Spring encourages us to cook and barbecue different foods.  The Pair of Gourmands chose frog legs. See the barbecue tips in 'One hour extra'. (Photo: Contributed)
Spring encourages us to cook and barbecue different foods. The Pair of Gourmands chose frog legs. See the barbecue tips in 'One hour extra'. (Photo: Contributed)

One hour extra

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She says:

“Springing forward” is a great thing once you’ve done it but man, I always feel like I was robbed of that hour of sleep on the Monday afterwards! Once I got home on Monday night however, and went outside to train the puppy in the continuing daylight, that was when it made me smile. It brings to mind that old John Denver tune… “Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy…”

I am looking at seed catalogues and planning the gardens at our new house, and when we shop for groceries I find myself drawn closer to the fresh herbs and vibrant coloured veggies. Those comfortable root vegetables just don’t seem as appealing once the snow melts away and the sun shines brighter. Sunday dinner is often when we sample a new recipe Martin wants to try for the coming season and he has been working on all kinds of fresh flavours lately. Something about new tastes and new adventures seems to herald spring as well, just like the wild baby bunnies we have seen in our yard and the Canada geese coming back from their winter vacation to start new families. Since we are such foodies, it also means we look to specialties of the season. I am sure when you read further to see what he prepared last weekend you may be astonished, but 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. Now that is what I call supporting local interests!

As we spring ahead and look to Easter to celebrate the coming of a new season, looking forward is a good focus to have. I am excited to know that in our neighbourhood there may be a community garden created so that more can share in harvesting Mother Nature’s goodness. As warmer seasons begin I am reminded of how much the Earth needs us to be aware and I think of recycling too. (You know, time to return those bottles or give them to your favourite Boy Scout or Girl Guide troop. The compost from last year will be ready soon for the garden. Turn down the heating program and remember to turn off or even unplug those small appliances.) Did you know Daylight Saving Time was created as an effort to save energy when coal was needed for war efforts? Now they say that we may just be using more energy with all the conveniences we have!

Let’s clean away any cobwebs that may have built up over the winter and clear the air! Try a new taste to wake up your palette!! Watch for flowers coming up, listen to the chirping birds and enjoy that sunshine on your shoulders. If you want to sit up late after dark, maybe you could try watching the stars instead of turning another light on.

He says:

Last weekend we pushed the clocks ahead one hour and that is the first clue that summer is coming. I felt like cooking something different, something we don’t eat often. I bought some frogs’ legs and prepared them with some fresh garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. I served them with some roasted potatoes, asparagus and a smoked paprika mayonnaise. The whole thing was very nice and it took no time at all. I am always amazed how simple things that most people would not eat can taste so good. The next time I will try to grill them maybe with a nice homemade barbecue sauce. I’ll let you know.

The BBQ season is coming fast and this year I plan to grill and slow cook more often. I still use the same traditional barbecue fired with wood coals. Gas is extremely convenient for your outdoor kitchen, although it does not give you the same taste in the food. It should allow you to make some nice meals for your family, giving a much needed rest to your regular cook.

A few tips to help you choose the right gas BBQ:

  • As a general rule, for every one hundred dollars you spend it should be equal to 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 will start up-loading new recipes on my barbecue page so feel free to steal some recipes and take all the credit.

    Happy summer!

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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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