Monday, June 12, 2017

Celebratory Salad: Good for the Heart and the Soul

Ready to eat the salad at Arta's!

This is my new favourite salad. I usually don't like raw cauliflower, but I just can't stop eating this.  
Here's to the summer of 2017!  May it be overflowing with celebrations of the heart, body, and soul. 

If I were at lake this summer, I would make this salad and share it with my extended family with gratitude in my heart for that precious piece of land that I love so much.

Cauliflower “Couscous” Celebratory Salad
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 3 cups leafy greens (spinach, romaine, kale, etc)
  • 1 red pepper, finely diced
  • Toasted almonds (or other nuts) – optional but super yummy and adds protein
  1. Add about half of the cut cauliflower florets to the bowl of a food processor, and process for a few seconds until the cauliflower is finely processed, and resembles couscous; turn that out into a bowl, and repeat with the remaining cauliflower florets.
  2. Toss cauliflower couscous, greens, pepper and best basil dressing (below).  Top with nuts if desired.
 **you could add any finely diced veggies you have in your fridge.  They key ingredients are the dressing and the cauliflower.

Best Basil Dressing
  • 2 cups (about 1/4 pound) tightly packed fresh basil leaves, tightly packed
  • 1 lemon – juice and zest
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¾ cup oil (olive or canola)
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Combine basil, lemon, and garlic in a food processor or blender. Puree mixture until smooth.
  2.  With motor running, slowly add the salad oil to form an emulsion.   
  3. Add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. If not serving immediately, store in an airtight jar or container in the refrigerator.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Six Herd of Deer

Wyona and I took the trip from Sicamous back to Calgary again.

Not everything is the same, but almost. I saw a few deer as we climbed into the pass, five around Golden, stately animals walking right through the Kicking Horse River oxbows at Field, maybe 12 all with their back-sides toward us in the Bow Valley Parkway, some in the sandbars of the Vermilion Lakes and finally, another herd of deer in the foothills as we were descending into Calgary.

There is so much construction along the road. Add to that the one-way traffic that comes from landslides and rockslides, and a couple of hours is easily added to the trip.

I say over and over again, “I love my country, and I love this part of the Trans-Canada Highway.”

Wyona just keeps her eyes on the road, a package of pistachio nuts by her side to munch on.

She is always organized so that she has an empty cup to her left for the shells.

Photo: Salmon Arm Observor
Sicamous Roundabout
There are 2 new crazy traffic circles: one at the junction of the trans-Canada and 97A at Sicamous; the other at Revelstoke.

The circle at Sicamous requires the attention of all drivers in the car unless you are willing to go around the loops a number of times. 

Although the circle at Revelstoke is easier to navigate, you have to go under the train bridge, around the circle and then back again to get to Tim Horton’s.  And that is where I saw a 3 wheeled motorcycle that looked easy enough for me to ride.  As I was circling it, two men came to ask me if it was my vehicle, so they must have been admiring its majesty as well.  I said I should be so lucky.

We used the “fill in this survey and get a free cookie” coupon at Subway in Golden. Bonnie Wyora returned it to me in Salmon Arm after I sent her up to the counter at the Dairy Queen to get a free dilly bar with a “fill in this survey and get a free cookie” coupon. I had the Dairy Queen and the Subway coupons mixed up. Bonnie said that the girl at the counter studied it a along time before she figured out it was not for their store.

An adventure every day!


Friday, May 19, 2017

Mango Cup Dessert

A drizzle of honey is added next
Ron created a heritage dessert for us last night.

He cut through the girth of a mango, then twisted each side in a different direction, and the equivalent of a mango cup appeared in one hand.

He put that down and cut the pit out of the other half.

Now there were 2 mango cups.  He drizzled honey on the flat surface of both, filled the cup with whipping cream and added a dash of cinnamon.
Add D Dutchman cherry cheesecake ice cream as a side.
Look for the sprinkle of cinammon on top of the cream.
All that was left to do was plate the fruit and add some ice-cream on the side for anyone who thought that they wanted ice-cream besides.

I am a big fan of fruit and cream.  That would be whipping cream if possible.  Just try to get it right:  whipping cream and strawberries, or raspberries, or bananas.

And now add mangos, especially as a fruit cup.

A lovely event.


A Return to Der Rosenkavalier

Sophie (Erin Morley) trying to escape 
the grasp of Baron Ochs (Günther Groissböck) 
in Robert Carsen’s production of “Der Rosenkavalier” at the Met. 
Credit Sara Krulwich/The New York Times
I can think of more reasons to stay home and work than to go out to the opera when it is piped in live from the Metropolitan in New York.

What keeps me going back is the recurring, though fleeting memory, of living in another century when all that was possible was opera on the radio.

I went alone and arrived early enough to purchase my reserved seat, and to walk over to Chapters and buy a book I am looking forward to reading: Being Mortal by Atul Gawande.

