Monthly Archives: September 2011

Maritime Colours


One of my favorite things about living in the Maritimes so far is the splash of colour that I get to see all over the place.  Here are some pictures that I took on a recent visit to Lunenberg and Mahone Bay. Coming from Ontario, I find the architecture here to be so different and interesting to look at!  I especially like this house – wouldn’t it be fun to live in a pink house?

 

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Pass the pomodoro!


Ever since I started growing (and obsessing over) tomatoes on my back porch, few things make me as happy as the perfect tomato.  Doesn’t this one look amazing?

Unfortunately, I cannot take credit for this one, but it does provide me with some inspiration for my little plant.  My favorite thing about tomatoes is that there is so much you can do with them.  I picked these ones up at the market a few days ago and had so much fun roasting them in the oven.  They look so fresh!

In order to roast them, here’s what I did.  Cut them in half and line them up on a cookie pan (I used parchment paper) as shown above.  Drizzle some olive oil and add a few unpeeled garlic cloves (about 3-4) like so:

You then put them in the oven at 200 degrees F for 2.5 to 3 hours.

When you take them out, they should look like this:

From there, you can enjoy them on their own or throw them into your favorite pasta or onto your favorite pizza!  Here’s what I did with them:

Picture of the week – Atlantic Film Festing


This week’s photo was shot at Colour Me‘s premiere at the Atlantic Film Festival in Halifax.  I did a post with my own personal review of this film a few months ago, and just as a side note for you Montreal readers, the film will be screening in Montreal TONIGHT!  Anyhow, my friend and the producer of the film, Sherien Barsoum was in town for the screening and I got to accompany her and her publicist Meghan as well as the film’s subject, Anthony McLean to a few screenings and even a little industry party! I’ve got lots of thoughts to share about the films that we checked out and also have  few restaurant reviews to post. Stay tuned for those this week!

The B&B book club: The ‘Clash of Civilizations’ & ‘Teta Mother & Me’


A little while ago I mentioned that I was reading the book “Teta, Mother and Me”.  It is a wonderful memoir in which the author explores her life growing up in the Middle East while also looking back at the lives of past generations of women in her family. As I was reading the other day, I found one of the stories that she recounted to be particularly powerful.  I couldn’t resist sharing it with you.


This week the world looked back 10 years ago to a day which many people believe proves the theory that the major source of conflict in our post-Cold War world is the “clash of civilizations.”  This story is highlights how easily and tragically cultures and civilizations can and do indeed clash. As I read this story I could not help but be amazed at the ways in which we as people can be so the same and yet so different.  I find it fascinating how different cultures place value on such different things. As a result of these differing views such huge yet simple misunderstandings arise.

Here is the excerpt:

In Marjeyoun, Youssef Badr [the author’s grandfather, who was a pastor] had a helper, a sort of deacon who had a large family.  As time passed, this man found it increasingly difficult to live on the meagre salary paid him by the mission, and one day in desperation requested the pastor to intervene urgently with headquarters on his behalf.  Seeing the fairness of the man’s request, Rev. Youssef agreed to do what he could.  He wrote a letter to the mission [which was composed of Americans] headquarters in Beirut, explaining his helper’s problem.  He received a positive response from the mission: on their next trip to Marjeyoun, they would visit the deacon and discuss his financial needs.

Elated, and overcome with anticipation, the deacon insisted that the visitors should lunch at his house on the forthcoming trip.  Admonishing his wife to honour the visitors properly, together they made preparations for the traditional hospitality.  To make their poor house fit to receive the great men from Beirut, she sold the gold bracelets and earrings that had been her dowry, and with the money bought the necessary furnishings and food.  When the time came, they slaughtered the goat from whose milk they made their cheese and yoghurt, and with the meat made kibbeh and other delicacies.  When the great day arrived, they slaughtered the chickens whose eggs had been a mainstay of their diet.  The meal was a triumph of Arab generosity and hospitality; they had sacrificed their living to honour their guests.

The Americans, having eaten and drunk plentifully, and having given the matter some consideration, wrote from Beirut that the man seemed comfortable enough and in no need of financial improvement.  ‘We should have fed them olives, onions and lentils instead of honouring them as we did,’ cried the man, beating his forehead with his fist when he heard the news. ‘We should have fed them what we ourselves eat instead of treating them as honoured guests.’ 

