Having lived in Canada now for almost a year and half, I have really been able to hone in on the food culture differences between my beloved south and my current home in making, Vancouver. My list of cravings is growing by the day: biscuits and gravy, fried chicken, collard greens, North Carolina vinegar based pork BBQ, Cheerwine soda. While these southern favorites are likely never to be replaced, I have come to terms with the fact that I will not offend my heritage by allowing all that the Pacific Northwest has to offer into my life. The touches of European cuisine and fresh seafood is hard to resist. Produce difference are prevalent and can be seen in delicious food trends that would hardly last a day in the glorious butter heavy dishes I resort to for comfort. Going from a yard with a lime tree to the land where kudzu like trailing blackberries take over is not a bad trade either.
Call me crazy, but cooking with citrus when we lived in Florida just felt right. The smell of oranges on smoldering hot and humid days provided an immediate refreshing sensation. Mojitos on restaurant patios, cold orange segments to snack on summer days, grilled chicken marinated in a medley of lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits; it all would come together so perfectly. Seeing orange and lemon trees in neighboring yards only added brightness to any culinary vision I had. While inspiration isn’t lost, my subject has been traded for a more sweeter and delicate novelty.
Berry prices are outrageous with its’ rights! So you would believe my enthusiasm when the you-pick berry farm culture came in full force last summer. (Un)fortunately I was in culinary school transitioning to pastry school so the summer came and went before I realized what I missed out on. It won’t be a repeat offense this year. The goal is to use the berries as fresh as possible during the season, and freeze as many as possible to have during the winter. While to some it is a shame to blend fresh picked, sun-ripened, sweet berries into smoothies and juices, I think it’s a precise example of how a berry drink should taste.