31 May 2008

Welcome to My Fun Weekend.

As mentioned numerous times, my stomach gives me woe. Lots of woe. Lots and lots and lots and lots of woe. Stress, food, living, breathing, all these things seem to cause my stomach to turn on end. So, I've been going to a specialist to figure out what's going on with my stomach and what can be done so that I can go two days without taking some sort of stomach medicine. Diet is looking like the culprit (some sort of gluten/wheat thing is looking possible), and on Monday I am having some "procedures" to look inside and see what's what.

So what does that mean for the next 48 hours?

That's it! Life is sweet.

In honour of my 48 hours or so of liquids and ick, G and I went out for a big breakfast. I had to have my beloved chicken club sandwich and fries, just in case the doctor takes me off wheat on Monday. We went to Daybreak for breakfast, which is at Church and Carlton here in lovely downtown Toronto. My sandwich was lovely...

Really really good. The chicken was pounded really thin, the bread was super toasty but not too crisp, the fries were beautifully cooked, crunchy and soft at the same time. All in all, a good last lunch. Plus, the price was right at under $10, and I couldn't eat it all, which is unheard of for me. :)

So, we'll just see what happens with the stomach. I mean, I can't even begin to predict what's going to happen, but I am excited to have it checked out and to maybe be on a path to a solution. Even if it is that I need to learn to manage stress better.


Then what better thing to own than a brand spankin' new WII FIT!!!

(Yes, I am wearing Simpson's pj's.)

This is to give you an idea of the size of the Wii Fit Board. It rules. Honestly, it's just about the most fun a girl can have in her home with a plastic board and wii game console. More on that later....

24 May 2008

Lucien. Run don't walk there for dinner tonight.

We had our foodie friends visiting from Ottawa this past weekend, and I experienced about a 6 hour window of good health after work ended on Friday night before the massive migraine moved in. Fortunately, that time was spent at Lucien.

The migraine was starting to move in, so I forgot to even bring my camera, but fortunately, our dining companions had gamely brought theirs! So we have a few photos to share.

But sorry, back to Lucien. The dinner was absolutely amazing. We've read some fairly mixed reviews, but it was voted one of the ten best restaurants last year by Toronto Life, so were game to give it a go. I am so glad we did, and I can't wait to go back.

For a starter, I began with roasted Ontario asparagus. It was amazing. Gently roasted, with a balsamic reduction and goat cheese, rolled in flax seed. I am sorry I can't give you a better description, or a photo, but believe me, it was amazingly good. G had the king crab and scallop with heirloom carrots, coconut powder, black bean, and toasted corn. She said it was amazing. Our friends ordered the grilled octopus with fingerling potato, house-made chorizo, pimento and olive. The chorizo was phenomenal. Spicy and meaty, some of the best I have ever had.

For my main, I had the fried organic hen with buttermilk croquette, creamed collards, and roast onion gravy. I will confess that I ordered this because it sounded so good in the review on Toronto Life... It was amazing...

That's a weird version, but I cut myself out of the photo (oh really? you couldn't tell?). The bit in the middle is the chicken breast which is lightly coated and fried and on amazing potato-y bread-y cake. To the right of it is the chicken leg confit with onions. That little purple onion looks quite gross, but the meal was amazing. On the other side is the greens with the buttermilk croquette. The croquette was great, when you broke into it, it was filled with buttermilk. Really really nice.

G had the Alberta bison striploin. It came out very rare, not at all medium, but the kitchen graciously took it back and browned it up...

You can sorta see it... Anyway... we had red wine. Hee hee. Really, though, G's dinner was quite nice. She greatly enjoyed it.

Our friends both ordered the pickerel with spiced chickpea, broccoli "marrow", serrano ham, and idiazabal. They said it was really nice.

The food had some molecular gastronomy touches, but wasn't over the top. Everything just had amazing layers of flavour. It was some of the best food I have had in forever.

Dessert. I don't have a picture of P & M's dessert. I don't even remember what it was, really, some sort of parfait or something.

I had the chocolate complex which is a chocolate selection from around the globe with individual items to dip the chocolate in. It was so unusual.

It was so amazing, and I just wanted to close my eyes and keep trying. Under the balsamic vinegar is an olive oil. I really enjoyed the chocolate dipped in the olive oil. Really interesting.

