The Return

Look at my herb garden! And my Japanese barbecue! I found the hibachi by chance when I was planting my herbs. When I opened the closet door on my balcony, which I rarely do, to put away my bag of dirt, a dirty, dusty plastic bag caught my eye. I pulled at it, and feeling that it was heavy, gave a little squeal. Could it be a barbecue? And not only was it a barbecue, it was a hibachi, the same kind my dad cooked on when he was just a little older than I and living with my mom in Chicago. Apparently, he ran up and down the stairs of their fourth floor apartment to cook in the alley. He's always talked about it as being a great compact way to barbecue in all sorts of weather. I can't believe my luck! There's even some charcoal, matches, and fire starter. I guess things just come our way.

Recently, I had to retire my old skateboarding helmet (I'm a terrible skateboarder, but I wore it biking, and it made me feel like a total bad ass.) I was sad to part with it, but after being dropped multiple times on the ground and being worn for five years, the outside had completely come unglued. I bought a new, very fast-looking blue helmet to replace it, but I kept the outside of my old helmet and, under someone's suggestion, planted some basil in it. Can't wait to eat pesto!

I can't insist enough on the importance of breakfast. I'd swim the Pacific ocean, braving shark bites, dehydration, and tankers for a breakfast of any kind. It's also my favourite meal to cook. And it's even better when there's someone else around to share it with. My favourite solitary breakfast is popped amaranth and strong black tea. I first learned about popping amaranth seeds when reading this article on the Gluten-Free Girl's blog last year. Ever since, I've been popping these little grains for breakfast. But popping it has been quite tricky. It often ended in my gripping the pot handle, pleading with the grains, begging them not burn. Finally, I figured out a way that works: Put a little bit of oil in a saucepan pan with a few seeds, turn the heat to max, and wait until the seeds start to pop. When they start popping, pour 1/3 C amaranth seeds into the pan and stir until most of the grains are popped and the cereal has increased in volume. Amaranth seeds are really tiny and they burn easily, so stirring is really important. Before, I used to put the lid on the pot and shake like I would for popcorn. Except this doesn't really work. Constant stirring does, and with minimal burning and minimal damage to the bottoms of my saucepans, I've figured out a stress-free way to eat this all the time. It's really high in protein and TOO delicious with blueberries and toasted almonds. Don't forget to go heavy on the maple syrup or honey.

I've been eating breakfast by myself for a long time. Almost two years. Even if I have to go running off to work or to school, it's always been my favourite time of day. And I always give myself some time to have tea, munch on something kinda sweet, and read an article or two. But something's changed... and I'm not so solitary. See? Those are someone else's lovely hands in the photo!

Two and a half months ago, I was invited to dinner by a friend. When I walked into the kitchen, there he was, standing there all tall and thin, with those big blue eyes and rectangular glasses. And then I learned he played tennis. And then I learned he was a sound engineer. And then I learned how much he loved bike-riding. And then I learned he loved to eat, that his family loved to eat. And now I'm learning how funny he is. How goofy he is. How patient he is. How good he makes me feel. And how unbelievably wonderful it is to share this life with someone you wake up to and just wanna squeeze 'cause they're so great. Mr. Jean-Baptiste! Your whole being is a delight. I'm glad I know you. Eating breakfast with someone has never been more wonderful. Even if it's while watching the World Cup. You know, I'm even enjoying the world cup. Sure, I read most of the time, but it's nice you love it so much.

When I was little, my mom made us fruit and yogurt popsicles for snacks. She used all kinds of berries and usually honey as a sweetener. I remember wearing my favourite Hanna Anderson dress and eating popsicles with my sister out in the back yard. Mom would my working in the garden, trying to get us to help, but we'd be (me especially) flitting about, trying to avoid helping at all costs. I'm sure Katherine was very willing to help initially, but I probably encouraged some sort of rebellion on her part. Oh to be young and wild! Mom also made limonade or apple juice popsicles, but my favourites were the yogurt ones. This week, yogurt and blueberries were on sale, so I made some. Blend 1 pint of blueberries, 1 C yogurt, and 1/4 C sugar in a blender or with a hand-held blender and pour it into popsicle molds. Delicious. This made a bit more than I needed, so I put it into bowls. I have to let the bowl sit on the counter for a while before the yogurt's soft enough to eat, but whatever. To unmold the popsicle, just run it under hot water until it pops out. I recommend playing with these quantities to find the right sweetness and consistency that you like.


Well - I've been three weeks absent from our blog. You noticed, I'm sure.

But my excuse is excellent: I haven't cooked. Living at home means my Dad pretty much does everything, and with great panache. He still makes Risotto on a week night, he still does daily European style runs to the grocery store, and he still cooks for a brood of 20 rather than 3, resulting in excellent leftover lunches. He's decided it is OK for me to make the salad dressing, or bake - so there have been a few contributions in those areas, but nothing of real note.

I've also spent a great deal of time apartment hunting. Matt & I have an admittedly low budget, but I refuse to live somewhere with a disgusting, dark, galley style kitchen. This is proving a real challenge. I hold out hope however.

Judes, I hope your excuse is a whirlwind summer romance or vacation or new work, or just a well deserved break. Miss you, and much love.


P.S. I was permitted a hand in Father's Day menu planning - here's what we ate:
Dr. Pepper Ribs (We substituted Sky natural soda, Dr. Becker, because you can't get Dublin Dr. Peppers out here).
Grilled Potato Salad
Mixed green salad with toasted pecans, blueberries and a maple mustard vinagrette
Grandma's all real strawberry pie (recipe forthcoming - should she reveal her secrets!)