Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Contemplation and salad ...

To state the very obvious, rain is everywhere these days people. Everywhere. You turn your head or ear in any direction and it's, well, rainy, gray, misty, gusty, blustery, floody (I know it's not a real word but I like it) especially floody (wanted to use it again). Here in my current hometown of Quebec it's also floody. Especially along the Richelieu river. I mean farmers are finding Carp swimming in their fields for heaven's sake. It is an uncertain time. When I see pictures like this, it hits pretty close to home. I worry about the crops. I worry about the farmers and I worry about their land.

Pictures like this ...

So, while all this floody (getting used to it, aren't you...) business is going on around me, I sit quietly and remember that I love the rain. The French have a saying (of course) for the feeling that a somber, gray, rainy day brings about. They call it la tristesse

La tristesse.

La tristesse visits me on these days dear readers but I have another perception of it. I find peace; a quiet beauty in the softness and stillness of a rainy day.

La vie est belle sous la pluie.

I love to be out in the middle of all that tristesse. To ride my bicycle to the empty markets, sporting sunglasses (I like the view from the cool way droplets accumulate on them) and grinning while my face gets all misty from the humidity in the air (and the rain). To be out in our front garden and watch the drops of rain gather on the leaves of our flowers. And at home, to snuggle under my blanket and watch movies (and eating way too much popcorn for my own good) while I look outside and listen to the rain.

The changing of seasons has always been a contemplative time for me. I tend go into myself for a little while. In the springtime, I contemplate seeds and life. Awakenings and beginnings. I watch all around me as life bursts out of every empty branch. All of a sudden, grounds that have been barren and frozen for the last seven months are spilling over with flowers and greens ready for their time of warmth and beauty. I watch the audacity of weeds breaking concrete to reach the sun.

I garden and plant seeds, alone, marvelling each time at their complicated perfection. This tiny little living thing just knows what to do.

I think about me and the plants. Me and the dirt. Me and the food. The beauty and fleetingness of it all. I am grateful and a little triste.

I also contemplate salad.

"Sorry?" you say? "Salad contemplating?" you ask? Uhhhh, yeah! You mean you've never contemplated salad? Come on people. It's pretty neat. My salad contemplation revolves around some very special wild salad greens that I look forward to every spring. The ones where each leaf is different, where flower buds are included and you get really cool splotchy leaves that taste like melon. I think of how they grow and how awesome it is that we can still eat wild foods.

They are hand gathered every year (by Francois) purchased every year (by very happy me) then delicately dressed and thoroughly enjoyed.

Time to dish.

Wild handpicked mesclun greens with peppery Greek olive oil & sharp goats cheese.

Glorious ...

Here is what you need:

- A bunch of handpicked wild mesculn greens (if you can't find them just use any other delicate, yummy green you like).
- Peppery Greek (or your prefered) extra virgin olive oil.
- Lime juice.
- Your goat cheese of choice (preferably with rind and broiled in the oven unitl slightly melty - I know it's not a word, but I like it).

Here is what to do:

1. Be very gentle with your greens because they are delicate. Drizzle them gingerly the olive oil. Splash a little lime juice over the top. Mix them gently with your hands. Place lucious goat's cheese on the side, slightly balanced and enjoy dear readers. Contemplate and enjoy.

Some other wild, handpicked, yummy stuff Francois has to offer...

Tetes de violon ...aka Fiddleheads ...

Morels and other hand gathered, crazy wild mushrooms ...


  1. Oana,
    Love the post. After a long winter of root vegetables and the occasional Californian citrus, spring greens are all-important (especially after eating all that popcorn--my boyfriend and I go through a lot of popcorn too!)--go salad.
    What we've been doing lately with our fresh greens is this: (1) make a pot of quinoa--toast the grains in butter first, so that they come out nice and fluffy, (2) make a dressing of garlic, lemon juice, zest, olive oil, and maybe a little dijon if you like, (3) poach an egg for each person, (4) supreme your favourite citrus (blood orange, for me), (5) toss the greens, citrus, and quinoa in dressing; put your egg on top, (6) break the runny yolk and gobble up.
    I only wish there were space to have a garden here.
    And speaking of eggs, what ever happened to all of those turkey eggs?

  2. I hope la tristesse is coming to an end because with all this rain I would now be suicidal! Lovely reflection though. And that salad looks awesome, and fiddlehead season YAY, love them

  3. @ Katie - Thanks. Totally. That sounds lovely and I will try it because we love Quinoa too. They were fried in butter and gobbled up, pun intended :). So delish. Better thank chicken or duck as far as I am concerned.

  4. @ Evelyne - I see a ray of sun out now :). Thanks, it was really beautiful to eat. I just had some fiddleheads for lunch and they were excellent. So tender and earthy. Will visit JT market and Francois on the weekend for more, I heard he opened up a stand at AM last weekend...

  5. @ Ale - Thanks for your comment Ale, there has been some trouble with blogger and it marked it as spam and won't display it. Yeah, when you buy fiddleheads here at Jean-Talon market from Jardins Sauvages you get a paper with cooking instructions and these people are very reputable for growing and collecting them.

  6. Those are some of the most beautiful mushrooms I have ever seen. Do pigs hunt those too or is it just truffles?

  7. Thank you, Morels rock. Pigs love to hunt mushrooms. They go after all sorts. Good question.