November 28, 2010

I should really be going to sleep right now. I have a very full day tomorrow, plus I have to wake up extra early to put my room in order so that when the movers come (to rearrange some giant furniture around the house) my things aren't in the way.

But you know when you're having a really good dream and you can sort of feel yourself waking up but you don't want to lose the end of the dream so you sort of force yourself back to sleep for fifteen minutes, even though you never really pick up where the dream left off and end up dreaming the same scene over and over again?

That's sort of what I'm doing right now - trying to make this weekend last a little longer before reality end the end of the semester set in tomorrow - except that I'm trying to stay awake.

But it's not going very well.

In fact, I'm going to surrender to my sleepiness and accept that my delicious five-day weekend is over and no amount of blinking myself awake is going to change that.

I wish you all a smooth return back to reality!

November 26, 2010

Fill In The Black Friday

The very fact that I'm posting from home at noon shows that I'm nowhere near all the Black Friday madness that takes America by storm every year on this day. It is something that I absolutely cannot deal with.

Last night at 10pm there were people camping out outside the stores in Harvard sq. Aside from the fact that I can't imagine any store in Harvard sq a) opens at midnight, and b) would get mobbed, even if that were the case, that's still insane to me.

And just for stuff? It's not like people are mobbing stores to give blood or volunteer with underprivileged children. They just want to spend money they don't have on things they don't need. And fight with hundreds of other crazy bargain shoppers to do it.

It is not my idea of a good time.

My idea of a good Black Friday involves waking up at 11am from my turkey-induced food coma, having a leisurely breakfast of Earl Grey and a sampling of thanksgiving desserts, and avoiding any form of retail for the rest of the day.

Oh! And filling in Lauren's Friday blanks!

{via weheartit}

1.   Black Friday is       an American abomination   .

2.  Christmas shopping this year will include   whatever I can afford on my poor graduate student lack of income .

3.  Holiday shopping makes me      want to stab people in the eye. And the Christmas music certainly doesn't help .

4.  This year my Christmas list will include    very little stuff and a whole lot of traveling .

5.  Bargain hunter, or full price shopper?     I covet the full-price things, but I refuse to buy most of them - unless they're reasonably-priced to begin with - and I settle for the lucky bargain finds instead. I don't buy on sale just because it's cheap. That's a waste of money.

6.  The best and worst things about shopping are      best: coming home with something I've been wanting for a while, and being really happy with it. worst: everyone else who decided to go shopping on the same day as me. It's like people lose all ability to reason and behave like adults when they're in stores. Seriously, it's the only time that shoving is semi-acceptable adult behavior.

7.  Online shopper or in-person shopper?     A little of both. But I'd rather shop in person for clothes and shoes because you can't try stuff on online. Plus it irks me to pay for shipping  .

November 25, 2010

Pumpkin Pie On Turkey Day

Happy Thanksgiving!

I know I said I would post this yesterday, but the photos were on my brother's camera (he gets all credit for the great pictures) and I got distracted by making dinner (after making pie). So I'm posting them today.

Do you need a pumpkin pie recipe the morning of thanksgiving? Probably not. But its festive and holiday-appropriate and you can always come back next year for the recipe.
This is a coconut milk and toasted hazelnut pumpkin pie - adapted from Heidi Swanson's spice-kissed pumpkin pie - and it is my go-to for delicious and a little different pumpkin pie. And if you don't have time to make it this year, try it next thanksgiving!

Start with a baby pumpkin or a sugar pumpkin. Cut into wedges, rub with olive oil, and roast at 400 F for about an hour, until flesh is soft and golden brown.

Remove the skin, either by scooping out the flesh with a spoon, or peeling the skin with a knife.

Puree the roasted pumpkin flesh with an immersion blender or a cuisinart. Add water as necessary.

Reserve 1 1/2 cups of puree for the pie. Freeze any leftovers for a delicious pumpkin soup in the future!

Measure out 1 cup of coconut milk

Blend into puree.

