A Summer Wedding

by Darcie Friesen Hossack

Twenty-six years ago, wearing more satin than anyone should on a late summer's day, I married my best friend.

We would've preferred a May wedding. My dress was made for a May wedding.

But July 31st, and 38 Celsius, it was.

And so, two and a half decades later, we have an anniversary that, until now, has always been far too hot.

Oh well, I think, as I reflect back over the years of memorial sunburns and mild cases of heat stroke. Now that we live in Northern Alberta, it's a bit chilly in May, and July is exactly the kind of weather we had in mind back then.

"What do you want to do this year?" I asked, about a week before today. Almost immediately, I was presented with a list of views I might be interested in walking or hiking to. I pointed to Athabasca Falls, and then got back round to the point I was trying to make.

"Have you made reservations yet?" I said, being more direct. "And can Chefswife make a suggestion for that night's dinner special?"

Chefhusband laughs. I usually only make requests in our own kitchen.

In fact, over the years, I've had to be careful not to wish for things out loud.

"I could really go for some deep-fried cheese," I mused late one night, a very long time ago. And before I knew it, we were dipping breaded Gouda into jars of jalapeno jam.

Likewise, I have to be careful not to think about midnight crepes, or a summer berry clafoutis, which I promise to feature in the coming weeks, maybe even next.

Now, though, as I slip on pairs of earrings, if my wish for bison happens to have made it onto tonight's menu, I won't be sorry I spoke up.

And if not, I will happily have my pick of, among other things, Kuterra Salmon, or Tenderloin from Alberta's AAA beef, or Duck with sour Cherry Jus. And for dessert, unless I'm led into temptation by the Flourless Chocolate Cake, I'm already planning on the classically-made Crème Brûlée.

Honestly, while Chefhusband's menus are never large, they still somehow present an embarrassment of choices. Unlike in my closet, which is the next stop I make to finish getting ready.

Twenty six years, I think, and take a pair of stretchy pants off a hanger, hold them in front of me, then put them back.

I settle on a summer dress. It's the only dress, besides the yards of white satin, kept in a storage box above my head, that I currently own. And while I'm not saying that having a chef for a husband is the only reason, of these two dresses, the one I'm about to wear to dinner is also the only one that fits.


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Classic Crème Brûlée

5 egg yolks
3 whole eggs
1/2 cup + 1 tbs brown sugar
zest from 2 Navel Oranges
2 1/2 cups whipping cream
2 fluid oz Grand Marnier
granulated sugar for crackle

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs yolks and eggs with brown sugar until well combined. 

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine orange zest with whipping cream. Heat, whisking constantly, until scalded*.

Strain hot cream mixture through superfine sieve to remove zest and dairy solids. Temper egg mixture with hot whipping cream**

Add Grand Marnier to mixture and stir. Divide into approx. 6 5-oz ramekins.

Place ramekins in a boiling water bath*** and bake at 300F for 1 hour (until brûlées reach and internal temperature of 150F). Remove from water bath. Let cool slightly. 

Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight to set completely before caramelizing the sugar, for which you'll need a culinary torch!**** (See links for all starred methods.) 

*Scalding cream:

**Tempering eggs:

***Water bath:

****Caramelizing sugar for Brûlée:



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