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Showing posts from 2011

Ho-ho-ho-liday Lunch is my favorite lunch of the year!!!

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I should be home right now, sleeping this off:



If you didn't know, I work for an independent cookbook publisher in the South End. This means we don't go just any old place for lunch.

We go to AWESOME DELICIOUS places for lunch!! Did you know that The Gallows is open for lunch? Oh yes they are, Thursday through Saturday. Totally worth it.

Thanks boss*, for the really great holiday lunch. I know we all quite enjoyed ourselves today.


*For the record, it makes the boss bats when I call him boss. Ergo I must call him boss. Can't help it, it's how I roll.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.....

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Remnants of Sunday lunch...







Whatever holiday you choose to celebrate, I hope it is a lovely one.

What's the Swedish word for "super delicious!"?

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I finally, FINALLY, got around to making those Swedish cinnamon rolls ("kanelbullar") that I have been so obsessed with lately.

It was totally worth the effort. I used this recipe from the Scandinavian Kitchen which is a shop over in London because a) the recipe is in English, and b) the measurements are metric. Also partly because the recipe called for fresh yeast which I prefer for no other reason than that I love the texture.

If you have trouble with the measurements, try the converter at Food.com but also keep in mind that most kitchen scales have an option to measure in grams and most measuring cups have milliliter (ml) marks on the opposite side of the cup marks. Lastly, the recipe tells you to bake them at 220 degrees - this is not the Fahrenheit number. You want to cook them at 425F and in my oven it took about 12 - 15 minutes to get them to the lovely golden color.

As for using fresh yeast, well I love it. I was introduced to it years and years ago when I worked at

Alone, in the kitchen, with a fruitcake

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I am recipe testing a fruitcake recipe for a friend.

Let me tell you that admitting to liking fruitcake is akin to admitting that you smoke crack twice a day and have a bottle of Hot Damn for breakfast.

No one ever believes it.

And if they do, they pity you. Love for fruitcake is the love that dare not show its face, it is the butt of every cake joke, the JuJube of the cake world, you get the point.

So when a fellow fruitcaker asked me to test out a fruitcake recipe I jumped on it like white on rice. And then I waited two weeks to make the damn thing.

Sometimes I wonder what the heck I am thinking.

Anyway, I think the recipe is a smashing recipe! Well it looks beautiful anyway. I am supposed to wait an hour before I can cut into it and use that hour to saturate it with bourbon cherry bounce.

Hmpf. We'll see how long I last.


All hail almighty Kale

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I love kale. For the longest time I thought chard was kale and I do not like chard.

Personally I think that this is true for a bunch of people. Between that and the fact that most people think of kale as the limp bit of greenery under the dried up slice of orange that is the garnish on a million diner breakfasts, I can see why so many of my friends are like "eh, meh, kale".

But let me tell you, kale is DELICIOUS. I am convinced it is what Grimm intended for Rapunzel to crave like mad, only the word "rapunzel" was more exotic than the word "kale".

Here is the excerpt from the Grimm story of Rapunzel:

Through the small rear window of these people's house they could see into a splendid garden that was filled with the most beautiful flowers and herbs. The garden was surrounded by a high wall, and no one dared enter, because it belonged to a sorceress who possessed great power and was feared by everyone.
One day the woman was standing at this window, and sh…

Haters gonna hate

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Look what I inherited from La Mamma!


Two Dansk enamel pots.

These are the most versatile pots. Before scoring a maslin pan for short money, I used the big one for making jam. I use it for making soup and stew and pasta sauce. The nice thing is is that it can go from the stovetop to the oven to the table. I've made casseroles in it and it works beautifully.

It also doesn't hurt that I find them really good looking. Probably because I am going through a phase of loving all things Scandinavian.


PS: The minute I buy reindeer jerky is the minute before I need an intervention.

Terrible Tues

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Somedays it's just better to stay in bed and today was one of those kinds of days for me.

