Foodie Friday: Canada’s Maple Seared Salmon

Experiential travel is all about experiencing – mindfully engaging and learning about new places, new cultures, new communities. Our conceptions of travel have changed since the discovery of the airplane and the perceived decreasing size of the globe.  Indeed, globalization has created a world where thousands more of us are travelling annually to different countries and different cultures.

Travel used to be simply moving next door, or down the road, or to the city centre.

My Oma actually made her local newspaper for being the first person in town to make an international call when she called home to the Netherlands after first emigrating to Canada.

Times have changed!

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We are starting our Foodie Friday tour with my country, Canada.  Look at that place!  SO MUCH WATER!!!!

But how we experience has not.  We still experience with our senses.  And one of our greatest senses is our sense of taste (and with that, of course, our sense of smell).

I am blessed to be in a position to travel across continents so often.  But you don’t have to travel as I do to experience.  In fact, you don’t even need to leave your kitchen!

WELCOME TO FOODIE FRIDAY!!!!!  Every Friday I am going to present to you a new dish from a different country of the world. Why?  So that regardless of your ability to travel beyond your kitchen, you can practice experiential travel within it.

So stay tuned every week for a new recipe idea and the pictures of my own creations. For copyright reasons, exact recipes will not be provided (I’m a travel blogger not a recipe developer) but I will give you plenty of ideas to go out and find your own recipe that suits! (if you’re unsure, http://www.allrecipes.com is a great start! or message me :))

And what better place to start for FOODIE FRIDAY #1 than my own home and native land, Canada!!!!!

FOODIE FRIDAY #1: CANADA’S MAPLE SEARED SALMON

Geography lesson: Canada is surrounded by 3 oceans and the United States.  Canada also holds over 20% of the world’s fresh water (ref: ec.gc.ca).  So fish and seafood is a pretty common staple.  If you’re from one of the coastal regions, food of the sea will probably shine in your diet.  If you’re from the mainland, you’re still more than likely to be close to a lake and/or river and eat what lives within.  And we don’t let the seasons stop us either – ice fishing is a prevalent activity wherever there’s a lake that can freeze over (which includes my hometown, the beautiful Orillia).

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some ice fishing huts on Lake Couchiching in Orillia (courtesy: Orillia Packet & Times)

Suffice it to say, salmon is plentiful in Canada and it certainly is a star of a few quintessential Canadian dishes.

You know what else is even MORE quintessentially Canadian?  Let me give you a hint: its leaf stars on our flag…it’s also part of the name of Toronto’s hockey team…

yep – the maple tree!

Out of which comes the beautiful, natural, flowing natural gold – MAPLE SYRUP!  How much is maple syrup worth, you ask?!  In 2013, the world’s largest agricultural heist occurred – $18 million worth of maple syrup was discovered (read more here!)

Maple syrup is a very big thing.  I have friends who tap it.  I have a husband whose family is in the business.  It is loved by the English and the French alike – indeed, sirop d’érable is exquisite!

Anything with maple syrup is going to be delicious. But salmon seared with a maple syrup glaze…so good!  And quintessentially Canadian!  Let this be your next fishy meal and let the sights and sounds of the Great White North waft in your kitchen!

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All the ingredients I used: look at that yummy litre of maple syrup!!!!  Thanks to my in-laws for always ensuring we have a constant supply!

Alright, so there are oodles of recipes that you can find online about maple syrup and salmon.  With this I’m not really a recipe follower per se: basically, the more maple syrup, the better!  But maple syrup IS sweet, so you DO want to balance it with some acidity (totally using words that I learned watching Master Chef!!!)  Basically, get a bowl, and throw in some garlic, onion (minced) and then some maple syrup and maybe some soy sauce and/or Worcestershire sauce (which ANY Canadian will have in their home as it is a KEY ingredient to our signature drink the Caesar – our take on the bloody mary!)  Make sure your soy sauce is GF if you are like me 🙂

Then some sort of mustard (Dijon or regular are great too).  And some salt and pepper.  And then stir, stir, stir….

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So now you’ll want to marinate for at least an hour.  But if you ran out of time because you JUST decided to make this, have no fear!  I’ve done the same and it still turns out delicious because, well, anything with maple syrup will always turn out delicious…it’s a Canadian truth and when have we ever lied to you!?!??!!?

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Here they are marinating.  I put them skin-up so that the juices can get into the fish. 

And now you cook…stove top first just to sear..then 20 minutes or so, 350 or so…

And at the same time, be steaming up your veggies or roasting them.  What you’ll see is that I did broccoli and sweet potato.  Yes, if you want to be authentic find something Canadian as a veggie, but anything is great.  But make sure you have some veggies cooking (you’ll see why in a minute!)

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This is called maple syrup SEARED so make sure you actually sear it on the stove top first before putting in the oven!  And if you don’t have an oven, just keep cooking it on the stove, covered with a lid 🙂

Et…

VOILA!  So with the extra juices that you’ll have from the salmon pan, put them over the vegetables you just cooked and you get lightly flavoured vegetables.  And enjoy your dinner a la Canadiana 🙂salmone5

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How to…Help Yourself When You’re Injured/Sick

My current reality is that of dealing with an injury (see Exhibit A).  This reminded me how important it is as a traveller to be prepared to be your own first line of defence when contending with injuries and illness.

Yes, doctors and hospitals and health clinics are important, but often it is yourself – your very first line of defence that can speed up a successful recovery.  Similarly, travels in remote areas away from hospitals may force you to become your own initial “nurse”.

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Exhibit A: my current state (which happened on the way to the airport…you never know when and where injury might set in!)  And just as “ICER” tells me, as soon as we got to the airport, we sought out ice!

