Thursday, August 19, 2010

Proscuitto Wrapped Salmon and a Hodge Podge of Friends

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When people ask me if I am travelling anywhere in the summer - I always reply that I am staying right here... in Nova Scotia!  Honestly, why would I want to be anywhere else??
Now, I do love my dear province all through the year, but come February, March, weeeell, I have to admit to the occasional impure thought and exotic fantasy of palm trees, sand in my toes, and the warmth of the tropical sun. But in the summertime, hey, I am 100% faithful to this sea bound coast.
It is sooo beautiful and not only that - summer is when friends and family, who have moved away from the east coast to find their fortune, come back home. And I certainly don't want to miss them!!

 Last week I was lucky to spend time with two old friends who had come home to Nova Scotia for a visit. One night, Gina and her sweet daughter Georgia, Margaret and her beau Michael, and Elaine - all came together for a meal at our table. How wonderful it was to have cherished old friends at my table!

Hmmmm.... food - can't live without it. Just like friends  -  I started to ponder how the parts of this meal were like dear friends.

- Friendships like an expensive red wine when properly taken care of become more precious as time goes by. And, like red wine, friends are good for the heart
 - Friends are like a dose of the salmon's omega-3's for the mind -and are best if they have their own wild side (and everyone does....yes, you do too!)
 -The recipe for Hodge Podge is like a mix of old and new friends. Old friends are like the root veggies, potatoes and carrots, giving us roots and the encouragement to dig deep. New friends are like the climbing vines of beans and peas asking us to reach a little higher and be open to new possibilities.

And of course dessert - cuz friends just make life sweet!! AAAaaahhhhh!

Here is a delicious and quick way to make a salmon meal different and special - it is another idea from Michael Smith's book:

Proscuitto- Wrapped Salmon
The proscuitto wraps the salmon, sealing in the juices and becomes like a thin, crispy piece of bacon with intense flavour on top.

Salmon filets or one side of salmon (preferably wild)
a little dijon mustard
a few proscuitto slices

Spread a little dijon mustard over the top of the salmon

If you have filets, you can wrap the whole filet with a slice of proscuitto, placing it skin and seam side down on the baking sheet
I used a whole side of salmon and placed the proscuitto slices slightly overlapping over the top and salmon skin side down.

Bake in a 375 oven for about 15-20 minutes or until fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Peach Sorbet for a Hot Summer Day

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Oh, I bet you hoped to just get the recipe for Sorbet and skip all of these soppy sentimental stories - thinking to yourself: " How on earth does someone have so many memories attached to food!"..." and more importantly, why does she think we need to hear about them!!"
Wow... are you grumpy today!
When I decided to write about sorbet I fully intended to simply do the recipe. But somewhere between peeling the peaches and stirring the syrup, I remembered my first experience with sorbet. And, ooooh it brought back so many memories!! Sniff , sniff!

SIDE STORY: I was first introduced to sorbet during my magical summers working as a waitress at the Keltic Lodge in Ingonish, Nova Scotia. The Keltic sits on the tip of a narrow peninsula, with spectacular cliffs on both sides. The beauty of the location is almost unreal -I remember thinking this even as a young waitress walking up to the sunrise breakfast shifts from the staff residence.

Before every dinner shift all of the waiters would meet with the French chefs to learn about the menu. It was always a 5 course meal (different every night) and often there would be a sorbet to 'cleanse the palate' between courses. We carried the large oval trays stacked high with covered plates above our heads. Impressive! I know! Each waiter would have five or six tables of two to six people and five courses going at different times. You can imagine my panic when one night I lost track of my tray with the orders under the linen napkin and NO idea what the next course was for most of my guests! I made an attempt at guessing with a young couple on their honeymoon - giving them their second course when they were expecting their main course. The blushing bride said "in our eyes you can do no wrong, Edie"...but the groom, who was a little less sentimental about their waitress, made it clear that he wanted no more mistakes! So, I frantically ran around looking for my tray and gave up on leaving it up to my memory.

If you travel to Cape Breton - make sure to go to the Keltic Lodge for a meal! It will be a first class culinary adventure - and remember to be kind to the waitress!
Just beyond the resort is the Middlehead Hiking Trail - a short, but amazing hike - you will be moved to sing 'Climb Every Mountain' at the top of your lungs, as my mother did when I was a teenager.

Simple Sorbet Syrup
Start by making a sugar syrup - this will make more than you need, but you can store it in the fridge and will just have to make more sorbet. You can make blueberry, raspberry, strawberry ...chocolate!
I would like to say that you can omit the sugar to increase the health factor, but it is necessary to have a certain ratio of sugar to fruit in order to get the right freezing and texture that is expected in a sorbet.
I will try to experiment with stevia and sorbet soon - 

2 cups sugar
1 cup water

Bring sugar and water to a boil; stir until the sugar dissolves.
Store extra in a mason jar until you make your next batch of sorbet.

Peach Sorbet
Is sorbet the same as sherbet, you ask?  Sorbets and sherbets are both usually fruit - based desserts, but sherbets contain dairy; whereas sorbets do not. Now, granitas and gelato are another story....

2 cups peeled, sliced peaches
1/2 cup simple sorbet syrup
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Puree the peaches in a food processor

Add 1/2 cup of the simple sorbet syrup and the lemon juice to the puree.
Transfer to a freezer friendly container with a lid and freeze until almost firm.

Then transfer back to the processor and puree again to break up ice crystals.

Freeze until almost firm.
Remove the sorbet from the freezer about 15 minutes before serving.