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Been all artsy and craftsy

Yesterday I got to celebrate mythmaker999's elevation to the Order of the Laurel, the top arts award in my medieval club. As she researches and makes many things related to 16th C Flanders, many of the activities focused around creating the look and feel of peasant weddings and other celebrations from art of the time. A big part of that is the food, so I made five kinds of sausages and two kinds of mustard. Others made cheese pear, apple and strawberry tarts, waffles, breads, and jams/sauces. I blogged about my contribution here: https://siglindesarts.wordpress.com/2016/08/28/apprentice-elevation-part-one-the-food/.

I also made a new costume for the day: https://siglindesarts.wordpress.com/2016/08/28/apprentice-elevation-part-2-the-clothing/.
Alais looked lovely, though I wish I could have gotten her glasses off her before taking the picture. She didn't know I had the camera out though, and I didn't want to spoil her concentration by letting her know:
Part of her ceremony involved a dance, which looked really lovely.



I got up too early, went for a swim and then made five kinds of sausage today. Technically it's only 4 1/2 as the last one needs to refrigerate overnight and then get smoked tomorrow. All are Belgian/German/northern French recipes to be used for a party next weekend in honour of my friend mythmaker999. She loves all things Flenish, and this was the best I could do.

I'm going to go fall asleep now. I should be watching the final Tragically Hip concert with the rest of Canada, but I'm too pooped.



There have been some great stories out of the Olympics:
- the Nigerian rower who had no sponsors but earned herself a silver medal,
- the first Iranian woman to win a medal (tai kwan do),
- the first Filipina to win a medal (don't remember the sport),
- the Indian village boy who couldn't swim but became a rower in the army,
- the Brazilian badminton player whose dad formed a club and trained kids in the favela where he had grown up,
- the classy Canadian race walker who not only supported a competitor who went down part-way through the 50 km race but refused to file an appeal over losing his bronze medal after being bumped on the course and losing by less than a second.

Then there were the more high-profile nice stories: Andy Murray pointing out that he was not the first tennis player ever to win two gold medals but in fact that honour went to the Williams sisters (who have won four each), and kayaker Adam Van Koeverden who called out sexism in much of the reporting about the Olympics in a blog that went viral (at least in Canada) and was published in one of the largest Canadian newspapers.

I love Brazil and was hopeful that they would pull an impressive event out of the predicted disaster. It's the Brazilian way. I worried I would be wrong this time, but so far everything has gone at least as well as expected. I am concerned about whether the Paralympics will go equally well, but that's for another day. Right now, I'm just going to enjoy the Olympic moments.


The Friday Five

1. Do you like ketchup or tomatoes or both?
2. Do you like grape jelly/jam or purple grapes or both?
3. Do you like cider or apples or both?
4. Do you like cream or milk or both?
5. Do you like zucchini bread or zucchini or both?

Easy questions:

1. Tomatoes.
2. Purple grapes (especially the kind people use for making grape jelly - I will eat them until my lips get tingly).
3. Depends - is the cider alcoholic? Are the apples some interesting heritage breed or at least super tasty? If the answer is yes to both, then my answer is both. Because so many commercial apples are bred for longevity and easy transport, I am not a big fan of apples.
4. Both. I drink quite a bit of milk, but rather like recipes that call for cream.
5. Zucchini, though I won't turn my nose up at a nice piece of zucchini bread.

Time change on my swim

Today I went to the pond much later than usual. Normally I go at around 7:00 or 8:00, when there is no-one except a few senior citizens who enjoy the peace and quiet. It's a hot sunny holiday today, so the beach was packed. It felt quite European, with everyone from babies to octogenarians in the water, a guy playing guitar on the beach, and folks changing under towels (a custom I associate with the French Riviera, not Canada). I didn't think I would enjoy it, but in fact I had a lot of fun dodging other swimmers. There were a few brilliant blue dragonflies and I spotted a cormorant waiting patiently for everyone to go home so it could fish. I managed about a half hour before we all got kicked out for the day. The pond closes at 2 pm (it is part of a nature preserve, and it is free and a few minutes by bicycle from my house, so I can't complain).


