Monthly Archives: September 2013

adieu, summer

Alas, the real end to summer is here. We’ve had some surprisingly chilly days already and a couple last (?) heat wave days in Toronto. I’m settling back into the school year. Yes, even autumn appropriate recipes are starting to catch my eye. 

As such, here is a belated last glimpse of summer 2013.

First up, sangria sorbet from Ed’s.


A lot of good tunes:


In July, my sister and I went to the Weezer memories concert. Weezer is a 90s alternative band that still makes music, but like many bands their earlier stuff is the best. They put on a tour in which they played their greatest hits reverse chronologically, followed with the main event: their first album, the Blue album, in full. It was a fantastic nostalgia-filled night.

I went to the last Wavelengths music festival at Artscape Gibraltar Point on the Toronto Islands in August. I found out about a lot of bands I hadn’t heard of before. A couple highlights were Catl, a rhythm and blues duo, and Beliefs, a lovely shoegazy band. Both are from Toronto!




I also caught the Wooden Sky’s traveling show as part of Summerworks. The audience literally followed the band as they played across CAMH, the backs of buildings, and alleys. We ended up with a full out concert inside.



I of course did some further cooking.

I held a brunch earlier in August for my birthday. I put out way too much spread, but I learned it’s really fun having friends over and sharing food. There was no need to stress out.


Kinda sloppy shot, but these two overnight casseroles were a life saver in the morning: cinnamon toast French toast and a savoury “New York” breakfast casserole of bagels, red onion, cherry tomatoes and cream cheese (Smitten Kitchen’s cookbook). I prepped everything the night before, and put both of them in the oven in the morning.


I continued my pie craze by making a a savoury tamale pie. I didn’t take a picture of the innards, but there was a turkey tomato stew underneath that cornbread crust. It was all baked up in the oven in a cast iron pan.


I made one more pie: peach blueberry pie. This was my first double crusted pie and once again I tackled the crust. I have to say that rolling pie dough is probably the most stressful part, since the rolled out dough has to be large enough to cover the pie and you have to transfer the dough without it tearing. Fortunately, I just covered the pie, and it baked up beautifully/at least tasted good.



Finally, I savoured summer’s last peaches with sour cream peach pancakes (also from Smitten Kitchen’s cookbook!).


Until next year, summer! You were a good one. Let the season of stews, pumpkins and apple pie (hopefully) commence.



Filed under Life

Chicken Four-Ways (Part 2)

I hope everyone had a good Labour Day weekend, and that you are settling into September.  I had what will likely be my last first day of school. Toronto had our first chillier day yesterday, so I know fall is in the air.

This is a continuation of my earlier cooking chicken adventures post. My kitchen bucket list had roasting a whole chicken for a very long time. I’m proud to say I can cross that off. Fryer chicken was on sale at the grocery store one week so I picked it up and set out to roast a chicken. Over the past couple years, I’ve read that it is actually not that difficult to roast a chicken, but it was still somewhat intimidating working with, well, an entire animal. Now I’m confident I know the anatomy of a chicken!

So what roast chicken recipe did I end up using? It’s called “Engagement Chicken”. The back story is  that several women served their boyfriends this chicken and later, the boyfriend asked the girlfriend to marry him. No, there is nobody I want to be engaged to right now. I borrowed 100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know from the library (I won’t go into the arguably sexist title here, but it is a surprisingly good recipe book), which contained the above recipe for roast chicken. It had an interesting story and seemed approachable, which was a plus.

The chicken turned out moist and flavourful from the lemon. I do need to keep working on that crispy browned skin. I also need to learn how to carve a chicken. Fortunately since I’m cooking for one, it really doesn’t matter how the chicken ends up looking on the plate.


I was so pleased with cooking a whole chicken that I decided to buy another chicken while it was still on sale. This time I spatchcocked it by cutting out the back bone with a pair of kitchen shears. Totally not hard at all with scissors. Heehee, I love the word “spatchcock”.


I followed the recipe for huli huli chicken in Aida Mollencamp’s Keys to the Kitchen. Huli huli is a Hawaiian sauce. I marinated the chicken in pineapple juice, ginger, garlic and soya sauce before roasting it the oven.


This is another good recipe to have on hand. You can’t go wrong with garlic. The sauce itself is dark so the chicken is not actually burnt. Although the recipe called to grill the chicken, since I don’t have a grill, I followed the instructions to roast it. This way I could also keep all the marinade in the roasting pan while in the oven.

I  saved the backbone for chicken stock — another food to-do list item, for sure! My other chicken to-do is to butcher a whole chicken into eight to ten parts (breast, thigh, drum, wing), and also learn how to butcher a chicken Chinese-style, which tends to serve cooked chicken cut up including the bones (e.g, the breast bone is part of the smaller breast pieces). I love learning new techniques in the kitchen.


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Filed under Baking & Cooking