Dec. 27, 2009

Sunday Suppers: Pasta with Brie, Mushrooms, Pancetta, & Arugula

I've noticed how some bloggers designate topics for each day of the week. I'm going to copy them and bring some order to my erratic blog. Let's start with Sunday Suppers (ahh, alliteration! how nice). On such days, I'll post on my attempt at new recipes.
I'm a novice cook and a fetus baker. No, that came out wrong. I only wanted to voice just how much of a newbie I am at baking! Like, practically still in the womb if we were to discuss what level I'm at. Let's just move on. 
Before my Dogre Days, my diet mainly consisted of cut-up hotdog bits and rice, frozen dinners, 2-minute instant curry packets, and fast food. When someone introduced steamed and buttered frozen vegetables in my university years, I instantly thought "wow, gourmet-style!" 
Enter the dogre. Enter the nagging voice of guilt - first, coming out of his mouth and then later seeped into my conscience. And so began the Era of Chef Dogre, including the sprout of resentment for doing almost all of the cooking, as well as adapting an "unhealthy" diet, thanks to me, which led to weight gain, so he claims. I said: Funny, I haven't gained so you can't blame me for your belly. He said (retorted): You've lived on this diet for years, you're a veteran. I'm not! Enter food blogs. Blog after blog after blog of scrumptious looking stuff (Bakerella, Noble Pig, and Everybody Likes Sandwiches to name a few) inspiring me to gingerly step into this new world where I actually stand in the kitchen for more than 10 minutes. Enter Chef Dogress! For the first time, I have been looking to recipes to create real meals and goodies. Sure, in the past I "made" pasta dishes (pre-made sauce, heavy on the cheese, frozen vegetables), heated up those frozen chicken fingers and pizzas, but they were all very unsophisticated. But now? Now I'm baking apple crumble, cookies from scratch, trifles, and cooking "authentic" Korean food (okay, it was one time) and mature (pronounced "mah-tour") adult food! Fine, this happens very infrequently and I still rely on the dogre or dine out so I can't call it the Era of Chef Dogress...just yet!

Tonight: The recipe from Noble Pig, with slight variations. Added: pancetta and chili flakes. Omitted: salt. The truth: Added more salt than called for, threw in the pancetta too early, and forgot to add the flakes. I didn't even know what arugula was! I wandered around the supermarket without a clue as to what it looked like and we finally had to ask someone. The results: salty, even for my salt + spicy loving tongue. Nonetheless, tasty. Former Chef Dogre said bravo on presentation and good job on taste. 

In any case, let's welcome Sunday Suppers into my blogging schedule! Please join me as I attempt to domesticate myself, so that I can be an equal partner in the kitchen and whatnot. Maybe I'll garner some praise from the dogre's parents...maybe someday I'll out-cook the dogre and berate him! Revenge!?  Also, feel free to sponsor me on my journey by mailing out a red KitchenAid stand mixer. While you're at it, buy me a house with a walk-in closet that leads into my own private washroom, like Carrie Bradshaw's. Oh, and one of those apron-front kitchen (double) sinks.

Now that that's done, I'm going to drag this post on even longer by sharing recent, pointless, and random thoughts/experiences since, really, it wouldn't be my kind of post without them. First, and still relevant, on the topic of food:
New Christmas Tradition: Grand Raspberry Trifle for dessert. Quick and easy (albeit messy). Yummy too (maybe too sweet). I've selected a deceptive photo, as I often do, to enhance the appearance of the trifle and make it look like it was actually presentable (it was very sloppy and this was the only angle that showed any semblance of layers). On the topic of deceptive photos, my place of less than 500 sq. ft. is cramped and unkempt. So, I like to play make-belief and put up photos to imply otherwise. I've also discovered that I can hide blemishes using the iPhoto retouch tool! Soon, after completing my Graphic Design courses, I intend on revealing myself, the real model for the CGI version of the younger Daisy in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Is that not how adobe photoshop works? What? On the topic of traditions, I didn't have the pleasure of following a single tradition while growing up so I'm eager to create ones for my "new" family. I want to be all disgustingly cutesy with all sorts of traditions. And I plan on bragging about them here on my blog. So sorry!
The quick and dirty restaurant review: Biff's Bistro (on Front Street)
Extremely slow service, awesome decor and ambiance, cold, terribly slow service, forgettable food, turtle-like service. What was consumed: Shrimp Pate, Hearts of Boston Bibb salad, Beef Bourguignon, and the Basquez Chicken. Comments: simple salad, too much parsley in the pate, very boring chicken with rubbery eggs and lemony couscous, stringy beef not at all tender or succulent. Memorable points: Mentioning to the waiter that we felt an uncomfortable and cold draft and not receiving a follow-up; the waiter clearing away my friend's fork and not returning with a replacement or coming by for us to even ask for a new one, resulting in us sharing mine to eat the complimentary cornichons, which we devoured because it took so long for our plates to arrive; the waiter removing the shrimp pate despite clear evidence that we were still working on it (friend had knife mid-air above the plate as she was spreading pate on her bread).

