Monday, December 31, 2012

2013

Happy New Year dear readers. For 2013 may your hearts and minds be filled with love, ease and laughter, and your bellies with chocolate muffins.

Raising my glass of pink champagne to you.

With love,

Oanasnifflingawayonthecouch



Friday, December 21, 2012

We are still here ...

We are still here.

These four little words, so profound in my mind and in my heart, sum up our extraordinary capacity to go on. To exist. Our audacity to persevere in spite of all odds. As we have always done. Ignoring all reason and seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Since the beginning of time, despite all the inconceivable space and chaos around us, we persevere. We are miraculous.

Many people will say that nothing happened today, that we did not survive anything. But we did. We did survive. There are so many people out there, so many of us who were facing the dark place in the last few days. The darkest place, the place of the deep fear. The place that holds us as living humans on the planet. Our fundamental fear that we will cease to exist. That we will go violently, painfully, against our will. Watching ourselves, lucid and helpless.  Even if it wasn't your fear, it is still our fear. It is a fear as old as time. But.

We are still here.

Together.

You don't have to worry about a prophecy anymore. You can let it go. You can breathe and be free. You can choose to change your life, to make everything as beautiful as you want it to be, second by second, with every action. The universe is in every task. You can start today. The day after. The day after you were so brave. The day after you have faced the dark place, and come out to the awaiting light. The light is always there for you.


You can choose to love. To be good to yourself. To open your eyes. To be responsible.

It starts with you.

To put your best self out there for the world to love and you can choose to love in return. It will not be easy but despite all odds, you can face it. Stand on the shoulders of those who came before you. Of all that is. We, can face it.

All you need is love. It can make you angry just to read it.

We can face it.

We are still here.

Today.

Our time is limited. Not because of any prophecy but because of the nature of this beautiful life we have on this planet. This gift on earth, it is limited.

Love.

Be grateful.

We are still here.

Today.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Obviously not mulled wine ...

I wanted to post this just in case we cease to exist tomorrow. Just kidding. Mostly.

Are you ready? It's a good one... I (drum roll please) am so totally doing a mulled wine recipe. Mulled wine! Hoorah! I know you're super stoked right?! It's a pretty crazy thing this mulled wine business. Heated in fact (pun!). Now, judge me if you will but I love mulled wine. Many people don't (killjoys!). Many people believe it is blasphemy to sully the noble grape in such a manner. I however, am not one of these naysayers.

So, down to business.

To Pinot or not to Pinot? That, is the question.

I'm not sure many of you know this but I stopped drinking alcohol for about a year and a half. Why on earth would I do such a seemingly ludicrous thing? Well, frankly, to give my hardworking little organs a break from my lush, indulgent, gourmet self.

Before this mega pause -- which when started was terribly daunting and I did not think I would survive ... I mean supper, no wine?! Going out, no Kettle One on the rocks with a heavy twist?! Brunch, no mimosa?! After work, no extra dry extra cold shaken not stirred martini extra olives please?! Aperitif, no Campari, heavy on the oranage peel?!!! Just because, no Lagavulin 16 neat with a drop of water?!! Pub time, no Guiness, no snakebite, no black and tan?! I could go on. I could fill page. after. page. --  I fancied big, bold, bring you to your knees in gratitude for the magnificent grape red wine. Reds that grabbed me and rocked my taste buds to their very core. So tannic and rich they brought tears of joy to my eyes. My darlings. My Cabarnets, Syrahs and New World Merlots ...

But.

Post mega pause - which incidentally I did survive and there was no too much lucidity induced armageddon - I, dear readers, completely switched. Completely. I took myself by total, utter surprise. After all those years of the bold and the brave I was now completely (and utterly) a Pinot girl. Gone were the desires for that punch. That intensity. Here were desires for beautiful pools of clear light red that I just want to bathe in, fruity soft beginnings that lead to smooth complexities and soft caresses on the tongue. Every sip is a revelation, a joy, an enlightenment. Amen! Pinot! Pinot! Pinooooot!

