Sunday, January 11, 2009

sunday sunday

thrifty housewifeness continues unabated at casa lagerfeld and dotytron; notwithstanding that yesterday, i came away from accompanying H shopping for work clothes - complete with the prefaced avowal that "i'm only going to buy some buttons" - with a new dress for work with a peter pan collar in a bright fushia AND a short black cardigan - MENTAL NOTE: SHOPPING WITH M AND H AND BABY D IS DANGEROUS...LAST TIME I WENT ALONG WITH THEM, I BOUGHT MY PERFORMANCE DRESS. i have a tendency to overbuy groceries and let things in the fridge go to waste if i didn't use it all for the particular dinner for which it was earmarked, so i'm trying to be more flexible and creative in how i slot in various dishes and sides to use up leftover stuff before it can go bad. with that in mind, faced with a 1/2 jar of devon cream in the fridge, we re-upped on those oat scones again this morning for sunday breakkie. they're the BEST scones i've ever had. the oats give them delicious heft and they develop a crunchy crust on both top AND bottom. love 'em.

last night we braved yet another toronto winter snowstorm (global warming meteorological recalibration edition) to head to N's place for the rock band d-ball social. it was fun!!! i like those guys...it makes me feel like i'm 23 again. the BEST part of the night was when N's new girlfriend thought i was her age...and she was 20. TWENTY!!!!! when i told her how old i actually am, her jaw dropped. it was basically the best 5 minute conversation of '09, thus far. i also got to kick it on rock band drums (my favorite!) for an interpol song. interpol kind of sucks (from the one song i heard.) it's like a more depressing droning morrissey, without any of the subtext of unintentional hilarity-by-sincerity. we didn't stay out super late...left after midnight...we were worried the car was going to get a ticket...even so, it took us forever to drive home with the weather being so balls. it was nice seeing those guys again...i like my teammates.

today is the first game of the season...we've moved up to the more competitive league...i'm excited! it's so much fun playing. then tonight we're having peeps over for dinner. i made a lasagna with bolognese sauce and spinach...this is my first time making bolognese...i think i'm in love. i started mine with finely diced pancetta, then added onions, celery, carrots...sweated that out. took some sausage from maseillis out of the casings and browned that in the pan, then added in white wine, milk (that's what makes it bolognese) and a can of tomato paste and some fresh rosemary...the smell almost made me jump out of my skin. it smelled so freakin' good. there's also a spinach and ricotta layer, and then i topped the whole thing with about 2" of mozzarella cheese (chewy crusty cheese edges, come hither!). we're having a salad alongside - baby spinach, avocado, red onion, grape tomatoes, toasted salted pumpkin seeds, lemon vinaigrette. and either my freshly baked baguettes or the poilane-esque loaf i made earlier this week.

for dessert i made an espresso mascarpone icebox cake (one of the easiest desserts ever with a good results to time commitment ratio. it takes about 15 minutes to put the thing together but it's so effin' tasty when it comes out. i wanted something kind of light and mousse-like and cold but still vaguely italian after the heaviness of dinner.

in the lasagna i used a combo of whole wheat noodles and the last of my box of no-boil noodles. it's one of those scenarios where the powers-that-be just aren't thinking. no-boil lasagna noodles are one of the greatest inventions of the modern era. no more fussing with a giant pot, noodles sticking together, or trying to unpeel and lay out recalcitrant starchy messes in your pan. it's SO easy! whole wheat lasagna is great too! we all want more fibre in our diet! and it's a preparation where the certain amount of chew you get with whole wheat is something you're actually going for. SO WHY DON'T THEY MAKE WHOLE WHEAT NO-BOIL NOODLES?!?!!!? this is one of the great mysteries of the modern era. CONVERGENCE, PEOPLE! SYNERGY! or, watch it be something they ONLY have in the states. like bob evans sausage or creole mustard. balls!

