A love letter

Dear Heat,
I love you.  You know I do.  I need you in my life everyday, all the time.  I love how you envelope my body and I feel hugged and loved by you.
However, I also love to cook.  And I don't love air conditioning.  My kids (and neighbours) are begging me to bake for them.  I would love to oblige but I just can't bring myself to do it because you are distracting me with you awesome beautiful temperatures.  You see I love them too and it hurts me to see them in need (I know, right)
So I'm asking you from the depths of my love for you to please turn the temperature down just a little.  For me.  For your love... and her family and friends.
Here is a big kiss from me.... SMACK!

p.s.  Thanks for the great tomatoes and beans this year... you're the best.

Pesto. Plain and Simple.

Sometimes these moods just come over me.  There are songs that I can't get outta my head.  I want to listen to music all the time.  I went through this phase where I didn't want to listen to my ipod while running.  I think it was because I was doing a half marathon and it just seemed really amateurish to see people running in a marathon with their headphones on.  LAME people.  So I went through about a year of running and not listening.  I still downloaded music but didn't listen that much.
Recently though a couple of friends and I went to Buffalo for a girls day, which means shopping.  Not my favourite thing to do but these are two of my favourite people and they promised me dinner and booze AND I didn't have to drive.  I was in.  They asked me to get a playlist together for the drive.  This is right up my alley.  I sat down and started going through my stuff.  I realized once again that I love my music.  I love listening to music.  Sometimes it makes me want to hit things.  Sometimes I cry.  Sometimes I just feel so happy that I want to jump up and down - I guess that's called dancing in some cultures.  Sometimes I just have to get up and wind my hips.  Needless to say I'm not dinner music kind of person. I'm all or nothing.  I have trouble compartmentalizing.  So, I get way too distracted when music is playing and I'm supposed to be chatting with people.
Ultimately, I don't know if they enjoyed the music or not.  There isn't much popular music on my ipod so it was probably 'educational' for them.  I thoroughly enjoyed sitting in the back seat of my friends car and zoning out to some of my favourite tunes.  So since our trip I've been listening to music non-stop and started using my ipod while I run.  Ahhh - I missed it.  I think that music captures a time and an energy in your life - it's like a snapshot of sound (did that make sense).  When I listen to my songs I think of the people that were with me then, the situations we were in... you know.  It's an energy that creates more energy.
 I was shocked when my friends told me they didn't really listen to music at all.  Maybe a lot of people are like that.  I'm not going to come out and say that my life needs a soundtrack but I want it to have a soundtrack. It's important to me that whatever it is about music that touches me and moves my body and makes me cry and remember and love be a part of my life as much as possible.  Just sayin' and I won't bore you with my ultimate playlist or anything.

I made this pesto yesterday.  Coolest part?  Half of the leaves were from my own basil pot.  Sweet.  It's seriously and stupidly easy and if you make a couple of batches you'll have enough to get you through the year.  The best.

Pesto (adapted from all over the place)
makes about 2 1/2 cups of pesto

5 - 6 cups basil leaves
1 cup (or so) olive oil
1 1/2 cups walnuts (you could use pine nuts here - it's more traditional)
1 cup grated parmesan cheese (I was using freshly grated)
6 cloves garlic coarsely chopped
2 tsp salt or to taste

Put the basil leaves and olive oil in a blender.  Mix until it's a puree.
Add in the walnuts.  Mix until it's a puree.
Add in the parmesan, garlic and salt.  Mix until it's a puree.
Taste to make sure it's all good.

Place in freezer bags and freeze in 1 cup portions.

I have peppers people... PEPPERS.  They're going to turn red at some point... hopefully.

Bok Choi, Fried Tofu and Mushrooms

It's amazing the amount of crap you can pack into a day really.  When I'm not at work I'm amazed at how the days roll along and what I can do in a day.  I can't always tell you which day of the week it is but who cares if it's a week-day or not.
For example:
You can watch a lot of movies in one day when you're motivated.
You can paint an entire floor of your house.
You can make jam and can it - a lot of it.
You can read an entire book in the right mood.
... Yeah... in 1 day.  That's only the beginning.
I haven't done all of them yet but it doesn't mean I won't.  I won't bore you with the stupid details of my day yesterday but it was one of those 'fit-in-as-much-as-you-can' days.  It's been a heat wave here for a while and it's continuing for another 'while'.  So I cooked as much as I could on the coolest day of the week.  Satisfied.
Now I have more time for movies, books, friends, trees, cool beverages and general lolling.

