Thursday, December 31, 2009

Here's to hoping...

that I get let off work early at 11:30am like I did last Thursday, because I've run out of things to look at on the internet since nobody is updating, blogging, posting, or tweeting anything today!! (except me apparently)

Last night and the night before I was super busy after work, what with arriving home at 6:45pm and trying (and failing) to be in bed by 9:30pm to recuperate after a cold and accumulated lack of sleep, and having to make dinner, shop for late Christmas gifts and booze etc.

Today depending what time I get home I have laundry to do, a roast to cook, a very dusty floor to vacuum, litter to clean, and a party to get ready for. My friend Stephan is having a little get-together at his new place tonight with his roommates, also friends/former roommates of mine. He just moved there on Tuesday so it'll be a housewarming party as well :P

I have a bunch of pictures to upload, if I have any free time today I'll do that, if not it'll have to wait till tomorrow or this weekend. Tomorrow me and Mat are going to dinner at his mom's place and exchanging a few gifts. Then after that hopefully, lots of sleep!!! loll :P

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Chocolate wine?

I discovered this on Chowhound just now. See my comment.

Scotland and paint

This article and especially the paragraph about the north of Scotland make me want to move there for a year or two.

Lolll! A "sense-of-humor failure" Found here in looking through his other articles.

And an even louder lol for this one: "moose knuckle". It's the first time I come across the male version of the expression "camel toe" :P

I came across this picture earlier, it makes me want to paint an entire room all bright colors!

Drained by ~KittyKitty-BangBang on deviantART

And here's something I simply found pretty:

Adventures by =Healzo on deviantART

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Kalle Anka

Apparently in Sweden tradition dictates that everyone watches the Donald Duck Christmas Special on Christmas eve, and it's been that way for 50 years now. Interesting. I don't recall my mom, who is from Sweden herself, telling me about this, but then again I have a horrible memory lol.

Arrests and presents

Two great articles I found on Plime today:

Arrested for not stopping to enjoy Christmas


Surprise presents around every corner, a.k.a. be careful who you give your spare keys to!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas 2009 pt.1

On Christmas eve I was expecting to get off work at around 3-4pm, but ended up leaving at 11:30am. It was just as well cause I had tons of stuff to do at home before me and Mat left to go to Rawdon. We brought Maxime and Toby along with us too. Toby is Mat's mom's dog, and she had asked Mat to take him for a few days because she was gone. She's also been meaning to give him away to someone for a while now. I had asked my parents a while ago if they wanted him but they said no because he's about 5 years old and they didn't want to watch him die. But after he stayed over for the night at their place they fell in love with him and decided to keep him. Here he is at my place on Christmas eve:

We left at 6pm with Toby, Mat's brother Maxim, and a trunk full of bags and gifts. We got to my parents place and 2 minutes after we had arrived there came a knock at the door, it was my mom's friend with her two sons and her sons girlfriend that had come carolling. It was so nice, it made my mom cry lol. It's the first time I've seen carollers come to our door:

After they left Mat & Maxim left as well, to go to his dad's place in Lavaltrie till the 27th.

I brought some food from Ikea for my mom, she was so happy :D Here's some Swedish crispbread with Kalles and Branvinn's Ost grated on top, it was delicious:

We opened the presents (we open them on Christmas Eve cause my mom's from Sweden and that's what they do over there) and afterwards I started helping my dad with the turkey stuffed turkey he had decided to make, which I had been wanting to try for a while now myself. He had started on it in the afternoon, and when I arrived in the evening he asked me to finish it because he had to do other stuff. So far he had cut off the legs and removed the leg meat from the bones. So me and my sister set to work to do the rest. It was slow going, seeing as we had never done this before and didn't know how to do some things, despite descriptions and diagrams.

At around 10 or 11 she went to bed, and me and my dad started grinding the leg meat around 11:30. We didn't know which attachment to use with the grinder, so we picked the one with more teeth on it and tried. Add to that a very low, badly placed workstation with no room to work (my dad's computer desk in his tiny cramped office was the only place the grinder could be clamped). Half an hour and a lot of swearing on my dad's part we had gotten half the meat ground and decided to pack it in and finish the rest Christmas morning.

So on Christmas morning we switched attachments on the grinder, I cut the meat into smaller cubes, and it worked just fine.

