Sunday, December 23, 2007

So this is Christmas.......


And I'm sick in bed. Chills, fever, sinus congestion etc.... I hope to recover enough by tomorrow to bake a little somethin' somethin'. The DH cooks New Years Eve dinner Polish style every year. For one of our early Christmas's when the children were still toddlers I made Christmas decorations from wallpaper cut-outs. They have stood up well over the years (they don't break). Now they are part of our Christmas tradition. Can paper be an heirloom?


Monday, December 17, 2007

Raspberry Beret

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My transit knitting is a beret (free pattern from Knit and Tonic)using the pink Malabrigo yarn shown above. Actually calling it pink is an understatement. It is actually shades of "beet pink", but the beret looks like a "raspberrys and cream" colourway. I won't have a chance to do any knitting photos until my Christmas break next week. I can hardly wait. In the mean time the count down is on and I am being hevavily distracted by the web forum Ravelry. I have set up my notebook on Ravelry but again I can't add any photos until the break. Sigh.

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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Happy Hanukkah

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I love holiday food. Celebrations by definition bring out the best food. Especially during these times of self denial in the name of good health. With fats now being considered absolutely sinful how can you not embrace a holiday that exhorts you to fry all of your food in fat. Maybe not all of your food, but as much of it as possible and as in deep a fat as possible. So in honour of Hanukkah and the miracle of the oil I made latkes today.

As well as commemorating a miracle latke's also remind me of good times with my mother-in-law (MIL). My MIL speaks only a few words of English and I speak only a few words of Polish, but we both enjoy sporadic outbursts of cooking, particularily for celebrations. My husband has fond memories of his mother's latkes and detests most commercial latkes and their resemblance to hockey pucks. He criticized my first attempts at latke making as too coarse. My recipe only instructed me to peel, grate and drain the potatoes. My MIL made latkes for us during her first visit, and I watched closely. She hand grated the potatoes on the smallest holes. Then she drained the grated potatoes through a tea towel and squeezed out as much liquid as possible. I have yet to read a latke recipe instructing to squeeze finely grated potatoes in a tea towel, yet this appears to be a most essential step that ensures minimal separation of the batter.

I rarely hand grate my potatoes, as I fear shredding my nails and fingertips. For years I processed the potatoes with short pulses in the food processor, but this leads to a lengthy appliance cleanup. Last year I bought a mandolin. I can't explain why but it is easier to clean than a food processor and although it is not an electric appliance it is much more efficient than a hand grater. So today for the first time I grated my latke potatoes on the mandolin. It worked like a charm. Above is a photo of the golden finished product. Pass the sour cream --yes even more fat. The righteous can have applesauce.


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Off the Treadmill

Since my "breather" last Friday I seem to have stepped off of the treadmill that my life has become. Actually it started the night before on the Thursday. Instead of staying at work until 9:00 pm (I do all marking and prep at school, none at home) I left at 5:00. Instead of driving directly home I went to an Indian sweet and snack shop that a co-worker had recommended. My co-worker had recommended the samosas. They were excellent. Especially since they were being cooked fresh to order. But while I was there I couldn't resist buying some salty spicy snacks (Surati Delight, but I think of it as Gujarati trail mix) and some sweets made with condensed milk -- an instant sugar rush. I couldn't just have one. I had to buy the mango, cashew, pistachio and coconut flavours -- so that I could share ;)

Fortunately I ate my share of the samosas in the car on the way home. When I got home my daughter informed me that we couldn't eat because we had to go and have a family night at her university gym. Daughter, DH and I, all went to the gym and worked out for two hours!! I can still feel it!! (The abs still hurt). Anyway that took away any guilt that I may have felt about scarfing down three samosas.

The next day, Friday, after my workshop I went to my hairdresser for a much needed hair cut. She did a total transformation. My curly head is now straight. Black hair with copper tips is now brown with copper highlights. I've gone from Grace Jones to Halle Berry. My hair has not been straight since the 80s. She reassured me that I can always wet and scrunch it curly again. This may well happen after the first shampoo. Only now I've discovered that I can fit more hats on my head with straight hair than with curly. My love of accessories may win out.

On Saturday night I went out with my daughter and my sister to an actual movie theatre. We saw Elizabeth The Golden Age. I am so glad that I caught that on the big screen, my eyes devoured every detail of the costumes. They skimped on most of the costumes but Cate Blanchett had costumes that were lovingly detailed. I have to make something based on one of them. I loved the movie even though some of the dialogue was odd: "My Bitches wear my collar!". For a moment I wondered just which hood Elizabeth was from.

Last night I came home early again (7:00), and finished off my Indian sweets with a cup of Earl Grey tea, and a nice lavender scented salt bath. I think this is not just about getting off the treadmill but more about defending myself against SAD -- that depression I feel when the daylight hours are short. I hope it works because there is at least another two months before the days will be noticeably longer.