Thursday, October 21, 2010

Just acknowledge that I let you in, or why I hate the morning drive - A Poem

Just a little thank you is all it takes
A wave of the hand
A nod of the head
Just a teeny respectful gesture

After all,
I might have saved you from
A damaging sideswipe
A horrific driver’s side crash
An overturned vehicle

Or at the very least
Being late for work

Many of my other driving colleagues would not have been
So kind
As to leave a space for you
To sidle in

Every second we move
We change our Fate
I have just helped to change yours
Would it hurt you to acknowledge it?

Next time
You might not see me

Monday, October 18, 2010

The End of the Dishwasher

So my dishwasher finally shuffled off to that great appliance warehouse in the sky this weekend. And, as usual with my luck, it went right in the middle of the cycle, between “wash” and “rinse”, leaving my dishwasher full with mucky, obscured water.

Like anyone who has ever owned a dishwasher, even for a short period of time, I thought that this was the ultimate disaster. It was Sunday morning, I was gearing up to make French Toast and bacon for the kids, and we had no dishes left because I forgot to run the dishwasher the night before. It was already 9:30 AM and we had to be out of the house by 11. When you have 2 young kids, life is chaotic enough without having to deal with failing appliances.

As I opened the lukewarm dishwasher, and started to fill the sinks with blasting hot-as-my-hands-can-take-it-without-gloves water, I heard daddy and the kids downstairs screaming with laughter at whatever it was they were doing. And I got pissed. Because I knew, as mom, I would have to end up doing everything myself, as usual.

Once I unloaded the bottom rack into the sink, I heard the thumping of family feet coming up the stairs.

“We’re off to have a bath,” said Daddy, guiding the (little bit stinky to be honest) girl child up the stairs.

In the millisecond between the end of his statement and the next footfall on the stairs, a brainstorm crashed through to my eyeballs and came out of my mouth in the form of:


The house stopped. Here was my chance.

“Can you guys please come and help me dry these, since the dishwasher is dead?”

Daddy, being the helpful guy that he is, said, “Sure. I’ll just take her upstairs, and…”

“No,” I continued, my brilliant idea illuminating my face, “I mean the both of you.”

“Oh, sure,” said Daddy, in one of those parental mind-meld moments. He guided the (little bit stinky) girl child into the kitchen, and handed her a dish towel.

She looked at us as if we had given her a piece of chalk and asked her to illustrate the theory of travelling at the speed of light in less than 30 seconds.

I handed her a metal bowl, “You’ve never dried a dish before, have you?”

She shook her head. (She'll be 7 in January.)  

“Well, it’s like when you dry your skin, except the water doesn’t come off as easily. So wipe this til you don’t see any more water, then put it in the cupboard where it goes.”

And for the next 20 minutes, I rinsed; they wiped. Then I wiped. And as we wiped together, I explained to the girl child that, “When Daddy and I were your age, we didn’t have dishwashers. We used to do dishes by hand, like this. And the whole family would have to pitch in and help put the dishes away.”

“This is fun!” the girl child explained, with all sincerity.

As I looked at my kitchen clock, I noticed that only 20 minutes had lapsed. We still had plenty of time for brunch, and a bath before we had to leave. And we had spent real quality time together. It’s funny how all of these appliances have come into our homes to make our lives simpler to give us “family time”, and yet, they seem to divide us further. The dishwasher would only run at night; it’s loud so we can’t talk over it, and we end up going downstairs to stare at the Idiot Box.

The only thing the dishwasher really gave me is more counterspace. Is that a substitute for family time? Not really.

Washing dishes together had us talking, was teaching the children how to handle breakable dishes when wet, and also, teaching that all-important “tidy up” lesson. That’s probably why they still teach dishwashing and linen washing at classic Montessori schools…

Never mind it saves electricity, water, and your dishes actually get clean, instead of having food particles melded to them by a hot dryer that never scrape off.

That being said, you’d think I’d never want another dishwasher again. You’d be wrong about that. After all, I don’t want to spend the time after a dinner party standing over the sink, washing dishes while everyone else gets to have a good time. But maybe we might not use the new one as often. Maybe.  

