Clementine, bacon and maple (?) sugar cookies


It's interesting to note what inspires people and how inspiration and motivation can often be interpreted as one and the same thing.  Maybe they are the same thing.  In reality at least.  I think that adversity and/or the negative experiences we go through tend to inspire and motivate me more than the positive ones.  Sad but true.  I would venture to say that this is the case for more of us than we would care to admit.
The western world has been motivated to assemble in unity against terrorism and for freedom from censorship.  I had the odd experience of all of this outcry not quite sitting right with me.  Not being sure exactly why I felt odd about it, I started to let myself dwell on the situation and the issues that have arisen around the Paris incident.  Rolling it around, here is where my thoughts have gone up to now:
 - Is freedom from censorship the same thing as freedom of speech?
 - We talk about how powerful words are all of the time.  Our words affect people and can illicit a strong response - sometimes we can determine that outcome and sometimes we can't.  When does what we say become translated as hate?
 - We censor ourselves all of the time - every single day.  Journalists, artists, writers, researchers... you name it.  That censorship is based on the acceptable social norms currently in existence.  There are certain people groups and religious groups that I would never even consider writing negatively about.  However, that might not have been the case 75 short years ago.
 - No one should have to die for the things that those in the Charlie Hebdo offices died for.  Full stop.

I started to articulate what I was thinking to D.  I thought that maybe I was crazy to even be thinking this way.  Turns out that D, while not asking exactly the same questions, was definitely rolling things around as well.  He forwarded this article to me from The Intercept.  As I was reading it, I found myself feeling so thankful that I wasn't alone in feeling odd about this whole thing, I wasn't crazy either and that someone out there had managed to articulate their thoughts in a much more logical and concise way than I could have.  I'm not done stewing about this for sure but there are other things that are just as concerning... what about these guys?  Shall we march?


Look, cookies certainly are not at the top of the news food chain.  World crisis will not be widely affected by the baking of two more dozen cookies.  Still I make cookies.  Maybe I bake cookies for the same reason others watch reality tv or awards shows - for the record, I can't even force myself to sit through either one.  We do it to feel normal.  We do it because it helps us lose ourselves in something else.
Full disclosure:  I found that the cookies I made were a little too clementine overwhelmed.  The maple will be subtle no matter what (sometimes I wonder why I use maple syrup at all when I'm baking) but mine just turned into clementine cookies with a couple of weird bacon sprinkles on the top.  I have adjusted the amount of zest accordingly... feel free to add vanilla as well to round it out more.


Clementine, bacon and maple (?!) sugar cookies adapted from here
makes about 2 dozen

2 cups icing sugar
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 lg egg
1 tsp grated clementine or orange zest (no more than that!)
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
dash of nutmeg
2 tbsp maple syrup

1 egg white
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 tsp maple syrup
3 strips bacon - cooked until very crisp, drained and broken into small pieces

Combine the flour, salt and nutmeg together and set aside.
In a large bowl combine the icing sugar and butter.  Beat together until creamy.
Add the egg and clementine zest and continue to beat until light and fluffy.
Continue to beat on low and slowly add the flour mixture.  Beat only until combined.
Divide the dough into two portions.  Roll each portion into 3 inch round logs.  Cover each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 12 hours.
Preheat oven to 370°F
Line a cookie sheet with parchment or a silicon liner.
Slice each log into 1/4 inch discs.  Place the discs on the lined cookie sheet leaving some room between each for spreading while baking.
Bake for about 7 - 8 minutes.
Remove cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Icing:
Beat together the egg white, icing sugar and maple syrup until creamy.
Pour about a tsp of icing on top of each cookie and immediately sprinkle with a little of the bacon (might want to press the bacon down just a little to wedge it into the icing)
Leave cookies for a while to let the icing get solid.




