Archive | July, 2011

Dessert Storm.

18 Jul

I was at a bit of a loss this week as to what to write about, so I asked my husband for suggestions. He said “What made you mad this week? You always write best when you’re angry.” True.

So this week, the thing that really made me mad, the thing that really toasted my oats was… bad dessert! Dessert is the last memory of a meal.  It’s the “big finish” at the end of a tap routine, the white ribbon holding together a Tiffany’s box, the sequin visor on a leathery Palm Beach senior citizens.  Dessert should make a statement.  You see, I was at a lovely dinner, in a beautiful restaurant. I was with great friends and I was wearing a pink ruffled dress!

Everything was perfect until the prix fixe dessert arrived….”Spiced Yogurt with Ontario Strawberries.” Or as I may have called it at the time, “Spiced bullshit with Pedestrian Fruit.” (I had a little wine with dinner and was feeling verbally expressive.) YOGURT AND FRUIT is what I EAT FOR BREAKFAST!!!  Why not serve me Toasted Bread Shards with Crushed Butter of Peanut? Or what about Roasted Flakes of Corn soaked in an Artisanal Dairy By-Product?  You served me breakfast for dessert Restaurant-that-shall-go-unnamed-in-this-article!  Now you must feel my wrath!!!

At the end of a meal, I want something that will make me feel naughty! I want to feel like the calorie police might rush in and stay “Stop in the name of your waistline!” I want to look at the menu and look at my dinner partner and say,“I really shouldn’t… wanna share?  Two spoons?” And then you do it! You hear yourself say, “We’d like to share the Baked Alaska….

Ain’t life beautiful?

As my friend Sean Cullen says in his stand-up act, “What separates humans from other animals is dessert. You won’t hear a lion say after it’s eaten a gazelle “What I’d love now is a smaller, sweeter gazelle.”  Too true Sean, and I’m pretty sure a lion would also not request “Spiced Yogurt with Ontario Strawberries.”One of our Society Finch readers, Tracey, is a master when it comes to sweets. She passed along a few of her tips for great baking:

-Use real ingredients, real flavors, and use butter not shortening…yuk!
-Use natural ingredients to color your icing like orange juice, strawberries, peanut butter or coco.
-Be sure to measure accurately, baking is chemistry!
-A good mixer makes all the difference. “I love my KitchenAid Mixer” she says.

Here’s a few pics of Tracey’s masterpieces. She sells her goodies at the Truro Farmer’s Market in Truro Nova Scotia.

Bake something sinful this week, serve it for dessert, and give someone you love a happy ending….not the dirty kind…well that’s up to you. xo

What Your Shades Say About You.

11 Jul


I was getting ready to head to an event this past week, when I found myself in a bit of… snag.  A wardrobe crisis I hadn’t quite anticipated. I was going to be meeting a lot of new people, and LA can be a really superficial city, so I needed to be sure I was putting my best superficial foot forward. I needed my arrival to scream ‘Classic! Bold! Someone get this woman a martini and a canape stat!’ I contemplated a Gaga-esque latex womb but realized it was currently at the dry cleaners.  So there I was, I had the dress, the shoes, the clutch and a little extra swagger in my back pocket. Hair done,  nails fresh, and I had managed to successfully apply false lashes without gluing my eyes shut! You have no idea how awful it is to spend the entire evening “winking!” So I was right on schedule! Then I went to grab my sunglasses…

I used to think that wearing sunglasses said to the world, “It’s bright outside!,” or “My eyes are sensitive.” Wrong! I’ve been schooled people!  In actuality, sunglasses are visual code to be used by other humans to inform each other on things like  hip factor, financial status, political standing, and lifestyle choices. They’re the logo t-shirts of the 90’s. I stood over my collection of eye wear, here are some of my different persona’s.

The Wayfarer  (origin unknown, probably $5)

The everyday hipster go to.  The wayfarer says you ride a fixie, bring your own bags to the grocery store, got most of your clothing second-hand, and were obsessed with the album ‘Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix’ in 2009.  Your life is generally ironic and if you’re a female you’ve either had, or seriously considered an undercut, and as a man, you’ve  definitely used ‘Movember’ as an excuse to live out your dreams of being the proud owner of a filthy mustache.  World Peace!

The ‘I Wear My Sunglasses at Night’  (Dior, $you don’t wanna know)

What, you don’t know who I am?  I’m kind of a big deal.”  Well my sunglasses are anyway…..You are a person who spent too much money on your glasses.  These babies say ‘ I bought these to wear inside the club, while I fist pump.’  Unless you’re attempting to join the cast of Jersey Shore, save your money.

The Round Done Right  (TOMS, $135)

These shades say you’re fun, chic, and full of whimsy! However under no circumstances should you wear these with a burgundy velour track suit… then you’re just sad, trashy, and full of shit. True story.  Colored shades with large lenses make you more ‘available’ and less… ‘recluse.’  They say you love florals, bike rides, and drinking expensive champagne… even if it’s out of a red plastic cup!

