One hundred and forty

Mid-month update

Each month has its challenges.  For extreme couponing it was finding the coupons and living that lifestyle.  Art and international food months were hard to plan a different event every day.  Date month was, well, difficult in so many ways (see every day in May for details).  This month has been challenging in both finding interesting things to write about every day and refraining from making purchases outside of the online world.  There is always something spontaneous I want to buy that I can’t.

Online shopping is only convenient to those people who are good at planning ahead, or for items that you don’t need right away.  Think about the amount of times you make a impulsive purchase.  At least once a day, right?  You buy a coffee from Starbucks to perk yourself up in the morning.  You run out of butter and you need some for that recipe you are making for dinner, so you go to the corner store.  Your friend calls you on your way to his house and he needs you to pick up ice for the sangria he’s making.  You see a coffee grinder in the window of a shop you pass and remember those coffee beans your landlord gave you as a gift in your cupboard that need grinding.  Things can pop up all the time, and especially in the city we’ve become accustomed to being able to go to the store and buy items at the moment we need them.

I’m sure those living in rural areas where they don’t have the conveniences of 24-hour corner stores and shopping malls down the street would think differently.  But I grew up in the suburbs where everything I ever needed was a couple of minute walk or drive away.  I’m used to the “now” mentality.  This month has been hard because it challenges that way of thinking.  It is changing the way I think about purchases.  It is making me value the objects I do get a little more because of the effort that went in to buying them.  Although this makes me want to scream most days, it also makes me smile.

One hundred and fourteen

Before I get into the amazing French meal I had yesterday, here are a few updates from other months:

  1. Coupons.  I got a free chocolate bar with a coupon today.  My coupons are still helping me out! (Although a bunch of them have expired before I could use them, and I’ve stop checking my Groupon e-mails every day)
  2. Art. Another flash mob!  The National Ballet School, in partnership with the Manifesto Festival of Community & Culture, is doing another flash mob – hip hop style.  You don’t have to have experience and all ages are welcome.  The performance will be on Sunday September 25th at a secret location.  Rehearsal schedule is still being finalized.  Sign up here if you are interested and they will add you to the mailing list.
  3. Dating.  One more dating website to add to the list.  Clique is a New York-based website launched last month that connects friends of friends. “In real life, you meet people through your friends. Why? Because you trust them. They know you. They know what you like to do, where you like to go, your passions and your quirks. And since they love those things about you, they’re going to have other friends who share the same interests—you just haven’t met them yet. That’s where Clique comes in. We surface those connections for you so you can date people who are only a degree or two from your immediate social circle, rather than complete strangers.” Click here for an interview with Click founder Christy Purlington.  I’m not sure how successful this will be because the only way for it to work is if all of your friends join (you can join if you’re in a relationship as a “wingman”) or if you have friends who have time to devote to this site (how many people in relationships will actually spend the time playing matchmaker?).

French

Chicken supreme with gratin dauphinoise and asparagus topped with hollandaise sauce. Yum!

Being cooked for is such a treat.  Especially when it’s high maintenance French food!  Being the sous-chef of our ‘cuisine’ I was taught how to properly chop shallots and mushrooms for the Chicken Supreme.  I observed the master’s perfect slices of potatoes for the Gratin Dauphinoise.  I scraped the hollandaise sauce out of the blender (see Julia Child’s recipe below) because I don’t own a spatula (bought one today). Dinner wasn’t served until 10pm because of the complexity of the recipes, but it was so worth the wait!  The flavours and richness of the meal was divine.  I couldn’t have it every night (or else I’d be the size of a cow), but it was such an amazing treat, and I feel a little more confident in the kitchen learning from the chef of the evening.

The French meal included Chicken Supreme (chicken fillets baked with shallots and mushrooms, then topped with madeira or port and cream sauce), Gratin Dauphinoise (thin potatoes, topped with swiss cheese and milk and baked), and asparagus with hollandaise sauce (egg yolk, lemon juice and butter).

Perfectly sliced potatoes for Gratin Dauphinoise

My contribution - chopped shallots

The finished meal, with vin (notice the wine is almost gone - dinner took a little longer than we expected and my brother and his girlfriend polished off the bottle before dinner)

Julia Child’s Hollandaise – a la blender:

3 egg yolks
2 TB lemon juice
1/4 tsp. salt
Pinch of white pepper
1 stick (4 oz.) butter, melted until bubbling hotPlace egg yolks, lemon juice, salt and pepper in blender. Cover and blend at high speed for 30 seconds. Uncover, and still blending at high speed, start pouring in the hot butter by droplets. Allow time for the butter to absorb and emulsify with eggs. When about two thirds of the butter has been added, you can pick up the pace a little more. Makes about 3/4 cup.

Tonight

Italian with an Italian.