- Taking the puppy out for a walk. ‘Puppy’ is really more of a term of endearment. She’s actually a geriatric canine at the ripe age of 16.
- When girlfriends get together, it’s only fitting that cupcakes are involved.
- … and some shoe shopping.
- My purchases: a coral tank top, a lacy grey bralette, and a pair of new sunnies.
- A glimpse of what I wore to J.’s year-end rugby banquet.
- Sunday morning: a cup of green tea latte as I review my research field notes.
- A glimpse of me and J. as we go run our errands. Nothing says warm weather like a pair of seersucker espadrilles, no?
- A shiny new frying pan! Life’s little pleasures…
My mother would be best described as lovely, prudent, and resourceful. My mother is also a tiny woman whose voracious appetite will often come as a surprise. Whenever you ask her what she’d like as a gift, her answer is always practical and never indulgent. So I typically buy her gifts that she would never buy for herself like an expensive pair of jeans or a pair of earrings, and make her a meal that offers her a break that she deserves.
With Mother’s Day coming up, I’ll be sharing some recipes for the next 3 Fridays (each tackling a different meal) that will hopefully inspire you as you celebrate and honour this special person in your life. First up, breakfast!
Ultimate French Toast with Blueberry Sauce (Serves 4)
This recipe is a good way to use up some stale bread. I highly recommend that you use thick sliced bread. I find that making this with thin sandwich bread results in a soggy french toast. You can also certainly serve this with maple syrup but I find the blueberry sauce (with or without the icing sugar) is sweet enough.
1 cup milk
1 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. honey (warmed in the microwave for about 20 seconds)
pinch of salt
8 thick slices of brioche, challah, or french bread
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees F.
Whisk together eggs, milk, lemon zest, vanilla, cinnamon, honey, and salt in a large baking dish or shallow bowl.
Cut your bread into thick slices, about 3/4″ – 1″. Soak your bread in the egg mixture for about 2-3 minutes on each side, until your bread is nicely soaked.
Melt 1 tbsp. of butter and 1 tbsp. of oil in a cast iron skillet (or large saucepan) over medium-low heat. Cook until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes on each side.
Place on an over-proof plate or cooling rack in the oven to keep warm while you finish the rest.
Serve with blueberry sauce (see below) and icing sugar.
I usually make this with blueberries simply because it’s what I normally have in my freezer. This would really be fantastic with strawberries and/or raspberries though.
2 c. blueberries, frozen or fresh
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. water
1 tbsp. lemon juice
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. cold water
1 tbsp. cornstarch
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the blueberries, sugar, water, lemon juice, and salt. Bring to a boil. Then turn it down to a simmer and add vanilla.
While that’s simmering, add the cornstarch to the 2 tbsp. of cold water. Add a little bit into the saucepan at a time until your reach your desired consistency and stir gently. If it’s too thick, add some more water.
Simmer for another 3-4 minutes. Once the liquid has thickened into a syrup, then you’re done!
During my first semester of graduate school, I took a survey course that looked at a variety of different arenas within my field. One week, we were introduced to acoustic communication and soundscapes. We walked around downtown Vancouver and were instructed to only pay attention to sounds: how it changes, what we seem to notice over others, what we choose to ignore, and so forth. The din of urban life can be so well illustrated through sounds: the loud hush of a bus as it breaks to a stop, the distant instrumental melodies of a street performer blocks away, and the occasional horn that interrupts the otherwise melodic flow of the city. It was fascinating to be able to experience a place that I’m so familiar with in such a novel way.
Smells have the same affect on me, especially when it comes to food. There’s something about smell that has the power to transport someone to another time and place. Paprika takes me back to the cobblestone streets and endless labyrinths of Istanbul that we explored years ago. Sweet, red chili paste reminds me of ddok bok gi – a common street vendor meal in Korea made of rice cakes in a spicy and sweet sauce – that seems to especially mark my childhood. And coconut, like I’m sure it does for many of you, reminds me of summer and beach vacations. More specifically, it reminds me of our trip to Costa Rica where my husband proposed.
And so, as an homage to the smell of coconut and the utility of our senses, I bring you coconut macaroons.
Adapted from allrecipes
I’ve never tried making the traditional macaroon recipe that uses sweetened condensed milk, simply because I never have it in my pantry. But this recipe uses ingredients that most people have in their pantry. It’s also a lot less calories than using the condensed milk version. The texture and taste are different but I assure you, it’s just as satisfying.
1 1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp. salt
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Whisk together the coconut flakes, flour, and salt.
- In a separate bowl (either by hand or by mixer), whisk together the egg whites, vanilla, and flour until peaks form.
