Archive for Musings

Sourdough Bread for the Apocalypse

Well that went escalated quickly.

I try to be active on this platform at a minimum of once a week(ish), and last week’s post had nary a mention of the words pandemic, social distancing, quarantine, or apocalypse, words, which I feel like I now hear about a million times a day.

In a week, the world changed immensely.

It feels so different now, this world. I have lived half a century, and I have seen a lot of $hit. But this? This is unlike anything I have ever seen. Ever. And I know many of you out there feel the same.

Look–I’ll be honest–I worry. A lot. I worry about my 88-yr-old dad (he’s fine, I talked to him last night), I worry for my friends whose parents are in care homes, and whom they now have to visit through windows. I worry I won’t get to see my son for weeks in the event of a lockdown quarantine. I worry about my job. I worry about my RRSPs. I worry about my mental health if I am isolated for too long. I worry about all the people who are dying, or who are going to die. I worry about my beautiful foodie city, and how many local restaurants will not survive. I occasionally worry about running out of TP.

a round loaf of sourdough bread

But here’s what I don’t worry about: bread. It’s a small thing, but boy oh boy do I got this! Yesterday morning early, I tromped down to my local Safeway to get a few things; extra frozen fruit, frozen juices, that kind of thing. Ahead of me in the checkout line, a woman was buying three loaves of bread. And I thought, “nope, I’m good!” Later in the day, one of my friends commented online (oh man spending so much time online right now!) that their local was out of yeast. Again, not something I am even remotely worried about…

So yeah, I’m worried about a lot of things. What I am not worried about is my ability to be resourceful. I had no idea these last 10 years of becoming a food blogger, of breaking things down, learning to make stuff from scratch, of obsessing about recipes, a skill that I considered to be quaint at best, would become a life-saving skill.

Because as long as I have this jar of sourdough starter, flour and electricity, I can make bread. And that’s empowering.

Stay safe, friends. Love to you all, and virtual hugs.

PS. I’ve started doing daily livestreams on my personal FB, cooking. Mostly just to feel people’s company, but I’m also trying to pick recipes that could be good doomsday staples. Tune in tonight to see me make oat milk. Or maybe something green for St Paddy’s?

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. 

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