Ahem.

A lengthy road, perhaps, but we got here.

So, to Pinot?

Yes. Absolutely.

Most people prefer a more full bodied wine to make said extraordinary drink but for me it is too heavy. When you start with a tannic, full bodied, extraordinarily present wine and then add spices, herbs, something sweet etc .. it just becomes too much. So this is why a gorgeous Pinot is such a gem. You have that exquisite balance of acidity, fruits and blooms and when you add just the right touch of mulling ingredients ... I tell ya dear readers you are in for a luscious treat.


Time to dish.


Mulled wine ... cheers dear readers, to your health and happiness. All my love.

Obviously not mulled wine but she's so cute, right?


Here is what you need:
  • 1 bottle of awesome Pinot (I love Ninth Island from Tasmania ...Grrrrrrr )
  • fresh rosemary sprigs
  • whole cinnamon sticks
  • 3 whole star anise
  • 3 whole cloves
  • whole peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon of coriander seeds
  • A few slices of ginger
  • Peel of one orange
  • Honey or maple syrup, as sweet as you like it (also get a mild honey/syrup otherwise it will overpower the wine...

Here is what to do:

  1. Combine and boil. Hard right?
  2. Seriously. That's it
  3. I swear.
  4. Once you've done that, simmer for about 2 - 3 minutes and then let the whole glorious concoction sit in your fridge overnight, overday, whatever ... and then if you like you can spike it with vodka but I like mine straight up. Neat. I always was a classic kinda girl...ish ...





Friday, November 30, 2012

Desiderata ...

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.

Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

 

Max Ehrmann 1927

And ... to eat.

The dish.

Spirit warming chicken soup...

 
 
Here is what you need:
 
  • stewing hen or baking chicken
  • 2 chicken carcasses
  • 2 large onions
  • 2 large sweet potato
  • 3 parsnips
  • 2 turnips
  • 11 large carrots
  • 5 stalks celery
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • Sea salt and cracked pepper     

  • Here is what to do:


    1. Super easy and so, so good. Wash your chicken and carcasses and chicken put them in a large pot and cover it with cold water. Bring the water to boil. Then, add the onions, sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips and carrots (not the celery). Bring to a boil again and simmer for about 1.5 hours. Remove fat (and scum if you want a clear broth, my Dad says "leeve eet een, eet had all theee flavour!") from the surface as it accumulates. After 1.5 hours add your parsley and celery and cook for about 45 minutes longer. Then, voila, chicken soup magic. Oh ...and I add sliced red jalapenos to it. If you can't find red, buy green ones and let them ripen. Or eat green...
    Now I know most recipes say to "take the chicken out because it's no longer needed in the soup" but I'm like What are you talking about?! It's amazing! Leave it in the soup! I', in that camp. So leave it in and enjoy.
     
      

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

    Life on toast ...

    The words still hesitate, but photos peek through.


    The tomatoes for the sauce ...

    The spirit of Fall. It warmed my heart as people passed by, stopped and smiled for a moment in their day. I would watch them from the window...

    Lunch one day ...

    A peek through the houseplants ...

    Roasted tongue sandwich on pumpernickel ...

    Love.


    Sleeping angels on earth ...

    More sleeping angels on earth ...

    Crystal chandeliers that let in the prism every day ...

    Peace and love and hot tea ...

    Lunch another day ...

    Life on toast ...


    Sunday, September 30, 2012

    Just me and the tomatoes ...

    Holy crap does the time ever fly. Yes yes, eloquent, I know. I've been laying low. I am also an expert at stating the obvious. And writing in broken sentences. Ummm, yeah, there I go again with the whole stating the obvious thing. Alright...ahem ...focus ... it's been a while... So this low laying business was so low, I had not even realized how the time has passed.
     
    I'm going to tell you something dear readers. Something that I probably should not be telling you because I mean, what kind of writer (especially of a blog) thinks such things or even worse, says such things but ... well ... the thing is, I've wanted to keep it to myself for a while. The cooking, that is.
     
