We left the Wild West just in time for our annual Memorial Day trip to “We The North” land. Garmin led us a merry chase getting into Vancouver, but oh well, we saw a completely different side of the city. Once we saw the water, we knew just where we were and even found a squeezey, little parking spot right in front.
Non-sign II, located in Peace Arch Park at the Blaine, WA border crossing.
“We’re using the vehicle of the billboard as a way to reinforce your attention back to the landscape and the atmosphere, the thing that the two nations share in common,” said artist Daniel Mihalyo of Seattle’s Lead Pencil Studio, who co-created the work with Annie Han.
Getting in and out of Canada isn’t as quick and easy as it used to be and, these days, border crossing agents have little sense of humor. Once after an especially long, trying wait to enter Canada, an agent asked the Sweetie, “Do you have any food in the car?” “Why, are you hungry?”, Sweetie replied. The agent’s only response—a steely Canadian Mountie-like glare.
A few years ago our Vancouver friends opened their door dressed in full, scratchy-wool Canadian Mountie regalia and served us “Canadian” food: Canadian bacon, fiddlehead ferns, and butter tarts. Last year’s menu featured food with a city name: Brussels sprouts, Veal Romano, Dover Sole, etc. The year before we ate childhood favorites: an assortment of processed cheese, iceberg wedges with Green Goddess dressing, meat loaf and pineapple upside down cake. This year’s theme was “A Black Tasting Menu.” Our old friends are good cooks, wonderful hosts, and a very clever couple.
Black-Food Tasting Menu
Cocktails and beer:
Black bramble cocktail (black currant apéritif, blackberries, gin, etc.)
Blackberry spritzer (non-alcoholic)
The Raw Series black lager
Black Butte porter
Virgin lager (non-alcoholic; the can is black!)
Water and wine:
Black mineral water
Nero d’Avola (Sicilian red)
Tinto Negro Malbec
Black Label Pinot Grigio,
Black corn chips
Black Forest ham
Black bean soup
Yelling and general hilarity ensued during the halftime contest, “Name That Black Tune.” Songs included: Black Denim Trousers and Motorcycle Boots, Paul McCartney’s Blackbird, Metallica’s Fade to Black, Santana’s Black Magic Woman, Ram Jam’s Black Betty—you get the drift.
Mussels in black bean sauce
Squid ink linguini
Blackened chicken (made with black mustard seed, black sesame seeds, black onion seeds, black cumin, black pepper, black cardamom, nigella)
Black rice pilaf (made with black garlic)
Black Bomber cheddar (cow; England)
Chèvre Noir (goat; Québec)
Cendre des Prés (cow; Québec)
Black sesame ice cream
Black cocoa brownies
I was so caught up in being a dinner guest that I forgot my blogligation to document. Aside from the chip/caviar and strawberry pie photos, the rest of the pictures are hoisted from Mr. Google.
Lumpfish caviar on black tortilla chips.
Mussels in black bean sauce
Black rice pilaf
I have struggled mightily to seamlessly incorporate strawberries into this black-food blog post, but am coming up short. All I can offer is a spin on the old joke. “What is black, and white, and red all over?” Strawberry pie and black sesame ice cream.”
Anyways, here’s my new favorite pie recipe starring Strawberries, with a supporting cast of Rhubarb.
Strawberry rhubarb pie with crumb topping
- 1 1/4 cups white sugar
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 cups rhubarb, sliced 1/2-inch thick
- 2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup white sugar
- 1/3 cup chilled butter
- 1 pie crust
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Thaw frozen Trader Joe’s pie crust (overnight or 1 1/2 hours), roll out on floured surface, and place in pie tin. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Mix 1 1/4 cups of sugar, 1/3 cup of flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl until thoroughly combined. Mix in the rhubarb and strawberries, and pour into the unbaked crust-lined pie dish.
Mix 1 cup of flour with 2/3 cup of sugar in a bowl, and cut 1/3 cup of butter into the mixture with a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs; sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the pie filling. Cover the edge of the pie with strips of aluminum foil.
Bake in the preheated oven until the crumb topping is golden brown and the filling bubbles around the edges, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove foil for the last 10 minutes of baking to brown the pie edge.