- Pour the egg white mixture into the dry mixture and fold in. Don’t mix too much otherwise you lose all the volume you created.
- Once everything is incorporated, drop by rounded teaspoons onto the baking sheet. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until golden brown. Then cool on a wire rack.
Today has been a bit of an indulgent day for me. I’ve been catching up on shows that I’ve missed (has anyone else been watching Girls on HBO?) and embarking on some culinary and DIY adventures. (The DIY project will be a post later this week.)
Despite my love for food, when I’m alone, I never seem to have the same gusto for cooking as I do when I cook for me and my husband. Usually my meals are yoghurt, toasted English muffins, or leftovers. But every once in awhile, my creativity decides to come out and I embark on these culinary adventures in the middle of my day.
Today was one of those days. I also had a bunch of asparagus that have been begging to be made into something, anything. And so I did just that.
Linguine with a jubilee of greens (serves 2)
Inspired by Everybody Likes Sandwiches
I should start by saying that I didn’t really follow a recipe per se and instead, threw a little bit of this and that in with the pasta. I also originally made the recipe for 1 serving but doubled everything here, since 2 serving recipes are typically more useful than 1. The measurements below are approximations and will require you to adjust according to your taste.
1 serving of linguine (or any other pasta you have on hand)
1 tbsp. butter
1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 small onion, diced finely
1-2 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp. red chili flakes
2 tbsp. flour
1 cup milk
3 tbsp. freshly grated parmesan
salt and pepper
2 lemon wedges
1 handful of baby spinach
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 bunch of asparagus, cut into 2″ pieces (say, about 8-10 spears?)
- Cook pasta in salted boiling water.
- Meanwhile, melt 1/2 tbsp. butter and olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add minced garlic and chili flakes and cook for another few minutes. Melt the other 1/2 tbsp. of butter and whisk in the flour. Once the flour is incorporated, whisk in the milk. Once it begins to thicken, add the parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- With about 1-2 minutes left in cooking the pasta, add the asparagus and cook until the pasta is done.
- Drain pasta and asparagus, and reserve some of the water.
- Add pasta and asparagus into the sauce and add some pasta water if it’s thickened up too much or is starting to look a bit dry.
- Add baby spinach and peas, and toss everything together over medium heat until spinach has wilted and the peas have heated through.
- Squeeze the lemon juice from 2 wedges (no exact measurement, sorry!) and toss again.
- Serve with some extra grated parmesan cheese and freshly ground pepper.
- J. had a rugby in Kamloops so I, being the supportive wife I am, cheered from the sidelines.
- Drive home from Kamloops. Dramatic BC mountains sets the backdrop against a quiet, windy highway.
- Antiquing on Sunday where I found two campaign style dressers. They were too low for us, but I thought they had some charm.
- Brunch on Sunday. Scrambled eggs over biscuits and Kentucky burgoo. A gluttonous and comforting meal no doubt.
- Purchases from the Make It show: locally made jerk rub and matte gold pendant earrings from a local jewelry designer, Sarah Mulder. She has an etsy shop that I recommend you check out.
- Tried making black bean and chicken empanadas for the first time. The pastry turned out okay but the filling was a bit dry. I plan to play around with the recipe and eventually post it on here.
What are your plans for the weekend? This weekend’s probably going to be pretty busy for me. J. and I are going to Kamloops (about a 4 hour drive from where we live) on Saturday for his rugby game. He’ll be playing and I’ll be cheering from the sidelines. On Sunday, we’re going to an event called Make It! that sells locally made goods. Think: Etsy but in event form. I’m keeping an eye out for some colourful bowls (all ours are a boring white), maybe some jewelry for the Spring, and a nicer looking iPhone case that’s not so industrial looking as my current one. After a week of marking, I’m looking forward to the break before I have to start on another round of marking.
Anyways, I wanted to share a quick recipe with you that I’ve been going back to over and over again. We had a friend over this week for dinner and the game and I made chili (the recipe wasn’t what I was hoping for, hence why I’m not sharing it) and cornbread. The cornbread from this recipe is sweet and moist, with just the right amount of a crumbly texture that makes it good for dipping.
Golden Sweet Cornbread Recipe
1 cup flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray or lightly grease a 9 inch round cake pan.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder. Stir in egg, milk and vegetable oil until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pan.
- Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
To switch it up a bit, try adding about 1/2 cup of corn kernels (thawed if frozen) or making them as muffins. Also, this is a very sweet corn bread so feel free to adjust the amount of sugar you put in. Some other reviewers recommend using brown sugar and white sugar which could produce some interesting flavours (I’ve never tried it).