For the record, I am completely ignorant when it comes to computers and networks and megabytes per second and subnets and proxies and firewalls.

Which means that three days of trying to straighten out sh*tty, sloooooooow internet service at the office is about the same as taking an immersion class in Russian for three days straight. With a 87 year old teacher who has a big old beard and who mumbles.

I am pooped and confused.

I want something small, sweet, and delicious for dinner. I want affogato.



A simple supper, that is exactly what I need. And a hot bath. And for it to be Friday.


Ol' Timey

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Ol' my gawd I am SO sick of Ol' Timey.

An ol' timey hobo wedding!

Ol' timey subway sign art!
Ol' timey saloons! Opening any minute now in Davis Square!

Don't get me wrong, I am all for people opening new business, but I just don't get this "old timey is the now/new timey" stuff.

The idea of a pre-Prohibition saloon that serves housemade Pork Belly Rye Whiskey and Ploughman's Platters and classic meat pies makes me wonder if the staff is also ol' timey - chaps with sideburns and suspenders and sleeve clips and ladies with rock-a-billy clothing and artful tats. Only because I feel like I have seen this done before. more than once, in real life and you know, in the history books.

If I sound sort of cynical, I am. This kind of carefully "curated" atmosphere makes me think of Plimouth Plantation. Pubbing as a sort of living museum experience.

Honestly I would not want to go back into the past, to pre-Prohibition. Firstly I never have…

Not a Scandinavian bone in my body...

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I am pretty sure that there is nothing far northern European about me, except for being white, that can explain my sudden love of all things Scandinavian. It's borderline creepy. I haven't even BEEN there which sort of makes this obsession a little weird. 
Anyhoo, it seems that in Sweden there is this thing called "fika" which seems to be a coffee break, the real kind of coffee break. I am not entirely positive, as I've never been to Sweden nor do I speak Swedish, but the translation is that you take a break with coffee and a treat. Yes please! Let's fika!
I am bored to death of the desultory coffee mug that sits lamely on my desk going cool. I want to have a proper coffee break with friends and kanelbullar! Seriously, that would definitely make the day go a little better! Sadly in the US this sort of thing would be tough to start. Everyone is so busy being busy (or hoping to be seen as being busy) that taking a break to chill and have coffee would be mistak…

Sleeping in & Late Breakfast

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I have gone way over my line of sleep credit this week and resolved to sleep IN today. Usually Saturdays I am up and at 'em to get everything out of the way for a lazy Sunday.

But for some reason I was exhausted last night and decided to make today my sort of lazy day. Let me just say that my idea of sleeping in is usually until 8 or 9am, which is still early to actual sleeper-in-ers, but it's my idea of late.

And what goes amazingly well with a lie-in?

Greeeeen Acres is the plaaace for me...

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I love the idea of living on a farm and living off the land. Just the idea.

I mean I also love the idea of running a marathon, but the reality means actually running. And anyone who knows me, knows that if they see me running they'd better call the police.
So yeah, me on a farm is probably a bad idea. I would love it for like three days and then I would totally understand why Ma and Pa Ingalls moved everyone off the prairie and back into town.
Which means that I am just going to order in, from the farm.
Yesterday I got my first order from Farmers to You and this is what I got:

Looks good huh?
Let me tell you, so far so damn good. And I would tell you what I made, only I am typing this as I babysit my darling new niece and she wants something to eat RIGHT THE HELL NOWWWWW!
So, more tomorrow.

Farmers to You is coming to me.

The other day I saw a mention of this program called Farmers to You on Universal Hub. The idea of getting food directly from the farm is something a hungry girl in the city dreams of, so naturally I wanted to sign up immediately. 
I've previously signed up for Boston Organics, but I am just so American in that I don't like not having a choice. Farmers to You does ask that you spend $30 a week minimum, about the same as Boston Organics, but you get to pick what you want. 
Which means I won't be getting any romaine lettuce. Thank god.

Compost Salad

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Sometimes I just have to use everything up or throw it out.