I have been wondering why I am not seeing any of my friends at the opera, since I think that I and they will have like minded interests.

Saturday I hit the jackpot. I saw Ursula Benedict before the show started and we decided to have our chat at one of the intermissions.

I saw Marlys Chevrefils at the first intermission.

I have known Marlys for a long time for we both worked at the University Library.  The first time we met at a big event she came to sit by me, and said to the man sitting next to me, “Do you mind moving over so that I can sit by my friend. He did. As soon as she got settled, I leaned over her, touched the man and said, “Marlys, I would like to introduce you to my husband.” She wanted to exchanged seats back, but he would have none of it.

As I was walking of the theatre on Saturday a childhood friend, Madeline Aldridge, stopped me, and asked me if it really was me. We exchanged email addresses and telephone numbers.

Now how could the opera be more fun that that!

Three friends and 4 ½ hours of pure Mozart bliss.



Already plated up:
saag, makki, salad
 ...Salad: cucumbers, tomatoes and red onions ...
... my first look at the saag ....
 ... a good thing I took seconds ...
... there were not many leftovers ...
I ate a traditional Punjab meal tonight with the Singh’s and their guests.

Saag is chopped mustard greens and spinach with some cumin seed, a few chile peppers, some garlic and maybe some turmeric.

In this case the greens had been grown in Manvir’s garden and transported out to B.C. so that we could have a traditional meal, one that can’t be found in any restaurant.

Ron Singh showed me how to take the cornmeal roti, break off a piece of it, and then squeeze its sides that I had a small cup or scoop with which I could pick up the saag.

Having just had my hands in Ethiopian food last week, it was easy to dig right in and make a few mistakes.

I did notice that I chased the saag right across my plate to its edge and had to bring it back to the centre to try again.

I won't have a problem with practising technique if they keep making this food for me.

After a while I tried to say the word “saag” and they explained that the 2 a’s can be drawn out as long or kept as short as I would wish.

I intend to keep the “a’s” long.

Labour intensive meal?


And a big yes to delicious, something I didn’t ever think I would say about mustard greens and spinach.

“Why do you think everyone would try to invade India?”, one of them asked me. “It was not for the gold but for the food.”


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Makki de roti

The makki has been cooked on the first side.

Bring a pan to leave behind.
Teach me how to make the bread to use the pan
What a great gift.  
Vandan was making makki de roti for supper, a corn flour roti, and more than one for everyone. I could feel my fingers itching to take the dough and try putting it on the griddle. She show me how to make a nice edge on the dough as she patted it from a round circle to a flat circle, and then she put it on the heat.

The part I loved with the grate that was over a second burner where more heat was applied and the dough puffed up and apart. “This is the bread my dad really likes. He even likes left overs if my mom served him makki roti.” That made me laugh. I like Indian food left overs with our without fresh bread.

The makki is ready to be served.
Add butter if you can take the calories.
Manvir had another trick I will try.

She took roti she had purchased at the store and put it on the same griddle, just long enough to have it soften on one side and then the other.

She did this for the children who aren’t used to the cornflour makki.

I shall just do it when I would like a piece of flour roti with anything.


Early Morning Fishing

Glen writes to me the following:
I saw a man and two young boys fishing off the dock this morning.

I should have taken a picture and had Wyona paint it.

She could have called it “man and two young boys” or “early morning fishing”

My view of the dock is obstructed by trees.
Others have to report "dock happenings" to me.
Arta again:

And I think to myself, have I lived here so long that I have forgotten the thrill of fishing off of the dock and catching a pike.

That is what they did.

Catch and release.

In the meantime Kerri Singh is up making delicious Indian food for breakfast.

The day is beginning right for me.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Making bowls from thimbleberry bushes!

making a cup from a thimbleberry leaf
I had one of the best Saturdays ever!

I got to join in class taught by Tsawout UVic professor Nick Claxton, with his uncle Earl Claxton Jr.

It was about language and land, and we spent the full day on PKOLS (also known by some as Mount Doug).

We learned how to introduce ourselves properly (I am still practicing), we walked around and heard stories and info re plants, and trees, we had a potluck, and walked up the mountain.  What a day!

Along the way, we learned about 4 uses for plants: as food, as medicine, as tools, and as indicators (ie. telling you when the timing is right for certain activities)

One of the great moments for me was our time by the thimbleberry! (which i used to mistakenly call Salmonberries when growing up...)

I learned how to take a leaf, and turn it into a cup.  Basically, you turn it into a cone shape, overlapping two veins, then use the stem (which would still be sticking out the bottom) as a kind of needle, poking in and and out through the leave, to 'stitch it together'.  Then, you have a little cup in one hand to collect the berries you are eating!

Thanks Earl Claxton, Jr!   And thanks Nick Claxton for allowing us to join his class.

This is a technique I will be using this summer!   Yum!