Saturday, February 28, 2009
There were lots of worthy contenders this year for Best Picture, Acting, Writing, and I was able to see most of the nominees.
Slumdog was a fabulous film, but I am not sure it really deserved the sweep it got, running against films like Frost/Nixon, Doubt and Milk.
And what about Revolutionary Road? That didn’t even make the Oscar list. Winslet and DiCaprio gave amazing performances, reprising their roles as doomed lovers. The chemistry they shared in the Titanic ten years ago paled in comparison with the depth of their “Revolutionary” performances... It would be great to see them paired again, hopefully sooner than another decade.
Also had the pleasure of seeing this year’s winner of the Documentary Feature at Toronto Hot Docs last April. “Man on Wire”, was ingenious in the way it wove together news footage, found film and re-enactments to create a suspenseful piece. Interviews with the participants years after the event were juxtaposed with the historical footage to create something tender and bittersweet. The Director spoke at Hot Docs about how challenging it was to capture the energetic Philip Petit on film for his present-day interview as he seemed truly incapable of sitting still.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
for 6 "Risollo"
(cannelloni in photo)
- 20 ounces fresh spinach, tough stems removed
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 large shallots, minced
- 2 cloves of garlic, pureed
- 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
- 2 Tbsp minced fresh thyme
- 1 cup soft goat cheese (about 10 oz)
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano, packed
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 large eggs
- salt and pepper to taste
+Parmigiano-Reggiano Bechamel Sauce (optional)
+Tomato Concasse (optional)
- preheat oven to 35o degrees F
- Fill a large pot with boiled salted water over high heat and bring to a boil.
- Thoroughly rinse spinach leaves and place in a large pot over medium heat until completely wilted, about 3-5 minutes. Drain, cool completely and wring dry with hands, removing as much water as possible. When you think you're done, wring again!
- In a small saucepan saute garlic and shallots in extra virgin olive oil over medium heat until just softened. Stir in parsley and thyme, cook for 30 seconds more and remove from heat.
- Put garlic/shallot mixture into a food processor with the spinach, goats cheese, parmesan-reggiano, lemon zest and eggs and pulse until the eggs are incorporated and the cheese/spinach is thoroughly mixed. Season with salt and pepper.
- Place the lasagna sheets in the boiling salted water and cook a few minutes until al-dente. Drain and arrange separately on parchment paper or plain towels, with the 5" side closest to you. (cover with parchment paper if not using right away or pasta will dry out)
- Divide the spinach/cheese filling amongst all the lasagne sheets, leaving 1/2" margin on 3 sides and 1" on the side furthest from you. Fold the long side of the sheet in on top of the filling, and roll the lasagne sheets. Place in a non-stick or greased pan seam down.If desired, cover completely with bechamel sauce, or brush all sides of the lasagne roll with extra virgin olive oil.
- Cover with tin foil, put in oven and bake for 15 minutes; remove tin foil and bake for 15 minutes more or until heated through. Cut into slices and serve on a bed of fresh tomato sauce.
- Garnish with a bit or all of the bechamel and/or tomato concasse
- recipe Sarah Harrell, the Veg Company
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Just what I need in the middle of dreary February... some inspiration and the reminder that hey, maybe all this white stuff will melt eventually, and the crocus and snowdrops will start popping their lovely heads out of the ground. I can't wait!
I picked up some tricks to try to amend my soil, and some suggestions for plants to try on my ravine slope where even the most invasive plants seem to struggle. Some great floral design tips. And a pot of lovely yellow daffodils for my window sill.
Spring will come.
Friday, February 20, 2009
The collection began in 1880 and has grown to several hundred thousand pieces, with only a small percentage on display. Maybe that explains the lack of Emily Carr or Group of Seven (although we luckily have a lot of Group of 7 at the McMichael in Toronto). Lots of Montreal artist Betty Goodwin showing at the time of our visit, I enjoy her wit. And also 'discovered' another Canadian artist, James Wilson Morrice, (a painting of his on the right) who was one of Canada's first modernist painters (1864-1924). He had such a talent for painting light. There was a painting on display he did of an open-air cafe in Cuba in the early 1900's that made me feel I was sitting at one of the tables. There were also several voluptuous reclining nudes with soft round eyes gazing with such desire in the direction of the artist... it made me wonder how he got any painting done!
We had a tour of the Impressionists, Fauvists and Post Impressionists led by a young and very earnest and passionate guide. His enthusiasm was contagious. What a dilemma artists must have found themselves in when the camera came onto the scene, a mere machine capturing in an instant what they had struggled so hard to replicate. It was fun to walk close-in and then far away from Monet to see how distance affected perception. Or to circle the Rodin sculpture to take in all the angles. Calder's tree mobile was expertly displayed, so when you walked underneath it gently swayed around your head. Being able to interact with the art definitely enhances the pleasure and experience.