Monday, October 11, 2010

So now we're in October

and I have been extremely bad about blogging. So much for "if I don't write every day..."

The Staycation went well, I suppose. Didn't really finish everything around the house until this weekend, but...

Anyway, so it's October. And as the baker I imagine that I am, I went out and spent way too much money on a "pie pumpkin", i.e. the wee pumpkins that they sell to insane people like me at an overinflated price because we believe that pumpkin from a can is sacrilege. You can buy 3 large jack-o-lantern pumpkins for $15, but a mini 5 lb pie pumpkin is $3. And all it gives you is enough pumpkin for 2 pies. Or one big pie. That's about 4 cups of pumpkin.

But you know, there is nothing in this world that can beat freshly roasted pumpkin flesh for baking. The stuff in a tin tastes like tin. And God knows how long it's been trapped in that tin. Centuries, maybe. Since the Great War. After all, canned food never goes bad so long as it isn't dented...

So now that I split my pumpkin, gutted it, and roasted it (I forgot to take pictures in my zeal of acting out my Dexter fantasies with a squash), I had no idea what to do with it. Pie - well I have a wonderful pumpkin pie recipe that I cannot share, as it was created by my late husband, and it wouldn't be right to share it without permission. Maybe in 70 years or so when it becomes Public Domain.

My next option was a pumpkin cheesecake. I was attending a Thanksgiving dinner, and I had to bring something. My hosts love my other cheesecakes (apparently I make good ones; I don't know since I'm not a big cheesecake fan. OK, that's not true. I love making cheesecakes. I don't really care if I eat them. But I love watching people enjoy what I bake.), so I thought, why not do a pumpkin one?

There are six million pumpkin cheesecake recipes on the internet. Most of them call for canned pumpkin. Most of them don't have enough of anything else to cover the flavour of the tin, though some did call for lemon juice which would kind of mask it.

Canned pumpkin mixes easily into the cheesecake batter. Freshly roasted and pureed pumpkin does not blend as easily. But believe me, it is well worth the effort! Plus, you can snack on seeds while it bakes.

Finally, I just decided that I've been making cheesecakes long enough that I don't need to follow a specific recipe. So I made one up. Some of my Facebook peeps asked me for the recipe, if it was a good one.

There were people at the Thanksgiving dinner eating cheesecake who normally don't. And funny enough, only men had my cheesecake during the first round of dessert (we had to leave before the second round. The good thing about having a small child is that it saves you from overstuffing yourself at a large dinner, simply because you're either chasing him around or you have to leave early to make sure he gets to bed on time). I take that as a sign that it was probably a good one.

So without further ado, here's my pumpkin cheesecake recipe, which I will call Ontario Harvest Pumpkin Cheesecake:

What you will need:


1 - 9" springform pan (I don't like nonstick, but if you think teflon doesn't kill birds, then go for it)
parchment paper
solid measuring cups (as opposed to liquid measuring cups - there is no liquid to measure for this recipe)
measuring spoons
Food processor
Large cookie sheet
Stand mixer or hand mixer (unless you're batshit crazy and want to mix cream cheese by hand, then go for it)
rubber scraper (not plastic, rubber. You'll see why.)


1 whole pumpkin, preferably not jack-o-lanternized, gutted and cut in pieces, skin on.
2 cups of fine graham cracker crumbs
2 Tablespoons of white granular sugar
1/3 c. butter, melted (that is, measure the butter first and then melt it)

extra butter at room temperature

3 packages of Lactancia cream cheese (do not use Philly if you can possibly avoid it - Lactancia makes way better cream cheese for cheesecake, hands down. It's even better than the cream cheese from the cheese shop that I got one day to be fancy and spent way too much money on cream cheese for a cheesecake!)

Please make sure the cream cheese is room temperature.  You will NOT die or get sick from room temperature dairy products, as long as they haven't been left in the room for 3 days straight, or in the hot 35 degree sun for 4 hours or something.

