Monthly Archives: March 2010

Beautiful Minds and Jerk Pork

I don’t often cut out recipes from newspapers.   But on Saturday morning,  a Globe and Mail recipe by Lucy Waverman for jerk pork tenderloin caught my eye.  So on Sunday I prepared the marinade–mostly ground herbs and spices–in the food processor.

And then it was just a matter of  scraping the exotically scented brown sludge into a zip lock bag along with the pork.  I decided on sides of simple boiled potatoes with butter and fresh dill and Aunt Sandy’s coleslaw salad, or “lines”.  Have I told you about “lines” before?  They’re just mandolin-sliced cabbage and onions in a mayonnaise, vinegar and sugar dressing (German in origin?) When I was little, I called this salad, which Aunt Sandy often prepared to accompany her roast chicken or glazed ham, “lines” because that’s what the salad looked like.  I was gifted with observational prowess from the beginning.

The dinner turned out to be a real winner.

The Beast was particularly pleased with it.  So when it came to deciding what to serve Nick on Monday night for his celebratory birthday dinner, we both thought of the jerk pork.  I upped the ante slightly by making a batch of scalloped potatoes instead of boiled ones after I’d found a new recipe for a version I wanted to try in the most recent edition of Chatelaine.  (I really must be growing up–cutting out recipes from newspapers and Chatelaine?  Oh dear.)  And there had to be “lines” of course.  In fact, I have difficulty eating pork without them.  

We also decided to invite a very special friend to Nick’s party:  Cosi Junior.  Mom, Cosi Jr. would be your cup of tea, let me tell you!  He’s charming, handsome, of Italian heritage, and he loves older women.  Actually, he likes all sorts of women, and women like him.  I don’t know if it’s his Latin good looks, the way he smokes a Marlboro, his contagious laugh, his soft-spoken sensitivity, or that he’s arguably the best pizza maker in the city–oh wait: I think I just answered my own question.  Cosi Jr. can cook!  And a man that can cook makes women go gaga.  Cosi now manages Terroni restaurant on Queen street.  That’s where he befriended Nick, before Nick got fired.   Cosi Jr. and Nick are very close–nearly as close as Nick and the Beast (only nearly because the Beast gets very possessive.)  Anyway, he’s sort of a legend at Terroni, and beyond.  He’s Cosi Jr.

Foodie:  How old is Nick going to be anyway?

Beast:  27.  That means I’ll be 27 in a couple of months.  I’m getting so old!

Foodie:  That’s disgusting.

Beast:  That I’m getting old?

Foodie:  NO.  That you’re only 26.  You’re not even as old as I was when we first met! What’s wrong with me?

Beast:  I have no idea.  How old are you again?

Foodie:  Did you pick up the cookbook I asked you to get for Nick?

Beast:  Yes, and a second-hand Miles Davis CD I think he should have.  

Foodie:  Great.  I made a card.  Oh, and I picked up a few cheeses and a cacciatore to have as snacks before dinner.  Does Nick even know that Cosi is coming?

Beast:  I don’t think so.  

And then the doorbell rang.  It was Nick.  He and the Beast barely said a word to each other before they began playing instruments.  You don’t need words when you have the power of music to communicate complex human emotions. 

I turned on the radio and prepared our snacks.

And then the doorbell rang again.

Foodie:  My word! Who could that be?  

And hence entered Cosi Jr. in all his glory bearing two bottles of very nice red wine. Nick didn’t seem that surprised to see him. No bother though.  I was excited, and I’ll admit, slightly nervous, to see how these two non-homosexuals, Cosi Jr and the Beast, would interact, or compete, with each other, considering their mutual affinities for the birthday boy.  Would they try to out do each other in humour, wit and intelligence? Or would they take their shirts off and bump up against the other’s chest?  And then maybe Nick would take his shirt off too!  This could be the best dinner ever!  I just wish I’d invited a few more lady friends to clap, cheer and say, “my oh my!” with me.  

After snacks, and conversation that covered topics as diverse as feminists (Nick is one) to what kind of locker room person you are (are you modest, or do you cut your toes and shave with no towel on?), dinner was served in the dining room.

Everybody was well-behaved.  And everybody ate with enthusiasm.  I couldn’t have asked for more.  

And then it was time to give Nick some birthday gifts.  Cosi went first.  He got Nick a gas mask.  Nick proceeded to put it on and do things that one normally couldn’t–and shouldn’t–do while wearing a gas mask.  For example, he tried to smell his wine.

