’s an awful lot of fruitcake around at this time of the year, and if you can find one person who says he or she likes it, then you’re farther ahead than me, my friend.

My mother used to make fruitcakes. She would start in September so that they would age properly.

“Age” properly??? I don’t get it. They are the only thing on the face of the planet that doesn’t age.

If Armageddon were to occur tomorrow, the only thing left would be fruitcake. It would be a sea of fruitcake. You would have to elbow the fruitcake out of the way. Every fruitcake that everyone in the world has ever been hoarding would float to the surface, bobbing there like little brown pontoon boats.

Sorry. I just had to have a mini-rant.

Anyway. Once she had made them, she would store them in cake tins and every couple of days, she would take them out and paint them with rum.

Now, I’m half French. And I was raised mostly around my French relatives. And to me, and them, the whole fruitcake thing was a complete mystery. Why would you put this lurid neon fruit that you would never eat by itself for fear of contracting a dread disease, into a pan of perfectly good batter, leave it for months, douse it in rum, and then oooh and ahhh over it?

I suppose it had to be doused in rum. That was the only thing stopping it from getting up and walking out and starting its own colony.

fruit cake side view
fruit cake side view (Photo credit: Dani P.L.)

Anyhow, once it emerged from hiding, my mother would spend the rest of the holiday coaxing, cajoling and ordering people to eat it.

I mean, I know that there used to be a time when fruit had to be preserved and anything sweet, especially at Christmas, was a delicacy.

But my goodness! We aren’t eating hard tack any more, so what’s with the fruitcakes?

And those blanched nuts on top of it. Yikes! The word “blanched” says it all.

To me, a fruitcake should be made with real fruit, dried or fresh, and not that stuff that has survived a nuclear winter. And if you want to add some real nuts, that’s good, too. I’d be happy to try some fruitcake that has been made with real ingredients.

What about you? Are you a secret lover of fruitcakes? Do you feel that fruitcakes have been unfairly targeted by discriminatory forces? What is your fruitcake opinion?

I’d be delighted to hear from you.