Saturday, July 16, 2011

Packed up kitchen

I am moving next week and I am downsizing from a 3 bedroom house to a 1 bedroom apartment so that means cut the kitchen in half because I won't have a basement to store things like crockpots, and party items and such. But what it has also meant to me lately is that I am having a really hard time cooking and eating in the house while in the middle of things being packed. I have a lot of kitchen things so it's not like I can pack the day before so I have had to pack most of my stuff except the dishes and cutlery and a few pots and pans that I am not taking with me. So it's been a challenge trying to figure out what to eat since I really can't cook very much since I am also trying to eat all the food in the pantry, fridge and cupboards. I am finding it's just easier to do take out at this time. My brother will still be living in the house a week after I leave so I will just leave the perishable food that's left for him to deal with and leave him paper plates and the things I am not taking. But the paring down of items and the having all of my kitchen gadgets packed away in a box is difficult because I can't make a Spanish omelet at the whim of a craving because something that would normally take about 10 minutes becomes an exercise in digging and excavating the items needed to make such a meal. I am very lucky that I am moving to a place where there are 3 restaurants and a food court in the building so I don't have to worry about what I will eat when I move and have time to get my kitchen in order.

It's the transition between all the things in the kitchen that you need to make a good meal and the setting up of a brand new kitchen space that's difficult.

So the only solution I have come up with is Take Out... or go out with friends for dinner if I can.... but it will all be back to normal very soon and I will be able to start posting recipes that I have cooked again.

wish me luck in my kitchen moving nightmare.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Food memories of childhood

It was so hot today I thought I was going to melt and no amount of water was going to help. The only thing that was going to make me feel a little better was Gelato.

I didn't just have any gelato I had gelato from the Bakery I went to when I was a kid. In about a week I will be moving and out of the neighbourhood I lived in most of my life. I have been busy purging and packing up things in the house and needed an ice cream break today so I decided to go to Nino D'Aversa Bakery to get some Gelato. I used to go there all the time because my mother only wanted bread from there but when they started opening bigger grocery stores closer to home the bread came from there instead. But there is nothing like the smell of freshly baked bread when you walk into the bakery that makes it in the back of the store. Nino D'Aversa is an old school italian bakery/cafe where you can get fresh bread, pizza and hot table, gelato and other italian foods along with a cappuccino or whatever else you fancy.

Today's mission was to get some Gelato to cool off from the humidity on a sticky hot day. What was interesting was that as soon as I walked in the bakery and got a whif of the baked bread smell it instantly brought me back to childhood memories. When I was a kid my dad used to go to get bread at that bakery and most of the time I would go in to get it. It was also the place that my friends dad brought a bunch of us kids from our street for gelato to keep us out of trouble and happy. 4 or 5 of us kids would pile into his car and drive over to the bakery to load up on yummy gelato and for a little while we were quiet and happy. Now everytime I go into that bakery it reminds me of those days. Life was a lot simpler then. You want bread or ice cream you go to the bakery, not to one of a bunch of grocery stores. Grocery stores don't really have that same sense memory because most of the time nothing is made in store anymore so you don't have the smell of fresh food when you walk in unless it's artificially created to entice you to buy something.

I bet everyone has at least one sense memory of a smell or taste or sight of some sort of food that reminds them of their childhood. I guess bread and ice cream does it for me.... I guess that's why I am a sugar and carb addict. It just feels like home when I eat it. I can't imagine life without it.

What are your food memories from childhood? What does the food memory trigger in you?

Like I always say, Food is the thing that connects everyone and the thing that lives in our memories from the time we are born until we die. Tastes may change as we get older but the memories of the foods we loved when we were kids never changes or goes away.

