Saturday, March 31, 2012

breakfast by, not at, tiffanys

i want to make breakfast. For a living.

Allow me to clarify: under no circumstances do i desire to be a breakfast line cook, working the a.m. rush of over-easy/medium/hard egg, dry/crustless/gluten free toast, extra crispy bacon/extra toast or fruit- instead-of hashbrowns. What i do want to do is make breakfast for people to eat in their own homes where they scramble their eggs as they like, while pouring a bowl of my granola/mueslix, slathering their buttered (or not) toast with my jam; i want to market my own line of breakfast-y things.

I could very well have started to do this two years ago when i worked at the farmers market. Every morning after set up (sometimes desperately--and therefore quite unattractively-- in between serving customers and restocking spinach), i would pull out my rather large mason jar of cereal, more specifically, mueslix. Have you heard of/tried mueslix before? It looks disgusting. Soggy, off-white-ish and congealed, it is oats and shredded apple, soaked traditionally in milk or juice and yogurt, with nuts and dried fruit to jazz it up. I jazzed mine up with chamomile tea for the most part, and, again, a rather large pour of honey. It looked disgusting yes (especially as i hoovervacked from in rather large mouthfuls), but it was filling and energizing, delicious and satiating. And, despite aesthetics--both mine and the mueslix's--not a day went by that someone asked what it was and how to make it, or went so far as to offer to buy it. I should have stopped restocking spinach and started up shop on a corner of the table, but for the most part i just wanted to eat.

It didnt matter that sometimes i was eating that same jar of cereal until noon. I love breakfast  and i cannot go without it. I will sooner have two breakfasts than breakfast and lunch, and am known to travel with either that mornings meal, or prepared for the day to come. It is both my favorite meal to go out for, and to make at home. As if to support my cause, there is always the the classic movie set in my home--ok, so Breakfast at Tiffanys is referring to an infamous jewellery shop in New York and there arent actually any cereal, toast, or even pancakes eaten there but...PANCAKES! i may have mentioned my love of those before. My be-all-end-all comfort food is a soft poached egg. In fact, my dying meal would in some way involve a soft poached egg. And, a bit of a secret, my in-the-works-cookbook is titled after eggs cooked this way. Unfortunately, i cannot really sell soft poached eggs in my envisioned breakfast line. But i can sell disgusting looking mueslix.

Well, it wont look disgusting when i sell it. Mostly because it would be dry. It would magically transform from oaty nutty loveliness to mush in your fridge when you soaked my cereal overnight. And because not everyone is into mush, and because i have recently perfected my granola recipe. Please dont take this as hyperbolic bragging-- because i have been practicing batches of granola almost weekly, i have also been gifting, to quite exaggerated applause so to speak (no one is actually moved to a standing ovation, but wouldnt it be great if cereal could do that for people? i know i feel like giving a big ol woop woop when an egg is perfectly soft poached, but then, i pretty much live for them...). So i feel i am ready to make people pay for this granola--thats right friends, no more freebies!

So thats the idea folks. It is just an idea, that i will probably mention in several posts to come as i begin to obsess over how much i would like my lifes work to be... breakfast.

ps: i thought about posting a picture here of soaked mueslix...but i kinda want your support of my lifes work one day...

ps 2: perhaps i should think about adding a pancake mix to this imagined line of breakfast goods--that would be really taking this seriously...

a little too ironic, dont you think?

i am quite uncomfortable with the irony occuring right at this very moment:

As i stand here writing--working on posts past, still working at that promise...-- at my window sill, snow is blowing outside. Snow.  At 9:27 pm, it is less than 3 hours from April 1st. April. At 9:27 pm, it is also less than three minutes away from the end of "earth hour," the sixy-minute, energy concious time block when people the world over turn off their lights. It is horribly ironic that in this hour of recognition for global warming the very side effects of such are occuring in plain sight. More-so ironic that although i am writing by candelight, i am in fact guzzling energy at my plugged-in-lap-top (novel idea: just unplug the damn thing...done), to write to you about how i hope that you are too in the dark (not about just how much we contribute to climate change and energy abuse, but actually, physically, in the dark...). Adding still, the song streaming from my little HP is a song chorusing "all i need is sunshine."

