A Pair Of Gourmands

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Places, everyone! - by The Chef in Stead

She says:

Last month we wrote about the garden and how excited we were to be planting and planning for the summer season. A month later, the garden is starting to show us the fruits of our labour, and the evening temperatures are warm enough to sit outside. Martin fires up the barbecue, and I water the plants, and then we sit down to an alfresco appetizer with salad trimmings from the herb garden and a flavorful piece of grilled meat or fish. The salad tastes as intense as a hot summer day, and the grilled meat makes me think of camping as a kid and the savage pleasures of a meal prepared outside.

This time of year is like the dress rehearsal for the summer season. We get used to eating outside as the weather warms, and we encourage the plants to grow faster as the days get longer. Everyone drags out the sports equipment and the bathing suits, in hopes that we will have time to live the good life and keep (or develop… or get back) the figure we think is appropriate for that skimpy summer clothing. But it doesn’t have to be that complicated. We can wipe off the patio furniture - or spread a blanket on the lawn, even – and enjoy a simple meal outside with friends or family.

So, get out there and practice, everyone! Summer is coming and we want to be ready to enjoy it!

He says:

Kristin organizes a lot of the garden, but we both get to enjoy the bounty. I love the variety of meals that are possible in the summer season with the fresh ingredients.

Now that the plants are coming up, I am inspired to use them in my cooking. The Italian parsley is now as high as my knees, so I figured I should cook something fresh and Italian. The first thing that came to mind was Braised Pork Tuscany Style. This is an easy dish to prepare, and can be made ahead, so it is great for a big gathering.

The other plant that has really taken off in our garden is the tarragon. It took a while before we even believed it was tarragon, because it was growing so enthusiastically. My favorite preparation for early summer is Tarragon Butter with a whole grilled fish. We pick the best vegetables of the season and just drizzle the butter over the whole combination - an easy and very tasty meal.

Whatever you like to cook, the best way to enjoy the approach of summer is to relax and enjoy!

Tarragon Garlic Butter
Raw chopped garlic
Chopped parsley
Fresh tarragon
Squeeze in half a lemon
White wine, to taste
Sea salt and cracked black pepper
Just melt everything about one hour before you need it, and all the flavor will explode and create a really tasty dipping sauce.

Chef Martin’s Tip 11:

Let’s talk about Eggs?

If I was going to choose one ingredient that should always be in everyone’s fridge, eggs would be it. Eggs are easy to prepare, fast to cook, versatile, a good source of protein and extremely cheap, at a little over 21 cents each. If all else fails, just make an omelet and you can feed a family of four for less than $4 -including mushrooms and any cheese leftovers!

Take 3 raw eggs, add one cup of milk and enough flour to get the perfect consistency, and you get pancakes.

Take 3 raw eggs, add 1 ½ cup milk, ¼ cup of sugar, vanilla and an old loaf of bread sliced up, and you get French toast.

Fry an egg, place it between two slices of bread with mayonnaise and you get an egg sandwich…

Fried, poached, scrambled, basted, over easy, sunny side up, hard boiled, soft boiled, omelets, quiches, frittatas and more… Eggs are a prime ingredient in most pastries, cakes, pies, mousses and entremets.

Beet 8 eggs at high speed with a mixer until fluffy (6-7 minutes), add 250 g sugar slowly, then stop your mixer and very gently add 250 g flour with a spatula, and you get an easy sponge cake! So, if you don’t feel like making an omelet, just bake a cake and your family will still love you.

Don’t run out of eggs and you will always have a “Plan E”!

“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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