Sunday, June 19, 2016

One Never Knows Who Their Friends Are

Yesterday was the first market of the season. It was a great day only clouded by an inexperienced and overly self-important health inspector. Her very late approval of my Vendor Permit meant that I was not able to offer my full menu. I don't just pull all this food out of my back pocket, after all. Does she really think I can purchase many of my amazing ingredients here in this 'three hours from anywhere' prairie town? I think it was her attitude that punctuated my lack-lustre winter.

There were two of us early to set up our market stalls. So, Marion asks, how have you been? I don't know why but I told her the truth. Perhaps it was because it was only the two of us. Or that I had reached the limit of my patience with this place. But I honestly told her I had a difficult winter. I had depression. That simple confession and her heartfelt response seemed to lift a weight off my body. I held back tears (until now) and chatted a little about how unfriendly (albeit nice) people really are. How absorbed in their lives that they cannot actually find it in themselves to accept someone new. She agreed and added her two cents worth about her little village.

Retirement can be like this. At least it has been for me. I grew up in this province but people are extremely local in mindset. Five hours away may as well be across the ocean. There is very little to link us other than politics.

But five hours away can bring a whole new menu. Last night I celebrated by playing with the food that arrived in my monthly Foraging Box from northern Saskatchewan.

Burn Morel Risotto with Dandelion Greens

1 c. arborio rice
1 small shallot
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 c. dry white wine
1 c. parmesan stock
1/2 c. fresh morels, coarsely chopped
1/4 c. grated parmesan and more to garnish
a few dandelion greens
more butter
quail eggs

Saute shallots and morels in butter and olive oil. Add rice and coat with oil. Add wine and simmer until almost completely reduced.

Warm the parmesan stock and gradually add, one ladle at a time to the rice. Then continue the same with water until the rice is cooked to al dente. Stir in grated parmesan. Set aside.

Steam dandelion greens in a little water until tender. Add a little butter to coat. Season with sea salt.

To poach eggs, bring a small pot of water to the simmer. You can add a tablespoon of vinegar if you wish. This will make the egg coagulate faster. Break the eggs into separate bowls. When the water is simmering, slip each egg into it and maintain the slow simmer. It will only take about a minute or two to cook. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.

To serve, place risotto in the bowl. Top with dandelion greens and finally the poached quail eggs. Garnish with more grated parmesan. Bon Appetito.