I call these kinds of dishes "compost salad" while La Maman calls them "plat unique".

Last night I found myself in the kitchen with a bag of kale, a pint of cherry tomatoes, and half a container of mozzarella "pearls".

The common denominator here was the fact that they were all within inches of their use-by date. And I cannot bear to throw away food, especially since so many people don't even have enough to eat.

Homemade Lunch...

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One of the best things about having a functional kitchen again is being able to bring my own lunch to work every day. 
Usually it's leftovers and it is typically true that things taste a little better the longer they get to sit around together. 
This lunch is leftover polenta I made with gruyere, and toasted quinoa, sweet potato, and golden raisin casserole from the other other day. 
It was pretty delicious and I didn't feel like rubbish afterwards from all the preservatives and crap that is in most processed foods.

Sneakety peekety

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The kitchen is functional:

WHOOH YAH!
There are still details to finish:

Oh for the love of &^%#*@!! Who gives a crapola about the deeeeetails??  I need more wine.... Fine, how does this compound miter saw work again?  Blerrr....g
Seriously, when people tell you that your renovation will take twice as long as you think, my advice is to take THAT number and square it.

Running water, where you going?

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It is a lovely privilege to have lots of clean running water from the tap. I will never ever never take running water for granted ever again.

However that is all behind me now. Sort of. The kitchen is getting there and I am now at a point where I can use it. So I did. This weekend.

Shhhhhh.......

I am cautiously optimistic that I will be posting about food that I cook in my own kitchen this weekend.

Please standby.

I am still here. I swear.

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If I never eat another bowl of Cheerios for dinner again, that would be fine with me.

Some of you might be aware that I am doing a little work on ye old homestead and said project is crawling along at a glacier pace.

Which is better than nothing I suppose.

Anyway, just before Labor Day the kitchen came apart. All the way down to nothing.

Socca to me.

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I made socca the other night. Why? Well the other, other, night I went out drinking and then somehow found myself in a fancy food store buying $30 olive oil and $7 chickpea flour.

I am nothing if not impulsive. And chronically broke. 
Anyway, the one reason I buy chickpea flour is to make panisse and socca. As for the very expensive olive oil.... well that was beyond reason. Except for the fact that it is from Nice which is where La Maman is from and that's good enough for me.

Socca is a baked pancake made from chickpea flour. When I was in Nice, I ate it hot with my fingers, dusted with black pepper, sitting outside in the old part of town. I still eat it this way, only now with a glass of red wine.

You know what this is, now what do YOU call it?

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I cannot be the only person who calls these Teenies:






Apparently they are really called Little Hugs.

More like starter kits for toddler alcoholics if you ask me. Who puts a kiddie drink in a beer barrel?

Further more, who markets this non-nutritive crap to kids? Oh wait....

Nevermind.

Someone just threw a TwinkieFunyunFritoDoritoHoHoBigMac at my head. *sigh*

No wonder we're all fat. These Little Hugs are cheaper than milk.

Friday Work Breakfast.

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Remember what I said the other day about food randomly appearing in the office?

Well let me present today's morsel of deliciousness: greek yogurt and almond cake.  The lovely person who makes this is a wonderful scratch baker and is so critical of her own handiwork, which is rubbish because everything she makes is excellent.

Rest assured, it is divine!!!


So divine, I had some for breakfast today.




THANK YOU to ***** of the ****** ******* for making this and giving me some.

When life literally hands you a bowl of cherries....

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Eat them before your coworkers do!



These were about the most delicious cherries I have had in a very, very long time. They were sent to the office from ChefShop.com and I am not sure if they were a gift or what (food has a way of turning up in our office randomly) but it certainly made my return to work after the holiday so much better.

Aren't they the most gorgeous color? They tasted like sweet droplets of sunshine.

*sigh*

Tomorrow can only be a let down after this lovely treat.

Ginger "ale" for the rest of us.

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I bought this on impulse the other day and o.m.f.g. this stuff is ambrosia.

