Friday, January 31, 2014

Writer vs Author // Chef vs Cook

At the Brockton Writer's Series (hosted by Full of Beans) earlier this month, the guest speakers stated that he viewed himself as a writer instead of an author. I believe this is because writers use the medium of words to educate while authors have a burning desire to write – they cannot chose not to write. Authors have to write or their stories will overtake them.

As my one little word of 2014 is WRITE this little statement reminded me of the interplay between chef and cook. Cooks are generally viewed as lesser than chef (especially due to the cult of the celebrity) but I believe that cooks are the educators and truly passioned individuals of the food industry. Cooks cannot chose an different profession/passion. Chefs chose their career and the motivation isn't food in and of itself.
What do you think of my descriptions of these categories?

What did I WRITE in January?

MonthlyMini: Iss 001 NOG

BakingThrough Anxiety” (Guest Post)
SpicyPear Cocktail” (Tall Boys)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Coffee, Tapicoa, Puzzles

Working on a Monthly Mini Zine

Working on a very hard puzzle.

Monday, January 27, 2014

My Vintage Kitchen: Recipe Box

What is it? A vintage metal recipe box. The metal is indended on the lid in the back - but it doesn't interfere with the use of the product.
Where did I get it? Thrift store for 99 cents!
Do you use it? Still debating if I should gift this to my sister or not. She has a recipe box - and I just go back to the original cookbook for fav recipes.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Reusable Straw Collection

From the top: cleaning brush, Strawesome bubble tea straw, Mulled Mine Metal Bubble Tea straw, Bamboo straw, metal drinking straw, Strawesome cocktail straw

I've had the metal drinking straw for years. I got it at the Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival and I do not remember the company. The bamboo straw was purchased in Winnipeg for 75 cents and I have not used it yet. The two Strawesome straws were reviewed here and I like them even less now than when I wrote that review. The ends are not cut straight and because of that the cocktail straw does not look clean after a single use. 

The Metal Bubble Tea straw I purchased from this etsy store. As I love my daily metal drinking straw I believe I will enjoy this metal straw.

There are many reusable straw options so if you happen to purchase one and dislike it - keep on the lookout for something else!     

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Eating the Web: Tumblr Art Edition


Monday, January 20, 2014


I carved a spoon yesterday. I took a spoon carving workshop hosted by Toronto Tool Library and put on by the Ontario Woodcarvers Association. After minimal instruction (ie no safety brief) we were handed sharp tools and told to carve a spoon. The teacher came around and provided individual instruction that was taliored to the individual task and person. I learned an amazing amount and am now super pumped to start my #spoonempire. 

This spoon needs some more sanding and an layer of mineral oil.

I've ordered carving tools online and can't wait to start carving some wooden spoons for daily kitchen use.   

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Clean Start...

There is nothing quite like a clean fridge. My fridge is currently a beacon of light - that's how clean it is. I got rid of several failed fermentation experiments and several (dozen) jars of jam - apparently I make jam but we don't eat it. Also beer. Lots of beer. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Eating the Web: Tumblr Addition

I've discovered Tumblr. Or rather I've tumbled down a hole called Tumblr. I've even launched a new 'WRITE' themed project at: I've come across some beautiful, touching, funny and just plain wonderful food themed posts on tumblr. Here are a few of my favorites.


Friday, January 10, 2014

Watermelon Rind Pickles

Well... I didn't accomplish very many of my 2013 Food Resolutions. Oh well! I did manage to make some watermelon rind pickles this summer. I cannot find the recipe I used anymore but I do remember that there was a bowl of watermelon rinds in vinegar in my fridge for close to three days. 

The pickles themselves are interesting. They are very tart with a background of sweet. I would make them again because I like the waste reducing aspect of this pickle. I think they would go nicely on a sandwich or on a plate of pickles/chutneys.  

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Palt: The Recipe

5 cups shredded drained potatoes
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk

Shred pototoes coarsely on a box grater. Drain thoroughly. I place a handful in a tea towel and squish and twist vigorously. Add flour and mix thoroughly. This is best done with your hands in the same manner (but more vigorously) as mixing ground meat. The mixture should have the consistency of ground meat when mixed. Shape into patties of equal size. 

Bring a  large pot of water to the boil. Add in the patties and boil until all patties are floating. Strain. 

