Early Spring Dinner

To most Canadians early spring means gambling on shorts when you probably should have worn a parka + thrilling over the first sign of snow melting only to head outside in a snowstorm.  It also means that you can have a debate on whether you should serve a light spring menu or winter comfort food as both would be equally satisfying in early March.  Hannah made us something kind of in-between, a cozy salad + a light baked potato + salmon.  

Hannah and I met in Grade 8 and quickly bonded over a particular brand of shared weirdness.  We started doing photo shoots within a few months of knowing each other - surfer girls // fashionistas // portraits -  we were the youngest members of the Quesnel film club and after attending the festival made our own short film "Emily the Cutest Evil Dead Girl Easter Special" - + watched Gilmore Girls and tried to do our makeup just like Rory.  We lived together in undergrad and tried our best to host killer parties and make wonderful food- we thought we were successful even when we made "homemade" Ice-cream Sandwiches for a potluck where we used Pilsbury dough, didn't let the cookies cool enough before filling them with ice-cream that promptly melted - the verdict: still delicious although slightly soggy.   We'd go to friends houses and cook- "we multiply all garlic recommendations by at least 5" feeling very grown up over our ability to throw recipe caution to the wind.  We brought our own cookbook from our apartment, that's how well set up we were.  

All of which is to say when she was visiting from the Yukon and asked if she could make dinner for me at my house I didn't feel even mildly weird letting her buy the groceries + do all the work while I tried to take photos of her.

My only job was to set the table so I grabbed some flowers from the grocery store + threw in some foraged branches of leaves from the neighbour's garden and used some of the leaves from that to add some interest to each napkin.  I made napkin rings super simply by taking silver flower wire + wrapping it around my 3 middle fingers and twisting the ends in.   To "fold" the napkins I just grabbed the middle of the napkin and slid the ring around it // fluffed it up so it's pretty.

Et Voila! I was done!  Now all I had to do was sit back and let Hannah make food for me in my own home.

On tonight's menu:

Salmon with Salt + Pepper (Kyle it swam here from Haida Gwaii!  Nobody cares that you don't like fish.) 

Vegan Caesar Salad  (If you didn't know it was vegan // you wouldn't know it was vegan // it's that good.)

Hasselback Potatoes with Kale + Tomatoes

What to do: 

I won't go into many details about these recipes as the links above will take you to the people who created them with lots of love, and as I didn't make them myself I don't have a lot of Eva-spins to take on them.  I do have a few hot tips though:

1) Use more garlic than it calls for.  But do I even need to say that?

2) Get over the fact that it calls for Vegan "Parmesan" and don't pretend it's cheese because it's not.  It is it's own amazing thing that you should eat and totally love.  Because this salad is helllllla good.  Yeah you need to take a few extra steps compared with my usual lettuce + bottle of dressing, by roasting chickpeas and using a food processor to make the salad dressing, but even I who usually just wings things + does everything in a huge hurry is going to be following this recipe and making it again.  Just writing about it and I'm over here mad craving + wanting moooooooooore*. 

*disclaimer: I'm obsessed with eating salad.  I understand not everyone is going to have literal dreams of eating salad, but if you do, this one is worth dreaming over.

3) You do need to have a lot of the ingredients like seeds + nuts but when it comes to the spices it's always an ehhh do what you want.  In discussing what went into the dressing Hannah said something along the lines "what was that stuff in your fridge?  I put that in there."

4) For the roasted chickpea "croutons" (why are these called croutons?) Hannah used our Louisiana hot sauce (tastes a lot like Frank's) and it was mad aces.  

Order of events:

Just because some of us have difficulty with scheduling things because they can get wrapped up into doing one thing and forget about the others I thought I'd tell you how Hannah got everything onto the table at the same time.  

    Start by roasting the chickpeas for the salad.  

    Then get going with the potatoes- cut them into thin slices but not all the way through and load them with slices of garlic.  I think we used like 10 cloves.  Hannah does fancy cooking so there are a few steps that you should read about by following the link above, but it didn't take a super long time to make them- it's something that's Pinterestable but not impossible to do.  She just added kale + cherry tomatos near the end of the cooking time.

    While the potatoes are roasting and the chickpeas are roasting and then cooling, get back to working on the salad.  

    While the potatoes were cooking she put some oil // salt // pepper onto the salmon and then roasted it for a while.  For vegetarians or non-salmon eaters she often makes them halloumi instead (it's a middle eastern cheese you can cook without melting) but this night she couldn't find it at the grocery store.  It's a specialty item that they sell in the Yukon + also oddly at Buy Low if you're looking for it to add to a meal where non-fish eaters still need to feel as though they're as special as fish-eaters.  (Which, no offense, they kind of aren't because fish is amazing, sorry not sorry.)

    Wine drinking is appropriate through all the steps.  And apparently red goes with salmon.   I had a 50-50 shot of guessing right and I got it wrong.  Lucky another guest was in charge of the drinks.  The wine was selected based on my mad appreciation of swearing and by kind of messing everything up by saying rude things when I'm trying to be classy.  

    cheers to the imminent arrival of spring!

    and to the kind of cozy // kind of springy food we eat with our friends in the meantime