Yes, it has been two months. Terrible! Summer is uber busy you know. I have been cooking, but I have fallen sadly behind on my music! This is one I wanted to post about 6 weeks ago. Back when it still would have been hip!

Coeur de Pirate is a 19 year old from Montreal who has apparently been playing the piano since she was three. I don’t know about you, but when I was three, I was into making mud perogies and writing on the bottom of the kitchen table with markers. But whatever works for you I guess. : )  This is a light, happy little tune with cello, tinkling piano, a pretty joyful, choir-like finale and delicious little cheerful french lyrics. It is too short! Listen to it many times. : )

Coeur de Pirate – Comme des Enfants

Thanks to Tarah for the first pointer, and then to Ca Va Cool for keeping a great list of Polaris Prize nominated artists! I heard yesterday that Coeur de Pirate didn’t make the short list. Too bad! Also too bad that she was in town for Canada Day and I didn’t feel like braving the crowds! Almonte on Canada Day is a lot more chill than Ottawa on Canada Day, let me tell you.

Aaaanyway. I highly recommend buying her album here. Enjoy, mes amis!

And standby for a recipe update. yes, it is update day. You’re in luck!!

Here’s a springish recipe (one that was a hit at the Mediterranean potluck I went to recently!) based on my favourite tzatziki at my favourite restaurant in the entire world, The Plaza in Kenora.  Here is a gratuitous Kenora shot:

I recommend a) going to the plaza and having the lemon soup, kalamari appy and the chicken souvlaki pita, or b) making this recipe to serve with toasted pita triangles, sliced tomato and cucumber sprinkled with sea salt and coarse black pepper. Mmmmm…. Spring-alicious…. This recipe takes a while, but its worth it to follow the first two steps well, otherwise the tzatziki is too runny. Nothing worse than a runny tzatziki! And here goes:

Plaza Style Tzatziki

  • 2 cups plain yogourt (FULL FAT!! jk, you could use lo if you like, but why would you?)
  • 1 large or 2 small cucumbers, peeled, seeded and grated
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 tsp finely chopped dill
  • 2 tsp finely chopped mint (I skip this in the winter – still tasty!)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 2-3 tsp. white vinegar
  • Olive oil (to garnish)
  1. Line a colander with at least 2 layers of cheese cloth. (Paper towel or a coffee filter will also work as substitutes.) Place colander into large bowl. Mix yogourt well and spoon into cheesecloth. Fold edges over to cover. Allow to rest 1/2 hour, draining liquid from bowl. Scrape yogourt from cheesecloth into medium bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, mix grated cucumbers with 1/2 tsp salt in a medium bowl, then allow to rest 1/2 hour. (Salt draws liquid from cucumber.) Press cucumbers into bowl, draining excess liquid.
  3. Mince salt into garlic, mashing until mixed.
  4. Mix cucumber into yogourt, adding garlic, dill, mint, vinegar, salt and pepper and stirring well. Chill at least one hour. Drizzle with a little olive oil just before serving, then serve with toasted pita triangles, tomato and cucumber slices. Or if you’re really ambitious, serve with fried calamari! And enjoy!

If you happen to have some mint growing, this would wash down nicely with some mojitos. I will try to post my mojito recipe soon- its almost that time again! Anyway – good luck, and OPA!! (I was Greek in a past life. Did you know?)

ladies room innovation!

ASIDE: i was at a lunch meeting today at the lone star on st. laurent, and i saw this in the ladies room. yes, it is a hair straightener vending machine. $2 for 2 minutes! fairly ridiculous and yet brilliant. probably when i actually needed this product, i would be too blotto to actually use it however. anyhoo – cool idea!

now for what i REALLY wanted to say!i haven’t posted music (or ANYTHING! ahem.) in a while, so I have a bit of a backlog. here is the new song:

Clementine by Washington

this is a link to the music video, which is pretty cool, and directed by a company with the greatest name evar, we buy your kids. the girl (megan washington) is (somewhat shockingly) unsigned and from australia, and seems super talented. she has an EP on iTunes, I am listening to it RIGHT NOW! And so should you be…

and the credit stream continues… i saw this on notcot, where i see EVERYthing! but it didn’t go straight to the official clementine video, it went to THIS video: Bathtub II by Keith Loutit, which I watched because it is shot in tilt-shift, which I am in love with! It makes everything look like the mini world at DisneyLand, where you go through the whale’s mouth. It also reminds me of Theodore, (he’s a tugboat and a friendly tugboat too!) Anyhoo, Clementine was the soundtrack, and it got me digging. Worth it!! Loveble elements of this song include – words that don’t rhyme, lyrics from childhood songs, charming piano, a sort of chill, ethereal vibe, and two very cool videos. what more can one ask for? HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! ok, done ranting for now. take care, my darling clementines.