And he tried to eat his dinner.

We returned to behaving civilly while Nick opened up his other gifts.  But then it all went downhill again when the Beast made us follow him to the washroom for more gas mask jokes.

The worst is yet to come:  I put the Beast in charge of picking up a special dessert for tonight.  I figured he might get a birthday cake or cupcakes from a bake shop.  Instead, he chose frozen apple blossoms from Sobey’s frozen dessert section.

Okay, okay, this dessert wasn’t worse than the gas mask bathroom humour.  In fact, with a little vanilla ice cream on top, it was quite good, albeit not very festive for a birthday party.

The evening ended on a high note with scotch and more good laughs and discussions in the living room.  It would have ended on the highest of notes if all those boys had taken off their shirts though.  (That’s the exact kind of dirty ole’ lady joke my Chatelaine-subscribing, newspaper recipe-cutting mother would make–although she would have them out of their pants too. What’s happening to me?) 

Foodie:  ***

Beast:  ***

Vena’s Roti and that Shocking Revelation

Last Monday night I popped into Vena’s Roti after work to pick up dinner for me, the Beast and Nick Edwards.  It’s not a very fancy restaurant.

And it’s located on a stretch of Bloor, near Lansdown, that’s a bit run down.  But none of that matters because these roti are simply delicious, and cheap!  I always get the vegetarian one (stuffed full of potatoes, chick peas, spinach and squash), while the Beast usually gets the goat (obviously).  I decided that the boys didn’t need meat and I ordered three vegetarian versions.

When I got home I heard the Beast and Nick yelling upstairs.  Nick came down the stairs first, and the Beast soon followed–with a black eye!

Foodie:  What happened to your eye?

Beast:  Huh?  Oh yeah.  Nick punched me in the fucking face man.

Foodie:  Nick!  Why did you punch him in the fucking face?

Nick:  He made fun of my hands.  He said they looked like leather mitts.

Foodie:  But they do look like leather mitts!

Nick:  That’s not the point.

Beast:  Yes it is the point man!  And your feet look like flap jacks!

Foodie: Calm down everybody!  I think you boys need some dinner.   Let’s go into the dining room and see if we can’t work this all out.

I had to turn everybody’s roti out from the take-out container onto their plate.  That’s why our dinner doesn’t look terribly appetizing.  

Nick:  This looks like shit on a plate.

Foodie:  Nick!  That’s very rude!  What’s gotten into you?

Beast:  He’s right man.  It does look like shit.  

Foodie:  Excuse me?  What’s gotten into YOU?  You’ve said, “man” numerous times since I’ve gotten home AND you have a black eye.  What’s going on?

Beast:  Stop nagging me man.  I brought home cannoli for us to eat after dinner.

Foodie:  Those look delicious.  Thank you.

Nick:  Oh yeah? Well I brought you two idiots a case of jamaican beef patties from The Jamaican Queen!

Foodie:  Well thank you Nick.  That’s a very thoughtful hostess gift.  Jamaican patties.  Thank you.  Would you like some wine?

Nick:  No way.  I’m on the wagon for a few weeks.  But I did bring some lime-flavoured soda.  I’ll take some of that please.

And then, out of nowhere—-

Oh, I just can’t keep this up.  I can’t keep lying to you people.  There was no black eye.  There were no rude comments hurled at the dinner table. And the Beast never said, “man”.  

I am so sorry.  You see, I felt like I really had to deliver on that promised “shocking revelation” bit about the Beast.  Poor Stephen (not Stephen from work Stephen–the other Stephen) has been a nervous wreck waiting for the news.  But there was no shocking revelation.  It was a boring dinner with boring people with no laughs or giggles, and when I started writing this post I just got plain carried away trying to make it shocking. The roti really were delicious though, and the Beast really brought home those cannoli.  And Nick really brought Jamaican patties and florescent soda as a hostess gift–but that’s not all together shocking.  

I originally came up with the whole cockamamie “shocking revelation” idea when the Beast went to write something (probably boring) on the chalk board during our dinner and he did it with his right hand.  But he’s LEFT-HANDED!  

This was yellow journalism at its worst.  I fear that I’ve lost all credibility as a fake writer.  But know this:  I will do whatever it takes to win back your trust and your respect Stephen, and everybody else who was waiting to be truly shocked.