its all a little too ironic, dont you think?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

vee-OG-NER and other things better drank than said...

drank? drunk?dranken? i dont know. 2 years as an English major studying courses for year 3, even 4, people (who likely had a greater clue about grammar than i did/do) and i have no idea how to speak of something in the past tense of "drink." Sipped--shall we say sipped? ha-like i "sip" wine...!

i should, especially when it is this good. Or perhaps thats why my sips become more like swigs, a drinking term most often reserved for alcohol consumed straight out the bottle--i have yet to resort to that with wine in my own home (note the specifics of terms here: i have drank/drunk/dranken wine from the bottle out of glassless necessity, but not at home where my serving wear of choice is a 250ml mason jar, tall). i should be savoring this particular Viogner (vee-OH-nnay), the 2010 vintage from Church and State Wines. It is redolent of light orange colored stone fruit--think peaches and apricots--with the slightest hint of spice that one should expect from this varietal, and a lovely bit of nuttiness that adds a lovely bit of body to an otherwise pleasantly off-dry wine. It is neither cloying nor oaky, nor particularly citrusy, yet bright and complex the way most "normal" people are (a multitude of interests and emotions, but not so much so to become personally incapable of balancing all these interests and emotions and seeking a second opinion of the self--at the cost of a psychotherapist). I have drank/drunk/dranken enough viognier these days to not only know how to pronounce it (so, great, two years post secondary and i can at least read...), but to expect its nuances, and appreciate them. But not quite enough to sip.

This was but a brief note on wine. Wine is but a brief distraction from what i should be writing about (confessing, in prose, to you and myself) about my great love of my life these days...battling my great fear of it. There is no proper pronunciation for hhhhhhhhhhooooaaaaaawwwhh...w...ww...wwwohhhh, though trying to sound-it-out aloud is just as fun as hearing new-to-wine-folk annunciate Gewurtztraminer (guh-VERTS-tra-mee-ner). Give it a shot, five Church and State Wine's Viognier a shot. Back to my mason jar.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

life is full of new beginnings

"never mind tomorrow is a new day--this, right now, is a new moment"
                                                                                                      - adapted from  a moment with Tina Prichard 

happy first day of spring, everyone

Monday, March 19, 2012

a slight breach in the promise...

this is neither a post about San Francisco or the time spent following, actually 25, in Vancouver. Im not here to elaborate, as promised, on the notes scrawled on scrap paper, detailing fabulous things to eat, or hopefully humorous things to complain about. Sorry, (i know you are disappointed) but i am also not writing now about yoga postures. I am here only to say that i am, as of 8:44 am today, a red seal chef.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

a promise to you and me

I confess, i have been home from a fabulous adventure in San Francisco followed by a birthday in Vancouver for a week now. I have also eaten a good deal of fabulous bread and pastries, written my red seal provincial exam, painted my bathroom "rum raisin" and achieved yogic postures i thought my body incapable of (yes, you just read that. Feel free to start from the top, just to confirm, but i assure you, it says "yogic postures"...hold tight (ha! unintentional pun!)). In sum, i have plenty of writing material left stagnating in point note form in various notebooks and on scraps of paper, with photos to support (except of the yogic postures...). So, a promise: to form some sort of prose from said notes and photos and share them with you here. And with the beauty of the internet, i will be able to post them all on the same night, but dated as if i had written them when intended. I will stretch them yoga style. A promise to you and me. Lets you and me hold me to it.

A sneak peak:

i call this pose: inner peace

Monday, March 12, 2012


lets talk about pancakes...just kidding. As recently discovered, and since emphasized, i not only like, but like to talk about pancakes. Not tonight. Tonight i want to talk about cake. "Pan" free. Just cake.

Not just cake. To me, the epitomy of cakes: toothy with almonds, just sweet, and so moist it is as if squeezing a sponge each bite. Ok, that is disgusting. What a terrible simile. I take it back, no cake should ever be compared to a dirty, porous, cleaning utensil. Lets get back on track...

