May 2008

Food20 May 2008 08:15 pm

I haven’t been feeling top notch lately (mentally that is. Physically: I strong. Like bull.) I feel like I owe a blog after so feverishly blogging for days on end in the past few weeks.

So here is the splash screen for my cupcake blog, which has been a long time in the works. I designed it myself in Illustrator so I’m kind of pleased with it because it’s been something I’ve wanted to learn for a while. But at the same time totally horrified because I felt like a three year old doing it. Room to improve, basically.

Also, I’m not sure exactly how mustachioed cupcakes, stars and the colors work together, but I like all the individual elements. I’m not sure if they are cohesive enough though.

I’ll throw up a link when the blog is ready to be seen by eyes. Til then, here’s a sneak peek from an actual post.

General13 May 2008 01:01 pm

I hung out with friends Amy and Matt last night. I took some photos as the night progressed, going around South Edmonton Common from Fatburger to Home Outfitters (I know, we’re crazy awesome, right?) then to a movie.

Going through the photos today I realized there were some pretty distinct categories of Matt shots.

There’s Matt drinking.

There’s Matt sitting on things in stores.

There is Matt making obscene gestures and playing with funny things. (which, I guess I’m partially at fault for because I kept pointing out opportunities, but it was just too easy to do at Home Outfitters.)

It should be noted, perhaps, that Matt came up with the idea of defiling the Hulk all on his own.

Anyhow, then Matt and Amy recreated the poster for the movie we saw, Baby Mama.

Food and Food: Edmonton08 May 2008 11:53 pm

Okay so no one that lives outside of Edmonton is actually going to give a shit about this, but a new grocery store opened downtown in Edmonton, to much fanfare; atleast around the newsroom (as I’m sure was the case in every office downtown today.) It’s something the Sobeys chain is trying: “Urban Fresh” concept. Other places have tried this in Edmonton and failed, miserably. Edmontonians are just more into Moxies than they are delicious ingredients for home cooked meals, I fear.

I was concerned it was all hype, but then some photos from a secret ‘behind the scenes’ tour trickled in, then some columns were written about it by some journalists and then finally tonight I couldn’t stand it anymore, I HAD TO GO. (I had promised myself I would wait until atleast this weekend when things settled down a bit, but I could not do it.)

The place is amazing. There are cheeses the Italian Centre does not have. FOURTEEN kinds of dried mushrooms. Preprepared and uncooked meats and veggies of every kind, including some purple carrots I bought. Delicious bakery with breads by the slice (!). A gorgeous floral area. A salsa bar!!! A sushi bar!!!!! A cozy coffee bar curling around a fireplace, with roll up doors to Jasper Avenue and an licensed oyster bar next to that.

They really are catering to the downtown execs there for lunch or who don’t want to cook at night, with lots of preprepared meals, though. Normally I’d turn my nose up at these, but they actually looked edible and will be great in a pinch on a ‘I forgot lunch today’ day.

Add to that the downtown farmer’s market on Saturdays, and I nearly cried a tear of joy tonight. It is almost like we have our own little mini Whole Foods. *sigh*

General04 May 2008 09:29 pm

late summer 2001, minneapolis, mn.

Who’d a thought that two of these dudes would be married (in arranged marriages no less) and the other would be engaged, seven years on?

Well, I guess everyone thought that. That’s what happens when you get growed up.

For whatever reason (spring? thinking of the future? the past?) I spent a lot of this evening reviewing my online record tonight. Probably mostly due to procrastination, actually.

I was looking up old friends I’ve lost (Brian M Masters aka turnipmambo from Baton Rouge, Lousiana / LSU with a former girlfriend named Liz if you are out there and Googling this, EMAIL ME) and looking at the long since dead webpages of old friends. (There are so many dead blogs! I’m sad so many have long since dropped off the face of the earth or have been taken up by other people like a hermit crab’s shell) I’ve been on the internet since a fateful snowy day back in 1997 and haven’t looking back since. That’s a long time!

Anyhow, I’m not into that Facebook thing and I know I could find a lot of people that way, but sometimes just remembering things in an optimized, biased, sweet way is so much better. It’s also so much more fun to speculate about what has happened to people. I feel like everyone else is getting older and maturing, but I’m just the same old KAZ I once was. Do you think other people have been Googling me? I hope so.

In two years I’ll be 30, and I’m not really sure what will happen between then and now. I don’t think I’m scared to be 30, but mostly am just curious to see where my life goes. There are so many wonderful things that may happen…but then again, I could always become that crazy bag lady you see on Jasper Ave all the time.