Changing Tastes

Do you find that what you like has changed over time? I know there are a few things I like better than I did as a kid, but mostly I have remained a fairly adventurous eater. There have been a few changes, though, and I wonder whether it is the food itself or how it was prepared. Today's example is okra.

When I lived in Brazil, I tried the traditional Minas Gerais dish of chicken and okra stew. I thought it was pretty loathsome because of the gluey texture. I haven't had it for years. However, a few years ago I made a spicy andouille sausage and needed something to use it in; the solution was a chicken and smoked andouille sausage dish that also had okra. This week, okra was on clearance sale so I bought 2 pounds of it. I didn't have any andouille, though, and didn't feel like making any, so I found a recipe for that Brazilian chicken and okra stew. I just tasted it and mm.mmmm..mmmm.... The okra had quite a lovely texture. Maybe I didn't cook it as long as it was cooked in restaurants in Brazil?


Cleaning stress

I'm trying to catch up on cleaning and I keep getting sidetracked. There is so much I want to do, but today I just can't break it into manageable chunks and actually finish something (anything!).
How do you do your cleaning?

Poll #2050710 cleaning

How do you organize your cleaning

one room at a time
one kind of cleaning at a time (eg all the dusting)
working from one spot to the next as the tidying takes you (eg stuff that needs to go to the basement leads to basement tidying until something needs to go to the kitchen, etc)
random wandering, picking up stuff and putting it down again
overwhelmed so I don't bother, much
time to check LJ, or FB, or read a book
other (comment below)


Cooking all the things!

I love summer, but OMG the garden and my CSA basket are exploding. And I can't resist a bargain... Yesterday's adventures included the purchase of okra because it was on sale. Which meant I needed to buy chicken and look up a recipe for frango com quiabo (chicken with okra, a traditional recipe from Minas Gerais, Brazil). I also have beets cooking up for a cold borscht. I finally sauteed my swiss chard to eat with rice and beans (I hate chard but can't let it go to waste; I have been using all sorts of other greens while waiting for my collards to grow big enough to use, so I figured the chard might work too). Tomorrow I need to get down to the serious business of making pesto, as my basil is exploding. I have discovered that carrot tops make a decent pesto, so I may experiment with adding them too, or I could just sautee them. Usually I just pitch out the green tops, but this year I am trying to learn to use everything.

My freezer will be nicely filled, but I will also have a lot of other foods I need to use up. Summer is the time when my craving for coleslaw kicks in every year, so I bought a cabbage which I haven't had time to use. Last night's CSA basket included a second cabbage, so I will be making cabbage roll casserole for the freezer, just to make room for non-freezable vegetables in my fridge.

How about you? Do you live where summer bounty changes what you eat? Do you prefer old favourites or do you like to experiment^

I'm ready!

Except for packing my stuff. Tomorrow is Bring on the Bay, a 3km swim in the Ottawa River. I have promised myself that if I finish in about an hour, I will sign up for the Riverkeeper 4km swim in two weeks. That one is much more challenging, as it is across and slightly up the river; tomorrow's goes into the centre of the river for part of the way, but then turns so you get to take advantage of the current. My ride will be here at 6:50, so I'm off to bed very shortly.

Aside from picking up my race kit across town, tonight has been all about using up seasonal produce. I am learning to put all kinds of leaves into my salad, but tonight it was all about soup and a pot of feijoada. The soup has carrots, celery, beet greens, and green onion (plus the chicken and orange sauce left over from my last cooking class, and some barley). The feijoada has all kinds of scapes I'll be sauteeing beet greens to go with it, at least until I get up to the garden to pull some collard greens. I also need to sort through my bag of miscellaneous greens to find the cilantro I completely forgot to add. It will be nice to have some stuff for my freezer again.
1.How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?

2.Which is worse, failing or never trying?

3.If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?

4.When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?

5.What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?

1. Probably somewhere in my early 30's. Old enough to know better, but not yet old enough to behave all the time.

2. Never trying.

3. Who is this "we" you speak of? I do things I need to do for a bigger reason (clean house, financial solvency), but I do an awful lot of things I enjoy. If they stop being fun, I find something different to do.

5. To quote "Miss Congeniality" I would like world peace. No more poverty, inequality, unsustainable living, extinctions... Obviously, it's not going to happen, but that's not for lack of trying on my part.

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