dill, lots and lots of dill

Comfort Me: A Cookbook Giveaway Contest

Well, Moira, I really can’t decide on a favourite comfort food. I really can’t. But here is how we comforted ourselves this weekend. On Friday, we decided to have breaded fish to console ourselves that it was snowing. Again.

Yes, breaded fish. A great idea. Which meant tartare sauce. One can’t have breaded fish without tartare sauce! We trudged to the supermarket and bought some frozen cod fillets and a HUGE bunch of dill. I didn’t see any tarragon (it is winter, after all) and decided not to bother with the parsley. And still the tartare sauce I made was far superior to any of the commercial sludges. So the fish and tartare sauce were brilliant with boiled potatoes and steamed broccoli. Our house Sangiovese worked very well.

I discovered something about fresh dill and red wine though. I had a small glass of the wine as we were reading and chatting and preparing dinner. I absolutely adore dill so was munching on the washed dill that was in a vase on the counter. (Instant herb garden – great idea from a book my sister gave me: Little Herb Gardens by Georgeanne Brennan and Mimi Luebbermann) I ate a sprig of dill and took a sip of wine. Yikes!!! The wine tasted terrible! It was bitter and sour instead of the usual flavour that is full bodied and fruity with a hint of sweetness. And yet with the dinner itself, the wine married very well and tasted as we expected. And then dessert. Yes! There was dessert! Blueberry pie (frozen blueberries from the supermarket!!) with a mix of whipping cream and cream cheese on top.

But of course, on Friday, I hadn’t even begun to use all that dill. And it looks so lovely – those intensely green fronds. And smells so wonderful when brushed. But it really doesn’t last once it’s been cut.

Dill is not one of T’s favourites (even though he adores our tartare sauce) but he graciously agreed to try something else using the dill. Salmon? No, not if we can’t grill it… so we looked in our various cookbooks to see what others suggested. In the wonderful book A Culinary Guide to Herbs, Spices and Flavourings by Arabella Boxer, we came upon a chicken and vegetable dish with a sauce prepared with chicken stock, cream and dill. Well that can’t be bad, can it? We did have whipping cream left over from the pie. We always have chicken stock. Yes. It was agreed. Roast chicken and vegetables with a dilly cream sauce.

My hero rode his bike to Kensington market on Saturday and bought a chicken. He roasted it on a bed of sliced zucchini, onion and plum tomato. While potatoes were roasting in the oven, T made the most divine sauce with stock, cream (35%bf!!!), salt and pepper. It was like velvet. No wonder the French use heavy cream in their sauces! Just before serving dinner, in went the chopped dill so it wouldn’t get stewed.

The result? Fabulous. Simply fabulous. Once again we drank SanGiovese and ate like kings. So it snowed again! Who cares? (Hmmm, do you want the truth? No, perhaps you don’t – I’ll make this a whineless post.)

And we STILL have tons of dill! Hmmm, dill and eggs? Do they go well together?

10 responses to “dill, lots and lots of dill

  1. ejm

    Thanks for the idea Brian. I’m not wild about devilled eggs, but I might change my mind if they’re made with two of my favourite things: dill and spicy mustard!

  2. Moira

    EVERYTHING sounds wonderful and comforting that you make, Elizabeth! The fish and tartar sauce…hmmmm….the incredible roast chicken and that sauce! Divine.

    Now, don’t be dissing devilled eggs, my friend…they are one of my all-time favourites (with Miracle Whip, of course! hee, hee!).

  3. ejm

    Thank you, Moira! That’s very kind of you to say. The dill cream sauce was pretty amazing. But it’s true confession time: I don’t make everything that I write about here. My wonderful husband does most of the cooking. I wash the dishes. (I can cook; he’s just better. I do make all our bread though!)

    Dill and miracle whip? Now I’m feeling carsick. >%^7^^^7^^

    I know that I’m weird about eggs. I only like them with very well done yolks. I used to adore devilled eggs but suddenly went off them when I in my mid20’s. I should probably try them again.

  4. Moira

    Well, that’s only an ingredient or two away from devilled eggs! You could give them another try, but my experience with burning out on things like that is…you never like them again. At least you’ve never burnt out on potatoes, that would be a tragedy!

    You are a riot with your full disclosure. Your blog IS called ‘Blog From OUR Kitchen’ after all! I’m sure you two make an unbeatable team in AND out of the kitchen, and I still want to make everything you post about, immediately.

    Speaking of that, I’ve got to make a biga at some point and try your bread out. We’re going stateside for 5 weeks at the beginning of April, so I might not be able to fit in any more new recipes before we take off. Maybe while we’re in N.C.?

  5. ejm

    Burning out on potatoes WOULD be a terrible tragedy! I burned out on macademia nuts and am still crying over the loss. I also had a burn out on cashews but luckily have gotten over it now and am eager and able to eat 6 or 7 roasted cashews. (I have learned to stop when I still want more. It just wouldn’t do to go off cashews again!)

    Make the biga bread either there or at home. You’re going to love it though! And it only takes two days to make bread with a biga. And the first day’s labour is done in about 15 or 20 minutes. Most of the time required is spent doing other things. I keep thinking of Julia Child’s section on French Bread in “From Julia Child’s Kitchen” publisher: Alfred A Knopf 1979:

    Ye gods! But you’re not standing around holding it by the hand all this time. No. You are out shopping, but remembering to come back on time; or you are teaching a course in croquet, or you are playing the flute – and the dough takes care of itself. […] While you cannot speed up the process, you can slow it down at any point by setting the dough in a cooler place […] then continue where you left off, when you are ready to do so. In other words, you are the boss of that dough

  6. Moira

    Trust Julia to put things in perspective, right? Thanks for posting that quote- I love the end where she says, “You are the boss of that dough”. Classic, and so, so true.

  7. Bakerina

    This is a lovely post, Elizabeth! It makes me crave those three textures: something crunchy (the breading), something meaty and flaky (the cod) and something smooth and creamy (the sauce). Very well done.

    I always liked that line from Julia, too. I also like the way Elizabeth David put it in English Bread and Yeast Cookery: “It’s really a question of arranging matters so that the dough suits *your* timetable, rather than the other way around.” Maybe not quite as pithy as Julia, but every bit as empowering. :)

  8. ejm

    Thank you, Bakerina! I must say I’m really honoured to hear you say such nice things about the post!

    And yes, Julia Child had a way of communicating that really made me believe she was addressing me personally. And I so wanted her to approve too. I must say that I will miss her – even though she did leave a wonderful legacy of herself on video and books.

    I like the line from Elizabeth David too – and cudos to you for being able to read her books. (I know I’m in the minority but I just can’t seem to like her writing and go crosseyed every time I’ve tried.)

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