    To hug it close to my heart and not share it with anyone. It's strange, I suppose, but I have wanted to cook on my own, just me and the tomatoes and the grassy olive oils. Me and the peppers bubbling in the pan while I gently coaxed them into a beautiful paste. I've wanted to hang the herbs and the flowers I have collected for the teas and to not take one single photo of anything.
     
    Instead, I have been gallivanting around and want to share some other photos with you. Here's some of what I've been up to this last little while ...
     
    Time to dish. Dish up some photos that is.

    
    Camping by the sea and looking through tent skylights ...
     
    Lounging lazily by eastern beaches ...
    Camping not by the sea in this too authentic teepee freezing my butt off while pregnant spiders dangled in my face. Quelle horreur. I'll tell you about it.

    Reminding myself ...

    Massaging ...

    Travelling back in time ...
     
    Finding hearts ...
    Losing it a bit with my first lobster bib ...
     
    Creating counter carnage art ...
     
    Eating the best blueberry pie of my life. Period.
     
    Watching my baby get cleaned by the cutest parrot ever. She was licking his stubble. Yep. It happened.
     
    Reading...
     
    This is what made me lose it with above mentioned bib. I just could not contain myself.
     
    And of course, taking pictures of Napa...
     
    Lots of them ...
     
    Because she is just so cute. And precious. And I love her.
     
    And I just want to squeeze her. Bebek.


    Tomorrow, I have a recipe.
     
    Happy Fall dear readers.

    Saturday, August 11, 2012

    Summer sadness...

    It is eight in the morning on a corner, at this cafe. The world has stopped. It is completely still. Not one thing is moving. Not one leaf sways on a branch. Nothing flutters except my heart. The rich, creamy, ebony espresso which I shouldn't have always makes me jittery. The air is heavy with moisture in a sky still carrying rain. The morning fog oppresses the mountain and the sun hides behind billowy, blue dense cloud, but I know he's there. He scorches my skin and fills my nostrils with hot, still, heavy air. My cheeks are hot. My heart beats faster. My summer sadness. I need the wind. Things must move. I pray for downpour and the gray, soft beauty in the aftermath.



    And tonight, I make bomba.

    Time to dish.

    Marissa's Bomba recipe

    Here is what you need:


    • Cherry bombs, aka hot cherry peppers, chopped. Leave in the seeds baby!
    • A clove of garlic, smashed.
    • Coriander, just a handful.
    • Sea salt and good olive oil.


    Here is what to do:


    1. Get your lovely pot out and get everybody in there. Cook on a low heat for about half an hour. After which, pound it all in your mortar and pestle or buzz it in the processor adding oil as needed. Until dear friends, you have a rich, red, spicy bomb!


    Should be enough to get things moving...

    Wednesday, August 8, 2012

    My intersection ...

    Some days, all I can do is wait to feel normal. For the sharpness to pass, for the winds of change to die down. They always do, you know. It's something I keep reminding myself. On these days I sit on corners. I watch people intersecting while I wait for my selves to merge. They cycle and walk and run and glide. Trying to avoid one another. Trying to avoid collision. Trying to get across safely.

    I watch one of the travelers run by and read her t-shirt.

    Stay calm, and slay the dragon.

    I sit and watch, and wait. I wait for the answers to appear, for the awkwardness of life to pass and for another moment.

    My stormy desert. My intersection. My calm.

    Monday, August 6, 2012

    Today I breathe ...

    For the first time in what seems like a very long time, today I was able to breathe. To open my door and walk outside in the brisk air and take a deep, full belly breath. To expand my greedy nostrils and inhale this new life air with gratitude and gusto. It rained like mad yesterday, the kind of rain that slightly scares you but when you are tucked away somewhere to watch, makes you kinda' giggle with glee (which is precisely what I did). If truth be told, in the morning, I even stood right under it in our yard and let the drops fall all over me. With that lovely bath, all the stifling heat that has been on our chests and hearts was whisked away by the torrents and the wind. I'm not pretty in the heat dear readers. I swell right up, like right up, like nasty up, like marshmallow man up...ahem ... I get cranky, slow, sticky, icky and I don't really want to do anything. Which kind of bites because it's not really conducive to working outside, which is what I do, naturally.

