Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Island Gatherer picks up dinner in the wild

Returning home from a cold winter day working on one of the outer islands near Canada, Sara Gerlitz took advantage of the bounty of local goodness and harvested some dinner ingredients of wild onions and mussels.

Sara was braving the cold in an open boat with mosquitos and snow flurries in her face, collecting some topographical data of some wetlands.

 Sara describes her dish: "the final dish was actually sprouted red quinoa with the onion, mussels and dollops of a tahini, honey and red pepper flake mixture. The onion carpets the ground and is more chive like in taste than oniony"

photo credit: Sara Gerlitz

Monday, March 1, 2010

"Curling" up to dinner and the Winter Games

I'm curling up with a bowl of seafood soup and the Olympics in the sports bar at a bayside restaurant.  Lopez in the San Juan Islands, is just a stones throw away from Vancouver Canada.  I try things the baked oysters, and the Greek fisherman's stew.  I'm glad the food is adequate as I am having a hard time digesting the Olympic event. My Olympic viewing hopes anticipated the "zowie" action of downhill slalom, "ooo and yes!" of snowboarding half-pipe or the "wheee" of the ice skating, but for my dinner hour it would be the "huh?" of curling.

I try to be open. I just need to understand the sport. Maybe I can compare curling with another sport I know. Let's see, sports with brooms, sports with brooms... Quidditch? Nope, nothing similar. What engaged me is that for once, an Olympic sport seems close to my level of athleticism. Yes! The players appear in prime shape, unlike me, but isn't that overkill for the event requirements? I mean, I am actually primed for floor sweeping. My daily workout routine of sweeping the kitchen floor prepares me. Oh, and if I step that up a notch, adding daily sweeping of the bathrooms, dinning and living room, yard, then maybe I would be fit enough to be a curler. (Is that the correct description? Like the round objects woman wear in their hair at night to make it bouncey in the morning?)

You know they say that competition at that level is really a mind game. Curling is no exception. It appears similar to the Ouija board we had when we were kids. A game utilizing mental forces puportedly. One rests their fingers on the flat game piece and then it moves mysteriously across the board. Ours seemed to work but I think my brother faked us out. I don't really know as I only got to play it a couple times before the anti-occult police took the game away. At first I wondered if curling was the same deal. The hovering puck (called a stone) seems to mysteriously move across the ice following the path made clear by the brooms. Didn't the Zamboni already clean the ice?  OOOEEUUU. Are they moving it with their minds? Very mysterious. Hard to take my eyes off of it now. Could this be an interesting sport after all? Maybe, except for the mean element. While aiming for bulls-eye, the stones seem to bump into opponents stones with the intension of knocking them out of the circle. Being the victim of such cruel actions happened enough to me as a kid in croquette, when my ball would get sent across the grass into the bushes. Sigh... I guess it isn't the perfect sport for someone who likes big brothers to be nice.

Perhaps next time I'm at this sports bar for dinner, I'll order the curly fries, and curl up with a book.

Canadian Winter Olympics Smoked Salmon Fettucine (thanks to Kendra Nordin)

Kendra Nordin's Fettucine Alfredo (alla Vancouver Winter Games) with "Gold" peppers had me salivating. I glanced at her ingredients to see if she skimped on the cream as the picture looks so worthy of everyday fare with the mushrooms, peppers and a garnish of baby spinach encircling the dish. Maybe she created a lean version of the sauce using chicken broth or some other trendy alternative to fat. I grinned when I saw heavy cream and butter in equal portions and ample parmesan cheese. Thumbs up1
Because I live in the Northwest, 2 hours from the Canadian border, my version has to have Northwestern smoked salmon in it. That is my Vancouver Canada Olympic tribute. Using Kendra's yummy recipe as a base, but adding orange as well as yellow peppers, smoked salmon instead of prosciutto, chopped fennel tips, dash of cayenne, and lemon zest added to the rich cream sauce. I'm thinking of surrounding it with tender spring asparagus or arugula, but spinach is good too. Truthfully, fettucine alfredo doesn't need all the fancy dancy additions to be lip-smackingly yummy. If you use good tasting cream, butter and parmesan cheese, it's one of those "died and gone to heaven" dishes.When rich cream is not the right thing, I thin the sauce with chicken or veggie broth, but believe me, it is not even half as good.