SEPTEMBER GIRLS

Phew, this week really escaped from me. Some nice things —

a stunning new exhibition by Liz Harris (aka Grouper) at Nationale in Portland (I love the hand imagery, of course)—

some mouthwatering photos taken at the Chez Panisse 40th Anniversary—

and an interview I did recently with Boston-based drone musician John Kolodij (aka High Aura’d) for Foxy Digitalis—

and the details for an event hosted by Maisonneuve Magazine, in which I interview the estimable R. Stevie Moore—

finally, I’ll be helping my friend Michelle serve up peach pastry at tomorrow’s Oysterfest in Old Montreal. I’m getting paid in oysters— the best kind of payment! Details here and I hope to see you there!

WALLED IN

I should probably take better care of the things that I love, but often those become the items that get the most disheveled and worn out.

Some of my errant doodles, and postcards I’ve had for over a decade

My favorite carpet (okay, my only carpet)

My (terrifyingly cluttered) office space. (Yes, I know it needs work.)

Part of my Rachel Comey shoe collection (the loafers, the red suede heels, and the pink leather heels) interspersed with well-worn thrifted purchases

My favorite (very wrinkled) Debbie Carlos poster, creased in so many places that it doesn’t lay flat anymore

The best Ermie dress (better images of it soon), and one of my favorite (funniest) photos of me and Adam, taken at La Baie. It’s one of the best presents ever given to me, in which we spent an afternoon with the department store’s extremely enthusiastic photographer, and tried to see just how completely dorky and ridiculous we can look. I was really into the whole “man standing behind the woman in a pensive embrace.”

STONED + CANNED

I was so stoked to organize a canning workshop with Montreal’s preserves queen Camilla Wynne, and I’m happy to report that the night was a mega success! (I’ve been eating her nectarine-sapote jam smeared on thick pieces of toast every morning for breakfast). We  can’t wait to get her back into the Dep’s kitchen for Round 2: Pickles. Stay tuned!

Lots more photos here. And here!

PIZZA, AND A NEW AGE MISTAKE

Fellow pizza freaks, I recently wrote a little write-up for Slice about the fantastic VPN pies at Pizzeria Libretto, a small restaurant in Toronto’s Little Portugal. In my own limited experience, it is, by far, the best pie I’ve eaten in Canada. (Miles better than anything we have in Montreal, that’s for sure.) I went to lunch alone while Adam was doing some research, and brought him my leftovers, neatly packaged by the restaurant in a cute bag. Needless to say, he was stoked when I surprised him with some cold pizza to snack on while we drove to Norman Hardie! Read the whole thing here.

Also, as we made our way through the city on our way to Prince Edward County, I noticed this Kay Gardner bridge and immediately thought of Kay Gardner, the awesome new age musician. I couldn’t believe that someone in Toronto would name a bridge after her! I thought it was the coolest thing that I had ever seen. Adam, however, thought I was crazy and that no one would do that. He was right. The bridge is named after some politician. Lame.

SEMI ROUTINE

Breakfast with my boyfriend always includes a little bit of fruit, artfully arranged, a little bit of bread, toasted (though I’m trying to cut back), a little bit of cheese and butter, and, if I’m lucky, a fried egg or two. Lots of cracked pepper and fleur de sel. It’s an unstoppable breakfast. This kind of meal doesn’t happen every day, but it’s nice to take 30 minutes out of your morning to relax and enjoy some nice food. I can’t believe it’s already September. It was hard to say goodbye to the greengage plums, and now I have to say goodbye to peaches, too?

THROWN TOGETHER, EATEN UP

Buying a few clutch pre-made dishes, dressing them up in a more personal way, and preparing a few other easy side dishes might be one of the easiest ways ever to throw an impromptu dinner party. Everyone’s happy and everything’s delicious.

Earlier that morning, we took our friends out to Abu Elias and did a little grocery shopping of our own. Of course, I couldn’t resist their excellent hummus, or a pound of their excellent beef tartare, which is massaged with bulghur wheat, cumin, sumac, and other spices. But we also ordered a huge carton of fatteh (but then buttered and toasted our own pita chips to ensure crispiness late into the night), and a delicious lahmajoun.

I cracked open a jar of tiny pickled carrots that I made earlier in the week, and we readied a platter of radishes, waiting to be sliced in half and spread with butter. Adam prepped a small plate of celery sticks and taramosalata (a killer combo). We made a huge tomato, olive, and pepper salad, and a quick tabbouleh. I even whipped up (perhaps incongruously) a warm potato salad, with crispy pan-fried potatoes, tender green beans, bacon, scallions, and a rich mustard-crème fraîche vinaigrette.

But my favorite dish of the evening was derived from a recipe that I’ve had an eye on for months — a simple beetroot salad dressed with pistachios, lemon juice, and mint, from the indispensible Moro East cookbook. We picked up a bundle of gorgeous chiogga beets from the market, and roasted them in foil until tender. The Clarks like to thinly slice their beets and dress them with a chunky vinaigrette that includes minced pistachios, orange blossom water, mint, parsley, lemon zest and lemon juice. It was outstanding — light and floral but full of flavor.

CHEZ PANISSE MENUS

Ordering this book immediately. I love reading menus, and lists of ingredients; it’s so soothing. Is that weird? My favorite Richard Olney volumes are his books arranged by precise meal plans —specifically,The French Menu Cookbook: The Food and Wine of France—Season by Delicious Season—in Beautifully Composed Menus and Ten Vineyard Lunches. I can’t even count how many times I’ve referred to its pages for inspirations for dinner parties and other events. I love thinking about the sequencing of a great meal as being similar to a tracks on a record or chapters in a book. Why should a meal be assembled haphazardly, when it could be composed as a linear, thoughtful event? Oh, and this Patricia Curtan book inspires me to host a Grand Aïoli of my own, too.

[via the Paris Review]