I've been drinking it with club soda, a few crushed mint leaves, and lots of ice. It makes up for a lack of a/c.

Breakfast at Toro

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I tried to take my Irish friends to Mike's City Diner for breakfast this weekend and I really just should have known better. The problem at Mike's is that even if it's only 6 people waiting, there is some weird optical illusion in that place that makes it looks like 46 people are waiting.

We didn't want to wait.

And we didn't want to walk.

So we had breakfast at Toro. What an excellent second choice. First off the woman who was working our table was absolutely lovely, and second off the food was a pleasant surprise, in that it was delicious and not a giant huge plate of food.

There are those who feel that more is better and there are those who feel that less is more. I have a foot in both camps. There is never enough french fries but for the most part I prefer a little deliciousness more frequently than a big plate of something I just really need a taste of. Something like that anyway.

I got the huevos rancheros and the corn. Who goes to Toro and doesn't get …

Urban foraging

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Looky here, a mulberry tree. Right?


I am not totally positive at what point these can be picked, but if the bird poop that surrounded this tree last year is anything to go by, I need to wait until they are a MUCH darker purple.

Also, I am not entirely sure what to make with them when I pick them.

Maybe jam? Or wine?


Rice Krispie Treats for the rest of us.

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Making Rice Krispie Treats with brown butter is nothing new, it is however, new to me.

I love RKTs, always have. They are ridiculously fast to make and I've made them with Trix, Fruity Pebbles, Coco Puffs, Fruit Loops... if it's a totally non-nutritive sugary cereal, I will combine it with butter and marshmallows melted together and basically eat it out of hand for the next day or so.

Oh and also, all the ingredients can be found easily - my bodega carries them even. 

So when someone's Facebook status referenced making RKTs with brown butter my mouth watered immediately. And this weekend I made two batches.

To one batch I added cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla bean paste. To the other batch I added vanilla bean paste, extra vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. To both batches I added rainbow nonpareils for fun.

And oh my my my, are they ever delicious! SO much better with brown butter! And have one very vanilla-ey and the other a little spiced makes them even more tasty.


Cu…

Yogurt IS alive!!! RAWR!!!!

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Yogurzilla killed the Strawberry and is on the march looking for YOU!


These fun tote bags are a collaboration between yours truly and the ridiculously talented Jesse at South End Textiles.

We've got a couple of other designs in the works to be unveiled in the next few weeks. However once the purple Yogurzilla is gone, it's gone like Donkey Kong.

Maybe it will come back in yellow or green or Bedazzled (TM), but if you have your little heart set on purple you will want to get it now as there are only 2524 23 of these limited edition bad boys.

Yep.

Already sold two.

Shoot me an email, bangbang, if you are interested. I am happy to mail them for free in the US and yep, I take PayPal.

Otherwise come by the SoWa market on June 19th and get one yo'self.


RAWR!

Summer Salad of Deliciousness

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I am hopeless at making American-style salads, totally and utterly useless at it.

In my entire life I have never had success at combining lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, celery, etc into a bowl with dressing to produce something palatable. Everything is badly proportioned - too chunky, too leafy, too dressed, too vinegary, and it is the same at a salad bar. My salad bar salads end up being little sections of this and that - a glop of cottage cheese here, a sad pile of pinto beans there, jalapenos strewn over the top.

I ask you, does any of that sound appealing? No, the word you want is appalling.

Fortunately I am half French and that half knows how to make European-style salads. This basically means tossing things with a very nice vinaigrette. My two basic salads in this style would be the shredded carrot with raisins (or dried cranberries) and the chickpea, tomato, and mozzarella salad, with pesto.

This is that salad and I have pretty much eaten it every day this week:

Anyway th…

Monday morning and I am not in purgatory, as originally expected.