Foodie:  ***

Beast:  **1/2

Sushi, by Vincent

(Outside the dry cleaners in our neighbourhood.)

Foodie:  They’re closed?  It can’t be 7:00pm yet!

Beast:  They’re closed. 

Foodie:  I can pick up your coat tomorrow after work if you like.

Beast:  Okay.

Foodie:  Well, we’re out and about: want to go grab a bite to eat?

Beast:  Okay.

Foodie:  Want to go get burgers from the Local?

Beast:  No thanks.

Foodie:  We could order in pizza.

Beast:  No.

Foodie:  We could go pick up a couple of steaks and grill them on the BBQ with some vegetables.

Beast:  I’m not ready for that.

Foodie:  You mean you’re not ready for BBQ season yet?

Beast:  Yes, I’m not prepared for it, emotionally.

Boy oh boy the Beast was in a mood!  I certainly get moody, but this sort of behaviour he was exhibiting required the stealth and ingenuity of a CSIS agent to deal with.  My next moves had to be planned and calculated, or else the entire evening would be a bust.

Beast:  Do you want to go get Hungarian pancakes from in there?  (pointing to Cafe Polonez.)

Foodie:  That might be a bit heavy for me tonight, but if you really want–

Beast:  No, I don’t even know why I fucking said that.  I don’t want it.

Foodie:  Okay, let’s not panic here–

Beast:  What about Japanese from beside the video store?

Foodie:  Well, will you look at that!  Great idea kiddo!  I always forget about that place.  Look how smart you are!  And so handsome too!

The Japanese place is a tiny little shop that opened up a few years ago beside the local video store, The Film Buff. And it’s fantastic in a pinch!

(Outside the Japanese place.)

Beast:  Sushi, by Vincent.

Foodie:  Is that what it’s called?

Beast:  No, but that’s a good name for a sushi restaurant.

It’s actually called Vincent Sushi, and when we walked in the three employees jumped out of their seats (it was a slow night) and greeted us.  I, of course, was very careful to lower the tone and volume of my voice as I returned their enthusiastic salutations (see previous post.)  Now Vincent Sushi provides what I imagine to be a style of Japanese food that appeals to the neighbourhood–there are lots of “fusion” rolls and a few non-traditional ingredients on their menu.  To be honest, this is the only type of Japanese food that I know. And I like it.  I do enjoy sashimi (that’s raw fish, served alone, in all its glory) but I tend to gravitate towards sushi rolls and all that fried shit.  (I’ve mentioned it before but I’ll say it again:  many of my southern Italian friends adore sashimi because they’re culturally accustomed to eating raw fish.  Hell, I think they’d prefer to eat just about anything raw, if they could.)

After I ordered (the Beast couldn’t dream of making those kind of decisions), we popped into the video store.

Foodie:  Why don’t we rent Year One?  Remember when we saw the trailer just the other day and we were laughing so hard?

Beast:  Okay.

Foodie:  Really?  I’m shocked!  This is great!  Sushi and a funny Hollywood movie and we even have the nice bottle of Austrian Gruner chilling in the fridge.

Beast:  This will be nice.

Foodie:  There you go!  You’re feeling a little better now, aren’t you?

Beast:  You knew I wasn’t feeling well?

Foodie:  Yes, yes I did know that.  Are you feeling better now?

Beast:  Yes.  I think I just need an espresso and maybe I just need to play the piano for a bit.

Foodie:  Good thinking.  You order your espresso and I’ll rent the movie (Our video store has espresso, good espresso too!  And ice cream and baked goods.)

Beast:  Wait: is it okay if we don’t rent the movie?  There’s a book I want to finish reading.  I promised myself I’d finish it before the end of March.

Foodie:  (Trying very hard to hide my disappointment.)  Sure…that’s….okay.  I have books I could read too you know.  Lots of books.  And I love reading.  That’s just fine.  Plus, maybe we can find the episode of America’s Next Top Model that we missed yesterday.

We picked up our take-out order from Vincent Sushi and were unwrapping it in no time:

We both adore this salad.  I don’t know what it’s called or what’s in it.  I presume the green stuff is seaweed.  There’s some avocado, julienned beets on top, and sesame seeds.  Maybe some sort of radish is in there too.  It’s light and lovely.  The varying textures keep your mouth surprised too.

