a fable and some very pithy recipes

A wee introductory note

Well, it’s finally Friday!  And, because I’m feeling dragged out and rather lazy I thought I’d post a couple of blasts from the not-so-distant past.  Below, you’ll find – respectively – a little fable about some food-crazed Torontoian… and some of my special “Recipes in 25 Words or Less”.  They were both previously published on a food blog I set up one day when bored at work feeling even more inspired than usual.  I posted a few times on that blog and then remembered that I was, in fact, a lazy@$$ and didn’t feel like doing two blogs.

So, here it is – and my apologies to any of the three people who actually visited the other blog and have already read this crap.  See you next week with some brand-spanking-new stuff!

An Urban Fable

Once upon a time, there was a little girl living in a village. She grew up learning the Greek-Canadian art of How to Cook a Meal in One Week or Slightly Less at her mother’s knee:

So, it’s not all that surprising that she moved to the Big City as soon as possible and became a bachelor.

She never even needed to cook, as she was constantly surrounded by fabulous prepared food in abundance.

But, one day, the inevitable happened. She met someone. And that someone was not happy living on chips alone (very surprising, considering that he was from Scotland).

So, our heroine had to learn to cook again from scratch.

And although the Guy From Scotland was very happy with what she made (particularly with the beanz), she kept losing the can opener. Plus, she started to miss the foods from her home village.

However, being a busy person, especially given her predilection for ranting on and on, she did not have hours on end to prepare the feasts of her ancestors:

So she started reading food magazines and watching shows about food on TV to get some ideas. However, she was not the Ideal Hausfrau, and thus she ended up becoming completely depressed by her lack of kitchen perfection and shortage of high end kitchen gadgets:


Something had to be done, quickly. She was slipping back into her bachelor ways and – worse – losing her sense of humour.

Then, one fine day, she came across a vintage cookbook:

… and realised that her cooking could actually be a whole hell of a lot worse than it actually was.

This cheered her up. I mean, why make stuff that takes hours and look like this:

…when she could make stuff in 15 minutes that actually tasted pretty good?

So, our heroine started to see the light. She could now pass the high-end without bursting into tears…and actually started to go in and giggle at all the silly gadgets. She stopped coveting $50 balsamic vinegar and truffle oil.

And now, she’s become so confident with her anti-chef status that she would like to start sharing her inspirations tips and secrets with you, gentle reader. You, too, can have fun and turn out edible meals in less time than it takes a TV chef to depress the hell out of you.

And if your family doesn’t like it? Just tell them to get off their lazy @$$es and cook for a change.


Recipes in 25 Words or Less

In which Brouhaha starts trying to achieve her lifelong goal of publishing an entire cookbook on 4 double sided sheets of paper…

Soups

  • Tortellini soup: Put stock in pot. Bring to boil. Throw in tortellini. Simmer six minutes. Turn off heat. Add frozen veg and let sit three minutes. Enjoy.
  • variation: use v-8 juice instead of stock.
  • click here for the full Anti-chef recipe
  • Cock-a-leekie: slice and saute three leeks. Add three cups chicken stock and 1/4 cup barley. Simmer 45 minutes. Turn off heat and add frozen veg. Tasty.

Appetizers

  • Hummus: Blend one large can chickpeas, 1/4 cup each tahini (sesame paste) and lemon juice, one teaspoon cumin, one-half teaspoon smoked paprika, cayenne and salt.
  • Saganaki: slice kefalotiri (or romano) cheese 1/4 inch thick. Dredge with flour. Fry in lots of butter until golden. Serve with lemon wedges and bread. Opa!
  • Spicy Peanut Sauce: mix one cup chunky peanut butter, one tsp each cumin, hot paprika, and chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, salt.  Add hot water to desired consistency.
  • Garlic Puffs: cut one sheet puff pastry into squares.  Brush on garlic-flavoured olive oil.  Sprinkle lots of parmesan over.  Bake 20 minutes at 400 F.

Salads

  • Greek Surprise: chop one red onion. Let sit in lime juice 1/2 hour. Cube watermelon. Add feta, kalamata olives, fresh herbs, salt, pepper. Pour onion/lime over.
  • Fennel Citrus: slice one bulb fennel. Add one tin mandarin oranges with juice, one quarter cup white wine vinegar, salt, pepper. Dress with edible flowers.
  • Moroccan Chickpea: mix one can chickpeas; red bell pepper; carrot; one teaspoon each cumin, coriander; 1/4 teaspoon cayenne; two scallions; garlic; olive oil; lemon juice; salt.  Zippy.
  • Village Greek: cut tomatoes into wedges; salt heavily; let sit.  Add sliced English cucumber, three cloves garlic, chopped onion, cubed feta, kalamata olives, pepper, oil to taste.

