Archive for December, 2011

December 29, 2011


20111229-123008.jpgWell, Christmas is in every way finished, and New Years is upon us. The Hubby and I decided to go to Ottawa for New Years Eve, since the crew we hung out with when we were living with Jm in October is having a big party. We need a break from small talk and want to be around people we already know.
Christmas was really nice. We had a couple Skype dates with family and friends and opened a small amount of presents. Jm got whiskey stones and beer, the Hubby got a flask with an Iain M Banks quote about whiskey, and I got a book of Tom Waits sheet music! A good haul!
After present-opening, I took to the kitchen to test it’s limits with our epic Christmas dinner. You can refer to my previous post to see what we had, but what follows is my. Review of each dish.

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December 21, 2011


I was once a strict vegetarian. I was a bad vegan for a year, but missed cheese way too much. But for about 7 years, I was a total vegetarian. When the Hubby and I started dating, I slowly opened meals up to fish, and gradually other meats followed. He had a dairy allergy, and I didn’t want to cook essentially vegan again. Too difficult at that stage in life. But while living in Vancouver, we maintained a largely vegetarian diet. We ate veg at home, occasionally springing on fish, rarely chicken, and even more rarely “fancy” meat if we were eating out.
Since moving to Montreal, all my previous “mostly vegetarian” claims have flown out the window. And there is one reason for that.

Ham here is delicious, and mighty mighty cheap. It is also easily got at the market for reasonable prices, and is so well-cured. Bad ham leaves you guzzling water with a perpetual rubber taste in your mouth. Good ham, like the last 2 cuts we’ve gotten from Atwater, melt in your mouth and taste a mixture of sweet and salty.
We made Mulled-Wine Ham tonight, with ginger green beans and baked potatoes. By we I mean largely the Hubby under my instruction. I got distracted working today and when I started to feel moody and sick, realized I had only eaten a banana and Spritz cookies all day. So I took it easy, and let the Hubby take over. He did good – the meal was a good balance of protein, veggie, and carb. I’ve noticed if I have too much protein I get sluggish, too much carb and I get cranky, too much veggie and I get crampy. I very much need a balance. Here’s my 3 boys in the kitchen, mesmerized by ham:

It was freezing rain today, and tomorrow looks to drop under freezing again. Which means the world could be covered in ice. And I’m out of tea. Thank goodness for snowboots, but also, worst case scenario, the cramp ons I bought to give them super traction! Adventures in East Coast winter begin!

December 21, 2011


I think because it is my first Christmas without my family, I am suddenly remembering all the delicious treats my family would have Christmas. My mother, as phenomenal of a baker as she is, would have had to run an industrially outfitted and staffed kitchen to make all the things I remember having “every” Christmas. Realistically, it comes down to two realities: first, my extended family is huge and full of good cooks, and thus those goodies could have come from any number of recipe books; second, it is entirely possible they alternated years, or there were a few one-off treats.
One treat I know we made on a regular basis were spritz. They made such an impression on me that it was very important to register for a cookie gun when we got married. This was my first chance to test it out. So I busted off the cellophane, dusted the drywall off my KitchenAid (oh, yeah, we returned to Ottawa to find part of our ceiling had flaked off. Life in a “character” apartment!), and set to work on this Canadian Living recipe


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December 15, 2011

12 Days of Cooking

It's what for Christmas dinner

The holiday season is really upon us now, so I decided to start planning out cooking for Christmas-time. We are going to Ottawa tomorrow, and returning with Jm to begin our two weeks of celebration.  I have a whole list of cookies and treats I am so excited to bake, and I realized I will essentially be doing a “12-Days of Cooking”, leading up to New Years. Great way to end 2011, I say – cooking delicious things! On the agenda for baked goods (all gluten free of course):

We will also be making a traditional Finnish cardamom bread the Hubby’s family makes every year called Gustabun (also known as Pulla). That will be my gluten-splurge of the season, since it feels like sacrilege to make it gluten-free (plus it can be tricky enough to make). I will probably also contribute my own Finnish baking tradition and make Pannukakku (a type of oven pancake) for breakfast. This can easily be made gluten-free, and it is one of the most delicious things you can eat.

We have pretty grand plans for Christmas Dinner, so that will probably involve a few days of prep. I’m using recipes for side dishes, but I’m kind of winging the main, though I’ll probably riff on some traditional recipes.  It will be a grand feast, and include a spectacular main course that Jm, the Hubby, and I have been scheming about since Thanksgiving (the Canadian one in October).

For drinks:

For sides:

For dessert:

  • Apple pie and ice cream (apples are delicious and local, and I have cured my cleanse-induced milk allergy and want to celebrate)

And finally, the glorious main course:

  • Phucken

Now, Phucken is a much funnier riff on the Turducken phenomenon.  Phucken is a whole pheasant stuffed with duck and chicken breasts.  Based on what is available at my farmers market, I will also be including chanterelle mushrooms and, my new favourite veggie, kohl rabi.  And gluten free bread – it’s usually so dry it will soak up juices perfectly. Now, the conclusion I take way too much glee in pronouncing:

It will be a fine Phucken meal!  I cannot wait!


December 14, 2011

Long overdue completion of Mom’s Visit

Hey everyone. Boy, I’m having some trouble motivating myself these days.  The rest of the Mom’s Visit was pretty jam packed, and I crashed the day after they left! I need a kick in the butt to get things done.  I’ve also started a knitting project, and to be honest, I sometimes get manic when I knit and only want to knit! I’ll post pics of that later.

A Gallery of the 2nd half of the Mom’s trip:

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Trip narration after the jump:

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December 3, 2011

Moms Visit Part 1

The moms have arrived in Montreal, and we’ve started our touring! We picked them up at the airport late Thursday night/Friday morning. I attempted to make Swedish mulled wine, grög, but left it cooking for too long and it morphed into a delicious reduction sauce – a happy accident, since we were having dinner at our place Friday night. But it meant no wine before bed – how tragic!


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