The cake i am thinking of is so moist it yeilds to a fork, rather than breaking apart, relunctant to a mouthful. It is dense and lovely, holding together yet as tender as a pat of melting butter. And yet it is made of olive oil.

This was my birthday cake, love/from Cindy. An almond polenta cake, the perfect, and i cannot believe so long kept secret, rendition of my cake fascination as of my birthday before this birthday (honestly, i hunted down the ideal piece, trying four different coffee shops versions, one restaurants, and two of my own including one vegan, audition--no, not edition or addition, audition, as each cake was trying out for the cake of my dreams. And all along, Cindy had it.)

I should have known, the gal not only surprises me continually, but seems at large to get me. It is only natural that someone who can literally live with my idiosyncracies, follow suit if not lead in my crazy moments, show compassion and empathy for what is often hidden, more often obviously missing from life, should have the recipe to fill a particular idiosyncratic void. And fill it i did, with several pieces that night, my first at her home for my second birthday spent with her in her home (it feels so good, i think it will be my custom--especially if this cake is involved), and several more over the next couple of days. I had the last piece for breakfast back in my own home, five days later and it was just as moist, crumby, wonderfully nutty and citrusy as the first slice.
But that slice was savoured far longer than five more days ago. And i long for it as i sit at home with a different cake, one from the book cind bought me to go along giftingly, with her gorgeous cake. The book is Moro East, the cake a rosewater tropazini--a Spanish, brioche style cake laden with pine nuts. The book is wonderful, a wealth of moorish meals...the cake is not good. It is dry, dense, and the pinenuts hardly lend themselves as flavour to it. Bland, perhaps at my rushed hands in baking it, though. Certainly not made with the sort of love i imagine Cind baked right into hers.

Which leads me to the real point of this post. I mean, i could go on because i certainly have plenty to say about the cake i am currently forcing myself to eat--how i tried to jazz it up over the last several nights with goat yogurt and honey, or rhubarb jam, or poached apricots from my freezer...unsavable--or past cakes loved and longed to revisit--Heidi Noble's ginger pound cake perfect for spring and befitting my ginger obsession of late; my ma's black magic cake, a beauty i willingly suffer the chocolate migraine for after, the poppyseed almond cake i make as a vessel for lemon curd--or how i love to eat cake after the first glamorous slice of just baked--in three bite slices, standing, right from the cakestand, ungarnished. So that covers that then--talked about cake. But i would also like to talk about the cake baker who inspired this story.

I recently past-posted a...well, post...about Cindy. But i hardly felt like it did her justice. Most unfortunatly, i also included a thought about a dirty, porous sponge in that bit of writing, and like the ill comparison that is to lovely cake, no matter how moist, it is a terrible association to my lovely Cind. All i meant from it was to exemplify how something i once threw in the hesitated to even touch before throwing into the garbage has suddenly become a staple household tool because of Cind. More specifically, because of how i admire her. Here is a girl who does everything she does with integrity; with wonder and strive for excellence; with a dedication that has her waking early, calling it a night in the morning, only to get up and do it all over again. Cindy is inquisitive and understanding, one of many dichotomic descriptions i have for her. She is splendid to me in this balance she hardly realizes she possesses. She is at once driven, tightly wound, demanding of herself, searching, overthinking, while being too relaxed, open, lightened by ideas, cognizant, present. The last is a bit of a hangup of ours, for around the time that we were together for my last birthday, we were both in a bit of a dark place (an understatement, but i dont want to talk about gloom--im trying to spread joy via cake here...), and wandered around through current life together in what we referred to as "bubbles," oblivious to the moment--certainly not in it, the moment, that is. But you know, i think she was, i think she was in her moment of gloom. Cind is far to in tune with her thoughts and emotions, far to contemplative of them to not be. Perhaps no moments were seized, but certainly they were analyzed with a great presence. And you know, i think moments were seized--i think we latched right onto our compatibility. I have never met someone who gets me without analyzing me. We are so similar emotionally, mentally, yet with differences integral enough to learn and grow from and with eachother. There is no one i can be with at the same time as i can be with my thoughts. And i can share these thoughts with her. Nothing has to make sense, because Cindy gets that nothing really does, and sense doesnt matter or have to exist to explain how you feel. The gal is wise. She is beautiful and talented and admirable. She bakes a perfect cake.

