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Happy-Gourmand

Make the most of It

I don't mean to gloat, but I am posting from Cozumel this week.

We have seen the groans and cries of exasperation posted on Facebook by friends and family, and I'm here to tell you the best thing is to make the most of it.

If you can't get away literally, do it virtually.

Escapism shouldn't be a way of life, but we need to tune out once in a while. A good movie or book works for most, and for us foodies, a good meal can transport one to another place.

But in extreme cases (like two feet of snow in the yard), more drastic action is required.  

I have five simple steps to set the scene:

  • Turn up the heat. Like to 80F. 
  • Put something summery on: your favourite Hawaiian shirt or sun dress, or even a bathing suit and wrap. Bare feet definitely. The heat should be high enough that you are still comfortable. 
  • Pour yourself a tropical drink. Mango juice, coconut water, or even a margarita if you can manage it.  You'd be surprised how fast you will feel like smiling once you have a slushy drink on your hand. 
  • Put on Bob Marley, or some salsa music. Jimmy Buffet works too. Turn it up so you really feel the beat.
  • This is the most important step: Close the blinds. You don't want to spoil your mood by looking out and seeing winter. If you want to splurge, buy some flowers or a plant and put it in front of the window.  If you need to have your phone close by, change the screensaver to a beach. It will remind you to stay in character.

Now, of course, you need a tropical meal. I suppose you could just order a Hawaiian pizza, but since we are working on being engaged in the escape, let's think more actively.

I'll make it easy with three different ideas for you to try. Either try one or occupy your whole weekend with all three. 

Tacos and/or tostadas

  • Cook up your favourite meat or fish (or even black beans if you want vegetarian) with some garlic and onions.
  • Add  cumin, chile powder, oregano and salt and pepper. (If you use a taco seasoning kit, think to add more spice to kick it up a notch. You want it to have punch!)
  • Add chopped fresh cilantro at the end if you like it. Serve with taco shells and/or tostadas (the flat crispy tortillas you can buy in a long bag).
  • Include an assortment of toppings: avocado, shredded lettuce, grated cheese, pickled  jalapeños, and a variety of hot sauces.

Dirty Banana Cocktail

 In case you are not the cook in the family, here's a beverage component (makes two drinks).

  • In a blender, mix 1 cup ice/ 6 ice cubes, 1 cup milk (almond or coconut milk can be substituted), 2 oz dark rum, 2 oz Kahlua, 2 oz Jamaican rum cream or Baileys, 1 banana.
  • Blend until smooth and pour into funky glasses. 

Tropical Delight Cookies

This was a recipe I created long ago after a foiled effort to escape a Calgary winter. If you're more of a baker than a cook or if you want a taste that will last longer than one meal, this is a perfect option. (Just click on the name for the full recipe from my blog). 

I hope this helps chase the winter blues away or at least keep them at bay.  

Remember, we are never given more than we can handle. It's just better to handle it with a smile. 



More Happy Gourmand articles

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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

 



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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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