Category Archives: snack

MORE EQUATIONS

Scallops + coral + parsley oil + garlic // heaven

Farfalle + brown lentils + minced carrot, red onion, garlic, parsley, bell pepper + lemon + splash of pasta water // (Big) 20 minute lunch

Beef tenderloin + peppers + onions + avocado + refried beans + lime over all + crackling pita // 20 minute TV dinner (hockey of course)

Beef stock + tomato paste + lentils + chipotles in adobo + potatoes + zucchini + cilantro // A very spicy, smoky soup

Fregola + fresh favas + mint + anchovy + capers (they are the same size exactly as fregola! Such a satisfying mouthfeel) + hot peppers + crispy artichokes + scallions // Sticky, chewy pasta (the best ever)

Cubed potatoes + shallot + lard + rosemary + smoked paprika // A quick snack that turned into lunch. (I always fry parboiled potatoes in a cast-iron skillet; the  crust is unbeatable, and the bits of shallot get super-crispy and charred).

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RHUBARBE: A BAKER’S JEALOUSY

Now that I’ve finally made it over to Patisserie Rhubarbe, I really wish that I hadn’t waited so long! The original recommendation came from my friend and La Presse writer Ève Dumas, who I met there for a late afternoon coffee. (Fortunately, they have Union coffee! Yum).

It was a struggle to not order all of the immaculate, elegant, and affordable sweets — the place reminded me of a teetotaling version of Pix — but with some guidance from Ève, a Rhubarbe regular, I ordered the peanut brittle, a lemon tart, cheesecake, a citrus-brownie, homemade chocolate with nougat (like a super fancy Snickers bar), and passion fruit marshmallows. They also had an alluring shelf of jams and preserves by Anthony and Camilla, as well as their own house-made preserves (and some truly gorgeous pound cakes and breads that I would have loved to eat for breakfast), but I had to exercise a wee modicum of restraint.

As the baker at Le Pick Up, I know that our goods will never have the elegance or beauty that Rhubarbe does. It’s just not our style. But there’s also something comforting and kind of amazing about knowing that the aesthetics of deliciousness exists on a wide spectrum, from messy to humble to simple to sleek — and it’s all equally valid. There is something very special happening at Rhubarbe — now if only they could pull a Pix and add Cava to their menu!

FINISH LINE

For the first time in a long time — longer than I’d like to admit — I went to the gym.

I used to be addicted to the gym, addicted to sports, addicted to exercise. Three hours at the gym was nothing; skipping a day’s worth of exercise was unthinkable. But over the years, exercise became more and more sporadic, until I eliminated it completely from my life. If you were a college athlete, then you know how hard it is to transition from 25 hours of exercise a week to only 4. Psychologically, it’s almost impossible, and I opted for (my) path of least resistance: complete bodily stasis.

I found ways to incorporate movement in a more natural way (biking for hours every day; going on long walks; sporadic yoga; pick-up sports with friends; trips skiing). But it’s clear that if I’d like to keep eating this, this, or this, joining a gym is really a crucial imperative. (Wine critic Robert Parker once said that the “only” reason why he exercises is so he can “eat whatever he wants.” Too true).

So I woke up at 8am, went to the gym, ran a few miles, and felt great. Then I hopped on the dreaded ergometer, and tried my very hardest to hold a 2:20 steady state for 30 minutes (for those of you that are rowers, or have been rowers, you know this is deeply pathetic). I finished with a power 10, and was sure that I was going to barf all over myself. (I didn’t). So I stretched, felt great, bought a coffee and a mango, and went home. And didn’t eat breakfast. Or anything at all. And — shocker — had a head-splitting migraine for the rest of the day.

So many mistakes were made! But the biggest, we can agree, is not eating the proper refuel meal directly after the gym. What was I thinking?

I wish I had prepared this lunch that I made recently. It would have been the perfect post-gym meal. It’s a simple cannellini bean and mushroom ragu, made with tomato paste, bacon, onions, bell peppers, thyme, and red pepper flakes, and thickened with butter and some starchy pasta water. Tossed with fresh pasta, a few cups of arugula, and plenty of lemon juice and Pecorino to finish, it was delicious, filling, healthy, and packed with protein and carbs.

But I also don’t want to waste precious post-workout minutes trying frantically to assemble a healthy lunch. This would have been even easier, and just as filling: a simple four-egg omelet (divided between two), with a potato-leek and broccoli rabe hash (all creatively reinterpreted leftovers), and toasted baguette with Brie. Comforting, cozy and super satisfying, and would have prevented the crazy day-long headache I suffered.

