Friday, June 8, 2012

Wasn't That a Party?

Don't you love having friends over for dinner?  Not in the Hannibal Lecter way, sheesh!  In the wake up and start brainstorming delicious, impressive ways to feed your hungry, stylish, foodie friends way. The take a trip to Pete's Frootique, get all your ingredients, stop by Premier for a bottle of wine and scuttle home because they might be waiting there (in the rain) for you already way.  In the gather around the kitchen, pop open that wine and chop, stir, chat, drink, laugh, grill, gossip, saute, sing, way.  That way.

Well not long ago, the BF and I had our friend JB over for dinner.  It was one of those pretty typical Halifax Spring days, ie: cold, damp, rainy, foggy, so it seemed to me that the best thing I could make for us on that kind of day was a nice, hot soup and sandwich combo.

I can't lie, the whole meal was inspired by, aside from the dreary weather, the recent acquisition of a package of President's Choice maple smoked bacon.

 We'd had some for breakfast earlier that week and it was.....well you just have to try it to believe the joy it could bring into your life.  The smell!  Let me tell you, if I ever decide to become a real estate agent, I will cook a package of this stuff in the kitchen of every house I have to sell, and when people come to view it they'll smell it and just be like, "well honey, obviously we need to live here!"  It's that good.  The BF and I had also picked up some amazing cheese rolls at the La Have bakery on one of our road trips

and therefore, deal - sealed.

So clearly the soup needed to be accompanied by a delicious sandwich made with the bacon and yummy fresh bread.  As I was rambling around Pete's I came across some boneless, skinless chicken thighs and some nice fresh mozzarella.  Done.  I picked up plenty of yummy veggies for the soup (I'd decided to make Minestrone), made the all important stop at Premier Wine and Spirits and was on my way.

There's something about having some lovely, colorful fresh ingredients spread out before you that is just so exciting.  This:

quickly turned into this:
And away I went.  

First I sauteed the garlic in some olive oil.

When that delicious smell had made it's way around our kitchen and noses, I added the onions.

 I sauteed them until they became translucent and they had let out some of their moisture, then I added the leeks.

When they'd all had the chance to meet and mingle, I let the rest of the gang in.

So they hung out for a while, got to know each other and get comfy.  Then we all decided it was really meant to be a much bigger shindig, so....along came some pureed stewed tomatoes!

Followed closely by some long grain and wild rice, and some green lentils  and yellow split peas.

We invited some chick peas and turtle and kidney beans too, but they got the invite late and so had to get ready first.

While we waited for them to come, there were all kinds of other things to do.

The legumes finally arrived and jumped right in.

You should have seen how quickly they disappeared into the crowd!  THEN it was a party!

Meanwhile, as the Minestrone made merry.....on the other side of the kitchen:

(Please excuse the well-used state of the oven window,
 never have I claimed status as a domestic goddess!)
I sliced up some fresh tomatoes and red onions, topped the cheese rolls with them, the chicken, bacon and mozzarella and baked those babies until the cheese was bubbling ever so gently.  

Finally, I threw on some arugula, the King of the Greens, and PRESTO!  

Wasn't that a party?  These handsome devils can relate:

Now, as much as this gal loves her rainy day soups and sandwiches, here's hoping (can I get you all to raise your glasses?) that for the next while at least, we'll be more in the mood for a good barbeque, a cool salad and, well some things never change I suppose, a nice big glass of wine. 


Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Today I am going to post a blog that has nothing to do with what I have made or intend to make.  Instead, in order to keep myself writing and inspired to write, I've decided this particular post is going to be all about things that I love and inspire me lately.  It's important sometimes, I think, to take a look around you and take stock of the good things in your life, the thing that are pretty, make you think, make you want to get up and dance, inspire you to make something.

Here are a few such things for me, in no particular order:

These books.  Sorry about the quality of the photos here, some are a little blurry:

This one is a photo book containing amazing rings by incredibly creative and innovative designers and makers.  Check these pages out!

And this one is, of course, a book of the works of the late, great Alexander McQueen.  I've spent hours just marveling over the pieces included in the book, which also happen to be the pieces that were in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's show of his work last year.  For a better look at these stunning works of art:

Flowers!  How could something that occurs in nature and is so beautiful not be inspiring?  The colors, the shapes, the smells.  I love the spring time especially, where the city is bursting at the seams with tulips (my favorites) and the smell of apple blossoms wafts through the air, but any season and any flower will do:

The view from my apartment. Recently I was enjoying my building's roof top patio with two of my dearest friends and fellow wine enthusiasts.  We observed how unreal this view appears, almost like a facade, a movie set.  But it's real and it's what I get to see from my livingroom window every day.  I love this view!  The downtown core, one of the prettiest streets in the city (well the one side of the street anyway), all the bustle.  It changes by the minute, day, season, so here are a bunch of photos I've taken since I moved in.

My shoes.  This sounds silly and I suppose grandly materialistic, but I can't lie: I'm obsessed with shoes. I often plan outfits around them and have several pairs that I enjoy so much that if I'm out shopping I ask myself: would this dress look good with the [insert shoe reference here].  I have classic styles - the black patent leather pump; unusual, eye-catching ones - the Stewart tartan wedges with ankle strap; ones in which I can only sit or stand and look pretty since walking could be treacherous  - the five inch leopard print stiletto; and ones that I can wear with anything - the adorable black Mary Jane.  Recently the BF (kind, patient man that he is) and I viewed a documentary about my obsession that made me not feel quite as guilty - or at least not as alone in the wide world:

And finally, The Tunes:

Left to right, top to bottom:  Kalle Mattson - Lives In Between EP / Jack White - Blunderbuss / Dustin Bentall - Streets With no Lights / Steven Bowers - Homing / Dale Murray - Dream Mountain Dream / Joel Plaskett Emergancy - Scrappy Happiness / The Derek Trucks Band - Soul Serenade / The Avett Brothers - I and Love and You / Kev Corbett - Son of a Rudderless Boat / Paul Simon - Graceland / Norah Jones - Little Broken Hearts / the Allman Brothers Band - Eat A Peach / Matt Costa - Mobile Chateau / The Kills - Blood Pressures / Mary Stewart - Chances Are I Like You / Xavier Rudd & Izintaba - Koonyum Sun

Where would I be without my tunes?  Curled up in a corner somewhere, silent, sad, colorless and hungry, wishing for the end.  Wouldn't you be, too?

So yeah, there you have it, a few of the things that make me tick.  Tomorrow it might be something entirely different, but for now these do the trick nicely.

Until next time kids and cats, cheerio!