Monday, February 25, 2013

More food.....

Another double-post day. Look at me. And both food related.

I think hotdogs are disgusting (food snob, perhaps IronMan is correct) but with lyrics like "give me a big one, that's what I say", "if I like your dog, I'll come back", "I want a hotdog for my roll" & "my dog's never cold" I sure am tempted to give them another try.

Whoever came up with this little ditty puts MadMen to shame. Shame I tell's ya!

Accompaniment addiction

IronMan calls it food snobbery. I call it wise choices and healthy eating. Every 6 months or so, I find a new food addiction that I can't seem to get enough of.

At one point it was anchovy paste. Melted butter on a freshly toasted english muffin and a squish of anchovy paste was a meal. Truth be told, more often than not, it was two servings. Often with coddled eggs on the side.

That came to an end while watching an episode of Fear Factor that saw contestants diving for metal rings at the bottom of a fish tank filled with various rotting bits. That smell is now forever associated with that image and I can't. I just can't.

Then there was Aunt Mildred's green tomato pickle. Her recipe, my pickling. That went on every kind of roasted. grilled or broiled meat I consumed. That is a seasonal addiction by force as I often give away several jars and / or don't make enough based on any given year's green tomato harvest.

Recently, and I will share the recipe, it is Becker Duxelles. Duxelles are good on their own, but BDs as I have taken to calling them, are going on or in just about everything I eat lately. On toast or scrambled eggs (or both) for breakfast, folded in mashed potatoes or stuffed under the skin of a chicken for dinner, I just can't get enough!

They are slightly labour intensive but well worth it. And cheap to make! While a pain to clean, use your food processor. The first part takes too long by hand. Below is a single batch, but since your doing it, make a double as it keeps in the fridge for 10 days. Apparently you can freeze it, but it's never around long enough.

Take 8 oz of button mushrooms (cheap) and shred them in the food processor. Here is the labour intensive part. Put a palm sized scoop in the middle of a clean tea towel and roll it tight around the ball. Imagine a wrapped hard candy. Then, wring the crap out of it. You'll be surprised, or I was, at the amount of juice you can get out of those suckers. I can do a double recipe in four scoops. If you do it correctly, the mushrooms will stick together and form a ball.

Then melt 2 tbsps of butter with 2 tbsps of olive oil in a frying pan and heat until the foam subsides. Maybe not so healthy..... to that, add 1/2 cup chopped onions (the food processor IS already dirty, so use it).

Saute until translucent and add 2 cloves crushed garlic. Add your mushrooms and cook over medium high heat until brown and there is very little liquid left.

You now add 1 tbsp of dry sherry or red wine and cook until evaporated. You can stop here or go crazy and add:

1/4 c heavy cream (healthy? maybe not), a pinch of time and 1/4 tsp of lemon zest.

Disgustingly, I can eat this right out of the pan. Devine on toast though (with butter of course) and tonight it elevated our pork loin roast to a heavenly level.

Make it. Try it. Love it. The badger does.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Snow math

1 missing what turned out to be last eastbound streetcar by 30 seconds +
45 minutes waiting for another +
1 express bus so packed to the gills could not get on +
1 person with a smartphone figuring out no other streetcars are coming +
1 giving up and starting to walk home half-hearted idea +
1 re-think to take bus north to subway =

2 hours late for work.

Add to that,

1 "wow, I timed that really well" streetcar ride home +
1 "are you kidding me with this?" two blocks later b/c of a dumb-ass Fedex truck parked ON the streetcar tracks +
1 "it's only 2 blocks to the subway so let's walk" +
1 relatively smooth ride to transfer at Y&B +
1 platform so packed I actually was worried someone, namely me, was going to get shoved onto the tracks while having to wait for
2 trains =

Getting me to woodbine station where we add

2 southbound buses that could not exit the station because it had not been cleared +
1 TTC snow plow +
said snow plow sliding into the side of one of said buses +
2.4 km hike home because those buses were going no where =

Toronto's worst snow in 4 years & my joyous commute today and reason 649 why I prefer my bike

Had planned to be home in time for a nice tea, but now, it will just keep me up all night. I'll just have to enjoy my Judge Judy with wine instead.

Really pretty out though. I must say.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

The welcome mat is out!

