Monday, May 03, 2010

according to wii fit

my wii age is 46 (i had the heroin hands when i was doing the calibration and my centre of gravity was all kinds of messed up.) the good news is, that according to the genetic juju people at mount sinai, my eggs and fallopian tubes have a reproductive age equivalent to a 15 year old. i'm still kind of thinking they might have gotten the results of the first trimester screen mixed up - but i think i'm just too superstitious.

this weekend was super-busy but super-fun. on saturday we saw another documentary, "cooking up dreams" which is about the unifying cultural significance of food in peru. it uses food as the basic unifying thread tying together the disparate cultures of peru (japanese, african, indigenous, spanish, mestizo) and champions the unique ingredients of the amazon. both high-end chefs and the cooking of the jungle are given equal attention...i thought it was great - it elicited a few reactions: intense hunger, desire to try peruvian food, desire to travel to peru. here's the trailer:

Cooking Up Dreams (Trailer) from Guarango on Vimeo.

the director was there and he was so cute! such a smiley, good natured dude who you could tell was so happy to be there. i'm definitely putting toronto peruvian restos on my "to eat" list. it doesn't look like there's that many - the two main ones are el fogon and el plebeyo.

saturday night i got to scratch my hong kong style cafe itch (cha chaan teng) so we went to phoenix - the location on woodbine. i ordered a million dishes. usually at these places, you can get a "set meal" which includes a soup, some kind of bun, and a hot beverage - they're known for serving stuff like ovaltine and horlick's (the brit influence in hong kong) as well as a hot, very milky tea.

i upgraded ONE of my entrees to the set meal. the soups are generally something creamy and a borscht. i got the "seafood bisque":

this was a sweet-ish, thick, tomato-y bisque with bits of shredded crab. i drank this so quickly that the dotytron didn't get more than a couple of bites.

i also ordered a baked porkchop rice in cream sauce on rice (which has bits of scrambled egg mixed in.) this wasn't the best iteration of this dish that i've had - sometimes they mix in frozen veggies which breaks up the cream sauce but it was still really good. tender, fatty pork chop cutlets and a sauce reminiscent of the goop served on the classic yin-yang rice dish.

this was my ox tongue spaghetti (my SECOND entree) which again, while satisfying, was n't the best rendition of this dish that i've ever had. more veggies would have been nice and the sauce was really just canned tomato soup or something - it's always kind of tomato soup-y, but they usually add a little something something to gussy it up a bit. anyway, imagine super-tender pieces of ox tongue on a bed of spaghetti with ketchup/tomato soup sauce. i know it SOUNDS gross (and the dotytron certainly thought it WAS gross) but i like it.

dotytron got his beef flank malaysian curry with rice. so good.

then we met up with my little bros and we saw "kick-ass"

can i first say that we're finally feeling the results of the hollywood writer's strike? the summer movie previews have been A** ON A STICK. how many times do i have to see the trailer for "the expendables"? or "macgruber?" so brutal! there's nothing coming out this summer that i super-duper want to see. i mean, obviously "iron man 2" and maybe "salt" and definitely "eclipse" for kicks - but there aren't enough summer blockbuster tent poles. laaame!

anyway, "kick-ass" was okay. not really memorable...people were laughing in the theatre but i think it trades a lot on your ability to find an 11 year old saying the word "c**t" - i find those kinds of cheap laughs not really my style. i get it: it's shocking! the violence was pretty stylized and graphic - but i was kind of meh about the whole thing - it was empty spectacle and not particularly all that clever or winning (unlike say, rdj as tony stark in "iron man") it wasn't that it wasn't entertaining, it was just kind of forgettable overall.

the next morning we got up at SIX THIRTY AM to be keeners and to plant all the stuff we bought on saturday in the garden. the neighs were losing their minds. lol! this is what it looks like now that we mulched it tonight:

we put in a hydrangea and a wackload of perennials - some bee balm, some echinacea, some shasta daisies, and some creeping ground cover to hold in the edges of the garden, which are elevated. we also bought some blue fescue, which i like because it looks like a cute little sea urchin. i'm not doing food growing - there isn't room for that in the front and i didn't know how to elegantly divide the garden between food and flowers...we went the easy all perennial route. we also chunked up stuff from momma d's garden that she generously donated and planted that.

we mulched it tonight because we wanted to get a good rain in before we locked that moisture in - it's been so dry this april! the stepping stones we bought at this place called milliken farms, across from pac mall - we were going to do flagstones but the concrete circles were $3/piece! can't beat that. i think i'm going to lay out planter boxes along the lip of the enclosed porch and do herbs in there. it's looking pretty good! we'll shore up with a tonne more bulbs in the fall and see how things settle into place - we didn't pay much attention to when things bloomed, so we might have a spectacular late-summer show but nothing in early summer. it's a work in progress, right?

