Sunday, January 19, 2014


for a perfect Sunday:

- having a friend sleep over and then hanging out in the morning in our pajamas, eating breakfast
- clean house
- going braless all day
- no outdoor activities planned
- two noise machines, 3 kids sleeping
- freezer bolognese on the menu
- smell of roasted garlic

You know how people talk about life hacks?  I find those compendiums very idiosyncratic.  A life hack for me is to roast garlic cloves in oil in bulk and then have a jar of them sitting in my fridge, ready to be milled into mash, or turned in my award-winning (self-adjudicated) garlic bread at a moment's notice.  Garlic roasting days are days when I'm pretty happy that we don't have a working hood vent in the kitchen.

Lovely weekend winding down, gone too soon.  I skipped Book Club on Thursday night because my neighbour had my car.  It was for the best.  We were discussing Alice Munro's Dear Life and I think for the first time in Academic Book Club history, I didn't finish the book.  Alice Munro is terrible (sample size: this one collection of short stories).  So not my bag.  Stories about small-town Ontario white women dealing with not-so-very trying small domestic issues that are given the weight of REALLY BIG DEAL, stuff?  NO THANKS.  I can't relate to that level of repressed passivity and layered, repressed introspection.  It's just not the stuff I'm made of.  I found the stories went nowhere and I didn't see the point or where the meat of the story was and I was by and large not interested in the characters.  They don't speak to me.  It was a snoozer of epic proportions, in my humble opinion.  But I have a feeling my Book Club would have loved it, which probably means I made the sound decision to bow out.  This way, feathers would remain unruffled by my blunt dismissiveness.

Friday night was Ladies Night.  We went to a newish restaurant in the neighbourhood, the Brooklyn Tavern (before you write off the name, it's at the end of a street named Brooklyn).  The menu is a right hodgepodge of stuff but what they do there is done decently, I guess.  I had the pork flautas which came with purchased green salsa and were decent.  More of an appetizer size but I had eaten my weight in doughnuts earlier in the day.  I was tipped off by my neighbour about Von Doughnuts, and he claimed they were as good as NYC's esteemed Doughnut Plant.  I made the mistake of listening to my neighbour, even though we rarely see eye to eye on food (let's just say that he went to Guu and ordered 3 dishes.  'NUFF SAID.  Ordering 3 dishes at Guu basically means that you and I are diametrically opposed from a culinary standpoint).

From left to right, top row then bottom row: chocolate mint, lemon meringue, peanut butter and jelly, salt and pepper caramel, and bacon banana.

I was so excited by the size of the doughnuts and the appearance and the relatively tasty creme brulee one I housed immediately upon returning home that I prematurely posted a favourable capsule review on Instagram.  After sampling the rest (you can see why I didn't have much of an appetite for dinner after), I revised my opinion.  The good: doughnut size.  All the yeasted doughnuts have the same base, which is okay, but a little dense and chewy for my liking.  They are skimpy on the flavourings.  Whereas at Doughnut Plant, your creme brulee doughnut comes impregnated with a squishy, pillowy ring of fluffy custard, the creme brulee doughnut here was a yeasted doughnut cut in half, smeared with a rather pedestrian pastry cream.  The lemon meringue had a paucity of lemon curd (I can't reiterate enough that at Doughnut Plant, EACH BITE features lemon curd!) and the salt and pepper caramel was okay.  Peanut butter jelly was an afterthought: same yeasted doughnut base with a topping of peanut butter American-style buttercream and some jelly piped on top.  The cake doughnuts were ATROCIOUS.  The mint one used fresh mint in the glaze but it had been over infused and so tasted acrid and bitter.  It was disgusting.  The chocolate cake base was dry as f**k, tough as Bette Midler in Gypsy, and flavourless as an Alice Munro short story.  The bacon one featured a similarly egregious banana cake doughnut base.  I won't be going back.

Yesterday we walked the Big Yam to his dance class, this time with our neighbour's hand-me-down ballet slippers in tow.  It was a substitute teacher and while her ballet program was okay, her hip hop program was terrible.  She didn't even play hip hop music!  The Dotytron watched her start the class and said aloud, "What the - ?! Highly unorthodox hip hop."  I can't even describe it.  It was like a half-time ballet class taught by someone with a severe iron deficiency.  The Big Yam loved it though, so I can't complain.  It was so cute watching him.  We had SMckay and Lolly over later and he was so proud showing them what he learned.  We spent the night Youtubing videos of Steven Sondheim and Les Miserables numbers and singing along, which basically means: BEST NIGHT EVER.  The Dotytron, SMckay, and Lolly have basically decided that they're going to take advantage of the lack of an age limit enforcement at Kiwanis Music Festival and enter in the musical theatre category.  If they actually pull this together it's going to be hilarious.  They will be competing against kids.  People half their age!  This all started when the Dotytron enquired about whether they were strict on the age limit and was told that while, if he did take the highly unorthodox route of competing as a grown man, he wouldn't be able to progress to provinicials, they would still allow him to enter.  The thought of 3 adults competing against teenagers in a music competition, with the fervour that I know these three will bring to the table, is the stuff that lesser comedies are made of.

The cookie recipes promised last post are at the end of this one.

Now I'm off to lose myself in The Interestings.  Omnibus post of recent films/books to come this week, I hope.



Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies
pulled from a blog that took them from a Giada recipe, apparently

1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. nutella
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. white sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
1 1/3 c. flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling on top
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips (but preferably bittersweet if you can find them - it cuts the sweetness of the cookie)

-  cream the butter and nutella together with the sugars until light and fluffy
- add the egg and vanilla, mix well
- stir in the dry ingredients, then the chocolate chips
- bake in a preheated 350F oven for about 10 minutes (based on tablespoon sized balls), sprinkling the dough balls with additional kosher salt before baking.  You want these cookies to be very chewy, so underdone is better than overdone.


Chewy Malted Milk Chocolate Cookies

1 c. unsalted butter, melted
1 c. packed light brown sugar
2/3 c. malted milk powder
1 T. vanilla extract
3/4 t. salt
2 c. plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 t. baking soda
1 c. milk chocolate chips

- stir together the melted butter and the sugars and malted milk powder.
- add the remaining ingredients, stirring well
- bake at 350F for 10 minutes.

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