Monday, March 16, 2009

Simple things.

Yesterday I was in the line at the grocery store behind an old man who kind of reminded me of my grandpa. I have been thinking a lot about my grandpa lately - he’s getting old pretty quickly and it’s really hard for my mom and her sisters - and in this old man I saw him. This guy was buying breakfast for himself: he had a box of wholegrain toaster waffles, two mangoes, a tub of the best yoghurt in the world (Liberté) and a croissant. He had the makings of a pretty fantastic breakfast and I told him so (not like he didn’t know - he seemed quite pleased with himself already). It was delightful and made me happy. I was over the moon that this guy had taken the time to head to the shop and choose such wonderful food. It was obvious that he was going to seriously enjoy his Sunday breakfast (that yoghurt tastes like dessert and mangoes are heaven on a rainy day), and it was healthy too! I know my grandpa really changed his eating habits about ten years ago, getting onto a health kick that involves bran buds for breakfast everyday. Terrific - it got him healthy real quick - but maybe we should all take a page out of the other guys book: make healthy choices and be sure that you enjoy them! There’s no fun in eating food that resembles something that belongs in a rabbit hutch for even one meal.

Another cousin came to visit me this weekend, this one coming from way overseas (Victoria..)!
She was coming to the city for a friend’s birthday, which happened to end before it even started with some backcombed hair and a pitcher of margaritas - a silly story if I felt like telling you. Anyways… Back in the day when the two of us used to live in the same city we used to go out for breakfast at least once a week. I wanted to make her something just as good as the breakfasts we used to have, something delicious. I made breakfast polenta (which is way better than it sounds). And blueberry smoothies!

I say screw waiting in line at the trendy breakfast place around the corner next weekend, make this instead for your ‘special someone’.

-Put a cup and a half of water in a sauce pan and bring it to a boil.
-Meanwhile, stir up one cup of cornmeal, half a teaspoon of both cinnamon and sea salt and one and a half cups of non-citrus juice (I used pear!) in a bowl - the cinnamon doesn’t mix in all that well but don‘t worry about it.
-Once your water is boiling, add the cornmeal mixture and start stirring it. You are going to let this cook uncovered, stirring it all the time, until it’s thick and smooth - when it’s done you should be able to stick your wooden spoon in it and have it stand on it’s own.
-Take it off the heat and fold in about a cup of blueberries (frozen or fresh, not thawed). And FOLD! Gently! If you don’t, the blueberries will break apart, turning everything purple. Which is perfectly acceptable, I love purple, but I want whole berries in there. Up to you.
-Pour the entire mixture into a baking dish that has been lightly oiled with something like olive oil. Smooth out the top so it’s going to be pretty, and then let it sit in the fridge for a while until it sets - I left mine in there overnight. It’s just easier that way.
-When you are ready to eat, cut the polenta however you like (maybe try triangles, but if you need heart shapes use a cookie cutter!) and heat it up - try frying it in some oil to get crispy outsides, toasting it if it isn’t too thick, or broiling it in the oven.

Eat your polenta with this, or maybe some of that damn good Liberté yogurt.

We made one more meal together, nothing groundbreaking, but I made her use a mortar and pestle (I had to instruct her to put some muscle into it).

Cumin seeds - which stick to the bottom of your feet in a serious way when spilled on the floor- and chilli peppers. Everyone should have a mortar and pestle simply because they are fun and great stress relievers. You can bash anything up.

Yumm… Salsa, guacamole and refried beans. So easy and so damn good! Someone asked me how to keep your guac from going brown - lots of lemon juice. Put a bunch of garlic, cumin, lemon juice, salt and pepper in there with your avocado and whiz it up (I have recently started using a hand blender and LOVE it! I used it on the beans too, for which we cooked up a bunch of onions and garlic, added the black beans, then some cumin, coriander and chilli flakes, stirred it about, then dumped in a bit of water. Cook it for a while and then whiz that up too!) (and don’t fret - if you don’t have a hand mixer you can always use a fork or something instead). Easy peasy.

Here is one last quick, unrelated-to-food story.
I lost my camera a while ago. I was housesitting and then moving and all my stuff was all over the city and my sister came to visit and we were all over the place, and I am generally all over the place…in all the kerfuffle my camera disappeared. Devastating… I couldn’t find it anywhere and I couldn’t afford to buy a new one. I guess the camera had a very satisfying and long life (3 years - good in this technologically driven day and age), it had come around the world with me and seen some beautiful things. But the separation really got to me - at least once a day I would catch myself saying “Man, I wish I had a camera”. I missed a heap load of amazing sunrises and sunsets at work and I didn’t document anything for three months! Finally, on Saturday I said “I wish I had a camera” for the one hundredth time so I took myself to Future Shop and bought a new one - on clearance. Sweet. Then I went out on Saturday night, and it was a bit chilly so I wore a coat I hadn’t worn since the end of December (when Vancouver was covered with a few feet of snow). I put my hand in the pocket and there was my old camera. Hooray! Isn’t life great???
Now I get to take pictures of everything I eat.

1 comment:

  1. 5-0 Meg,
    You are in my thoughts on this beautiful morning in Tofino.
    I got a King Crab yesterday. A big, meaty guy for Mark and I to eat, after a long day on the water. I was brave and swift when I cracked it's sternum, and threw it in the pot of boiling sea water. I think I'll bring one home for our celebration dinner on Tuesday. Thoughts?
    Thank you for watering my vegetable garden while I'm away.
    5-0 Kim