Sunday, August 19, 2012

Victory is Mine!

If you're a day late and a dollar short, does being a week late make you $64 or $325,287,296 short? I do hope it's the former as the latter makes me feel kind of bad for not writing to you sooner. Alas, that is how the cookie crumbled this time. 
It took me that long to come down off my double whammy weekend. 
First, the summer of the pie contest sweep continues (aside from that unfortunate third place Millbrook finish). Last Thursday found me tucked into a bottle, or two, of wine with Baco Noir. At midnight, we were both elbow deep in flour, pastry, apples and pears as I prepared for the Fenelon Summer Fair. 
Apparently wine goes well with pie because, once again, my double crusted apple came out on top of the podium!
AND, yes there's more, my pear ginger won the Tenderflake best pie contest of the fair. And, yes STILL more, as it was sponsored by the lard makers themselves, I was deemed the regional winner and get invited to the sectional bake-off. It's like my own little version of Glee but with more pie and less music. 
And, one last bit, as Tenderflake seems to have somewhat deeper pockets than most "here's your ribbon have a nice day" fairs, my swag bag was pretty sweet. Pun intended. Not only do I get a jumbo purple and yellow first place ribbon, but also a cookbook, BRIGHT yellow apron and a $25 gift card. Martha, we have arrived!
The next day I went to a splendid wedding, although the speeches were not as good as mine, more on the two summer weddings in a later post, and danced and drank the night away. A stickler for traditions however, IronGirl, IronMan and I were up the next morning for our annual 10km Fergus Highland Games run in honour of dad.
With Ms. Beeton and mother cheering us on, we set out with hangovers and low expectations of even finishing. Both the folks of Iron were once again, much like their experiences in Versailles and Lucca, treated to a meal of dust as I sped across the finish line ahead of BOTH of them. 
Much like last summer, I must not and will not gloat about glory, nor shall I wallow in my magnificence, or rest on my laurels for there are bigger fish to fry. 
In the weeks ahead, I am entering five more fairs. We're getting into the fall fair season and that opens up entirely new categories for me to shine in - pumpkin, blackberry and another "best in show" are where I am looking to secure further successes.
Who know, Louis Vuitton may soon be calling me for my own advertising campaign a la Michael Phelps. Switch out the tub for a big 'Pushing Daisies' pie hole style pie and the swimsuit for my Tenderflake apron and I think we have a winner! (Minus the fart bubble)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Birthday Confusion

Julia Child, I want to wish this giant of the kitchen a Happy 100th Birthday, but must admit that I am a little torn.
On the one hand, I, and Pink Girl, giggle with delight at "a snort, a smack and a bon appetite." I have three of her cookbooks, one of which, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, I love. I have to admit there are easier, tastier boeuf bourguignon recipes out there, but her quiches can't be beat and that woman knew her way around a duck.
That same book is held together, in certain parts, with packing tape and is well spattered, stained and curled around the edges. The Charlotte Malakoff pages are stuck together with a combination of sugar, egg and, let's be honest, wine. That last bit isn't in the recipe.
On the other hand, despite her husband's obvious leanings, Julia was not a fan of the folks on my team. Granted, in her day it was more socially acceptable to "be" homophobic. Her letters, now a matter of public record, make no bones about it. 
For example, “I had my hair permanented at E. Arden’s, using the same pedalo (French slang for queer) I had before (I wish all the men in OUR profession in the USA were not pedals!)." And "Fashion designers were “that little bunch of Pansies,” a cooking school was “a nest of homovipers,” a Boston dinner party was “peopled by 3 fags in an expensive house…. We felt hopelessly square and left when decently possible,” and San Francisco was beautiful but full of pedals—“It appears that SF is their favorite city! I’m tired of them, talented though they are.” 
In her later years, her attitude seems to have mellowed somewhat. I wish she had made the odd, off-the-cuff remark so I could somehow justify them. But to write to a number of people on endless occasions makes me think she might have been "bowing to the pressure."
None-the-less, I found myself soaking Great Northern Beans overnight and using the last of my homemade goose confit to prepare IronMan and I a meal of Cassoulet to mark Lady Child's centenary. Naturally, there had to be champagne to mark the occasion and as IronMan doesn't partake, I was forced to consume the entire bottle on my own. C'est magnifique. 
As it was a school night, a Charlotte of any sort was out of the question so we had to make do with a cold tarte au citron et aux amandes. 
Julia, wherever you are, I hope that you are looking down on your legions of pink fans and can finally accept us into your heart. We are a light and flaky bunch indeed, but can also stand up to what seems like an impossible challenge. Much like your pre-baked pastry shells that don't collapse when filled with liquid outside of the support of a pan!
I think we shall all sleep well tonight.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Apparently I DO care