General04 May 2008 12:51 am

A.D. means a lot of things. When I was a kid I used to think it was “after death”. Then later I found out that it could also mean Anno Domini. Now, it just makes me mourn the loss of Arrested Development. Even my mom is into this show. How did it not survive?

Anyhow, I made two things tonight that made me laugh and cry. RIP, AD, RIP. Hopefully you, gentle reader, are a fan.

It suuuuuure is.

Food and Food: Home Cookin'03 May 2008 12:53 pm

I have been thinking about and craving udon or soba noodles the past few days. I had never really been that big into noodles until we visited Tokyo and I really got turned onto them there. Unfortunately I’ve been working a lot this week so I didn’t have time to go out and find a good bowl of udon (I pray there is a place in Edmonton that does them) and I didn’t have time to visit any speciality asian grocers, like T&T or this Japanese and Korean food mart on 99th Street.

I decided to make my own noodle soup at home, just visiting Safeway and Save On Foods, which are pretty run of the mill food stores, but I know I saw fresh noodles at both, so I was probably okay.

I got a recipe off of Epicurious [Soba with shiitake, pea shoots and leek dipping sauce], but edited it heavily. I had to pick up a good soy sauce and rice wine vinegar, and was worried…however Save On had a great selection and I ended up getting a good organic naturally fermented, low sodium, high flavour tamari soy. I’d recommend it, but will probably try other brands as well. Tamari is not a brand by the way, it’s a variety of soy. It’s a bit richer than shiro or other soys like the ‘basic’ koikuchi, and is even gluten free, for those of you on restricted diets. Both bottles were about $4 each, which was far less than I was prepared to pay, I have to say.

We had sesame oil. I think my favorite was the back that declared it THE KING OF ALL VEGETABLE OILS. Last I checked sesame wasn’t a veggie, but whatever. It did a great job adding flavour to my sauce and sauteed vegetables.

Anyhow, my recipe ended up being something like this:

Udon Noodles with dipping sauce

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar (I would probably add less next time)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • splash of sesame seed oil
  • sliced garlic and ginger (to taste)
  • sliced leeks, mushrooms (I used oyster, but shiitakes would be great), julienned carrots. These are for sauteeing with sesame oil
  • sliced garlic, ginger, green onions, radish (or daikon), watercress (substitution for pea shoots) all for adding uncooked to the broth
  • packs of fresh noodles, udon preferred

I brought the soy and rice vinegar to a boil, then simmered it with the garlic, ginger, sesame oil and water for no particular length of time. I kept it hot until serving, but in the summer months it’s perfectly acceptable to eat the broth cold. Soba are served with cold broth in the summer and hot in the winter in Japan.

Meanwhile, I sauteed and softened the vegetables, seasoning well. A large pot of water was boiling for the noodles, which cook for about three minutes, or according to the package.

When everything is ready, put some vegetables in a bowl, add some broth, then add your fresh ingredients to top it off with. Serve the noodles on the side and dip into the sauce/broth; this is a very easy and inexpensive meal!

My ‘hot’ vegetables. LOTS of leek for flavour.

Some of the fresh ingredients. I sauteed some carrots but also served some raw. The uncooked vegetables and condiments add some crunch to the broth.

Oh god, the noodles! I ended up buying three different kinds, mostly because of the lack of selection. There were some fresh Shanghai noodles in the produce section and in the Asian foods, two packs of these brainy looking udon noodles. One pack was $0.88 and the other $1.20, because it came with curry sauce which I did not use.

I decided to cook the noodles separately so Mike and I could see which ones we liked best, so it turned out well, but it was kind of of a harried run around the store looking for noodles, which I assumed would be in stock and easy to find. I can’t wait to visit a store where they will actually sell other kinds including actual soba.

They came out of the pack like a solid brick and kind of creeped me out. Just put them in the boiling water without breaking them up, they will be easier to eat.

This was the last pack of plain udons at the store. I couldn’t help but think about how bad prepacked ramen noodles are here from grocery stores, but these were pretty good. Unless I’m just in denial.

I love that in French they appear to be “U-Dong” noodles.

Here is the finished set up (minus a bowl of noodles which were not ready yet). Dip the noodles into the broth and slurp them up, as is expected at Japanese restaurants. The chopsticks were actually a wedding favour for my friend Dan and Roz’s wedding and Mike was super excited to use them, he’d been waiting a while for the right moment.

Although I’ve thought about making sushi at home for a while, I’m not sure I’m ready. These udon noodles though…they’ll be added to my “oh god, what am I going to eat tonight” roster. So easy, and highly variable depending on what is fresh at the store or market!