Help Me Help You: Sharing the Cooking Load

Written by Danny.

This post was birthed a few weekends ago when Aimée was gone to BSP in Pennsylvania.  I had the kids for an extended weekend – on holidays – and it was both wonderful for the bonding and closeness I got with my boys and terrible as I realized that I rely on Aimée for so much.

You see, we both rely on each other for so many things: I believe that Aimée has filled the car with gas exactly twice in the 9 years that we have been married.  Each time comes with a story of exasperation and woe that I listen to with a bemused smile. Why? It’s just no big deal for me. For her, however, it is unfamiliar territory.

If I were to coordinate a Thanksgiving dinner, though?  The shoe would be on the other foot (and the pre-dinner snacks would be whole, raw apples).  I may be able to contribute to one of the side dishes, desserts or appetizers (I’ve improved since the apples), but to orchestrate an entire meal?

In my defense, I usually get our standard breakfast offering  ready for the family: coffees, APPLE juice (no other kinds tolerated, apparently) and some kind of cereal – oatmeal, cornmeal, flakes-from-a-box. But a cohesive, timely, organized lunch or supper? That’s different from day to day? Her territory.

You see, even though she wrote an awesome list of what to eat and when (mostly for the kids, of course) for the weekend she was gone, I nevertheless felt a bit out of place in the kitchen, and I realize that I have a basic skill set that I need to hone: cooking.

Perhaps you have a partner like me? Here’s what we need to be able to help share the cooking load effectively on a regular basis or in an emergency situation. [Read more…]

Grilling Fruit (Recipe: Grilled Peach and Haloumi Salad)

When Aimee mentioned that my next post would coincide with “grilling week”, I have to say that I was pretty darn excited.

After all, I’m a man, and men are supposed to be “King of the grill” – if you buy in to all of that jazz.  And so to be quirky and different, my initial thought was to go off on a tangent and write about how to make a grill over a real fire or grilling something in a really hot backyard pizza oven (two more of my projects now that the chicken coop is made).

But sometimes, meat on any kind of grill, whether it be steaks or sausages or chicken, fish, etc…. is just, well, meh.  Especially later in the grilling season.  Most of the BBQ or grilling events we go to all summer long are remembered for the people, not the meat. I can probably remember only a handful of grilled steaks that were memorable for their flavor.

However, the first time I had grilled peach and haloumi salad will be memorable for a long, long time.  I can’t even remember  if we had guests or not that night, but I can remember almost every single bite that I had.

Yes, it was that good.

[Read more…]

Bwaaakk! Our Journey to Backyard Chickens

Written by Danny Bourque.

This summer we will have eggs. This winter we will have soup. Mission Accomplished: we now have backyard chickens.

As with most home renovations I tackle, it seems it took a lot longer than anticipated – almost 5 months longer – but the coop is finally complete, and we got the chickens on Monday. I know I tend to be somewhat overly analytical, over prepare and plan before embarking on a venture, and this was no exception. Nevertheless, it’s done.

Diana recently wrote about the benefits of farm fresh eggs, and we are looking forward to our own eggs and being a step closer to a sustainable lifestyle. This is the story, and some tips on what to consider if you want to get your own backyard chickens.

The experience and adventure has just begun…

[Read more…]

Lessons Learned in Substitution and How I Served Sour Soup to a Chef

During our honeymoon in Budapest, nearly nine years ago, Aimée and I became smitten with Hungarian cold cherry soup. It was sweet, yet tart, and smooth, smooth, smooth in texture.

Some years later, I decided to recreate that memorable soup for my wife on a whim. I had a general concept of ingredient substitution, but no real knowledge of what worked and what didn’t work. Unfortunately, the story does not have a happy ending.

[Read more…]

Fishing Sucks

Don’t worry, there are other fish in the sea.

This saying might be quipped by consoling friends if someone’s romantic relationship goes sour. Aside from being in bad taste, in my opinion, this phrase implies that the “catch” was one of a near limitless supply of available mates, and one simply has to go back to the “sea” to get another one.

I think this expression, like so many others, exposes or reinforces a viewpoint on life, one of abundant, limitless resources.  We don’t believe that our actions truly make a difference.  This, however is not reality.  The oceans are being depleted, the earth is warming up and species in all life kingdoms are disappearing as fast as humans can document them.

One of the last movies we watched in 2010 was “End of the Line“, a documentary on the decline of the world’s fishing stocks which forced us to consider, yet again, the impact of our eating habits and whims. I strongly urge you to see this film.

[Read more…]