4.24.2011

Chicken Tagine

Chicken Tagine

A tajine is basically a slow-cooker with style. The effort:reward ratio is excellent.

4.23.2011

Evan Parker

Evan Parker

Evan Parker

"One of music's greatest living instrumentalists" has been on a tour of Atlantic Canada, and I went.

I played saxophone in high school. This was nothing like that.
I have never wished for earplugs at a gig. Until Sunday. (A combination of the venue being unfortunately very small and very loud, and my *youthful ears* picking up a few too many really high pitches.)

Fascinating, difficult stuff. I'm glad to have opportunities like these.

4.22.2011

4.19.2011

A Bike About Town



The epitome of everything lifestyle blogs tell me I could be, but somehow am not.

4.15.2011

Two with Bacon

Lunch

BLT

It has been a long time since we last bought a package of bacon. I want bacon on every single thing.

4.12.2011

Run

Run

Today was sunny and lovely and I ran outside for the first time this season. There were 30+km/h winds. I felt like an eagle with the winds at my back. I felt like a paper plane in a hurricane on the return trip.

4.10.2011

The Wilderness Outside

The Wilderness Outside

He is filled with curiosity and trepidation regarding the world beyond the front door. Each time he ventures a little farther.

4.07.2011

Andrei Tarkovsky's Andrei Rublev


This tribute video is not a recollection of film's story nor a direct illustration for BG's song. Rather than that it is a collage and a trigger to discover two Russian masterpieces. However, both of them still have some very similar vibrations. Andrei Tarkovsky's "Andrei Rubliov" and Boris Grebenshchikov's "Wolves and Ravens". - deadinvilnius, via YouTube

4.06.2011

Mac & Cheese

Mac & Cheese

The manfriend makes the best mac & cheese, bar none. Now you can, too. (Okay technically it is cavatappi and cheese).

Ingredients
1 box of Macaroni or Cavatappi pasta (400g)
1 broccoli head, cut up into florets 
8 small mushrooms, quartered 
1 small to medium sized onion, chopped
4 cups milk 
4 tbsp butter
¼ cup flour
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp nutmeg
Generous dash of Sambal Oelek or other hot sauce (don’t be shy, it takes a lot to make this recipe spicy)  
3 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 red bell pepper, chopped
¾ cup Fontina, Edam or other strong tasting firm cheese, cubed
½ cup white bread crumbs

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare vegetables and cheeses.

2. Bring a 4 to 5 quart pot of lightly salted water to a boil and add the pasta. Steam the broccoli and mushrooms in a strainer over your pot; set aside once softened. Once the pasta is just tender - not overcooked - remove from heat, drain and set aside (it will soften more in the oven).

3. While the pasta and vegetables are cooking, sauté the chopped onion in a small skillet, then set aside.

4. Heat the milk almost to the boiling point in a small saucepan.

5. Melt 3 tbsp of butter in a separate large saucepan over medium heat. If you have a large casserole dish that can double as a saucepan or a large oven safe stock pot, you can use that instead of the conventional saucepan. This will leave you with one less thing to clean at the end.

6. Add the flour to the melted butter and whisk over low heat. Gradually whisk in the hot milk, followed by the paprika and hot sauce. Cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce thickens, whisking occasionally. Finally, whisk in the grated cheddar cheese and remove from heat. Mix in all the vegetables including the uncooked red pepper.

7. Add the pasta to the cheddar and veggie sauce. Finally add the cubed cheese and stir it as well as possible.

8. If you are using a separate casserole to bake the pasta, grease it with a 1 tbsp of butter before transferring the mixture. Needless to say this recipe requires a lot of room so the larger the casserole the better. Cover and bake for 20-25 minutes. You can finally relax for a few minutes!

9. Shortly before removing the mac and cheese from the oven, sauté the bread crumbs over low heat until they are moistened but not browned.

10. Carefully remove the casserole from the oven. Raise the oven temperature to broil; spread the bread crumbs evenly over the mac and cheese. Return to the oven, uncovered, and broil until the crumbs are crisp and browned (a couple of minutes). Serve immediately and enjoy the fruits of your labour.
Mac & CheeseMac & Cheese

4.05.2011

4.04.2011

Charley Harper

Charley Harper

Charley Harper (August 4, 1922 - June 10, 2007) was a Cincinnati-based American Modernist artist. He was best known for his highly stylized wildlife prints, posters and book illustrations...

In a style he called "minimal realism", Charley Harper captured the essence of his subjects with the fewest possible visual elements. When asked to describe his unique visual style, Charley responded:

When I look at a wildlife or nature subject, I don’t see the feathers in the wings, I just count the wings. I see exciting shapes, color combinations, patterns, textures, fascinating behavior and endless possibilities for making interesting pictures. I regard the picture as an ecosystem in which all the elements are interrelated, interdependent, perfectly balanced, without trimming or unutilized parts; and herein lies the lure of painting; in a world of chaos, the picture is one small rectangle in which the artist can create an ordered universe.

He ...[drew] influence from Cubism, Minimalism, Einsteinian physics and countless other developments in Modern art and science. His style distilled and simplified complex organisms and natural subjects, yet they are often arranged in a complex fashion. On the subject of his simplified forms, Harper noted:

I don't think there was much resistance to the way I simplified things. I think everybody understood that. Some people liked it and others didn't care for it. There's some who want to count all the feathers in the wings and then others who never think about counting the feathers, like me.

The results are bold, colorful, and often whimsical. The designer Todd Oldham wrote of Harper, "Charley’s inspired yet accurate color sense is undeniable, and when combined with the precision he exacts on rendering only the most important details, one is always left with a sense of awe."

Last year in Halifax I found two postcard books - Birds and The Animal Kingdom - and snatched them up right away. I knew that An Illustrated Life was prohibitively priced, so I figured that was it and I was happy.

On Thursday I was perusing the photography books at Chapters. Not finding what I was looking for, I expanded my search to the adjacent "art" shelves. I never did find the original book, but I did find this. Shrink-wrapped and $60. I hugged it tight to my chest and headed for the cash.

(Later I discovered that it was a second printing, which explains the price but doesn't make me love it any less.)