Picasa has in fact NOT beat me and I even care enough not throw all 600+ pictures at once. Here, I hope it works, is a link to just 248 that I think do the trip justice.

And if 248 pictures is still too many for you (and really, unless you were there, do you care?) here are a select few to perhaps inspire you to go to the country shaped like a boot yourself.

PS - Yes, there are a number of photos of marble statues. Males. Yes, I am aware. Yes, sometimes they are wrestling or cutting off each other's heads but sometimes, if you're lucky, they're just standing. Giggity.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Italy 2012 - The Food

As Picasa has me beat, and I clearly don't care enough to lose sleep over trying to figure it out, you don't get all 653 pictures that I took on our little Italian tour. Over the next few days, I will share, by category, some of the best!

There was pasta, pizza, gelato (to beat the heat of course), cheese and wine (to beat the heat of course) everyday and that alone makes for a great vacation. Throw in fantastic friends, that take turns cooking, and you have the makings of an amazing vacation.
So here is the food.

Saturday, August 04, 2012


Having just returned from Italy, you would think this post would be about pasta, gelato, wine, cheese, pastry, sun, sand and relaxation; well it's not. That will come shortly, but for now, let's focus on the creeps! 
There is a slight connection to Italy and this story as I am still quite jet lagged. As such, I find myself crashing, or at least wanting to, around 9:30 every night since I've been home.
The Dollhouse Girls are still in the land of the leaning tower and had left their beloved dog Kevin with friends. Said friends however were wanting to head out of the city for the long weekend and had asked if IronMan and I would doggy sit for one night. Having had the pooch before, sans problems, we said 'of course.' I secretly hope IronMan will one day warm to the idea of having a hound of our own.
Kevin had been in a house with 2 other dogs, 2 cats, 2 kids and 2 lesbians, so needless to say it was a little more quiet here. Happily, Kevin was ecstatic to see us and she soon settled right in, after being treated to some goose jerky and lemon pound cake.
My eye lids started drooping on schedule and at 9:30 I peeled myself out of my deck chair and took Kevin out for what I thought would be her evening walk. Pee, poo (with pick-up) and a little kibble and off to bed.
I was certain Kevin would sleep with us and had put her mat in the bedroom. Apparently the call of cool hardwood on the ground floor was more tempting and off she went. 
11:30 - bark bark bark. I get up to investigate. Neighbours kids were out on their front porch with friends laughing, giggling and having a good time. Was up anyway, so out we go, pee. 
1:30 - bark bark bark. Bark bark bark. No kids, all is deathly quiet but the motion light has been tripped in the backyard. Hmmm. Certainly a passing racoon I say to myself as Kevin has settled down and seems bothered no longer.
I am about to head upstairs, half pitched tent in sleeping shorts and pass the dog leash. Kevin's sad eye's glisten in the dark so I pull on a jacket, hook up Kevin and head out for a 'quick' walk. And it was very quick.
First, I didn't have on glasses or contacts in, so I was walking nearly blind. Second, it was at least 27 degrees and the jacket I grabbed was one of IronMan's lined workout hoodies. So there I am, thin shorty-shorts, unzipped jacket and flip-flops, and what do I hear? 
The extra super duper creepy whistle song from American Horror Story. In case you don't know it, have a listen. 20 feet in front of me and around a corner, so I couldn't even blearily see them, was a girl (?) and that is the ringtone on her cell phone!!!!
I couldn't make out if it was one of the cast of characters from the show but I didn't want IronMan to find me hanging from the oak tree in the front yard when he awoke so Kevin and I beat a hasty retreat. I kicked myself for not having locked the front door when I left, not for being 43 and spooked by this event, and of course feared "the twins" were now waiting for me. 
Kevin slept soundly the rest of the evening. Me, not-so-much.