All in the Fullness of Time

When I was almost half way through grade 12, I was informed that despite stellar grades and an unnecessary number of academic credits, I was not going to graduate because I had misinterpreted what counted as an “applied skill.”  So in the second semester, I dropped whatever I’d been planning to take (History, maybe?) and registered for Foods and Nutrition.

At the time, I was pissed off about it, because I took school very seriously, but it ended up great.  It was a super easy class, I got a Food Safe certificate for taking it (necessary if you want any kind of food services job in my hometown), I learned possibly the only practical things I learned in all of high school, and on double-block Wednesdays, I’d have banana bread or whatever to share with my friends at lunch. Continue reading

And then THIS happened.

So, since it turns out I was a big fat liar when I said that my last cake post was going to be my last cake post, just thought I’d share a photo of my most recent cake, because it turned out rather nice, (even if I do say so myself) and there’s something very gratifying about doing something and having it turn out well.

Pretty, no?  I decided to move away from buttercream and instead went with this salted caramel cream cheese frosting recipe (which was neither as salty nor as caramelly as I had hoped, but still yummy.)  I don’t think it has the stiffness or stamina of buttercream, but it tastes loads better.

Vegetarian Thanksgiving – Yes You Can, And I Promise, No One Will Starve – Updated

Taking a little cooking break.

My mom usually hosts Thanksgiving.

She is a glorious over-cooker.  Within her circle, she’s legendary for it.  It totally comes from a place of love.  She wants to make sure that every person who has come to her house will leave full, regardless of their tastes or dietary requirements.  So Thanksgiving at her place, yes, includes turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes and gravy and yams and brussels sprouts and cranberry sauce.  But it also probably includes vegetarian gravy and vegetarian stuffing and bread rolls and broccoli-cheese and corn and peas and salad.  And there will be the wild cards of at least two recipes from the latest issue of Fine Cooking.  Dessert will have the traditional pumpkin pie, pecan pie and apple pie.  But if the crowd is big, there might be something chocolate too, just in case the chocolate lovers feel somehow deprived.

One time she hosted a pretty big Thanksgiving dinner – I think there were maybe 20 people or so.  She actually forgot to bring out the turkey for over half an hour.  No one noticed.  It’s like that.  When people say to me (and they really really do), “Oh, you’re vegetarian?  What do you eat?”,  I just laugh.

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Summer Fun Near the Bridgeport Skytrain Station

Ok, ever since I moved to Vancouver about six years ago, I’ve been hearing about the Richmond Chinese Night Market.  Now the name alone was enough to provoke my curiosity.  I love Chinatowns, and I love open-air markets, and I love the idea of having such a thing in the evening instead of 10 am on a Sunday or whenever they usually happen.

Also, a bit of background for those of you who aren’t familiar with Vancouver: Chinatown here isn’t all that big.  Yes, it has Chinese people, but it’s nothing compared to Richmond.  Richmond is out in the suburbs and it seems to be where a large part of our Chinese population has chosen to settle.  It has entire areas you can drive through that don’t have any signs in English.  It’s kind of awesome.  So presumably a Chinese night market in Richmond would be the real deal. Continue reading

I’m Not Sure Why I Didn’t See This Coming

Recently I was thinking that it was time for me to learn something new.  Because that’s always a good idea.  At the same time, it’s summer.  Also, I have a full-time job.  So I wasn’t really up for anything too school-ey.

So after a minimal amount of research, I found out that Michaels craft store does a cake decorating course.  It sounded like a fun way to learn something new without the pressure of exams or papers.  It’s not an expensive course, and since it has always been my dream to cover the world in icing roses*, I roped in a couple of ladies from work and signed right up.

Yes, the class is cheap, but you have to buy a lot of stuff, which is kind of expensive. It’s something of  a racket, really. This stuff here? Tip of the iceberg.

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Best Menu Translation Ever

At El Deseo restaurant in Granada, which you should visit if you ever get the chance, as the food is divine:

Risotto “Lorca” – A genius telling a fairy tale about the impossible love between the crawfish and the artichoke.

Doesnt (sorry – cant find apostrophe on European keyboard) that make you want to run out and write a menu?

Having a ball, folks.  Back soon.

Updated – In case you thought I was making this up:

(Hmm.  There’s something a little off in the description of the Berenjena Total as well, now that I read it again.  It makes sense, and I’d bet that it’s really good, but it sounds somehow a bit disgusting.)

So I Guess It’s Good That I’m Not Amish

I’m not sure what’s up with me lately, but I seem to be going through a domestic rash of wanting to see if I can make things from scratch.  I have been operating on that great hubris-inspired motto – “How hard can it be?”

The answer – as it usually is to this question – is “harder than I thought.”

Now, generally, I think I’m a decent cook.  I was raised by and around good cooks and I’ve never been intimidated by the process.  I find it fun and interesting to try new recipes and it usually works out fine.  Not so this week. Continue reading

The Rocky Road to Ninja-hood Continues

Here is an unfortunate truth about me: I have an attention span only slightly longer than that of a squirrel.  What this means is that no matter how much I seem to love a new activity I’ve taken up, it won’t be long before I’m bored enough to make excuses to stop doing it.

Japanese Squirrel.

What's that over there? I'm sure it's much more interesting than whatever I'm doing now.

I fight this impulse all the time, as I’m moderately confident that the rewards of most things aren’t immediate and take significant time and work to achieve. Continue reading

Impressions on a Blank Slate

Portland, Oregon is not one of those places folks talk about a lot.  The city is rarely in the news – real or entertainment – which would imply to me that is lacks both famous people and significant crime.  I don’t hold either of these things against it.  Here is what trying to conjure up ideas of Portland made me think of before I actually went to Portland:

  • Maybe it’s like Seattle
  • I think it might rain a lot there
  • Isn’t that where those mini grapes come from?
  • Was Portland somewhere you stopped in the game “Oregon Trail”? Continue reading