Archive for May, 2007

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Recently Acquired Fixations

Monday, May 28th, 2007

Subtitle: What Happens When One is Merrily Unemployed

facebook.gifFacebook. Innocently, I accepted an invitation to become a member of Facebook, a phenomenon that I still don’t completely understand. People who would normally communicate with friends and family via phone, cell phone, email, text messaging, internet phone or even snail mail now have one more medium through which to connect. Facebook represents a new password to remember and another database where information quickly becomes stale and useless; it also seems to be the low-risk, photo-curious contact method of choice of high school friends and ex-es. It is undeniably silly and arguably quite pointless, and yet, I am drawn to it. Each day I witness the excitement of someone becoming friends with someone else and then updating their ‘status’. Riveting. If nothing else, I have some official proof of my friendships other than years of contact, support and shared interests.

nigella.jpgNigella Lawson. This TV food woman, rarely seen without a coy look on her face and a half-moon chopper in her hand (how does she use that unweildy thing?) has become a strange fixation for me. Despite her shameless use of creme fraiche and cheese, her cooking has a sneaky kind of appeal that hasn’t yet failed to inspire. It irks me that I like her; she is uncomfortably sweet and coquettish, like the cliche that is chocolate souffle. Last night I watched her make spaghetti carbonera, without apologizing for its richness and the addition of a half-pound of bacon, and then found myself making the same thing for dinner. I don’t even like spaghetti carbonera! How does she do that?

grand-marnier.jpgGrand Marnier. I’m not really a fan of orange-flavoured anything but it seems that Grand Marnier slipped through my net. Actually, I seem to recall it being the culprit behind one very un-memorable Christmas…. Upon our return to Canada, I found a bottle amongst our few remaining possessions and decided to give it a try when we ran out of port. It turns out that I sort of like GM and now, I can’t resist a wee, luxurious glass as a nightcap. When every day is a Saturday, this habit is of little consequence.

First Things First

Thursday, May 17th, 2007

I don’t think I realized just how much I would miss having a kitchen.  Before we left, I took some pictures of the kitchen I loved in our old apartment and carried those with us because I knew I would want to look back and reminisce about the meals we had so much fun making.  Which I did.  I also couldn’t resist going back through some of our old food posts and drooling over our favourites:  honey braised short ribs, pan-seared scallops with cèpes and sherry reduction, lamb curry, chèvre chaud salad… at times, I was desperate for goat cheese.

So, true to form, the first thing on our agenda upon return was to cook.  Breakfast on Day -1 was eggs benedict with bernaise sauce and some good, fresh coffee.  Oh, what a relief to have fresh coffee again after so much Nescafé!   After that came Boston Marathon chili, then the short ribs, and then, finally, some nice weather which beckoned us to the grill.  We’ve made good use of Makela & Dave’s bbq while we’re here house-and-dog-sitting;  one of the first things to go on the grill was some exquisite marinated lamb chops, possibly the best I’ve ever had (though this observation may be as a result of not having had good lamb for 361 days).  The second thing to go on the grill was the Ultimate Burger.

The Ultimate Burger, according to some guy we saw cooking on TV, consists of the following:  ground sirloin cooked to ‘juicy’, melted swiss, heirloom tomato,  horseradish-mayo, caramelized onions, and rosemary bacon on a fresh sesame bun.   The half hour we spent watching the preparation of said burger was enough to convince us to try it, especially because we’d been so long without a proper burger.  Thus, we have our excellent result, minus the bacon which really seemed over the top.  (In hindsight, I would’ve totally done the bacon.)