An informal request for a Toronto Line-up Patrol Task Force:
I like my lines neat and obvious. If a friend is already waiting in line and invites me to join, I'm stricken with guilt and need to wait in the back of the line rather than butting. I feel distressed even if someone has lined up on my behalf, specifically holding my place, for fear of the potential dirty looks I may receive from fellow customers. I fume when someone sneaks in/tries to cut others off, and nearly suffer a heart attack because I'm so pissed off and yet too timid to initiate a confrontation. I absolutely hate when I wait for the bus at a station and some jerk tries to form a new line nearby (are you stupid? are you?! i'm talking to you! said loudly in my head). I also hate this: I was in line this week at a Zara, when the woman in front of me stepped out of line and went elsewhere and sauntered back many minutes later, assuming her old spot. If you realize you need to exchange or forgot an item and you turn around to ask me to save your spot for a quick second, I'll politely agree. Even if you don't address me, run off, and return, I'll be okay. But if you walk off and take your sweet time, perusing other things and then meander back, I will give you the death-glare! In conclusion, fellow reader, I'm pleading for kind volunteers who will monitor line-ups. I'd be extremely grateful! To tell you the truth, when some brave soul calls someone out for breaking a line-up "rule", I choke up just a little, fighting back tears of gratitude.

The Courtesy Mock-Runs:
I'm talking about when you're crossing the street at the lights and there's a car waiting to make a turn and so you do a pretend-run. You know you do it! It's the "I'm going to make these physical gestures of bending my legs more, lifting my legs higher, and swooshing my arms even though I'm still moving at the same speed, just so you think I'm considerate" run. It isn't a run, it's a mock-run! I love watching those. I do it all the time. And as I do it, I'm thinking about how good I feel for showing my consideration and thoughtfulness to my fellow Torontonians.

My Cat is Better Educated Than Yours:
To my pleasure, I've realized that Mia watches the BBC Planet Earth episodes with me! She particularly lights up when the male birds are flittering about, trying to seduce the females with their colourful feathers and dance moves. They've got better dance moves than me, that's really sad. But who cares because my cat is clearly smarter, more refined, and sophistimacated than yours.

Can I just say that I had every intention of minimizing my word content today and giving you a break? I swear it's one of my many afflictions. Put me in a room with unfamiliar people and I'll be shy and quiet; put me in a room with my friends and I'll still filter my words; put me in a room, drunk, with my friends, and even then I'll screen my conversation pieces; BUT put me in front of a computer and I'll type until my eyes are strained, I've got a migraine, and my back is so hunched that my nose is practically touching my belly button! Hopefully, some of you will humour me, or at the very least glaze over my photos...I'd offer weekly contests/freebies/gifts to entice you but I'm too poor for that. I'd offer advert space but I'm clueless. I once had this little fantasy that I'd become a full-time blogger, making tons and tons of money sitting in my jammies (specifically a stretched out top that the dogre affectionately - not really - calls my muumuu), while eating without a care in the world, getting sauce in my hair, nose, and eyeballs...But alas, 'tis not my fate. "Then dogress, why even bother?" you ask. Well, my partner encourages me to continue, inflating my head by telling me he had giggled at this and smiled at that. He tells me I have a gift - a gift of gabbing (he never actually said that. You should know that I sometimes exaggerate and will make things up if I feel like it. Nothing big, just inconsequential things that won't hurt a soul but unintentionally comes out and I don't bother deleting. I 'fess up immediately though! But to tell you another truth, I have had moments where I confuse reality with my dreams and will wake up actually believing I have a big rustic house, 7 dogs, and 20/20 vision. I'll also be talking to a friend and say "Remember when..." only to be frankly told that such an incident never happened...). So there you go! 

I've decided on my Wednesday posts: Wednesday Loves. On this day, I'll egotistically (describes all my posts, really) post about an item or two (or three) that I love and - hopefully - own. Let's start a couple tonight: 
Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics mittens. Very warm, chockfull of Canadian pride, and very cute. Find it at The Bay ($10).
Bond No. 9 New York perfume token in Andy Warhol Union Square. Smells delicious - sweet and subtle. Purchase at Holt Renfrew (need to ask the dogre for price).

Happy Monday! And HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

1 comment:

  1. I really liked this post! So much fun!
    Ooh, and i like that your Sunday the recipe turned out really well ~ (don't worry, the 'rents didn't get to the leftovers!)

    See you Sooooon!