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Nova Scotian Hodge Podge with Tuna

Nova Scotia’s Hodge Podge, with Tuna

Nova Scotia’s Hodge Podge is a homey one-pot supper of fresh potatoes, carrots, peas and green beans. What takes it over the top? The addition of heavy cream and butter, along with a few pearl onions for mild sweetness. A gardener’s delight While there are different ways to go about making Hodge Podge, one thing is for certain: it’s best made straight from the garden, when vegetables are fresh and abundant, just as in the eastern Canadian province that lends its name to this dish. Fresh is fresh. In my research I discovered locals prepare Hodge Podge with baby potatoes just 50-60 days in the ground and the gangling carrots pulled to thin the garden bed. This is a foreign concept to someone who doesn’t grow their own vegetables, but it makes sense in verdant Nova Scotia. When a garden does well, it can produce so much food, it has to be used up throughout the growing season, not just in a final harvest. Farm life is common in the province, as are farmer’s markets – …

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Lamb Plov with Dried Apricots & Raisins

I’m an awkward girl; I’m not up on fashion trends, my slang is two decades passe, and I’d rather drink wine at home than be surrounded by 100 people I don’t know. Dinner parties can really put me to the test, especially when I’m the hostess. I want everyone to have a good time, but I’m never entirely sure how to bring everyone together. That’s where Tajikistan can help. You know that moment, right as everyone sits down to eat? I refer to it as the calm before the storm. It’s a little bit awkward; there’s a pause while everyone gauges the mood of the room. What follows this quiet determines the success of every dinner party. In Tajikistan, where there’s a crowd, there’s Plov. Pulling up to a giant communal platter of rice brings a natural closeness.  By forcing yourself to dip hands into a communal platter breaks down any barriers and is a natural conversation starter. If your guests are unfamiliar with communal eating, the best thing to do is to give them …

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Central Asian Noodle Stew | Lagman Shurpa

Serves 4 Are you in need of some revitalization? A breath of fresh air? Are you worn out, tired, or just plain sad? Are you cold? I’m with you. I’m all of the above. When I feel like this I just don’t know what I want. I want everything. And nothing. All at once. I want to sleep. I want to watch movie after movie. I want soup. I want lots and lots of noodles. And then I feel guilty and want some veggies. But not the crunchy, raw kind. Nope, the cozy cooked kind. Kazakhstan has the answer. Lagman Shurpa, a.k.a. noodle stew. According to the old Kazakh saying “Meat brings strength, shurpa brings beauty” (from Please to the Table), it sounds like it will help just about every ailment. It is also the perfect dish if you can’t decide what continent you’d like to eat from. It acts like  a stir-fry, a stew, and a hot pot all at once. And it has turnips in it. Great for lifting you out of a heavy day. …

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