yes, the new metric album (fantasies) is out, and it is awesome! it sounded oddly familiar on the first listen; i thought i knew the songs from somewhere… but not in a bad way? it sounds much like “grow up and blow away”, or other past albums, but is still fresh and singalong-alicious. they don’t seem to be suffering from the pressure that afflicts many bands when they start to become a little more popular and they lose their edge, which is also excellent.

so, it was tough to pick a single song (and fortunately I don’t have to, because I am just cheaping out and linking to their mySpace – I learned my lesson with big bands!) but i chose “gimme sympathy” because i really like the “oh seriously” after the beatles/rolling stones reference. i also very much dig “stadium love” and “gold guns girls”, and yes, basically all the songs on the album. LISTEN TO THEM ALL!

Metric Myspace

On another note – has anyone else noticed the bizarre increase in the number of hot stewardesses in downtown ottawa on weekday mornings? there were also pilots, but they are not as hot. pillbox hats just don’t do it on dudes! the girls, however are too hot to actually work in airports, so i am guessing it is some kind of guerilla marketing tactic. that said, they are not branded, so its probably not that successful of a marketing technique! anyone?

listen to metric, and find out about stewardesses for me, ok? inquiring minds and all that.

also, here is a photo i took:

this is near the queensway exit on woodroffe. pretty area, right? well the sky was pretty glorious, anyway! makes me hold my breath for spring though. will keep holding it…

A Day at Atelier Orange

April 10, 2009

Last week I had the opportunity to visit Koen de Winter, a designer that I had come to know of through my school. I wasn’t really aware of it at the time, but Koen has made continuing education a priority in his ceramic studio, Atelier Orange. He doesn’t have a website, (I should do something about that, eh?) but there is some good info on him at this site: DesignAddict.

In any case, this is why I was able to visit Koen de Winter’s very cool three story boutique/studio nestled along the river near Saint Andre Avellin. I had seen his earthenware on another great site, the Canadian Design Resource, and fallen in love with the contrast of colour and material, and the organic, geometric forms. Little did I know I had actually met the designer! And little still did I know that he and his lovely wife Lise would feed me and my colleague lunch. Lucky!  Sometimes as a design student you don’t realize what a small world it is.

I’ve wanted to learn slipcasting ever since I took my first pottery class and thought to myself “This isn’t what I wanted to do!” Also because Amy Adams from Perch! is my hero. [Side note – I met her at ICFF and was all starstruck, I’m such a dork.]

Works in Progress at Atelier Orange

While I was there, I took a few photos, but mostly I just absorbed. Koen used to teach at UQAM, and he does like to talk. : ) I think my favourite anecdote was when Koen pointed out that for the same reason there are no books on learning to ride a bike, there are no significant books on slip casting. Its something that, when described, is exceedingly simple, but to get the feel for and to excel at you have to try it, and learn it in your bones.

Taking a little off the top - Koen de Winter making a positive from plaster on the wheel to make a slip casting mold.

Taking a little off the top - Koen de Winter making a positive from plaster on the wheel to make a slip casting mold.

He also had some interesting insights on design education, having been on both ends of the experience. He suggested that all students would be better off if they did at least four courses in some subject of their choosing, thereby making them an expert in one thing, rather than, as designers seem to naturally become, jacks of all trades, masters of none. He suggested it would help with at least differentiating you and getting you that first job. It would have been interesting to do it in such a formal way, but I felt that most people manage to massage their projects into their own particular likes and interests anyway. I know I did!

The finished positive, waiting to get turned into a slip casting mold!

The finished positive, waiting to get turned into a slip casting mold!

