NOMS: improvement

i think i'm crazy.

finally.  my three nights are over, pre-school is over and the weekend begins with a Back to School BBQ chez Taryn tomorrow!  i can not tell you how happy i am right now and how proud and shocked i am that i made it through tonight's shift.  i know, overdramatic, but seriously i don't know how i did it.  the last three days following Labour Day have been intense labours of cooking.  i don't know why i do this to myself!  it's like i'm on a mission everyday to make things that are worth eating.  i know i could take the easy way out, but i know that by taking the easy way out i'll finish my food and feel sad and unsatisfied.  for me, satisfaction is not just about feeling sustained or full physically, but emotionally i want to get that high from tasty flavours that are fresh, rich, and playful.  so even if it means i do not get to sit down all day (for more than 3 minutes) until 10:30pm, i'm in the kitchen.

the kids seem to have adjusted to my presence in the kitchen.  i am surprised how well adjusted considering on days like today, i start lunch at 11:45am and don't finish until 1pm.  for the most part, they busy themselves and rarely complain they are hungry.  on occasion, moses will whine about it.  whether it's because he just feels like whining or he is actually hungry is another issue, but i truly believe, for the most part, they have gotten used to the feeling of hunger and realize it is not an emergency.  i still keep meaning to do a post on French Kids Eat Everything, but recognizing and being okay with the feeling of being hungry is a good thing.  we have 3 meals a day and one snack at 4:30pm.  whenever moses asks for a snack anytime before that, i tell him it is not yet time and to watch the clock.  he has not argued.  it has made me aware of my personal emotional eating, particularly eating when feeling "bored".  the book encourages elimination of snacking throughout the day trying to curb habits that will grow into adulthood.  eat when it's time to eat and enjoy the hell out of it!

we had a mini communal dinner with Michelle Jason and Ethan on Labour Day.  it was like being in a marathon and this was the last lap.  my body was giving out, my brain was fried, and i just did not have energy to take photos.  Michelle, however, wanted a photo of a new recipe she received from another friend, swearing by it.  now if i could only track her down for the recipe, you will all be able to enjoy some warm homey pan fried tofu...

yesterday... after staying up til 230am and getting us ready for Momo's first day, running out to White Rock and back, putting Chloe to bed and cleaning a few dishes, i put together a gluten-free cauliflower'n'cheese with Jamie Oliver's Tray Bake chicken and some cherry tomatoes because chloe and i fucking love roasted cherry tomatoes.  put it together, cleaned up some of the kitchen, got dressed for work and worked until 1030pm.  

also, do you know that once every customer has finally left i clean two tills?  seriuosly, the cleaning never ends!  then i come home and i still have to clean up before parking my ass here.

anyway.  this was good.  not great.  the flavours were good, but i was trying to go with less cheese and that was obvious.  definitely needed more cheese for that yummy sticky texture that is so strangely satisfying with baked melted cheese.  needed to drain the cauliflower a little more, so less wet.  will definitely attempt a re-do.

and today...


goddam artichokes are so gorgeous.

boiled them for 20 minutes with a little garlic
whipped up cilantro-mint-lime herb mayo

chloe and i went to town!

Cobb salad with Westham corn
just happened to have all the ingredients for this one
was proud to be able to put something cohesive together with random ingredients
i'm still working on being able to do this

and because i wasn't tired enough, we went back out to pick up ingredients for the most pain in the ass recipe that i can't stop making. i'm practicing and playing with Jamie Oliver's Simple Baked Lasagna which i first used in my Zucchini-as-Pasta Gluten Free Lasagna.  

i can not describe the wedded bliss between the texture and flavours of meat and butternut squash.  the meat starts off frying 4-5 slices of chopped pancetta with cinnamon.  after the gruelling 25 minutes of suicidal prep, the warm aroma of the cinnamon with the pancetta tells you it's going to be worth it.

you add onions, garlic, carrots, two fistfuls of fresh herbs (oregano, rosemary, thyme) and 4 spoons of oil.  stir and add the meat.  the meat is organic stewing beef that i throw into the food processor to be hacked into a faux-ground texture.  this is awesome because after simmering with tomatoes (from my Lola's garden) and red wine for and hour and a half, it creates a texture that most of us probably have not experienced.  and if you have, you probably are a thousand times better than me at cooking and should come over to teach me all your secrets!

so the meat is exploding with rich flavours and paired with the butternut squash that has roasted for 45 minutes, it's one of the most enjoyable and cozy yet exciting flavour combos i've had.  the squash is so soft and is sweet with citrus from the coriander.  spice is optional.

i had attempted to do zucchini spaghetti but i wasn't watching and totally overcooked the zucchini.  it wasn't the best but it still did the job.  on top, those are roasted eggplant slices also from my Lola's garden.  i didn't know where i was going with them but whatever.  so this was not really cohesive, but i'm playing around with the meat and squash hoping to create a Shepherd's Pie for my brother for Thanksgiving.  i attempted to do this last week using a yam instead of a squash and it wasn't as good.  hopefully we'll still have a few English Peas around to throw in there, too.

so that was a long food post.  my apologies.


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