    But today, today I breathe. And take a walk through a stormy desert.

    Stormy, beautiful desert roads ...




    Friday, July 6, 2012

    Her beloved ...

    Once upon a time, in a jar far away, lay Brassica Oleracea. For many years, she had been nursing a quiet and profound loneliness in the land of cabbage. Time had long gone on since she had first come over from her native home along the Mediterranean seacoast. She often sat in the stillness, and missed the rich soils and the salty sea air breezing through her leaves on a sunny day. She had had a good life, served her loved ones well, providing the most robust of offspring, blooming for them to enjoy every Summer and Fall and of course, the most delectable of fares. And even though she was often overlooked for her prettier friends, Capsicum, Citrus Sinensis and many other relatives, she offered her quiet, powerful life force to those who stopped to look. She had felt very fulfilled for many years. But there was something missing. And through all that time, through all her lives, the very deepest part of her, waited.


    She knew one day, they would meet again. She had prepared for him many times before. She enjoyed her ritual of peeling off all her old leaves, cutting off the hardest middles, and visiting her friend Mandoline to have herself finely prepared. She would enlist the help Mandoline's grandfather, Hands, to place her in the jar, and there she would wait. But he never arrived. 

    And so her seeds were sown once more, and she grew again, year after year waiting for him. Hands had long gone, and Mandoline missed him dearly. Brassica waited still. Days and years melting together like the butter she had so often been braised in. 


    But today was different. She could feel it in her leaves. She could smell it in the air. It was a smell she recognized well. For a while now she had felt the difference, but she had dared not hope. Her seeds had felt different in the soil. But today, today she was certain. She was back home. Brassica was back home on her beloved seacoast, the salty sea air tousling her leaves and she knew with everything in her being, that today they would meet again.


    There were new Hands and a new Mandoline to help her prepare and she began her beloved ritual one final time. Peeling off her old leaves, as she had done countless times before, she thought of him.  She thought of how much she had longed for him, of how perfect they were together, of the sounds they made and of how time would make them better and better. Every moment was a gift.

    She was ready then. Mandoline and Hands had done their job and she was in the jar. Curvy and colorful, the rich soil had given her an extra boost in her red, and she waited for her beloved. She could hear him coming. The unmistakable sound of Mortar crushing him before the final step. And so, after all these years she had spent waiting, all these lives and soils gone, here he was before her. Grey and distinguished as she had remembered him, she could smell his mineral scent as Mortar approached the jar. Her breath caught. There he was. Sodium Chloride. Or as she affectionately called him, Salt. Her beloved. And in one moment, he was cascading onto her from above, his grains slightly bruising her and releasing her juices as he tumbled in. Just like that, in that one moment, Brassica Oleracea and Sodium Chloride were complete again, and the dance began ...




    The End



    Time to dish.


    Lacto-Fermented Red Cabbage Sauerkraut
    Please read about the i.n.c.r.e.d.i.b.l.e. benefits of lacto-fermented cabbage, and then make this.


    I took a workshop here with Haley and it was so awesome I am sharing a recipe with you. It was the best Sauerkraut I ever had. And not just because I made it.








    Here is what you need:

    • Mason Jars
    • 1 Organic Red Brassica Oleracea (aka Cabbage) Medium sized (about 1kg)
    • Sodium Chloride (aka sea salt) about half a cup
    • 1 tablespoon of caraway seeds


    Here is what to do:


    1. So simple guys. Slice Cabbage as thinly as you like with a knife or dear Mandoline. Then put it in a giant bowl. Now, pour Salt over Cabbage and here comes the fun part, knead it all together until juice starts to flow. This part must be done well. Salt will bruise Cabbage and release her juices. Takes about 10 minutes or so. 
    2. In your impeccably clean Mason Jar, add your caraway seeds, and then Cabbage until the jar is almost full and then press down really hard. You want Cabbage squashed as much as possible. Pour the liquid from the bowl in to cover Cabbage in jar (leave about an inch for bubbles and expansion), seal and voila. They will dance together in the jar for a few weeks, ideally 3-4, making sounds of love, the jar usually pops, and once done, they and you will be in heaven.
    **Use your nose** with all fermenting, if it smells funky, like more funky than usual, you have to start over. You can taste it if you want but it might not be that ...shall we say ...delectable ...