1/2 c. white granular sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed tightly

3 eggs, room temperature (you leave them in the shells to bring them to room temperature. Don't just crack them and leave them out. You're just asking for trouble then.)

1 heaping teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon of ground ginger (you can try fresh, but make sure it's grated as fine as possible, and make sure you use only 1/4 the amount of dried)
1/4 teaspoon of cloves
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt (for God's sake, don't tell me you're still cooking with iodized table salt!!)

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, or the scrapings of half a vanilla pod


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. (Don't ask me what it is in Celsius or Gas. I've never seen a Celsius stove in my life, and I live in Canada. I think most modern gas stoves have degrees on them, but if yours doesn't, I'm sure there's a way to find out what gas mark 400 degrees Fahrenheit is.)

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place your cut pumpkin, skin side down, on top of the parchment on the cookie sheet. Bake (or rather, roast) for at least 30 min, longer if you have a larger pumpkin. The pumpkin is roasted when it starts to smell like Fall in your oven, and when a toothpick goes easily into the pumpkin flesh. Remove from oven and cool until you can handle the pieces without burning yourself.

Scoop the flesh away from the pumpkin and deposit into your food processor. Make sure to obey the fill line on the side. Process away until the pumpkin looks like baby food. You may have to start with pulses if the pieces are too big. But it will work.

Once you've finished turning your pumpkin flesh into mush, discard the skin, and reserve about 2 cups of pumpkin mush. If you have more than 2 cups total (and you will), you can freeze the rest (it lasts forever in the freezer, and it's hellabetter than canned) or you can make more cheesecakes!

So now turn your oven down to 350 degrees F. You don't have to open the door to cool it; the recipe takes long enough to prepare that your oven should cool down to the proper temperature.

Take your 9" springform pan and butter the sides. Even if it's non-stick. But just lightly. Then line it with parchment. You may swear since parchment is cut into rectangular and oblong shapes and springforms are usually round. Use the butter to help hold the parchment to the pan. Trim any extra, and make sure the folds are pressed well into the side of the pan. What? It's not holding? Yeah, it does that. So take a little more butter (just a bit, don't go Paula Deen on the pan or anything) and brush the inside of the parchment, using that to help the parchment stick to the bottom (most important) and sides (not as important, but necessary).

Once you've finished cursing me and the parchment, mix the graham crumbs, and white sugar that were grouped together in the list of ingredients. Use a pastry blender to make sure it's well-mixed. Then add the melted butter and use the pastry blender to make sure the butter is mixed thoroughly. It should look like coarse sand, and should only clump when you pick it up in your hand and clump it together, like sandcastle sand. If it is too wet, the bottom of your cheesecake will be greasy (remember all the butter on the parchment?). Take your graham mixture and dump it into the bottom of the springform. Press it into a flat circle following the pan's shape, making sure that it gets spread right to the edge of the pan (paper). Make it as even as you can while spreading it by patting, not pressing, the crumbs with the palm of your hand. Once it looks like an even circle, put the springform on a cookie sheet (the one from the pumpkin will do, as long as you've cleaned it up) and put it in the oven for about 5 - 7 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool.

After you bake the crust, take your 3 packages of cream cheese and put them in your stand mixer. Mix them on low (no higher than 4) to make sure that they whip nicely. The rubber scraper is your best friend here. Make sure you scrape down the sides AND in between the beater (I use the K beater, but you can use the whisk if you want a whippier cheesecake. The whisk is just a bitch to scrape.). Once the cream cheese is starting to smooth out, add the white sugar, and give a quick turn in the mixer (count to 3). Then add the brown sugar, and mix until the cream cheese is smooth, scraping down the sides all the way to make sure the sugars are being mixed in. You should barely notice the sugar; the cream cheese may look a little tan. Now add your pumpkin puree. Again, mix well on about low - medium low, making sure to keep using that rubber scraper. When the pumpkin is just blended in (so the whole thing isn't quite light orange), add one egg and mix. When that egg is fully mixed in, add the second. When that one is fully mixed, add the third. When that egg is fully mixed in, add the spices. All at once, it's ok. And the salt, too. Mix until you see that the spices are well-incorporated, then add the vanilla. Give your batter a good count-to-7 mix (yes this is how I cook), and then remove from your mixer. Scrape the batter off the beater, too.

