Sunday, April 29, 2018

New Recipe

When I unexpectedly find a new recipe - which in my case isn't saying anything terribly alarming - I take perhaps uncommon note of it.  The implication is that whatever I can prepare myself in the kitchen has to be simple; I am not known as a cook (though I confess my "Caribbean Pasta" is moderately favourable in the opinion of some whom I consider accomplished chefs). Today's discovery is a reminder as well of the importance of a good meal.  A good meal is one of those small pleasures in life which are far more meaningful than their apparent significance.  The standard by which I measure a good meal is its combined taste and healthfulness.  This evening I came as close to that yardstick as is reasonably possible for someone such as I with a boarding school background and a repeated law school menu of Cheese Whiz and peanut butter on molasses brown bread.

The starting point is a prepared meatloaf from Beckwith Kitchen in Carleton Place.  They make two models - one, plain; the other, Bourbon BBQ.  There are endless other meal choices (including soups, pastas and desserts - and I have tried many of them) but I particularly like the meatloaf because it is stand-alone (no accompanying vegetables like mashed potatoes or green beans) and very easy to prepare for the dinner plate (just heat in the oven). Anyway, the meatloaf is the starter (and arguably the main feature).  Where I come in is the salad.  Again, the reason for the salad is that it's easy, basically nothing to cook (or even warm - an effort which I denominate a cooking skill). Over the winter in Florida I changed my traditional salad base from lettuce (of any description) to cilantro (my preference) or parsley.  I chop both the leaves and the stems of the cilantro and place it on the side of my plate (actually I use a large soup plate which my sister bought for us at Costco).  On top of the chopped cilantro I place diced green pepper and celery and sliced cherry tomatoes.  There was a time I added chopped zucchini spirals but that is just more work and totally unnecessary (plus it can create a salad far larger than need be, particularly if you add cheese of any description - which admittedly is good but again too much).

Assuming you just have the cilantro, green peppers, celery and tomatoes, even that would be perfectly fine along with a two-inch slice of the meatloaf.  But here's what I did this evening - I added halves of fresh Goldenberries ("Cerise de Terre") from Columbia.  Now I know that the addition of fruit to a salad isn't novel but I have never seen Goldenberries in a salad before.  Certainly Mandarin oranges are not unusual; nor blueberries.  Naturally the entire salad is topped with olive oil (I now insist upon Fragranza Novella from Italy) and red wine vinegar with a bit of Maldon salt. The effect of the tart Goldenberries (with the other additives) is quite phenomenal, certainly singular.  I personally like a mixture of tart and salty though some may find it too unique in a salad. As an all-in-one concoction the meal is nonpareil - meat, veggies and fruit. If I were inclined to add any cheese to the salad it would be goat's milk cheese. At the end of the meal all that remains by way of digestif is a small bowl of Bran Buds smothered in Kéfir - which as Rumpole was wont to say, keeps me surprisingly regular!

Post Scriptum

One final recommendation (this time from Grace in the Kitchen on Hazeldean Road in Kanata) - the "All Natural Fig Bread" with a slice of Comté cheese - the Sacrament of Heaven!

They have a lot of serious blue as well...

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