    Saturday, June 23, 2012

    Caja Chada ...

    In about one hour, fifty seven minutes and thirty three seconds from this very moment, we will be heading over to lovely Kahnawake to do something very special dear readers. We, are going to build La Caja China pig roast box. That's right. We are going to build it. With our own, hopefully capable, bare hands. And once done, instead of a pig, we will roast a lamb in it. Now, you remember Chad don't you? Well, we are at it again and he is in the driver's seat. He's done all the research, sketched the building plans and so on. And so forth. He's awesome and I can't wait. But before we go, I want to share a little of our most recent communication on the matter (to which he graciously agreed) I think you will enjoy. I almost peed my pants. So without further ado, I give you:

    "Howdy Oana, Axel,
    We were quite busy the past few weekends, painting the deck, fence, house, planting our herb garden, fixing up our deck, etc etc.
    But, I did not forget about the Caja China (or fishing either). While buying deck stain a couple of weeks ago, I picked up a roll of aluminum sheeting (flashing) to line the caja china.
    Just yesterday on the way to work, I spied a red pickup with a pile of junk in the back. There was something on the top of the pile with wheels and I thought of the caja, so I followed the truck. It headed down the Malone road in the general direction of our "transfer depot", which is kind of a dump where residents can throw unwanted material into container bins. There are separate bins for construction material, household garbage, non-garbage refuse, etc etc.
    The truck took a left onto the river road, almost clinching the theory that they were destined for the depot (sometimes called the "dump").
    However, I did not want to look like a scavenger: following the truck right to the depot, wait for them to discard the wheeled thingy, then swoop in and pick it up. So instead, I surreptitously went around by route 132 and approached the depot from the opposite direction. There was a slight rise in the road as I approached the depot, but sure enough, I saw the red roof of the pickup drive into the depot area - BINGO. About 200 meters before the dump, I backed up off the road into some weeds and started surveillance. About 8 minutes later, the truck drove out of the depot and headed back from whence they came. As the truck's dust trail dissappeared around some trees, I started up my truck, and grinning, drove to the depot. Sure enough, there in a container bin was a 3-wheeled stroller. I grabbed it, noticing it was a Schwinn, something like this
    but not so sexy. Instead, it was dirty, weathered, and slightly beat-up (looks like it wintered on somebody's porch...), but hey, the wheels looked good.
    When throwing it into my truck, I realized the tires were flat. I'm hoping they only need air, 'cause otherwise, they look good (they have an air valve, just like a bicycle tire).
    Soooo,
    I have aluminum sheeting and wheels (hopefully they're good...I'll fill 'em with air this weekend). Just need wood, some hardware, and some time to put it all together.
    We're busy this weekend, so I'm wondering about next Saturday, June 02. You guys want to come over and try our hand at putting it together?
    Let me know. We can then plan out another date for fishing and a rough schedule for the backporch lambajamba at your place. 
    Oh yeah, I attached "Caja Schwinna.pdf" which shows a map of my little adventure getting the wheels, the stroller itself, and a preliminary sketch of the Caja China (which we may christen "Caja Chada". By the way, my buddy gave me a coca-cola bottle opener that attaches to the wall, like this http://www.coca-colastore.com/imagesEdp/p96096b.jpg I said "thats going to be installed on my soon-to-be-built caja china"  -  it should make for an interesting conversation piece when the carcass is cooking in the box!)
    One other thing....I was in and out at work yesterday as I'm supervising the installation of the drainage system on the bridge. I was in the office parking lot and the safety officer pulls up. We discussed a few matters then he asks if I was going golfing (which he finds peculiar since I never golf...)
    "Ahh no, I'm not going golfing...why?" it seemed like an out-of-the-blue question.
    " 'Cause you have a golf cart in the back of your truck..."
    So I follow his gaze to my truck. Sure enough, the Schwinn looks kinda like a hand-pulled golf cart on its side. I laugh.
    "No, no golf - thats just a stroller I picked up on the side of the road for the wheels."
    So, just let us know.
    Gumshoe Chazz"

    The priceless end.


