For many years, I have said “Emile is chocolate, I am caramel”. No, I am not referring to our skin colours, but instead our preferences for desserts. The chocolatey, the richer, – Emile is all over it. Burnt caramel, butterscotch, brown sugar, anything with that rich carmal taste is my preference. And when it is mixed with heavy cream . . . sigh. . . so good. I haven’t exactly spurned chocolate – but the recent societal love affair with dark chocolate and all its varieties has never been something I enjoy or get really.
So, as of late, my urges for chocolate is mystifying to me. Right now, I would rather a Lindt milk chocolate bar before I’d want a crème brûlée. What is wrong with me? Even Emile wondered tonight if there was something bothering me.
Okay. . . sorry about that, just had to go and eat part of the chocolate bar in the kitchen. I’m back.
May 11th, 2013 Extra-Ordinary: Chocolate – its really working for me right now.
I went to Whistler this weekend. It’s been 15 years since I’ve been and Emile has never been. The sea to sky highway – while still amazing – seems much more robust. I guess that is the Olympic legacy. This trip had all the makings of a disaster: We left on time, but our travelling companions didn’t, so we spent a bunch of time waiting. Our suite was occupied when we arrived as the company had made a mistake on the confirmations. The weather was awful – rain, cold and wind. The mountain was socked in with fog – we couldn’t tell that we were in a mountain resort. The children decided to awake at 6 am the first morning after being up until 11 pm the night before.
Emile and I spent an hour or two enjoying ourselves at Howe Sound Brewery pub in Squamish. The people who were in the suite were really considerate and worked with us to solve the problem. The weather stopped our friends from skiing, but also made it much easier to justify staying inside and getting an Indonesian style massage. The kids were so bloody tired on Saturday night that they went to bed with nary a peep. Sunday’s weather was warmer, dryer and stiller than Saturday and in comparison seemed downright lovely compared to the day before. Our friends went skiing, Emile got a pic or two and we had an early departure, getting us home to Vancouver just in time to receive our final ice cream delivery, have my nails done, catch up on chores, get some groceries bought and wind down the weekend before the work week started again.
Had a really good time and glad we went.
Last Weekend in April Extra-Ordinary: Silver Linings
I’ve been up since 7 am awaiting our expected 1 pm ice cream delivery. Well, that isn’t entirely true. I got up at 8 – woo hoo sleep in – and spent time searching for sunchoke (aka Jerusalem artichokes or sunroots) recipes. That lead me to re-finding The Guilty Kitchen so I changed into running gear after seeing what she is doing and seeing her ridiculous abs. Then I heard Emile sniffling – sure sign that Emile is awake – and went in to convince him that we should go for a run. That lead to him getting up and making pancakes (which weren’t his best, but he states he is hindered by missing ingredients). I am not sure how running became pancakes.
Then I was disgusted by the state of my bathroom, so I cleaned it. What is with soap scum? I use all natural shower items – so it would follow that my all natural cleaners should take it off easily. Then I put away all my purchases from Saturday (I did get some shopping in after heading home to change). Then unloaded the dishwasher. Tidied up the kitchen, cleaned off my desk. And still it was an hour before our expected delivery time. Sigh.
But finally the phone rang!
I wish that these pictures had timestamps, because you’d see that ridiculously we ate all the ice cream in about 4 minutes. It was sour, sweet and tangy all at once. Yum!
April 7th, 2013 Extra-Ordinary: I love lemons! I love Ice Cream!
PS I end up working out that day – that is why you’ll see me stiffly walking up and down stairs.
I found out about Harvest Community Food’s curated CSA program. You can’t beat it – it is curated, meaning that they gather the best available treats of the week from various suppliers and put together a bag of groceries. Also, you can sign up for 1 or for the season. I tell you – there is something about the mystery and excitement of a CSA box/bag that I love. What am I going to get? How am I going to cook it? Will it be terrible?
I am also excited because the last CSA I was in involved in was in Huntsville – where snow is still on the ground – so I am exciting different offerings and different tastes from our different climates.
This week I got honey, 1/2 dozen eggs, sunflower sprouts, watercress, chard, kale, potatoes, stinging nettles (!!), and beets. Super Excited about the honey because it is so good (yum, blueberry) and local which should help Emile deal with his seasonal allergies.
April 2nd, 2013 Extra-Ordinary: What does one do with stinging nettles?
I signed Emile and I up for an “underground dinner party”. This is an event where you go to a mysterious location and eat dinner and then donate to the chef. Which is really just a way to get around the legalities of paying for a dinner that isn’t totally sanctioned.
We are going to one that is a “social” dinner which means unlike many of the these type of events, it isn’t just for your group, there are a whole bunch of strangers. I thought it would be a good way to meet people. Most are BYOB, which really is okay with me. We are going with The Endless Meal which we only know is it is located in Gastown – we’ll be told where to go the night before.
So, I must admit, I am a bit nervous about it, but worst, it will be an excellent blog won’t it? But more than likely, it will be a fun night out that we can spent with strangers to have a good time and expand our social circle.
March 22nd, 2013 Extra-Ordinary: Feeling good and engaged when I do this kind of thing!
Today is my mother’s actual birthday – St. Patrick’s Day. So after an hour at the downtown Vancouver parade, we heading to Burnaby to have lunch with more of the family. My grandpa loves Me-n-Ed’s pizza and it is right near by his place, so we decided pizza was the place to go. The six of us shared 3 large pizzas and one order of nachos with only 3 slices to take home for leftovers.
