Archive for the 'Food' Category

Sunny Turkey and Squash Chili

This is kind of a boring post, but Alex and I made the best chili ever the other night and I wanted to remember what I did so we can reproduce it.

I got the idea of turkey chili with squash because Alex said he saw it in some Vancouver lifestyle magazine, and slowly became obsessed with the idea of a nice tomatillo-based chili with big hunks of squash and white beans. Every recipe online called for tomatoes, but I was convinced tomatillos were the way to go (after our great success with the Green Turkey Chili recipe card from Whole Foods last year), so we kind of improvised. This was definitely one of my better made-up recipes; chili’s hard to screw up. The creaminess of the cooked squash contrasts with the more mealy bean texture, and the corn adds a different texture and sweetness. The turkey made it heartier, but there’s enough going on that I bet one could make this vegetarian (vegan, really) without missing anything.

Also, the leftovers were pretty good wrapped in a tortilla, burrito-style, with chopped avocado, grated cheddar, more green onion, and sour cream.

I was too lazy to take a picture of it, but the squash made it all sunny yellow.

“Recipe” below: Continue Reading »

Alex just called me a “Petite Powderkeg”

Time: Nine-thirtysomething AM Place: The B-Line, at Broadway and Heather

I am sitting sideways in the “please get up if old or disabled people get on the bus” seats. My backpack is on the floor in front of me and my feet are straddling it, so the people in front of me have room to stand. This woman gets on. She looks about 47 years old and healthy. She’s holding two of those hanging strap handle things. She kind of slowly starts stepping forward; she’s in my foot’s path. I try to move ol’ lefty out of the way, but there’s no room. She steps on my toe.

“Excuse me, you’re on my foot. Ma ‘am?” I say, meekly.

Not only does she not respond, but she puts more weight on my foot. (It’s become clear that she’s leaning on my foot to pull the “Next Stop” cord, very slowly.

A bit more firmly: “You’re on my foot.”

She finally pulls the cord and returns to her original, not on my foot, stance.

I look up at her. She kind of squints at me, then won’t meet my gaze.

I look around, to see if anyone else is as shocked at this total display of rudeness. I don’t know why I’d expect them to care.

But seriously: Continue Reading »

In which Vancouver doesn’t totally suck

So after a couple of months of living here, Alex and I figured we should make some vague attempt to get to know our actual neighbourhood.

We started off with brunch, at Slickity Jim’s. Getting brunch is one of my favourite things ever, and SJ’s was totally not a disappointment. I got scrambled eggs with goat feta, tomatillo salsa and avocado on an English muffin; Alex got this crazy eggs benedict-type deal with black olives, asagio and poached pear. The coffee was strong, the food came out fast, it was great. Then we set out exploring the neighbourhood: we walked up Main and discovered Solly’s Bagels, which I could tell I was going to love the second we walked in and “Good Morning” from Singin’ in the Rain was playing and the whole place smelled like fresh bread and cinnamon. We got a half-dozen of the freshest bagels ever and promised ourselves we’d come back for the frozen blintzes and chicken soup.

We wandered around and looked at about 1,000 consignment stores, one of which I left with an awesome 100% cashmere sweater for $19. It will require slight repairs, but it fits like a glove. We found an awesome store that has crazy bulk craft supplies; we are going to go back and get stuff to make fridge magnets. Then we got lattes and I got a jaunty cap before we headed home.

We passed at least 3 or 4 restaurants I want to eat at, and I saw a bunch of cute clothes I wanted. We’ve apparently landed ourselves right in the middle of hipsterville.

It felt the most like a Toronto Sunday in a long time.

You don’t own the situation

Yesterday, to celebrate the US Democratic victory and the feminist triumph of the first female speaker of the house, I stayed home, did dishes, and made muffins.

I made pumpkin muffins, which turned out tasting like pumpkin pie in muffin form, but sadly texturally wanting. I apparently overmixed, even though I was careful to just mix until all the flour was incorporated; pumpkin muffins are tricky because there’s so much liquid. I guess I should have left them lumpier? As it stands, they turned out all dense and tunnel-y. I have two batches’ worth of canned pumpkin left, and I’m going to get them right if it kills me.

Sad muffins

I’m usually so good with the baked goods.

Incidentally, even though I don’t particularly like Nancy Pelosi (who’ s mentioned the middle class in like, every speech), I think it’s a pretty sweet that a president who’s been as sexist as Bush has (woo traditional marriage) is now being thrust into the twenty-first century and will have to work with a woman who disagrees with him.

I was trying to think of Canadian women with similar amounts of power, and I was coming up pretty short. Kim Campbell, who was PM for less than five months. Sheila Copps, who was subject to lots of gross sexist remarks, and was Deputy Prime Minister under Chretien, not that that position really means much, because the party in power would elect a new leader if anything happened to the old one anyway, and judging from how handily Martin beat her when she did run, it wouldn’t have been her. PEI and the Northwest Territories have had female premiers, but their populations, together, make up less than a tenth of Greater Vancouver’s. Currently, out of 27 members, I counted three women in Harper’s cabinet. Granted, Harper’s a jackass, but seriously, that that is seen as acceptable at all is a pretty sad thing. For a country that’s supposed to be more progressive than the US, we don’t have a lot to brag about.