G had the cheese platter and she said that all in all it was good, but that she didn't have any idea what the cheeses were because they go through it so quickly.

Yep. That's a bunch of cheese.

Really a great dinner, and I totally enjoyed every second of it. G raved, as well and P&M seemed a-okay with it all.

All in all, for the price, the restaurant was a complete steal. I can't wait to go back.


Life has been a bit hectic of late. My assistant at work gave her notice (and her last day was yesterday), so there's been an enormous amount of stress at work that has led to me being quite headachey and really fairly immobile when not at the office. Which doesn't lend well to keeping up with a blog, a relationship, fitness, or life.

But, we've spent a lovely day playing with our new Wii Fit (which rules!), reading magazines, watching soccer, and going to the St. Lawrence market this morning. Last weekend, we had friends over, and I was sick the entire time AND it rained. Double krap.

Anyway, here's a few things I have been meaning to post about, just lying around in their "post me" folders on my desktop.

Late nights have led to quickie dinners. The other night, a pasta with chili and oil... really a favorite of mine.

How can you not want to eat that big ol' lovely bowl of pasta. (This was a gluten-free, for those keeping track. Since I mentioned it, my tests are in a week, so hopefully we will have some decisions made on the stomach at that point... of course, I will let you know!)

I don't know if you have food cravings like this, but I knew that the only thing I really wanted to have for dinner was tzatziki I mean, that was the taste I wanted, with some sort of red meat and rice. So on my way home from work, I stopped in at Cumbrae's and bought some beautiful kabobs and tzatziki!

Yum yum yum. Simple but satisfying.  No sauce in that pic, but it was truly the reason for the season.

I had been told that Hair of the Dog had a lovely brunch, and looking for something rich and satisfying on a cool Sunday morning, G and I wandered in for a taste. 

I had this 'thing'. I don't know how else to describe it, though I am sure it was described differently on the menu. It was a scalloped potato, ham, veg, cheese, eggs, hollandaise, all dumped in a bowl.

Don't believe me?

See? I told you so! It wasn't bad, it just... well, it just tasted like a big ass bowl of too many different types of food. I wouldn't order it again. But I left full and geared for our long walk up to the Cookbook Store to spend my raise.

Good times. I love the Cookbook Store.

So yeah, just a bunch of random stuff.

10 May 2008

Italian Gluten-Free Pasta.

We went to the Grande Cheese Factory and had a quick whirl through the pasta section.

They had some Italian brands of gluten-free pasta, so we picked up a bag of Farabella Sapori Della Majella Pasta. It's corn and rice based, and really had a different nature from the regular rice pasta that we can buy at the grocery store. The pasta cooked up very nicely, really tender, really delicious. Even G liked it, so good times on that front.

We cooked the pasta, stirred in a little vodka sauce, grilled chicken breast, freshly grated parmesan...

I highly recommend it. It's definitely more expensive than the stuff at the store, it cost $4.50 or something, but it didn't give me heartburn, which most rice pastas seem to. It's a keeper save for one strange thing...

It made a ton, and it's very filling, so we had leftovers for lunch. Always good because it's so hard to eat non-gluten things when I am at work... Anyway, I heated up the leftovers and sat down to eat. It has a very familiar taste... corn tortillas! The flavour was very similar to the corn tortillas taste in enchiladas. It wasn't unpleasant, it just really would have benefited from more sauce in the leftovers.

All in all though, really good. We bought a few different sorts of gluten-free pasta and will be trying them out over the next couple of weeks... lots to report as each item is tried and tested. I'll keep you posted!!!

One Pot, Many Plates.

I made a great dinner tonight. No. Seriously. Really good. Don't believe me? See this weird shot for yourself...

I found this recipe in Food & Wine magazine (March 2008) for Chicken Goulash with Biscuit Dumplings. The recipe seemed really straightforward, and we had almost everything required to make it, so I thought, why not?


It was really rich, and one of the first times I have ever made anything from a magazine that had a sauce that looked as rich as the picture!

The sauce was really rich, the chicken was soft and tender, and the biscuits, well, were my first ever and pretty darn good. Now I know this probably doesn't seem like the most springtime meal, but I do think that this might constitute a do-over.