Now carefully pour the batter into the springform. If your parchment paper is uneven, and there are parts that did not touch the top of the pan, that's ok, as long as your paper is against the side. If the paper is poking away from the side, try not to fill the cheesecake higher than your shortest area of paper.

Give the pan a little tap and spin (tap it on the cookie sheet while turning it carefully in both hands), and then place it in the centre of the oven. Bake for at least 1 hour, and then check. If the cheesecake comes back nearly clean when a toothpick is inserted (there may be a bit of batter thinly on the sides of the pick), it's done. If it is still thick on the toothpick, leave it for another 15 minutes, and try again until it's done. Then turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake in there to cool.

Once the oven is cooled off, about 40 min, open the oven door slightly, and let the cheesecake cool until it can be taken out without oven mitts. This ensures that your cheesecake will not crack. Unless of course you leave your windows open while you bake, thus cooling off your kitchen and allowing a draft to enter the oven after the 40 minutes of cooling after you've spent all day working on this bloody cheesecake...note to self: never leave the windows open while baking...

Once you take it out of the oven, you can put it in the fridge in the springform, or you can remove the springform sides and the parchment from the sides by carefully peeling it down and cutting as close to the cake as possible, and then cover the cake in plastic wrap before putting it in the fridge. Make sure it stays refrigerated for at least 4 hours.

Well, there it is. Hope it turns out as well for you as it did for me. If you have any questions, or are finding it difficult to wade through the editorial comments, drop me an email or a tweet and I'll happily  help you out.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, September 3, 2010


I'm amazed at how many people still ask "so where are you going on vacation?" when you announce you're taking time off. Most people I know have chosen to do staycations this year, and it's quite rare for people to actually get on a plane and go somewhere.

I'm on one of these staycations now. Finally. Away from the office, away from the traffic. Sitting at home, eating chips for breakfast, staring at all the chores that I was supposed to do three months ago when I moved in.

As much as I would love to go away somewhere, the money is better spent fixing up the house, since, at the end of the day, this is the place where I'll be spending the most time of my life. And if I'm not happy here, it's not like I can run away from it.

So we'll see what happens over the next two weeks. I have some great intentions, and some delusions of grandeur. Let's see what we can come up with over the next to follow :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

People Who Cry Wolf - It's Time To Say Goodbye

We all know what "crying wolf" means. I think we all might have a friend who we know "cries wolf" constantly; always looking for attention (and not just Twittention; they need more than that) by making up stories, overdramatizing the trouble in their lives, etc. That person who says, "Oh you think you have it bad..."

But until they do something highly annoying or they completely wrong you out of left field (usually behind your back and then gasp and hem and haw when you find out about it), they remain harmless. Ironically, they end up being the friend who actually is gossiped about the most in your circle, as the rest of us shake our heads in wonder and laughter.

I have a friend like this. Or should I say had. I could mean that twofold. On one hand, this person is someone whom I no longer consider a friend because they lied to me constantly. On the other hand, this person could be dead right now. Or that might be what they want the entire universe to think via their Twitterthon of desperate messages over the past 48 hours (before they finally closed their accounts).

My ex-friend is/was a pretty good person, when they were motivated, remained in therapy and on medication, and were in their early 20s. They would be the person you wouldn't see for weeks but when they showed up, it was always a good time. They always had problems holding on to money, but when they had money, they were generous with their friends. Sounds like your average twentysomething, right?

