Monday, April 20, 2009

catching up

chicago part 4 and the standalone, highly anticipated alinea review will have to wait, i've got some weekend catching up to do.

first here are some pics of the niece and nephew being very cute:

saturday, i was pretty busy futzing around. i made a loaf of semolina sandwich bread, using regular yeast, not sourdough. i was inspired by the spectacular rise and mie of the specimen found here. mine wasn't nearly so impressive, although it was wonderful feeling the dough transform from a coarse, ropey mass to the smooth, elastic ball that yielded this after the second rise:

semolina flour is much coarser than regular can feel each grain, like fine sand. i was skeptical that it would come together and form a smooth dough, but did it ever! i'm not sure why i didn't get the same airy height as the one in the recipe linked above...maybe i should have let it rise longer before baking? this is the finished product:

i don't have a picture of the mie, but it was just slightly tighter than the one from the fresh loaf. the bread is a very utilitarian affair - because of the saffron colour of the interior, you're almost expecting a sweet, challah-like egg bread, but it's much more savoury. not much taste in and of itself, i can see why it's touted as a sandwich loaf - it's very sturdy and would let the sandwich fillings shine.

saturday night we had the dotytron's mater and pater and sister over for dinner. i did a ham, glazed with ginger-pear jam:

isn't she a beaut?

i served her with champ (mashed yukon gold potatoes with scallions that i've slowly poached in butter and cream) and roasted asparagus. the theme of the meal was "spring awakening" aka make-up easter because we were in chicago and didn't get to do easter dinnie with the dotytron clan.

for dessert i made pavlovas, except maybe they weren't pavlovas because i didn't make them chewy/marshmallowy on the inside - basically cooked the meringues straight through so that they were pretty crispy. then i put in lemon curd, a blackberry compote, and topped it with whipped cream.

even though i went to the trouble of straightening my hair and everyt'ing, by the time the familia dotytron had left, it was too late to go and party with my dodgeball peeps when i only wanted to stay an hour or so (a general yardstick i use is that it shouldn't take twice as long to get to and from the place as you're planning on staying at the event in question.) so i got some face time with the dotytron which was for the best, because the next morning i had 10am brunch plans with my friends L and N - i biked 10 km to get to liberty village (newsflash: just because you call it "liberty village" doesn't make it cozy or nice!) to eat at school bakery and café.

the school theme is a little obnoxious. there are ubiquitous chalkboards, institutional clocks all set to the wrong time, your bill arrives in the form of a "report card" and there are apples on every table. it's too much. the kicker is the fact that the female waitstaff wear school girl uniforms consisting of tight black t-shirts and pleated black microminis. i'm sorry, but i'm not into seeing my server's business first thing in the morning when i'm thinking about how i want my eggs done. this isn't hooters!

i ordered the chipotle breakfast sandwich, which was ham, egg, and cheddar in a cheddar biscuit, served with sweet potato and regular potato homefries which were soggy and were particularly galling after our brief sojourn in the u.s. of a, where i got a graduate education in proper homefries. the biscuit was nice and tender...but all in all, it was ham and egg in a freakin' biscuit. i think i'm kind of over going out for brunch - there just aren't enough places in toronto that can do it better than me. i mean, if i was the kind of person inclined to make cereal for sunday breakkie, so my choices were cereal or eggs benny, then fine. but i go all out for sunday breakkie, so paying for stuff that's of equal or lesser value (much less LINING UP FOR IT if i have the temerity to go out for food past 10:30am on a sunday morning) fails the cost benefit analysis.

after going to school, i met up with dr. rei and chatted it up at their place with the hanbo and dropped off some of my precious tres leches cargo. then i played dodgeball and then came home. it was jam-packed!

for dinner last night we ordered from city fried chicken up the street. the chicken was straight out of the's just simply dredged in some kind of seasoned flour, so it actually tastes lighter than popeye's full-battered goodness. it was quite nice and very affordable and convenient for being up the street - a nice alternative when we don't want to wait 45 minutes for popeye's delivery. we wanted a salad alongside so we ordered something from magic oven. NEVER AGAIN! i called and asked how big the large salad (priced at SEVENTEEN dollars) was. it was supposed to feature "mixed greens, mixed grilled vegetables, goat's cheese, balsamic vinaigrette." i was assured that it would easily feed 3-4 people. the thing came in one of those cardboard takeout containers that are the size of a like, a regular spiral bound notebook - 6"x8" and it was DISGUSTING. the grilled vegetables were slimey and tasted like they had been cooked aeons ago, and the otherwise we were paying for chopped up romaine and a sprinkling of goat's cheese. I HATE MAGIC OVEN. i know they've roused my ire before but this is IT. they are henceforth dead to me.

for our sunday night dessert i layered up the elements from the pavlova the night before in a glass - i think i actually like it better this way...something about the way the flavours meld makes it tastier

tonight for dinner i made eggplant bharta and green beans thoren and steamed some brown rice. i bought saag and some naan from makkah up the street:


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