Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Secret ingredient

I wanted to like Kimchi, but we got off to a rocky start. A Korean grocer was unhelpful to the point of surliness as I tried to figure out which of the many was a good entry-level kimchi. My first attempts to include it in our meals were met with less than enthusiasm from my husband.
I just wasn't getting it, the strong flavour and the mushy texture. Then, today, a chilly day which called for soup. Bean, cabbage and Kimchi soup, as it turned out. Success! The sprouted legume blend cooked down to a satisfying toothiness, the green beans and New Zealand spinach stems added a bright note and the Kimchi held it all together like a funk bass line laid down by Bootsy Collins.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Tiny harvest

It's "Oh Hi!, July" around here again… everwhere you look something seems picture-worthy.
Edibles from the garden and eye-candy florals everywhere… I think I'm becoming obsessed with hollyhocks in my dotage. Also, hydrangeas, dahlias, echinacea and zinnias. And alliums. And Italian bitter greens. And arugula and scarlet runners.
I promise this is the last picture of those damn beans for this summer. :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

If Rachel Zoe were a gardener

It's that time of year… July yields so much going on in the garden
I feel like Rachel Zoe—wandering plant to
plant, touching, looking and muttering "Ba-naan-as!"

…though it should be "Scarlet R-u-nners! 
C-u-cumbers! Ch-i-cory! Strawb-e-rries! Bego-o-nias! Zi-i-nnias!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

No. 6 King Street

On a recent vacation I went to southern Ontario.
Waterloo, to be more specific.
I always find it odd that after 30 years of living on the west coast, 4000+ kilometers away from where I grew up—that I feel with each visit that Thomas Wolfe was wrong; and that you can go home again.  Of course it helps greatly that my family and friends are still holding down the fort. Coming back to them always feels like climbing into a warm bath, welcome and soothing.
No. 6 King Street is where my longtime friend Kenton has resided for more than 30 years.  It's one of those main street stores with apartments up above… look up - waaay up and there's Kenton's place.
It always feels great to come back and find it same but different.
Different in small increments; new healthy-for-you food in the fridge, a beer glass or two I haven't seen before, an arrangement of pictures in the hallway.

Kenton always brings my bike from the storage area (down all those stairs) when I arrive. He likes bikes, does Kenton; and got this old Schwinn for me to pedal around town. Sweet Schwinn. And sweet Kenton. 


A small patchwork block pieced from a shirt and a remnant of quilting cotton. It's a variation of Ohio Square, (a useful reference—McCalls). I enjoyed this bit of hand stitchery, inspired by a little book (pictured below) bought at Daiso.
Mine lacks the awe-inspiring precision of the original, but I felt encouraged enough by my first attempt to cut strips for another, choosing fabric that has a more crisp 'hand'… for better corner points.
And if I can overcome my fear of y-seams, the little hex bag is next on the list.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Knock it off

Top, Gustavian Wall sconce by
Bottom: Target knock-off

This spectacular wall sconce available at this tantalizing UK store has been on my Home Pinterest board for years. Strolling through Target last week in search of a Smith & Hawken watering can to replace mine that was sadly run over and squashed, I stopped and laughed at the sight of this $19 knock-off, and brought it home as a reminder of our consumer culture and just how far-reaching these imported copycat items have infiltrated. And yes, I know, I'm abetting it by buying the damn thing, but it's the rare exception to my most-things-from-a-thrift-shop habit.  And now I bathe by candlelight, conserving electricity. ❤

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


I haven't made banana bread in donkeys' years… avoiding bad carbs along with everyone else.
But having grown up in a household where butter, sugar and flour were like a holy trinity, it was a slow and painful transition to not automatically reach for a mixing bowl and a wooden spoon to bake, usually a couple of things (hey, the oven's on already)—several times a week. My mom baked quite a bit… and I spent many hours going through her cookbooks and handwritten recipes, sorting them and, I thought, bringing order to chaos.  She would just roll her eyes.
I still have a few recipes in her handwriting, and look at them with pleasure. The pound cake recipe probably came from my paternal grandmother. It was her signature dessert, one that I indulge my dad in regularly—since it prompts such pleasant associations for him. "Cherry pound cake! I haven't had this in years!" Well, actually, no…you had some last week, but—hey, glad you're likin' it, dad.