June 30, 2015

Rhubarb Snacking Cake

Ah, summer. This is when I feel the most in my element. I went strawberry picking this weekend and canned some preserves. I also got my hands on some garlic scapes and made a pesto.

Several weeks ago, I was eating asparagus to my heart's content. The first sign of spring is always exciting, even if it was a bit delayed this year.

Rhubarb is the other trigger that spring has arrived. I've had a colleague tell me that rhubarb grows like weed in her backyard. It's not the first I've heard of this wonderful problem, but unfortunately it's not an issue I run into.

May 31, 2015

Chocolate Raspberry Rugelach

I'm sure it must be obvious by now that I am a huge fan of Smitten Kitchen. I follow many food blogs but I usually end up back at Deb's site because she has the ability to simplify recipes so that they're less intimidating to tackle.

When I first got my hands on her cookbook, I immediately bookmarked this recipe because it contains all of my favourite things: a dark chocolate and raspberry filling encased in a buttery dough. A baked good that must be made immediately, correct?

Then the procrastination kicked in. Months turned into years until finally, due to the fear that my fancy schmancy French jam will expire on me, I finally dove in.

April 28, 2015

Halifax 2015

My friends and I had this crazy idea to drive out to Halifax to visit a friend, so that's what we did over the Easter long weekend. Mind you, it's a 17 hour drive one-way, so a good chunk of our five and a half days was spent in the car. We did a bit of exploring in Montreal, Quebec City and Hartland (home of the world's longest covered bridge), and then crammed even more sights in once we were on Nova Scotian soil.

The highlight for me was Blomidon Provincial Park:

The East Coast received an impressive amount of snow this winter and the evidence was everywhere – snowbanks that were as tall as I, potholes riddling the streets, etc. To get down to the beach, we had to carefully climb down narrow stairs that were still packed with snow (lest we slip and break out neck). It was cold, foggy and snowy, yet the weather seemed fitting for this East Coast setting. Imagine looming cliffs with waterfalls, tides receding over the red sandstone, no one on the beach but us – it was magical.

The weekend was also filled with food (so much food): smoked meat sandwiches, turkey with all the trimmings, a full-on lobster meal and a homestyle Quebecois lunch. However, this was my favourite:

Montreal is known for its bagels and they are best fresh out of the wood-burning oven, still steaming hot when you tear into them. They're so good that we went to St-Viateur twice and were so excited the second time that we forgot to pay for parking and got a ticket. These bagels cost an extra $53 and they were worth it.

March 30, 2015

One-Pan Farro with Tomatoes

Since winter is refusing to rid us of its presence, I'm doing a throwback post to reminisce about summer.

One of my favourite things about summer is tomato season. In general, the variety of produce during the warmer months makes me happier than a kid in a candy store, but for me, tomatoes are the cream of the crop.

Picking a tomato straight off the vine, warm from the sun, and biting into it so that the juices and flavours burst in your mouth - I am salivating just thinking about it.

I rarely cook with in-season tomatoes because I think they are perfect as is. Usually I'll just toss them in a salad or eat them like a fruit, but I was intrigue by this one-pan recipe. A tasty meal with minimal effort? Count me in.

February 28, 2015

China 2009

February has always been a blah month – it's that time of the year where I am so ready for winter to be over. Cooking-wise, I am uninspired; all I want to do is curl up in bed and binge-watch television.

This has also been a reflective year. I'm at the point of my life where my friends are popping out babies and suddenly, I have the title of surrogate aunt. It's a bit of, "What am I doing with my life?" but mostly, "Where is my career going?" It's not like I’m power hungry and have the goal of climbing up the corporate ladder (though there's nothing wrong with that – Lean In, if that's your aspiration), but this job insecurity issue is stressful and ever-present on my mind. All I want is to not worry about being unemployed several months from now.

My travel lust is rearing up its head again. I have a friend who visited Patagonia this month and the gorgeous pictures she shared made me want to pack my bags and head there immediately. Or anywhere, really. I thought I was over my backpacking phase, but my yearnings are proving me wrong.

The last time I did real backpacking was China in 2009. It seems like a lifetime ago, but random memories stick out: my first attempt at climbing Tiger Leaping Gorge and failing because I was so sick that I nearly fainted and had to turn back; the most delicious hand-pulled noodles and lamb kebob meal from an Uighur restaurant; my hostel owner picking persimmons from a tree in the courtyard with a net contraption.