Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Canadian Thanksgiving

A Canadian Thanksgiving
Carlos, Stefan, Greg and Brian put in more seeds on Sunday. We are staggering the seeding so we should have a continuous harvest for some time rather than "This week's menu is Spinach."
S0-called "winter tomatoes" are in the nurseries right now, but I've not had good luck with them in the past. Without the hot, sweetening summer sun, their tasteless texture makes the grocery store variety seem a treat. That said, Carlos grew a "Manitoba Tomato" start for me. Considering how many Canadians come to California for the winter sun, the name alone portends well. To give it more of a chance, we'll plant it in a pot rather than directly in the ground. The confined space within the container will help warm the potting soil and that baby's roots. I might also add a bit of gin to its water, too. That always seems to make my Canadian cousins sweeter, red and well juiced when they visit us in the winter.
Maya was busy this weekend so she contributed by writing the letter in the side picture. I'll translate it below for those of us oldies with diminishing eyesight, which emerging scientific research indicates may be caused by too much gin in the water, but can be counteracted by eating plenty of vegetables. The recipes for Sunday nights' Canadian Thanksgiving dinner-- this time "Cooked by Carla"-- are at the end this post.

A True Garden
by Maya Alana, age 9

"So far Mrs. Karla and I have been planting carrots, swiss chard, micro greens, lettuce and leeks. Mrs. Karla is very good at gardening. She can garden fruits, vegetables, and any other plants or flowers. Her garden is such a beauty and once you walk into it nature surrounds you.
Mrs. Karla's garden is what someone would call a true garden. Her garden is so healthy and neat that it almost looks like it's glowing with light. Mrs. Karla cares for her garden alot, you could imagine a little angel sitting in her garden and whispering to her plants as if they were children.

Clearly, Mrs. Karla is a true gardener and she has a true garden."
A Canadian Thanksgiving Dinner
Manitobans give thanks for the end of Mosquito Season on the Second Monday of October. They celebrate by eating and drinking as much as they can at one sitting. They will not participate again in this strange ritual until the Second Tuesday of October. Californians, please note: Manitoba is not a little town somewhere in Iowa. It is a very large province in a very large space that Europeans and other educated people call Canada. Contrary to what many in the United States believe, Canada is not just some "sort of bottling company for cheap whiskey." For more information regarding the unique customs and beliefs of this emerging country, please see Wikipedia.

Dinner: Scavange any left over produce you can from the summer garden. Cut up a season-end cantalope and sprinkle it with torn spearmint leaves and balsamic vinager. (Note to self: never again plant mint anywhere in the garden except in a container. Note to others: if you need mint, I have plenty.}
Rub 4 cornish game hens with salt & pepper and a bit of olive oil. Stick up their bums the last Meyer lemon, cut into quarters, along with some rosemary pilfered from a neighbor's yard. Scatter a roasting pan with some garlic cloves, plop the birds on top, and place pan into a pre-heated 425 degree oven. (That's 230 C in Canadian). Whisk 1/3 of a glass of wine {okay, it started as a glass when I first poured it, but a 1/3 is more than enough for a bunch of little birds} with 1/3 cup chicken broth & a couple more teaspoons olive olive oil. After about 25 minutes, turn the oven down to 350 degrees F (that's 175 C Canadian) and pour the wine sauce over the birds. Baste about every 10 minutes, if you remember to do so, and continue roasting for around another 25 minutes.
Peel 3 large yams & cut first into 1/2 inch rounds & then cut the rounds into halves. Saute a thinly sliced leek with a little olive oil and about 1 1/2 teasp of the pilfered rosemary, finely minced. Dump yams and a cup of vegetagle broth into pan, bring it to boil and then cover and reduce to simmer for about 10 minutes. When yams are soft, coat with 1/2 cup whipping cream, sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and generously with ground nutmeg. Smash up roughly.
Fix wild rice mixture according to package instructions. Beer left over from last party. Any open wine bottles hanging around. Chocolate cake for dessert. Eat & drink well. Don't let Stefan play with knives. Brian will do the dishes. Happy Thanksgiving!