May 24, 2010

Lazy Long Weekend Sunday Food Activities

So, hot on the heels of yesterday's chef-guided tour of Granville Island Public Market, I was super-stoked to go to the inaugural 2010 session of the local farmer's market. I pumped up my bike tires on Saturday afternoon, put the panniers on the bike rack, and readied for adventure!

The market opened at 10 a.m., but when I showed up at about 11:00, having taken a full three or four minutes to ride there, there were a few stragglers still setting up. It started at the corner of Bayview and 7th Avenue, trickled down that block and through the parking area next to the Steveston Hotel, and up and across the footpath to the parking lot for the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site. I got through it all pretty quickly, I'm sorry to say, because in amongst the handmade jewellery, jams and jellies, coffee trucks, homemade soaps, masseurs, and artisan breads, there wasn't a lot of what I was looking for: produce. Turns out the big growers won't be there until next time, which is two weeks from now. *le sigh*

Once home again, I attacked the never-ending task that is keeping the kitchen counters clear and clean. I opened up the pantry cupboard to put the new hot sauces away, only to discover that there was no room for them on the shelf entirely dedicated to hot sauces. I brought this to Beloved's attention, and he decided to cull the hot sauces. He emptied that shelf, and I wiped it clean (let's not do things halfway, after all!). And since the shelf below - the one with all the horrible brown mucky spreads on it - was quite dirty itself, I moved those bottles to the clean, empty shelf, and wiped it off, too. And in removing the shelf to wipe it down, I discovered that something on the top shelf had expired, and leaked all down the back wall of the cupboard. (I know! Ew, right?)

On further investigation, the culprit/victim was identified as a can of artichoke hearts whose age could not be determined, due to the lack of date coding on the can. I could only say with certainty that it had been purchased some time within the last fifteen years. (And now I'm not so sure. Ew again.)

So then I had to pull all the pantry contents and remove the shelves and clean them and the back wall, before I could put them back and reload the cupboard. And while I was at it, I might as well weed out anything that we for sure were never going to eat. And I'm almost ashamed to say how many cans of food I threw out. In fact, if my pantry cupboard were not now lovely and organized and easy to find things in, I might not cop to TWENTY FOUR cans of things varying from Weight Watchers Lentil Soup to tomato sauce (which cans were bulging, and thus spat at me when pierced) to canned shrimp (which, omigosh the pong!) to canned pumpkin to vegetable curry (which had solidified because of all the potato in it).

Yes, I actually opened all these cans, dumped the contents down my garburetor (I love my garburetor), rinsed and flattened the cans, and put them in the recycling.

Beloved was aghast at the dates on some of the cans. The date on the lentil soup was 1995, which means I bought it several years before that (probably in 1991, when I was on WW). That was the big winner. Second runner up was something dated 1997, and third runner up was dated 1999. He could hardly contain his horror when, at one point, I mused that I was pretty sure I had bought a certain item after we were married. "Is that the criterion for deciding whether to keep things or not? God save me!"

Like I've ever poisoned him yet, in fifteen years of marriage. Sheesh. Ya big baby.


We are still working our way through the contents of the freezer, in preparation for getting our 30 lbs of organic beef at the end of June, and so yesterday we thawed a package of "Ground Meat for Kebabs", which was left over from a dinner last year sometime. (Shh!) It turned out to be just the meat - a mixture of ground beef, pork, and lamb - without any of the seasonings added, so my Beloved changed the game plan from Indian kebabs to Lela's Famous Burgers, based on a Google search for a recipe and an innate trust of Gordon Ramsay's cooking. (This recipe is surprisingly simple, for a Ramsay recipe, I thought. No obscure ingredients, no twelve-step cooking process to ready one ingredient, no bizarre instructions, no pretentious presentation.)

I don't know what the burgers taste like when they're plain beef, but this blend of beef, pork, and lamb was brilliant. We had grilled veggies (red and yellow peppers, green beans, white onion, celery) with it, and it was all the dinner I needed, especially after the Sausage Sampler starter. Which was really just one lamb sausage and one chorizo sausage, that we bought at Tenderland Meats on Granville Island on Saturday, with a variety of mustards and relishes. Verdict: their chorizo sausage is good, and their lamb sausage is outstanding.

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