Entrees:

  • Lamb Shanks Youvetsi: place lamb shanks in ovenproof casserole.  Add two cups stock, one large can tomatoes, one teaspoon cinnamon, chopped onion, garlic. Cover.  Bake two hours. Hearty!
  • Pasta with Burnt Butter: Heat four tablespoons of butter per serving of pasta in heavy sauce pan until it foams then turns brown. Remove from heat.  Pour over pasta.
  • Chicken a la grecque: Brown boneless chicken breasts. Add sauce grecque (one can cream of chicken soup, half can water, lemon juice, oregano, salt, pepper). Simmer half an hour. Yum.
  • Desperation Curry: Saute one pound ground meat with soy sauce, pepper, onion and garlic (powder will do), red wine vinegar and BBQ sauce. Serve with rice.
  • Perogies: Chop onion and bacon – saute ten minutes. Meanwhile, boil perogies in salted water until they float to top – drain. Saute perogies in bacon mixture. Mmmm.
  • Ribs Like Mom Used to Make: Cut ribs into pieces. Simmer in water with an onion for one hour. Brush with favourite BBQ sauce, cover, bake in hot oven 20 minutes.

Desserts

  • Boozy Trifle: cut stale cake or muffins into cubes. Put in bowl. Soak with booze of your choice. Mix in pudding or custard and fruit or jam.
  • Decadent Delight: got cookies and pudding packs? Crush cookies, layer with pudding in bowl. Mix in whipped cream or cool whip and freeze 20 minutes. Mmm.
  • Lemon Squares: crush shortbread cookies.  Add eight tablespoons melted butter, 1/4 cup sugar, some salt.  Pack into pan and let sit 1/2 hour.  Cover with lemon curd.

Bonus: Baklava in 50 words or less!!

  • Baklava for Lazy People: shred half pound phyllo into large pan. Mix in two cups nuts and half pound melted butter. Bake at 350 degrees 20 minutes. Let cool.
  • add syrup: bring one and a half cups honey, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup orange juice, two cinnamon sticks to boil. Pour over cooled pastry.
  • (I know this one’s a bit of a cheat… but I couldn’t resist!! And everyone loves baklava!)

why there will be no PayDay excursion today…

No, this is not an ad for the upcoming summer knitting chick-flick film blockbuster entitled “How Blue Was My Valley”.  I can only wish.

Instead, this is a photo of only one of the yarns that I forgot… yes, forgot!… that I had in the stash.   It was like Christmas in (almost) July when I finally got around to sorting out the stash room yesterday, let me tell you.

I should mention that I think most of the yarns I will show in this post were purchased within the past year (or so say the vague flickers of my brain when I was struggling to remember whether I had actually bought this stuff, or whether the Yarn Fairy had been overly generous of late.  I know – nay, I hope – that the knitters who visit this board will understand this ongoing problem of moment-specific amnesia that I apparently suffer from.  That is, I buy the stuff, I photograph it, I post yarn pron on my blog and then the yarn actually ceases to exist.  Hmm.

Anyway, first in the roll call of Great Forgotten Yarns: this gorgeous Handmaiden Lace Silk!

Two skeins of it!  I’m racking my brains trying to remember what it was for.

Next, a skein of Sea Silk in a forgotten colourway:

I do recall that I bought this relatively recently… but that’s it.  I don’t know where.

And next?

Ah, yes.  This one, I remember.  Phew.  I acquired this on a trip to Knitomatic – I went there frantically after work one day, having decided that I just had to make a geometric rib-fronted sweater by Norah Gaughan right then.  I could have bought something more pedestrian like Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece, but also just had to have some cashmere.  This was at least five months ago.

And this?

Again, another must-have from Knitomatic.  It’s gorgeous, isn’t it?  It certainly doesn’t deserve to languish, forgotten and unloved, in my stash pile of stuff on the floor drawer…

Man, my back is starting to get sore what with all the self-flagellation, really.  I had even managed to forget about this:

Schaefer Anne in perhaps the most beautiful colour ever.

And what’s this, then?

Ah, yes – some Berocco suede that I was desperate for longer ago than I care to remember.  I entered a swap with Natalie to get my hot little hands on it. I was going to make the Snapping Turtle Skirt by Norah Gaughan with it…

And, finally this:

More forgotten Lace Silk!  And again, two skeins.  I have no clue when I bought this, where it came from, etc.

