Saturday and soup

Today was one of those days where the amount of dirty dishes has so surpassed the capacity of the sink that they have taken over the counter space immediately bordering it. Only two mugs sat in the cabinet, no spoons were in the drawer, and the fridge offered only the leftovers of leftovers and a pitiful remainder of this week’s dinner ingredients.

It’s pouring outside. The wind has frightened almost every leaf to the ground. It’s a chilling reminder of the coming winter.

Lazy Saturdays always make me want to cook. I woke up craving minestrone – a perfect excuse to stop by the farmers market, until the wind spoiled any plans of attempting to make the best of the weather. But that didn’t mean that I couldn’t make the best of the leftover beans and fennel. Inspired by a “Crisper-drawer Soup” I read about this week, and with minestrone as my muse, I plucked handfuls of cauliflower and cabbage from the fridge.

Thirty minutes of dish washing and some minor chopping later, I had a tiny pot simmering on the stove. Ease and simplicity is what I love about soup. Everything brightens in the pot, mingling as if that’s what they had been left to do.

I ate beside the window, eating as I watched a tree’s branches wriggle. A really good way to be enjoying the day.

oh! Happy Halloween!


hey, joe

a birthday cake i had been planning for weeks.

two imperfect layers. seven cupcakes.

scrumptious espresso-chocolate frosting.


Farmers Markets

I fell upon this in my internet travels. Enjoy!

5000 Farmers Markets


a good read about good food

My favorite purchase of late: Apples to Oysters: A Food Lover’s Tour of Canadian Farms. Tasting a “humble,” dirt-covered carrot – delicious! and straight from the farm - prompted author Margaret Webb to trek to each of Canada’s provinces to meet farmers growing or raising local food in sustainable ways.

Webb had me at hello. She fell in love with the oyster farmer from PEI and I fell in love with her book. She weaves her personal encounters – meeting farmer Johnny Flynn – with summaries of the affects of farming oysters, tales of her day on the fishing, and her first taste of a raw oyster:

“Contemplating the half decade of life that would be sacrificed for my one second of pleasure, my mind swirling with images of sex and death, I placed my finger on the sensuous swell of meat. Springy! I raised the shell to my nose and sniffed the ocean liqour. Fresh! Tipped the tender morsel into my mouth and chewed. And, oh, perverse, addictive pleasure.”

Webb ends each chapter with a selection of recipes, some from her partner, local restaurants, or classics from the farmers themselves.

Webb has a refreshingly pure excitement and love for food. Her adventures make her giddy. This passion in turn makes the book successful – relatable and engaging. Webb does not preach the green way, but truly believes in and enjoys it, yes, for the sake of the environment, but primarily because sustainable, local food just tastes good.

If you’re in Montreal, look for Apples to Oysters at Appetite for Books, where I bought my autographed copy.


from pizza to jam

Fig jam happened. Twas a piece of cake.

Although figjamfigjamfigjam was the first thing to run through my mind when I first spotted the figs, I did think twice about this project. Opening the fridge to find the tray of plump fleshy figs was such a beautiful thing that it seemed almost sinful to melt away the fruit. But these were to be my figs experimentation! Pizza figs, fresh figs, jammy figs, figs with cheese, figs with yogurt, and finally, moldy figs.

My recipe was based on a few others, and not really a recipe at all – more of a chopping my figs and throwing them together with things that taste good. I added some cinnamon and regretted it immediately. Cutting the figs in quarters leaves a sizable chunk in the final product. I like that but if you don’t, cut them smaller.

Fig Jam

  • quarter figs, cutting off the stem
  • mix with juice of 1/2 – 1 lemon and a few small slices of rind
  • add sugar to taste and depending on amount of figs, anywhere from 1/4 – 1 cup
  • in a small saucepan, bring to boil over a high heat, reduce heat and let simmer, stirring often, until you have reached a jammy consistency


pizza pizza

Some very fortuitous incidents occurred over the past two days that left me no choice but to make this pizza - blue cheese, bacon, figs, and caramelized onions.

fortuitous event #1:

I just met Jill Santopietro. Not actually. A friend introduced me to Jill and her Tiny Kitchen/Apartment 4B videos on Sunday. I spent the greater part of the day watching every single episode – some twice – and perusing her blog. I think I’m in love.

fortuitous event #2:
Just when I had abandoned all plans of a Sunday at the market Joe picked me up. A drive by. With ten minutes until closing time we sped there dodging buses and joggers just in time to catch the old lady dumpster divers and a handful of open stands. We were only intending to look and didn’t even come with cash, but a sizable basket of figs for only five dollars sent me skipping giddily to the bank machine.

fortuitous event #3:
A wedge of deliciously stinky blue cheese was up for grabs at work today. It sat in my locker for hours stinking up my sweater.

fortuitous events #4 and #5:
Bacon? Check! Onions? Check!

Ingredient-gathering has never been so effortless for me. I had to make it.

I spent the day at work thinking about Jill, replaying images of her rolling pizza dough with a wine bottle (which is what I do because my rolling pin is mia) and tossing it in the air. She raved about using bread flour to make it stretchy. I wanted stretchy pizza dough, but I had neither the time nor the flour. This predicament led me to a very fortunate discovery.

fortunate discovery #1:
Pizza places sell balls of pizza dough. $2 only. For a medium!

We brought the dough home in a stapled thick brown paper bag, and slid it into the fridge alongside the blue cheese and tray of figs. I neglected to photograph any of these beautiful events – not even the pizza bubbling happily in the oven – but I still had to share. Trust that it was a beautiful experience.


an apple a day

My apple adventures of last weekend have only led to one apple tart and several tasty snacks. With over a pound still hanging out in the fridge, I decided today to inaugurate my slow cooker with a batch of homemade applesauce. Many recipes recommended using a mixture of apples, but having picked only Macintosh, I’m keeping it simple.

I wrote about my day in the orchard in my first post for Midnight Poutine. Give it a read!

slow cooker applesauce

  • 6 apples
  • 2 pieces cinnamon bark or ground cinnamon, to taste
  • brown sugar, to taste
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • slice of lemon rind
  • 1/4 – 1/2 c water

peel, core, and chop apples. toss with lemon juice, rind, cinnamon, and sugar in crock pot bowl. add water. cook on low for 6 -7 hours.