One of the funnest was the post-modern piece by Duchamp, 'Fountain,' in the exhibit "readymades." The original was an actual urinal pulled from the wall of a public washroom, grimy and filthy, trying to make its way to display at an NYC exhibition. A great commentary about art, the meaning of art, the marketing of art. The original was tossed into the Hudson River, but a nice, clean, porcelain copy purchased by Duchamp in the1960's is now on display. I think we may have lost something in the translation, although Duchamp probably laughed his way to the bank. What the hell, by then he probably needed something to fund his retirement.
Sure glad Rob can pick out a great red wine!
Can you really go wrong with a Tuscan red at $17 ?
Monday, February 16, 2009
The photo at right shows them served with walnut pesto, but the spicy peanut sauce is what we used for dipping.
I'm thinking of trying this with an Indian paneer and Tandoor sauce, mango chutney on the side.
- 8 ounces extra firm tofu
- 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp bread crumbs
- 2 Tbsp crushed unsalted peanuts
- 1/4 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp salt
- dash cayenne pepper
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- oil for frying
- bamboo skewers
- Cut tofu into 1/2" squares
- Combine flour, breadcrumbs, peanuts and dried spices in a small bowl
- Toss tofu squares with beaten egg, then roll in dry mixture until completed coated
- Skewer,then deep fry in oil over medium-high heat until crispy and browned.
Spicy Peanut Sauce
- 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/8 cup dark sesame oil
- 1/2 Tbsp honey
- 1/2-1 teaspoon chili paste (or to taste)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
Process all ingredients except fresh cilantro in a food processor until smooth (or put into a mason jar like I did and shake-shake-shake). Taste, correct seasoning, add cilantro. Heat in small saucepan until reduced by approximately 1/3 and thickened. Serve hot.
- Recipe Sarah Harrel, The Veg Company
Friday, February 13, 2009
gold orb suspended
in the inky black sky of a
winter morning… moonshadows
shimmer softly in snow, muted
diamonds dance sparkle
glint glimmer glance
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Monday, February 9, 2009
The snow is melting fast! A few more days of sun and warm temperatures and it will all be gone...
Today marks the full moon - since the heaviest snow usually falls during this month, native tribes of the north and east often called February's moon the 'Full Snow Moon.' Others referred to it as 'The Hunger Moon,' since harsh winter conditions made hunting difficult and any stored food was almost depleted.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Friday, February 6, 2009
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
We put some coins in a small red envelope for the lion who danced by our table to the sound of loud drums and gongs and clanging cymbals. Rob was going to put it between his teeth and have the lion take it but then thought it might not be the proper way to invite prosperity... although it just might scare away the evil spirits.
This is the Year of the Ox which is my Chinese Zodiac sign and also happens to be Obama's. So hopefully this will be an auspicious year for us all....
The tasty little dishes kept coming and the wine kept flowing.
Dim Sum is definitely a food to eat with your eyes... you see it on the cart and if it looks appealing, grab the basket (oh - sorry, politely grab the waiter's attention and then get him or her to place it on the table).
Some things we let drift on by. You can just tell it probably won't sit well on the Western palate. Chicken feet, for instance. Maybe they are delicious but they don't look appealing, in fact they look like a lot of work for very little reward.
Other plates look great, like the bright green seaweed.
My personal favourites include the panfried pork dumplings with coriander, sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves, deep-fried coconut shrimp, baby bok choy & those warm pork buns.
I'm sure it is all remarkably healthy, especially when served with copious amounts of Pinot Grigio.
We ended the meal with lovely toasts and the promise to see more of each other in the year ahead. (Facebook doesn't really count!)
Sunday, February 1, 2009
Lots has happened during the in-between years. Our sons have gotten a lot taller.... at least four or five feet taller...... Nothing tells the passage of time quite like the growth of a child into a teenager.
Janine opened a packing box with some old clippings and shared some of the poetry I wrote in high school. I recognized the handwriting right away! I was expecting to cringe but it wasn't so bad after all. So earnest and hopeful, discovering things for the first time.
Going through the box we also came across something written by a high school friend that died a few years ago. Judy committed suicide. It was such a shock to hear, because any memories I have of her are of someone smiling.
'She was the last person I would ever expect'.... 'My how time flies'..... 'where have all the years gone,'..... 'life is so precious,'.....
Phrases repeated by so many others become cliches, but that doesn't make them any less true.