Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Watch this, you're gonna love...



Monday, April 27, 2009

What's cooking, good looking?
Overly productive Sunday edition

Sunday's brunch was one of my "all-out" breakfast feasts, this time comprised of two slices of Ace Bakery's Organic Sliced Multigrain bread, toasted (less than one carb serving per slice, you see),
wilted organic spinach, organic avocado, two fried eggs, two breakfast sausages, three strips of nitrate- and nitrite-free bacon, two Dr. Praeger's Potato Pancakes (at just over 1 carb serving
per two patties), and a homemade, dairy-free Hollandaise sauce made with fresh-squeezed organic lemon juice, one egg and Earth Balance's vegan margarine.

I had, however, started the day by making a batch of jam thumbprints to bring in to work, to express my gratitude for picking up my workload while I was away on vacation. I played around a little with the flours this time — as I didn't have much all-purpose flour around — adding pastry flour and bread flour, plus some Ezekiel flour. I also stayed truer to the recipe in terms of which fats I used, substituting vegan margarine in place of the required amount of butter, plus half lard and half coconut oil in place of the shortening. The cookies hold their shape really well, but are a bit dense for my liking. This is, however, a characteristic of this cookie recipe, these cookies get softer in storage. The last batch of jam thumbprints I made used all-purpose flour and coconut oil exclusively and didn't hold their shape well, but did produce a crispy, lightly coconut-flavoued cookie that really complemented the jam. I'm going to have to play around with my fats some more, methinks.

Finally, I finished off my culinary adventures for the day by making a risotto with the carnaroli rice I was fortunate enough to find at Rube's Rice Shop in St. Lawrence Market, earlier this week. The risotto was made with one Harvest Sun organic herbal bouillon cube, another of their onion bouillon cubes, saffron, filtered water, olive oil, an organic yellow onion, king oyster mushrooms, organic peas, three sausages I had in my freezer and the leftover pork souvlaki I had in my fridge from Saturday night's excursion to Astoria Shish Kebob House (their award-winning pork souvlaki, btw, oddly disappointing).

Hopefully, I won't be cooking again any time soon! :)


Friday, April 24, 2009

Good, short rant

What the fuck is wrong with America?
What kind of country do you live in when you can spend 3 years prosecuting the President for a consensual sexual act but won’t prosecute a President for authorizing illegal wiretaps and torturing people?


Dedicated to Casual Friday

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Sunday, April 19, 2009


I'm finding it really very surreal that I'm back in Toronto.

Being completely away from big city life was an experience that didn't really hit me until the cab ride home yesterday afternoon. For a week, I was in the presence of fresh air, sunlight, blue skies, ocean views, the welcoming presence of the resort staff, and the great company of good friends and family.

Mostly, the difference in pace is what I find I have the hardest time adjusting to upon my return from any vacation. In this case, being able to stroll over the neighbouring resort on a whim, or explore the grounds, to spend hours on the beach — it's the type of life I lament having to give up. I find my mind keeps wandering to the '50s ideal of automation — weren't machines supposed to allow us more leisure time, not less?

A few years ago, I read In Praise of Slow, a book which discusses some of what we've lost on the way towards trying to make more time for ourselves, only to find that we've saddled ourselves with more work than ever in the race for increased productivity. It was chock-full of ideas I already subscribed to, so it's not as though it was a life-altering tome, or anything, but I found that it did help give voice to and expand upon some of my thoughts about the way we live our lives.

I subscribe to the idea that humans need to work on something to feel satisfied/happy, I just don't agree that doing the same thing, day-in, day-out, is the best way to achieve that. I know that I'm one of the lucky ones who is actually working in a field which results in pride-of-work for me, and that there are thousands, if not millions or billions of people who can't make that claim. I just don't think that this method of eking out ever-increasing productivity out of the world's employees is sustainable or even remotely what we set out to do when we were making the factories and/or machines which help us produce more.

Isn't there a better way to live?


Home again

Still playing "ketchup", but I wanted to let people know that the photoset is online.

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Friday, April 10, 2009

What's cooking, good looking?
Using up food before a trip edition

I'm going to be in Cuba for the next week — returning on Saturday, April 18th, so there won't be any new posts during that time.

This week has been a flurry of activity, with me running errands during my lunch hour to try to get the supplies I needed for the trip, then coming home to make a succession of meals which used up the last of the groceries I had in my fridge. Amongst them, the cornbread muffins seen above (recipe substitutions: Ezekiel flour instead of all-purpose; agave syrup instead of white sugar; soy milk with lemon juice instead of buttermilk; and rendered bacon fat instead of vegetable oil), which are filled with a mix of dairy-free "creamy sheese", the last of a jar of (phenomenal, btw) shitake mushroom tapenade and chorizo sausage that I picked up last week at The Sausage King in St. Lawrence Market.

I also used up some spinach, smoked salmon and eggs I had around by making a Benedict-inspired dinner, with asparagus, wilted spinach, smoked salmon and a dairy-free hollandaise (made with vegan margarine instead of butter.

Finally, I made candied walnuts using a simple sugar syrup, sea salt, cinnamon and a touch of cayenne. This is a favourite recipe of mine, discovered in a Christmas recipe magazine I picked up several years ago. I consistently add more salt than is called for in the recipe, as I find the sugar to salt ratio in the original recipe doesn't set off the sweetness as well as I would like. These will be accompanying us on the trip, to provide a tasty, highly portable snack.

Have a great week while I'm gone, intertubes!


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

If the sky that we look upon, should tumble and fall

Thanks, Roy


Monday, April 06, 2009

What's cooking,
Good looking? Unphotogenic edition.

Unfortunately, some of the items that get created in the kitchen just don't photograph well. Here's a rundown of foods I've cooked recently which I've simply opted out of subjecting the internets to:
  • meatloaf: organic beef, leftover Classico Tomato & Basil sauce, mushrooms, rye bread crumbs, garlic, onion, basil

  • bread pudding: PC chocolate chip miche, eggs, soy milk, dairy-free toffee bits

  • green Thai curry: chicken, coconut milk, green curry paste, garlic, ginger, frozen Thai vegetable mix, canned baby corn (drained), mushrooms, snow peas

  • rice paper wrap "sandwiches": small rice paper wrappers, smoked salmon, baby spinach, avocado, roasted bell pepper, nori strips, shitake mushroom tapenade