I will ask if i can share it with you...(wow, that is like the worst ending to a story about a cake, the recipe suspended mid air like whether the hero of an action story lives or dies, if the couple in a romance live happily ever after or worse...sorry). For now, a picture:

Friday, March 2, 2012


When i lived in Halifax, the "boys" (three of them) that i lived with had this dishwashing thing, this sponge-on-a-stick of which the handle is filled with soap so as to eliminate the need for an actual sink of soapy suds: just give your dirty bowl a little rub with the stick sponge and wa-la, dishes are done. They were quite proud of themselves--i was quite disgusted. They were not to thrilled when i threw it out...

I didnt see one of these again until i stayed with my Cindy on the opposite coast, nearly four years later. This gal, who i admired, admire/appreciate/love/can-no-longer-imagine-my-life-without had one of those repulsive soap dispensing sponges. For some reason though, in her home, it wasnt.

Thats how quickly, unthinkingly, things change for me with Cindy, "Cind" as i like to call her. In our short, and even shorter recurring time together, we have managed to slip into place with eachother, as if always belonging there. I cannot begin to describe how aweing our friendship is to me, how willingly i let someone in, how natural it was to do so, how easy it was to let go of the sponge being a festering pocket of germs and rather a brilliant water-saving, convenient tool (i have been using one myself since living with her--if the "boys" could see me now...).

I can however, describe (a bit) Cind. Except for her voluminous hair (one of our many commonalities) she is tiny. Except for her hair, and personality, actually. This is a woman both intelligent and constantly inquisitive. She is particular yet relaxed, unfocused on her need for perfectionism. Entirely full of energy while seemingly reserved. A spaz. An intellect. Type A. Better at sitting than me. Driven. Concerned. Hopeful. Realistic. Ponderous. Part of. Watching.Precise if not exact. Cautionary at one thing while throwing caution to the wind with the next. A reader, a writerm a music lover. Interesting. Interested.  We are both similar and complimentary.

With one great difference. Although we are both quite particular about certain things, we respond differently. How to explain? Cind has these ideas in her head about the way things should be. Take for example, pizza: the crust should be thin, slightly charred, not heavily topped, but softened enough by toppings to droop at the center, foldably, as you pick up a slice. And so she seeks this perfection from pizzeria to pizzeria...while i seek to create it at home.

And this is another thing i love/envy/hope-to-learn-from Cind: how to appreciate something you have found/desire to find at the hands of others. Although she still has ideas of how things should be--authentic, befitting, quintessential--she is far less of a control freak about it than i am. Far more willing to take risks for the satisfaction of finding what is right at the mercy of someone elses interpretation. I would love to have this inhibitionless curiousty. Perhaps i will adopt this trait like i have adopted sponges-on-sticks when we travel together this fall.

Cind and i are going to Morrocco/Spain/Portugal together this fall. Originally i was going solo, presently i am far to excited to share this experience with her that i am incapable of imagining it without her. To be a part of her quest for world dumplings.

Yes, dumplings. Think donuts, perogys, gnocchi, fritters--any doughy bit of business cooked in aromatic stock or oil. Like rice pudding, a part of most all cultures. And like cereal to me: Cindys passion.

She is seeking to learn on this trip the art of preparing/making/eating, the significance of a particular dumpling in a particular culture. Actually, i dont know what she is seeking. I know only that it is so beautiful to be fueled by something. And that in the same way she conquered first a half, then full marathon, riding a bicycle, learning to rock climb (we did the latter two together, by firsts among many, sojourns into Cindys quest-like interests, she will learn the art of dumplings and find refuge, perhaps, in doing so. In a way perhaps similar to the way that i found, and continue to find, refuge in her--through curiousity and trust. I know this trip is huge for her; i know it will be huger for me than i expected it to. I know how lucky i am to be travelling with her--not just overseas.

...hmmm, i wonder what the cereal culture is like in Morocco...?