Food Memory: Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have a confession. I just ripped into a bag of Halloween candy DH brought home for the neighbourhood kids. You know, the trick-or-treaters. The preschoolers. I took candy from babies, basically. Which sort of but not really leads me into this food memory: sweets and writing. Cookies and creativity.

I know we’ve talked before about procrastination and how it can be a creative endeavour. Especially when it’s baking. Well, I think I write best with a cookie beside me, and who’s to say that’s not my process? Tea must accompany, of course, but having something sweet on a plate (preferably a pretty plate), makes the writing task…more purposeful. More romantic.

For one of the first writing classes I ever taught I brought the class cookies on the last day. It was winter and the streets were flooded with rain and I’d worn by rubber boots for a week straight. Making cookies seemed like the best indoor pursuit. We lived in Vancouver then, in a bright, window-filled apartment overlooking the lights of the city. I don’t know why, but baking in that place will always be the best kind of nostalgia for me.

We shared the cookies in class and they worked their magic. Food is connection; it binds us. We get to give part of ourselves in ways we can only do with food. It seals memories too. I always bring cookies to classes now. Especially when it’s a wintery, rainy day.

XO

Ria

PS- These are whole wheat chocolate chip cookies from Orangette.

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Seuss for dinner

It’s no secret that my favourite colour is green. It happens to be Oprah’s favourite colour too, so I am in pretty good company. At this time of year, well, there is just something about Spring and green. I crave green even more than usual in Spring. To wear, to look out onto,…but especially to eat. And after my box of bounty delivery hotdamn I have a LOT of green to eat!

So….this is what I rustled up for dinner. A little “Green soup”. Simple really: An eschallot and a couple of garlic cloves, sliced. Thrown into a pan with olive oil till golden. About four zucchini, sliced. Brown them a little and then slosh a cup of vege stock in there. Cook till the zucchini are softish but still green and lovely. Throw in some fresh thyme leaves or whichever herb is rocking your boat. For goodness’ sake don’t overcook and get “Brown Soup”, tres not chic.

Chuck in a cup of peas. Fresh or frozen, whatever you can lay your hands on. Mine were frozen. Cook till soft but again, still green. Take off the heat and whiz up with your handheld blender. Mine has a soup-specific attachment, but I tried first with the “puree / mash” attachment because I am tired and my brain is a little soupy itself. I got a Jackson Pollock number in soup-green on my counters and kitchen floor. I cursed the attachment and then…realised my mistake….duuuhhh. Now, serve that green soup up with a dollop of greek yoghurt or some crumbled feta and a sprig of dill just because.

Aw, look at that goodness.

I’d like to report that B1 was as thrilled with the meal as I was. I even tried a little “marketing”. Not even Sam I Am could help my case.

She turned her nose up and ate….

Buttered toast. Ah well. You can’t win them all. Although Lauren Child and “I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato” did get her eating tomatoes (B1 is partial to a little reverse psychology). I’m not sure if I can convince her of the merits of green soup, despite the fact I kept harping on and on about how delicious it was and showing her my bowl with the sinking tideline. Nup. Green Soup was not for her. But she did wangle me into reading “Green Eggs and Ham” about four times. She’s clever that one. A little too clever.

HUGS, Hannah x

Sweet Little Something

An end of week ritual – a wordless post, a personal photograph that captures a moment to be savoured, relished and preserved for looking back on. One photograph from Hannah, in the Southern Hemisphere and one from Ria, in the Northern Hemisphere. Feel free to post your questions, thoughts and comments. Have a great weekend!

From Hannah:

From Ria:

Everyday Haiku

I haven’t been feeling all that creative lately. Working too much, parenting until the wee hours, spending remaining time with spouse and the vacuum cleaner (separately!) all leave little time for writing or otherwise rejuvinating the self. You know?

Even though I’m a poet, I haven’t written or even read much poetry in years. That’s really depressing now that I write it. Of course, I’m also a novelist and kid lit writer, so I’m going to shore up my confidence and say that’s taken up most of my writing time the past four years. Yes, that’s it.

But today I bring you some Haiku fresh from our neighbourhood. Haiku are all about nature, and what better time to celebrate that than in this autumn season full of colour? I was inspired by this book I just bought for little e and  I also happen to love looking at neighbourhoods and other people’s houses, so putting together a post with haiku set to photos, well, it just seemed natural, if you can pardon the pun.

Last strawberry of fall

red squeezed from short sunshine days

tart sweet hidden jewel.

Neighbourhood book shop–

free books for all who wander!

Words passed like warm bread.

Feral fennel grows

gargantuan in summer,

dies back in Fall’s chill.

Crisp morning. Colours touch,

blend and filter light through leaves,

a painting lesson.

