In case you’re interested, my techno issues are not yet resolved, and I no longer have internet access or television at home. Weirdly, this experience is reverting me back to a techno-free existence.
Ahhhh, deep breath, open the windows and listen to nature. So lovely.
Which brings me to this week’s topic. Green. And not eco-green. I’ve had enough of that for a little while. I just mean green the colour. ‘Tis spring and the city is slowly turning from a grayish concrete slab to a vibrant and colourful landscape. It happens so quickly. One day the trees are all barren and sad, and one warm weekend later, tiny green leaves have popped up all over the place. I so love that pale, yellowy acidic green of the first leaves that I thought I would devote this week’s entry to helping you all find the perfect greens. (Yes, I am that person at the Hardware store who interferes and gives unsolicited advice when people try to pick paint colours. Green and yellow seem to be two of the hardest colours for people to pick.)
If you’re a modernist, and love the punchy zing of acidic green, try Behr’s Carolina Parakeet, #410B-4. I wouldn’t paint an entire room this colour, but maybe one accent wall, paired with fresh turquoise, lots of white, and maybe hits of cantaloupey orange. Also a great colour to paint an occasional chair or other wooden piece of furniture. Definitely not a “safe” green.
The perfect soft, pale moss, sage kind of green is for sure Benjamin Moore’s Fernwood Green, 2145-40. This was a really hot colour five or six years ago, but if you love green, I think it’s a great neutral that works for a whole room. You may think it looks grey on the paint chip, but anything brighter tends to look like limey-mint.
Spa colours have been all the rage lately, and grayish blue-greens are so soothing and calming that I’m including them amongst greens. Again, I look to Benjamin Moore here: I’ve had lots of luck using Hollingsworth green, HC 141. It’s a great choice for a bathroom, having enough blue in it to be flattering.
Finally, bold and daring Kelly Green. It’s about as green as green green grass, after a healthy rainfall. It’s all the rage in fashion, and not necessarily a great choice for home, but with lemony yellow and lots of white, would make a fun, preppy statement. My choice here is Para’s P1183-3, Center Field. I would use it more in fabrics and accent pieces than as a paint colour. Also great with navy blue and lots of sisal. To me, it has a beachy, preppy kind of feeling.
That’s it for green. I’d love to hear about your favourite colours. I have a very unofficial hunch that Canadians, from coast to coast, love green. Am I right?
Just realized it’s been ages since I’ve checked in! Hope all is well with everyone out there. I’m doing well….not sure where the past few days went, but there it is!
Tonight (after work) Steve is making me dinner. I’m very excited. I realized that after making dinner last night, I need a break. I made a fish chowder – it was good – but you know, I always cook the same way. I pull things from the fridge, put it together and no matter what it is, the style is always the same.
So there was a little bacon in the soup, tomatoes, smoked sablefish, halibut and clams….probably smoked paprika – because I am addicted to it….I know there were some bottom notes of cumin in there…..THE SAME THE SAME THE SAME
I have a pile of food magazines and cookbooks – but do you think I actually cook from them!? I’ve spent the last part of my life creating recipes – not following them! I have this weird sense of pride that I can do it on my own…..but I’m tired of my own. I think it’s time to set pride aside and humbly learn from someone else…..
any suggestions of favourite recipes? would love to hear from you!
Despite living on the coast I’m still maintaining my love affair with meat. Last night was dedicated to the great, juicy flank steak. However, I did start my prep a few days ago to ensure big-flavoured, tender and succulent beef.
Here’s what I did:
Stir 3 tbsp soy sauce with 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar (or sherry would probably work well too), 1 tbsp hot chili-garlic sauce, 2 tsp minced ginger, 1 tsp granulated sugar and 1 tsp each vegetable oil and toasted sesame oil.
Place a 2-lb flank steak on a large (but shallow) platter. Pour soy mixture overtop and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least overnight – but I left it for 3 days! Oh my…..
Next time if I don’t marinate it for so long I would score the meat first, then marinate overnight.
I broiled mine, but I think it would taste even better on the grill. It’s best to cook it medium-rare – so estimate about 4 to 6 min/side.
It was really really juicy……
Look at all that blood! Yum – it’s a perfect medium rare….although on screen it kind of looks like strawberry sauce.
Green onions make a great garnish – good colour plus its mild flavour blends well with what’s already going on in the dish.
Paired the meal with some veggies….since you can’t live on meat alone apparently…
My latest craze is for sweet potatoes. Love them love them love – especially roasted with their skins on. I always cook extra to use up for lunches – so good with rice or quinoa, roasted peppers and goat’s cheese.
I think this dish looks so comforting:
Plus the asparagus makes it spring-friendly! Basically toss chunks of unpeeled sweet potatoes and onion wedges with a generous drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Roast in 400F oven – stir occasionally – when potatoes are tender toss in a handful of sliced cooked asparagus and roast until heated through. A squeeze of fresh lemon overtop never hurts either.
