Monday, September 24, 2012


I walked into this weekend a kite neophyte and emerged a die-hard kite enthusiast.

Spinach & cheese manicotti - I overcooked the mozzarella topping a bit.  I like it when it gets chewy and leathery but this was just a tad over.

This weekend was another exercise in lovely.  It had a bit of everything.  Friends, family, home time, getting stuff done, personal time, nuclear family time.  It was perfectamundo and it strengthened my resolve to not over-schedule us.  We sat down to dinner on Sunday night, with the rain drizzling down and a cold, hard, bracing fall chill in the air and I looked at the faces of the people I love most in the world around the dining room table and it was one of those moments that encapsulates what life is about.  Perfect.  A big plate of spinach and three cheese stuffed manicotti, a salad, some garlic bread, a large bottle of seasonal pumpkin beer, the Big Yam randomly shouting: "Chew-ca-ba!" and his other current nonsensical catchphrase, "Bung-Gung!" and the sounds of the Dotytron's new favorite satellite radio station, the wind symphony station, filling our house with mad dynamic range and swelling emotion - it was perfect.

Friday night we squandered Friday Night Takeout Night.  Big time.  We tried this place near us, called The Fuzz Box, which purports to sell real Nova Scotian donairs.  Which apparently you JUST CAN'T GET anywhere else in Toronto.  Uhhh, there's a reason for that.  They're disgusting.  A donair is a shaved meat-stack sandwich featuring slices of peppery meat, served on a pita, with a light sprinkling of chopped tomato and onion.  I know what you're thinking.  You're thinking that this sounds an awful lot like a gyro.  Well, what differentiates a donair from a gyro is a sauce that's specific to the donair, which is charmingly called the "jizz."  It's a white, runny but viscous, condensed milk based sauce which is sweet.  Appallingly sweet.  As soon as I heard this I was deeply suspect and therefore got my donair with sauce on the side.  To me, it's disgusting.  Completely unbalanced and without it, my sandwich was dry as all get out.  Now, I LOVE the lemon sauce that comes on a gyro.  And I love tzatiki.  So the question becomes, why would I eat a donair when I could have a gyro?  That question will never be asked again, because I'm never eating another donair.  It's sooooo sweet!  We also got garlic fingers, which is a big pizza spread with garlic butter and topped with cheese and then cut into a million thin wedges which was as good and stoner-food-y as the description suggests.  We also got fried pepperoni, which is another classic Nova Scotian bar snack.  This was also good.  But neither of these were worth the price of admission.  We were bummed.  It sucks wasting a Friday Night Takeout Night.  But we're never gonna know unless we try, right?

Saturday was Mandarin.  Emery's parents (note the plural!) were BOTH there, so I'm not sure what's going on with that.  It was a review class.  Not gonna lie: I aced it.  The Big Yam, not so much.  LOL!  

Then we biked down to the Beach for Wind Fest, which is a kite festival and OMGWTFKITESKITESKITES!  Obviously the Dotytron like, immediately bought a kite.  I can't tell you the number of times he faux-casually mentioned, "there's a booth over there selling kites..." We immediately became COMPLETELY KITE OBSESSED.  Ummmmmmm...kites are the bomb.  Are they a cruel mistress?  Yes.  But is it the funnest thing in the world, controlling a kite?  YES! YES! A THOUSAND TIMES, YES!  We basically came away cursing every minute of our lives NOT spent flying a kite.  It was also cool just to watch the kites in action:

No joke, this kite was like, 30 feet long.  It's being held up by the other kite flying above it.  I can't even get into how awesome this kite was.  I took a million photos trying to capture the kite's majesty and failing miserably.  It was infuriating.  

We had R & R over for dinner on Saturday which was lovely.  R is the cutest preggo I've ever seen!  For some reason, whenever we get together with those guys it becomes the airing of the couples' grievances, which is pretty funny.  R is like me on steroids.  I mean that literally, in the sense that before she got preggo she was lifting 50lb weights, and I mean that figuratively, in that she's a souped up, more driven, more exacting version of me.  It's pretty scary/admirable.  Those two are having their baby shower at the Mandarin, which is obviously the most boss location you could pick.

Anyway, because they are the BEST GUESTS EVER, they brought oysters (Pemaquid, Kumamoto, French Kiss) and a bunch of beers - COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY, GUYS! - and I made us bouillabaisse with rouille and toast and a salad of pancetta wrapped figs & arugala and the Dotytron made an apple cake which didn't make it out of the pan in one piece, but which was still pretty delicious.

Sunday was off the chains.  I made 9 (!) jars of concord grape jelly (the process is easy, but kind of a giant pain, if that makes sense - recipe below), and we had Momma D by for breakfast (scrambled eggs with corn & scallions, salsa, avocadoes, toast, sausage from The Sausage Partners) and then she watched the Big Yam while the Dotytron and I cleaned the basement, which was in dire need of a post-reno, post-us-not-giving-a-s**t re-org.  Now it's glorious and makes sense.  Huzzah!  

 Slipper shot

So we did ALL THAT this weekend.  And yet still managed to find time to watch episodes of Louie and knit (me) and play guitar (the Dotytron) and be cozy with the Big Yam and feel like we weren't under the gun every second.  It was perfection.  I can't stress it enough.  My attempts to limit weekends to something manageable is resulting in weekends that feel restorative and constructive, which is precisely what they're meant to be, naw mean?  


Concord Grape Jelly
makes about 9 pints

8 lbs of concord grapes, stemmed
2 granny smith apples, chopped (seeds and skins and all)
4 1/2 cups of sugar

- stir together the grapes and the apples with 1/2 c. of water in a big stockpot.  Bring to a boil, put a lid on and reduce to a simmer, and simmer 10 minutes.
- strain into a measuring cup.
- strain that liquid again through a wet cheesecloth
- take the twice-strained liquid and pout into a large stock pot.  Stir in the sugar.  Turn on the heat and bring to a boil.  Boil, skimming off the foam until it reaches 220F or until desired level of set is reached.
- process in sterilized jars for 10 minutes in a boiling water canning bath.

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