I also ordered beef dumplings and yam tempura.  The Beast thought the dumplings were really good.  I think I would have preferred steamed dumplings rather than fried ones.  The filling was good though–beef and maybe scallions.  The yam tempura held up on our walk home, which is remarkable.  They were crunchy on the outside and warm, soft and sweet on the inside.

I chose a maki roll with BBQ eel in it.  I think they call it “the catapillar”.  And I chose one with shrimp tempura and crab called a “red dragon.”  

Mom, BBQ eel does sound gross but it’s delicious.  Honest!  The Beast said the red dragon would have been better without the fake crab.  I agree.

The wine was so good with the food that before we knew it, the bottle was empty. Coincidently, the Beast’s spirits were lifted too.

Foodie:  What in the heck is that?

Beast:  Dessert.

Foodie:  You sneak!  When did you buy them?

Beast:  When I ordered my espresso.

Foodie:  Well I’m so glad you did because I’m not very full.

Beast:  Me neither!

The Beast ate half of the dark chocolate brownie and then handed it over to me.  Then he started on the peanut butter swirl square.  He asked if he could eat the half with the swirl on it, admitting that he was quite partial to swirled desserts.  I agreed of course. It reminded me of a good joke the Beast played on me the other night when he offered to serve up the last of the instant cake we’d made.  I’ll let you guess which piece I got.

 

 

 

Foodie:  **1/2

Beast:  ***

 

Coupons and the Salad King

Boy oh boy did we have a good Saturday afternoon mapped out!  We had a two-for-one movie pass and a two-for-one quarter chicken dinner coupon for Swiss Chalet!

We had some time to kill before our movie matinee (Shutter Island) started so we went to Chapters.  The Beast headed straight to the books on Nazis section while I went to the magazine racks.  After I had my fill of gossip rags, he came to collect me for the show.

Foodie:  Perfect timing!  Only ten minutes until Shutter Island starts.  Oh no…

Beast:  What’s wrong?

Foodie: I can’t find the two-for-one movie coupon.  It must be in one of these stupid pockets.

Beast:  Are you sure you took it off the fridge?

Foodie:  I must have because I’ve still got the Swiss Chalet coupon here.  Where could it be?  Maybe it fell out when I took out my phone to answer Stephen’s call.

Beast:  Who’s she?

Foodie:  STEPHEN–it’s a boy.  You know Stephen from work–he’s also an F&B reader and a very nice commenter.  I was hoping you could have met him but you were looking for books on Nazis.

Beast:  Oh that Stephen!

Foodie:  He’s also seeing Shutter Island but he said it started at 3:00pm and I thought it started at 3:40pm so he kindly offered to call and let me know what the actual start time was and it turns out it’s playing at both times.  So I bet when I took my phone out of my pocket, the movie coupon fell out.  Let’s just go back to the magazines.  Maybe it’s on the floor.

It wasn’t on the floor.

Beast:  I can’t believe you lost the two-for-one coupon.

Foodie:  I’m sorry!  Do you still want to go?

Beast:  Do you?

Foodie:  Yes!  It’s pouring outside and we came all the way over here.  I think we should see it.

So we did.  And true to form, as of late, the Beast shushed somebody for talking during the movie.  It’s his new thing and it’s terrifying.  I mean, I just sit there and let strangers on cell phones and the talkers ruin my movie experience, like a normal, civilized person.  But not the Beast–oh no, he even gets up and tells people rows away to turn off their phones because they’re texting or something and the lights bother him.

Foodie:  That was great!  Just like an old-time Hollywood movie with all that fog and darkness and that overly dramatic music.  I loved it!  Did you like it?

Beast:  Yes….I….liked….it.

Foodie:  How could you not have liked that movie?  It was just pure entertainment!

Beast:  It was great, I just thought that near the end there it declined a bit.  I had figured out the twist after fifteen minutes too.

Foodie:   That’s impossible.  I didn’t know until five minutes before it ended.  You lie.

Beast:  I did!  You know the part when–

Foodie:  Shh!  You’ll ruin it for F & B readers!  I can’t believe you shushed someone again.  Didn’t you read in the paper how somebody got stabbed in the neck with a meat thermometer after shushing somebody during a movie ?  And do you know what the movie was?  It was Shutter fucking Island man!  We could have been killed!

Beast:  Where’s the closest Swiss Chalet around here?