Black and Yellow Chocolate Mousse Cake


Now that christmas is behind us and the pressure is off I feel like I can think just a little more clearly.  It's all an illusion of course but christmas seems to carry with it some brain cluttering expectations whether or not you embrace them (I'll leave you to guess which category I fall into).  After what felt like a record number of performances this December we really tried to keep expectations low.  Like really low.  We didn't have a big christmas day dinner (decided at about 4pm that we would glaze and bake the ham in the fridge and have it with leftovers) although D made his amazing omelet for breakfast which sustained us through the day.  We didn't go anywhere on christmas day - or boxing day for that matter. We watched movies, movies and more movies. Ate ham and leftovers again.  Two words: Track Pants.  I think that you get the idea.
Even with the aggressive no-christmas-craziness campaign I still found myself making 4 different kinds of cookies.  There was absolutely no reason for these cookies.  No one asked for the cookies and not one single person needs those cookies, especially at this time of year.  This is probably a good time to mention that because I work in a school I receive chocolates in amounts that are crazy - I donate and give to friends.  So why the cookies? It was the sheer guilt of tradition that motivated them.  Once they were done I realized that the blondies I made sucked (they lasted a day before I called it and they met their end) and that clementine/maple and bacon cookies become clementine cookies because clementine is a bully - I will post a recipe for these though.  From there I needed to find homes for the rest of the stuff because it was physically impossible for us to eat them all.  Merry christmas one and all.
Moving on:
These two articles entertained me: One and Two
This is the funniest thing I've discovered recently (trust me: keep going cause each page gets better and better)
I still need to make these for my bestest because she doesn't like chocolate and because I bake for her.
Can we talk for a moment about how much gushing is going on over this man and his music.  The album cannot be over hyped.
If you haven't gotten your fill of movies just yet then this might help you decide on your next rental.

Mousse cake Pre-Ganache
Mousse cake Post-Ganache
Way Way Way back in early December, D had a birthday.  We couldn't have been busier (all of us) but we still managed to squeeze some gifts and a special dinner in there.  I'm not totally confident about this but I think that D requested my own shepherd's pie concoction.  He did not request this cake - it's possible that he requested cheesecake and I didn't quite take it in... but that also might have been another year.  However, knowing that D loves chocolate mousse cake I decided to make something with chocolate mousse.  I liked the idea of the colour contrast between the layers.  The cake turned out to be surprisingly moist and lasted forever (because D ended up being the only one eating it after 2 days and refused to let it go into the green bin... which is fine because it was his birthday cake).

Chocolate Mousse Cake adapted from Martha Stewart
makes 1  9inch round cake

1/2 cup unbleached, all purpose flour
1/2 cup corn starch
pinch cinnamon
4 eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350°F
Butter and flour a round cake tin.  Set aside.
Combine the flour, cornstarch and a pinch of cinnamon. Set aside.
Beat together the egg whites and 1/4 cup of sugar until they are stiff and fluffy.
In another bowl combine the egg yolks, vanilla.  Begin to beat together and slowly add 1/2 cup of sugar.  Beat together for about 5 minutes until thick.
Fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture until incorporated.
Add the flour in 3 stages, thoroughly combining each time.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 - 40 minutes or until the edges are golden and pull away from the sides of the pan and a tester comes out of the middle clean.
Cool completely before removing from the pan.

Chocolate Mousse adapted from Epicurious
make about 3 1/2 cups

1 1/4 cups whipping cream, chilled
3/4 cups whipping cream, room temperature
4 egg yolks
3 tbsp sugar
7oz chocolate (I used between 50 and 60% cocoa solids)

Heat 3/4 cups whipping cream over medium heat.  Remove just before it begins to boil.  Cool for 2 minutes.  Combine egg yolks, sugar and salt together in a bowl.  Pour the hot cream in a slow, thin, steady stream into the egg yolk mixture. Stir constantly until all the hot cream has been added.
Melt chocolate over a double boiler.  Add to the cream mixture and mix until thoroughly combined.  Set aside to cool until at least room temperature.
Whip the chilled cream until it forms stiff peaks.
Fold little by little into the chocolate mixture until all of the whipped cream has been added.
Pour over completely cooled cake.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill.