    Oh no, wait, the map...









    Wednesday, June 13, 2012

    The man with the bag of eggs ...

    It was muggy on the hill that day. The sun ablaze after an afternoon of river swelling rain. The rolling hills bursting with life. We were heading home from a jeep safari deep in the heart of Matanzas when I saw him. He was small, wrinkled and hunched over. A makeshift cane held up his scraggly, bent body. His eyes were filled with cataracts, his mouth held a few remaining teeth and in his old, tireless hands, he held a bag of eggs. There were about five of them in there. In that plastic bag. He must have gotten them from one of the countless chickens that roam the land. In front of him there was a young man on a bicycle. It was a split second in time. It was as we were driving up and past them that I saw him. I'm not sure why it was him, but it was. This old man with a bag of eggs filled me with such peace, such contentment such a sense of right in the universe. That one little moment in time epitomized one of my deepest human desires. To let go. To be able to practice the fundamental truth that it is out of our hands. To be able to walk up that hill and not give it a second thought. When it is our time, it is our time and we must try to find a way to live in peace until then. There is no struggle. We have no control. 


    I was filled with peace that day. A peace that I had not felt in a long time. My core was hollow. My muscles loose. My lungs, open. I wasn't expecting that. 


    This old man, I know his life is hard. I know he aches. I know he can't see. 
    But he goes on. He doesn't question why. His mind does not plague him. He knows what needs to be done. There is no other way. His neighbors care about him. He knows he can count on someone. With what his worn out eyes allow, he sees life and death all around him, every day. And at the end, he knows it is out of his hands.  He is a part of everything else around him. The vast land, the deep waters of ocean, the palm trees, the mangoes, the cows, chickens, lambs and all the other animals, the rivers that flow around him. At the end, he gets those eggs and he walks up that hill free of fear, free of choice.


    Time to dish.


    Apple Banana Smoothie, here's to you ...


    Here is what you need:



    1. Two or three apple bananas (careful here: not apples & bananas, apple bananas, it's an amazing variety. you can use other mini bananas to substitute if you cannot find them)
    2. Three cups whole (farm if you can find it) milk (you can use nut milk if you prefer)
    3. Freshly ground cinnamon, about a teaspoon
    4. Sugar cane, to taste



    Here is what to do:



    1. Fresh sugar cane is amazing. It is absolutely worth seeking out. When you do, get a bunch and crush it in a mortar and pestle until its nice and juicy and then put it in your hands and squeeeeeeze out the sweet nectar. In a blender, mix milk, cinnamon and peeled bananas and whir away. Add sugar cane to taste and drink up. This dear readers, makes an amazing breakfast.



    Cheers old man. 



    Wednesday, May 30, 2012

    Old beginnings ...

    I am sitting in the stinkiest room I have ever been in. I have a deadline of 16 minutes. Each link takes about two minutes to upload. I've found this stinky (it's so bad) "internet cafe" because I wanted to check in with you. Axel's just been out to bring me a virgin pina colada and his wretch upon re-entry reminds me of the stink I have now become used to. Anyhow, time is a tickin' ...

    May has been a month of beginnings for me. New beginnings. Old beginnings. Beginnings that I had forgotten about. I've started again at the Jean-Talon market and have been having some difficulties with scheduling this beautiful craft that I love so much. The days are very long but incredibly rewarding. There are no phones or internet access. I have so much to share with you. When I get back, I am all over the scheduling of said loved craft into my new routine.