Foodie: About that…I was thinking that maybe since we didn’t use the movie coupon that we shouldn’t use the dinner coupon just yet either.  And I really want to go to the Salad King! Wouldn’t that be delicious right now?

Beast:  Yes it would.

The Salad King is a Thai place, I think, that’s been providing Ryerson students with cheap and cheerful wholesome food for years now.  It was probably the first Thai food (North Americanized Thai food, but far superior than your average Thai joint, I think) that I ever had.  My ex-boyfriend’s twin sister introduced me to the place about 12 years ago I imagine.  I dare not tell the Beast this though because if I do, every visit to the Salad King thereafter, he’ll accuse me of taking a trip down ex-boyfriend memory lane.  It’s his favourite type of joking.  It’s very funny actually–probably not that healthy, but very funny.  You see this ex is now a successful shoe designer who works for Nike and Adidas before that.  Whenever we pass someone with these shoes on, which is like, everybody, the Beast likes to say, “Oh great!  There you go again, bringing up your successful ex-boyfriend!”  It gets him a laugh every time, like a fart does.

Beast:  This was a good idea!  Can you please order for the both of us?

Foodie:  Well, I’m going to get what I always get–the Golden curry.  I think I’ll get it with shrimp.  Why don’t you pick out your own main and then we’ll share spring rolls and a mango salad.

Beast:  Okay.  I’m going to have the golden curry too, but with tofu.

Foodie: Pardon?

Beast: With tofu I said.

Foodie:  No meat?

Beast:  Just the tofu.

The appetizers came out moments after I ordered them…

…and they were delicious.  The tomatoes, as you can see, in the mango salad weren’t anything to write home about but I just love that sweet and sour of the mango with the peanuts and fish sauce dressing.

Beast:  If there were unlimited spring rolls, I don’t think I could stop eating them.

Foodie:  Me too.  I think I could eat them forever, and never get full.

Our curries arrived in fancy bowls with the accompanying rice, attractively moulded, on a fancy plate.

Foodie:  This place has sure gussied itself up! It used to be a bit of a dive.  Mmmn. Smell that!  What do they put into this golden curry?  It’s so good!  How do we do this?  Do we spoon the curry onto the rice, or do it bite by bite?

Beast:  I don’t know! You’re supposed to know this stuff.

Foodie:  Take a peek and see what other people are doing.

I turned my head to do just that and when I looked at the Beast next he’d poured all his curry over his rice.  So I did the same.  We both finished our entire plates.

Foodie:  Look at that:  one, two, three, four–that’s ten shrimp!  Ten good shrimp, not those dinky frozen ones that you usually get in cheap Thai dishes.  How was your tofu?

Beast:  Just what I wanted.  Want to pick up dessert on the way home?

I certainly did, so after paying for dinner (under $30!) we stepped back out into the chilly wet night.

We took the subway home and then the bus, reading our Chapters purchases along the way, like an old married couple.  We exited in front of the Sobey’s around the corner from our place to look for dessert.

Beast:  By the way, you did your voice again when you ordered our dinner.

Foodie:   Oh shit!  Did I?  I don’t know what comes over me!

The voice is a problem:  whenever I order food in an Asian restaurant from an Asian server, I raise the pitch of my voice and say certain words differently.  Take, for instance, “thank you”: Instead of just saying, “thank you,” I say, “THAN-KKUU!!!” like I’m trying to mimic the way that they’ve just said it to me.  I’m never aware that I’m doing it.  It just happens.  But it doesn’t happen when I speak with other people with accents.  I don’t say, “Awroight then mate, cheers!” when I speak with British people.  It’s troubling to say the least.

Foodie: What kind of dessert do you want to get?

Beast:  Let’s make an instant cake!

Foodie:  Yes!

Beast:  Can we buy the icing too?

Foodie:  Of course we can buy the icing.  I’m not going to make it for crying out loud.  What kind of cake?

Beast:  I don’t care.  Vanilla?

Foodie:  Yes!  Can we get the cherry chip?

Beast:  Sure.  I don’t see it though.  Let’s get this rainbow chip one.  It’s probably the same thing.

Foodie:  Okay.  You know what?  I’d choose white cake with white icing any day over chocolate cake.

Beast:  Racist.

Foodie:  What do you mean?

Beast:  The way your voice changes when you order Asian food, and you only eat white cake.  You know your voice changes when you talk to the cute Asian girl at our corner green grocer too.

