A sure sign of summer in Alberta is the masses of people loading into the cars, trucks and suv’s hauling trailers of every size and shape. They take to the highways looking for rest and relaxation in the nesting areas of National and Provincial Parks as well as every nook and cranny of available, rent-able, tent pitch-able space!
I however am just fine with pouring myself a coffee from the convenience of my kitchen, topping it off with Baileys and walking through my patio doors to the oasis I continue to create with my hubby. Every weekend is a stay-cation for me. Hubby on the other hand itches until Sunday every week to careen himself down a mountain on his bike! (mountain bikers…all addicted to adrenaline)
Ok, so it seems a little weird to be doing it every weekend. Hanging out in my garden that is! lol But I enjoy puttering, watering deadheading and entertaining in the garden.
This past weekend was no different! My sister came into town with goodies under her arm from her trip driving across the prairies from Winterpeg! With a couple of purposeful stops – one being the greenhouses in Redcliffe just outside of Medicine Hat to purchase cukes and tomatoes picked right from the vine. Now most people wouldn’t get excited about produce, but then, you already know I’m a little “off” when it comes to food! ha ha.
The lovely thing is that its just something that my family has done since I was a little girl. You see my great grandparents used to live in Medicine Hat. We used to stop for a visit on our way to spend time on my grandparent’s farm in Saskatchewan. On these frequent visits we would go to the greenhouses and stop for tomatoes and cukes. The english ones are amazing when they are this fresh – the skins are so thin and the flesh is so juicy…mmm I can almost smell the vines growing.
Sometimes, in the fall, we would stop to buy hungarian hot peppers that my mum would make into the most delicious dish that only the brave could eat ….so hot! You’d have to have a slice of bread and a glass of milk…just in case she threw in a few extra hot ones when no-one was looking. There was a little old Russian woman in Medicine Hat that was hunched over and was always wearing a baboushka, an apron and funny little leggings under her skirts that we would visit at her home garden in her backyard. I couldn’t tell you her name but the experience was always amazing. This gal always had a huge smile spread across her face, her eyes were beady but soft and inviting, but her wrinkles are what stands out the most. You could tell that she had already worked so hard in her life… Medicine Hat is known for its heat and rattlesnakes but this gal had her whole lot planted in hot peppers. She had an old scale and paper bags to pack your purchases in (most of them were recycled and reused!) and we used to argue who was going to carry them to the car. I’m sure my mum could hardly wait to head back to Calgary with three kids cranky in the back seat asking if we’re there yet! So when my sister came to the door carrying her paper bag with goodies, you now know how special the contents of a simple cucumber and 3 little tomatoes could mean to me. Sometimes life just surprises you with the most pleasant things.
So for dinner we sliced the fresh cucumber as thin as paper, salted it slightly and set it aside to sweat while we made the rest of our dinner. I kinda threw it together … consisted of a pork tenderloin that was “opened” to about an 1/4 of an inch thick, pounded flat and stuffed with a tabouli salad (made with the tomatoes that Kiera brought and fresh parsley & mint from the garden) and tied shut with cotton string. Sprinkled liberally with a Montreal steak spice rub and grilled for about 10 minutes on medium high. Once the pork was resting I put a big doll-up of sour cream on the cukes, stirred them (and stole a bunch before they went to the table). Roasted potatoes, ceasar salad, pan fried white pudding, and 3 kinds of homemade pickles rounded out the table for a quick and dirty bbq on the fly.
It was great to spend time with my little sister – the visits never seems to be long enough…sometimes I wish I could go back in time so we could enjoy the time we had together – better. Damn, I guess its true what they say about being in your 40’s then… that enlightenment only happens when you mature… huh.
Speaking of maturity….I finally planted my tomatoes this week! Hope the maturity dates on 6 varieties of heirlooms hit their mark….the crazy tomato lady (aka me) will prevail. Note to my good friend Neena – I only put in 6 tomatoes! And I promise never to plant 60 tomato plants ever again – lesson learned! lol
So here is to a fabulous week of planting in Calgary – hope you all enjoy what the weather has to offer. I challenge everyone to come up with a childhood memory that makes you giggle and share it with me however short, long or funny – I’d love if you would share them!