Archive | April, 2010

Southern Inspired

28 Apr
Broad Street, Charleston, South Carolina
Photo: Charleston CVB

It is a true testament to Southern hospitality that this reluctant Northern transplant, inextricably wed to her somber Yankee black and broad Yankee A’s, grew to love the South. I spent a couple of my formative years in South Carolina, attending Heathwood Hall, a private Episcopal school full of seersucker and paisley and Roman Numerals and the nicest people on earth. Reading South of Broad, Pat Conroy’s latest novel, has me waxing nostalgic for those bygone days of Friday night football games and trips to the state fair and getaways to Charleston and Huntington Beach.


Hastings Racecourse, Vancouver

Embracing my adopted Southern roots, my honey and I headed off for Opening Day at the horse races. I love the thrill of hearing The Call to the Post, seeing the horses burst forth from the starting gate, and turning in a winning ticket! And drinking mint juleps all the while…


I know little about the intricate play of pedigree and privilege that pervades Southern Society like the Spanish moss on oak trees. But I know much about the luxuries The South affords to those who allow themselves to be seduced by its genteel charm. Luxuries like Mint Juleps for starters!

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Guinness-Battered Fish & Chips

27 Apr

I love eating fish and chips drenched in vinegar on the seafront on an overcast day! It reminds me of Ireland, of day trips to Howth and weekend holidays to Dingle. My honey and I revere a good fish and chips and have scoured the world in search of the best. This recipe certainly holds its own!


This recipe was adapted from fellow Vancouver Blogger, Vancity Allie. Her recipes are always amazing, like this Toasted Walnut Banana Bread and this Pizza!

Ingredients:


Oil, 2 cups for frying
Flour, 2 cups + 1/2 cup for dredging
Baking Powder, 1 tablespoon
Baking Soda, 1/2 teaspoon
Salt, 1 teaspoon
Pepper, 1 teaspoon
Cayenne, 1/2 teaspoon
Parsley, fresh from the garden, 2 tablespoons chopped
Egg, 1 large
Guinness, 1 pint can
Halibut, 2 steaks
Russet Potatoes, peeled and cut, 5 large
Olive Oil, 4 tablespoons for drizzling
Salt, to taste
Pepper, freshly ground, to taste

Guinness Batter
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Salt, Pepper, Cayenne, and Parsley.
  • Mix in egg.
  • Add Guinness and whisk until smooth.
Fish
  • Heat Oil in a deep frying pan.
  • Coat the fish in flour.
  • Dip in batter.
  • Fry in oil for 4-5 minutes until crispy and golden brown.
Chips
  • Peel Russet Potatoes and cut into thin strips.
  • Soak in salted water for 45 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 425.
  • Dry in a cloth.
  • Lay potato strips out on a foil lined baking sheet.
  • Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
  • Soak in vinegar!
  • Bon Appetit!

My Grandfather’s Paintings

24 Apr


These are some of my Grandfather’s paintings and some of my most prized possessions. My Grandfather was an immensely talented and prolific painter, often painting on both sides of his canvas. Everyone in my family, across many generations, has a piece of my Grandfather’s work. That feels very special.

These paintings remind me of the poems of Walt Whitman and Robert Frost.

Continuities by Walt Whitman

Nothing is ever really lost, or can be lost,
No birth, identity, form–no object of the world.
Nor life, nor force, nor any visible thing;
Appearance must not foil, nor shifted sphere confuse thy brain.
Ample are time and space–ample the fields of Nature.
The body, sluggish, aged, cold–the embers left from earlier fires,
The light in the eye grown dim, shall duly flame again;
The sun now low in the west rises for mornings and for noons continual;
To frozen clods ever the spring’s invisible law returns,
With grass and flowers and summer fruits and corn.

Oh, I love Whitman!


Running & Natural Remedies For Asthma

23 Apr


I finished reading Born to Run and ran straight out the door, grabbing my Nike’s that heretofore have led a rather sedentary life well into their old age.

The first tenth of a mile was excruciating, thoughts of Ultras bursting like the sun spots blurring my vision. My right lung ached and my bronchi rang the whistle for quitting time. But I kept my back straight and puffed my chest out like a proud gazelle.

Mile 1…my breathing calmed! Mile 2…my pulse leveled out! Mile 3…I could be running Boston! 24 hours later…my legs are holding a sit-in…

Dígame, runners! If I’m to be conquering Ultras, what do I need to do?

