Wednesday, July 7, 2010

lonely lake cooking

I went out to the lake last week, all by my lonesome. My boyfriend came in and out in the evenings as he was still working. I have strange hours with my two jobs and often find my weekends come in the form of a Tuesday-Wednesday combo. Since I have those days free, and for once had not committed myself to about twelve other activities, I thought it would be nice to get away from everything.

The noise and the distractions of the city were a faint memory as soon as we made the turnoff from Highway 16 onto Culmac Road. Our family cottage is on Wabamun Lake at a secluded end in a little summer village called Seba Beach. On the weekend, I wake at 8 a.m. to the sound of jet skis and shrieking children. But on this very fine Wednesday morning, the only sound we heard as we rolled out of bed around 10 a.m. was the lapping water and the distant rumbling of thunder.

As it turned out it was a rather rainy couple of days. We made a spectacular brunchy feast of grilled turkey sausages, scrambled eggs with tomatoes, green onion, and crumbled feta cheese, blackberry yogurt, cottage cheese, berry smoothie, and coffee. After getting the kitchen straightened up again, my boyfriend had to go back into the city for work. Before leaving, though, he made sure I had plenty of wood stacked next to the fireplace (what a dear) and more coffee brewing.

That afternoon I wrote by the fire and hoped the rain would pass so I could get outside to catch some sun. My mother and sisters are much more successful tanners, but it's not for lack of trying that I don't ever get much colour. My Eastern-European skin seems somewhat impervious to the deliciously carcinogenic rays and I remain more peaches and cream than olive toned all year round.

In any case, the rain did subside late in the afternoon and I sat out on the deck for a while, continuing my writing and shutting my eyes for a spell. In my dreams, I catalogued the contents of the fridge and pantry and devised a delicious dinner for two that would feed my dear and me that night. You will be proud to know, dear readers, that in firing up the grill I avoided any singing or hair loss of any kind, contrary to what you might imagine. I have a touch of clumsy in me, and small fires are just par for the course in my kitchen.

No, there were no accidents to speak of during the preparation of this meal. The only accident was my camera's batteries dying just as I was putting the food on the grill. So unfortunately, you'll have to just imagine what the finished products looked like. Suffice it to say that they were delicious. I ate mine all by my lonesome, working hard on the bottle of Quail's Gate Chenin Blanc, 2009, that I had picked to pair with the grilled vegetables. The wine was an excellent match - mineral, slightly citrus, and enough acidity to withstand the blossom aroma that carried through to the finish. A nice alternative to the sweeter Riesling I had intended on picking up.

Early summer grilled vegetables and green salad

Portabella mushrooms:
Scrape out the black fins that run along the underside of the cap. Discard these.
Combine in a bowl:
Chopped – sun dried tomatoes in oil
Cremini or white button mushrooms, peeled
Roma tomatoes

Add about 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Stir to combine.

Mince two cloves of garlic, adding 1 tsp of salt as you chop. Add to tomato mushroom mixture.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon mixture into waiting mushroom caps. Refrigerate for up to 1 hour. Grill on medium to high heat for 5-10 minutes. Turn for grill marks on the cap top and to ensure even cooking.
Grilled asparagus from Edgar’s Farm, Lacombe Alberta
After washing the asparagus, snap off the bottoms of each stalk. Don’t worry about losing too much of the asparagus. The stalks naturally break where they start to get woody. You’ll be left with the best part of the asparagus and no guesswork as to whether or not you’re cooking tough stuff or not.

Marinade – Quail’s Gate Chenin Blanc, olive oil, fresh lemon juice, dried oregano, maple syrup, dash of salt.

After you put the mushroom caps on the grill directly against the heat, place your asparagus down and just keep your eye on it. Rotate and flip it so that it cooks evenly, and watch so the tops don’t flare up and burn. The marinade will drip down onto the mushrooms as well, adding to the flavour of the other dish. If they finish early, just put them aside on the unlit half of the grill. They’ll stay hot but won’t keep cooking.

Serve on a bed of saffron infused couscous or basmati rice. Pair with a simple green salad – whatever is fresh or you have on hand. If you stay seasonal or go with a few solid faves for your go to salad, it's pretty much going to work. I used butter lettuce, cucumber, tomato, avocado, and crumbled feta cheese drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Red grapes for dessert.

1 comment:

  1. Good lord woman, what kind of a dessert is red grapes after a meal like that? If you're going to get decadent, get Decadent.

    Great, great photography. -b, england