It might not be as grand a Highclere Castle (aka Downton Abbey), or even one of the cottages on the 1000 estate, but with 6 acres there is room for expansion at Lonsdale Manor. After 4 sign-backs numerous sleepless nights, we got it!

France folks, poppies! Do you see the poppies?

Lord Fauntleroy and Kitkat will attest to the fact that my summer residence would be called Beekman Place after Auntie Mame's sanctuary. A place you could always count on being there, come what may. Zombie apocalypse, one too many door-to-door invitations to join this or that religion or a much needed rest from the hustle of the big city.

But know that the 'cottage' was built for an actual Lord has me rethinking the entire name. Lonsdale Manor seems a big grand for what it is. And as I am not one for titles, perhaps Lonsdale Place or even Lonsdale cottage is more appropriate.

In addition to TWO working fireplaces, there is one mother of a cast iron stove in the kitchen that I am super excited to try. And practically on my back doorstep is a rabbit warren. Them's good eatin'! I guess warren is not quite an accurate description as that implies it is man-made. Anyway, there seem to be plenty to go around. AND, with my apple tree, who can say yummy stuffing?

IronMan is particularly thrilled with the snakes we discovered living in the well. Belt anyone?

As is my tendency, I am imaging 'light' yard work and endless amounts of fun. Of course, once I take those rose tinted spectacle off, I'm sure the reality will be quite different. But anyone who knows me knows I do like to keep busy.

While my garden temple and greenhouse might have to wait for a year or two, I am getting my sink this summer and there will also be a croquet cum lawn bowling court with a river view.

The welcome mat will be out, the Pimms on ice and the two guests rooms first come, first serve.

I must also state here for the record that my mother has an open invitation and she WILL have a good time!

Monday, February 04, 2013

The Bees Knees

I know, I know.

Two blog posts on the SAME day. What is the world coming to? I am currently awaiting my third sign-back on my much anticipated, and major source of annoyance to many of my friends (cause me never stops yammerin' on about it), country house. I don't want to jinx it but I have high hopes that I will soon have my own 6 acre slice of heaven in a little out of the way place.

Don't worry, when the zombie apocalypse happens, there will be room for most of you. Well, some of you. The ones that offered to help me hide a body a while back are in for sure. The rest of you, only time will tell.

In anticipation of my purchase, I, as is my usual habit, am counting my eggs before they hatch, putting the cart before the horse and breaking eggs when nobody wants an omelette, and coming up with a list of things that will be done at Lonsdale Manor. So named as the stone cottage was originally built for one Lord's Lonsdale. Although I can't quite Google which one as there certainly were a lot of them. Only two that came to Canada from what I can tell and one, fingers crossed, under something of a cloud. Excellent. 

One thing on my must have list is the sink featured in this picture:

Next is a greenhouse a la:

All to be capped off with a remake of the Gothic Garden Temple at Monticello:

And how do you plan on paying for all this I can hear you ask. Well let me just tell you; honey. And not as in "hey honey, let me tell you what." But as in honey, the sticky kind. 

Wild anticipation coursed through my veins as I prepared to attend the Toronto Beekeepers Cooperative Introduction to, duh, beekeeping. The "101" label set my expectation dial to low but it certainly cranked up my excitement level to 10!

I am now familiar with brood boxes, supers and the other anatomical bits and bobs of the hive. I wish I had discovered the wonders of the Queen excluder much earlier in life. It would have made things so much more palatable. And who knew there was such a thing as a hive cozy to keep your bees warm during the winter? Sounds delightful and makes me want a cuppa.

There were also lessons on planting a bee friendly garden, beekeeping gear (CJ, keep your hands off my smoker!), colony collapse (I hate when that happens) and most deliciously, how to harvest. 

Head to toe stickiness seems to be the outcome for most at this stage but I guess that's part of the fun. Dilly beans, pickled carrots, jams & jellies, awarding winning pies and soon to be famous copper pot honey, those farmer's market mennonites best be watching their backs! Lord Lonsdale is coming for you.

Look! PLEASE! Look!

Momo and Bobo are trying to get on the Amazing Race Canada! Please help drive up our YouTube views.

Not a requirement, but can't hurt!

I even opened a bloody twitter account for this!

Thanks @nurse_jake for posting our video on your twitter feed. Or is it tweet? Twat? What? I just hope your 29,958 followers all click. PLEASE. Did I already say that?