Monday, October 21, 2013

Fall Love

I'm typing this on relatively lazy Sunday - finally having some time to do a bit of catch-up after a busy week filled with a bunch of nothing activities.  Something about maternity leave - the days (can) feel like they're 83 hours long (especially when you have stereophonic baby wailing) and yet, I never have enough time.  I have costumes to sew and little wee hats to knit and frequently find myself zonked by around 9pm, without fail.  It's too much for me to even make a phone call and catch up with friends most nights.

This morning though - we've got the furnace on (I finally caved), we have the flannel sheets on the bed and the big comforter out, slippers are on our feet, and I've got a 4-hour spaghetti sauce started on the stove.  Autumn has arrived at Casa Dotytron-Lagerfeld and I couldn't be happier about it.  I'm ready.  Ready to wind down, unplug, curl up, hibernate.  Ready for weekends to consist of less activities, big dinners with family and friends, movie nights.  

Pretty much the only thing left on my fall checklist is a hike through the Don Valley to take in the colours.  I also have a semi-harebrained scheme that I'm going to build some kind of garbage/recycling shed but we'll see whether that actually happens.  

99 Luftballoons ended up being a lot less majestic than I had envisioned - but the Big Yam was still thrilled:

Family Thanksgiving weekend involved three (!) days of turkey, one jacked-up looking Thomas cake (I made Smitten Kitchens apple pie spice cake with cream cheese frosting - it was a fail.  I wouldn't do it again), a viewing of the newest production of Les Misérables, dim sum, and a visit to the pumpkin patch/farm on Monday, that was the stereotypical pumpkin patch experience: corn maze, giant tricycle rides, an obstacle course, feeding goats, etc.

Les Misérables was great.  Nothing, I repeat, NOTHING, can ever come close to Colm Wilkinson's genius and embodiment of Jean Valjean, but the current one is really good.  The revised staging is really great - the sets are used to great effect and they do some evocative things with screens and lighting - you can see the smoke moving in the factory chimneys and the wind moving the trees.  Our Eponine is top-notch - a crystal-clear pop voice that nails her big song.  Fantine is a bit weird, and they changed the pacing to speed things up a bit.  Overall, it was a really fun night.

Some pumpkin patch/farm shots:


Squinty pumpkin selection

Last night we had friends over for a film club - we watched Dog Day Afternoon.  Ummm...Sidney Lumet is a freakin' genius.  You CANNOT replicate how amazing 70s American film was.  First of all: shooting on film gives the film, which is already beautiful, an extra warm luminosity.  The daytime sequences glow.  The story is almost too unbelievable to be true.  Al Pacino's character holds up a bank to pay for sex reassignment surgery for Leon, his "wife."  The film rides this incredible line between humour and drama.  It's not a dark comedy.  Instead the film walks this balancing line between being legitimately funny and tense.  They don't make movies like this any more.  It's so anti-establishment.  It thrums with counter-culture zeitgeist.  It also makes you understand how film critics long for the heydey of 70s American cinema.

These two are in cahoots in a big way.
Prof. Gantok's other doppelganger - Boh from Spirited Away

We also had Dr. Rei and Uncle Hanbo over for brunch today.  We had croissant sandwiches with bacon and leek scrambled eggs and they made a pear-blue cheese spinach salad.  We also had monkey bread and then went on a long walk to check out the Leslieville Flea and be surrounded by hipsters over-paying for mason jars and other novelty goods.  It was so much fun:

This pear tart is SO EASY!  You can whip it up anywhere and with almost any fruit.  We first had it at JJ's house for Oktoberfest.  It uses just a few ingredients: butter, oil, sugar, flour, and the end result is fantastic.  Easily made dairy-free too!  I'll post the recipe below.

Leftover turkey and stuffing turned into one of my all-time favorite meals: a hot turkey sandwich with canned gravy.


Easy Pear Tart
serves 8
not adapted in the slightest, from Food52

1 1/2 c. plus 2 T. all purpose flour
3/4 t. salt
3/4 c. plus 1 t. sugar
1/4 c. mild oil (vegetable or canola)
1/4 c. olive oil
2 T. whole milk
2 T. cold unsalted butter
3 bartlett pears (but can also be made with 3-5 peaches, or any similar sized fruit)

- in a bowl, mix together the 1 1/2 c. flour, 1/2 t. of the salt salt, and 1 t. of sugar with a fork.  In a separate measuring cup/bowl, stir together the oils (note: I didn't have enough olive oil so used all canola and it was fine), the milk, and maybe a 1/2 t. of almond extract if you have it (I didn't and it was fine).  Stir the liquids into the dry ingredients and combine until everything is evenly mixed.
- dump this mixture into a 9" diameter tart pan with a removable bottom and press the mixture on the bottom and slightly up the sides of the pan
- in a separate bowl, mix together 3/4 c. of sugar, 2 T. of the flour, and 1/4 t. of salt.  Using your hands, pinch the butter into this mixture until all the butter is in small-ish pieces (as if you're making a crumb/crisp topping).
- slice the fruit of your choosing into 1/2" slice and then arrange on the crust.  Sprinkle with the butter-sugar-flour mixture and bake in a preheated 425F oven for about 35-45 minutes or until golden brown and the top is shiny and bubbly.

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