Back to Rhubarb

As a privileged, white Canadian I know that I am not the demographic for which last night’s election results are the hardest to swallow. Not even close.

I believe there’s a lot of good in this world, but we must continue to hold our own government to account – on climate change, on Indigenous rights, on social justice – and not fall into divisive and fear-based politics. We must amplify the voices of those more vulnerable, and be better allies.
Anyway, that’s what I’ve been telling myself to assuage the knot in my stomach.

I stayed up til the wee hours of the morning to watch Donald Trump’s victory speech (file that under things that feel surreal to type), so ended up feeling a bit like a zombie today. Between sadly watching HRC’s concession speech with coworkers and clicking through countless articles and tweets dissecting the election results, it didn’t feel possible for much else to occupy my thoughts today. (We treated ourselves to ramen, though, which was a bright spot.)

But in an attempt to multitask and focus on something apolitical while watching the coverage last night, I turned to my much neglected drafts and decided that the blogosphere could probably use a drink. So we’re going back to rhubarb…DSC_0335 copy Continue reading

in and out of bloom

I’ve been tracking the summer’s passing in the coming and going of some of my favourite blooms (or the ones I recognize, which, to be fair, are not very many). The lilacs in my parents backyard were some of the first to show off before I noticed their perfume all over town. Next there were the tulips, the peonies, the apple blossoms…all of them seeming to peak and fade before I stopped to smell them.

Then, I was lucky enough to take two classes at Blumenstudio (my dad and I had the same idea when it came to birthday gifts for my mum, apparently). We made dreamy little succulent terrariums and learned about throwing together garden bouquets. When Kat opened her second Blumenstudio in the west end of town, I wrote about it for Ottawa Magazine – and so I happily spent a lot of time around her pretty plants and Klaus the dog.

Then, there were lush little gardens lining streets in Montreal, beautiful blooms on the farm, and tiny doggy flower crowns.

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Then, one of my best friends got married. One of the bridesmaids, Michelle, happened to have worked as a florist for many years (she’s also a brilliant scientist and communicator, there is nothing this girl can’t do) and so she took on doing all of the floral arrangements for the wedding. This also left her responsible for leading the rest of us bridesmaids through making our own flower crowns, something we were super excited about.  Once we actually started, though, I was struck with analysis paralysis (was I making it too heavy on one side? Did the colours clash? Was I crushing delicate blooms?). Over mimosas and Top 40 tracks we crafted our crowns, left them to stay fresh in the beer fridge during last minute prep, and then our friends got married! The wedding was absolutely beautiful and our flower crowns lasted a whole night of dancing – I don’t think I’ve ever cried so many happy tears, or taken so many selfies.

THEN, as I went for a run along the canal yesterday evening, brown leaves fluttered on to the path in front of me and suddenly summer seemed like a blur. There are still another 20 days of summer left on the calendar, so there’s still time to squeeze out every last humid, sweaty drop (and Continue reading

on the berry bandwagon

Well, I still have rhubarb recipes gathering dust in my drafts file and I had hoped to post those before popping back here to simply announce that the next instalment of Kate’s Plate is live over at Ottawa Magazine (online and in print!), and yet here I am. Something about the best laid plans going awry…berry prep Continue reading

rhubarb revelations

SONY DSCWell, this is kind of exciting– “Kate’s Plate” has gone beyond this little blog! After my first article in print came out in January, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to continue working on a regular food column for Ottawa Magazine…called Kate’s Plate. Who would have thought.

The column focuses on one local seasonal ingredient; I get to play with it and chat with great people in the city. For the spring issue of the magazine the editors had picked rhubarb as the star ingredient. So, in January I embarked on a rhubarb adventure completely out of rhubarb season. I had rhubarb on the brain a lot. Probably too much; I started referring to my very lovely editor at the time, Ruth, as Ruthbarb. (Sorry, Ruth!)

Sounds fun, right? Totally! But also a little intimidating, having mostly just written, taken photos, and cooked for myself without any pressure.  So, to anyone who heard me talk about the “edgy veggie”, or who taste tested, or helped in any way — thank you for supporting Kate’s Plate’s first off-blog venture!

The spring magazine should be on newsstands tomorrow, but you can go check out my little column on Ottawa Magazine’s website. One of the recipes is just in time for Purim, too!

Hope you guys like it and, as always, thanks so much for reading.

Coming Up: A Taste of the Arctic

My lunch break yesterday was a departure from my regular sandwich or salad. Instead, I sampled pitsi and maktaaq and tuttuminiq quaq.

…Intrigued? Then you might want to check out A Taste of the Arctic! (That’s dried Arctic char, beluga skin, and raw caribou, if you were wondering.)

taste of the arctic previewAs I munched on (more than a few) pieces of candied Arctic char, I watched as meat was expertly  sliced with sharp ulus, traditional Inuit made blades, and learned more about Inuit culinary customs (apparently the eye of the fish is a treat that people fight over!).

Bannock, the quintessential bread, was the only food on offer that was familiar to me, but I was pleasantly surprised by all the new things I tried. One of the ulu-yielding women drew similarities between the raw fish and meat we were eating and Asian sushi, something that doesn’t seem so unfamiliar. Raw, smoked, dried, candied, or frozen, it was neat to see fish and meat prepared in so many ways on one table. (The most traditional way being “pulled straight out of the water and served” I was told — talk about catch of the day.)james bay (3 of 3)

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humbler than pie [olive oil apple crisp]

humbler than pie (15 of 15)humbler than pie (14 of 15)A good friend of mine and I sometimes joke about worrying that we peaked in high school. We were just big fish in a little pond, but I sometimes feel that I lost some of the confidence I had after I left that teenage-comfort zone. It might be that I’m overthinking things, or it might just be a part of growing up—maybe a bit of both.

While I often found my undergrad challenging, I find myself occasionally missing the structure that came with the “occupation” of being a student and the kind of certainty it offered; I knew what I was doing with my life for a solid chunk of time (that good ole’ BSc), at least most of the time. And even if I didn’t know what lay ahead after graduation, I had another year or two to think about it, another semester or two, another week or two…

Since graduating, I’ve doubted myself a lot in a way that doesn’t feel like “me”. I’ve given in to mini-cry sessions that creep up on me without warning, and indulged in little pity parties for seemingly no reason. Motivation has been a little low, Netflix usage has gone up. I have learned how to cross stitch. Continue reading

so gouda

cheese at homeHappy Cheese Lover’s Day! (There are food “days” for every day of the year now, I think. But this looks official enough for me.)

I did a little research in the name of spreading the good cheesy word — you can go learn about some of Ottawa’s top cheese authorities and their favourite cheeses over at Ottawa Magazine. Continue reading