Chocolate Ganache adapted from Epicurious

1 1/2 cups semi sweet (55%) chocolate chips
1 cup whipping cream
1 tbsp salted butter

Place the chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl.
Heat the cream until simmering.
Pour hot cream over the chocolate.  Stir until the chips are beginning to melt.
Add the butter while the chocolate is still warm.
Stir until everything is melted and the mixture is smooth.
Cool for a few minutes and pour over cake.

Caramel Apple Ice Cream


We are looking down the barrel of U.S. thanksgiving which is really not a thing at all here in Canada. It's just something we are aware of... and maybe do a little black friday shopping on Amazon.   We are in the dead of winter as far as weather is concerned.  Biking has been off the table this week and temperatures have dipped way below what we are used to.  I'm working really hard at not letting this affect my mood greatly.  I am looking at weeks of crazy christmas concerts and events and things that I have to plan and attend and still get organized for January work... and my family is currently checking out the 2015 potato calendar.  It's a real thing.
Here are some things that I thought were noteworthy over the last month:
1.  The Oatmeal's take on Net Neutrality
2.  Thanks to a Canadian quasi-celebrity we have all been talking a whole lot more about sexual abuse and harassment.  Let's hope that this talking continues and turns into a real change in the way society views the women in it.
3.  I've been geeking out to this song
4.  If I don't make this and this soon I just don't know what I'm going to do.
5.  This blogger beautifully summed up a lot of the food lies that women believe about other women. You know all of those food shots where an incredibly beautiful and thin woman about to eat something big and crazy.


I made this ice cream a good while ago and, in the spirit of not spreading food lies, I didn't eat very much of it.  I tested it and it was good.  Truth is I'm not much of an ice cream person.  In fact, lately food and I haven't been close but that's another story for another time.  Kid #2 won't go near this kind of ice cream if it were the last thing on earth to eat.  D basically won't touch ice cream unless it's chocolate or good quality vanilla (I totally get behind that).  So that left Kid #1.  She dutifully had a bowl or two but let out a sigh of relief when we had guests over because we served this ice cream with apple crisp.  It's pretty rich stuff and the texture and tastes worked well together.  Feel free to adjust the caramel to apple ratio if you think it might be too sweet for your liking.



Caramel Apple Ice Cream
makes 1 litre (or so)

1 1/2 cups whipping cream (the heavy stuff)
1 cup milk
4 egg yolks, whisked together in a bowl
1 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla or vanilla paste

Caramel Apple Sauce

3 - 4 sm/med apples - peeled, cored and diced
2 tbsp brown sugar (optional - depending on the sweetness of the caramel that you are using)
pinch of salt and cinnamon
1/2 cup caramel sauce (I made my own from here but you could even melt in some kraft caramels if it came down to it)

Add the diced apples to a heavy bottomed pan and heat over med/low heat.  As the apples start to cook you might want to add a dash or so of water to prevent sticking.  Add in the brown sugar, salt and cinnamon.  Cook until the apples have gotten all mushy and soft and the liquid has cooked down (I simmered mine for about 10 minutes to dry it out a bit)  Remove from the heat, add in the caramel and mix well.  Set aside.

Ice cream:
In a heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the sugar gently over med/low heat for just a minute.  Add in a little of the cream and mix well to dissolve the sugar.  Once dissolved, add in the rest of the cream and all of the milk.  Continue to heat until it almost comes to a boil, turn the heat down to about a half of what you started at and add a little of the hot cream mixture to the egg yolks, stirring constantly.  Continue to add the hot cream to the egg yolks in a very small, steady stream until the yolks are warmed up (about a half a cup of the hot cream).  Pour the egg yolk mixture back into the hot cream. Place it back onto the stove and stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture heats up enough to coat the wooden spoon (you should be able to run your finger over the back of the spoon and have the mixture remain in place without running).
Remove from heat and run it through a sieve and into a bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap (press down so it is right on the warm custard mixture all the way around and even stuck to the sides of the bowl) and cool completely to room temperature.  Place in the fridge overnight.
Once refrigerator cold, pour into an ice cream maker and run for about a half hour or until the mixture reaches a soft serve consistency.  Pour everything into a freezer container and stir in the caramel apple mixture.
Freeze.
Soften for a few minutes before serving.