I’m pretty sure I forgot all of the nutrition knowledge I picked up during my years spent as a rower at Cornell, but I think this would be an acceptable post-workout snack, for those of you that prefer to exercise in the afternoon or evenings. I made a quick tabbouleh, or parsley salad (bulghur wheat, diced cucumbers, diced red onion, lemon juice, and minced parsley), and ate that with torn pita and a rough white bean dip, made with soaked cannellini beans that I boiled until just fork tender. The beans are then sauteed with thyme, red onion, olive oil and garlic, and mashed up with a wooden spoon (I added a few tablespoons of homemade chicken broth so it wouldn’t get too dried out). Perfect snack for any circumstance, really.

UMOJA’S

I still get a rush out of buying fresh produce in January, especially when I make my annual Sunday visit to the La Jolla Farmers Market — at my most recent visit, I bought bags of local avocados, guavas, oranges, golden beets, purple kale, and some potted succulents. But the tastiest corner of the market might be Umoja Vegan Galore, sort of what I imagine the Ethiopian version of Macro Mama’s to be. I always bring home a hefty carton of collard greens and black eyed peas (fried in avocado oil) and crunchy knobs of okra (miraculously never, ever slimy).

Really trying to make the most of my final moments in Southern California, including another trip to Chino’s Farm, knowing in the back of my mind that once back in Montreal, fresh baby lettuces will be no more than a distant fond memory. Sigh.

PS. Finally watched Deliverance for the first time. HI, TERRIFYING MOVIE.

ALL TOGETHER NOW

[Dinner: Cucumber + arugula + Belgian dive + bacon + homemade garlic rye croutons of very stale yet delicious bread from Barney Greengrass + mustard vinaigrette]

[Snack: Skillet cornbread, adapted heavily from the Lee Brothers — I added spicy peppers, shredded sharp cheddar, and bacon]

[Breakfast: Empire apples (the best, best kind) and cranberry + dark chocolate blondies. Maybe a bit too sweet, but the perfect texture for an espresso]

[Dinner: Beet sauce pasta! Adam’s impromptu hockey night creation, but given my extremely vocal love of beets I like to think that I was the inspiration for this dish. Ground beef + onions saute with lemon, olive oil + a bit of cream. Add roasted cube beets to pan to infuse cream with the most luscious, vibrant hue of magenta that you have ever seen. Coats penne brilliantly, is shiny + full of color. Delicious too.]

[Breakfast again. Sometimes all you really want is tea + freshly squeezed orange juice + toast + butter.]

[More breakfast, more orange juice. This time supplemented with my favorite of snacks — toasted whole wheat bread slathered with avocado, butter, and a lot of salt and pepper.]

I feel inspired by Sasha’s recent chronological look at her meals. I really admire the variety + bounty + simplicity of her breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. This post is a bit more piecemeal but equally valid look into my (often) random eating habits.

COASTAL TRIP

I can’t believe summer is almost over. For roughly two full weeks I had the most intense craving for fish and chips. So, I drove out to Cannon Beach for some halibut. Normal. We made a beeline for Ecola Seafoods and picked up a shameful amount of seafaring snacks — besides the requisite fried halibut and chips — which included smoked mussels, lump crab meat, pickled herring, smoked BBQ salmon, and a few pounds of fresh salmon to take home. We brought our own rose and I was tipsy by 4pm, wandering the streets of Cannon Beach and impulse buying Haystack bread and Haystack chocolates, and then finally catching a glimpse of the actual Haystack Rock. Perfect summer afternoon.

ALL IS FALLING

At the farmer’s market a few weeks ago, I was easily tempted by a giant ziploc bag stuffed with fresh Oregon blueberries for only $10. We already had a flat of tender peaches, but I swore that I would bake them all, in some way. After much careful deliberation, I made Ruth Reichl’s blueberry muffins, which appeared in Gourmet magazine a while back. Their tart blueberry flavor was delicious, but I found them a bit heavy — I think because of the butter she uses instead of the traditional vegetable oil. Honestly I just don’t think I have the baking touch yet—I have these grandiose, dreamy visions of perfect baked goods but they never come out quite right.

It’s been so hot here lately that all I can manage is the easiest of meal preparation. Spinach salads tossed with toasted walnut and feta and leftover breakfast hash. A heaping bowl of charred broccoli, kale, and fingerling potatoes. Diced cubes of sweet watermelon.