Archive for the 'Cooking & Baking' Category

Vegetarian Cassoulet

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

I am in a bit of a funk. The Sweetie is in a funk. All of Toronto is probably in a funk today, waking up to blowing snow and nasty wind. Just when I was getting cautiously, secretly hopeful that there was a trace of spring in the air, March unleashed a nasty sucker punch.

I found a recipe for Vegetarian Cassoulet here, along with thoughtful musings about bad moods and our fear of them in our “happy face culture.” Bad moods scare me. I panic, thinking that I am on a downward spiral and that I will end up a cranky old crone, yelling at the television and shaking my fist at squirrels. I wonder whether I would be crabby all the time if I wasn’t keeping myself in check. I am not a natural Pollyanna. I can feel gleeful but I can sink into darkness just as quickly.

My mood has lasted more that a day, as has The Sweetie’s. We are both a little glum and tired and sigh a lot, shuffling along our days, not feeling particularly inspired. Maybe our spirits have been tossed and windswept for too long and winter is finally kicking us to the curb. Maybe it is the weight of all the tragedy and insanity happening in the world that is finally taking its toll. Maybe everyone just needs a low period every now and then, as part of the ebb and flow of life. The shuffling will turn to light steps again, just as this dastardly biting wind will eventually become a gentle breeze. Maybe it is okay to just go with a bad mood and not pretend that everything is perfect all the time. When life hands you lemons you don’t always need to make the lemonade. Sometimes you can just suck on the lemon and have a sour face.

In the meantime, I will make my vegetable cassoulet, hoping that its warmth and goodness provides some comfort until the sun shines again.

Valentine’s Day Pudding

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Significant holidays always seem to bring about a significant pimple. One Thanksgiving I grew a doozy that friends started calling my horn of plenty. This year the eruption has appeared just in time for Valentine’s Day. I am growing something resembling a rhinoceros horn, which is far from seductive.

Luckily, The Sweetie and I do not get caught up in Valentine’s Day madness, so the holiday pimple will not be competing with other rosy hued items. I always tell him not to buy over priced Valentine’s chocolates when they will be half price the next day. Besides, they are usually assorted creams and who actually likes orange and strawberry cream filled chocolates?

Despite my harrumphing, my thoughts eventually turned to chocolate. I decided to try a Martha Stewart chocolate pudding recipe. The Sweetie deserves some chocolate as a token of my affection. I know he is doing his best not to let his eyes settle on the holiday pimple, although I have caught a few lingering glances. I know he loves me, rhino horn and all, and if that’s not love on Valentine’s Day, I don’t know what is.

A Cold Day for Hot Soup

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

We are in a state of deep freeze right now. It is minus a gazllion degree outside. The kind of cold that slaps you across the face and leaves everyone on the street with an expression of grimacing horror. It is days like today that remind me of why I don’t bother getting a cute winter coat and stylish boots. All I want is my shapeless sleeping bag puffy coat and sturdy boots with snow tire treads to navigate along the icy sidewalks. In my attempt to fight the good fight I have the Christmas tree lights on and I am cooking up a storm. Thick pea soup spitting at me, chili bubbling on the stove and the smell of roasting vegetables are making me feel cozy and warm, at least on the inside. I am cold in our drafty house, my toes are still frozen despite thick socks and my sock monkey slippers, but I will wrap my Popsicle fingers around a warm cup and dream of floating in a hot bowl of soup for the remainder of the winter.

Lemon Shortbread

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Yesterday was one of those wet, dreary November days that chill to the bone and make me want to curl up with a hot cup of tea and hide from the world. I briefly played with the idea of being productive but the grey skies and overall nastiness of the day made my resolve falter faster than the final leaves could fall off the trees.

I tried to do an Axl Rose impression of November Rain to entertain The Sweetie which caused him to flee the house. Left to my own devices, my thoughts again returned to hot beverages. A beverage on its own seemed so lonely and forlorn so I decided to make lemony shortbread cookies. Sunny yellow lemons added a small bit of brightness to an otherwise completely grey palette. I forced some much needed sweetness into a harsh and bitter day.

Knitting Night Baking

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

I am seeing my fake knitting group tonight.  So far we have yet to knit anything but our intentions are good and it is always a night of great food, camaraderie and future plans of crafting superstardom.

Tonight we will be meeting our friend’s new baby, eating middle eastern food and watching Spinal Tap. I am bringing peanut butter brownies, or at least the half remaining after The Sweetie and I “tested” them. I would probably be a little more smug about my tasty offering if I hadn’t stumbled across this: cupcakes topped with marzipan balls of wool. Then again, if I am not finding the time and wherewithal to knit, I can’t really expect myself to be making miniature scarves and balls of wool from marzipan, now can I?

Sniffly Soup Day

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

I have a cold. I was super cocky the other day talking about how I never get a flu shot, never had one, never will get one. Being the paranoid conspiracy theorist that I am, I don’t trust the flu shot and am willing to take my chances. I should have known better than to say it out loud. That was asking for trouble. Now I am one of those awful mouth breathers and my head feels like a watermelon. I am a sniffly, coughing, vile mess.

Obviously this day was screaming for soup. I made a delicious bright yellow mulligatawny soup from a recipe I found on this delightful blog.

I painted my nails a cadaverous grey to match my mood, my pallor and my choice of movie tonight, Let The Right One In, the Swedish vampire film that is supposed to be amazing. I will languish under a blanket and feel like I am one with the undead. Hopefully the comforting soup will warm me enough that I can rise again tomorrow.