Ceviche is essentially a seafood cocktail using fresh fish that is marinated or “cooked” in a large amount of lime juice. It’s one of those dishes that seems to make folks nervous due to the omission of heat to ‘cook’ the raw seafood ingredients.

What is really happening is that the acetic acid in the lime kills bacteria and coagulates proteins that actually cook the product. This is a method has been utilized for centuries in South America to render potentially hazardous seafood safe as well as to create delicious dishes.

There are some recipes that are worth the wait and Beef Bourguignon is one of them.

Beef Bourguignon does take a little bit of time; but when a recipe is this good, you can’t and shouldn’t rush it. There’s a reason why beef bourguignon is a culinary cult-classic, and when you taste it, you’ll see why. Its savoury, seared beef and fork-tender vegetables, simmering in a rich full-flavored sauce is crowd pleaser.

The cacophony of another holiday season is just around the corner. What better time to have a few hot, nutritious meal ideas on hand to assemble, quickly and easily, in the midst of everything else going on.

A favourite of mine is a modern twist on Japanese Katsu bowls. This recipe is made with fresh ingredients and provides infinite variety for individual tastes. (So much better than the ‘bricks’ of starchy instant noodles, with their little packet of mysterious salty flavourings, found in grocery stores!)

With a hot dry weather forecast, this month’s recipe is a perfect “livin’ is easy” kind of summer dish you can make ahead of time. Then, leave it in a warm oven or on the BBQ while you enjoy more time outside with friends and family—and an ice-cold drink!

When you cook with wine, the rule of thumb is usually: if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it! In this case, however, the wine really does define the essence of the end product. While the beef is the star of the show, the wine most certainly is the ‘best supporting actor.’ It brings out the very best of the ribs with its acidity that tenderizes the meat and adds sweetness to the flavour.

Winter is behind us and the sun is starting to warm the soil in our gardens in preparation for the glorious days of summer just around the corner.

At this time of the year, one of the first shoots of the season is asparagus, a local vegetable that screams springtime to me. The local season is relatively short and while we can buy asparagus all year round from across the globe, locally grown always tastes that much better.

Asparagus and butter go together like peanut butter and jelly, Fred and Ginger, SpongeBob and Crabby cakes. The asparagus recipe in this issue has everything to make those delicate spears of green goodness pop.

I need you to stop what you’re doing right now and pay attention. If you’re prone to fainting, please sit comfortably in a chair. If you happen to have one of those foil blankets meant for emergencies, maybe grab that, too. What I’m about to say may shock you.

You’re gardening wrong and you probably always have been.

Are you there? Are you still with me? You know how every season you dig up your gardening beds and fluff them around? You spend hours bent over a gardening fork or shovel flipping, slicing and turning the soil because it’s easier for plants’ roots to maneuver through tilled soil? And you do it because it aerates the soil and allows water to run through it more smoothly?

Pasta is one of those kitchen staples that has so many applications, it is impossible to list the myriad of dishes in this short column.

The word ‘pasta’ literally translates into ‘paste’. While the concept of a malleable dough, shaped and cooked is widely accepted as originating in Italy, it truly is a global phenomenon these days—and universally enjoyed. According to the Encyclopedia of Pasta, there are 310 specific forms of pasta with over 1,300 documented names. One particular ‘shape’ (cavetelli) has 28 different names depending on the town or region in which it is made!

With all that said, making pasta is pretty easy. Freshly made pasta right out of the pot with a little butter or olive oil and some fresh herbs is a dish fit for the finest of tables.

When it’s cool outdoors, I love to walk through an old greenhouse and feel the warmth around me. Slatted wooden benches, a hard-packed dirt floor, rusty heating pipes and, of course, plants all add to the pleasure. Throw in an old chair and a cup of tea and I’m a child again— back in my uncle’s greenhouse watching his tomatoes grow. It’s the all-pervading earthiness, combined with nostalgia- inducing fragrances, that evoke these feelings. To me, a greenhouse is such a comfortable place to be.

Around this time of year, I begin to think, boy, it sure would be nice to have a greenhouse in my backyard. I do have a small one, but it’s just something I knock together every April to hold seedlings prior to planting, little more than a glorified cold frame. So, why don’t I have a real greenhouse in my back yard? I’m not sure. Just haven’t got around to it, no space available, not cost effective. These are the usual excuses, but they aren’t very strong ones.

With the holiday season past us, I just have to glance at the remnants of cookies, cakes, chocolates, candies and other sweet delights that made my blood sugar climb and acknowledge my pants do feel a bit tighter. That said, this time of year is as much about future planning as it is about remembering the fun stuff, the joy of letting loose a little, and basking in fond memories with family and friends. Even our Camosun Culinary Arts students are sharing memories of being ‘voluntold’ into applying their cooking skills for loved ones over the holiday season!

Although planning for the next season starts the day after the last season, January is the perfect time to look at the year ahead and get ready for the Home Opener in May. Back this month, Shamrocks’ Head Coach Bob Heyes, Captain Matt Yager, and top goal scorer Rhys Duch talk about their plans for 2019.

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