And actually, I must confess… that isn’t really the “finally” item.  There are more photos – but I’m starting to get rather embarrassed.  As I was, by the way, when JJ ignored the crime scene tape that I had glued the stash room door shut with while cleaning and came in to see me surrounded by … well, yarn.  I then told him that I had forgotten buying much of it (all right, all right… I then confessed that I must have been in a trance when I bought half of the stuff that he saw surrounding me on the floor).  He just shook his head and, thankfully, left.

You may have noticed that I had taken most of the photos on top of a piece of graph paper with scrawls on it.  That was my attempt to catalogue the stash.  I soon gave up… but the list does document:

– eight skeins of Malabrigo laceweight (each around 500m)

– nine skeins of Fiddlesticks laceweight (each 600m)

– nine skeins of Misti Alpaca regular laceweight (each 400m)

– seven skeins of Misti Alpaca Handpaints laceweight (each 800m)

– eight skeins of Blue Moon Silk Thread (each 1100m)

– two skeins of Claudia lace thread (each 1100m)

And, that’s without the Handmaiden.  And, that’s also only laceweight stuff.  It does not take into account the Super10 stash (which now has its very own container) or other lovely stuff like the milk yarn that Amy had so kindly sent me some time back… or the lovely yarn from Clarabelle (not naming the provenance as it is very, very hard to come by and my UK blog friends are having problems getting enough for their own needs).

Plus, it appears that I now officially have enough laceweight yarn to cover Canada with lace.  And, in case you weren’t aware, Canada is a very, very large country indeed.

So, that’s it.  No more PayDay excursions for a while.  And yes, I know I’ve said this before, but this time I mean it.  Really.

Off now to phone the insurance company to up my household coverage…

Cheers,

Kristina

PS.  And, no, Amy – you can’t have my yarn.  Sorry.

do idle hands make the devil’s work?

I’m not sure about that, but they do make for some fun reading sometimes!

Yesterday while … oh, never mind… I came across this website with perhaps the perfect title: The Idler.

Who couldn’t love a magazine with the following mission statement?

The Idler is a bi-annual, book-shaped magazine that campaigns against the work ethic….

The intention of the magazine is to return dignity to the art of loafing, to make idling into something to aspire towards rather than reject.

Sign me up!  It seems that I may just finally have found my people.  My true people.  The loafers, layabouts, idlers, etc. etc.

So if you’re in the mood to laze around and surf the net, check it out.  I recommend in particular the mini-essays on crap jobs for a wee chuckle.

And – here’s the poster that’s going up on my office door, with a few modifications:

What’s that?  You insist on keeping me busy?  Well, here’s another craft for you all to take up:

Come on – you know you want a fancy macrame swing coat!!!  Wouldn’t these be ultra-fabulous with the Swarovski crystal yarn? (Thanks to Jay for the photo!)

Well, I must confess I’m feeling rather pedestrian these days, actually.  So, I’ve resorted to starting work on the Seascape pattern from the latest Knitty magazine.

I’m using that fabulous blueberry seasilk I got in Nova Scotia.  So far, so guid.

Happy loafing Tuesday!

 

fun crafts and weird phone hotlines

Well, it’s back to the grind – but what better to kick off my working week with some craft ideas, one quick, one interesting if you’ve got a tortured brain like mine? (Besides, I figure I’d better have some craft content on here before my 10 or so regulars wander away).

First up: you, too, can look like a lace knitting genius in ten minutes or less* by making yourself a
fancy lace bracelet:
:

* more than 10 minutes if you actually want to knit the lace… but why not just pick some up and say you knitted it! and don’t quote me, either!

And now for another tip which has haunted and fascinated me since I came across the concept: a tutorial onHow to knit backwards:

And speaking of “backwards”, now for a wee rant. Sometimes I just hate reading the paper. You see, I learned this morning that our Minister for Public Safety, the Honourable Doris Stockwell Day:

in his infinite wisdom, had started up a snitch line for us upstanding citizens to report illegal immigrants by way of anonymous phone call. The Canadian Border Services monitor this line, and they say that “no information, however trivial it may seem, is too small.”

Well, guess what? According to today’s Glib and Stale Globe and Mail, that endeavour has apparently generated a large number of bizarre calls.

Why? Well, some people apparently like to make crank calls. Others, no doubt, are mentally challenged, wandering aimlessly without treatment since they started to defund certain medical services and close beds in certain facilities and are merely looking for company.