anyway, the neighbs are losing their minds about it. ha! the lady attached to us just had someone come in and give her a quote on designing their frontage - which i think is kind of ridiculous for such a tiny patch of ground, but whatevs.

after our morning being insane-o early riser gardeners (in our defense, we find it really relaxing working in the garden), we headed out to meet buns & xtina at stockyards for breakkie. now, we've been there before for dinnie and had a fairly negative experience, but the brunch card
was too irresistible for a southron hound like myself. we WOULD have been on time (seriously, getting up at 6:30am on a sunday for a 9am brunch date? how could we be foiled?!?) except the dotytron refuses to ever check traffic and weather on the 1s (on am 640) and thus always gets PWNED driving - so we got owned by a stupid sporting life marathon down yonge street, which we HAD to cross to get to the west side of toronto. so aggravating!

xtina had the biscuits and sausage gravy which was a GIANT portion of creamy, crumbled sausage milk gravy on a split biscuit (biscuit was a leetle tough, but very tasty) served with soft-scrambled eggs. it was definitely the biggest portion of the day. she also got a side of the pit beans.

the dotytron and i went halfsies. he got the smoked meat hash which comes with two deep fried poach eggs (poached eggs that are lightly dredged in a sesaoned flour and fried) and a chive sour cream. this was REALLY good as well - the hash was basically almost mashed up potatoes mixed with smoked meat - so it didn't have any distinct potato-yness left to it - but it was hella tasty.

me and buns both ordered the "eggs tommy" which is a split biscuit, topped with andouille sausage, deep fried poach egg, cajun shrimp and a lemony hollandaise. it was also delightful. my only quibble is that the twice-cooking of the egg requires you to poach the egg way under so that it emerges from the fryer with a runny yolk intact. one of the eggs i received wasn't runny anymore, which is TOTALLY the point of an eggs benny, right? the andouille was fan-freaking-tastic in there. so good!

because i'm a giant hog, i also got a side of their house sausage - which consists of very thin patties of seasoned pork - the main seasoning i could taste was salt, so they could up the spice blend a bit more (sage, thyme, etc.)

it was really quiet in there - i was expecting a madhouse because toronto is SO brunch crazy and they've been written up recently in the free weeklies. i don't know if it was the rain, or the early brunching time, or where it's located, but it was very quiet - even when we left around 11ish it wasn't that busy - which is pretty darned ideal if you ask me. i hate lining up for brunch.

we spent the afternoon watering our garden and doing small house-y finishing things - hanging pictures, etc. and then we had dr. rei and hanbo over for dinner.

i made ginger-pear jam glazed ham, roasted asparagus, a mint and pea puree and scalloped potatoes and fennel with cheddar cheese. the scalloped potatoes were exceptionally good. i also made that orange cake again, this time upping the zest amount to 2 oranges' worth as well as increasing the sour cream by 1/4 c. i baked it in a 9" pan (i'm not sure how you'd fit it in an 8" pan) and frosted it with chocolate buttercream. it was a big hit. i could eat that thing all day. the recipe is at the end of the post.

today i spent a good chunk of my lunch hour on the horn with daycares putting spumante on the waiting list as well as calling contractors. it was negative fun.

for dinner i made us a spring pasta of spaghetti with the last of my chunk of guanciale, sliced artichoke hearts (so much prep!) and grated parm. we also had olive garden salad because i love it so.



orange cake
from gourmet magazine, 2004
serves 12

1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
zest from 2 medium sized oranges
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

- preheat oven to 350°F. grease a 9-inch round baking pan and line bottom with parchment, and then grease parchment.
- beat together butter, sugar, and zest in a large bowl with an electric mixer until creamy, about 2 minutes. add eggs 1 at a time, beating until incorporated and scraping down bowl.
- stir in sour cream and orange juice, then add remaining ingredients stirring until just combined.
- transfer batter to baking pan and bake in middle of oven until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 30 to 40 minutes.
- cool cake in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack. discard paper and cool.
- frost as desired.

notes: this would be equally tasty for an afternoon snack with just a dusting of confectioner's sugar, but could be gussied up with cream cheese frosting, an orange syrup (orange juice, sugar, maybe some orange liquer, heated together - poke holes in top of cake with skewer and pour syrup on top), chocolate ganache, or my favorite, with chocolate buttercream.

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