Scrolled through old photos tonight. I lingered over my time spent this summer in Oregon. Days of wine, roses and great food. This photo jumped out at me for many reasons….who can resist row upon row of happy colourful bottles with names like “fizze izze” and of course artisan pop. Er soda, I mean. Isn’t that what they call it down there? What you can’t see in this photo, is that beside this joyful burst of beauty lies another case filled with jewel-toned juices and sculptural bottles of water….which in turn sits beside another case filled with a less colourful but boggling selection of wine and beer. God bless America! And of course there’s the message board inspiring me to live in the moment. Truly, a west coast grocery store. Actually, it’s called Elephants Delicatessen – it’s on NW 22nd (nob hill area?) and is jammed-packed with goodies – from whimsical chachkas to great sandwiches, fancy olives, charcuterie and luscious nibblies…and of course a fantastic selection of cheese. It’s a life-is good-kind of place. Check it out next time you’re down. Call me, we’ll do lunch! 😉
I know it’s the rainy season in Victoria. And I am thankful for seeing shades of green through the sheet of grey instead of piles of white everywhere (especially dirty city snow piles).
But I want everlasting summer. Perhaps that’s called California Dreaming….not that I’ve been to California recently, I have spent a lot of time in Oregon though….
Anyway, it’s not just about the sun. I am really wanting to eat summer food and am day dreaming about the easy style of living we attach to long hot days. I miss the colourful variety of fresh ingredients and the sheer abundance and ripeness of everything…. and of course, the quality and length of light.
Already I’m longing for days that don’t feel and look like it’s midnight when it’s really only 4:30….in the afternoon.
As a melancholy Sunday project I flipped through my summer photos. Oregon! Trips to markets, wineries, backyards, cooking for friends and lots of feasting and merriment. This was a savoury summer.
One of the many glorious food moments was pairing melon with pepper. I believe you get a finite amount of chances to fall in love….with people or new foods. When I was introduced to über ripe summer cantaloupe with freshly roasted peppercorns, ground right under my nose….well, I was done in. I had met my match, so to speak. At first I was fooled by the simplicity of it – just melon with black pepper? That’s it?
That’s where quality of ingredients comes to play – along with the right touch. Simplicity is anything but. It’s such a delicate balance between quality of ingredients, quantity and execution. A deceptive trio that demands exquisite expertise.
This was a perfectly ripe melon. I rationalize that because it was a local melon pulled up from a farmer’s filed a few hours before I hacked it open that made it so amazing. And roasting peppercorns before you crush them is one of those things you never have time to do, but once you do it, it becomes a kind of New Years’ resolution: “I swear I will always roast my p-corns before I grind them.” You know you won’t but you wish you would.
My first bite was akin to meeting that mythical tall dark stranger, whom you know doesn’t really exist but secretly hope maybe he does?
And then you try the appie next to it on the table and realize you’ve just met the older, more handsome brother. Yup. Melon + Peppercorns + Prosciutto. Oh yes, there was some basil in there too. I’ll just stop there. But if you could stop time and live in a moment – this one would be in my top three.
In my poor attempt to update my website, I found these photos in my download file. While my website remains a “dog’s breakfast”, I get hopeful moments when I post a photo or two that I might just get it together…..but then I always seem to add on “one day”….
Anyways, these photos were taken by Rebecca Wellman (http://www.rwellmanphotography.com/index2.php#/home/) as a fun experiment. Other photos and the recipe were published in EAT magazine last December. I like this version of the MBA’s – Mini Baked Alaskas – they look like fire-tinged snow balls that burst into colour when you cut them.
Ice cream is always tricky to work with – and I like to live dangerously and use the real stuff. I remember these held up remarkably well during the shoot…… and went down well too after the shoot. Yes, will work for ice cream!
These are latest photos for Epicure Selections. Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Clementines and Mango Curry Halibut with Fennel + Clementine Slaw