Turkey Day and a Nature walk

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Shana Tova

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Tiny Trip

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I haven’t fully abandoned you, little blog. I’ve been doing a lot of living, and lots of snapping, but blogging… maybe I have abandoned you, just a bit.

We just returned from a weekend and John & Juli’s cottage(s) which was the loveliest few days I could have asked for. Amazing what a few simple days alone and outside of the city can do for you. It also didn’t hurt that their cottage is pretty much my dream come true. Something about mid-century design + crisp end of summer weather + blue skies + open water… dreamy.

As of Late…

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La Belle Province

20120612-173344.jpg This past weekend I tagged along with The Elwins to Montreal. It was my first visit home in about 6 months, since Christmas. It was only 48 hours, but it was so needed, and I was lucky to fit in a slew of wonderful things (and wonderful people) while I was there.

20120612-182108.jpg Pop Montreal threw a Spring event in Little Italy, so when I arrived in town (on 2 hours sleep, after a 6 hour drive) to an absolutely blue sky and settled down in the park to wait for friends and family to arrive for the boys’ set – well, I couldn’t have picked a lovelier homecoming. As days go, it was a stunner, and so many faces I love made an appearance – including a surprise run-in with Jen and Milo, who I’d yet to meet outside of instagram. What a cutie!

20120612-181200.jpg My ladies and I walked up the street for gelato, and it was just wonderful to see them again. Not too many of my hometown buds regularly pass through Toronto, so we always have a lot to catch up on.

20120612-173632.jpg The highlight of Sunday was my ‘date’ with an amazing lady named Anile. Anile was, strangely, my baby-sitter when I was 6 years old, and we’ve reconnected (if you can even call it that) through the magic of the internet, in particular, through instagram. We discovered we have a lot in common, and as it turns out, when you’re not a 6 year old, an age gap doesn’t really mean all that much. So now, we’re best buds forever – thanks instagram!

20120612-173830.jpg20120612-180821.jpg20120612-180536.jpg20120612-173755.jpg Anile took me to this great little restaurant in the plateau called ‘Icehouse’, for tacos and lobster rolls and bourbon lemonade. It was exactly the right mix of delicious food and relaxed atmosphere and being outside – the perfect summer restaurant.

20120612-175733.jpg Isn’t she a babe?

20120612-174009.jpg20120612-181455.jpg I felt like we could have walked and talked for days and not run out of things to say – it was an epic first date, complete with sharing an ice cream at Ripples (the best ice cream in Montreal as far as I’m concerned – we had a ‘Cabane A Sucre’… maple ice cream with a maple syrup swirl and maple sucre bits YUM) and an a beautiful sunset over St Laurent – it was the dreamiest. The only bummer was that Kevin and Anile’s lovely husband Christian weren’t around to witness our lovefest. I hope to visit A&C and their amazing dog Panda at their Hudson home soon – I have fantasies of a weekend in the country, making dinner together and drinking wine and long talks late into the evening (hint hint nudge nudge). Can you tell I’m all in love?

20120612-174029.jpg20120612-174205.jpg20120612-174150.jpg Kicking around my parents place, hanging out with my dog Tucker and my brother Daniel, and mentally putting tags on my folk’s things. Mine Mine Mine. I actually hadn’t realized this when all their possessions were split amongst 3 floors when I was growing up, but they really have a pallet going on. What to be consistent in your design, parents!

20120612-174055.jpg Monday was hangs with Mom, running errands, coffee’s at my fave Mtl coffee shop, Myriad, shopping at my favourite boutique

20120612-181449.jpg seeing a big dog.

20120612-175748.jpg For lunch we checked out Cafe Ellefsen, a Scandinavian cafe that opened up on St Zotique at St. Denis. It was lovely, and felt airy and light… I was mentally copying their design and trying to figure out how to incorporate it into my own home. Mom was brave and tried all of the smorrebrod, without much fuss (possibly because I didn’t tell her what we were eating). The lavender and asparagus soup was beautiful.

20120612-175817.jpg This wall reminded me of my brother, who we affectionately call ‘Dan The Ketchup Man’.

20120612-174223.jpg20120612-174235.jpg20120612-180500.jpg20120612-174304.jpg Monday evening I headed off to meet some friends at The Wheel Club, Canada’s premier old timey country western club, that we used to frequent when we were in CEGEP. It hasn’t changed much in 10 years, although it was busier than I remember it being. It was so wonderful to spend the night listening to some ol’ school country jams, drinking whisky and buckets of beers (4 for 12$) with some of my oldest and dearest, under the stars. Je T’aime, Wheel Club.

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Montreal – I need to come back to you soon.

A Summer Supper

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When summer comes, a lot of people lighten up on the cooking, turning instead to salads and barbeques and easy light fare. For whatever reason, I’ve been a cooking monster the last few weeks. Here’s a recipe I tried out and loved from ‘Recipes From an Italian Summer’ – just in time for local strawberry season. It was so special, I wanted to share it with you. I’m a big fan of the savoury/sweet combo, and this guy was so pretty and veg friendly and fun – totally worth the attention that risotto demands.

Strawberry Risotto
Serves 4

Ingredients
4 cups vegetable stock
6 tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups risotto rice
1 3/4 cups dry white wine
2 3/4 cups hulled strawberries
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground white pepper

Procedures
1 Pour the stock into a pan and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer.
2 Meanwhile, melt half the butter in another pan. Add the onion and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until it is softened. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until all the grains are coated with melted butter.
3 Add the wine and cook for 5 minutes, or until the alcohol has evaporated. Add a ladleful of the hot stock to the rice and cook, stirring, until it has been absorbed. Continue adding the stock, a ladleful at a time, and stirring until each addition has been absorbed. This will take 18-20 minutes.
4 Meanwhile, set a few whole strawberries aside for the garnish and mash the remainder in a bowl. Ten minutes before the end of the cooking time, add the mashed strawberries to the risotto. When it is almost ready, gently stir in the cream and season with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with the reserved whole strawberries.

As of Late… (a very foodcentric week)

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20120612-205238.jpg John and Juli took Frank and I out for a Mjolk field trip – dinner at Terroni. What a treat!

20120612-205306.jpg poaching pears

20120612-205321.jpg snuggling kitties

20120612-205500.jpg cookin’ up some carrots

20120612-205726.jpg celebratory dinner with a bregnant Brad and Meg and Via Marcanti

20120612-205748.jpg cold brewin’ at home

20120612-205939.jpg20120612-210307.jpg a Saturday excursion to Burger Priest with the wife

20120612-210324.jpg First dinner from the storage containers at Bathurst and Dundas

20120612-210412.jpg The Elwins take the Phoenix

20120612-210428.jpg The best ice cream of the summer – a late night drive-by at the Black Hoof for one of Brandon’s Sam James Coffee Bar ice cream bars… absolute heaven.

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