Foodie:  It does?  She must think I’m so rude!

Beast:  No, I bet she just thinks, “why the fuck is this round eye talking so funny?”

The cake was ready in know no time.  We decorated it together.  (The rhubarb jam sandwiched between the two layers was the Beast’s idea.)

Sometimes nothing’s better than cake from a box and instant icing.  I highly recommend it for breakfast too.

Foodie:  ***

Beast:  ***

Oscar Snacks

What a busy day I had on Sunday!  First I had to read the paper and drink coffee; second I had to go get the makings for the Oscar spread I wanted to prepare for the Beast and me; and third, I had to go to that vast expanse of buildings on the CNE grounds to the CRFA show (Canadian Restaurants Foodservices Association) where my friend Giovanna was both demonstrating and competing in a celebrity chef Iron Chef-type thing.  This is big league shit man–Susur Lee, Anthony Walsh and Lynn Crawford were all there too!

For her food demonstration, she and her sous-chef Fabio Moro, showed the crowd how to make tortelloni.  While Fabio rolled out the fresh pasta, Gio prepared the butter and sage in which the butternut squash-filled  tortelloni would be gently tossed in.  I was so proud of her up there!

She spoke with such grace and eloquence about the history of tortelloni and how they’re always handmade, making them a pretty special sort of pasta.  I had a little moment of pride when Gio said that she actually used both butternut and acorn squash in this batch.  Let me explain why: many years ago when I used to work with Gio, she asked me to order some eggcorn squash.  “Pardon?” I asked.  “You know, eggcorn squash,”  she replied confidently.  (That’s the great thing about immigrants–they have such funny ways of speaking sometimes!)  It was up to me to teach Giovanna about acorn squash, and, to be honest, about so many other food-related things.  In fact it might as well have been me up on that stage giving the demonstration.  But I was happy where I was because the crowd was all given a sample of the tortelloni to try:

Nothing compares really.   I can still taste them now.

But the fun was still to come:  Giovanna competed against Jason Bangerter of Auberge du Pommier in a Iron Chef style competition.  It was even hosted by Kevin Brauch, host of the Thirsty Traveler and the floor reporter on Iron Chef America!

Giovanna won.  She won last year too.  I can’t remember what she and Fabio even made because I was so nervous the entire time.  Plus, I was blown away that Gio chose the very public stage to share two very personal bits of information: first, she let slip that Fabio was not just her sous chef for the day, but also her fiance.  And second, after Kevin asked Gio about running the Boston Marathon this year (yes, she runs marathons, and yes, she qualified for that little one in Boston with 2 minutes to spare), she told him that she wasn’t doing it this year.  He asked her why and she said, in front of a crowd of about a hundred, “Because I’m pregnant.”

But this blog isn’t about Giovanna and how she runs marathons and how she wins cooking contests and how she’s going to be starting a family:  It’s about me and my accomplishments.  I could totally quality for Boston.  I could qualify for any shit show of a marathon I wanted, but I’ve got plantar scilliosistis still.

Moving on to far more important things, I decided on having a bruschetta party for Oscar night.  This is when I prepare an assortment of toppings to crown toasted pieces of baguette and other breads.  I think it’s one of my favourite dinners because you get to design your own little toasts with whatever you want and each bite can be different, or the same.  Don’t you see?  There’s endless potential for discovering new taste combinations but there’s also the comfort of repetition.  You decide.

I chose three cheeses:  a nice Manchego, a creamy Quebec brie-style cheese, and Osau Irati.  Accoutrements included spicy strawberry jam, green olives, and truffle honey. I also prepared some mashed up avocado, bruschetta-style tomatoes, and cannellini beans warmed with olive oil, garlic, parsley and some red chili.

The Beast got home just as the red carpet commentary was wrapping up.

Beast:  Wow!  This looks incredible!  (He scans the table for a moment) Is there any meat here?

Foodie:  There are three slices of salami left over from gourmet sandwich night.  You can have all three slices.

Beast:  Obviously.  This is great.  And after this we can heat up some frozen pizzas for dinner, right?

Foodie: What are you talking about?  This is dinner.

Beast:  Oh. I just thought these were snacks.

Foodie:  They are snacks–this is like snacks for dinner.

Beast:  Interesting.  What have I missed so far?

Foodie:  Not much.  Kathy Ireland is acting crazy.

Beast:  Who’s that?