Sausage, Cauliflower and Fennel Gratin


There are a couple of things that I want to get out to you before the weekend hits.  It's canadian thanksgiving this weekend and it's not so much that I'm looking to give you some great ideas to plot down onto your feast table but more that I've got these things scratching around the back of my head needing to get out.  I want the weekend off.  I want to spend a little time reconnecting with my 13 (!) yr old kid.  I would love to see my husband for a while - we've been texting so I know that he is out there somewhere.  A long weekend really can't go by without a long, enjoyable run in there somewhere.  Maybe a colourful bike ride through the trails.  These things will cause me to 'give thanks'.  Laundry, cooking, baking, cleaning... only by necessity.
I did a weird thing a couple of days ago.  I made ribs.  Ribs are great, awesome even.  Ribs are totally easy and always get gobbled up quickly and.... I NEVER make them.  I'm not sure what exactly possessed me but there I was with two racks of ribs in my hands at the butcher shop and... Oh look, they've come home with me too.  After a few minutes of stupid easy prep and about 3 hours of low heat roasting later I had some happy people around me.


This is not a recipe you want to serve with ribs.  I guess you might want to serve it with turkey but not ribs.  You definitely want to serve it with some crusty, toasted, garlicky buttered bread... but not ribs.  Ribs need to be with ribs.  It's own thing.  Ribs are the thing that wants to take over the world and no matter what you do they will crush you.  They will over power you and they will be better than you ever imagined you could be even in your wildest dreams.  A delicious but subtle, colourful yet meek, meaty but textured dish like this is just destined to sit sad and lonely in the fridge until those damn ribs are gone.  Then, and only then, will this lovely dish get anything close to the recognition it deserves.
I used honey garlic sausages and I used romanescu cauliflower (or broccoli depending on who you talk to.  I like it because it looks like little pine trees but the white fluffy cloud regular cauliflower will do just fine.


If you happen to be someone who likes a little something weird at your thanksgiving table, or you are looking for a non-turkey kind of table, or you are really not observing the whole turkey table, cornucopia thing at all then you might just want to give this recipe a whirl.

Sausage, Cauliflower and Fennel Gratin adapted from TheKitchn.com

1 lb sausage (I used italian honey garlic), casings removed
1/2 cup onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup celery, diced
1 cup fennel, coarsely chopped
2 - 3 cup cauliflower, broken into medium sized floret pieces (does that make any sense?)
1 cup spinach, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cup chopped tomato
1/4 cup honey
1 veggie boullion cube
1/4 cup (scant) juice (I used part of a leftover juice box - apple/grape - from my kid's lunch kit)
3 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp oregano
1 1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper sauce

1/2 - 2/3 cup Bread Crumbs
1/2 - 2/3 cup parmesan, shredded
good dash salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375° F
Butter a 9x13 baking dish and set aside.
Bring a large pot with about 2 cups of water to a boil - add the cauliflower and steam with the lid on for 2 minutes. Drain the cauliflower and set aside.
Heat the same large pot over medium heat.  Add about 2 - 3 tbsp oil and the sausage and onion.  Cook briefly together and then add in the garlic, celery and fennel.  Turn the heat down a bit and cook together for about 10 minutes, until the meat is cooked through and the vegetables are softening.
Add in the tomato and spinach and continue to cook until the spinach becomes wilted.
Add in the honey, bouillon cube, juice, worcestershire sauce, oregano, thyme, cumin, salt and pepper sauce.  Mix well and continue to simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes or until the liquid is about halved.
Add the cauliflower to the sausage.  Mix well and pour into the prepared pan.