Measure out 1/2 a cup of brown sugar/

Add to pumpkin puree.

Add three eggs.

And mix well.

Batter should be smooth and silky.

Fragrant spices!

Grate the fresh ginger (or add 1/2 tsp of ground ginger)

I almost forgot the vanilla!

If you have whole cloves, crush them up. Otherwise add 1/2 tsp ground cloves.

Any excuse to use my mortar and pestle!

Blend all the spices into the batter.

Roll out your chilled pie crust dough.

Don't forget to use flour otherwise the dough will stick to the counter!

When the dough it rolled out large enough, slowly wrap it around the rolling pin.

Pick up the rolling pin with the rolled dough, and hold it above the buttered pie dish

Gently unroll the dough over the dish

Gently press the dough into the corners, being careful not to tear it.

Press any extra dough to the side

Crimp the sides

Oh, and don't forget to press the ground hazelnuts into the bottom of the crust!
 (I don't have any photos of this, but I promise I did it!)

Pour in the pumpkin batter.

Bake for 50 minutes at 350. Garnish with whole toasted hazelnuts. Enjoy!

Coconut Milk and Toasted Hazelnut Pumpkin Pie
1 pie crust (of your choice), see head notes for pat-in-pan option
2 cups hazelnuts (divided) , toasted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice blend (equal parts cinnamon, allspice, ground ginger, and ground cloves - I substituted nutmeg and fresh grated ginger for the allspice and ground ginger, because I didn't have either).
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon arrowroot (or cornstarch)
1 1/2 cups of roasted pumpkin puree*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 extra large eggs PLUS one for glaze, lightly beaten
1 cup coconut milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, racks in the middle.
Puree 1 1/2 cups of the toasted hazelnuts in a food processor until they turn into a hazelnut paste, past the 'crumble' stage. Set aside. Chop the remaining 1/2 cup of hazelnuts and set aside separately, these will be sprinkled on top after the pie is baked.

To make the pumpkin pie filling, whisk together the brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice blend, salt, and arrowroot. Stir in the pumpkin puree, and vanilla. Now stir in the eggs and coconut milk until just combined. Set aside. If you only have light coconut milk (which is all I had on hand) you can add an extra half cup of regular heavy cream.

Before filling the pie crust, crumble the hazelnut paste on top of the pie dough into the pie plate, quickly and gently press it into a thin layer across the bottom creating a layer of hazelnuts that will sit between the dough and the filling. Using the last egg gently brush the decorative edges of the pie dough. Use a fork to prick the pie dough a few times to prevent air bubbles. Fill the pie crust with the filling and bake for about 50 minutes - the center of the pie should just barely jiggle when you move the pie - the edges should be set.
Let the pie cool a bit, this makes slicing less messy. Serve straight or with a dollop of bourbon-spiked, sweetened whipped cream or creme fraiche, and a sprinkling of chopped hazelnuts.
Makes one 9 or 10-inch pie.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
I wish you all a glorious day full of delicious food and good company!

November 24, 2010

Wee Bits Wednesday!

I trudged through the first two days of classes this week, anxious to get everything over with and get on a bus and come home. I even skipped a class, whichI hadn't done yet! But now I'm home and with my Maman and getting ready to cook up a storm!

We're having thanksgiving tomorrow at my friend Molly's house, and we're bringing garlic mashed potatoes, whipped ginger sweet potatoes, petit peas with pancetta, pecan pie, toasted hazelnut pumpkin pie, stewed cranberries and kumquats, and a cranberry apple tart. Which seems like a lot of food, but Molly and her family are making the turkey, a further selection of sides, and a couple of desserts of their own.

Needless to say, there will be plenty of food. Luckily Molly brought her boyfriend Walter and a bunch of his burly friends, so they'll help us demolish this ridiculous meal.

I plan on posting a few of the recipes later (the pecan pie, the pumpkin pie, and the stewed cranberries and kumquats) but for now I wanted to post some wee bits. Don't forget to link up with Leigh if you play along!