Foodie:  A former model I think.  She’s scaring the poor celebrities on the red carpet with her crazy talk and crazy eyes.  And that lady from the view told the Precious lady, “You’ve burned your genius into a dream come true.”  I don’t even know what that means but it sounds awesome.  And George Clooney’s Italian girlfriend is acting all, “what is this little show again?”  She could care less about being there.  Oh, and I think Sandra Bullock nailed her outfit, and so did our friend Rachel, and–

Beast:  Are you sure there’s not more salami?

Foodie:  Yes I ‘m sure.  Why would I lie about that?

Beast:  Sometimes I think you ration my food–that maybe you hide it so I don’t eat it all.

Foodie:  That’s a good idea.  Be quiet now–I want to see how Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin do.

So we enjoyed our Oscar snacks in silence.  I don’t even think we laughed much during the funny bits.  In fact, this may have been the first time that I’ve fallen asleep during the Oscars.  I was out like a light right after Ben Stiller presented an award dressed up like an avatar, which I did laugh at.  I don’t know if I’m just getting older or the Oscars are getting duller.  At least the snacks were award-worthy.  Dear oh dear…did I just attempt to be clever by making a joke about our Oscar snacks being award-worthy.  Fuck, I’m getter older AND duller.

Foodie:  ***1/2

Beast:  **1/2

Breakfast for Dinner

After work, looking at the movie listings…

Beast: You know what?  Let’s go see Remember Me this weekend.

Foodie:  Really?!  I wanted to ask you to see that but I just assumed you wouldn’t want to go! It’s gotten good reviews you know.

Beast:  Yeah, I think I read that Tiger Beat gave it four stars.

Foodie:  Oh I see.  You were joking.

Beast:  Yes.

Foodie:  It’s breakfast for dinner tonight.  Are you excited?

Beast:  Did you pick up breakfast sausages like you promised you would?

Foodie:  Yes.

Beast:  Then I’m very excited.  Cook the entire package.

Foodie:  But–

Beast:  Trust me on this one.

So I got out the mix I bought after my recent homemade pancake catastrophe.  All you have to do is add water to this one:

And I started to fry up some bacon.

And then I had a novel idea:  what if I cooked the breakfast sausages in the oven, instead of in a frying pan?  There would be so many advantages with this method:  first, baking sausages is healthier than frying them, I think.  And second, if I put foil on top of the baking sheet, there’s one less dish to wash!  I might have left them in a bit too long but I like a crispy breakfast sausage better than a sickly little pale one.

Beast:  (Running in from the living room and grabbing pens and pencils) What sort of topping do you plan on serving with the pancakes?

Foodie:  We’ve got maple syrup and that homemade rhubarb jam that I whipped up last weekend.  Is that good enough for you?

Beast:  Yes.

Foodie:  Where are you going?  Just stay here because dinner is done.

Beast:  (Running back into the living room)  I’ll be right back!

And then I heard the Beast starting to play the piano!  And not just for a few seconds, but for minutes!  Plus, he wasn’t even really playing the piano–he took off some section so the strings were exposed and he was dinking around with those–using different objects, like pens and pencils, to hit the strings while he played the keys.  I just stood in the kitchen and kept yelling “dinner!” over and over again.  I was so furious that I got my plate all ready without him.

Beast:  (finally coming into the kitchen):  Oh this looks so good!  What’s wrong?

Foodie:  (walks away without talking.)

Beast:  Hey wait a second!  Wait for me!

Foodie:  NO!  I’m eating without you!  I was calling your name and you kept ignoring me because you were in your little musical world where you just keep playing an instrument and your eyes glaze over when I’m trying to talk to you!   I hate it!

Beast:  You only called once and here I am!

Foodie:  LIAR!!!!!!!!  

Beast:  Okay, maybe more than once.  I’m sorry!  I’m really sorry.  But did you hear what I created?  Can you believe that I made all those sounds by using only one instrument?  

Foodie:  (Silence.)

Beast:  (Holding out his plate, which is spilling over with pork products.)  Don’t you want to take a picture of this?

Foodie:  No.  Let’s just go eat.    

Beast:  Listen, I know it’s not easy living with somebody as creative as I am.  

Foodie:  Holy shit, can we just go eat already?

So we did.  And the Beast ate 12 breakfast sausages.  

