Monday, November 30, 2009

A Good Reason to Fall off A Wagon

Last week we had the most delicious luncheon at a friend's house. This is part of the reason why the ten pound challenge is still sitting at -3, but in all reality it should be +3 so I'm not going to complain. Starting over with a good attitude and nothing much in the way this week, onward and hopefully downward on the scale.

This recipe should come with a warning. Highly edible, you may eat the entire thing, I'm sure I ate at least half of the one which was served that day. This picture is nothing like the finished product, just simply a mouth watering example of a perfectly ripe Camembert. I don't own the edition of the LCBO Food and Drink magazine that this particular recipe came from, I only seem to collect the holiday ones, which by the way, are out now.

From the LCBO Food and Drink Autumn 2009

Camembert Tarte Tatin

Glossy cider-glazed apples top thyme-spiked cheese in this easy twist on tarte tatin where rich Camembert takes the place of pastry. Serve with crackers or crusty bread as an hors d'oeuvre of cheese course.

1 Wheel Camembert, 8 oz (250 g)
Tiny thyme sprigs
½ cup (125 mL) hard cider
2 Tbsp (25mL) packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp (45mL) unsalted butter
1 Golden Delicious or McIntosh apple, peeled, cored and sliced
1 Tbsp (15mL) cider vinegar
1 tsp (5mL) minced thyme leaves
¼ tsp (1mL) freshly ground pepper
Thyme sprigs for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 425ºF (220ºC).

2. Put Camembert in a shallow ovenproof dish. With a slim skewer, make holes all over top of Camembert; insert thyme sprigs into holes, using a skewer to poke them down into centre of cheese. Drizzle 1 Tbsp (15mL) cider over Camembert; set aside.

3. In a small saucepan, combine remaining cider and the sugar; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil for 5 to 7 minutes or until cider has reduced to about 2 Tbsp (25mL) and is syrupy. Set aside and keep warm.

4. Clarify butter by melting it it in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Skim off any foam; pour clear butter into a small nonstick skillet, leaving cloudy residue behind. In a medium bowl, toss apple slices with vinegar, thyme and pepper.

5. Heat clarified butter over medium heat. Add apple slices to skillet more or less in a single layer; cook for 6 to 8 minutes, turning gently, until apple slices are golden brown and tender but not broken up.

6. While apples are cooking, put Camembert in oven; bake for 5 to 7 minutes or until warm and you can hear cider in holes just start to sizzle.

7. Remove Camembert from the oven. Preheat broiler to high. Carefully arrange apple slices decoratively on top of Camembert to cover the top completely. Brush apples with reduced cider. Broil Camembert 4 inches (10cm) from element for 1 to 2 minutes or until apples are glazed and bubbly. Watch carefully to ensure apples don't burn.

8. Garnish Camembert with thyme sprigs; serve cut into wedges.

Serves 4 to 6

The only disclaimer to this recipe, would be that it says serves 4 to 6. I guess that's true if you have 4 or 6 people who have enough self-discipline to resist. The only reason I was able not to inhale the remainder of the dish, was the promise of what was to come....lobster crepes, and endive salad. In fact, tomorrow, I'll post the drink recipe that, after two rather energetic aerobic classes that morning, had me practically flat on my face, but happily tucking-in to the appetizer. Thanks to Jilly for hosting a most delicious luncheon and Marsh for the great appetizer recipe. Looking forward to the next one! :)

Photo Credit:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday at the Ballet

Off to see Sleeping Beauty this afternoon. The Professor is at a conference so I'm going solo. I can't wait to see this lavish traditional performance. The following video is not the National Ballet of Canada, but it shows "The Rose Adagio" which is one of the most technically difficult of the dances. We will have Sonja Rodriguez (Kurt Browning's wife) dancing the role today. I'll be holding my breath as she holds her balance. I'm in awe of anyone who can balance.

