What a great day! I'm having a Friday off-- what a treat! Now I'm sure most women out there can empathize with exactly these thoughts running through my head as I got up this morning (I'm sure the men empathize too--most of their lists just have different chores on them)...
* 5:45 a.m.: Eyes open slightly... look at clock ...can't believe seven hours have passed already. Why is it sooooooo dark out there? Should I go to gym for 6 a.m. class? Wait, I'm off today...snore.
* 6:45 a.m.: Too late now for 6 a.m. class at gym. Perhaps should go when kids are off to school.
* 7:30 a.m.: Kids are almost ready, lunches packed, homework assembled. Perhaps I can just finish that assignment from work this morning. Open e-mail, start typing.
* 9:00 a.m.: Assignment done -- yeah for me. Only 9 a.m. and I've got something accomplished already. Now I'm going to the gym.
* 10:30 a.m.: Now what to do for rest of the day? Have to do some work on computer for newspaper article, want to go and check out a gift for older son's birthday, still have more work from cooking school that could be done, need to grocery shop, need to make some food for busy upcoming weekend, need to make dinner for company tomorrow night, house needs cleaning, have no clean chef's jackets to wear to work on Saturday-- where to start?
* 10:40 a.m.: On phone with my mom. "Hey mom, what are you doing? Can you spare three hours?"
"Sure," says Gerry.
"Cool, I'll pick you up in 15 minutes, we're going on a road trip...bring cash."
"Right!" says mom.
And we were off to the St. Lawrence Market! Because when a girl's got so many things on her mind that need to be done, the best course of action is to forget it all and simply go shopping with your mom! Now, most women would probably go and buy shoes or clothes, but for my mom and I, food shopping is the only cure.
I LOVE the St. Lawrence Market. Did you know that it has been operating for 200 years? I wonder what the interior looked like 200 years ago? I wonder what kind of things they sold there? Certainly not what mom and I were buying today!
My main mission was to make a prolonged visit to Alex Farms-- hands-down the best cheese shop in the market. I bought an extravagant but lovely assortment of five different cheeses-- St. Agur (my favourite, is a creamy, medium bite, blue cheese), mimolette (a bright orange cow's milk cheese that my husband has fond memories of from when he was a kid. They had a two-year-old one that tasted fabulous, a bit like a cheddar in consistency), a raw goat cheese (to use sometime this weekend on a homemade pizza), a mild but extremely flavourful sheep's milk cheese by the name of Ossau Iraty and a mild goat's milk cheese by the name of Monteneboro. What a haul!
Mom's aim was to get a wonderfully fresh piece of fish for dinner tonight and some different kind of vegetable, because she's tired of the same-old-same-old. It is near impossible to select any one kind of fish or seafood because there are so many and everything looks so fresh, so bountiful and so delicious! However, after a short period of agonizing, she came home with a lovely filet of pickerel with the intention of pan searing it in brown butter with white wine, capers and chives. As the veggie-- the fresh okra caught her eye, so okra it is!
We both bought some beautiful dried fruit-- pears, cherries and Medjool dates and a basket of fresh figs.
Then, the cr?me-de-la-cr?me, we popped downstairs to Moustachio for a fried eggplant on a Kaiser with homemade tomato sauce, fried peppers and onions-- what a meal!
Mom was laughing because every time she goes to the market with me, we have the eggplant sandwiches and every time she goes with Dad, they have the back bacon on a bun.
If you haven't made a trip to the market in awhile, it's time to go again. What a wonderful way to blow an hour or too. I feel a million times better now and may even get some work done this afternoon!
Have fun and keep cooking!
(Lori and Gerry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Roasted Parsnip and Apple Soup
· 3 large parsnips · 1/2 Spanish onion · 3 apples, washed · 16 cups vegetable stock · 1/3 cup 10% cream · 1 tsp dried rosemary · 1/2 tsp nutmeg · salt and pepper to taste · 3 tbsp olive oil
Peel and cut parsnips into sticks. Cut Spanish onion into strips. Do not peel apples, but do core and cut them into quarters. Place parsnips and onions in a bowl and toss with olive oil. Spread out on baking sheet. Roast in a preheated 400 degree oven for half an hour.
Remove from oven and add apples. Toss together and bake for another half an hour or until everything is tender and carmelized (brown in colour). Even a little bit of black colour around the edges is fine. Remove apples and veggies from the oven and put them with the vegetable stock in a large pot. Simmer for half an hour. Add spices. Cool slightly and then puree in a food processor or using an immersion blender. Return to pot and add cream. Reheat soup, but do not boil or the cream will separate. Just heat to serving temperature. Season with salt and pepper. Cook's Note: If you wish to make this soup the day before serving, just prepare until step 6 is completed, then do step 7 just before serving. Or, if you prefer, you may substitute 35% cream instead of 10% cream and then you can bring the soup to a boil.