Archive for Musings

Top Posts: 2018

Sheesh. So it’s the last day of the year. I may be down to the wire on this one. 

But since our paths last crossed, dear reader, things have been a bit nuts. 

The end of the semester is always a pretty crazy time for me, and this December brought with it, not just mad bouts of marking, but also prep for the upcoming 2019 Wellness Show, which is super early this year. 

Instagram Top Nine

I decided to book myself a short vacation right after the end of classes in December, so I flew to Arizona for a few days to hang out with my dear friends Vicki and Ian in Scottdale. It was a much-needed break from the rain and the cold and it would be, I thought, a great way to kick off my Christmas vacation.

But, as usual, the best-laid plans… 

Flying in to Bellingham airport was a pretty harrowing experience. There was a terrible windstorm, and it was a rough landing. I immediately started feeling bad, like I was coming down with something, and then I did. I had made a ton of plans over the holidays to catch up with friends, and all of those ended up getting cancelled, including Christmas plans I’d made with Michael. There was a lot of Netflix. 

Now that I’m starting to feel better, it’s almost time to go back to work. Oh, Murphy, you bastard. 

As I sit here, drinking coffee with my cat curled up by my legs, and reflecting on the year that was, it’s hard to not feel at least a little disappointed. 

2018 was a sophomore year. It was the year after my cookbook came out, and I didn’t travel nearly as much this year as I have in the past. In many ways, it was a pretty quiet year, plodding, status quo. There were some good highs, but there were also some pretty challenging lows. 

Having said all of that, I did an immense amount of processing while I was away, and I feel like I’m feeling strong and ready to face the challenges of the new year. 2019 will mark a milestone birthday for me, so there are things I want to get accomplished before then. I also am starting to feel charged up, creatively, again, and that’s a good thing. 

Who knows what 2019 has in store? I’m the worst a predicting these things. Check back with me in a year. 😉 

But let’s talk about the blog. 

In 2018, I wrote 76 posts, and 51,850 of you came to visit. That’s pretty frikkin’ cool. 

Interestingly enough, every one of my top/most popular recipes was vegan. So… I guess I know what you guys like, hey? 

Here are the top 5 (technically 6, but one is two recipes) blog posts for 2018:

5. Vegan Mayo: this is a recipe from Aquafabulous, some recipes from which I’ve shared with you, but some I’ve not. I mean, I have to give you incentive to buy the book, amIright? This is a super basic aquafaba recipe that really shows what the mighty bean juice can do. 

4. Vegan Amaretti: these crunchy little almond cookies are often served with coffee. Here, aquafaba takes the place of egg whites for that perfect texture, while still keeping them vegan. 

3. Vegan Tamales (Instant Pot): holy crap, I love my Instant Pot! I’ve had mine for a year now, and I recently reorganized my countertop to make room for it permanently. That’s right. The IP has countertop real estate, that’s how much I love it. I use it a few times a week, it’s been a total game-changer for me. Here’s a two-in-one recipe for tamales, a corn/masa dough wrapped around a jackfruit filling, then wrapped in corn husks and steamed. 

2. Vegan Mirror Glaze & Aquafaba Buttercream: another two-in-one for you; first you ice the cake with the buttercream, then you pour on a mirror glaze. It was my first time making mirror glaze, and I was so impressed with how cool it looked! The buttercream was the best I’d ever made, never mind that it’s vegan. Aquafaba FTW! 

1. Chocolate Dessert Hummus: it sounds weird, but it’s actually really yummy. You serve this with fruit or cookies for dessert, and it’s shocking to me how little it tastes like chickpeas. 

So, what’s happening for 2019? I have no idea… I would love to finally master a vegan paté a choux, or finally master an effortless vegan macaron. I want to travel more, get back to Europe, ideally. I need to finally apply for that British Ancestral Visa I’ve been talking about for years… 

But really, at the end of the day at the end of the year, what really matters is people. My family, my friends, and you guys. 

Happy New Year, everyone. All the best in 2019. 

Cooking Shows on Netflix

Like many of you fearless foodies, I watch a lot of cooking shows. I have a subscription to Food TV, Gusto and the Cooking Channel, so I spend a lot of time watching Alton Brown, Top Chef (which you know is my fave), and shows by some of my favourite chefs.

But Netflix has a bunch of great cooking shows, as well, so if you have a Netflix membership, these are some of my favourite binge- and drool-worthy shows (FYI this post is in no way sponsored by Netflix).

Cooking Shows on Netflix

 

Nailed It!

OMG! For any of you who ever had a Pinterest “Nailed It” moment, this show is for you. It’s all about failure, and it’s hilarious. Part of the reason I like this show is because in some ways, it’s the anti-cooking show. The end results are from poor shlubs like you and I who really don’t have a clue what they are doing, but are asked to make a pro dessert. The results are tragic and way too funny. The host, Nicole Byer, is sassy and hilarious.

Somebody Feed Phil

Phil Rosenthal created “Everybody Loves Raymond” and is now spending his money traveling the world and eating food. The thing about Phil is, though, that he’s everyman. His brother is the producer, and he skypes his parents in every episode and they talk about every day things. The show is much like how you or I would discover the food culture of any given town. He’s not a chef, he’s just a guy who really loves food.

Cooked

For those of you who are fans of Michael Pollin, as I am, this was a fantastic four episodes. I mostly don’t eat meat for environmental, sustainability reasons, and Pollin goes into this in thoughtful detail (FYI he does eat meat, but I love the discussion around it). It’s a fascinating documentary series that explores fermentation, tradition, sustainability and the social aspects of our diets. I really highly recommend this one, it’s been one of my favourites to date.

Chef’s Table (and the new Pastry season)

I have loved this series from the beginning, but this latest season focuses on pastry. The first episode featuring Christina Tosi (Milk Bar) was my absolute favourite of the four.

Ugly Delicious

Okay, I have mixed feelings about this one. Dave Chang (MomoFuku) is a good guy. And he does some cool stuff, travels, eats. It’s fun. It feels a little like he just made a documentary about his friends, though. What I really did like about this series was when they went deeper into the political and socio-economic background of the food. When is food racist? It’s a great question, and one I’ve not actually though a lot about, so I was really fascinated by those discussions.

Okay, those are mine! What are your favourite Netflix food binges these days?

 

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