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This morning I took the bus to work because it was raining. The back half of the bus was jammers with school kids being loud and obnoxious which, as I seem to recall, is exactly what teenagers do on the bus. However it made conditions on the bus sort of grody - noisy, humid, smelly, and crowded.  
Usually I get on the bus and there are about five other passengers, so you can't blame me for thinking "oh sh*t, so THIS is purgatory! I didn't make the rapture. F*ck!" 
Because being stuck on a noisy, humid, smelly, and crowded bus full of teenagers is exactly what I imagine purgatory to be. 
However, I managed to get off the bus at the right stop and when I got to work, look what a co-worker brought in:

Doughboy Donuts. 
Purgatory averted.

I love menu mistakes.

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Especially when "pankakes" are involved.


Happy Mother's Day to La Maman!!!

Come to think about it, I am really lucky to have La Maman that I do. Seriously, she is the bomb.

When Dad was traveling for work, which he would do for long stretches at a time, La Maman had to be Le Papa also and she did it with aplomb.

Once, when I was really in the throes of Laura Ingalls-itis, La Maman took my sister and I to Edaville Railroad in Carver to go fishing. I seem to remember we took the little train to the "Fishing Area" and La Maman rented us all the appropriate gear, namely a rod and  couple of dirty worms. Quite calmly she jammed a worm on a hook and we cast the line as well as we could for a couple of novices. I was totally in awe even if there was no chance of us catching anything in four inches of water. She had hooked the worm, with her BARE HANDS just to give us a chance to go fishin'.

My mother was not like the other mothers I knew: French, gorgeous, smart, and independent, she never catered to my whims of sameness. I got homemade lunches - sand…

Super fast lunch

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I took the day off today to get some stuff done and one of those things was tiling the master bathroom floor.

Great day in the morning, tiling is HARD!!!

Anyway, I didn't want to break for lunch for too long or I would have abandoned the dumb thing. So I emptied a can of chickpeas in to a pan of hot olive oil and sauteed them with basil and garlic.

Then I tossed the whole thing with a little cheese, and done.


OMFG so delicious!!!!

Curried Cauliflower, Kale, Carrot, Onion, Garlic Soup - in photos

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I mostly just make up recipes as I go along. Like anything else in the whole world, cooking stuff you want to actually eat takes practice.

Some people need recipes, some people (me!) just wing it, and all 100% of us will make something so revolting that it can't even be saved with ketchup and rice, or ice cream and maple syrup. But about 96% of what we make will be edible, I promise you that.

Which brings me to the soup I made today. I have a friend who is about to go through 35 days of radiation and I promised that I would make them some food. The only requirement is that it is vegetarian. My only requirement is that it does taste like crap, because radiation is going to be bad enough as it is without having to choke down crap.

Also, soup is always easy to make and eat and this turned out to be delicious AND easy. 


Without further ado and adon't, here you are, the recipe in pictures! Oh wait, one small ado: it will make everything so much less stressful if you take the time …

This just in: Pretentious Foodyism Reaches New Low.

The April/May 2011 issue of the James Beard Foundation member newsletter has compiled a list of food lovers Then and Now, which appears on page 6.

The eighth item down on the Now list is: Menu Curating.

OMFG MENU F*CKING CURATING!!!

That's it.

I am having chicken McNuggets* for lunch.


(The real kind from factory farms and which are made out of ground up chicken beaks and feet and sawdust. F*ck you foodies and the precious free-range, grass-fed, undyed chicken we rode in on! Harumph!)

Ugh. I am SO glad you can't see what my diet has been like lately.

The renovation HAS to be finished by Labor Day. No ifs, ands, or buts. 
Which means that the last project to be finished will be the kitchen. You would think that with all the no-cooking I am not doing, the weight would fall off.
But no. I am now a scavenger eater. It's pathetic. I have nothing in my fridge, and I've eaten almost everything out of the freezer, and almost everything I've canned. 
I will some nights have popcorn for dinner, or pasta with garlic and Dutch vegetable seasoning I found in Aruba. (No, not a narcotic. I am pretty sure.)
Although I did discover that a dinner of plain yogurt, maple syrup, and a kiwi will tide you over until the next morning. 
Also, thank heavens for eggs. I will pretty much eat eggs with everything, on anything. 
Just thought you'd like to know why there are no lovely food photos lately.