The Bug Eye  (found them in my car, $I hope they weren’t over 5 bucks)

Honey, you’re not hiding from anyone.  We all know your secret.  These shades are code for, ‘I’m not a big fan of….my own face.  If you’ll notice, these opaque monsters cover up half the face, leaving the general appearance of one’s visage, to the imagination.  Do you have pink eye?  Have you recently had a bad brow lift? Or the worst…are you one of the Olsen twins?  May I suggest a Zoro mask, or outrageously long fringe if face hiding is your goal.

Classic Cat-Eye   (Anthropologie, $25)

They say Audrey.  They say Grace.  They say you’re delicate and balletic, but you’re probably wearing black lace panties under those perfectly pressed, skinnies.  On your coffee table you have a copy of  V Magazine for the cover photo, and Vanity Fair for the articles in the back.  You’ll drink red wine before noon, and most likely own a piece of vintage fur.

Phew… just what I needed, red wine before noon!  Oh, and some killer shades for the ‘ol lookers.

Urine and Lies.

4 Jul

Ahhh… the Canada Day picnic.  What could be better than lying on a blanket under a shady tree enjoying delicious food with friends? Sitting there in your perfect summer frock, drinking wine before noon, listening to birds sing….


That was not our picnic.

I spent most of our picnic trying to get the baby to stop shoving giant chucks of watermelon down her gullet. And within 5 minutes, my silk shorts wrinkled so badly I looked like a hobo who lived his life on trains, drinking moonshine.  Okay, so there probably aren’t a lot of hobos wearing silk shorts – but they looked bad, people!

(She’s running because she thinks I’m a hobo who’s going to make her live a life of trains and moonshine.)

Finally, the dog decided he would pee on everyone’s belongings.  Nothing was spared: bikes, picnic baskets and sweatshirts. I swear he would have peed on the children had they sat still for more than 60 seconds.

(Deciding what to pee on first…)

Despite this, all our friends claimed they had a lovely time and assured us the urine would come out in the wash. Not something normally said at the end of our gatherings, but perhaps when we’re in our 90s that statement will become more common.

We ended the day by taking the little ones over to the public “splash pad” in the park. Let me explain to you the “Splash- Pad Lifestyle.” In Toronto during the summer, many public parks have a circular area filled with about 9 inches of water. At any point in time, this mere 10 ft. circular “pad” can contain up to 50 children, ranging in age from 6 mo. to 10 years.  It’s basically a giant bowl of hot pee and sunbathing bacteria. What could be more refreshing! While my husband and daughter were splashing around, the lifeguard suddenly shouted, “Everybody out of the pool! I have to add chlorine.” Now my initial thought was, “Thank God ‘cause I could tell by the faces of at least 3 kids, that they were totally peeing at that exact moment.”  But my relief turned to horror as the lifeguard casually donned a full hazmat suit including mask, gloves, and tall rubber boots. She waded into the water and poured her bucket of freshly brewed chlorine into the piss pad… I mean splash pad. She looked like the guys that almost killed ET, or someone form the cast of “Outbreak.” It was just children and urine… Wasn’t it? At this point I turned to my daughter and casually said “You know what? The pool is broken.” I was met with her disbelieving furrowed toddler brow. “It’s true. They broke the pool so we can’t go in anymore. Sorry sweetheart.”

So it was a day of urine and lies, but mostly it was fun and we made a very tasty sweet potato salad for the picnic! Here’s the recipe. Hope you all had a wonderful Canada Day and/or Fourth of July!

Sweet Potato Salad with Maple Dijon Vinaigrette

4 medium sweet potatoes – chopped into small cubes (peeled if desired)
1 cup arugula – roughly chopped
A handful of fresh dill, chopped
8 slices of Serrano Ham or

Prosciutto Dressing (adjust ingredients to suit your personal preferences):
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 shallot or 2 scallions – finely chopped
A dash of hot sauce
salt and pepper to taste

As with any dressing, feel free to taste and tweak it as you go.

– Arrange slices of Serrano Ham or Prosciutto in a roasting pan or large baking sheet  and cook at 375F until crispy (about 10min, turning them over once.) You may have to do this in 2 batches depending on the size of your roasting pan/baking sheet
-When cooked, remove the crisp ham from roasting pan and set aside to cool. When cool, break it into to small pieces.
-Chop sweet potatoes into cube-like chunks and put them in the same roasting pan the ham was in.
-Toss in some olive oil and salt and roast for 30 mins or so at the same heat, until slightly browned.
-Remove and set aside in a large bowl to cool
-In the meantime, make the dressing: chop up the shallot (or scallions), and add the other ingredients to form the dressing mixture in a bowl.  Add the olive oil last and whisk it in until emulsified.
-When the roasted sweet potatoes are still slightly warm, add the fresh dill and chopped arugula, the crisp ham, and the vinaigrette. Mix everything together thoroughly.
-let it cool and marinade in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. It’s even great the next day.

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