{one} what kind of camera do you have?  
I have a little Canon Elph Powershot point and shoot.
I'm hoping to get my hands on my brother's old Canon DSLR.

{two} you just won $1000 and you have to spend it on yourself on one item. what do you buy?
A single item? Probably an amazing Camera, so I wouldn't have to steal my brother's old one from my dad 
(who is currently learning to use it)

{three} if you had to choose, would you rather live with your parents in the same house forever or 5000 miles away?
I love my mom's house, but I wouldn't live here forever (I already don't), not because of my mom, but because of the place. Cambridge is amazing, but chances are, with the direction my life is going, I'll probably end up a few thousand miles away, at least for the foreseeable future.

{four} is your christmas tree up yet?
No, we usually get it a few days before Christmas and keep it into January.

{five} do you bring reusable bags to the grocery store?
Sometimes. When I remember to bring them from the house.

{six} which would be worse: listening to the same song on replay for the rest of your life or having to eat the same meal everyday for the rest of your life?
The same meal. I would just turn the music down and do without music. But food is sacred.

{seven} name 3 things you are thankful for this season.
My family, my new school friends, and having such an incredibly privileged life..

{eight} do you dye/highlight your hair? if so, do you do it yourself or have it done at the salon?
No. I haven't dyed it in years, and last time I did it was a "just for fun" out of the box experiment.

{nine} would you rather watch a movie at home or at the theater?
Depends on the movie. If it requires a big screen (lots of special effects) then I'd prefer the cinema. 
But cozying up on the couch with a good meal and a glass of wine... and being able to pause it when you need to pee!... is priceless.

{ten} would you rather win $1000/week for life or $5 million all at once? 
The responsible side of me says $1000 a week, but I'd have to live 96 more years for it to be equivalent to $5 million. 
So I'd take the $5 million and put it in a high interest account with a $1000 a week withdrawal cap (except with special authorization to withdraw a large lump sum). 
Not only would I end up with more money, but I'd get all the interest on it too!
See you later with some recipes! 

November 19, 2010

Stuffing Blanks Instead of Turkey

It seems like just a few days ago I was celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving (October 10th, I think), and it's already only a week until American Thanksgiving?

Crazy! Next thing you know Christmas will come knocking and I'll barely have time to open presents before I'll have to put on my sparkly New Year's Eve dress!

Anyhoo, I'm always excited about Thanksgiving, but this year is extra special because it's my first Thanksgiving at home in four years! Which means the re-establishment of a long-standing tradition that was interrupted while I was in Europe.

But why am I explaining all of this now? You'll get to read about it in the blanks! And as always, don't forget to link up with Lauren!

1.   My Thanksgiving plans this year will include     an amazing meal with my bestest friend, Molly, my entire family, her entire family, and some!   We always have a spectacular dinner at Molly's house with too much food and too many crazy antics. I can't wait to start the tradition again!

2.  My favorite Thanksgiving was   I can't pick just one - every year is better than the last, and I have a feeling this year is going to be even better!

3.  My signature Thanksgiving dish is      Heidi Swanson's Spice-Kissed Coconut Milk and Toasted Hazelnut Pumpkin Pie - I highly recommend it as a new exciting twist on an old classic!  .

4.  My favorite Thanksgiving food is    garlic mashed potatoes and my mom's home-made kumquat cranberry sauce .

5.  Thanksgiving free association!     giant turkey! Molly's house! Shenanigans! Pecan pie! Apple Tart! Stuffed! Pumpkin!

6.  Thanksgiving is       never disappointing and always delicious!

7.  I am thankful for      everything! having an unbelievable family who supports me unconditionally, having a new and exciting life in new york and all my amazing new friends, being at unbelievably good school I never thought I could get into (and actually enjoying all the work!), being hosted by a wonderful family in their beautiful house, having everything I could possibly ever need and more, and all the opportunities I have to look forward to .