    I have so many stories for you dear readers. I can't wait to share.

    In the meantime, I am so out of here. 8 minutes on the clock.Gag.

    Monday, April 30, 2012

    Steamy soup ...

    It's a doozy day today. The last thing I am up for today is writing. I hate to admit it, but it's true. I'm not up for much other than a warm cozy blanket and some refuge. Some days trickle in like this but I have yet to get used to them. So I curl up and I imagine that someone with a warm smile is bringing me steamy soup, caressing my cheek, moving my hair from my face and gently tucking it behind my ear, opening the window to let in a soft breeze and reminding me that these murky moments pass. Sometimes we don't always have said warm someone around at exactly the moment we need them. So, we must do it for ourselves. Off I go, to put on my tiny smile, caress and tuck, to open a window and let in a soft breeze and to have this steamy soup.


    For those sometimes murky moments, something easy, beautiful and heartwarming.
    Give yourself a hug. And open a window. It does wonders.


    Time to dish.


    Steamy squash soup with cream, thyme and toasted almonds





    Here is what you need:

    • One lovely squash. Butternut or pumpkin will do. All cut up into one inch cubes.
    • One head of garlic. Bulbs out but skin on.
    • One large onion cut into one inch cubes.
    • Glug of olive oil.
    • A little over a cup of thick organic cream at room temperature
    • Thyme sprigs.
    • Toasted sliced almonds.
    • Cracked pepper.
    • Crusty bread.
    • A hot cup of tea.

    Here is what to do:

    1. Preheat the oven, 400 will do. Combine your quash, onion, garlic and thyme in your pan and drizzle with olive oil and roast until sweet, tender and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Then take out the thyme sprigs and pop out the garlic heads from their skins and transfer the roasted veggies to a blender with your cream. Blend until smooth. That's it kids. Put it in your best bowl and serve hot with the almonds, pepper and crusty bread.
    2. Also have a hot cup of tea to go with.
    3. Then get under the covers and have a snooze. Zzzzzz.....

    Friday, April 6, 2012

    So I thought about it a little ...

    Something strange happens to me every spring dear readers. A feeling overcomes me. It is the first year I have been able to figure out what is going on even though it has been happening to me for many years now. I guess I can say that it's because it is the first year that I am really paying attention. Though, I've always felt I've paid attention... A funny thing, that is ...


    Every spring, I feel anxiety. A fear comes over me. A certain ... uneasiness. My stomach turns, I feel slightly dizzy... I know, it's weird right? That's what I thought too. And it's only this year that I have been able to give the feeling a name. I found it very odd. And it just kind of crept upon me, as these things tend to do. There I was siting in the sun, feeling its welcome heat on my face, lounging about and wiggling my happy, free toes, enjoying a beautiful salad with Napa lazily lounging beside me keeping one eye on an ant and one eye on her squirrel arch nemesis, and what was I feeling? Slightly uneasy. A little more than slightly, if truth be told. I couldn't believe it. 


    So I thought about it a little... 


    I thought and thought, gave Napa a pet and thought some more and then it hit me, as these things tend to do. It all made sense. I was the recipient of a big, old fashioned, sensory, wallop. For me, after the great hibernation of winter - where everything slows down, the sun traveling low in the sky, the light caressing soft and low, me snuggled under countless blankets with countless hot teas and tons of fatty food and the bareness and the urban sounds somewhat muffled by blankets of snow -  the sheer aliveness of spring is totally shocking. It freaks me out people. Destabilizes me. Makes me go whoa.


    In spring the skies blaze and light glimmers, people swarm the streets, dust kept in check by winter's soft blanket of snow now swirls and blows all around, the smell of soil - moist and supple - permeates the air and invades your nostrils, seeds that have been waiting, dormant, literally burst out and through the dense cover of earth, birds fly back home by the hundreds in large communal v's, bugs are back buzzing and scuttling about in abundance. All at once. Everything living, breathing, bursting, moving, transforming, growing, changing, needing to be cleaned... It totally wallops me. Knocks my senses about for a bit and, makes me anxious. And another thing, one thing that I had not noticed before, is that for a little while, the moon leaves us. There is a time when it is only visible during the day here, alongside the sun, and I realize I miss the moon and her light at night... 