Here are a couple of acronyms that every traveller should know:

BRAT:

Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast.

Stomach ache? Flu? Onset diarrhoea?  These foods are gentle on your stomach and easier to digest.  Since you need to stay nourished, a combination of these foods can help.  Also, it is almost impossible to find a culture that does not have at least one of these items.

ICER:

Ice. Compression. Elevate. Rest.

Possible sprain? Can’t move your muscle? Major pain?

ICER tells you exactly what to do and in what order.

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This little book has been extremely helpful, especially when I am going to remote areas.  It’s light and easy to pack – I always have it in my first aid kit and recommend something similar.

No, I’m not a medical doctor and no, I don’t think this information should replace professional advice.  But travellers need to be proactive in supporting their own health.  You are your own first line of defence.

Stay healthy…stay travelling!

 

Recognizing the International Day of Refugees

In 1951, the UN Refugee Convention was created in response to the thousands of displaced Europeans following the aftermath of WWII.  Thus, 2001 marked the 50th anniversary of the Convention and, consequently, the first year that June 20th would be recognized as the international day of refugees.

Today’s post is to recognize and consider that as you and I spend time planning trips for leisure, many far less fortunate travel for an acutely different purpose – to flee a life-threatening situation.

The BBC reported today that 2016 grievously boasts the largest number of refugees in recorded history – 65 million or 1 in 113 persons (visit the BBC article to read in full).  This includes 12.4 million displaced persons since 2015, 54% of whom are from Syria, Afghanistan, and Somalia, and half of whom are children under 18 years (all sited from the same BBC article, published June 20, 2016).

Having to give up my neighbourhood, my home, my job, my surroundings, everything I know to escape a horrific situation and find safety is a reality I cannot comprehend.  Much of this blog is devoted to careful preparation of travels – I cannot even begin to imagine the stress, the fear, the anxiety that unravels as these refugees move to unknown lands to stay for an unidentified length of time.

I am humbled by my ability to jauntily travel this world.

Stanzas From District Six (and other places) 

When humans steal humanity

Who does the keeping?

When humans steal hope

Who remains hoping?

When shame and loss intertwine

How do we unwind from the fate?

Is hate the absence of love,

Love the absence of hate?

Are these mutually exclusive

As we yearn to be inclusive?

How do we say we’ve learned from our past

When we still attempt to triumph against

Those different

Or seemingly different

All perception.

Does hate just have a different side?

We say we’ve learned

We say we’ve moved on

Yet our reflection still pierces through the shadow

In the window

On future’s door.


Enjoying Vineyards while Alcohol (or wine) Free 

One of the well-known facts about South Africa is the amazing wines that come from these lands, including the native Pinotage – one of my favourites to sip at home while curled up with a good book. 

A wine tasting was one of the events I was most looking forward to when planning my Capetown travels. And I’m excited to come back with my husband because we both share this love.  (Look how stunning these “sits” would be, wine in hand or not):

   
However, my friend with whom I am currently travelling is more a beer than wine person. I also grew up in a dry household and so am more than slightly aware that wine, and/or alcohol in general, is not on everyone’s list of things they either enjoy or choose to consume. 

On Tuesday when we were done our second wine tasting, Kristen elected to also do a beer tasting (side note: lots of craft beer in South Africa, so you can probably work in a tasting or 2 if you prefer your brew over your grapes…) 

It was in this moment that I thought – what would this day look like if I were here with my mom? My mom doesn’t drink, but loves travel, adventure, and beautiful places like the best of them! 

(Mom, this “sit” is for you):  
What I really liked about all the places we visited is that wine was the focus, but it was not the end point. Kristen and I purposely chose a wine tour that went to smaller wineries…more local and “greener”. In so doing, we didn’t just consume wine; rather, we walked into a chocolate tasting (including dark + strawberry and milk chocolate chai), meat tastings (various biltong and sausage assortments), and a cheese tasting!  All of these items were produced on or around the vineyard’s farm.  

   
Our lunch was overlooking beautiful hillsides and the distinctively rolling greens of the vineyards. Truly breathtaking!  

Below: meat and cheese pairings (I’m sure you would get more if you were only tasting the food) 

   
So, if you’re venturing to South Africa, or any country where wine is a major production, don’t shy away from visiting these beautiful lands. I’d even suggest getting in touch with a smaller travel agency, explaining you aren’t a drinker, and asking for suggestions. 

I love my vino, but even without it would have been a beautiful day with lovely meat, cheese, and chocolate tastings! Enjoy 🙂 

A few more beautiful pics….

   
   

EAT! Gluten Free Capetown 

Oh my goodness…I have eaten and eaten oh so well. From fresh fish to pap to Ethiopian to a gluten free pizza, eating gluten free in Capetown is extremely easy. 

Plus you’re surrounded by amazing vineyards (wine = naturally GF) AND any breweries we have frequented ensure they have cider on tap. 

In sum, ask for GF in Capetown and rest assured that you shall be fine.  

Photo evidence below 🙂 

   
    
    
    
    
   

Beautiful and Eerie 

Yesterday we went to Robben Island. This is where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for well over two decades and where many other political prisoners (and criminals prisoners) were held. 

Our tour was undertaken by a former political prisoner himself. How he is able to return to this place where he was held captive I will never really understand. 

I have no words. It’s difficult to process something so tragic and also so known to societies.

I could not take pictures of the jail itself. People differ, but for me it did not seem appropriate. Attached is one scenic picture from this island. 

To end, sometimes there are no clear words, there is only mere thought and emotion. And the devotion to learning from history. Which we all can. 

Below – Capetown in the background, followed by a scene from Robben Island, featuring the Atlantic Ocean.