Tuesday, January 4, 2011

'Twas the season!

Oslo and I are recently back from a two week trip out east. We drove 1,253km from our door to my dad's. It took us 16 hours, between naps, pee stops and snowstorms. My friend P surprised me on the last day of work with a box of her homemade goodies. P had been bringing in samples of her Christmas baking to work throughout November and December, they were divine and I was thrilled to be presented with a whole entire box to myself. While Oslo is pictured here, he had no more than a taste of the banana bread.

Every Maritimer has a list of things that they get excited about when they go home. As I cooked a total of twice while at my dad's, I will tell you about the foods that I look forward to consuming in a gluttonous fashion. I'll warn you now, there is high content of offensive, artery clogging food coming up, unlike anything you'd normally see on here.

Pizza Delight
Pizza Delight is family dining, and while they serve up an amazing panzerotti, and the best 6" seafood pizza that keeps a Grampy coming back, I'm a fan of the lunch buffet. They have different salads like pasta, garden and caesar as well as lasagna, spagetti and a variety of pizzas. The kicker at this lunch buffet though, is the donair sauce. A donair is an east coast thing, one may be tempted to compare it to a kebab, though it's nothing like it. The Halifax Donair was invented in the 70s, by the owner of King of Donair it's the sauce that makes it unique, made with evaporated milk, it's both sweet and garlicky. At the Pizza Delight Lunch Buffet, they have a tray of individual portions so that you can dip your whole meal into it. My mouth is watering just thinking about it, and I'm lucky that this doesn't exist in Ottawa.
Seafood is an essential when you go home. You should really make your best effort to try it all when you're out there, as it's all delicious. This time I had fish cakes (the fish was salmon), prepared by S's mum when I went to visit them on The Island on Christmas Eve. Fish cakes are always delicious, and always have their unique twist added by the maker. I had three of the Christmas Eve beauties. I also had seafood chowder a couple of times over the holidays, again, always delicious. On Christmas Day, once we had arisen from our turkey induced comas and decided we could go for a snack, my dad prepared some bacon wrapped scallops. mMm.
If you've never been to the Maritimes and are planning on going, you should also consider the lobster roll. And the scallop burger. And the fried clams. Locals places will always offer up just the sandwich or the platter. A sandwich platter is manageable, but if you consider ordering the Seafood Platter for two, make sure you have a third person. Of fourth. You'll be surprised by the amount of clams, scallops and other fish that can be piled onto your platter.
Any of you who know me know that I am a fan of beer. This is hereditary, my dad and Grampy are both good consumers of this product. You're probably familiar with Alexander Keith's, that began it's export to Ontario about 10 years ago. This fine India Pale Ale is just the beginning of the delightful brews you'll find on the Atlantic Coast. One of my favourites is a Moosehead brew called Clancy's, it's a rich amber ale that is truly New Brunswick. If you're heading Moncton's way, you should also check out the Pumphouse Brewery. It's fairly young and delivers deliciously innovative beers. You can also find them in the NB alcool liquor stores. If you're in Halifax, you should consider checking out the Garrison Brewery. Also innovative, they offer up brewery tours as a group night out. Always delightful!
Dad's cooking
My dad doesn't have a love for vegetables as I do. He's probably where my definition of man vegetables started. Onions, potatoes, carrots. That's about as far as it goes in his kitchen. He was speechless when I walked in with my Organics Delivered box announcing that I brought all of my veggies with me. He does make a good Man Meal which I can digest for a few days at least. A reuben sandwich. A damn fine stuffing for the turkey. A mean meatloaf. Delicious ribs. More meat that I eat in all the time that I'm on my own really. This time he got all ethnic on me and served up burritos one night.
That's it for this edition of beloved Maritime food, I'm sure I'm forgetting others, feel free to leave a comment with your own favourites!
As I mentioned, I did take my veggies down with me. There were three squash that had to be dealt with, perfect soup making opportunity! My sister, Emily, lives not far from my dad. She's 4 years older than I am, and has cerebral palsy and epilepsy. We moved apart when we were teenagers, so she had never been subjected to my cooking. Until now!
My Sister's Soup:
3 small squash, cut in half and roasted for about 45 minutes to soften them up. Once they're soft, removed the skin.
While your squash is in the oven:
- chop 2 small onions and add to a pot with some olive oil to let soften
- chop up a carrot and a couple of small potatoes, add to the pot with the onions
When your squash is ready, add to the other veg in the pot with a litre and a half of water or so. Bring to a boil and let simmer on low heat for another 45 minutes or so, until the carrots are soft. Add a bit of salt and a tiny bit of seasoning, but no bouillon cubes. Zap into a puree and serve.
The squash that I used were really flavourful, and made a beautiful creamy soup with no additives. My sister is on a fat free diet, and while I didn't get a nutritional analysis done, I'm pretty sure this fit well into the rules of what she can eat. I was pleased that we agree on things worth gobbling up:
Ok, it looks like I've got a conniving look on my face, but I am a little sister. It's part of the role description ;)

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