Surprise begs a peek:

is it the star in the fence,

or view through the star?

XO

Ria

Box of bounty.

I’ve always wanted to get a regular delivery of farm fruits and veggies. I especially wanted to get a regular delivery of farm fruits and veggies after watching this film – The Real Dirt on Farmer John. Farmer John turns his farm into a “CSA” (Community Supported Agriculture) which means that a group of people have shares in his farm, receive produce and learn about food production. The idea really appeals to me, especially now that I have kids and I want them to understand where food really comes from. But because we’ve recently moved I’ve not had time to look into it. I mean, speaking frankly, I sometimes have trouble finding time to shower. A slightly disgusting but sadly true cliche about motherhood – am I right?!

So when my cousin, who lives locally, saved me time and bother and recommended a service that delivers a box of farm-fresh fruit and vege every fortnight (it’s as if she is a bit psychic actually, bless her) I was “in like Flynn”!! Four elements attracted me to the idea: 1) All produce sourced from local farms, including a dozen free-range eggs 2) The exact contents are a surprise…like a present! 3) Recipes are included for some of the less common items (thankyouverymuch) and 4) It’s all delivered to your door. Actually your countertop. See….

Did you check out the picture on the box on the bottom? A girl in a bikini eating celery. The slogan is “the WEIGH to go”. I guess it’s promoting celery as a diet food but it’s a bit weird? Even vegetables get marketed using girls in bikinis??? Did everyone else know that already? What next?! Anyway, I temporarily ignored that strange conundrum to open the lid…

In my $60 veggie box I got a whole bounty of produce. Lettuce, beans (broad and regular), mushrooms, kipfler pototoes, dutch cream potatoes, baby spinach leaves, eschallots, bananas, carrots, asparagus, garlic, eggplant, my lovely free range eggs, apples, pears, lemon and three bunches of herbs – parsley, thyme and dill.

I also ordered the $10 bonus fruit box. I mean, seriously, let’s go to town baby!! (Or the farm? You know what I mean. My enthusiasm runneth over and all that) It came with oranges and mangoes. Oh yes. I just had to share this photo with you. Look at that beauty! Are you cutting eyes at me, Ria Voros?

(Side musing: I could almost concede to mango justifying girls in bikinis advertising. It seems more fitting than celery somehow. Although maybe the celery needs it more. I mean mango is kind of luscious and sexy all on it’s own…) Aaaaaanyway.

B1 thought the herbs made a lovely posy. I tend to agree. Smelled divine too. A generous handful of thyme went into an omelette with feta and baby spinach leaves last night.

The recipes I received with my cornucopia were: Eggplant and Feta Salad, Lettuce, Egg and Fried Bread Salad, Lentil Salad with Beetroot, Goat’s Cheese and Dill, Eggplant “chips”, Salad of Broad Beans, Asparagus & Spinach and Bruschetta with Broad and Asparagus. Hmmm, they all sound good. I can’t decide. So –  am open to a vote. Which recipe should I make??

By the way, mad about food documentaries like I am? Check out this great list of top ten care of Lettuce Eat Kale. 

Sweet Little Something

An end of week ritual – a wordless post, a personal photograph that captures a moment to be savoured, relished and preserved for looking back on. One photograph from Hannah, in the Southern Hemisphere and one from Ria, in the Northern Hemisphere. Feel free to post your questions, thoughts and comments. Have a great weekend!

From Hannah:

From Ria:

Conkers

So I think it’s clear how envious I am that you 1. are going into summer and 2. get to take these fun outings to fabulous markets and festivals and try amazing food at all of them and 3. eat perfect avocados. I guess I could manage that last one, but still. Not fair.

It’s been glorious here for months–literally the driest since the turn of the last century–but this weekend the rain began. Oh, the West Coast rain.

But there was a break in the weather, so little e and I went across the street and checked out the trees in the park.

What resulted was a kind of small photo essay about conkers. Did you ever play conkers as a kid? I’m not an expert or anything, but I know it involves a lot of violent smashing of horse-chestnuts into one another. Okay, maybe not exactly violent. Smashing, yes.

But there’s something so satisfying about holding conkers in your hand–the shiny, brown roundness. And they do make a nice knocking sound when you have three in your palm. DH tells me they can be used to scare  away spiders from basements (not that we are afraid of spiders–in fact, I worry they will have nowhere to live if not in our basement). I don’t think it’s an actual fear-the-conker thing, but maybe a to-us-undetectible odour that drives them away?

Little e and I brought a few conkers home and played with them in the studio, where she tried enthusiastically to jam them all in her mouth at once, which I did not allow. Can you imagine if we all still explored the world with our mouths? There must be a Saturday Night Live skit about that somewhere…

What games are you introducing B1 to that you played as a child?

XO

Ria