Well, as those of us who have passed through our 20s and survived know, as you reach the end of the 20 line, you start to realize that maybe you might want to buy a condo/house/trailer some day. Maybe you might want to get married, have kids, go on that dream vacation, or you might even have to take care of your parents some day. You realise that the credit cards aren't going to pay for themselves (no matter how many contests Visa might run). So you slowly start to put the party clothes away, and mature bit by bit, or, as the kids say, "get old". And that $4000 you loaned your friend when they were down and out and needed first and last month's rent on a place "which is so cool, and you'll come over all the time, and I'll pay you back because I have this job all lined up at this really great place" starts to earn interest like nobody's business. You need that cash for that 20% mortgage downpayment. Or to pay back the person you borrowed it from (dad/mom/grandma). So you turn into Paulie Walnuts and go collecting.

Only your friend never seems to have the money. The job fell through, so the apartment fell through, and the building management kept the last month's deposit because they didn't fulfill the rental contract...the excuses spiral out of control as fast as your friend is turning.

Worse - you're in a new relationship with the most romantic person you've ever met. They wine and dine you, they buy you gifts, they make you feel like there's nobody else on earth, and they become your best friend forever. But they're a little short on cash right now as they had to pay back another friend some money for first and last month's rent, so would you mind picking up the tab?

"I'll pay you back."

Then, down the road, when you realise that you've been paying for all of your romantic evenings, your new partner's debts ("I can't quite make minimum payment this month"), and for all of your new partner's sundries, you call your partner out on it because, look, you didn't go looking for equal rights in order to just become an inadvertent sugar daddy/mommy. All of a sudden, you're a cheating (man)whore, and you get the worst verbal scathing attack you've ever received. Your name is blasted across social media with words that would make a club bathroom wall blush. You don't even know what hits you, and then, suddenly, the most romantic person in the world decides to break up with you. And doesn't even tell you - they just broadcast it in that most passive aggressive way across the Twitterverse and other social media sites.
Standing back and reflecting, I'm glad I never loaned my friend money. I always knew better. But I got sick  of the wolf cries, especially when one of them hurt the child of someone who has become a good friend of mine. That same child that my ex-friend referred to not two weeks earlier as "my daughter".

So I called my friend out on their behaviour. And of course I've not ever heard back.

Do I miss my friend? Sure I do. I miss the really good person who was there for me when my husband died, and when I was having problems with my current partner at the start of our relationship. I miss the person who was the best uncle a kid could ever have. I miss the person who introduced me to some of the nicest people I've met in my life, one of whom has passed on himself, others who no longer speak to me because they think I'm still friends with him.

But after all the wolf cries, I'm not sure if that good person even existed.

The suicide cry has always been this person's last resort, and I hear it's happening now. If that is indeed the case, then, and this is going to sound Antarctic-frigid, this person has to decide for himself what he is going to do. If he wants the therapy he needs, or if he wants to put things right, only he can decide. If he wants to attempt suicide again, there is nothing anyone can do to stop it.

Each of us has a rock bottom. Some of us do our best to stay the hell far far away from it. Some of us love to hover close to the edge, finally pulling ourselves up after touching its cold, damp surface and staying there for too long. And some people don't even know when they've reached it until it's too late.

If someone chooses to cry wolf, as we all know, eventually, you're going to get bitten. As for the rest of us villagers, sometimes the best thing we can do is turn a deaf ear, no matter how difficult and heartless it may seem.

I hope for the best here, I expect the worst, and anything in between is just the wheel of wolf crying starting another cycle.

Friday, August 27, 2010


When I was 17, I went up to my then best friend's cottage with her dad. As he was driving (and he was a pretty good driver, especially in a K Car), he said to us that the secret of driving was to think that everyone else on the road is an asshole and are just about to do assholish things.

Now if everyone drove like that, our roads would be much safer, there would be less anger and horn-blowing, and less tractor-trailer topple over disasters. Don't believe me?

You honestly think that guy driving in the white van (because they always drive a white van) thinks you're an asshole? No - he just thinks you can't drive. He thinks you're a bitch, or an idiot, but not an asshole.

These are the people who leave accidents in their wakes. The ones who cut in front of you with 1/2" to spare from your fender, and then cut the person in the next lane off, causing them to swerve into you. The same people who absolutely have to cut over sixteen lanes in .000329 of a second in order to get to their turnoff. But to them, you're not an asshole. You're merely an inconvenience, in their way as they hurry home to sit their ass(hole) on a couch and drink beer after a long, hard day.