As tradition dictates, we visited McDonald’s for dessert where we purchase Shamrock Shakes for dessert. When they asked which size, my mom said “Large” without remembering the super size epidemic that swept North America. So, we were left with 6 gigantic shakes that were tasty in their bad for you way. So full, yet so shamrocky and delicious at the same time.
After such a large lunch the followed by some ridiculous amount of shake we started to suffer the ill effects, but I the most:
I should also tell you that I almost killed Emile earlier that day when I brought the truck of our hatchback car down upon his head. Given we didn’t have any pain relievers in the restaurant, he proceeded to drink quite a few non-green beers to dull the pain.
March 17th, 2013 Extra-Ordinary: I managed to drag my Shamrocked ass off the floor and drive my nearly concussed husband home. No-one ate dinner that night.
We celebrated my mom’s birthday today. She was born on St. Patrick’s Day several years ago, but Saturday night seemed like the night to go for a lovely and restful dinner. We tried out a new place by our place – Lily Mae’s – which billed themselves as French Comfort Food.
Paris to me was not comfortable – as much as I loved it there, it was much more chicness that I could only aspire to. French to me means fussy, detailed, precise and exclusive. So, I didn’t know what totally to expect from this new restaurant. The French I encountered in Paris were only so welcoming to me – a tourist with very little French skills.
But the restaurant we visited was straight forward, charming, friendly and precise in service, rules and food perpetration. A perfect combination comfort and French.
March 16th, 2013 Extra-Ordinary: Add a little bit of North American comfort to the French ways and you get a boeuf bourguignon to write home about (or at least to blog about).
I’m going back to get the bacon apple caramel cake.
When was a kid Grandpa and Grandma would visit and always bring fruit from the Okanogan. I’ve told you this before and I also told you of my love of Macintosh Apples. I have always preferred Macs, Spartans and Granny Smiths above all others especially Delicious Apples. I am not sure what it is about Delicious apples, but I don’t like the yellowish flesh, the mealy mouth feel, the thick skin and the flavour seems not appley to me. So when ever I see those tell-tale bumps on the bottom of that dark red apple, I pick up a banana instead.
I do the grocery shopping in our home because I actually like grocery shopping. Emile does most of the dinner cooking and I do lunches. It seems to work well for us because Emile gets home earlier than me and the best grocery stores are out by my work. When I make a grocery list – unless I need specifics – I usually write “fruit” and”Veggies”. I am not sure why I am compelled to write that – because if I know I’ll remember what fruit to buy, why don’t I think I’ll remember to buy fruit? Hmmm. I’ve not thought of this before. Well, reflection for another time.
Anyways, as you can well imagine when I buy apples, I buy my preferences. Macs – if they aren’t end of season, Spartans if they look good or Granny Smiths (because they taste to darn good with sharp cheddar or peanut butter). I eschew any apples with bumps on the bottom. No thank you! I assume if they have bumps on the bottom they are related to a Delicious and I can’t take that risk. I’ve never considered apple selection implications on Emile until for some reason I went rogue in the apple aisle. My normal selections weren’t looking that good, so I picked up some Gala, Pink Lady’s and Ambrosia apples for that week. I figured Emile would have to make do with these until better stock was in place. (incidentally, I threw them all into the same bag, cashiers hate me)
When it comes to the lunches I make, I really like feedback. No, strike that, I really like appreciation. And so Emile does his best to say “hey, liked my lunch today”. He came home on rogue apple week and said “I really liked that apple you packed. One of the best in a long while”. Wha?!
March 12th, 2013 Extra-Ordinary: “Bumpy” apples get added to the rotation – but just not Delicious, I am not sure if I could actually take paying money for them. All this time, I have been thinking only of myself and protection from Delicious apples and Emile has been suffering.
Like most Vancouverites, Emile and I enjoy walking the Sea Wall.
So often we make our way down there – winding through the tourists – and walk the sea wall. Saturday was a particularly gorgeous day – and we spoke frequently about how spring is so much better when you don’t have to go through the melt.
Often I’ll run along the sea wall and I feel like I belong here. Running in my Yoga jacket with my iPhone. Yes, I’m that girl. Running along. There she goes. . .
Anyways, we enjoy walking and talking down the sea wall. Our route almost always takes us around the outside of the Vancouver Convention Centre with the Water sculpture. Located there is a restaurant called De Dutch. Emile – being Dutch – and I always talk about finding out what a Dutch restaurant serves but have never been.
We finally made it on Saturday morning. We laughing reviewed the menu as Emile told me stories about his mother’s cooking. The traditional luncheon meal at Emile’s house is a piece of bread with ham and a fried egg on it. He told me it is actually called an uitsmijter as listed on the menu. He remembered his Dutch when he ordered a Boer’s Breakfast. His Farmer’s Breakfast featured all the regular morning offerings and included a large Dutch Pannekoek (pancakes). Dutch pannekoeks are somewhere between a regular pancake and a crepe.
He bit into his pannekoek and stated “There is that tang.” Emile started to tell me about stories from Holland that I had never had. His dad’s mom made Emile and his sister pannekoeks for breakfast when they were in Holland. Not cereal on most mornings like at home, but his Oma’s pannekoeks. Made without a mix, and without a recipe probably just like her mother before her did.
The next morning Emile tried to reproduce his Oma’s Dutch pannekoek. He called home to ask his mom how to make them. Her side of the family wasn’t a pannekoek home and his dad was no help. Afterall, he only just ate them. A first attempt using an internet recipe was heavy, dense and lacking the tanginess.
March 9th, 2013 Extra-Ordinary: A unexpected memory from breakfast and the beginning of a quest for a Dutch Pannekoek recipe like his Oma’s.