Friday, July 02, 2010

the pioneer in the city

before:



and after:

from the back row, we have: garlic dill pickles, bread'n'butter pickles, strawberry rhubarb jam, and there's some jumbleberry jam in there too, just not visible. it was a VERY productive canning session, although i think i upped the humidity in toronto by about 700% that weekend (during what was already a hot, humid, sticky, stretch).

i've been feeling kind of lazycakes lately - all sleepy and tired and listless - so wednesday night our plans to see the dotytron's sis' residency were curtailed by an intense need to sleep and rest and lay on the couch reading (but mostly sleeping).

canada day was much of the same. we woke up, i went for a 50/50 run/walk and the dotytron readied himself for another (probably fruitless) interview with the TDSB. the power was out so while he was gone i did some yoga and when he came back and the power was back on we ate this for breakfast:

that's a red pepper, tomato, dill, and parmesan frittata with english bacon and whole wheat sourdough toast - low carb!

then we basically just snoozed all afternoon and then went for a cold dip in the outdoor pool that is literally at the bottom of our street. it is SO ACES! i can't wait to come home and do lane swims during the week. it's very utilitarian - just a concrete deck and a big rectangle with a shallow end and a deep (no diving) end. it's maybe like, 5' deep at the deepest point. it's not the funnest for kids cuz there's no slide or anything, but it's perfect for doing laps in and the lack of a kiddie pool means that the kids make do with the splash pad in the park or go up the street to the more kid-friendly pool. bliss! they also keep it on the lightly chlorinated side. we'll see if they can keep that up as the season progresses.

came home, ate this for dinner:

that's a homemade vietnamese pork bun, consisting of pork loin slices that i marinated in sugar, lime, ginger, garlic, soy, sesame oil, and rice wine vinegar and fish sauce and then grilled. under that are rice noodles and julienned cucumber, shredded iceberg lettuce and grated carrot, with some fresh mint and chopped scallions to garnish. i also made homemade nuoc cham to douse the whole thing with. it was really tasty.

we ate it on the front porch and chatted it up with the neighbours and got a tour of one of our other neighbour's house - which was extremely illuminating. we've never invited any of our neighbours in...i guess we probably should...but their houses are all so much more done than ours. although the dotytron claims that i'm being irrational.

this also resulted in us witnessing an unfortunate car crash (i'm using the word "crash" lightly) in slow motion - a lady in a toyota pulled up, turned around in our driveway and then tried to 3 point turn her way out. she slowly kept backing up. slowly...slowly...slowly...and right into our neighbour's parked scooter, which was knocked over. then she tried to pull out to pull over but our other neighbour's tow truck driver friend stopped her and accused her of trying to get away. the neighbour who owns the scooter started taking pictures and freaking out when the hitter refused (somewhat inexplicably?) to give her DL and insurance info. the irate meltdown was made all the more dramatic by the fact that the scooter owner neighbour's face was painted up (i think she let her kids paint her face) so she looked like a deranged member of the insane clown posse, if they had blind people doing their make-up. it was very intense!!!

we packed up and headed to the roomie's pad, where our friends pingy and montréal I were converging - we sat on the roomie's upper deck and talked and drank wine and snacked on chips and this dessert i made:

this my friends, is a fig and frangipane tart - a SCRUMPTIOUS concoction and one of my go-to recipes when figs are in season from here on in. oh my. picture it: a crisp, buttery, flaky crust, the soft, cardamom-scented almond richness of homemade frangipane nestling caramelized figs, all jammy and plummy with their figgy essence. topped with a dollop of whipped cream and served warm - it was delectable. absolutely delectable. i've included the recipe below for you. i can picture the cardamom flavouring working equally well with poached pears or apples in the winter (i'm guessing you would have to poach the winter fruit to prevent that awkward, leathery drying that can occur when apple/pear slices are placed on top of a dessert without a lid to keep the moisture in). i'm going to try this tart again with cherries, very shortly. it's just so good!

today we woke up early, as is our wont. have i told you that i feel the fatburger frequently now? i guess i've been feeling it for a while, maybe the past 2-3 weeks? but i wasn't sure if what i was feeling was IT, you know? how the heck are you supposed to know? but now the motions are much more insistent to the point that there's no denying that it. i mean, it's not like i've ever felt my pancreas, uterus, stomach, intestines, etc. twitch around in there. people have different ways of describing it. my sis calls it popcorn popping. i've heard flutter, bubbles, butterfly wings. to me, it's something like this: you know when you're at the cottage and it's quiet, and you're sitting on the dock, or in your tin can fishing boat, and just a few feet away, you hear the little flick and plop of a fish eating a bug off the surface of the water? it feels to me the way that sounds. the little "plop!" of the tail going under.

we're so clueless. last night the roomie asked if we've been able to feel it from the outside yet. to be honest, i hadn't tried. but this morning i put my hands on my belly and totally felt a little pop! then i had the dotytron do it. we laid quietly and he put his hand on my lower belly and i felt the plop and i asked him, "did you feel it?" and he was like, "that wasn't you?! i totally did!" it was pretty cool, i must say.

now we're waiting for future shop to deliver our new dryer which may or may not actually fit down the stairs to the basement. whoops. they don't make dryers that aren't the size of our new one, anymore!!! what the heck are we supposed to do?!? we have about 1/4" of clearance, maybe. we're crossing our fingers. it's a front-loading (but aren't all dryers front-loading?) high efficiency number with the steam option. thrilling!!!

after that it's a rendezvous with I and the roomie again and eat brunch and talk our heads off. following that will be a trip to get new all seasons for the captain and then up to markham for the annual massive chinese banquet dog and pony show for my grandma's birthday and hanging up there for the next couple of days with my family.

fun! finally, check out our new knocker(s):

we actually got it a year ago as a wedding prezzie from ehmdo. isn't it the sweetest?

fin.

---------------------------------------------

fig frangipane tart
realistically, serves 6-8. if you have any sense, you'll eat it all to yourself

1 9" tart crust, blind-baked (10 minutes in a 375F oven with foil and beans in, 10 minutes with the foil and beans out)
2/3 c. blanched, skinless, sliced almonds
1 T. all purpose flour
7 T. sugar
3/4 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 egg
1/2 t. ground cardamom
1/2 t. salt
8-10 large, ripe figs, cut in half

- let your tart crust cool while you prepare the frangipane (keep the oven at 375F)
- in a food processor, blend the almonds with the flour and sugar until finely ground. add the butter, egg, cardamom, and salt until it's all mixed into a loose paste.
- spread the paste into the prepared tart shell, smoothing it out.
- tuck the figs into the frangipane in the pattern of your choosing
- bake the tart for about 40-55 minutes, or until the frangipane is set, the figs are caramelized at the edges and the top of the tart is golden brown.
- let it cool, but serve warm with a dusting of confectioner's sugar, and whipped cream.

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