These are also the people who probably stand too close to you in an elevator. They certainly drive too close to your bumper. As the saying goes, "could you buy me dinner and a movie first?" When I see someone racing to rear end me, I usually whisper a little wish to ask that they please have a very  expensive car. I love my car, but if someone rear ends me and takes it out, I could always use a Ferrari.

Now, if you come across a driver who is keeping his requisite two chevrons (or more) back, checking her blind spots, signalling lane changes, and slowing down as they approach stopped traffic, chances are they probably think you're an asshole. But that's OK, because I'm thinking they are too.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Not as easy but not as difficult, either

Cannoli Siciliani by way of Suburban Trini Canuck

Well, I finally did it, after all the hunting, and searching, and eating. I made these darling little cannoli above, from scratch. Not an easy feat when you have a child, dog, and spouse running around the house at 9:30 at night, and you're trying to keep them all away from hot fry oil.

Again, in my Masterchef-obsessed mind, they are not perfect. And they're not. But considering that it was the first time I have ever attempted to make this and the first time I have ever used a pasta maker (yes), I think they came out not too badly.

However, I did end up making a list of the dangers of making deep-fried goodies:

1. When heating oil on the stove, make sure you underguesstimate, and not overguesstimate. I saw the fry temp at 340 and said, "Oh I've got a few min." and took a nap standing up in the kitchen. When I woke up 35 seconds later, the temperature had miraculously reached 400 degrees. A little too hot. Murphy's Law dictates that it takes longer for oil to heat up and cool down when you're standing over the pot yelling at it.

2. When binding shells together, do not, and I mean do not let the magical industrial glue that is egg white touch the cannoli form. At all. That must be how they discovered crazy glue. If I ever need to glue two pieces of metal together, sod the soldering iron - I'll bind them with egg white and deep fry 'em. Five good shells sacrificed their lives for me to learn this lesson.

3. Metal heats up in oil to the point that you shouldn't really touch it with your fingers unless you are trying to burn off your nerve endings. However, that same metal will cool down in hot water and soap, and really quickly too!

4. Mise-en-place is the most important thing you can ever do when cooking/baking/deep-frying/piping. That includes kitchen equipment in the mise-en-place. Things like tongs, spoons, oh, and the piping bag coupler and tube that never did make it from my old place to my new one. As I found out at 5:45 AM when I was about to pipe the filling into the shells.

5. Ziploc bags are the greatest invention of mankind. They make great piping bags in a pinch. And the filling never comes out the back!

6. Never wear black work clothes when dusting pastries with powdered sugar, especially if you're dusting pastries before your morning caffeine fix. Before you go to work.

7. When recipes say they make "28", they always make somewhere between 17-23. It's that magic culinary touch I have.

8. No matter what, there is always too much filling. Always. Even if the child and the dog eat half the bowl the night before. Al. Ways.

9. A 280 lb man is a good substitute for a C-clamp when it comes to holding a pasta maker on the counter. A 44 lb boy is not.

10. When a recipe is not working in the stand alone mixer, call upon all of the experience that cooks from the past, especially your mother, who never used a stand alone mixer until she took serious professional cake decorating, and that was after her wrist injury, tried to pound into your brain for the 20 years you lived with her. This tip is also known as "all pastry is pretty well different kinds of roti at the end of the day".

11. Whenever a recipe calls for booze, make sure to always measure out an extra 2 oz, in case the recipe is too dry, and for the shot at the end of the night to say, "Thank God that's over. Now who's cleaning up this mess?"

I am really proud of myself for finally making these. I learned a lot about myself, which, in the end, is the sign of true art, no matter what the end result turns out to be.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Working in Antarctica

I am convinced that offices waste enough electricity via overpowerful air conditioning to power the entire continent of Africa.