Cut the patties into cubes and place in a saucepan. Add milk and saute until milk begins to thicken. Stir frequently to avoid scorching. Serve when all of the milk has thickened and is coating the palt. Consume with salt and pepper and copious amounts of butter. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Palt: A Tradition

One of my favorite potato dishes is my family's tradition of palt. Palt is one of those amazing, hearty potato dishes that is not well known. In elementary school I naively assumed that everyone knew about the wonderful palt, but I was shocked to discover that my teacher did not know how to spell it. Palt, in family lore, is an Eastern European dish that was passed down to us through my father's Swedish ancestors. Therefore palt was one of the few dishes that my dad cooked. Palt sounds disgusting, being a boiled mixture of shredded raw potatoes and flour. The raw palt which has the texture of meatless ground meat, is shaped into hamburger-like patties. My dad would boil the palt in two huge roasters, spanning two burners each, until the tiny kitchen windows were streaked with condensing steam. The large, gelatinous, white mounds are virtually tasteless and are consumed for supper, with a large pat of butter on the side of the plate. Palt, served the next day for breakfast, is the perfect meal. Leftover palt patties are cut into cubes, and fried with milk. The milk is cooked until the cubes of palt are warm and covered with a thick, white, gluey, starchy palty goodness!

There is a proper and improper way to consume palt. The proper way is as follows. One cube of palt, covered in milk glue, is placed on a huge pat of butter. Hold the hot palt against the butter until the butter turns from an opaque yellow solid to a liquid. Consume the cube and begin again. The improper way to consume palt is to mix the butter into the milk glue covered cubes as this way of consuming palt does not allow the proper freshly melted butter to palt ratio. Consume only palt cubes thoroughly covered in milk glue. If this is not done, there will be too much milk glue left on your plate at the end of the meal. Also,no matter what happens, place the empty plates in hot water immediately after eating. The milk glue dries into an impossibly hard crust if not cleaned immediately. Palt may sound disgusting but trust me it's a wonderful dish! Palt is starchy, warm and gooey consumed with large amounts of butter fat, and milk fat. There is nothing that can go wrong with this combination of carbohydrates and fat!

There are many versions of palt and it appears that the filling-less version is known as flat-palt. It appears that palt is commonly filled with ground meat and boiled in the same manner that a dumpling would be. Also flours made from barley and rye are commonly used. I plan on exploring these other traditions that involve palt.   


Friday, January 3, 2014

VIA Train Travel: Hints and Tips

For the past five years my husband and I have been choosing the more environmentally friendly (and casual) way of traveling. We choose trains over planes whenever we can. The major downside of train travel is that it takes a lot longer to arrive then flying but we enjoy the casual and low-stress environment of the train over the hectic, stressful nature of flying.
Tips for Economy:
- Hot water is provides so bring hot chocolate, soups, and tea/coffee.
- Blanket: Its way easier to sleep with a blanket in any circumstance but the odd body positions you get into at night require a blanket.
- Utilize the observation car. For some reasons passengers in economy hardly move from their seats. This means that the observation car will be mostly empty making for nice daytime viewing and a place to stretch out at night (if you don’t mind sleeping in the light).

Economy is the cheapest option but in all honesty I would recommend upgrading to first class berths. The price difference is that great and you receive all the benefits of first class as well as full bed. Economy is mostly comprised of Canadian travelers while first class is comprised of overseas tourists. This makes first class passengers a lot friendlier and talkative.

Tips for First Class:
- Meals are included and there is complimentary coffee/tea/fruit/cookies throughout the day so you won’t starve. Do not choose the middle dinner seating as that seating is the most popular. VIA staff usually host wine/beer tastings during the middle dinner seating as a morale booster to those passengers who have to eat earlier and/or later.
- Ask for the entertainment car. This may or may not be the nearest observation car to your room but it will be worth the walk as this car will hold all the party people, the excellent staff, and all of the activities. Activities could include a musician, movies, talks about the local environment, wine/beer tastings, and/or souvenir shopping.
- Make the trek down to the Park Car. This car is set up entirely different than the regular observation and activity cars. Have a martini. You’ll feel like Bond and won’t regret it.

No matter how you travel make sure to register for a FREE VIA rail preference number. You can redeem points for FREE train travel!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The End of 2013 .... The Beginning of 2014

During the daily grind of the year - during the repetitive process of cooking, errands, general life - one can forget the small goals and accomplishments that really add up over the course of a year. 

2013 was the year I...

... Launched an e-course about Kombucha
... Wrote weekly beer-related blog posts for a local bar
... had a regular column over at Paperdroids
... Submitted to SegaZine and Self Care Zine
... Hosted several workshops
... Sold zines at several Zine Fairs
... Collaborated on a comic zine

2014 is the year I ... write.    

Write is my One Little Word (wherein you choose one little word that represents the upcoming year - inspire by Campfire Chic) which means that I will write...

 ... blog posts
 ... zine submissions and zines
 ... to-do lists
 ... emails about collaborations and potential projects
 ... NaNoWriMo 
 ... postcards and letters
 ... e-courses and e-books
 ... new project websites