Eff you Girl Scouts of America. Eff you.

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I now believe, nay, know that the Girl Scouts of America bake crack into Thin Mints.

It is the only explanation as to why, when I get within 10 feet of a box of them, I lose all sense of reason and attempt to cram them all into my mouth at once. I truly cannot be trusted anywhere near them.

Which in turn explains why a certain someone's phfffts smell a little minty at present. Whoops!




Another Birthday Month comes to a close.

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The only thing I didn't do this month is have dinner with my birthday twin (yes Ennairda, I am talking to YOU!).

Otherwise this has been the most fantastic birthday month ever.

I got my NASCAR/Showtunes Fantasy League Champion trophy which was awesome. The Evil Twin and BiL had martini night at their house. My Dad got me a NASCAR Monopoly game, because you know, face it - I like NASCAR. I've gone out with friends and had enough fun and drinks and laughs to power me through April!

On the actual night of my birthday though, La Maman took me out and indulged me in the most delicious oyster feast this year. Let me just say that I don't love seafood however oysters and salmon sashimi are the most delicious things a person can eat from the ocean.

I suspect that the real reason I love oysters is because I read Consider the Oyster by M.F.K. Fisher, the same writer who got me to go have a nice dinner at a nicer restaurant on my own, without a book.  Anyone who can read that book an…

Delicious homemade lunch in a jar

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I love glass jars and use them in place of plastic as much as possible. They are perfect for bringing lunch to the office, which I am all about doing these days, now that I am trying to get ready for beach season - which IS coming at some point this year!

The best thing is that I make one big delicious dish at the beginning of the week and then fill up the fridge with ready to go lunches in cute little glass jars. It makes stumbling out of the house a few minutes shorter everyday.

Last night I made corn-quinoa rotelle with a delicious veggie packed tomato sauce.


For the sauce:

- one onion, chopped
- garlic, chopped (I like it so I used a few cloves)
Saute the garlic and onion in a little olive oil over a medium flame, until soft and translucent.
Remove from heat and scrape into a mixing bowl or similar.

- one box of mushrooms (about a pound or so), coarsely chopped
- one red pepper, deseeded and chopped
Add a little olive oil to the pan you sauteed the onions in and let the oil get ho…

I might not have a kitchen, but I still have a stove.

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Which is important because I am having the worst ever canning jones.

A few weeks back it kicked in while in Aruba. We ate at Madame Janette's, outside in the glorious fresh air, in January - as we kept reminding ourselves. The meal was decent, actually it was quite the meal and I could have gotten away with just having the appetizer and for me to say that.... well you get the drift.

At the start of the meal, we were given a small dish of pickled onions. I am pretty sure that is exactly when the canning craving kicked in. I love a good pickle. Seriously, all penis jokes aside, if it's pickled I will eat it.

These were vinegary, spicy, and peppery - I could not pile them high enough on my bread. At least I think it was for my bread, who knows. I never know what to do with sauce at the table on its own, like in an Indian restaurant - I just smother the crackly bread with the three little sauces you get. The staff is meanwhile smothering their laughter at the girl who is putting j…

I haven't starved to death....

...yet anyway.

But seriously, the little house in the big city is STILL under construction. It is ridiculous how long it takes a person to renovate a house! I am totally over my budget and way under budget in the motivation department. It goes in fits and spurts - a lick of paint here, a dollop of joint compound there...

I really thought at this point I would have a lovely new kitchen, but that realistically cannot happen until the top two floors are done as the plaster dust will just overwhelm everything.

Which has already sort of happened, which is why I am not cooking as much. If a recipe needs more than one or two pans, I am out of luck because I have stored everything in boxes because I was thinking I would be a little farther ahead than I am currently. Oh well.

And thank goodness for beef pho, because I really think that is all that is keeping me alive right now.