Later on I decided that I wanted to brine the butterflied (ie: horribly mangled) turkey breasts so that they would be nice and tender! Great idea, no? So my sister mixed up the brine per Alton Brown's instructions, and seeing as we didn't have 5lbs of ice to add to it to cool it, I went outside and put a few shovelfuls of snow in. I had no idea how much to put, I think I might have doubled the quantity of liquid. So it was nice and cold, in go the breasts. I figured I'd let them brine an hour or so, if a whole turkey should be brined overnight, an hour should be fine for some mangled breasts. By then we had to start getting ready to go to the Christmas dinner at Mat's dad's place. We forgot to take the breasts out of the brine till we were walking out the door, so we said "well ok we'll leave it a few hours more till we get home and it'll be ok".

Well first of all I ended up not going back to my parents place after dinner, I stayed to sleep over with Mat at his dad's place. But before they left I told my dad to make sure to take the breasts out of the brine, rinse and dry them when he got home. He said sure. The next day when we went to visit I discovered that the breasts had not been removed and had brined overnight. Apparently my sister had reminded my dad but to no avail. The now-renamed franken-bird was taken out of the oven, and looked lovely. I tasted some of the broth and almost gagged. We had about eight pounds of inedibly salty roasted turkey on our hands. So I took some home and I'll use it up in very small portions in other things like soups, stews, etc. Here's what it looks like cold out of the fridge. I forgot to take a pic after it was taken out of the oven because I was too overwhelmed by salt:

Here are some delicious turkey gizzards that I roasted, boiled, and ate:

And here's some really good turkey soup I made from the carcass and leg bones. I salted and peppered them and roasted them till golden brown, then boiled them with all the scrapings for a few hours. After that I removed the bones, let them cool, and picked off all the meat. Then I had to reduce the stock for a while more, by about 2/3. Then in went the meat pickings, added some salt, and voila! Delicious turkey soup:

Pt 2 to come later, I'm dead tired and getting over a cold, have to get up at 7am tomorrow.

Adult Advent Calendar

Pictures week of Dec. 21-23, 2009


We had a gift exchange at work and I got this:


Wednesday there were some nice striped clouds:

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Eel Walker by *MarkNewman on deviantART

01 by ~Dtomi84 on deviantART

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Want to see this!


Pretty nature pictures

Highness by *aL-baum on deviantART

This one reminds me so much of the forest in Sweden! I should find an old picture of mine of the forest in Sweden to post here.

Secrets Of Fall by =r3novatio on deviantART

Mr. and Mrs. Duck by =r3novatio on deviantART

Check out their other work too!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

The next question.

In reading this post, the phrase "clean dirt" brought back memories of my childhood in the country in Ontario playing outside for endless hours, summer and winter. No video games (my parents couldn't afford them), a bit of tv, and no internet. But lots of fresh air, sunshine, flowers, bugs, toads, and anything else I could get my hands out in the trees or field or creek. I definitely want any possible future kids I have to have that too!!

In reading the tckid website linked in one of her previous posts I learned that I'd probably be classified as a "domestic" CCK (Cross-Culture Kid) having grown up between Ontario and Quebec because my dad was always looking for a job. I'm glad I did though.

For the past couple of weeks I've been missing the country more. I want to move back sometime in the next couple of years, but I'm not sure how yet. I have to get my driver's license first, and see what to do about a job, if I can work from home with this one (it's a project in the works at my company), which would be really nice, or get another one in the country. Doing what, I have no idea. I just know I want to spend more time outdoors. I want to break out of my routine.

Today I'm feeling tired and fed up and frustrated. I have to go to bed early tonight. If I don't I think I'll scream. Yesterday morning at about 7:30 I really felt like both screaming and crying but was too tired to do either. So I slept.

Click twice to full view!!

Here's a little bit of Poland that I have as wallpaper on my computer at work:

Warmia by *Buszujacy-w-zbozu on deviantART

Amazing photographer

My dad sent me the link to an article about Gregory Colbert with a few of his photos in it (click on "explore more photos from the story" under photo gallery). I love the one of the kid reading to the elephant and him dancing with the whale :D Here is his portfolio.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cinnabon fail, gare centrale and a kludge

I went to the Cinnabon at Bonaventure metro station to get my cinnabon fix but it was closed!