Combine the bread crumbs, parmesan, salt and pepper together.  Mix and sprinkle over the sausage and vegetables.
Cover and bake for about 25 - 30 minutes or until the edges are browned and bubbling.
Cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Apple Crumb Muffins


It seems fitting that on this last day of summer I post these muffins.  There is just something right about it.  Cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg... it's screams 'Fall'.  Otherwise, there isn't a whole lot out there screaming Fall just yet... unless you count the Christmas crap all over the stores.
This weekend happened like many others - me having no plan whatsoever for what I want to accomplish.  I thought about painting a room... didn't happen.  I considered cleaning out the junk drawer... nope.  I did (fortunately) clean some clothes and get the floors swept a couple of times.  We also managed to throw in a play date.  Kid #2 has changed schools and now attends the same school where I teach/work - yes, that is just a little crazy.  Even though his old school is right across the street from us we haven't been able - for one reason or another - to get together with any of his old friends.  This past weekend though he got on the horn and had a friend over for a play date.  Play date sounds weird and formal.  They hung out together.  I don't particularly like play dates.  Mostly because it involves kids.  I don't hate kids or anything, I just don't particularly like them.  When I'm tired and it's been a long week it's even worse.  Kids are loud and messy and sometimes I just can't.  This weekend happened to be one of those times when I just couldn't.  Being a superlative Mom though means that you just suck it up once in a while and take one for the team.  As it turns out, indoor play dates can be wonderful motivation for me to get some much needed yard work done.  I happily spent a couple of hours of said play date outside while they yelled and had fun inside (so long as nothing gets broken I'm cool).  Two bags of clippings later and the yard looks great.  I suspect that if they had come outside my motivation might have disappeared.  It's possible that a mop and bucket might have looked tempting at that point - god knows, I wouldn't be able to turn on a tv screen without the couch magically filling up with kids.


I made these muffins before the play date.  Kid #1 knows now not to make a face when they ask what I'm baking and the answer is something involving fruit.  She knows because she has experienced my response on more than one occasion and she knows because she has tasted the results.  You can't always judge a book by it's humble, fruity cover.  Sometimes it tastes good.  Not every single thing has to have chocolate in it or on it.  She also knows that one bite will usually shut me up if I'm gotten all hissy about it.  Kid #2 - not so smart yet.  Doesn't even try to hide the face.  Won't even give that fruity thing a single bite.  Incurs the wrath of Mom every time.  The plate of muffins stayed on the table for the duration of the play date untouched.  Apparently mine aren't the only kids who believe that anything made without chocolate is probably not edible.  Comforting.


He ate a half a muffin before bed (couldn't stand the Mom attitude any more).  The entire half.



Apple Crumb Muffins adapted from Pip & Ebby

2 cups unbleached, all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp nutmeg

2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
2 eggs
1/4 cup (generous) milk or cream
1 1/2 cups (1 lg) apple, cored and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

Topping

1/2 cup unbleached, all purpose flour
1/2 cup oats (I used quick oats for this one)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 350°F
Line a dozen (or so) muffin cups with liners and set aside.
Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg together.  Mix and set aside.
Combine the brown sugar, sugar and butter in a large bowl.  Beat (or mix) together until light and fluffy.  Add in the eggs and continue to beat until well incorporated and fluffy.  Add the milk or cream and mix well.
Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture.  Using a mixer or a large whisk continue mixing until the flour is completely incorporated and the mixture is thoroughly wet.
Add in the apples and fold until well mixed.
Fill muffin cups just to the upper edge.
Sprinkle each with about 1 1/2 tbsp (I used large spoonfuls) of topping and press it down just a little.
Bake for about 25 - 30 minutes or until a tester comes out of the middle muffins clean.
Cool before removing

Topping:
Mix the flour, oats and brown sugar together.
Add the melted butter and mix until it forms little clumps.  Set aside to use on the muffins.