First, I need to conquer my asthma. No one wants to be beholden to Big Pharma, so I thought I’d share some natural remedies for asthma:

I. Chili Peppers
Hot foods act as an anti-inflammatory. I love hot sauce on just about everything!

II. Vitamin C
Not only is Vitamin C great for the immune system and a natural antihistamine, but it is also the main antioxidant in the lining of the bronchi. You can get Vitamin C from some of the most delicious foods: strawberries, grapefruits, raspberries, limes, and tomatoes.

III. Fish
Omega-3 Fatty Acids are wonderful for the lungs. Tuna, salmon, halibut, and swordfish are the best sources.

IV. Sauna & Steam Rooms
My first foray into shvitzing was at the Ohtli Spa in Puerto Vallarta. I can’t wait for the next time I’m in Whistler to go to The Scandinave Spa!

V. Yoga & Meditation
Asthma can be triggered by stress and intense emotions. Yoga and meditation are wonderful ways to relax both the mind and the body. Plus, who doesn’t want to be more like Christy Turlington? Passport to Prana is a great way to find a class in your city with the style, space, and pace that suits you.

VI. Running
Running strengthens your breathing muscles.

VII. Acupuncture
My honey goes to the Sinclair Wellness Centre for acupuncture and massage therapy. They embrace a natural approach to wellness, sharing my belief that mental and physical health are interconnected.

VIII. Virgin Forests
I love breathing in the fresh scent of cedar, pine, and balsam fir.

IX. Tea & Coffeee
Caffeine is a great bronchodilator. My mom has always sworn by black tea with honey and lemon. I love The Urban Tea Merchant!

What are some of your natural remedies for asthma?

Coulter Curated Presents: Best of Vancouver Part I

19 Apr


I. Best Place to Feel Like You’re in Italy: Yaletown Gelato.
For a pittance more than the cost of a single scoop, order the most delicious *unadvertised* gelato cocktails in town! My favorites: Amaretto & Sweet Vermouth and Lemon & Limoncello!

II. Best Place to Feel Like You’re in Britain/Ireland/Boston: Go Fish Ocean Emporium.
British Isles fare served up with an East Coast flare. This is the perfect storm of Fish & Chips (witness below)!

III. Best Place to Feel Like You’re in Japan: Kamei Royale.
The Seafood & Lobster Miso Chowder, Samurai Power and Rapture Rolls are out of this world. As my honey says: This is the type of place you want mob ties to. Domo Arigato Kamei Royale!

IV. Best Place to Feel Pampered: Suki’s.
I am not the most adventurous with my hair. As a reaction against the short bobs of my youth, I keep my hair very long, very classic. Shiny, healthy, feminine, and low maintenance are my mantras when it comes to hair. Simon, my stylist at Suki’s, understands this, and his minimalist aesthetic matches mine to a T!

V. Best Place for Feel Free and Easy (a Pup Addition): Spanish Banks.
Four paws up, says Pup. Not to be missed, says Pup. Glad to be a dog in Vancouver, says Pup. At low tide, you can walk half a mile out- instead of chasing cars, Pup can chase container ships, that is until she gets distracted by crabs and other such tide pool characters!

VI. Best Place to Indulge Your Inner Fashionista: Misch.
You know I love me some Alexander Wang, Isabel Marant, and Rag & Bone!

VII. Best Place to Feel Like You’re in Spain: Bin 941 Tapas Parlour.
The New York Times says: “Rub elbows with the Hollywood exiles at this tapas bar that looks like it was designed by Gaudí on a wine bender.” I love ducking out of the rain and into this whole-in-the-wall West End eatery and cozying up to my honey over some steak frites (with the frites piled halfway to the ceiling)!

VIII. Best Way to Travel in Style: Float Plane.
Playing into my romantic ideals, most of BC is inaccessible by road. One must take a float plane to navigate much of the terrain. I love going down to Coal Harbour with Pup to watch the sea planes land. They’re so graceful as they descend from the sky and gently glide across the water. In my most George Costanza-esque moments, I’ve considered becoming a seaplane captain, and my honey’s gently reminded me that I may need flying lessons first. Must learn to fly!