And… some other people like to make crank calls. I know this might be shocking to you, but it’s true. Of course, I personally have never made a crank call – unless, of course, you count those ones that we made from the church hall payphone when we were all about 12 and resenting having to go to Greek lessons – we’d phone 411 information and ask for “Hooker Heaven”, etc. and hang up giggling. And let me tell you, the priest was not best pleased when he found out we were doing this. But I digress.

Anyway, here’s the types of calls they’ve been getting:

  • Caller wants personal information about her husband, but doesn’t know when or when he was born.
  • Caller says that psychiatrist is forcing caller to take illegal medication
  • Caller says he is illegally in the country, and demands to be deported.
  • Caller states he has a problem. His wife’s family is interfering with his marriage and he doesn’t want them to come to Canada.
  • Caller would like to deport a couple of people from Canada and she would like the website address to fill out the proper forms.  Caller is advised that it is not her decision who gets deported. Caller does not care.

I particularly like that last one.  I can think of a few people I’d like to get deported, Stockwell Day and his boss Stephen Harper being at the top of that list!

Hmm… where is that website?  I need to get hold of that hotline number!

Happy Tuesday!

“Advised him to speak with his wife.”

billions are the new millions

Already irritated beyond belief at the late news by ten minutes past eleven, I started to practice some little meditation techniques that came out in the latest head office Email yesterday (you know, the ones where the bosses pretend to care about you by telling you to manage your stress levels and stay healthy).  To my astonishment, this actually seemed to work. 

That is, until two minutes later when the following statement wafted into my consciousness in the anchorman’s dulcet tones:

Billionaires are the new millionaires. 

Exit large mouthful of Diet Coke through nose.

Man, I haven’t even made my first million yet, and they’ve already upped the bar a thousandfold?!?

Where the hell did this nonsense come from?!?

Humph.  I should have known.  And of course being the idiot that I am, I’d actually bought a copy of this issue yesterday on the way home from work.  (Perhaps if I’d stopped buying this at all when it started to get on my nerves and invested the money instead, I, too, would be a billionaire.  Note to self. 

Well, of course I had to crack it open.  Inside was a list of 19 billionaires who live in Toronto.  Hardly a trend.  But then again, they’re hoarding all the money and keeping it from all those wannabe plain old millionaires, I guess. 

At the top of the list is David Thomson with $19.72 billion.  He controls the flow of media information to the Western world owns Reuters.  Next is Galen Weston Sr. with a paltry $6.33 billion. (I guess it’s true what they say – Loblaws, his food store chain, is hurting these days!)

Now, there’s a big difference between those two figures, no?  (I can’t find my calculator and I don’t have nearly enough fingers and toes to count that high.  Another reason why I’ll never be a billionaire.  By the time I got to the end of the list and the people only had $1 billion each).

I mean, do you ever wonder what these guys discuss at parties (and I say “guys” because there’s only one woman on the list, and she’s only there by virtue of marriage, I think).  

“Yo, Galen!  I’ve got $13 billion more than you do, nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah!!!”

“YEAH?!?  But did you ever play polo with Prince Charles?? Huh??? Huh?????”

“You wanna take it outside to the $900,000 padded and chandeliered boxing ring which I’ve built in my Forest Hill mansion for such occasions?!?!?”

Nah, on second thought they probably all get along very well.  I imagine that they spend most of their time coming up with secret handshakes and discussing purchases such as these:

A $2,000 speaker system for your $150.00 iPod.  I mean, don’t these guys have enough money to buy a whole stereo?!?

And this:

A $50 clip to put on your dashboard to hold those pesky parking passes.  I don’t know why they don’t just do what I do and toss them all on the floor, actually.  

Hmm.  Actually, I have lots of helpful tips for these guys to help them earn even more money.  Do you think one of these would give me a job? 

Good idea.  Off to meditate now.  If I repeat the word “Money” enough times, maybe some will actually fall into my lap. 

a parable for the 21st Century

Well, gang – being as it’s Saturday and I’m recovering from a drinking session with the gnomes busy at housework, I thought I’d reprise a post that I put up on another blog I started in a blog binge last month.

So, if any of you have read it on the other blog, my apologies and I’ll be back tomorrow with more gnome adventures (there’s a new member of the Gnome family!!!) and maybe even some photos of knitting.

And, JJ and I are off later today on a trip to Michael’s craft superstore.  Yippee!

Now for my little fable.  WARNING/AVERTISSEMENT/ACHTUNG: if you are a member of the Conservative Party… well, read at your peril.  And don’t whine to me that you weren’t warned!