i forgot to mention that the dotytron has discovered this bomb-a** italian bakery/food emporium/grocery/hot lunch counter thing right close to where he teaches on saturday. he brought me back this pizza pie thing a few weeks ago and said that he saw they had porchetta (a giant one) taking up pride of place at the hot counter. he brought back some porchetta yesterday for me to try...it was AMAZING. juicy, sweet, fragrant pork redolent of herbs and a faint hint of lemon. next time my family is up in markham we're going to get a round of porchetta sandwiches...also known as, my reason for living.

this is last night's dinner...i threw together a quick frittata of baby spinach, blue cheese, onions and garlic sauteed in butter, served with some slices of my poilane-ish loaf. it wouldn't have been enough to eat if we had not preceded it with fistfuls of porchetta.

i've got the travel bug, bad. this broad on a message board i occasionally post on was talking about going to barcelona for 10 days and it set my mind afloat on a sea of wanderlust. let's face it: i haven't been making half-decent money for very long (only a year now) and if we're getting hitched then the patter of little feet are probably not very far off in the horizon...and i want to get my jollies in while i can still enjoy some uninterrupted time with the dotytron. when it's easier to travel. i think what got me started was the encouraging meeting i had with my supervisor - she said it looks likely they'll be able to extend my contract until august or september. i don't even have to go somewhere far or exotic...going out east or west with the dotytron (it's a crying shame he's never been to b.c.) would be enough. so we drew up our travel list (aka the "this is NOT a bucket list, list") here it is (not in any order):

-Hawaii
-Japan (Tokyo)
-Hong Kong
-Argentina
-Spain
-East (Maritimes)
-West (B.C./Seattle/Portland)
-Southern States Tour (Savannah, Atlanta, Nashville, Kentucky, North and South Carolinas)
-New Orleans
-New York
-Chicago
-Montreal
-South East Asia (Thailand/Vietnam/Malaysia/Singapore)
-Cabo (Mexico), Oaxaca
-Fiji

the fiji and the cabo made it in there because i really want to lie in the sun and swim in crystal clear waters and have nothing to do but read and relax with the boy. but knowing me, i would grow tired of it...i think doing the oaxaca thing would be way more my style (the food in oaxaca is supposed to be INSANE!)

even though i'm not sure where i'm going in the next year outside of spending a week with the family in disneyworld, it felt good writing it down...like at least it gives us something to work towards...like we've made some small incremental step towards organizing that aspect of our leisure time, so we won't be wasting precious (fantasy) travel preparation time going, "now where should we go?"

okay...i'm off to shovel. i'll update with dinner pics tonight.

fin.

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espresso mascarpone ice box cake
adapted from gourmet, august 2004
serves 8 (my size servings) - 12 (regular people servings)


3 cups chilled heavy cream
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup mascarpone cheese (about 9 oz) at room temperature
1 (9-oz) box chocolate wafers such as Nabisco Famous
1 tablespoon instant-espresso powder (i use instant coffee powder instead)

- beat 2 cups cream with 6 tablespoons sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until it just holds soft peaks, 2 to 4 minutes. Reduce speed to low, then add mascarpone and mix until combined.
- take approximately 14 wafer cookies and lay them over the bottom of the a 9 or 10" springform pan. spread half of mascarpone mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan on top of the wafters, and then cover with 14 more wafers, slightly overlapping if necessary. spread with the remaining half of mascarpone mixture, followed by 14 more wafers arranged in the same manner.
- cover pan with foil and freeze until firm, about 1 hour or overnight. transfer from freezer to refrigerator and chill, covered, until a sharp knife inserted into center cuts through softened wafers easily, about 8 hours
- beat remaining cup cream with espresso powder and remaining 3 tablespoons sugar using electric mixer at medium speed until it just holds stiff peaks. remove foil and side of pan and frost cake all over with espresso cream. Sprinkle edge of top lightly with wafer crumbs. serve cold.

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