What triggers your childhood food memories?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Cooking Gadget addiction

I admit it.. I have an addiction...not to drugs or alcohol but to Kitchen Gadgets I haven't been cooking much lately because I have sold my house and have to downsize to a 1 bedroom apartment... you guessed it... that means I have to sacrifice pantry and kitchen stuff storage. It's so hard for a foodie to do that. What if I want to whip up some last minute craving and I don't have the tools to make whatever it is. You never know when you decide you want to have an impromptu fondue party and need a bunch of skewers.. it happens.. well in my world it might. So my challenge has been to pare down to necessities including things like kitchen gadgets. I had drawers full of stuff that my mother would buy cause she couldn't find something or I would do the same because the thing I always used got buried somewhere in the jumbled gadget drawer. Yes I admit that I had 3 ice cream scoops... 1 is just cool looking,, one doesn't release and one is so so.. So which one did I keep? The cool one...does the job and still looks cool.

So I emptied all my drawers full of stuff onto the kitchen table and started sorting the multiples and triplicates and then pulled out the best and only used tools and was still left with a huge pile... then I passed that on to my brother and he pulled out stuff he needs...and still left with a huge pile of space sucking kitchen gadgets.

So I was thinking... why do we buy these things? why am I addicted to cool kitchen gadgets. Is it the promise to make your life better and easier in the kitchen or are they just so shiny and nice in the store that you can't walk away from them if you are a foodie? I don't know but I plan to try and go through my own 12 step program and break my kitchen gadget buying addiction and try and get down to using the basic tools like proper knives and using old school knife skills. but some things do just make life in the kitchen a bit easier... I have one of those things that cuts and cores an apple in 5 seconds flat.. what i like about that is perfectly matched slices so if you want to cook and present it in some way at least you know that they are all the same size... yes I kept that gadget... and probably way too many others.... but I hope to put them to good use in a properly organized and efficient kitchen. I plan on putting a lot of thought into the organization of my kitchen cupboards and drawers when I move in so there is no room for dissapearing tools and pantry items... let's hope I can keep it that way.. My achilles heel is right in the same building... Yes a Winners is in the same building as where I am moving to where you can get constantly changing shiny kitchen objects at great prices... I know that will spell trouble for me... cooking some elaborate recipe and need a spatula.. ok run downstairs in my flip flops in the dead of winter and pick one up... OH boy i can see it now... I may have to go to kichen gadget rehab... Stop me if you see me in these stores drooling over all the shiny things... you will be doing me a big favour.

This photo above is the pile that now has to be donated to goodwill or something... don't let me do this again.

My name is Linda and I am a gadget shopaholic.....

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Backyard Grilling

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I have sold my house and I will be doing a big downsize to a 1 bedroom apartment. One of the things I will miss will be being able to have a charcoal backyard BBQ anytime the weather is nice. There is nothing better than grilled meat and vegetables to bring out the best flavour.

Spring and early summer are the best time of year for some of my favourite foods..... corn & asparagus, and grilling them really kicks up the taste of them. Since I will be out of my house within an month and the weather was beautiful for Canada Day I decided to invite two girlfriends over for maybe one of the last bbq's I will have in the backyard of my house. you know what they say you don't know what you will miss until it's gone. 2 things I know I will miss is charcoal bbq's and my washer/dryer in my house.

My friends had a great time and we even made an attempt at making some smores to top it all off. It was a great meal of greek style marinated chicken, asparagus, baby potatoes, corn and some yellow beets. That's what I call a great summer meal.

So I am thinking I may have to invest in a little electric grill so I can still have the feel of a bbq but it's not quite the same as watching a huge flame shoot out of a pile of charcoal briquettes. it took us an hour to light the coals because I think the old bag was damp so I had to go to 3 stores to find some in my area...tough on a holiday long weekend.. but we managed to get it all cooked by 7pm so we still did pretty well with cooking it all up.

Grill away.. whatever you like... the new trend is to grill things like pineapple and peaches and to grill all kinds of things you wouldn't normally do ...even things like Pizza.. although I have never attempted that one.

Find a few friends.. buy a bag of charcoal.. find a good bbq and toss whatever food you fancy on the grill and enjoy.

It's summer so enjoy it while you can.