The author then adds “I have always remembered this little story as it shows the difference between two world visions, and the boundary between the imperatives of that world in which hospitality defined human relations, and the more practical, but crueller, imperatives of modern economic relationships”. So true.

A great read


Today I thought I would show you this “manvotional” that J shared with me a few days ago entitled “Bookend your day”: The Power of Morning and Evening Routines”. For the record, I think it applies just as much to women as it does to men. The article really resonated with me and I’m already trying to think of ways that I can structure my days in such a way to create the routine that works best for me. I also completely agree that September is a much more suitable time for a New Year’s celebration than January.  Anyhow, happy Monday and I hope you enjoy the article!

The little tomato tree that could


We made it through our first week back to reality! So far I am really liking my new job and loving working from home.  J also had a great time at orientation meeting new people and getting to do fun Halifax stuff like kayaking and partying on Citadel Hill.

A while back when we were still in Ottawa, I went out for a jog and on my way back I picked up a little tomato plant that one of the neighbours was giving away.  I’ve never really done much (read: any) gardening, but I thought that having a little tomato plant could be fun.  It would be even more fun if we actually got some tomatoes!  This is how she looked when I picked her up:

As she started to grow, I had to give her a bigger home because she was getting to big for the one she came in.  Here she is after the move to Halifax.  She’s a bit hunched over because the truck ride to Halifax was a bit rough on her.  In fact, people told me I should probably throw her out and give up, but I just couldn’t. I was told that in order to get tomatoes, one would have to start earlier in the spring (I only picked her up in June).  I still wanted to try though just to see what would happen.

Lo and behold, a few weeks after we got to Halifax I noticed a tomato! For someone who has no kids, this would probably be the closest thing to my pride and joy:

Each day I would go and examine my one little tomato to see if it had grown, and to my absolute delight, one day I discovered that not only had it grown, but that “it” was in fact “two”!

A few days later, I noticed 3 more beginning to bloom.  They are a little harder to see because they are still young and are sort of hidden by the leaves above them, but if you look closely, you can see them.  You can also see how much their older siblings have been growing.

Here are the two most recent pictures that I have. It is now past labour day so I am just hoping that there will be enough warmth left for these little guys to reach their full potential.   I’ll keep you posted, and if you have any tips, feel free to share them. Thanks for reading!


Last burger of the summer?


Happy Tuesday everyone!

Our summer vacation has officially ended and today J started law school and I started my new job.  For the next few months I’ll be working from home which I think will be a nice treat.  We’ve set up a little home office for me and I am really looking forward to spending my days at home and being able to take advantage of the flexibility that comes along with that.  I know that I’ll miss the people interaction but hopefully the convenience of the arrangement will outweigh that.

Remember when I told you about those pomegranate molasses I bought at the Middle East grocer and how I promised greatness? Well, I’ve concocted this recipe for pomegranate-feta burgers that I think you might like.  Hopefully you will have some time to squeeze in a few more bbq dinners before the fall officially hits.

Pomegranate-Feta Burgers

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup  crumbled feta cheese (ideally Macedonian feta)
  • 6 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1 envelope dry onion soup mix
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat a grill for high heat.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, onion, cheese, soy sauce, pomegranate molasses, egg, onion soup mix, garlic, garlic powder, parsley, basil, oregano, rosemary, salt, and pepper.
  3. Form into patties.
  4. Grill patties for 5 minutes per side on the hot grill, or until well done.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus


Happy Saturday! If you are looking for something fun and quick to put together for yourself or for some guests, here is one of my favorite appetizer recipes.  I got it a while back from the New York Times and have since made it a number of times.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1lb of fresh asparagus (about 20 stalks)

2tbs of extra virgin olive oil

Salt and Fresh ground peppers

10 thin slices of Prosciutto

Directions

1. Preheat the oven at 375 degrees.

2. Wash the asparagus and trim the bottom.

3. Lay out the asparagus on the baking sheet and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Make sure that every single spear is evenly coated.


4. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper.

5. Place into the oven and let it roast for 15 approximately minutes.

6. Let the asparagus slightly cool until it’s easy to handle and individually wrap the spears with the prosciutto making sure to keep the tip of the asparagus is exposed.

7. The prosciutto will slightly melt and grab onto the warm asparagus.

Serve immediately or at room temperature.
(Serves 10-14)