Saturday, February 27, 2010
Friday, February 19, 2010
The cherry trees started to bloom in the week before the games started. The torch approached the city. Vanoc told us to get out of our cars and take transit. Transit warned us of huge delays (up to 2 hours). Polls showed that half of us were less than thrilled with the whole prospect of the looming event. The torch ran right by our house one morning just over a week ago, so T and I got to see it from our window. I drove past the torch convoy that night driving home. Crowds were growing at the torch events and a buzz was building in the city. I saw more and more shuttle buses on the highway driving to Cypress or Whistler or back again.
A few days before the games a local columnist summed up how I felt. I wasn't in favour of the games but I hoped they would succeed.
Then right before the opening ceremonies a young, Georgian luger lost his life on a training run. As the mother of a son, I cannot fathom the pain of his own mother. A young life lost, suddenly, tragically. A cloud over the games. But they went on. The opening ceremonies happened. In my opinion, watching it, it seemed to me that if you weren't Canadian watching them you would think that we are all aboriginal or mad, Celtic fiddlers/tap dancers. The effects were gorgeous but the national anthem was made to sound like a sentimental Christmas song. Months of debate ended about who was going to light the cauldron - 5 people including I was glad to see - Nancy Greene Raine. But one of the arms didn't come up - oh well, the cauldron still lit. And then the Great One (Gretsky) was loaded in the back of a pick-up truck and driven in the pouring rain to light the outdoor cauldron. That was very Vancouver!
Now it is day 8 and Canada has won 4 gold medals! There is an enormous surge of patriotism I've never seen before. We've been critisized in the media for the weather, the non-working cauldron arm, the fence around the outdoor cauldron, our audacity at wanting to win medals and everything else. But it doesn't matter. People are thronging the streets of Vancouver, dressed in red and white, with wacky, outrageous costumes supporting our country and our athletes. Even I'm getting swept up in it. As I write this I'm wearing red and white. So GO CANADA GO!
My wish for this games is this. That Canadian athletes kick butt! That visitors to the city have a wonderful time and don't get ripped off. That they go home and tell people that it's a great city to visit. Mostly I hope that Vanoc hasn't been lying to us, that the games pay for themselves and that the Olympic village condos all sell, so those of us who live here don't end up paying for the games into perpetuity. And my wish for the future is that all Canadian children have the opportunities that are being given to our elite athletes. That one day, arts will be funded as well as sports. And excellence in all endeavours will mean as much as say winning a hockey game. (What a foolish notion!) Because while our Olympic champions are being feted (and supported), programs for sports and arts in schools are being cut, medical funding for things like early support for autistic children is being cut. So here's to hoping the future medalists in the culinary Olympics, the artistic Olympics, the para-Olympics, the special Olympics and all other endeavours will one day prompt massive cheering and waving of our nation's flag and those medalists can be heroes too!
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Actually what it said inside was "Happy Valentine's Day" - xoxo T.
And here is the cake I sent to preschool yesterday for their Valentine's Day party. (T had requested the gummy bears...)
And I will be away for Valentine's Day - off to the spa for a few days with some friends. So I've left a couple of cards and some surprises hidden away for them to find on Sunday.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Last Saturday while digging out navy beans from the cupboard to make baked beans with I came across two cans of artichoke hearts. And when I opened to a page in my recipe book with roasted artichoke dip on it I knew I had to make some. D loves artichokes. And as I will be away for Valentine's Day, this is one way to show him he is my Valentine. The recipe in America's Test Kitchen Family Recipe Book actually calls for frozen artichokes but I didn't have those so this is how I did it (adapted from their recipe)
1 can artichoke hearts, drained
Place the artichoke hearts in a pan and roast at 375 deg (my oven runs hot) for 20 minutes or until there is browning on some of the leaves. In the meantime, saute 1/2 medium diced onion with 1 tsp minced garlic and 1/4 tsp of salt. Add
1/4 cup of softened cream cheese
1/2 cup of light mayonaise
1 tsp thyme
Once the artichokes are roasted, puree them in a food processor and add to the onion, mayonaise mixture and blend well. Put the mixture into a greased baking dish and bake at 350 deg F for 20 minutes until bubbly and slightly brown.
I served it up with tortilla chips and it was delicious!
Another dip I make regularly and people seem to love is my salsa/cream cheese dip.
To ~ 1 cup of softened cream cheese (if you take it out of the fridge, just pop it into the microwave for 20 seconds or so to soften up) add 1 cup of your favorite salsa. Mix to blend. Add 2 tsps of cumin, a pinch of sugar and a splash of cider vinegar (optional). Mix and serve.
Monday, February 8, 2010
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
7 mushrooms, sliced
2 oz butter
2 oz flour
650 mL turkey stock
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 tsp dijon mustard
salt, pepper, cayenne
4-5 c. cooked turkey, chopped
Saute the onion, celery, carrot in the butter. Add the mushrooms, garlic and mustard and cook for about 5-10 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Add the flour and stock and whisk to blend. Season with salt, pepper, cayenne to taste and cook for 10 minutes until thick and the flour is cooked. Add the cut up turkey and mix well. Cook for ~ 5 minutes. Pour into a greased 9x13 casserole dish.
In the meantime, bake or boil one large sweet potato and 2 small regular potatoes until done. Peel and mash with 2 tbsp butter until smooth.
Sprinkle 2 sliced leeks (white and light green parts only, well cleaned) and over the leeks, sprinkle ~ 1 cup of grated cheddar. Bake at 350 deg F for 30-45 minutes until the cheese is melted and turning golden brown. (I don't have pictures of the finished casserole - I went out for a hike and brought a friend back for supper and was too busy chatting to remember to take photos!) It was delicious!