Fun fact: I didn’t have a politics category before right now, which is weird, because I feel like I’ve posted about politics before. I promise I won’t abuse it.

Stress + Food

Why didn’t anyone tell me grad school was going to be hard? I kind of pictured myself like, discussing theory and then going out for beers with smart people and then having totally ample time to do all the exciting, challenging work that I would naturally produce. I do get to do the theory-discussing and the beer-drinking, but the ample time? Not so much.

But there’s all this paper-grading, and grant-applying, and giving seminars on kung fu movies, and giving seminars on psychoanalysis and The Matrix, and mountains of dense dense reading, and you can’t really have an off day because if you don’t talk a lot or just want to fall asleep, everyone notices because there are 5 people in your class. And apparently because you’re in grad school now, you’re supposed to be a grownup and no one’s going to hold your hand. (Except, in my case, Alex, who is literally holding my hand).

(A bunch of rambly stuff about food after the jump). Continue Reading »

No hope for the village, no hope for the village / There’s a merchant in our midst and with a barrel fist

So Rachel’s gone home for now. It was wicked-great to have her staying here, but we wound up staying out late on a few too many school nights. Like, Wednesday at Sara’s, where we experienced first-hand the magic of time-shifting and drank Boone’s (I don’t think I even drank Boone’s when I was a teenager!). The added benefit of time-shifting was that we watched CNTM and Big Brother on the Calgary affiliates, so I got in some Calgary newscaster-preview nostalgia.

Brenda: “Gord Gilles!” “Nirmala Naidoo! (formerly Nirmala Naidoo-Hill)!” Everyone else: “…”

Or Thursday, where were the victims of false advertising at O’Grady’s. (Their $3 drink night? Apparently actually a $3 drink period-before-10 PM gouge-fest. I mean, charge $4.50 a drink if you must, but don’t tell me you’re charging me $3 and then switch it up after I’ve paid cover.) And had to hang out with Queen’s people. Now, I’m not trying to run down Queen’s people or the audience of the Jack Kerouac Knapsack Band, but I can’t remember the last time I went to a bar and saw a sea of guys who looked so…preppy. And bland. All the guys were wearing striped golf shirts or short-sleeved button-downs that were like a size too big, with baggy knee-length shorts and some variety of sport sandal. Many had baseball caps, some turned “hilariously” back or the side. I overheard one inappropriately overdressed girl counsel her friend that eating “one solid meal” every day really isn’t enough and aforementioned girl was losing a lot of weight really fast and that she shouldn’t starve herself while I was in the bathroom. Kev (of the possibly soon-to-be-defunct website) made it out though, so that was fun.

Even Friday, our “relaxing night in” turned into “get half-sloshed on Malibu and 10 year-old tawny port and get our asses kicked at cards by Alex’s sober Grade 10-aged brother.”

Saturday we introduced Rach to the magic of fish sandwiches (from the Fish Store on College? perfect summer food) and then saw her to the bus. We saw Prairie Home Companion, which had its moments, but I didn’t love it as much as I thought it would. The cast is one of those cream-your-pants great ensembles — Woody Harrelson and John C. Reilley as singing cowboys? Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin as aging singing sisters? Maya Rudolph? Kevin Kline? The Lohan? — but there was almost too much cast or something. I think a lot of the weaknesses were in the script. Like, it’s behind-the-scenes realism, but then you also have the Virginia Madsen character, who…well let’s just say she was hammering the mortality theme home a little hard. I get what they were doing, but I don’t need my movies to tell me their deep secret themes, Garrison Keillor.

Then we got burritos — highlight: a girl loudly demanding a “halibut quesa-DILL-a”. Which, to be clear, is not a menu item at Burrito Boyz. (Burrito Boyz, incidentally, gets second place in the Toronto burrito-off. Its hugeness and ample guac would have edged it into first if not for my beloved yam option at Big Fat Burrito).

We went home, were full and I fell asleep before 11:30.

Yesterday Alex and I went swimming, made pad thai and listened to the honks.

HOT/NOT

HOT: My new haircut.

New Haircut

NOT: My new phone.

Haaate. More on that.

HOT: Heirloom tomatoes, $2 a pound.

Salad

NOT: Dragonfruit, super-bland. Overripe?

Dragonfruit

HOT: Makin’ muffins. Yum.

Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins

(Alex took that shot, and he took a second one because it was off-centre, but I think that the way they’re reflected against my pot is cool.)

NOT: How my phone broke and I could buy a new cheapo phone from Fido for less than it would cost to get it fixed. Unfortunately, it was aforementioned ugly-ass phone.

HOT: Homemade Indian food: we made rogan josh (a little liquidy, but tasty) and raita.

NOT: Whimsically stocked Loblaw’s didn’t appear to have PC brand naan, which we’ve been led to believe actually tastes like naan.

HOT: Tickets for Camera Obscura! In July!