Foodie:  **

Beast:  ***1/2

 

Emergency Frozen Lasagna

Just outside St. Joseph’s Hospital’s emergency waiting room…

Beast:  Well, what’s wrong with you?

Foodie:  The doctor says I have Plantar Fasciitis.  It’s basically an inflammation of the ligament that runs the length of the bottom of my foot.  And that’s why the toe beside my big toe has on occasion been feeling prickly and hot too.

Beast:  What caused it?

Foodie:  He said jumping and running, or bad posture or bad footwear.

Beast:  I think it’s from all the jumping you do.

Foodie:  What jumping?

Beast:  I’m joking.  Is it permanent?  What do you do to fix it?

Foodie:  He said to freeze a water bottle and roll it around with my foot.  I don’t know if it’s permanent.

Beast:  You didn’t ask?

Foodie:  No.

Beast:  Well how long should you stay off it?

Foodie:  I don’t know.

Beast:  Didn’t you ask any questions?

Foodie:  Ah, let me think.  No.  He was very handsome though–like an Asian Bradley Cooper.

Beast:  Wow.  I can’t believe you don’t know if you’ll be afflicted with this forever or what you have to do to fix it.

Foodie:  He said to just ice it and that’s all I could do.  And then he asked me if I wanted something for the pain.  And I said, “What do you think?” And he said, “Well, pain is relative.”  And then I said, “Well yes please, I’ll have whatever it is you were about to prescibe.”  So let’s go to the pharmacy and get me some Tylenol 3!

Beast:  May I have some?

Foodie:  Sure!  But maybe we shouldn’t have them at the same time.  Doctor said they really knock you out and somebody is going to have to take care of me today.  I need to rest my plancktar scilliakitosis.

And the Beast rose to the occasion with surprising finess.  He rented five movies–maybe not movies I would pick out–but at least they weren’t documentaries on dead Jazz musicians so couldn’t really complain.

And then there was dinner.  I had made fun of the Beast last week for buying a $10 family size frozen lasagna from Loblaws.  But I wasn’t laughing when it came out of the oven.  It got gloriously crispy–maybe even a touch burnt–but that’s how I like it.

The Beast also made a caesar salad and sliced up a warmed and buttered Ace Bakery baguette.  I don’t know if it was the Preston Sturges’ Palm Beach Story that we watched with dinner, or the fire we had going, or the Tylenol 3, but it was the finest frozen lasagna dinner a girl with planter’s scillaactisosis could ask for.

And it just kept getting better!  The Beast prepared me some of the rhubarb crisp I’d baked before I was afflicted with my serious foot ailment.  I must say, it’s one of the best ones I’ve made too, I think because the January rhubarb right now is so gloriously pink and perfect.  

Why yes, that is a quenelle of vanilla ice cream on top.  You see earlier that morning, before our trip to the emergency room, I was reading the paper and drinking coffee and I got all in a puff over something that  Joanne Kates wrote in her Globe and Mail review of Gilead Bistro: she said, “I doubt anyone under 40 even knows what a quenelle is.”  

Foodie:  How can she be so out of touch?  I bet the millions of people that watch Top Chef, Hell’s Kitchen, and nearly every show on the Food Network, know what a quenelle is.  I mean, food, the history of food, and gastronomy in general, aren’t just discourses that interest a select few anymore.  But she hangs on to that sort of elitist misapprehension, and reveals it in some way in nearly every one of her columns.

Beast:  What’s a quenelle?

Foodie:  Are you joking?!  It’s when you take two spoons and–

Beast:  Oh that!  I love quenelles!

To prove it, the Beast quenelled some ice cream on top of my rhubarb crisp.  I was very impressed.  But all of his nursing, cooking, dish washing and quenelling must have really tuckered the poor thing out: he promptly fell asleep on the couch, with his head on my lap.  I stayed up and watched the Swedish almost-horror movie, Let the Right One In.   I was too scared to fall asleep.

Gosh, I hate to say it, but considering how much attention I got, I almost don’t mind having a case of plainold shitiousness.   The hospital bracelet now sits on our mantel.  I plan on wearing it whenever I don’t want to cook or do dishes.  

Foodie:  ***1/2

Beast:  ****

Footnote:  I do not make a habit of visiting the emergency room in place of seeing my family doctor.  In fact, I had called my doctor on Saturday morning but he wasn’t  in.  His receptionist said I ought to go to emergency, and the Beast concurred when he saw that I could not walk down the stairs.