Here's the Central Station nearby:

And a nice kludge at the central station, I think I'll submit it to There I Fixed It:

And here's some mashed potatoes that I added my tomato sauce and caramelized onions to with some salt & pepper, amazing!:

After I went to the cinnabon & the Gare centrale I spent the afternoon's at Steph's watching Howl's Moving castle and eating beaver tails before going home.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Recipes for caramelized mushrooms, burger, steak, and subs

I was talking on msn with Jean-Francois and he gave me these recipes:

Sara says:
I'm looking up recipes for caramelized mushrooms, I was wondering if you can do the same as with onions and get delicious concentrated stuff
Jijendia says:
of course
its even easier with mushrooms
mushrooms contains a lot of natural water (which contains all the nutriments)
here's how to cramelize mushrooms:
1. in a pan heat up some heavy OO and butter
Sara says:
heavy olive oil?
Jijendia says:
melt the better, dont overheat the oil (oil overheats when its steaming)
you can use extravirgin as well.
Sara says:
I didn't know that some olive oils were heavier than others...
Jijendia says:
Sara says:
ah ben
Jijendia says:
you got olive oil, virgin and extra vrigin
both have different hot points.
Sara says:
but what does that have to do with the weight?
Jijendia says:
extra virgin is better because takes longer to heat
olive oil contains more fat, fat heat up much faster
heavier your oil, more fat it contain, hotter it will get, faster it will burn
Sara says:
Jijendia says:
hence why bacon fat heats VERY fast
Sara says:
Jijendia says:
so, in that oil att the sliced mushroom
add some kosher salt. the salt will release the natural moisture of the mushroom
sauté for about 5-7 minutes, until your mushrooms are golden brown
then you have two choice, serve as is or make a reduction
to make a reduction, you add a little more butter, let it melt.
add some white wine vinegar
you want about 2 oz of that vinegar (watch your nose, because if you are not used to the smell of vinegar, the smell is VERY strong)
deglace and let reduce, cut the acid of vinegar is about 1 oz of brown sugar
let the sugar melt and sauté the mushroom.
watch it... melted sugar is MORE dangerous than hot oil.
because as it takes contact with chiller air, surface of the sugar will solidify unless mix with oil, and thus below the hardened surface the sugar will keep boiling on your hand and there is basically nothing you can do but add salt over the wound.
Sara says:
Jijendia says:
usually serve caramelize mushroom with caramelize onions over chicken or red meat.
reason why its easier to caramelize onions is because onions contains amidon, a natural sugar
while mushroom contains potacium and water, which makes them much harder
Sara says:
Jijendia says:
hence the add of a little amount of brown sugar to provoke caramalization process.
Sara says:
Jijendia says:
you can avoid any acid (vinegar) and just add a little brown sugar
it will create a simple syrup that you leave to reduce with the mushroom
the natural water of mushroom + the sugar = syrup (sryup reduced = caramel)
the add of salt will cut the sweetness and will add more of a salty taste
Sara says:
Jijendia says:
if you want to please your boyfriend, one trick. does he like steak or hamburgers ?
Sara says:
*copies and pastes to her blog*
both lol
Jijendia says:
alright ! here a little sauce you can do for both
Sara says:
Jijendia says:
see my stepfather never liked steak and hamburgers so i had him love them
1. you cook the meat in a pan with oil and butter
2. add some salt to lose the meat's fat and moisture
3. add sliced onions and slightly brown them.
4. add either a golden lager beer or dark beer (about 2 oz) and deglace and reduce and add a little more butter
5. if too liquid add a VERY small amount of starch (corn starch or flour) to thinken and dont forget to whisk to avoid any lumps.
with the cooked meat, put them in a sealable bag, add the sauce and onions in it.
shake shake shake
leave for 10 minutes in the bag with the sauce
reheat the meat.
serve with topping
and for even better taste replace the good ol' bun with a corn bread bun (available at all groceries)
the meat will absorb the beer and the onion taste
it will be slightly sweet and goes well with regular toppings.
for either steak and hamburgers
and btw, if you wanna have a good recipe for subsandwishes, those are my most popular "fast food" recipes I do... If my mom, dad, step-father, bestfriend, jen, her mom, her ste-dad, her brother knows i'm doing some, i get the whole batch of family here
and its no joke it already happened.
Sara says:
loll wow
I'll try it on him and see
yeah sure give me the sub recipe
Jijendia says:
he will notice the taste, wont notice the different in his plate
For the subsandwishes all depends on the toppings.
you can make it vegetarian or meatful
What you need is subs bread, old cheddar cheese, fondue steak (easier to cook), lettuce (i prefer spinach, but romaine is good), tomato (cubed), onions (sliced, and cooked)
and mushrooms (cooked in oil and butter)
Sara says:
old cheddar?
Jijendia says:
yeah, you can find that in any stores...
Sara says:
no I mean
Jijendia says:
its slightly stronger than regular cheddar
Sara says:
I'm used to seeing mozzarella on subs, not cheddar, although I have done it before myself, but that's just cause I put cheddar on anything lol
Jijendia says:
well here i love to mix cheese
i did those subs with cumbled of blue and montery jack once
delicious but not for everyone
Sara says:
Jijendia says:
ok so, first you need to prepare a small broth for the meat
you dont need a lot, we just want to dip the meat in to cook it
for the broth, use beef (or vegetable) broth
add some honey, some fresh grounded garlic and a bay lef
let boil for a little bith
in the meanwhile cut your sub bread, and prep your veggies
once you have a good boil, dip the meat in it... it'll take no longer than 30 seconds to cook
you can leave them an extra 15 seconds for really well done.
once the meat is cooked, open the subs and put them in the oven at broil to roast them... YOU DONT WANT GOLDEN BROWN AT THIS POINT
a pre-heated oven at broil will toast VERY fast
so you leave the bread no longer than 10-15 secs.
even 5 seconds depending on your oven
we want the bread crunchy but not golden
remove from the oven, put the meat, vegetables (ending with the lettuce or spinach) and the grated cheese over the bread
put back in the oven and let the cheese melt and brown... be careful.... bread and cheese are not the same temperature... the edges of the bread will turn black if you leave it too long... thats when you know its ready when the edges turns golden brown and not black
once that is done take out of the oven
then you have a choice...
1. use french dressing (my personal favorite) that you buy at any stores
2. make your own dressing by mixing mayo, ketchup, a touch of mustard, garlic and honey sauce and a touch of teriyaki sauce (you can add three or four drop of tabasco sauce at this point for a little heat)
then, add salt, pepper, and a little parsley over, cut the bread in half and serve while hot
enjoy !

