Fancy Fresh Fruit for a Manitoba Potluck BBQ
I’m at my parents’ home in Manitoba where it is *actually* springtime. There’s a crispness to the lilac-scented air that Floridians only ever feel in January (if we’re lucky). The air here is not the only thing spoiling us. My toddler has been showered with toys, jelly beans and attention. And, since my room is in the basement and his is upstairs next to my parents’, I have slept in until 8:30 EVERY SINGLE DAY. Ahhhhhh.
All that is great, of course. But can you guess what the best part is? You probably already know from here and here and here that it’s my mom’s cooking. Everyone who knows her knows about her cooking prowess because they’ve eaten at either her kitchen table or at one of her restaurant tables. I know it because I’ve been slurping samples from her pots my whole life. So even though I am not the Mango Mentor, it is still pretty awesome to be me.
I know you’re aching to know: What has my mom cooked up over the past week? This morning it was BLTs with crisp bacon and more mayo than I would ever use (so good!). Last night, when my brother and his family were here, it was pork roasted under a cover of bacon and garlic served with barley cabbage rolls, corn on the cob with parsley-garlic butter and quinoa tabbouleh with feta. I’ve woken up to hot coffee and a spinach, cheddar and red pepper omelet and feasted on garlic, cracked pepper and Worcestershire marinated steaks (thanks to my bro for the marinade idea and to my dad for the exceptional grill work). The best was probably the rib-end and tomato barley soup (I swear I’ve eaten 10 bowls of it!).
Oh wait, I forgot about the potato pancakes with Italian sausage topped with a poached egg (see the recipe that inspired my mom at the blog Local Lemons). O.K., I can’t choose a favorite. Impossible!
There is a problem with all this good food from my mom. I haven’t had to cook a thing and so I don’t have much to blog about. I’ve also been a bit lazy with the camera so there aren’t even pictures of her delicacies to display. What I can share is what I took to a potluck BBQ. It was a BBQ hosted and attended by some of my oldest and closest friends. The kids played in my buddy’s park-like yard while we gals drank Coke Zero and snacked on fruit and chips.
We cut a watermelon in half. We removed the red fruit from the center of one of the halves by holding the knife at a 45 degree angle while cutting our way around the melon (insert the knife where the fruit is nearly white and work it all the way around, staying as close to the white as possible). We then used our hands to remove the juicy fruit from the center and a spoon to scrape away any remaining pink bits. My mom took a large knife and sliced a plane of green rind off of the bottom of the bowl so it would not roll over. Then she put the top of a pineapple into the center of the bowl before filling it with chunks of watermelon and pineapple. A few blackberries were added for colour before we placed the bowl onto a metal pan. We wrapped the pan and bowl together in foil, securing them together so that the bowl would not topple off nor would any fruit fall out on my drive to the party.
It was a simple but beautiful addition to the sunny friend-filled afternoon BBQ. Although, admittedly, we girls were too busy catching up to pay much attention to the food. And while the kids liked the fruit, one of my pals made a marshmallow salad that kept them quiet better than any chunk of watermelon ever could.