Sunday, January 04, 2009

i got a new attitude

new year, new modus operandi (those of you who have been on the receiving end of my cutting wit and verbal lacerations, don't rejoice too soon, textbook lagerfeld tongue lashings aren't part of the rejigging.)

we started our last sunday of vacay with our traditional new year's breakkie of choice: scones with devonshire cream and jam. we didn't do it on new year's day proper because we were at the farm, but i like ushering in a new year with devon cream - there's something fantastically proper and soul satisfying about it. i used a new scone recipe that i tinkered with a bit - with excellent results. instead of the usual 100% white flour, i added whole wheat and rolled oats, which produced a crunchy, sweet, craggy scone with a darkly golden caramelized crust and bottom - a perfect foil for the cream and my strawberry rhubarb jam.

then we went off on our day of post xmas exchanging, gift certificate redemption, etc. the new modus operandi kicked in then. i was VERY good about the conspicuous consumption...very restrained, practical, disciplined. i'm finding my patience for trawling physical stores to be less and less. vintage, yes. for vintage i'll gladly sift through my list of go-to retail gems, but even then, i don't really have the desire to dig through mountains of crap for the one piece of gold...i want the store to be well edited, well curated, in order to maximize my success rate. i'd drag the dotytron into zara only to walk one foot into the store and go, "you know what? i don't want anything here" and turn on my heel and march straight out. the dotytron was in shopping-with-me heaven (even though i'm a decisive shopper at the worst of times [she says, unconvincingly.)

there are certain stores that i know i can never set foot in again (for things for myself.) h&m is on my s**t list, urban outfitters is on life support. overpriced, poorly made crap. we went into indigo to use our gift cards but walked out empty handed because it seemed so...undignified to be walking through a physical bookstore with it's formal layout and rigid genre sectioning...i'd much rather the convenience of shopping online and having it shipped straight to my door. i got two lovely cardigans from the gap that i can already see layered over the stuff i'm going to buy from my online stores. online shopping ftw!

my brother got us this boxed set of the entire series of joss whedon's "firefly," without the receipt, which we already own. i tried to exchange it (sans receipt) at the hmv at the eaton centre but the dude working there was a douche and said that "there's no way of knowing that he bought it at an hmv" (this dude was wearing thick, plastic framed glasses [warning!] and had two full sleeve tattoos [additional warning!]) what an a**jack. we tried the hmv on queen west and managed to exchange it for "buffy" seasons 2 and 3 (2 for $30!) and season 4. SO MUCH WIN! we only had to spend $15 of our own money! we also hit sears and exchanged some random isotoner business for flannel pj pants. anyway, we came away like bandits without spending our own money AND we made sensible buying decisions and didn't buy frivolous crap we didn't need. no word of a lie, i'm kind of in love with myself right now. tax free savings account, here i come!

tonight we're going to use our chapters money and order some books online. i've pretty much decided that i'm going to get michael ruhlman's "charcuterie" - once i have cured meat under my belt, i'll only have cheesemaking left to tackle and i'll consider myself adequately equipped to feed myself should the apocalypse arrive (only if the apocalypse sends us back to a pre-industrial, agrarian, idyllic past redolent of pastoral nostalgia - anything else and i'm fuxz0red.)  i'd consider getting some fiction but buying fiction outright always seems like a colossal crapshoot.  i'd rather hedge my bets and preview fiction from the library first and then if i know i absolutely LOVE IT, then buy it for the permanent collection...the economy is way too tight to be spending money on books that i may or may not love outright.  i think the dotytron is going to buy us a copy of "the watchmen" (i'm STILL reading it! it's hella dense!) and i don't know what else...hopefully something i can read too.

for dinner we made pad thai...a last minute addition of shrimp crustaceaned up what would have otherwise been a perfectly serviceable and tasty vegetarian main. i over-egged at the end, but with some minor tweaking (mostly involving keeping an eagle eye over the ephemeral changes of rice noodles' states of being) it will be a half decent substitute for run of the mill thai, though a pale shadow of the brilliance that is jean's vegetarian kitchen. i went whole hog and used tamarind pulp instead of the cheaty pants shortcut ketchup route. yay me!

last night was hilarious (as per usual) even if we had to wait over an hour for our 6:30pm "reservation" (no face!) we got to hang out at bwong's place and meet his parents who love two things: cruises and bwong (not necessarily in that order.) it was adorable! the place was a shrine to every conceivable cruise line (replete with a map studded with push-pins of ports of call past and future) and a shrine to bwong's accomplishments (great and small.) i wonder what it would be like to live with parents who were visibly proud of you? alas, that is not for me to know. not that i would trade my madcap over-siblinged existence for all the framed york region physical fitness badges in all the land. i yam what i yam.

bwong's parents' place has the BIGGEST TV I'VE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE. in the 60" range...hd, every pore visible, every piece of fur visible (they were watching "blue planet" when we showed up), i-would-never-want-to-watch-my-home-movies-on-it super clear, with surround sound. it was intense. what WASN'T intense was that the version of "harry potter and the goblet of fire" procured by dr. rei was NOT blu-ray. ergo, we played it on the regular dvd player (bwong's house accepts every format known). for some inexplicable reason, the tv got all confused by the non-hd-ness of the conventional dvd and made the movie look like crap. seriously...i made a crack that it looked like dr. who (old dr. who!) and it's one of my most accurate observations/metaphors/similies of recent memory (and let's be real here, i make a LOT of accurate metaphors/similies.) it took all the magic away! it was the oddest thing i'd ever looked so low budg it could have canadian. it looked the way it must have looked to the camera operator as it was being filmed in real time. the aspect ratio was all off, everyone looked dull, the colors were deadened, the special effects took all the movie magic away. unsolved mysteries!

now i'm kind of getting a bit sad panda about going back to work. winter break is never long enough!



whole wheat oat scones 

makes 8, adapted from january 2009 food and wine magazine

1 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
3/4 c. rolled oats (quick cooking or regular)
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
5 T. sugar
6 T. unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, cold
1/2 c. dried fruit of your choice - cranberries, figs, apricots, ginger (optional)
1/2 c. buttermilk, plus more for brushing
- preheat the oven to 425F
- whisk together the flour, whole wheat flour, oats, baking powder, salt and 4 T. of the sugar
- cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal (i never know what this means when recipes say this - basically just cut in the butter until the butter is in little, pea-sized chunks)
- stir in the dried fruit (if using) and the buttermilk until a stiff dough forms, knead gently until it just comes together
- on a lightly floured surface, pat the dough into a 3/4" round, cut into 8 wedges and place the wedges on a baking sheet.  brush the tops with a little bit of buttermilk and sprinkle with reserved 1 T. of sugar
- bake for 17-20 minutes until golden brown, cool slightly and serve warm.  

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