Visitors and food

Here's Windia:

And here she is with her parents Jean-Francois and Jen:

They came over this afternoon for lunch, and I made teriyaki chicken and mashed potatoes. J.F. was telling me that to save time cooking the potatoes, slice them up, fry them a bit, and then boil them, it takes 10 minutes instead of 25:

I didn't have a pot big enough to put all the potatoes in so I left them in the pan:

And here's the chicken:

I used a bottled 5-spice teriyaki marinade mixed 1/2 with water.

Fog at -20 and caramelized onions

Just now I opened the curtains and saw this:

This is not my window fogged up, but outside fogged up. I thought to myself "It's -20 outside this morning! How can there be fog?" but remembered that there's the river nearby and that rivers make a lot of steam when it's really cold out. 5 minutes later it had cleared up:

But I'd like to go down to the river sometime to take pictures of all the steam.

This week at Rossy I found some yummy-looking beans:

Here are the mediterranean ones, they turned out yucky:

And the chili ones too, but the indian ones were really good. Will buy more.

I got an early Christmas present from Mat, a mini frying pan they were selling at the grocery store, so cute!

Here are the egg sandwiches I made with it for Mat:

Some carollers in Place Des Arts metro last Sunday:

This week I decided to try making caramelized onions for the first time, they turned out absolutely amazing:

So I put them on mashed potatoes with some white pepper for dinner the other night. Mat kept asking for bites lol, he loves caramelized onions apparently:

Caramelized onions are simple but long to make. You chop up an onion or two, throw it in a frying pan on medium heat with a few tbsp of oil and fry them, stirring occasionally. When they start to turn brown at the edges, watch carefully, and when you get brown stuff starting to collect at the bottom of the pan lower the heat to about med-low before it burns and dump in a bit of hot water or broth to dissolve the brown stuff at the bottom and keep stirring and scraping it up. When the water has all evaporated and you start to get brown stuff at the bottom again, repeat. Sit in front of the stove and do this for an hour or so until they get a nice brown color. Then take a spoonful to taste (if you haven't already at this point) and revel in their concentrated onion-y amazingness.

Last night I decided to make more, and try to see if I could do the same thing to tomatoes, to add a caramelized flavour to them. So I chopped up 5 or 6 tomatoes and threw them in the pan:

And tended to them for an hour or two along with my onions, and it turned into this super-concentrated tomato sauce of amazingness, to which I had to add about a tablespoon of sugar to get rid of some of the acidity:

The onions didn't turn out as dark this time, I used more onions in a big pan on a smaller ring so that's probably why.

