Monday, August 31, 2009

We had a really good dinner on Saturday, with a couple new recipes from nibbledish. For the pasta course we had Tagliatelle of Mushroom. I used cremini, shiitake and oyster mushrooms (and some leftover king mushrooms). Cooking the mushrooms in a really hot pan works great -- the mushrooms fry rather than boiling, and so come out nicely browned. For the meat course we had Argentinean Strip Steak. I still prefer steak with just Montreal Steak Spice, but this was pretty good for variety. Our favourite LCBO guy (Grant) recommended a malbec from Argentina, Alegoría, which went really well with both courses.

On Sunday I re-did the flagstone that runs beside the house. We had a lot of rain on Friday night, with predictions of up to 50mm. The weather station in Leslieville doesn't show any actual data for rain (maybe it was off the chart?). Anyways, I originally built the flagstone beside the house (the downspout empties into this) (it's 3' wide), in a "V" shape, with the mid-point about 2" lower than the sides. When it's raining hard, the water was running over the edges, and eroding the limestone screening. I re-lay the flagstone so that there's now about a 4" difference. I was trying to figure out the water volume based on the roof size and rain peaks, but there were too many variables I couldn't estimate.

Well I should start making dinner. We're having grilled lamb (it's my own recipe, so I can take a picture and post it to

Friday, August 28, 2009

I have a new favourite website for recipes, I found it while looking for a recipe that included king mushrooms (we had some leftover). Ended up making basil chicken that didn't even have king mushrooms, but it came out pretty good. I really like the pictures with the recipes -- looks like most posters are into photography as well.

Yesterday we made tacos, sort of based on one of the recipes. I didn't realize how easy it is to make the meat mixture -- I just used tomato paste, along with cumin, paprika and chili powder. I was going to make the tortilla shells too, but ended up buying some from Loblaws. Next time I think I'll make the shells.

We won our playoff game last Sunday in Ultimate, so we're in the finals this weekend.

Well I should start making dinner.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Heather's back has been flaring up the past couple weeks and I've been working from home about half the time to help her out.

On Thursday there was a big storm that blew through. A couple branches (about as thick as my leg) broke off the tree at the entrance to our street, one of them falling on a parked car. The other branch took out an electrical wire, so we had an emergency vehicle outside for a while. The clean-up crew came around midnight, and in about five minutes had wood chipped all the branches, fixed up the wire, and moved onto their next job. They were very efficient.

I barbecued chicken on Thursday for dinner, and so had to wait for the storm to finish. Heather suggested using the cornmeal to coat the chicken pieces, so I made up my own recipe of five herbs and spices (cayenne pepper, garlic salt, paprika, cumin and pepper, plus the cornmeal). It turned out pretty good.

We had some chocolates from Ambiance Chocolat again. They have some new flavours, my new favourite is the caramel and jalapeño truffle. Mmmm good. Heather's favourite is still the caramel and fleur de sel.

With Heather's back sometimes keeping her in bed, I was surfing around for audio books for Heather, so that she could listen to them on her iPod. I found out that the Toronto Public Library allows you to download audio books for free! First I had to actually go in person to a library to renew my card, which was pretty quick. The audiobooks have DRM on them so they "expire" after a set period of time, and you can have a maximum of 10 books checked out at a time, which is pretty reasonable.

It wasn't too hard to download a book, but I had to manually import it into my iTunes library. It wasn't that complicated, but now that I'm used to the iTunes Store, moving files around manually seems a bit archaic. Also, it's downloaded in a mp3 format which iTunes 7 doesn't recognize as a book (time for me to upgrade to iTunes 8?). Some googling showed there's an option in iTunes for each track to remember playback position, so if you start playing a book, it will remember where you left off. Anyways, Heather selected some books and now they're on her iPod.

I finally gave up on trying to finish Don Quixote. It's taken me six months to get a quarter of the way through. It's way too repetitive, like a Saturday Night Live skit where the same joke is used over and over again. Craig said the second half of the book is even worse, because the author just criticizes other people who have copied his format, and shows why his is the real thing. Maybe I'll come back to it one day, but for now it's back on the shelf along with Catch 22, another book I struggled with and never finished.

Monday, August 03, 2009

I went golfing with Doaner, Craig and Chris on Saturday at Dragon's Fire, about an hour west of Toronto. The course is only a year old, but looks great. It was also a great day, sunny and 27C, one of the warmest days this summer. The course had the best greens I've played on this year. I was erratic, shooting over 100, but with a couple pars. I almost birdied the par-5 18th, I had a 10-foot putt that I missed. It took a while to get back home, I had to drop Craig off in King West, with Caribana going on.

Yesterday and today I worked a bit more on the backyard:

The gate's attached to the old fence post between us and our neighbour. I'm not sure yet if it will hold the gate, but I'm hoping the crossbeam above the gate will help support the weight. I still have to attach the lock (I need to borrow Maricar's circle drill bit), so for now I've jammed a piece of wood underneath.

I was shopping for groceries yesterday at Loblaws, and tried a sampling that I liked, so made it for dinner, pan-fried catfish with arugula-orange salad, with rice tossed with toasted pecans, broccoli and garlic. It turned out pretty good. The catfish was dredged with a mixture of cornmeal, salt and cayenne. I hadn't used cornmeal before, it's pretty good coating for fish (instead of say breadcrumbs).

We've been using the firepit the last couple nights. It's actually quite nice in the backyard, with the fire going, and music and the big trees in the backyard. Next is figuring out the patio furniture. We want to get a sectional, but the ones we like cost around $7000. I'll probably end up building one.

We're having pork and shrimp steamed dumplings for dinner, I should start cooking.