Just back from the annual PC media preview. It’s an amazing event where Loblaws presents all of their new products for the summer season ahead. It was held downtown, in a kind of sketchy part of town, in a modern garden that’s recently been re-designed. It was a very surreal experience, going from the less than beautiful high-rises of Regent Park to this magical, serene outdoor lounge that had been set up for us. BBQs roared, drinks flowed, and there was an amazing assortment of Loblaws and Supercentre’s new plant varieties. I have to say they do a fabulous job with their plants. They really seem to understand who their audience is – they have great herb planters, all planted up with an assortment of herbs chosen for specific purposes- my favourite was the BBQ selection, but they also have a Presto Pesto (with basil varieties) and a Culinary Classics. And they’re $20!
Another genius new product was the PC Really Easy Perennials. Over 200 varieties of perennials, chosen and bred to be, as their name indicates, really easy to grow. It’s like they read my mind!
Also new is their garden pot recycling program. I didn’t know this, but plant pots do not get recycled, even if you put them in your recycling bins. Loblaws will now take back all pots, and ensure they get re-ground and re-purposed into next year’s pots. Simple, but smart.
Now my favourite- their garden furniture. Can you say great?! The Cabana collection is red and cream, with big, fat, bold stripes, on an amazing rattan weave frame (actually made out of plastic.) There is a six piece conversation set for $699 and a dining equivalent. If green’s more your speed, the Morrocan collection is equally striking. There are some pretty fantastic outdoor pillows as well…
Now for a little of what’s really getting my blood boiling these days; I tried to get a new television and phone system hooked up in my house yesterday. I had to leave work early to meet the technician there. When we bought our house three years ago, it had recently been wired up by an over-zealous techno guy (I’m sure it was a guy), so that each room has two phone jacks with Cat5 wiring (don’t ask me what that means- to me, it means there are too many ugly jacks everywhere). There is also a very intimidating phone panel in the basement. Turns out that all that technology is now dated, and the phone could not be hooked up through that system, and all I could have were two operating jacks in the house. Plus, the guy didn’t want to use the existing cable wiring, but wanted to drill holes all over the outside of the house and run big fat white cables over all the doorways and baseboards. He said our wiring was dated. I sent him home. But this is what irks me about the whole thing. People are always trying to get me to show “smart home” products in the magazine.You know, wireless computer controls that enable you to turn the lights on by phone, or complicated lights that illuminate a path from your bedroom to your fridge and other non-essential silliness. Electronics that are meant to make your life easier, and wires a thing of the past. Well, I have a house that was smart three years ago, and is now failing miserably. I will never buy into this. Technology moves so fast, I think you should keep it at a minimum in your house, unless you want to spend your time and money updating wiring and equipment, or fighting with tech guys when they tell you your recently installed system is defunct. No thank you. Give me the old school simplicity of a light switch that I actually turn off and on, or a pen and paper to leave messages. Have I become old-fashioned in my 34 years?!
I finally got out on the ocean in a small vessel. A very small vessel in fact….mere metres of plastic separating me from the perils of the sea!
I have learned to kayak…..well, the basics at least! Steve and I took a 2-day intro course through Ocean River Sports here in town . We spent the better part of yesterday in a classroom, then paddling in a pool. I haven’t been to the community pool in ages. Pretty hilarious seeing it filled with adults in kayaks….learning to “roll”, boats bumping, paddling and tipping…..and my favourite: the very “graceful” scramble up and out of the water (once you’ve capsized) over the bow to shimmy back into the cockpit that we all had to practice in order to perfect deep water rescues with our partner. Yes, that was very exposing and deeply mortifying.
But today we hit the water (bathing suit be gone and hello wet suit….love how it holds you all in!) first thing and made a full day of it. Was a bit worried, since it SNOWED yesterday , but today was sunny and just a little windy – and thanks to many layers I felt warm. After listening to the weather forecast and checking out the tide charts, our fearless leaders (Richard and Ben) took us up to Cadboro Bay where we could safely paddle out of the whitecaps. While we didn’t practice capsizing today, we did work on strokes – how to stop, turn, paddle forwards, backwards and how to read a compass and properly plan a route.
It was amazing! Skimming the clear water near shore you can see all kinds of underwater goodies….interesting rock formations piled high with white shells and mussels that shimmer iridescent blue, green weeds that blow with the current, starfish stuck to the sides of rocks and up above the water, the big rambling mansions where the richie-rich live! I did envy the view from some of those houses.
While I’d like to boast of a sea spectacular involving orca whales and frolicking seals ..the only sea life I saw was an otter who ran up the rocks on someone’s very private beach front – despite the “no trespassing” sign that was posted there! Very cheeky!
And speaking of cheeks…..I have the pinkest cheeks in the world right now! Ouch. I did put sunscreen on (at 8:30 this morning) but I guess it’s one of those things that you might want to reapply from time to time….. at least I had a hat and sunglasses.
Exhilarated but exhausted I’m off to a hot bath loaded with lots and lots of Epsom salts – can already feel those neglected muscles complaining of too much use……when did I get so soft?