NOT: Fido’s stupid policy of not letting you buy the cheapo phone using your “Fido dollars” in store, but shipping it to your house. By UPS. Which attempts delivery 3 times during business hours, then makes you go get your stuff. Fido’s customer service policy is apparently “pawn people off on the first available person, even if you have to tell them total utter lies, like that you should call UPS without a tracking number.”

HOT: We went to Cinematheque for Zizek! this weekend. It was pretty great. It was only playing this weekend, but if you like our man Slavoj, it’s definitely a good time. Affectionate, but not fawning.

NOT: Stupid World Cup. Stupid flags and stupid honking and guy who stopped his car in traffic to retrieve a fallen plastic flag. I just don’t get it.

Smoking HOT: Rachel! Coming! Here! Two days! Yay!

“You don’t get to call me a whore!”

Total perfect Sunday:

Hors D’Oeuvres:

Bread and Cheese

Main Course:

Corn and Bacon Chowder

Dessert:

Blueberries, Blackberries and French Vanilla

We were planning on getting figs and trying to eat them, since we’d seen pints of them for sale in every street market a few days earlier, but apparently between Thursday and Sunday, all the figs disappeared. This was a disappointment, but we took it in stride.

Add a few dashes of Arrested Development Season 1 and a new Grey’s Anatomy.

Saturday we ran errands. The shoe-repair guy near my house basically told Alex his shoes suck and that he should just get different shoes. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone rejected by a somone selling a service before.

Our “getting our pants hemmed” — as we have to do with all pants, because we’re short — venture was much more successful, as was our “getting donairs” venture, not to mention our “checking out Type, that new bookstore on Queen” venture. (The latter resulted in my buying George and Rue, which is the debut novel of one of my English profs. So far (12 pages in) it’s good.)

I’m gonna hear bells ring

This was originally meant to be posted Monday, but I figure it is still Valen-week. Plus I got held up making Chocolate Chili Bites for Alex. (And me.) (I would use more chili than recommended. I used ground ancho chilis and 1 1/2 tsp was definitely not enough kick. Maybe French chili powder is better.)

When I first thought about posting a VD mix, I immediately dismissed it. “I like new wave and torch songs!” I said. “My iTunes library has no happy love songs!” As many of you know, my music collection isn’t exactly full of Josh Groban ballads; my taste in music runs to the angry (see Costello, Elvis – The early years), the sardonic (see Mountain Goats, The), the ironic (see Fields, Magnetic), the angrily feminist (see Tigre, Le), and the mopily, obnoxiously indie (see Fantasy, Final and countless others). The actual lovey songs I have are either ironic, tired by this point, or mainly there for their peppy Motown beat.

But I like a challenge. It didn’t take long before I came up with a list that actually made me think about love; and even though it’s no longer as timely and some of the songs kind of border on cheese territory — I am looking at you Hawksley — I wanted to share them with you, the reader.

  1. I’m Gonna Love You Too – Blondie
  2. God Only Knows – Petra Haden
  3. Safe and Sound – Hawksley Workman
  4. And Darling – Tegan and Sara
  5. No Need To Cry – Neko Case
  6. Oh Boy! – Buddy Holly
  7. Dream A Little Dream Of Me – Ella Fitzgerald (feat. Count Basie)
  8. Apple Blossom – The White Stripes
  9. Of Angels and Angles – The Decemberists
  10. Oh! – Sleater-Kinney
  11. The Way You Look Tonight – Fred Astaire
  12. The Reasons – The Weakerthans
  13. Midnight Sun – Ella Fitzgerald

I guess 13 is a weird number of songs. But you know. Limited resources.

Valentine’s Day was pretty good. It involved a recipe from Thirty Minute Meals, which tasted good and was low on fuss to prepare. Also, it was a vodka-tomato-cream sauce out of which much of the alcohol do not cook. So, being the lightweights that we now are, Alex and were rather tipsy by the time our pasta was done, even though we hadn’t finished our (fucking) merlot.

I hope everyone ate something heart-shaped yesterday.

One of these days I’m gonna wake you in your sleep

Today this lady I work with said: “Brenda have you lost weight?”

“I don’t know, I don’t have a scale, but I’m feeling good.”

“Yeah, you look, narrower. “

Maybe I was just wearing a more fitted sweater and it created a waist for me, a la What Not To Wear?

I don’t know if I’ve actually lost any pounds, but I’ve been making a concerted effort to eat better. My whole program of making a big meal on Sunday and then eating the leftovers all week has been awesomely successful. (Please note: said program is in Week Three, also known as “The Honeymoon Phase”). I’m trying not to be too repetitive, because as much as I loved eating 2 litres of chili in one week (seriously), I can’t imagine doing that every week.

But I realized at some point last week that even if I wasn’t losing appreciable weight, I did feel…good. Undefineably better: the cold I’d been fighting on and off all winter disappeared; I have more energy, I feel more satisfied.

Seriously, who knew eating whole, balanced meals with things like salad and protein would make you feel so much better?

Of course, now that I’ve written about how awesome it is to plan meals and eat like a sane person instead of the grilled cheese diet, I’m going to come down with scurvy or something.

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