local dinner of pan seared halibut, celeriac-potato + creamy gouda mash with haystack slaw of rainbow carrots + zucchini.
Friends, I have a confession to make. I haven’t been entirely honest with you. I fear I may have given the impression that we always eat like kings around here. That our table is always set with beautiful linens and fine crystal and decorative napkins. Perhaps you’ve imagined that our meals are always gourmet ones and that we use really fussy ingredients like pink Himalayan sea salt to adorn our everyday dishes. If I’ve ever given you that impression, I’m sorry.
Because that’s just not true.
Don't get me wrong. I absolutely love a properly dressed table. I love beautiful white dishes and fluted stemware and frilly napkins. But they're just not realistic for my everyday life.
We try and eat healthy, well-balanced meals, but I have to be blaringly honest here, there are days that I am bone tired and the very last thing I want to do is make anything for dinner. On days like that, we have scrambled eggs and toast. Or grilled cheese sandwiches. Or peanut butter and nutella pancakes.
On most days, I realize mid-meal, that I’ve been eating dinner with a tiny dessert fork and my children are using ones that are much too big for their little mouths. More often than not, we are out of napkins and have to resort to paper towels (although my children seem to prefer wiping themselves on their freshly laundered clothing so what’s the point anyway?) napkins? paper towels? newly pressed pants? No difference at all around here. But I digress.
My only saving grace is proper meal planning. Creating a tentative plan for the week and ensuring I have all of the ingredients on hand is essential to getting good food on the table fast. If I wait until 5pm on a Monday night to get groceries, you can be certain it will be a peanut butter and jelly themed dinner at our house.
One thing that really helps me stay on track, is a weekly visit to The Halifax Seaport Farmers Market because there is absolutely nothing more inspiring than seeing local farmers and vendors displaying their fare. It’s one of my favorite places on earth. And it never fails. As soon as I arrive, I can’t help but imagine all of the wonderful dishes I can create using the freshest ingredients available to me.
There is something to be said about the power of visual stimulation and I always feel really great knowing I have supported the people living in my community.
This past weekend, I arrived there bright and early and filled my basket with loads of vegetables and fish and herbs and wine. Freshly baked bread and eggs and beautiful flowers. Chocolate and croissants and gourmet coffee. When I got home, I was eager to start cooking. To make something tasty and nourishing.
And you know, there’s simply nothing more rewarding than cooking for those that get really excited about eating.
My children have become those kinds of people.
They don’t always get excited about eating the same things however, and sometimes it’s still a bit of a struggle to feed hungry little mouths in a timely manner. But we’re coping. And if we resort to the occasional quick fix, it’s really not the end of the world.
potatoes and milk- Blois Family Farms
zucchini- Hillcrest Farm
soft, peppered gouda- That Dutchman
rainbow Carrots and celeriac- Noggins
thyme and parsley- Shubie River Vineyards
pea shoots- River View Herbs
wine –Vero by Benjamin Bridge