Saturday, June 21, 2008

Seeing more at a slower pace

We arrived last night just in time for dessert. Over Bonnie's homemade brownies and lemon bars, we reconnected and relaxed until we were too tired to stay awake.
Bonnie, it turns out, is a talented cook and baker. She worked as a recipe tester for Yankee Books for six or seven years and has an extensive collection of cookbooks as well as a serious interest in good food. We awoke to French toast with warm maple syrup and pecan topping; lunch included vegetables with her curry dip and an assortment of artisan cheeses along with crusty loaves of bread. As I'm writing this post, I'm eating a bowl of strawberry shortcake: freshly baked biscuits, strawberries from the garden, homemade whipped cream. We're being utterly spoiled.
After breakfast we explored Larry and Bonnie's two acres of land, including the raised-bed garden where they're growing tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries, peas, greens, herbs, squashes and more.

Wandering through the garden.

Then we wandered through the outdoor market in Ottawa, where vendors sell fresh fruits and vegetables, cheeses and chocolates, scarves and sculptures, baguettes and bangles. Sadly, the camera battery died, so we had to record only mental images of baskets of ripe strawberries, bunches of radishes, bouquets of flowers and people everywhere buying, selling, eating, talking.

Last shot before the camera battery died.

After lunch, we helped Larry & Bonnie erect a screened dining tent in their backyard and assemble a picnic table.

These instructions weren't written in the US or Canada. Let's wing it.

Then Larry took the kids for a ride in his 1989 Citroen. (It gets 70 miles to the gallon.)

Rolling back the roof on Bernard l'Hermit, the Citroen.

Cruising down the road.

Later, we went for a short run down Old Montreal Road in Cumberland, a rural town recently incorporated by Ottawa. The sides of the road were lined with purple clovers, chamomile, queen anne's lace and wispy grasses; cows grazed in the fields, bicyclists pedaled past, birds called overhead. We were struck by the contrast between yesterday, when we sped through three states too quickly to see much at all, and today, when we took the time to see, hear, smell and taste. You can't take in too much in one day at any pace, of course, but it was rewarding to slow down a bit.

Bonnie's one-bowl brownies

2 squares unsweetened chocolate
1/2cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

Melt chocolate and oil in microwave. Blend in sugar, then eggs. Add flour and salt. Stir well and add vanilla. Pour into greased 8-by-8-inch pan. Sprinkle with chopped nuts. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Do not overbake. Cool and cut into squares.

Bonnie's curry dip

1 pint mayonnaise
3 Tbsp. ketchup
3 Tbsp. honey
1/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. chopped onion or onion powder
1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
7 to 9 drops tobasco sauce (optional)
1 1/4 tsp. curry powder (or to taste)

Mix all ingredients together. Best made one day in advance of serving.

Larry's curry dip

2 cups mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. chili sauce
2 tsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. onion powder

Mix in blender. Best made one day before serving.

Which curry dip is better? You can post your comments here!


kerrie said...

Surely you must miss the never ending pasta leftovers! We miss you; glad to hear your relaxing!
~ Kerrie :)

Jim and Cyndy said...

Hey you guys!

You are making us hungry! We;re here in the Interlochen library, and have been bicycling and swimming, saw Jessie Harris, singer song writer (who wrote a hit for Nora Jones). That food prepared by Bonnie looks and sounds wonderful.
Our plan today is to listen to music at the Interlochen camp, and cool out.
The garden that Larry and Bonnie have is cool. I'll bet you enjoy seeing and tasting the fruits of your labor. We'll be going back home tomorrow.
I'd love to see that Citroen close up. Did Hannah change the tire?? (hee, hee).

Hugs to All
Joy, Paul, Cyndy and Jim