**********************************************************************************************

There is a land far, far north of where most people live, and in that land is a little fiefdom called Kanadha. Many people flocked to Kanadha, even though it was a fiefdom, because it was one of the best and brightest places in the world.

However, Kanadha mostly exists in the shadow to its neighbour to the south, Murca. Murca is far larger than Kanadha and is run by a group of dictators known as the Archconservative Party. This is their leader, Exalted Ruler Godfrey. However, Mr. Godfrey prefers to be known as “God” – and this is what most of his people call him (although some of them give him the surname “Damn” underneath their breath).

This is a rare photo of God wearing evening dress. God doesn’t like wearing tuxedos, actually, because he likes to pretend to be a man of the people. However, from time to time he finds his tuxedo a useful tool to intimidate visiting dignitaries, such as The Right Honourable Steve.

Oops, sorry – wrong photo. This is actually the Father of Confederation, Sir John Eh?. However, the new guy, Steve is the current Supreme Lord and Master of Kanadha. He spends most of his time drinking, lying to his serfs and forcing the other nobility to keep silent about whatever it is he is up to, for example, hanging out with suspicious characters:

This is his way of emulating God, with whom he pretends to be best friends. No one is sure whether he actually believes this to be the case or not.

One thing is certain though – Steve has allowed God to scare him about the possibility of harm from this man, Lucifer.

Now, no one knows very much about Lucifer at all. According to God and Steve, Lucifer is a lawless type who hates Murca and should therefore be extinguished. However, people in Kanadha and Murca are not quite sure where he lives, what he believes in, and even whether this army exists or not. (God and Steve might actually know the truth – but if they do, they certainly have not been sharing it with their people).

Despite this, lots of money is spent every year by both Murca and Kanadha to engage in combat like activity far, far away in countries where Lucifer may or may not be found.

In Kanadha, they get the money for this fighting from people like this:

This is taxpayer John Doe. He is just one of millions of Kanadhonians who pay lots of tax money every year to Steve and the rest of the lords. He doesn’t really know where all of that money goes, as that is secret information known only to Steve and his Inner Circle of other nobility.

(It should be noted that In Kanatha, there is currently no right for taxpayers like John to vote. John doesn’t really think that is a big deal because he never voted when it was allowed anyway. Having said that, he does like complaining, though.

People like John, however, typically do not complain about the people in charge, because it’s easier to blame other people like themselves for all the problems in Kanadhian society. Steve encourages this, because it distracts the people and helps them forget that they are actually living in a fiefdom.)

Here are some other taxpayers, Quack and Daisy Duck:

You may have noticed that Quack and Daisy look quite different from one another, and from John Doe. This is because Kanadha is a multicultural fiefdom, although the Lords and Masters all still look like Steve (and like God, for that matter).

Quack and Daisy are hardworking types who don’t really have a lot of time to question what is going on in the wider world. Or maybe they just don’t care.

But that’s not a very kind thing to suggest, really, because I’m sure they’re busy looking after their two kids.

First up: Tina Duck.

Tina is still a young, naive little thing who doesn’t quite understand yet how the world works. Sometimes, especially after being picked on at school because her parents look different from one another, she wonders why everyone just can’t get along.

Everyone, that is, except her and her little brother, that is:

This is Brat Duck. He’s prone to stealing Tina’s crown and running around with it for kicks. He also squawks loudly, sometimes incessantly. This makes him potentially much better suited to get on in the fierdom and the wider world than Tina, unfortunately.

And finally, there is me, your humble chronicler, (Kris)tina.

I live in a place very much like Kanadha. It’s called Trana.

In Trana, unlike in Kanatha and Murca, there is no supreme being. Oh, wait, I’m wrong: of course there is a supreme being in Trana – the Almighty D*llar.

And here I must confess that I actually misled you a bit above. In fact, the Almighty D*llar is also the Supreme Being in both Kanadha and Murca. God and Steve just pretend to be the top entities, really.

I’m not allowed to show you photos here, just as I am not allowed to type out the name in full without changing a letter. However, in Kanadha one version of the Almighty D*llar looks like this, and in Murca like this. The version that you buy things with is referred to as a “dollar”.

As you can see, the Almighty D*llar is a shapeshifter which presents Itself amongst the rulers and mortals who spend their lives in search of it in various forms. And these days, you need at least one hundred of them to buy anything that you need.)

Trana is not a fiefdom, but some – nay, most – days it’s hard for me to believe that.

So, I just content myself with fondling luxury silk yarn, smoking cigarettes and indulging in general apathy like everyone else surrounding me.

Sigh.