Banana Blondies and my summer vacation


We did not go away anywhere over the summer.  We didn't even attempt to make plans to do anything.  We were renovating and painting and sanding and everything that goes along with that - including waiting much longer than expected for jobs to finish.  We are not bitter.  We understand and it's ok.
I did however, have the opportunity to go away for 24 hrs with my bestest friend KT.  KT is one of those people who are just so amazing that you don't know what to do with her.  Except she is so amazing that she helps you figure even that out.  She is a beautiful person both inside and out.  I have no idea why she is friends with me really.  I'm pretty grouchy, kinda nonchalant, a bad gift giver (negligent) and I'm not even rich to make up for all of that.  KT has recently (coming up on 3 yrs in a few months) started foster parenting babies.  Again, she is amazing at it.  It's a thankless job in many ways but she loves those babies... except for the sleep.  Or lack thereof.  Imagine, if you can, parenting new-borns over and over for 3 years straight.  We don't get to see each other as much as we would like because I am working during the day and she is not coherent after about 7:30 pm.  This made our 24 hr getaway even more special.
Given my last year and a half and her 2 1/2 year sleep deprivation experiment, we were both pretty tired.  I thought that you might find it exciting affirming alarming amusing to have a look at what we did for our 24hrs.
1:00pm - get in car
2:40pm - arrive at destination
3:00pm - sit in hotel room, contemplate a walk
3:15pm - walk around the village (this takes about 7 minutes if you walk very slowly)
3:30pm - order snack/lunch
4:15pm - return to hotel room, put bath robes on over our clothes and watch tv
6:00pm - walk down to pool, sit on loungers and watch people in pool
7:00pm - return to hotel room
7:30pm - walk to village for snacks and magazines
8:00pm - find a place with absolutely no children in it and have drinks
9:15pm - walk back to hotel room
9:30pm - settle into bed with magazines
SLEEP
9:00am - get up
9:45am - get breakfast
11:00am - check out
11:45am - get pedicure
1:00pm - get in car and drive home

For 24 hrs no other human being determined what had to be done, told us what they needed, had to be seen to or otherwise entertained... and that is what we decided to do with the time.  Are either one of us disappointed that we didn't go mountain biking or hiking or kayaking?  Hell no.  Are you kidding.
And that was my summer vacation.


Here is banana cake, blondies that I have made.  It sounds like it shouldn't work because there is no leavening agent in it but somehow it works and the kids loved it.  The Kids.



Banana Blondies adapted from Food52
makes 1 pan of brownies

2 ripe bananas, mashed
2/3 cup melted butter
2 lg eggs,  lightly whisked to break the yolks
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup unbleached, all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
generous 1/2 cup dark chocolate (about 72%) coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F
Grease and flour (or line with parchment) an 8x8 baking dish and set aside.
In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour and salt.  Set aside.
In  large bowl mix the mashed bananas and melted butter.  Once combined add the eggs and mix well.  Add both sugars and mix well.
Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture.  Stir to thoroughly mix.
Add the chopped chocolate and stir just until mixed.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for about 45 - 50 minutes or until just browning at the edges and a toothpick comes out mostly clean from the centre.
Cool before cutting.

Fridge Frittata and a Story



It's really quite ridiculous that I'm even posting a recipe like this.  I bet you have thought of making this in some incarnation or another about a million times.  You've probably  gone through with it and actually prepared the thing maybe about a thousand times.  It's so easy and basic that I feel kinda silly but the truth is that it's all I've got.  Another truth is that I really need to break the ice, break the silence, break the break and pump something out.
Our house being in total chaos - and the large part of that chaos being the kitchen - for the entire summer has just derailed me.  My summer was sanding and staining and taping and painting and trying to find some sanity while not being able to make a morning coffee.  The good news is that the kitchen is done.  I can now make my morning coffee.  I only make it on the weekends though because I truly believe that morning coffee is a ritual that is sacred enough not to be rushed.  Rushed is the only way that morning coffee will happen throughout the workweek.