I halved the recipe and made a few changes... see below:

1 pound skinless boneless chicken thigh, cut into 1-inch pieces
3/4 cup flour, plus more for dredging the chicken
2.5 tbspns cold butter
olive oil
1 tspn baking powder
1.25 cups of chicken stock
1/2 cup sour cream
1 onion diced mid-sized
1/2 red bell pepper diced mid-sized
1 garlic glove, minced
1 tbspn Hungarian paprika
.5 tspn thyme

Preheat oven to 425. Season chicken and dredge in flour. Get a large skillet that can go in the oven and fry the chicken, turning only once so it gets good and brown. Put on a plate.

In a food processor (we have an amazing Braun hand-mixer and food processor), you mix the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper, then add the butter a little at a time, pulsing. Then you add in 1/4 cup of stock with 1/4 cup of sour cream that you've mixed in a little bowl.

You add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic to a skillet and the cook until soft. Return the chicken to the pan, stir in the paprika, war, then add remaining stock, 1/4 sour cream and stir until smooth. Add the thyme and bring to a boil.

Scoop the biscuit batter into little mounds on top of the chicken. Put in the oven and cook for 20 minutes. Put under broiler for 2 minutes and let them brown up. ENJOY!!!!

Honestly, this was absolutely amazing. I enjoyed it no end. And it's pretty fast, an easy clean-up, and so tasty, everyone will love you for it!!!

Stomach -- How's Yours?

I have received a few comments asking about my stomach... well... we're in a holding pattern. The doctor said the blood-work was inconclusive and we needed to move forward with the GI Scope and colonoscopy. Blech. I don't want to and haven't quite decided if I am going to. In order to do these tests, I have to be eating gluten, so I am eating it here and there. I want the tests to be accurate. Blech. Did I already say that?

I am really not sure what to do. The doctor says we need to go through all the channels and rule everything serious out, but since I have had these problems since I was a kid, I would think that I would be dead if it was something serious.

But whatever. The tests are the first of June, if I do them, and until then, it's a mix of gluten-free and gluten-heavy, and we'll just sort it out at that point. Blech. Did I mention that?

04 May 2008

Delicious Homemade Italian Food.

Discovering a new restaurant in your own (expanded) neighborhood is a wonderful thing. Discovering that it has wonderful handmade Italian food while your in the midst of a gluten-free trial? Murder. But exceptions are made for everything, so we invited G's parents there for a pre-Passover dinner. Where's there? Ohhhhh... it's here. It's called Romagna Mia, and it's near Jarvis and Front. The menu is amazing, the pastas are home-made, and the servers are good fun. But the food... oh! The food! Our main courses were fantastic... G ordered the risotto in pheasant broth.
It was so rich, and creamy. The parsley/tomato is resting on a parmesan crisp bowl. To be honest, and I know this is a bit sacrilege coming from me, but it was almost too rich. But really really nice.

G's mom ordered a very nice lamb chops with mashed potato. It seemed an odd choice, really, but the stomach wants what it wants, eh?

The sauce it was in was really lovely, deep and lamb-y. The meat was slightly underdone for my taste, but the mash was super creamy and lovely. It's hard to go wrong with well seasoned grilled meat and creamy mashed potato.

Now I know what you are thinking, I raved about the pasta and no one's ordered the pasta... well no worries. I ordered pasta. And G's Dad ordered pasta. See?

This pasta is called strozapretti, or Strangle the Priest, and is a fresh made pasta with sausage ragu, swiss chard and parmesan. G had raved about this from her lunch there a few days ago, and she was not exaggerating. The pasta was amazing. The greens just add a little bit of peppery flavour, and they weren't overpowering at all. Lovely.

G's dad ordered the lasagna...we are always a little anxious when we go out for dinner with G's dad. He's very picky, but he seemed to really enjoy dinner.

Look at that good looking lasagna! The waiter said that it's one of their most popular dishes. It has a rich bechamel, and the meat was really soft and delicious. G's dad said it needed more cheese, was given a whack of parmesan, and was a happy man.

Which made for a happy table of diners.

I highly recommend Romagna Mia. Go there, but on Friday nights, make a reservation!!!

03 May 2008


That's me on the Enterprise. And it totally ruled.

This is a picture of a picture, so forgive the quality.


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