Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Good-bye asparagus, Hello strawberries!

What’s today? Sunday? Tuesday?! How did it get to be Tuesday?

What do you mean it’s already June?

You're kidding me. Excuse me, I've gotta go throw my tomato plants outside.

(first fruits of my tomato plants)

Thank goodness I made a quick stop to the farmer’s market over the weekend. It’s coming to the end of the local asparagus season. I know. It was way too short. If I had blinked once more I would have totally missed it. But look at the bright side, it’s now the beginning of the local strawberry season!
(asparagus, strawberries and golden beets from farmer's market.)

Yippee! You can take your tasteless Cali-styrofoam-a strawberries and stuff it. These local gems are worth the wait. They're deep red and juicy through and through with just enough tang and a whole lot of flavor.

according to the paper, local berry farms are also opening up their gates for the season. Dudink's Gardens has freshly picked strawberries for sale from 1pm to 5pm daily. They're at 2219 Gomerich Road (off of Minetown) at the south end of Nanaimo. Many other local farms are also offering their a spring bounty of goods.

We celebrated another seasonal milestone this past weekend - the first BBQ of the year. Now, technically, there’s no reason why I can’t BBQ throughout the fall and winter around here other than I’m a total whiny wuss when I’m not in the mountains or buckled into a kayak. Well, sometimes even then I can be a whiny wuss too…

Though I have thought about cracking open the BBQ mid-January, especially when we get one of those mild spells, it's still pretty dark and cold after 5pm. It is still winter and I would much rather throw a stew into the crockpot or roast up some veggies and chicken in the oven than stand over a BBQ in my down jacket and toque.

So, I meticulously went through the whole dish soap gas leak testing procedure to make sure I d
on’t burn down the house. Though it’s a pretty new BBQ and there’s no reason for failure, it’s always a bit unnerving to be testing for gas leaks. That first lighting of the BBQ is always seasoned with a pinch of trepidation for me.

For the first BBQ of the season, I pulled out a couple of lamb chops from the freezer package that I got from Horizon Heritage farms last fall. I’ve been saving these babies for some good old fashion open fire cooking. I also threw on a bunch of sausages, locally raised meat of course, so we’d have enough to see up through a busy weekend.
I also threw a bunch of locally grown veggies onto the BBQ. I got one of those pizza BBQ grill pan thingamabobbidies. It’s basically a round sheet of metal with holes and a handle. It’s perfect for lazy buggers like me that don’t want to bother threading their veggies on a skewer. I simply lay them out in a single layer on the grill pan over medium heat and let the fire do it’s magic.

Both the lamb and the veggies got a simple treatment of olive oil, salt and pepper. I heated the grill on medium high and threw the lamb on for 4-5 minutes each side. Don’t mess with it while it’s cooking. Just leave it alone to do it’s thing. Some leftover spaghetti squash and a dollop of parsley pesto finished off the meal.

The lamb chops were gorgeously rich and meaty. Even DH, who is usually 'meh' about lamb, was smacking his lips and waxing poetic. The little selfish muggle in me was hoping he wouldn't like it so I could have it all to myself :p

On Sunday, we were already sick of the heat and headed up to Mt. Cokely to romp about for the day. It was the perfect day of mountain adventuring and exploring. Red columbine was blooming along the road and the air was alive with bugs. Lots and lots of little biting, carnivorous bugs and we then remembered why we should have worn long sleeved shirts and long pants.
We got home late as usual. Sore and bug tortured, but happy, I was grateful that I had leftover BBQ sausages, veggies and other tasty bits that made for a bowl of leftover bliss in less than 10 minutes

Sauteed asparagus and local boerwurst sausage along with organic spelt, roasted veggies and parsley pesto (yes I love this stuff). Except for the grain which is from the BC mainland, everything was island grown and raised.

BTW, I’ve happy to announce that Nesvog Butcher in Terminal Park Mall along the Island Hwy, is now offering local beef and cheese, along with local free-range eggs and other tasty tidbits.

This coming week (I guess that's now, eh) is another non-stop week. I’ve got a Spinner & Weaver’s Guild potluck (no, I don’t know what I’m making for that yet), a meeting with a reporter from the Bulletin about the 100 mile diet (yippee!), a standing date for some kayaking, a couple of knitting lessons, farm stuff, a dinner party on Friday and a new bushel of 100 mile fleece to card and spin. I'm tired just thinking about it.

Have a great week!


Nanaimo 100 Mile Diet Challenge

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