There are things in our lives that we know we will always return to. Places, people, ideas, emotions, and sensations that linger with such intensity that all it takes is a wisp of a memory to bring us right back. For my summers to come, I know that every single one will have me on Hornby Island at some point, the place where I learned to walk, mountain bike, snorkel, bead, braid, and properly relax. Every time I take a toss at creative writing, I come back to the same idea of writing a book about a twin who can see her life through one eye and her sister’s through the other- confusing, useless, and ultimately a very cliché concept that I want to abandon, it nonetheless springs to mind as a ‘good idea’ no matter how far I try to stray from it. Biking always brings me back to the days when the world revolved around me and I thought I was probably the fastest kid in the whole world when I was on my tri-coloured ‘speedy’ bike. Little things like this string our lives into an understandable mesh, gelling the changes that constantly happen as we grow. To continue this cliché, that is what this garlic sauce does. It has real chemical properties that make the sun brighter, colours more brilliant, cats cuddlier, dogs smell better, and waists grow smaller (trust me, I’m a future scientist). This is mostly due to the fact that it makes you push aside your main protein so you can devour your vegetables. This is true magic. I have been known to eat just one big plate of vegetables with this sauce, with a little extra brush of Parmesan, and call it a night. Once you try it, you will always come back to it. I promise.
Best Garlic Sauce
This is a sauce that will turn you inside out. For garlic lovers ONLY, it’s not subtle, and that is a very nice thing. Raw and roasted, this is garlic perfection.
¼ c Extra Virgin Olive oil
1 Tbsp parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp Dijon
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 head roasted garlic **
1-3 cloves raw garlic, pressed (adjust the number of cloves to taste)
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp spike (optional, but very highly recommended- a blend available at most grocery stores, this is the je ne sais quoi that makes this dish special)
1) In a blender, combine all the ingredients. Blend until smooth. Use on your very favourite veggies. Suggestions below.
**Roasted Garlic: This is a very easy way to tame the flavour of garlic, and a nice technique to learn. Soon you’ll be throwing roasted garlic in every imaginable sauce and spreading it on toast if you aren’t already! First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Take a whole head of garlic and pull all the outer layers or skin off, just using your hands, so you simply have the outer layers of the cloves (don’t worry if you miss a bit). Now, cut off the very top of the head of garlic, just a half-inch or so, exposing the individual cloves (this will make it easy to remove). Get a generous sized piece of tin foil and put the head on top. Drizzle it with a touch of olive oil, and wrap up the whole situation. Throw it in the oven for 30-35 minutes, testing by pressing the cloves and making sure they are soft.
Beans on Beans Salad
If you’ve never tried making fava beans before, this is a nice, simple way to really get the flavour, then you can decide for yourself if it’s worth all the peeling!
Several handfuls of Green beans (really to suit as many people as you are serving)
10 Fava beans (or more)
½ a recipe Best Garlic Sauce
1) First, you want to peel the fava beans. This requires two peelings- first, remove the tough pod covering the beans. Then, peel the white layer off of the edible green bean. Some people recommend blanching if you find it too tough to remove, but I find that a ripe bean should peel relatively easy. Give yourself a bit of time because it might take longer than you expect. Next, string the beans by cutting the ends with a paring knife, and pulling the fibrous string that seals the two sides of the pod between your thumb and the knife.
2) Fit a steamer on top of several inches of water, and set on to boil. As soon as you see steam, add the string beans. Wait 3 minutes and add the fava beans. Let both beans steam until tender but still crisp (test by snapping or eating- should have some give, but still pop). Meanwhile, use a vegetable peeler to slice thin, round discs of radish. This will create a nice colour and shape contrast, while giving a fresh, peppery flavour.
3) Remove beans from steamer, arrange on platter, spoon on dressing, and serve.
Grilled Zucchini “Steak” Salad
This is a simple “combine it yourself” salad platter, one of my favourite ways to serve the greens. It’s called “steak” because that’s how you cut the zucchini, plus this dish with the sauce has been known to push a side a steak or two in it’s day…
1 medium sized green zucchini
1 medium sized yellow zucchini
1 fennel bulb
3 radishes, sliced into rounds
½ raw red onion, sliced
¼ c goat feta (or regular feta, whatever your fancy!)
handful of torn basil leaves
½ a recipe Best Garlic Sauce
1) Wash all your veggies well, and get your barbeque heated up to medium-low.
2) Slice your zucchinis in half once across the center, and then two or three times laterally so that you have big “steak” slices. This will keep them from sliding through the grill.
3) Slice your fennel bulb either in half or thirds. This is also going on the grill, so you want to have some nice surface area without it falling apart. If your worried its going to come to pieces, go on the safe side and simply half it. Brush the fennel and zucchini with a little olive oil.
4) Pop the fennel and zucchini on the grill. Give it a couple minutes on each side to soften and get some nice grill marks. Meanwhile, slice your radishes and onions. Arrange on a plate with the feta and basil, leaving a big spot for the grilled veggies to go. Pull the fennel and zucchini off the grill when it still has a good shape, but has softened a touch. Chop the fennel down a bit into bite sizes, and half all the zucchini slices.
5) Arrange the zucchini and fennel on the platter and top with the garlic sauce. Serve as is!