Sublime Summer Supper

This was a recuperation weekend, a weekend to relax and just do whatever sort of presented itself at the time. My only planned events were to complete a 500 piece puzzle and run some errands. Michael went down to Calgary to spend time with his sister and help around the home with those maintenance things that get put off until there’s a Michael sort around.

Although I’m all for rest and relaxation, I feel adrift and a bit sad if I end up spending too much time on the couch watching TV, or even reading. Doesn’t help of course, when I chose to watch/read tear jerkers. I’m all for a good cry, but sometimes it can be a bit much.

Today was a beautiful Edmonton day. I got outside and ran my errands, and ended up at the Italian Centre Shop. I stopped in for inspiration and thought I’d skip my food delivery app (my usual go-to when at home alone and feeling a bit pathetic) and create something delicious tonight for my supper.

The Italian Centre Shop did not disappoint. Although busy, I have learned the best thing to do is head to the deli first, pull your number, and then leisurely shop until your number nears. Not sure if you noticed, but there is a gentle ding and “being served” numbers throughout the shop towards the ceiling. In the time I had to wait for my number to come up, I finished my shop of non-deli goods.

Although I went into the shop today with a plan for mushroom stuffed gnocchi with a pre-made sauce, I was inspired as I often am, to create something from (at least) semi scratch.

I picked up some arugula, basil, cherry tomatoes, purple garlic, Grana Padano cheese, kalamata olives, and some fancy (expensive) dry pasta.

When supper time rolled around, I was feeling a bit un-energetic and was twitching to pull up the food delivery app. Michael called at that moment and after a bit of a talk and a few laughs, he said why not just pour yourself a glass of wine and start the prep? So I did.

I poured the wine, chopped garlic, olives, tomatoes, washed the arugula and basil and set it aside. I boiled up a pot of water and then switched it off so the apartment wouldn’t burn down while I sat out on our patio to enjoy the view and my glass of wine.

It was (and still is) one of those beautiful evenings. Slight breeze, clear sky, warm, and NO RAIN. I sat out on the patio enjoying my music and my glass of wine.

With the wine finished, and feeling a bit peckish now, I put together the arugula salad. A simple thing to do:  arugula, lemon juice, olive oil, and a generous grating of Grana Padano cheese. I set up a little table on the patio, and promptly watched half my Grana Padano fly away in the breeze. This is why there is no photo. No matter, I mixed up the salad and managed to polish it off with the remaining cheese intact.

After a few long minutes of digestion and polishing off my second glass of wine, went back inside to finish cooking the main dish.

While the pasta was cooking, I cooked up the chopped garlic in generous glugs of olive oil over a medium heat. When the garlic was fragrant, I added the cherry tomatoes and let it break down slowly. As things started to meld, I added the chopped olives, and a few tablespoons of the pasta water. I let that simmer down to a slightly thickened sauce. I added a burst of lemon juice at the end to keep things bright.

I put it all together on my plate, topping it off with a bit of chopped basil and another generous grating of cheese, and headed back to the patio.

I tucked in. I ate slowly. I enjoyed the flavours, the view, listening to the shouts from the baseball game in the valley, the traffic below, watching people rest on the bench along the pathway. At times I just put my head back, and let the sun warm my face while I was truly able to relax and enjoy a beautiful summer evening in our city.

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Now I have my tea, and am thinking of having something a bit sweet to finish the evening. Not sure what that will be yet.

Thanks for reading about my evening. It was one of those memorable ones, and wanted to document it before the memory fades. xo

 

Blueberry Pie

It’s blueberry season. My favourite season of the year. Not just because I love blueberries, but because it is smack in the middle of summer. People are more relaxed. People are talking about trips to go camping, visiting family and friends hither and yon. There’s icy beers on patios, wasps buzzing around your al fresco supper, swatting mosquitoes during river valley walks, fans buzzing to keep you cool, nighttime storms that shake you out of bed. And memories. Many many happy memories. I will share one with you.

Back when I was about 9 or 10 I was out at my grandparents farm at Seba Beach. It was this time of year, and my Mom, Baba, Aunties, cousins and I went out to pick wild blueberries. Mom, Baba and Aunties are all hearty folk, having grown up on a farm with an outhouse. My cousins and I, on the other hand are city folk. We are the type of people who step in outhouses with great trepidation, noses plugged, absolutely certain that creatures are going to crawl across our little bums as they hover over the hole to the dark pit of unmentionables. Our exposure to “roughing it” was, and continues to be, very limited.

Back to blueberry picking… We make our way through the bush and find our blueberries and pick pick pick. It is amazing today to think we were picking wild blueberries! Anyways, we pick pick pick. And then, all of a sudden, out of the blue, we upset a wasp nest! You would think we discovered a dead body in the bush with all the hysterics. The screaming! The running! The screaming! The flaying of arms! The crying!

And that was just me.

Turns out everyone, including my cousin who has an allergy, were all bitten. But me, the one who screamed and cried and flayed the loudest, came out of that with nary a bite. *tee hee*

Let’s move our attention to blueberry pie. To make a blueberry pie, you must start with the essentials. My friends, you know me well now. That means we start with a gin and tonic.

Once that is underway, we are ready to prepare the pie. Of course, you must make sure you have blueberries, and blueberries I have. I went shopping a week ago, and blueberries were on sale cheap at Safeway, so I bought a 1L package. Today I went shopping, and found a 2L package on sale at Soby’s. 3L of blueberries need something done with them other than occupying space in the refrigerator, so decided blueberry pie was the best, easiest way to use them up.

If you are a Mom, Auntie, or Baba you probably understand the saying “easy as pie”. As I’m city-folk, the only way pie can be easy to me is if the dough is pre-made and found in the frozen food section of the local grocers. I had visions of setting the rolling pin on the counter and tossing a few spoonfuls of flour over it to take a picture and make it look like I hand-made my pie crust. But I can’t tell a lie. So I took my pie crusts out of the box, and put them in my own pie pans, so it at least has the appearance I made it myself.

Next up is blueberry pie guts. Now this is easy. Blueberries. Sugar. Flour. Lemon zest. Lemon juice. Oh my goodness. One of the best food combinations in the ENTIRE UNIVERSE is blueberry and lemon. Oh my oh my. So delicious to smell and to taste. Add white chocolate and you are going to get a reaction from me that is R-rated. Don’t worry. I am omitting anything to do with white chocolate from this post, and will keep this blog PG-rated.

Gently mix your blueberries, sugar, flour, lemon zest and lemon juice together.  Put in your pie shell. Cover with more pastry. Pinch the edges together. Add vents. Brush on some milk or egg white. Sprinkle on a bit of sugar. And bake. It is that easy.