A Pair Of Gourmands

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Spring Fever - by The Chef in Stead

She says

Now that spring has sprung, it makes me think of all the new things that are coming into season. With the warmer temperatures, we don’t feel the need for so much comfort food, and so the lighter fare available at the grocery stores and markets creates new inspirations.

In our house, I look after creating our own bounty in the garden, and Martin looks after cooking it up!

This year, we will have lots of herbs to choose from: dill, rosemary, lavender, tarragon, cilantro, 2 kinds of thyme and oregano, garlic chives, 2 kinds of basil, and of course our favorite Italian parsley (it grows almost like the grass in one corner of the garden!)

I got on a kick this year about odd-colored vegetables, so we will have purple carrots, orange cauliflower, burgundy beans and green zebra tomatoes. There is something exciting about food that is not exactly as you expect it to be, and it seems to inspire new twists from the chef in the family, too!
Of course, not all of the things in the garden are edible (although I do love edible flowers, so we have pansies and nasturtiums). Martin’s daughter and my Mom both help with the garden design, which is centered around fun and color. This year, we will have sunflowers, gladiolas, sweet peas, morning glories, marigolds, lavender, and poppies. Then, when we sit out on the patio to enjoy dinners this summer, full of the bounty from the garden, we can revel in the rainbow of colors around us as we enjoy the view!


He says

As we gear up for the coming summer, I like to cook things that make me think of warmer weather and longer days.

Selecting and planting your herbs for the summer.

Buy a great book and read about all the possible herbs that you can plant. All herbs can be dried if you have time and space, or definitely frozen in Zip-lock bags for the winter. Don’t waste any by leaving it in the garden when the cold season comes back around.

This is what I have in my herb garden, and I use it every day!

Oregano and Basil:
Great to have for your Italian meals, it goes well with pork, beef, lamb, chicken, veal and fish with a strong flavor. I am planning on 3 kinds of basil and 2 kinds of oregano. Basil is best when not cooked at all… Great for marinades!

Any Fish dishes you want, as long as you don’t mix it with too many other herbs, especially not fennel. It’s great in a nice Béarnaise sauce on a Fillet Mignon.

Anywhere you want, salsas, sauces, marinades or salads. It’s also great to give color to any simple dish you make, and also very good for your breath! Last year, I cut up all the parsley before the first frost and made a pesto with it!

The perfect herb to “kick it up a notch”, I use it for salsas, pork, chicken, beef and often with fish. It is mostly used anywhere south of Mexico all the way down to Argentina. It is a very fragrant and fresh herb and best if added at the end of the cooking time to keep the green color and fresh taste.

Thyme and Rosemary:
Thyme goes well for all your French recipes and rosemary for all the meats, including game meat like deer and moose. Both are very good with chicken, pork, veal, beef and Grilled Lamb Chops. I don’t use it with fish myself, but some people do! It’s awesome in marinades, with thyme, rosemary, garlic, onions, white wine, olive oil, salt and cracked pepper.

For all your salads, chive is very nice. This is a delicate one that will go well with fine fishes, salsas and cream sauces this coming winter, “I can’t believe I just said the word winter again!”

This is the one that you plant at the back of the house as it grows fast and spreads a lot. Desserts, salsas or drinks, this is fresh and ads a summer taste to just about any dishes. Lamb sauces, cold or hot, goes well with mint.

It is a sturdy plant, it smells really nice, and it presents well on the plate as a decoration. I infuse milk for crème brulée with lavender and it gives it a really fine fragrance.

Poultry’s best friend, you can freeze it for all your turkey dinners this coming W…..r! Most meat goes well with this one…

I hope that I helped you a bit. I know that I will “herb away” all summer!

Chef Martin’s Tip 9:

Most food doesn’t last forever!

Fridge, freezer, cupboard and cold room - all need to be emptied on a regular basis. Any food that you will not eat right away, and that may be stored for any period of time should be dated before storage.
Let’s try something right now - stop reading and go to your freezer, look way at the back, and pull out that package that looks like one big ball of ice…go… OK, now what did you find? When was it put in there? How much longer are you planning to keep it in there?

To improve the outcome of a meal, you need to improve the quality of the ingredients. Stop buying food that will be stored more than a month. If you garden and freeze lots of fresh vegetables, you need to eat those ASAP… by the following harvest you definitely need to be done. Also, did you know that most spices, canned goods, baking supplies and bottled sauces are not good forever? The best of restaurants in the world have a very limited or non-existent inventory of cans and spices.

“No matter what happens in the kitchen, never apologize.”
(Julia Child, 1912-2004)

The Chef in Stead - Website For Previous Chef Tips For comments or questions, you can reach Martin at 250-712-4440 or Email.

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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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