The National Ballet Trailer

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"The Fruit of the gods"

If I asked you what a persimmon is, you'd probably know that it was a fruit.  We've all heard about persimmons at some point in time.  If I asked you, what colour is a persimmon...would you know?  Could you draw a picture of a persimmon?   What does it taste like?   For some odd reason,  I'm not sure that I've ever actually eaten a persimmon.  In my mind, the word persimmon conjures up pursed lips and bitterness.  A recent trip to Longo's and a taste test dispelled all these notions.  Persimmons are sweet.  Quite delicious.  I was told that you wash them, cut off the top, slice and eat.   Always curious, I happened to do a bit of research on the persimmon.  How in the world did I ever arrive at them being bitter?   They seem so adorable, all squat and lovely "pumpkinish" looking.   Turns out, this a quite an interesting little fruit.   My research found that they are full of  beta-carotene, Vitamin C, and potassium. 
Wikipedia says:

A persimmon, known to the ancient Greeks as "the fruit of the gods"[1] is the edible fruit of a number of species of trees of the genus Diospyros in the ebony wood family (Ebenaceae). The word persimmon is derived from putchamin, pasiminan, or pessamin, from Powhatan, an Algonquian language (related to Blackfoot, Cree and Mohican) of the eastern United States, meaning "a dry fruit".[2] Persimmons are generally light yellow-orange to dark red-orange in color, and depending on the species, vary in size from 1.5-9 cm (0.5-4 in) diameter, and may be spherical, acorn-, or pumpkin-shaped.[3] The calyx often remains attached to the fruit after harvesting, but becomes easier to remove as it ripens. They are high in glucose, with a balanced protein profile, and possess various medicinal and chemical uses. While the persimmon fruit is not considered a "common berry" it is in fact a "true berry" by definition.

Then you read:

Medical precaution

Unripened persimmons contain the soluble tannin shibuol, which, upon contact with a weak acid, polymerizes in the stomach and forms a gluey coagulum that can affix with other stomach matter.[10] The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy notes that consumption of persimmons has been known to cause bezoars that require surgery in over 90% of cases. More than 85% phytobezoars are caused by ingestion of unripened persimmons.[11] Persimmon bezoars often occur in epidemics in regions where the fruit is grown.[12][13]

[14] Horses may develop a taste for the fruit growing on a tree in their pasture and overindulge also, making them quite ill. It is often advised that persimmons should not be eaten with crab meat,[15][16] nor should they be eaten on an empty stomach.[17]

I ate my persimmon.  It was tasty, but I think I'll leave the second one for the Professor.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Starting to take shape

This week, at last, my project is starting to take shape. Oddly enough, this is the shape I want!

Evelyn was kind enough to stay after class and get the factory cotton on my lump of batting.

One of the women who also stayed said it reminded her of something out of Alice in Wonderland. Correct answer!

You'll notice that Irenka is doing all the hands-on with forming the darts. She is also going to sew the shape for me. Thanks Irenka. I think the entire class will be thankful and pleased with this progress.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Chapter Six. Leslie's Footstool?

The look on Evelyn's face here is priceless. This is pretty much how we are all feeling about this project at the moment. Where to start? What IS this???

Needless to say, after having to start all over with one of Tony the woodcutter's productions, we have absolutely NO idea how we are going to make my magical footstool. Each week, we come up with something different in an attempt to achieve the "pouffiness" required. This project intrigues Evelyn, who, despite never having done anything like this before, is more than willing to attempt it.

The wooden footstool base has been covered in rings of felt, in order to match the level of the edge roll. Evelyn demonstrates sewing with the round upholstery needle. Linen loops will be sewn, into which horsehair will be tucked and secured. This will add stability, firmness and a nice scrunch to "Miss Muffet's Tuffet".

The usual meeting of the minds. These people have NO idea what this is, or what it will be, but they are only too happy to tell me what I might do next!

Alas, in the end, there is no problem than cannot benefit from a piece of cake! Happy Day Irenka...I'm sure we'll be doing this until we reach that 100 Polish Years that Christina wished for you! :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Chapter Five. Decisions, Decisions.........

A few more classmates working on their ambitious projects. Janice will have a lovely wing back when she's done.

Liz, tacking away.

Eve is one of the stars in the class. I think this is her 50th. chair!!!

