06/23/15

Hello Ocean

Mr. and I went on an anniversary adventure a couple of weeks ago.

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We went to Prince Edward Island for a few days before hopping on a ferry over to Nova Scotia to finish the trip.

It was magical.

I spent a good portion of my childhood dreaming of the ocean: of living on a rocky shore, or being a pirate, or, because of the movie Pete’s Dragon, being a lighthouse keeper. I’m not sure if this is a pattern, children growing up on the prairies dreaming of the ocean, but it’s what I did. Where do children from the coast dream about living? I don’t know if it would be the prairies.

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On the way there, amidst all of my excitement, I was a little bit worried. (But then, when am I not at least a little worried? Ha ha ha). A person spends all of this time fantasizing, mythologising about a place, putting it up on a pedastal, what if it doesn’t live up to how you imagined it?

But I was worrying for nothing. It was amazing. It was as amazing as I imagined it could be. I would go back in a second.

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Many lighthouses were hugged. There was much excitement.

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Mr., who didn’t grow up dreaming of lighthouses or the ocean, hugged some lighthouses too. He was happy we were having such a fun time.

If you find yourself in Charlottetown and need a bite to eat, here are our suggested stops: the Water Prince Corner Shop (chowder so good we came back the next day to have it again!), and Dave’s Lobster (for lobster rolls that were Mr.’s favourite meal the whole trip. The ‘Some Fancy’ is so good it’ll give you goosebumps.).

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In Halifax we got to spend some time with our friend Dave, who we don’t get to see often enough at all. We went to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, walked the boardwalk, and took a tour of his ship. We got treated to oysters at the Waterfront Warehouse, a first for both Mr. and myself!

For our anniversary, Mr. and I decided to continue the tradition of having a picnic. We went to Point Prim lighthouse, the oldest lighthouse on Prince Edward Island, with our treats and our picnic blanket and had a marvellous time.

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I can’t wait to go back. And I’m sure that we will!

To go along with today’s picnic theme I have a recipe for a crunchy, bright slaw that would be perfect to pack in a picnic basket.

Granny Smith and Celery Slaw

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1 Granny Smith apple

5 stalks of celery

2 Tbsp mayonnaise

1 1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp Dijon mustard

Directions

  • Cut the apple into quarters and remove the core before slicing thinly.
  • Slice the celery into crescents of similar thickness to the apple.

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  • In a medium to small mixing bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, and Dijon mustard to make the dressing.
  • Add the sliced apple and celery to the bowl, tossing to coat.
  • Serve!
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Crunch!

I think it might be fun next time to cut everything into juliennes, to have it look more traditionally slaw-like. I know some people would rather go to the dentist than cut into juliennes, but I’ve always kind of had fun with it.

 

04/23/15

The Mighty, Mighty Mandarin

Mighty Mandarin Salad

1/4 Cup vegetable oil (or other neutral oil)

2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard

2 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp chopped parsley

1/2 tsp salt

pinch black pepper

1/2 Cup sunflower seeds

1/4 Cup sugar

a head of lettuce of your choice (I used a spring mix), rinsed, dried and torn

1 Cup chopped celery, sliced thin

2 – 11 oz cans of mandarin orange segments, drained

Directions

  • For the vinaigrette, find a container with a tight sealing lid, a jar is perfect, and combine in it the vegetable oil, cider vinegar, mustard, first measure of sugar, parsley, salt, and pepper.

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  • Affix the lid to your container, and then shake, shake, shake until the vinaigrette is emulsified. Set aside as you prepare the rest of the salad.
  • Place a small frying pan on the stove over medium heat. Tip the sunflower seeds into the pan, and toast, stirring leisurely as the seeds take on a little colour and become fragrant. Then, sprinkle over the second measure of sugar, stirring as it melts until the seeds are coated. Remove the pan from heat, pour the candied seeds onto a plate or into a bowl to cool.
  • Put the lettuce, celery, and mandarin orange segments into a salad bowl, tossing gently so that the segments of orange don’t get broken up into mush.
  • With cooling, the sugar on the candied sunflower seeds will have recrystallized. Break the mass apart with your hands and sprinkle over the veg.
  • Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad just before serving.

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When serving salad, I like to employ the practice of dressing lightly and then serving the remainder alongside. This way, people who enjoy their salad lightly dressed can, and those who like to have theirs swimming in vinaigrette can too!

This salad is normally done with sliced almonds, candied up in the same way as I do the sunflower seeds. It’s definitely really nice that way but because Mr is allergic to nuts the almonds get substituted out these days. Use what you like, but I really would suggest to give the sunflower seeds a try. Whichever you elect to use, they bring an extra delightful crunch to each forkful.

As an additional option, if I remember correctly, my aunties who make this salad do so with some green onion chopped in. It would certainly be easy to add, but I’m not very partial to green onion and it’s my version of the recipe, so I don’t put them in!

I have a soft spot in my heart for mandarin, so I quite enjoy this salad. Crunchy, delightful, and sweet, it’s sure to please!

This time last year: Quintessential Quinoa Cakes

2 years ago: Pomegranate Jelly

3 years ago: Blackberry Lemonade Popsicles

4 years ago: Good Lemon Hummus

5 years ago: Raspberry Eskimo Pie

12/20/11

Hail Caesar!

It’s a matter of days until the holiday season gets into full swing, so I thought I would make a cocktail suggestion to smooth the frayed nerves that come along with preparations for the season. The Caesar is Canada’s answer to the Bloody Mary. Just about everything about the beverage is the same, but instead of tomato juice as a mix, you use a combination of tomato juice and clam juice.

Clam juice in a drink? The combination sounds weird to those who haven’t had one before, I know. Do not fear my intrepid food explorers! Think of the flavor profile of Manhattan clam chowder or ciopinno; tomato juice and clam juice make great friends.

A Caesar is a spicy, savory sipper best served in a tall glass with plenty of ice. The classic garnish is a celery stalk (how can you say no to a drink that comes with a snack?), but the glass can be additionally dressed up with a dill pickle, a wedge of lime or a spicy pickled green bean.

Caesar

Lime juice (for rimmer)

Celery salt (for rimmer)

Ice cubes

dash of hot sauce

dash of Worcestershire sauce

1 ½ oz vodka

1/2 oz brine from the pickled green beans (optional)

6 oz Clamato juice (or, if you can’t get ahold of it mixed, 3 oz clam juice, 3 oz tomato juice)

1 celery stalk

1 spicy pickled green bean

Directions

  • Wet the edges of your glass with lime juice, and then through the celery salt. The lime juice will make the celery salt stick to the rim.
  • Add the ice to the glass.
  • Over the ice, add a dash of hot sauce, followed by a dash of Worchestershire.
  • Pour in the vodka and the pickle brine, if using.
  • Top with Clamato juice.
  • Garnish with a stalk of celery and a pickled green bean.
  • Enjoy!

Caesars are a really nice option for when you tire of sweet drinks, or are looking forward to something with a little spice to it. What a lovely cocktail!

Mr. Says: It takes a Canadian to add meat to a cocktail. And don’t skip out on the celery salt rimmer, he highly recommends it.

This time last year: Lemon Roasted Potatoes