Today I might be seeing a friend or two, one of which I haven't seen in years. I hope I get to see her! I forgot to call her this week to make plans so if she's already busy it'll be my fault lol. Oh, and we're gonna stop at the most amazing cinnamon bun place which I discovered when I moved to Montreal a few years ago, Cinnabon. I can't wait! I'm gonna call Steph later and see if he wants to come with or something.

Pictures week of Dec. 13-17

Sunday (at my place):





And Friday was the same as Thursday.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Description of Sous-Vide

When I first started reading about sous-vide I didn't quite understand what advantage it had over other methods of cooking, I thought it was simply boiling food in a plastic bag. It turned out to be not that at all, a lot of sous vide cooking is done under boiling temperature. As for what the the main advantages of sous-vide are, this is one of the best descriptions (imo) that I've found so far, here:

Protein products have very delicate transition temperatures - which give you a narrow range between underdone and overdone. That is where sous vide has a large advantage over conventional cooking techniques.

So for example with a traditional roast the outside is overdone and the inside is underdone. With sous-vide you keep it in a water bath that is the exact temperature at which it is considered perfectly done, neither underdone nor overdone, until it's the same temperature all the way though, at which point it can be taken out or left there to dissolve connective tissues to make it more tender. No you don't get the nice crust on the outside but you can always add it after by several different methods, frying, broiling, torching, etc. and keep the perfectly done interior.

An awfully good offering of offal!

I came across someone's post about an offal-themed tasting dinner for 8 that they did, via an epic sous-vide thread, and on top of all the delicious looking and sounding dishes, (which I will surely have to try making one at a time myself some day!) there was a comment which really made me laugh.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Two books I'm getting

I'll probably buy these for myself sometime next year if I have the chance: Ratio, and The Joy of Cooking by Julia Child.

Ketchup Chocolate!!

No, it's not chocolate mixed with ketchup. It's something utterly different, completely amazing. Oh how I wish I could make this stuff myself someday!!!

Hat of Warmth +4

I bought this for myself last weekend:P I look ridiculous but I don't care, it was -20 Celcius outside this morning!!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I just came across a French dish I had never heard of called Tartiflette which combines two of my very favourite things: pork and cheese. I'm definitely gonna have to make this at Christmas!

Blue-purple Mix Glass Wing by *FusedElegance on deviantART

Monday, December 14, 2009

Playing with water, electricity, and iPhones

Interesting instruments.

All hail the wonderful Rat!

I love rats. I used to have two as pets but developed allergies to them sadly, so I had to give them away. I just read a great article here about how they're used in Africa to detect landmines. Go read it!

Can we stop overspending?

Here's a great article in the New York Times I just found on Plime about overspending. I'm glad I was raised in a frugal family!
funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

I want to float away...

Pixie by =Sugarock99 on deviantART

ow by =hixdei-love on deviantART

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Weird wreaths, and somewhat failed roasted squash

Today I went Christmas shopping with my friend Stephan. After he left I stopped at Zellers to buy Christmas tree ornaments and came across some weird wreaths, imo blue green sequins and pink feathers does not evoke Christmas!:

And here's some semi-failed roasted squash I made last weekend at my parents place:

It was supposed to look like this:

I'm guessing it was a lack of either a food stylist, following instructions precisely, or the right kind of squash and/or cooking technique on my part. It still tasted yummy though, and I ate about half the batch just as it was. The rest I put in a food processor the next day for lack of a better idea, with a vague notion that I'd spread it on toast or something. Well it turns out I couldn't care less for pureed roasted squash on toast lol. So the leftovers are sitting in my fridge waiting to be thrown out unless I decide to look on the internet for a recipe that uses pureed roasted squash.

Pictures week of Dec. 7-11 2009

On Monday morning I had a bit of extra time to wait at the metro so I took some pictures.

Inside there was a woman with long hair sitting there who reminded me a lot of Cousin It:

The park seen from the metro:

And vice versa:

Here's a little man-made pond in the Angrignon Park with a few frozen seagulls huddled on top of the thin ice:

As I was standing there enjoying the silence there came some snow floating gently down on the still air, it was really nice:

When I turned around to go back I noticed a loose semi-circle of seagulls had formed behind me, I'm assuming they thought I'd give them something to eat:

Here's the view from my desk Monday:


Wednesday we had the first snowstorm of the winter: