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Happy-Gourmand

Seasonal shock therapy?

Springing forward is a great thing once you’ve done it, but I always feel like I was robbed of that hour of sleep on the Monday after.

Usually though, the continuing daylight does take effect and I am reminded of that old John Denver lyric, “Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy….” This year however, I feel as though we are going backward in a weather time machine.

It’s hard to get motivated to look at seed catalogues and plan my gardens when I look outside at the reoccurring blanket of white on the Westside. Big, grey clouds that darken the sky make even my indoor plants seem droopy in despair.

Usually, by now, I find myself drawn closer to the fresh herbs and vibrant-coloured veggies when we shop for groceries. Those comfortable root vegetables are still my friends this year, as I continue to make stews and roast them for hearty salads.

Perhaps this is shock therapy brought on by Mother Nature? Is this last bout of wintery weather meant to make us appreciate spring even more when it arrives next week? Maybe she got wind of the Daylight Savings concept and misunderstood it to mean she should save the sunny days for later.

Whatever the case, I guess we just have to soldier on.

Once a week, we sample a new recipe – sometimes my chef tries out an idea he has for future menus, and other times I have a new taste for us. We need to jolt ourselves into spring, so we will be making a traditional spring dinner we enjoy.

Something about new tastes and new adventures seems to herald spring, just like the wild crocus blossoms we get in our yard and the Canada geese coming back from their winter vacation to start new families.

Since we are such foodies our meals can seem exotic to some: sautéed frog legs with garlic butter and fresh asparagus is not on everyone’s menu.

I can assure you this is a meal worth experiencing, a small town-type tradition in some parts of the world where local boys get paid a few coins each for their catch. Isn’t that a great example of supporting local food?

You might not want to pick up frog legs for Sunday dinner (if you do, they are available frozen at the Oriental Supermarket on Highway 97). I bet you will be dusting off your barbecue soon, though.

In case you need a new one, I asked my hubby for his tips. He is an expert with a charcoal barbecue or grill, but he has used many gas models in his years as a chef.

Even if the snow doesn’t all melt, maybe shovelling a path on the deck and firing up the grill will warm your family up to the idea of spring.

A few tips to help you choose the right gas barbecue.

  • As a general rule, every $100 you spend equals one year of life you get out of your barbecue.
  • Size of your grilling surface is important. Always buy bigger than you need, and that way you can entertain and not be worry about running out of space.
  • Bigger is better! A large barbecue can accommodate different styles of cooking whereas a small grilling surface is more limited.
  • Stainless steel barbecues are worth the extra money. Every part exposed to the rain will rust one day unless it is stainless steel.
  • Cast iron grills and stainless steel are both the best. Anything else is cheap and not that great.
  • I prefer the burners with buttons in the front instead of on the right side as it is much easier to cook with indirect heat using that style.

Any extra adjustments and/or features are a plus but certainly not necessary, including side burners and the rotisserie. 

Natural gas versus propane… well, it is your choice. Obviously, natural gas is very convenient; no more trips to the gas station. Propane burns hotter than natural gas, so make sure to have your machine well adjusted by a professional.

Bottom line, it’s not the machine but the cook that matters. If you wish to get better at barbecuing, practice is the key. Now, don’t practice on your guests, but on your family is fine. Once they stop complaining, you are ready to serve it to your guests.

I have quite a few barbecue recipes on my website so feel free to steal one and take all the credit. 

Happy cooking!



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About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."

 

E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com

 



The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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