Approaching Unacceptable

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

I don’t think I’ve consumed as much maple syrup as I have ever since we moved to the Homeland of Security. Ironic, really, that as soon as we leave Canada, I feel the need for that sticky taste more than I ever have in the past. Maybe it’s because I had hardly explored the possibilities of maple syrup. Beyond pancakes, who has a need for that crusty Canadian bottle in the fridge? Lately though, I’ve been adding it to my morning cream of wheat instead of sugar (delicious), adding a little splash to morning tea (interesting, perhaps it won’t be repeated), and slipping some into plain yogurt, mimicking the maple-flavoured yogurt we once bought from the Berkeley Bowl. I think I’ll take the experimentation further and start adding it to cocktails; perchance it goes with dark rum..? We shall see.

Otherwise, our lack of cooking and/or any kind of culinary creativity lately borders on unacceptable. Not to mention that fact that we sorely neglected our beloved blog. There is no excuse, but as an explanation, I can offer: in the last two weeks, we were accepted as legal aliens in America, signed a lease and moved into a new apartment across the bay, into the depths of the fog, and poor Marc drove all our belongings from Canada to California. Lately, we have been doing nothing but working, unpacking and washing the mould off of everything we own. At least we are beginning to feel at home now; Sammy is happy that his day bed is in our office so that he can keep an eye on us all day long. We are here to respond to his every whim.


Also hovering on the edge of unacceptable is the volume of objects that we have unpacked that are meant to reside in the new kitchen. How, why!, do we have five corkscrews? Who could ever find a need for so much tupperware? How did we end up with 6 boxes of glassware? Vaguely, I remember packing this stuff up 16 months ago in Calgary. At the time, it must have seemed logical to have wrapped up two fondue sets, even though we never have fondue, and to keep three sets of steak knives, six ladles, two tea sets and ten mixing bowls, but frankly, I am now a little disgusted with the amount of our material possessions. I guess this comes with any move, one is meant to filter, sort and purge- now that Marc and I have moved more than four times in the past two years, I would’ve thought we’d now be pared down to a minimum. Au contraire.

cimg7017.jpgBut before the stuff moved in, before we were wading through boxes and boxes of dishes and pots and pans, I made a lasagne. I’m reading Best Food Writing of 2006 right now and there was one piece in the collection that prompted a yearning for pasta. Laura Taxel wrote a short piece about the time she was in the grocery store and, after answering a stranger’s question about tomato paste, ended up providing a whole lesson on how to make homemade spaghetti and meatballs. She talked about the kind of tomatoes to use in the sauce, how to start with a mirepoix and add ingredients, spices, herbs and then the meatballs. It tasted marvelous in my imagination but because I didn’t have the energy to do meatballs and because I knew neither of us would have the energy to cook at all in the middle of all the unpacking and cleaning, I made a huge, tasty, cheesy lasagne. The process was yet another adventure: I had to find a grocery store in our neighbourhood (there is a Safeway on Market street), find the beautiful, organic produce that I have come to expect of California grocers (impossible in a Safeway), drag it all home and find parking (impossible in San Francisco) and then build a lasagne in a kitchen nearly devoid of cooking utensils (I used folded paper towels on baking sheet in lieu of a cutting board). The circumstances under which I cooked approached unacceptable but the lasagne has kept us happily fed for two weeks.


P.S. I uploaded more photos of our place here.

Leftover Frittata

Thursday, August 2nd, 2007

cimg6959.jpgI was left to figure something out for supper after having forgotten to go to the grocery store. I failed to find a use for the jar of kimchi or the fennel, but managed to put everything else together into a fine frittata. Thyme, Chili powder and salsa were added to the beatten eggs. The potatoes were well boiled, having learned a lesson for the last time I tried to make a frittata.

We had finally purchased a heirloom cast iron frying pan at Sur La Table a few days ago after repeatedly eying it over the past two months. It did an excellent job of frying the red onion, leeks and green beans in a generous amount of butter. After heating up the potatoes in the pan, I stirred in the eggs until almost scrambled, sprinkled some Parmesan cheese on top and then put the pan in the oven for 15 minutes to finish. There wasn’t actually any basil in the frittate, but it made a good garnish visually when placed on the plate with some sour cream and salsa.

Although thyme with Mexican and Spanish ingredients wasn’t a perfect compliment, I did manage to clean out the fridge.