Is there anyone out there without a potato somewhere in their kitchen?
This recipe is easy enough that you can use whatever veggies you have in your house, you will pretty much be guaranteed to have the other ingredients just about all of the time and lastly, you really have to try hard to screw it up.  Even though I'm back in my kitchen it doesn't feel like my kitchen quite yet - although I'm getting there. Generally, I'm going with some easy, quick and comfortable recipes.  When I'm not making this kind of thing, I'm pretty much either snacking on toast, chips or going out for something.
And this brings me to the story portion of this post.  Last week, on labour day monday to be exact, I took the kids out in a fit of starving, exhausted, desperation.  We went to The Wren (a fantastic little spot about 10 min's walk from my front door with great food and a fantastic craft beer selection).  I happen to read this blog on a regular basis and the blogger also frequents The Wren so every time I'm there I always kinda scan the place just out of interest to see if she might be there.  So I'm sitting with my two kids trying to be sane and sip my beer when who sits down at the large table right beside me but the Yum Yum Factor Lady (at least that what I call her in my head).  I tell the kids while trying to be inconspicuous.  Kid #2 is 8 and hungry and couldn't give a rip and probably didn't even hear what I was going on about.  Kid #1 is riveted and tells me I should say something.  She also tells me that if she can text Misha Collins (?) and some other actor guy that is super important to her about something or other.... well then I can certainly walk up to someone (now I did make the point here that in person and on line are two very different things) and tell them that I like their work.  Truthfully, I felt weird about it but I thought about how I would feel if someone walked up to me and told me that they really liked my blog.  I would be thrilled (I think) and flattered (definitely) and not weirded out at all (unless they proceeded to do something weird or confusing).  So I strategized with kid #1.  She took kid #2 outside once we were done and I - very naturally, politely and casually - interrupted the Yum Yum Factor Lady's meal by telling her how much I loved her blog.  I think that she was happy and asked to take a picture with me.  Kids #1 and #2 stared very conspicuously through the front window.  If you want to see the picture go here (she looks sassy and cool in the hat - I'm the other one)
The moral of this story:
1. Tell people when you like them, their work or their hat.
2. Post more shit on the blog so that maybe someday someone out there will feel inspired enough to introduce themselves to me if they see me somewhere.
3. Go to The Wren.

Still playing with (ie. screwing up) a 35mm camera lens which was an Awesome Gift from D.  My pictures are not happy.
Fridge Frittata
serves 4

3 - 4 med potatoes, washed and cut into 1/2 inch thick slices (very approximate)
1 red or yellow pepper, coarsely diced
1/2 cup onion, coarsely diced
2 lg cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups milk
4 egg whites (you can simply add 3 extra eggs if you don't have egg whites from ice cream hanging around)
4 eggs
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp each - dried basil, marjoram and parsley
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp pepper sauce (optional)
1 1/2 cups cheddar, shredded
1 med tomato, sliced into 1/3 inch slices

Preheat oven to 375°F
Boil potatoes for about 6 minutes, drain and set aside
Heat a large caste iron (i.e. something big that can go straight to the oven) skillet over medium heat.
Add some oil or fat.
Throw in the pepper, onion and garlic.  Cool for about 4 minutes and turn the heat off.
In a large bowl combine the milk, egg whites, egg, salt, herbs, worcestershire, soy sauce and pepper sauce.  Whisk until fully combined and set aside.
Mix the drained potatoes with the cooked vegetables until they are mixed up well.
Sprinkle the cheese over it all.
Pour the milk mixture over that (it should cover everything)
Place the tomato slices on top and push them down just a little.
Bake for about 40 - 45 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling.  The middle should not be liquid.
Cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

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St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.

My Favourite Cookbooks

  • Naparima Girls High School Cookbook
  • The Silver Palate Cookbook
  • More-with-Less Cookbook
  • Moosewood Cookbook

About Me

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Wanda Thorne
St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.
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