IX. Best Place to Feel like Julia Child: Granville Island Public Market.
I grew up in Cambridge, down the block from the original Savenor’s, the exotic butcher shop and gourmet grocer favored by Julia Child, a mythical neighborhood fixture who never opened her door on Halloween. I used to love strolling the isles of Savenor’s as a little girl, marveling at all the exotic wares, especially the meats: zebra, ostrich, snake… I love doing the same at Granville Island Market, truly a food lover’s paradise!

What are some of your favorite places in Vancouver? What are some of your favorite places in your area? What are some of your favorite places in the world?

Herb Garden

18 Apr


A deathly fear of worms, coupled with a complete distaste for Crocs, has rendered me a rather ineffectual gardener. City dwelling isn’t exactly conducive to gardening- Vancouver may have just introduced a bylaw allowing residents to keep chickens, but I fear Pup would throw down if presented with an ornery feathered friend.

And so it’s unfortunate that most of the lots in downtown Vancouver masquerading as community gardens are actually temporary tax shelters for developers. Imagine the anguish of seeing your prized petunias succumb to the bulldozer.

Guerilla Gardening is more my scene- a clandestine operation under the cover of night and a jaunty black beret. Alas, Vancouver hardly requires more beautification. What does require some major primping is my balcony.

So my honey and I, henceforth known as Dr. Green Thumb and Ivy League, gardening alteregos designed to quell flashbacks of former failed attempts and the carcasses that attest to those, spent Saturday morning in Dundarave at the Maple Leaf Garden Centre, procuring supplies for our newly minted herb garden.


We are now the proud growers of sage, rosemary, mint (perfect for all those summertime mint juleps and mojitos!), thyme, oregano, tarragon, cilantro, chives, spring onions, fennel, parsley, and soon to be basil and lavender (Perfect for Lavender Lemonade!). Let the cooking commence!

Spain Inspired

12 Apr
Penelope Cruz & Scarlett Johansson in Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Vadoinmessico*
Carmen
Gaudi, Park Guell
Mymu Espadrilles
Gaudi, La Pedrera


After a perfect week in Valencia, my honey and I spent the rest of the summer trying to recapture some of that Spanish sol in dreary Dublin, working tirelessly (sans siestas) to perfect this Sangria recipe. Somebody had to do it!

Ingredients:

  • Rioja, fine Spanish, 1 bottle
  • Orange Juice, fresh squeezed, 1 liter
  • Ginger Ale, 1 bottle
  • Grand Marnier, Peach Schnapps, and Brandy, dashes
  • Pineapple, 1 sliced
  • Apple, 2 diced

Sangria

  • Combine Red Wine, Orange Juice, and Ginger Ale.
  • Add dashes of Grand Marnier, Peach Schnapps, and Brandy if so inclined.
  • Complement with diced pineapple and apple.
  • Salud!

Madrid is one of my favorite cities in the world. I just love strolling through the bustling paseos, relaxing in the shade at El Retiro, and dining al fesco at midnight. After a day at The Prado with heavies like Goya and El Greco, Churros con Chocolate is requisite fare to lighten the mood!

Ingredients:

  • Olive Oil, enough for frying
  • Water, 1 cup
  • Butter, 1/2 cup
  • Salt, 1/4 teaspoon
  • Sugar, 1/4 cup + 4 tablespoons
  • All-Purpose Flour, 1 cup
  • Eggs, 3 large
  • Cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon
  • Dark Chocolate, 4 ounces
  • Cream, 2 cups
  • Corn Starch, 1 tablespoon

Churros:

  • Heat water, butter, salt, and 1/4 cup sugar to a rolling boil.
  • Add sieved flour and stir until mixture comes together.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Beat eggs then add to mixture, stirring constantly.
  • Place mixture in cake decorator bag with large star attachment.
  • Heat oil in a deep frying pan.
  • Squeeze strips of dough onto hot oil and fry until golden brown.
  • Dust with Sugar and Cinnamon.

Chocolate:

  • Heat chocolate, 4 tablespoons sugar, and 1 cup cream in sauce pan until melted.
  • Dissolve cornstarch in 1 cup cream and add to mixture.
  • Cook on low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and smooth.
  • Remove from heat and serve with piping hot churros.
  • Buen Provecho!

*Vadoinmessico is one of my new favorites coming out of SXSW. The band is from Italy, Austria, and Mexico and is based in London. I tend to love international groups like this- Gotan Project comes to mind. In Spain is my new Spring jam!