Thursday, March 29, 2012

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hotpot at home!

I'm so excited, I started chatting with the guy at the Chinese grocery store down the street and he gave me the idea of making hotpot at home. I love hotpot, and so do a bunch of friends I hang out with at the tams in the summer, so I can't wait to do this after Pascha! It'll be second on my list of ideas for meals to make to have friends over, the first being bbq! Hotpot is the more authentic version of Chinese fondue, you can buy the broth at the Chinese grocery and all the veggies and meat that go with it, it's completely different from the canned stuff you get at the grocery store. Anyways I'm off to try my seaweed rice crackers that I bought after reading about arare on wikipedia. Must go to the other Asian store nearby to get some arare, they didn't seem to have any at the Chinese store but maybe I didn't look well enough...

Monday, March 26, 2012

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Spring, floods and biking

Things that have happened lately:

Spring has unofficially arrived, the snow melted really early this year (well in the city anyways...) and we're getting 10 degree Celcius weather already on a daily basis. Yay! Although I don't know if this means our summer will be unusually long and hot... I hope the air con in our new apartment works!

There was a minor flood in our front hallway following a "fixed" toilet in the apartment above ours... the (2 layers of them, thanks to the previous tenant/janitor) carpets are slowly molding and need to be ripped out, but the janitor says his supervisor won't let him do that, so I'll have to call the rental board to see what we can do... To boot the coffee machine at work broke and flooded a corner of the office the same day, AND it was raining outside! Water everywhere! Lol :P

On Monday I decided to be ultra-green and ultra-fit and ultra-exhausted/sore and start biking to work. Except I have no bike, so I looked up a used bike place online and my new (old) bike will be delivered tomorrow night! Thanks to my dad, who lent me the money for it :) I'm so excited! I haven't biked in... 10 years? The last bike I had was a used bike I got from a friend when I was in high school and then left in a storage locker when I moved out of one of my old apartments in 2004 because it was broken and I hadn't used it for a year or more.

There's a bike path right outside our building that heads a good ways to my job, and some seemingly quiet streets that go the rest of the way. There's also a bike path along the canal near my job but I don't need to go very far on that to get to work, a few hundred feet or so. I am planning on exploring it further during my lunch breaks though, if I'm not too sore from the ride to work.

According to Google maps it's supposed to take me 18-20 min. to bike to work, but I'm gonna give myself twice that just to make sure.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

View from the new place

I took these from our balcony two weeks ago but have been too sick/busy/forgetful to post them so far. Here's the view north-west:

The view north-east:

The view south-east:

And the view south-south-west

Here are some of the sunrise from our bedroom window:

Licorice impersonating a fridge gargoyle:

And Oliver Twit during one of his brief periods of cuteness between periods of twit-ness:

And off I go to unpack and tidy and get ready for dinner with friends.

Lenten Recipes 2012

This is what I have been/will be eating this Lent. A few ideas if anyone needs them, and a go-to list for me of my favourite staple Lenten foods.

Bread Salad
Pea Soup
Avocado Salad
Lebanese Chickpea Soup
Senegalese Peanut Soup
Crack salad a.k.a.eggplant and scallop salad (if I can find some Vio dressing!)
Cereal/cold oatmeal with cinnamon, sugar and nuts (see previous link)
Improved salsa (scroll to the middle of the post for the pic of salsa)
Chocolate chip cookies
Fruit salad
Leek soup
Catherine's lentil soup
Carlo's mom's okra
Asian agar desserts

And here's my previous incomplete list. Which I should really work on, or incorporate this one into it too? We'll see. Those ones aren't necessarily ones I've tried or are favourites, I think I'll make a new list here with just my favourites.


This is an Egyptian dish if I'm not mistaken, Carlo's mom's Egyptian friend made it for her and she showed me how to make it. No pictures yet, hopefully soon...

Take a can of these:

Open, drain, rinse and put the beans in a large microwave-safe bowl or container. Chop up 1 small tomato or half a large one and add it to the beans, along with 1/2 small onion, minced, 1 clove minced garlic, a pinch or 3 of ground cumin, a glug of olive oil, salt, pepper and the juice from half a lemon. Mix well, cover loosely and microwave on high for 6 minutes, stirring halfway through, then mash everything together. I prefer eating this cold on bread, it's sooo good!

Bread Salad

Take a loaf of day-old crusty bread (like baguette) and grate it coarsely, then add one small finely chopped onion, 2 chopped tomatoes, mix together and then add some basil (more or less depending on how much bread you have). Make some simple vinaigrette with oil, white vinegar, (roughly 1 part vinegar to 4 or 5 parts oil), and a bit of water, salt & pepper. Shake together well in a jar, then drizzle slowly over the salad while stirring the salad to distribute it evenly, just enough to moisten it, not wet. Taste to make sure seasonings are ok and adjust if needed. Save leftover vinaigrette for later use. Cover and let sit in the fridge an hour or two, to let flavors mellow and blend.

Hopefully I will get around to making this and taking pictures to add to this post soon. This is another one of my mom's recipes, it's one of my childhood favourites :)

TWO recipes for vegan mayo!

I have not tested either of these yet but I will today hopefully. One is tofu-based and the other is potato-based. I will try and remember to take pictures and post my results. We're having friends over for dinner tonight and I still have unpacking/sorting/cleaning to do so we'll see.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Do this. Your tastebuds will thank you. (Pea soup with baby clams/mussels/whatever, thyme, dijon and butter)

Take a large can of pea soup. Open it and dump into a large bowl. Open 1 small can of baby clams and add the contents, juice and all, to the soup. Stir till well mixed. Get out a few portion-sized tupperware containers, and divide the soup into these. In each one add a heavy sprinkle of ground thyme, a good squiiiiiiiirttttt of dijon mustard (or maybe I dunno... a heaping tablespoon? if you don't have a squeeze bottle like me), and if you're not vegan or a fasting Orthodox Christian, a tablespoon of salted butter. Yes. Butter. My mom made this often for us when I was a kid, except with homemade pea soup (and without the canned bivalves, those were my own innovation). Pea soup prepared this way is classic comfort food for me.

Heat one of the containers of soup in the microwave, stir well, eat and enjoy (If you like these kinds of foods. If not don't make this recipe. Or try it anyways, it might change your opinion of them! I do that regularly, try things I don't like in case I find a brand or version or recipe of that food that I DO like.). Put the rest in the fridge for tomorrow and the day after's lunches. Serve with some form of carbs if you want. OM NOM NOM NOM NOM!!! Picture not included as I'm posting from phone. And this isn't the most photogenic thing either...but delicious!