    So that's it. All the stuff you just read. Makes me anxious. Makes me appreciate every moment. Fills me with awe.

    You know, sometimes I wish I could just sit and eat a salad. You remember the salad I was eating when all this hit? I guess sometimes I can. Just not this time.



    Happy Spring dear readers. And happy whatever it is that you celebrate this weekend. Enjoy it, and enjoy one another. One love.





    Tuesday, March 27, 2012

    A gathering ...

    Alright dear readers, round three of mad snapfest to close the loop. Now ...ummm... these are kind of semi all over the place so don't look for reason. Just ride with. Go with flow. Eeeaasy does it. A visual road trip. You get my drift. There is a health show, a park, a hallway, my kitchen counter and my local tea obsession (bottled soon- the tea, not the obsession... although ...). Also of course, random veg and food shots. This morning's breakfast and one portrait. Here we go ...


    The health expo part: Colors here at this cool venue ...
    Sprouts at the Montreal health expo that recently celebrated its 15th anniversary! It was my first time and was much more than I had expected. Totally cool.
    Veg basket at same expo by these guys. They grow it on a rooftop in Montreal. How cool is that.
    And yet again, at said expo, was this place. Which I visit way too often. And have way too many macarons. And sorbets. And ice cream. And that's Julien. Who doesn't sleep. Because he's busy making and selling the greatest ice cream. 'Till 11pm. For those of us who "need" that late night ice cream. Damn him.
    The hall part: Hanging cotton and a flower ball in the hall ...
    The park part: A teeny pine with sap oozing out...
    Names and flowers in the sand ...
    The local tea obsession part: Canadian grown, cascading labrador tea. Soon to be in my hands, and jars.
    Lemon balm that grew in our garden, dried, picked and jarred. Happy day.
    Spruce tea. That's right. Soon to be part of the tree tea obsession...I mean ... collection ... collection!
    The random veg part: Grape tomatoes off the vine at Birri Brothers. Yes, they are out now.
    The wild card: Cocoa and my all star toe...
    The random food pic part: Andrea's apple crumble...hurry up and get a website woman so I can link up to you!

    Andrea's salade d'amour ...

    This mornings breakfast:  ...
    Random portrait: Tristan.

     The end.


    And now, for the collection. I call it a collection because it is a gathering ... a gathering of beautiful ingredients, on a beautiful plate, that amounted to an amazingly beautiful meal, made by this amazing lady. Thank you my dear Sandy (and Jean!).


    Time to dish.

    Sandy and Jean's Calf's liver with grilled red peppers & green beans.





    Here is what you need:

    • Two or four (or however many you are) organic veal calf liver's
    • Two large red peppers
    • A bunch of green beans
    • One shallot, finely minced
    • one teaspoon dijon
    • 1/4 teaspoon grated garlic
    • Splash of wine vinegar
    • Juice of half a lemon
    • Amazing olive oil
    • Sea salt
    Here is what to do:
    1. Simply oil your red peppers, add a little sea salt and put them on the barbeque until charred and soft. Be careful not to burn them too much because we are not peeling here...Take off the grill, drizzle with a little more olive oil and set aside. Now do the same for your calf's liver. Liver tends to cook quite quickly so keep an eye on it...about 7-10 minutes total should do, depending on how pink you like it. Once done, take off the heat, wrap in aluminum foil and set aside.
    2. Meanwhile steam your green beans in a double boiler or bamboo steamer until cooked but still crunchy. Once done set aside (no need to blanch if you are steaming). For the green bean dressing, in a jar add olive oil, sea salt, shallots, garlic, white wine vinegar, lemon juice and dijon. Shake shake shake, and then pour all over your green beans.
    3. Then, gather all your lovely darlings onto one plate, eat, enjoy.