So I don’t know how to slipcast yet, but I do want to go back for the rest of the lesson. Its immensely humbling to speak with someone who has been designing products since before you were born, but Koen is in no way pretentious. He was gracious and I felt very honoured to have been able to learn a little of his trade. He was very generous with his time, although his staff buzzing around indicated that he was pretty busy! If anyone is in the Ottawa area, I’d highly suggest at least a visit to the boutique, if not a day in the studio. I would try contacting him via the link I listed earlier. Spread the learning, people! Its glorious.

Today I am trying to finish some web projects so I can get back to making things. Here is my new favourite coffeeshop on a springish winters day!

The art on the wall (which rotates! yes, its a coffee shop/gallery!) is by Rosemary Leach. I like the one with the ice cream scoop and the one with the espresso machine.

Also, I am nominating a new song of the week! As always, its not actually that new, but I love it the more I listen to it. The whole album is pretty great, actually. Check it out! TV On the Radio seems to be one of those genre-defying bands, but they have lots of soul. In the figurative sense I mean, more than the genre. Ahem. Just listen to it!!

TV On The Radio – Love Dog

Via the Hype Machine / my friend Tarah, and then via We All Want Someone To Shout For. Thanks, peeps!

that is all, really. i was just enjoying a THIRD cup of gunpowder green tea. the heat turns down during the day, so i drink tea to keep warm.

(i took this photo a couple of years ago when I was living at the Sunnyside House. its just a little old, its still good, its still good!)

hello all!

another delicious winter recipe to share before spring makes itself official. its in the air, but its still far away! the most telling thing has been that it is now officially light out when i walk out my door at 6:28AM each morning. LIGHT! Glorious.

anyway! on to the recipe. I appropriated this one from my sister’s fiancée, who has become quite well known for it. She says the secret is really expensive gruyère from the St. Lawrence Market, but I used Balderson Cheddar and just a regular mozzarella ball and it was still marvellous. Definitely room for experimentation! Enjoy…

French Onion Soup à la Seeley

  • 4 Tbsp. Butter
  • 6-7 cups sliced onions (I used part sweet yellow and part regular white)
  • 4 cups soup broth (beef recommended, I used vegetable)
  • 2 cups water
  • Half Baguette (I used whole wheat)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. Butter, softened
  • 1 cup grated cheese, (gruyère recommended, or a combo of cheddar and mozza)
  1. Melt butter in large pot. Add onions and sauté, stirring regularly until softened and dark golden brown (15 minutes or so.)
  2. Add broth and water, bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 1  hour.
  3. Heat oven to broil.
  4. Combine garlic and butter to make (wait for it…) GARLIC BUTTER! Surprise. : )
  5. Slice bageutte into toasts,  brush butter over one side and arrange on baking sheet. Toast until brown, 3 minutes or so. Watch carefully, goes from brown to black REALLY FAST! Or so I hear. Repeat on other side of toasts. Set aside, cut into cubes when cooler.
  6. Separate soup into bakeable bowls. Top with bread cubes and cheese as desired. Bake at 450 for 10-15 minutes until cheese is bubbly and golden. Enjoy!!

So thats my contribution to everyone’s diets for February. Its actually not that bad for you, if you go easy on the sodium and cheese. Protein, calcium… water… : ) All good things! Better than the stuff I had at the Keg for sure.  Have a good February everyone!

Pears Are The New Birds

February 12, 2009

I just wanted to comment on a little trend I have noticed. Its starts in housewares, then ends up all over, on hats, jewelry, etc. First it was deer,

then it was birds,

with a brief foray into owls specifically:

and now its pears?

I don’t know what comes after pears. what am i, a fortune teller? i just wanted to make an observation, is all. : ) get your pears, while they’re hot!!

This is sort of an oldie but as I went through my archives I realized I had never posted it.  Shocking! It came up on my iPod yesterday and I realized how truly awesome the whole album really is.

I guess it might take time to get to love her voice, which is sort of crackly and off key, but I love it, perhaps because how this is how I would sing if I did? There are fantastic backup singers, and country style twangy guitars, and the most charming lyrics. So check it out! You won’t regret it.

Thao Nguyen and the Get Down Stay Down – Bag of Hammers

Also, this is the song that some of you may recall from my audition tape for an HGTV home redesign show, but thats another story for another time. I owe my two day audition to this song, I think. Thanks Thao! If only you could have got me the job…. (I was surprised to find out that I’m not the least bit funny on TV. Who knew?)

OK, Peace out! Listen to some Thao and make the world a better place.