My office is currently a freezer. It is 18 degrees Celcius outside. Most homes have a device that shuts off the central air once it reaches a comfortable temperature both indoors and out. Apparently office buildings are not up on this modern piece of technology called a thermostat. As frion is jettisoned out into the ozone, we inside are turned into penguins - we cannot bend our arms to type, we cannot bend our legs to walk, and the only way to escape is to sit outside. However, we aren't all equipped with BlackBerrys, iPads, or even laptops to allow us the comfort of defrosting ourselves in the tepid sunlight.

My fingers are turning blue as I type this, and the only reason I'm typing this now during work hours is so that my fingers don't develop severe frostbite burns and become immobile.

How insane is it to have to have a sweater in your office in August in the Northern Hemisphere? I'm not talking a light knit; I'm talking Fisherman's Cable Knit here.

Apparently, heat rises, so the people above don't have this freezing problem, according to the maintenance staff. That's a lie - I see people upstairs at their desks with giant goosebumps on their forearms.

The hydro company has this free programme where they install a thermostat in your house and control the temperature during peak times. Maybe someone should tell my office about it - of course, this could be the work of the hydro company trying to get more cash out of our business.

When it gets frigid, the conspiracy theories increase. Don't believe me? Find yourself in a cave in the Arctic with people you don't know, and watch what happens. Something to do with brain freeze, and not the good kind involving ice cream...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Cocottes pour les cocottes

Once again, in the vein of Masterchef, I decided to try something different with the usual eggs and bacon. 

For the very first time in my life, I made eggs en cocotte. Don't they look pretty? 

I made two batches - one in the oven and one on the stove. The ones on the stove got overcooked and were horrendous, overcooked, and rubbery. The ones from the oven are shown above - gorgeous! 

Did I mention my son hates eggs? He will only eat eggs if they don't look like eggs, and if accompanied by bacon, though only if the bacon is withheld as a reward/bribe for finishing the eggs. But, silly Masterchef-minded mommy thought that an egg that looked like an egg would be appetizing to a child who hates eggs. Must've been right after I burned my hand by holding the panhandle in the oven without a mitt...injuries seem to destroy brain cells as well as nerve endings!

I think any kid would love to have a plate fashioned for him like this:

That is, if they liked eggs...

Needless to say, there was much opposition at the table, with the familiar "I DON'T LIKE EGGS" rallying battle cry heard several times during the meal. 

I really should just make bacon sandwiches for breakfast on the weekends. Without bread.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Why does the kitchen hate me?

So I made some cookies this morning. Breakfast cookies. In the recipe picture they look gorgeous, perfectly round, a little lumpy. I know they have food stylists for these things, but I found the picture on a blog with a recipe underneath. I also realise that people copy and paste photos that look better than the actual product.

Still, this doesn't lessen any of my culinary inferiority complex.

My cookies came out like big bumpy things (see above). Somewhere between a cookie and a muffin. "Cuffins" or "Mookies" or "Muffkies"...well maybe not that one. Point is, whenever I bake a banana cookie it comes out like a big hump and not a soft, round, perfectly marketable cookie.

I've been watching Masterchef USA lately too. I thought I was a pretty good cook until I saw these people. I have never been able to cut an onion to save my life. Even my late husband showed me the chef technique for onion chopping. I still can't do it. It would take me a warehouse of onions to practice and I still wouldn't get it right.

My food isn't inedible. I'm actually pretty proud of what I can accomplish in the kitchen. But when it doesn't plate up in food styling perfect form, I get dejected.

In any case, my kitchen does smell awesome from the banana peanut butter cuffins. I just have to get people to eat them now. If they ever wake up...

Friday, August 20, 2010

I need to write

Somewhere along the way, I told myself I would write a blog every day.

And I did. For a few months back in 2005. Then another few months back in 2006. Then another few months in 2007. Then for a couple of weeks in 2008.

Then I took 2 years off and got fat and caused millions of brain cells to die a slow, painful death while the others remained in a meaningless existence.

So I'm going to start again. And I'm going to bitch daily about things. Because if there's one thing in this world that we can all do, it's find at least one thing to gripe about every day.

Today's gripe is my sheer laziness, as griped above.

Feel free to kick my ass if I don't come back tomorrow.