Yeah, so I've actually made this 3 times over the past two weeks.  Ummm, yeah.  I kinda like it.  I wanted to blog it last week but didn't have a camera and I for one am not interested in a food blog with no pictures... what.  So, now that I have a camera, I decided to make it again so that I could take pictures of it... and eat it.  Because I love it.  Yeah.  
So, it's pretty simple.  Few ingredients and just takes some time rather than skill... just my style.  Just make sure that the tofu is dry before you put it in the wok.  At the end of the whole process make sure you allow for the time needed to reduce the sauce.  Be patient... it will reduce... and you will be so happy.  End of.  

Bok Choi, Fried Tofu and Mushrooms (from Me)
serves 4 - 6

2 tbsp (or so) sesame oil
1 block firm tofu cut into chunks and patted dry
2 tbsp sesame seeds
6 cups bok choi or baby bok choi very coarsely chopped
2 cups green beans 
1 onion, sliced
4 cups mushrooms whole preferably, halved if necessary (I use a mix of shitake and cremini)
4 cloves garlic minced
1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
1/4 cup oyster sauce
6 tbsp hoisin sauce

Heat a large wok over med/ high heat.  Turn the heat down to med. and add the sesame oil.  Add in the tofu and the sesame seeds together.  Fry together until the tofu browns nicely.  Remove the tofu to a plate and add in the vegetables.  Saute together for about 5 minutes or until the greens are starting to wilt.  Add the soy sauce, oyster sauce and hoisin sauce and mix well.  Cook over med heat or a little hotter just until the sauce cooks down - maybe 7 - 10 minutes.  
Serve over rice.

Totally random shot of my purple bean (there are many not just this one)

My food box and Orlando

Random shot of my pansies... still playing with the new camera.
Usually once a week or so my Mother-in-law takes kid #1 and #2 for an overnight... maybe two if it's the summer.  Sometimes it's more stressful because we have to rush around to take them and pick them up and still get them to all of the extra crap that they are doing.  But in the summer.... it's awesome.  It's like a mini vacation really.
Today we dropped them both off and came home afterwards.  We watched a movie... at 3pm in the afternoon.  What?  I know.  We watched 'Orlando'.  I bizarre movie that I watched at some point in the 90's at 'Cinema de Paris' in Montreal, sadly now closed.  I can't remember how much tickets used to be... maybe $4 or $2 or something right in there.  It was primarily an english language repertory theatre when I was in Montreal.  It was amazing to go and watch a cheap film in between classes (which could explain some of my marks) with a friend or two and to catch some things that you would NEVER see in a normal theatre EVER.  'Orlando' is one of those movies.  I managed to catch it on Netflix and I just had to watch it again.
It's based on a Virginia Woolf novel (one that I need to read because I've only read 'A Room of One's Own') about Orlando whose life spans over 400 years after he is commanded by Queen Liz 1 to stay young forever.  Which Orlando does for his Queen... maybe I should say her Queen.  Orlando changes gender about 1/2 way through the movie and at about year 250 in his/her life.  It's a fascinating look at gender politics, roles and also the genderless being under our skin (so to speak).
Makes me think about my own definitions... of myself and the people around me.  What if our personality, our character has as much to do with our gender as say our body parts do?  What if gender doesn't even matter... what if it's everything and nothing?  Cool thoughts.  I thoroughly enjoyed my afternoon.... and as a result didn't cook.
Plus it's too bloody hot.

What I did for you all though is take some stupid pictures of my food box.  Is that even inspiring?  Tomorrow the temps are supposed to be down just below the 30 degree mark.  That means I'll be in the kitchen cooking up a storm for the rest of the week which is going right back up into the mid-thirties again.  Not that I'm complaining about the heat... just don't want to heat up the kitchen any more ;-)

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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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