What are you thankful for this year?

p.s. Happy birthday to my little brother Lucas who turns 23 today! Love you! :)

November 17, 2010

Time For Wee Bits

Although this year I'm not doing National Blog Posting Month (which means I'm automatically disqualifying myself from 100% completion in 101 in 1001, oh well) I'm still trying to make an effort to get back in the game and spend some more time over here at The World Is My Oyster; if not every day than at least more than twice a week.

I have this long list of things I want to blog about, but the bummer thing is that most of them - like the review of my awesome bag or a post about some vintage stuff I've inherited - are posts that need photos, and my camera is out of commission again. I do have my iPhone camera, but it's not the same.

My brother is on it, and hopefully I'll have a working camera by thanksgiving (when I plan to bring back some sorely-missed recipe posts), but until then you'll have to settle for just my words. Luckily I have lots of help in the words-only department, thanks to the lovely Leigh Ashley, who provided me with another round of fun questions! Don't forget to link up if you play along!

{one} what time do you normally wake up?
Between 6:20 and 6:40, depending on how many times I hit snooze.
Today I slept til 8 and it was glorious!

{two} do you have a go-to song for karaoke?
I haven't gone often, but last time I went I sang 
Total Eclipse of the Heart and The Copa Capaba.
Both excellent choices.

{three} if you could only see black and white except for one color, 
what color would you choose to see?
Green, It's my favorite color, and the color of nature, 
which would be sad to see in black and white.

{four} what color best matches your personality?
A bright sunny yellow.

{five} if you could choose one meal to cook better than anyone else, what would it be?
Something really fancy and french - like salmon en croute - so that I always had something up my sleeve when in a pinch!

{six} how many keys do you have on your key ring?
Zero. I have a keycard.

{seven} do you give your pets birthday/christmas gifts?
Before Truffle died we used to make him little peanut butter and parmesan treats and string them up on the christmas tree so that he could eat them off. It was so cute!

{eight} when your plate has different foods on it, do you mix or not?
Why not? If it all tastes good individually, it all tastes good together.

{nine} if you could hire someone to do one thing for you all the time, what would it be?
Housekeeping - sweeping, vacuuming, mopping, dishes, bathrooms. 
I hate all that nonsense.

{ten} when flying, do you prefer the window or aisle seat?
Aisle seat. The views all look the same after a while - especially over the ocean - and I hate crawling over strangers when I have to get up.


And now I'm going to go be a bit self-indulgent (I got my flu shot today so I'm feeling a bit under the weather, which is reason enough to put off reading for school for a bit longer) and curl up in an armchair with a new novel and cup of ginger tea.

November 16, 2010

I Occasionally Like To Make Lists: Darling Diminutives

The expression I've heard most often in my life is probably, "the best things come in small packages," generally preceded by, "don't worry," and followed by, "I'll grab that for you."

See, I'm 5'2". On a good day.

And I have always been the shortest of all my friends, thus the number of times I've been reassured that being small is a blessing in disguise (usually after failing in some task that required I reach higher than I could). But I've never minded. I was never self-conscious about it - although often being at nipple-height rather than face-to-face can make for some interesting conversation at times - and I've actually come to embrace my diminutive size.

For example, as a result of being so short, I also have wonderfully small feet, so I always manage to grab the last display pair of size six shoes that every girl wants and none can fit into. Plus I get to wear amazing five inch heels and never risk towering over anyone (on the contrary, five inch heels barely put me at eye-level with most people). And when I can't reach something in the supermarket I have a legitimate excuse to coyly ask the cute guy in produce to come help me.

But mostly I think being short has somehow instilled in me an obsession with tiny stuff. I can't think of anything that isn't cuter in mini. Which brings me to my list,

Things That Are Infinitely Cuter in Mini

1. Tiny doll furniture

full of tiny doll food!

2.Baby shoes and socks!

3. Mini pens and notebooks!

4. Itty bitty pies and cupcakes!

5. Mini bottles!

What are your favorite tiny things?