Most decisions are reached by consensus. Evelyn YELLS for everyone to come, and she means EVERYONE, drop what you are doing and gather round. Everyone puts in his or her ideas and usually the end result is the right one.

There is of course a lot of this visiting your neighbour. Evelyn scurries around from one project to another, and with each piece being completely different there is a lot of deliberating to do. It's a great group and we have a lot of fun in this class.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chapter Four. Grace's Chair

Grace's chair is completely different. She was also sent over to Tony the woodworker, and had the arms of her chair enclosed.

She has stapled a webbing base to her frame, felted, and applied horsehair.

Horsehair is becoming increasingly rare in upholstery. It is a traditional filling and is only supplied by one source in Canada.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Late addition post. Pictures taken with my iPhone

Courtesy of a posting by Michael deMeng (my niece attends school in Missoula), Lennie alerted me to an "app" called "Toy Camera". Today I played with my new Toy Camera on the random setting.

I love the vignette feature. Makes it look like you've been Photoshopping all day long!

Pretty good quality for a phone camera n'est pas?

I figure with my iPhone [which includes an iPod, camera, compass, directions to the nearest Tim Hortons, world clocks, and photoshop apps], along with my Sirius Radio, if I could get the Keurig Coffee machine hooked up in the vehicle, I'd officially be a travelin' band!

Chapter Three. Krystyne

Krystyne has been with Evelyn for some time and is her right-hand woman. When she is not popping around the class helping everyone else, she attends to her own chair with it's wonderful down-filled cushion seat.

The fabric she has chosen is delightful to the touch. Indeed one of the most difficult tasks when refurbishing furniture is the choice of fabrics.

This is going to be one wonderful chair when Krystyne has enough time to finish her own project! She's our upholstery angel.

Krystyne loves here chair and we love her!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Chapter Two. The Anatomy of the Chair.

Everyone in the class is working on a different project. The focus of Evelyn's teaching is the use of traditional methods of upholstery using natural materials. You won't find cheap foam seats in this class. The theory: If you find something you like in a furniture it. If you are restoring and have something unique (antiques) then this class is for you.

The Before and After. The chair on the left has the original covering and the one on the right is following the same pattern.

Mixing the new trend to black paint with the old technique...sewing the burlap foundation.

The sign of a real antique...copper coils.

Copper coils require many hands to position and secure.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Chapter One. Irenka's Big Idea.

A few years ago when Irenka and I were out attending yet another inspirational "show" we came across a very interesting Upholstery class. Up until this year, Irenka had been threatening me with starting classes and this fall, push came to shove. We decided to start about footstools? Something funky! We have old antique cheese boxes that would do the trick. In a previous post I told the story of the switch to the alternate design.

Irenka and the Turtle.

Work begins.

The pneumatic stapler applying the edge roll.

Our teacher Evelyn loves this turtle!

At this point Irenka has stripped off the old covering, finished the wood, applied felt and horsehair and is now building up the shape with batting.

Every time you get something put together, Evelyn does the lean-on-it-trick to make sure it is firm enough. This is my favourite shot of her. I love the way she loves her work.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What are these men afraid of ?

Perched above Frank Lloyd Wright's office, these wonderfully sculpted men seem to crouch in fear of something........

They are really taking cover, hands over necks........

Well, it IS a rather large spider

Monday, November 2, 2009

New use for exercise ball

In my exercise classes, which of late I have been very remiss in attending, whenever we hear that the instructor is going to use the ball, there is a collective groan. Everyone hates the ball...well, most everyone. The balls we use are much much bigger, but we do have these small ones as well. Apparently we've been doing all the wrong moves in our classes. Here is some inspiration!

What an amazing young woman!

I am still coughing my head off, so I'm not in class, but I think watching this counts. Just so that you know Devon, I'll be doing this in next week's class:)

Thanks to Gigi

Canadian, Please

You'll probably want to turn on the "CC" Closed Captioning on this one (it pops up on the lower right side of the screen, and then you can read the words...very clever). I was looking for something else this morning and came across this funky little ditty.