Before this whole thing went down, I kept thinking to myself “what would I do if I only had 90 days to live?” Though we’re not about to perish (everybody, breathe), I would visit my friends who’ve moved away since I miss them deeply. Though it’s not the same as actually seeing people, being socially isolated has brought my long distance friends and I closer. We’ve taken to chatting on the phone whilst cooking/cleaning – catching up on personal anecdotes, reminiscing times gone by, and providing each other with comfort in this uneasy time.
Fried Rice – serves 2 (generously) or 3 (normally)
I’m well aware that the point of fried rice is use up leftovers, but I make this most often as a planned ahead-yet-super-lazy-supper. Though the days are getting longer, it’s still chilly out and we’re all craving delicious, carby, comforting foods (and even I am starting to out-noodle myself). Running to the grocery store to grab a few veggies for dinner becomes much less enticing between the coat, boots, hat, scarf, gloves, and four flights of stairs (no elevator in my building), so I need meals that I can make with ingredients I always have on hand.
This sounds like such a weird collection of ingredients, but alas, I needed to clean the fridge out of the few bits and pieces that I didn’t want to incorporate into another meal – half of a mushy sweet potato, broccoli stalks – because I knew I was going to use the florettes for lunch (making garlicky gingery broccoli and crispy tofu), three tomatoes that had started off life so beautifully but after a week of neglect were looking rather soft and forlorn, and leftover dill from family friends who had come for dinner bearing the most incredible vegan creamy mushroom and celery soup (that was garnished with dill).
I went on a first date with this guy I met on Hinge, let’s call him Kevin, after weeks of rain checking due to stomach and life complications. I was grateful for his patience. We had originally planned to go for falafel in Saint-Henri, at a very good restaurant, Sumac. But you order at the counter before sitting down, and the idea of having to figure out what I was having/if we were sharing/how we were dividing payment, before any proper interaction, gave me low key anxiety. Instead, I proposed Il Focolaio, a pizzeria I’d heard of years ago in a Youtube video and had yet to try. Their menu intrigued me, 77 pizzas, with topping combinations ranging from tofu and vegetables, to classic medleys of cured meats and cheeses. They have the options of wholegrain or cauliflower crust, vegan cheese, and fake meats, in addition to all the traditional toppings you can think of. What a woke pizzeria. Suffice to say, I wanted to go.
I ate some seriously incredible curries on my travels around Asia. Creamy sag (spinach) paneer in Northern India, green bean curry with black mustard seeds in Sri Lanka, and of course, a dahl-cious amount of lentil soups and stews, eaten with rice, chapati, or roti. One of my favorites curries was eaten in the Perhentian Islands in Malaysia, a thick spicy coconut broth, rich with the spices I’ve always associated with Indian cuisine, and filled with fat rice noodles and vegetables. It was a heady blend of flavours.
The last two days in Montreal were marked by intense rain storms, winds of 100km/hr, and power outages. I slept over at my parents house in order to help them host a family lunch… we ate in the dark by candle light after running outside to stop our neighbour’s carport from rolling into our car. It was a close call. Needless to say, Fall is turning to Winter and that means it’s time to add easy, delicious, and satisfying soups to our repertoire.
I spent three wonderfully intense weeks in Vietnam this summer. Big cities were an endless whirlwind of motorbikes, street food, and humidity. I didn’t expect to be so blown away by the beauty in the North, from the overcrowded boat tour through limestone pillars in the Cat Ba Archipelago, to the serene beauty of the Ha Giang Loop, a three day scooter ride on vividly green, winding mountain roads through farm land… Vietnam took my breath away.
My friend came over dinner the other night and as we sat down to the main course, she commented that she was envious of my calm and control in the kitchen, my multitasking abilities. For that reason I’ve put together a few tidbits that I’ve picked up over the years that I’ve found helpful.