Friday, July 31, 2009


What are we doing? We're rocking out...with our...


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Must-watch YouTube(ry)

Ukulele Orchestra of GB - The Good the Bad the Ugly


Friday, July 24, 2009

One for Mir

The Verve - Lucky Man


Thursday, July 23, 2009

You were the one I loved

The one thing that I tried to hold on to

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Beef ribs!

A pop into the Loblaws at Yonge Street & Empress Walk yesterday provided me with a package of 1/2-price Beretta Farms beef ribs. Knowing that fresh meat sales are usually the result of soon-to-be-expired meat, I marinated these shortly after coming home, in a blend of light soy sauce, 2 garlic cubes, the last of my Garlic and Hot Pepper Jelly, agave nectar and Chinese cooking wine.

After marinating for about a half-hour, I pan-seared them on both sides, producing some damn fine caramelization, if I do say so myself. The one I had with yesterday's dinner was cooked to medium, and was really juicy and tender. The one I had today was well done, so less juicy and tender — but that made the thicker one that Matt had pretty much perfectly medium today.

This type of marinade is my favourite for beef, adding a slightly sweet, garlicky component to a stronger-flavoured, fattier meat.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Stuffed zucchini blossoms!

A trip to The Square One Farmers’ Market yesterday yielded two different kinds of organic mushrooms (I'm afraid I didn't pay much attention to the names when the vendor was kindly providing me with drool-worthy explanations of my options) and a small container of the unicorn of foodie treats, zucchini blossoms. The food blogs I frequent have done their fair share of talking up these summertime treats, but I had never seen them available anywhere before. I was quite happy to purchase a small basketful (with just one badly wilted flower out of thirteen) so that I could try my hand at preparing my own.

Initially, I thought I'd stuff them with a Chinese fried rice-inspired filling, as I have many of those ingredients on hand. The reference recipes I consulted for stuffed zucchini flowers, however, showed that the "traditional" (Italian) method involves a stuffing of seasoned ricotta cheese. Obviously, that wouldn't be an option for me, but the knowledge inspired me to attempt the "tried and true" recipe on these elusive items.

I settled on an organic roasted garlic, cream chezz and organic sautéed mushroom stuffing, seasoned with sea salt and cracked black pepper. I'm happy to report that I've improved my makeshift-pastry bag technique (the one where you fill a plastic bag and snip off the corner) which has improved drastically since my first attempt, when I made chocolate sandwich cookies. Things were much tidier this time.

I dipped the blossoms in a tempura-like batter — inspired by this post over at Just Hungry — made with cornstarch, glutinous rice flour, all-purpose flour and cold water. I then pan-fried the blossoms in my cast-iron skillet in a shallow layer of oil.

If I do say so myself, the result was incredible. The tips of the blossoms become lightly crispy, the filling ends up oozing with warmth and its saltiness counterbalances the natural sweetness of the zucchini blossom (which tastes much like the zucchini itself, but with a wholly different texture). I don't know if I'll ever get the chance to make these again, but I certainly hope I will.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

What's for lunch?

New placements always bring with them the challenge of what to do for lunch. At my last job (let us never speak of it again), my options for eating out were extremely limited. This was good in that I had to bring lunches in, which tended to be far healthier for me than most bought meals; it was bad in that I had to bring lunches in — a big downside when timelines were tight (as they often were).

My role at Mackenzie has been like "coming home" in a lot of ways. The team I've been working closely with were easy-going and friendly when I first took a role with them 3 years ago. The company's location has changed since then — which would normally mean re-orienting myself within the neighbourhood — but it's very close to the location of the job I held 2 years ago. So, many of the eateries I frequented then remain (although, sadly not all).

One of the new establishments I've been frequenting is Craft Burger (where El Penco used to be — I never did get to try the tamales). I've become a big fan of the organic beef burger with pickles and mayo.

I've also been frequenting one of the chip trucks in front of Nathan Phillips Square, where I usually get a small order of fries and gravy. On the days during which I'm loading up on the high-fat, high-calorie foods, I do my body the favour of walking for most, if not all, of the hour in partial atonement. It's no regular aerobic regime, but it's damn better than eating junk every day and/or not getting any exercise in at all.

In the winter, I was very appreciative of my proximity to The PATH. I frequented many of the numerous food courts accessible there.

Other favourites in the neighbourhood are Corned Beef House, Burrito Boyz (fish taco!) and Mother's Dumplings. I also really like the lunch buffet offerings at India Palace (thanks, Roy!), but I'm sad to report that the offerings don't like me.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My own dairy-free chocolate mousse ice cream!

I've apparently made chocolate mouse mousse ice cream two other times, but I only remember the first. This time I standardized a little better, so I'm going to post my recipe.

  • approx. 8 oz dairy-free chocolate
    (I use the dark chocolate discs from the Bulk Barn)

  • slightly less than a full carton of soy creamer
    (although I'm sure a full carton will do just as well)

  • 5 eggs, separated

  • approx. 2 tsp salt

  • approx. 1-1/4 tbsp sugar


Whisk/blend the egg whites with the salt until soft peaks form. Add the sugar towards the end, beating slightly thereafter.

Over low heat, melt the chocolate into the non-dairy creamer, whisking to incorporate the chocolate. This tends to splash, so be patient. Do not allow the solution to boil (the soy will curdle). Once the mixture has heated sufficiently to melt all the chocolate and so that wisps of steam are rising, temper the eggs yolks and whisk into the hot chocolate mix. While still hot, fold the egg whites into the chocolate blend.

Note: the residual heat of the chocolate mix is how the eggs cook, so work quickly. Allow mousse blend to cool, then freeze as per ice cream maker's directions.

I usually eat a bit of the mousse before freezing, you know, just to make sure it tastes right. :)

This time, I found that the mousse was a bit overly salty/not sweet enough for my liking, but then it seems to have righted itself during the freezing process. The ice cream came out fantastically.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Once upon a time there was light in my life
But now there's only love in the dark


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Midweek (light) edition of
Every week, the same again

Parents cope with child with schizophrenia

Here he is

Every religion has its insane elements

The Real Zeitgeist
(includes Google Video of Egypt: The Habit of Civilization)

Lessons from my grandfather I: Stepping off the hedonic treadmill


Monday, July 06, 2009

Boyce Avenue - How to Save a Life


Saturday, July 04, 2009

Easy, inexpensive roast potatoes

Today's breakfast was pan-fried pancetta ends and a mix of organic blueberries and strawberries, resulting in a cast-iron skillet coated in rendered pork fat.

I also had some leftover duck fat from my most recent duck-roasting, and decided that using up the two fats could be accomplished with the simple preparation of scrubbed fingerling potatoes, tossed in the fat blend and seasoned with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.