May 31, 2005

Doors Open Toronto

It was the Doors Open Toronto event this past weekend, so I decided to go exploring yesterday. Christian and I set out on our bikes at 11:15 and headed out west to the Gladstone Hotel, where they were also hosting a Contact 2005 exhibit entitled "Wallpaper". The space is in the process of being renovated and the rooms are each designed by a different artist, which will be unveiled in an open house "Sneak Peak" Preview event June 17-19. We got to see one that had flower patterns carved into the drywall.

Next we stopped by a small gallery beside the Museum of Comtemporary Canadian Art along Queen St., then headed to Chinatown for a lunch of congee with the consistency of glue. Luckily the downpour of rain happened while we were chowing down inside.

Afterwards we rode through U of T campus up to Yonge and Bloor to visit the Moriyama & Teshima architectural design firm. The style was very Japanese- the place used to be a service station and now the grease pit has turned into a serene pond. We then biked down to the financial district to see the Toronto-Dominion center (we just missed the last 54th floor tour), the Canada Permanent Building, and Old City Hall, where we had just missed the last courtroom tour :'( The Doors Open event ended at 4pm so by that time we hung out at Nathan Phillips Square enjoying the sunny warm weather that had arrived. And just by coincidence we ran into Gin, Faiz, Mike, Cass and Monz, who were were planning to meet up with later anyway for golfing. So while those guys drove to The Docks, Chris and I biked all the way there. I went on the driving range for the first time, and I sucked! My furthest shot went less than 100 ft >_< Then it was time for some real fun: mini-golf!! I won... *takes a bow* :P At 8pm I biked with Chris back to Chinatown and met up with the other guys at a Chinese restaurant for dinner. And so ended my day of adventure, exertion, and exhaustion!

Posted by mich at 1:12 AM | dreams [0]

May 28, 2005

Partially Unemployed Bum

I'm employed part-time as a photographer. Wooo! Should be fun going around Toronto to explore all the architecture, neighbourhoods, and attractions. Now I can put off buying an expensive digicam since the company will be lending me their Canon Rebel. I'll get to play around with the camera and see how I actually like working a digital SLR. I was considering dropping my Fashion Photography course at Ryerson in order to save money towards a Nikon D70S... but I think I can keep it for the moment :)

Yesterday afternoon I visited Sandra with Wensan, Chris Tang, and their friend. I baked Mrs. Field's Oatmeal Raisin cookies for San, but they didn't turn out as good as another recipe I usually use (I'll post the recipe later). But I'm glad San and her family enjoy them! :) And it was nice seeing Sandra looking well, lively, and back to her complaining self :P

I had a phone interview on Thursday with The Medea Group for a programmer/designer job, and now they want to interview me in person this upcoming Thursday. I'll be meeting with the CEO and President of the company- how intimidating is that?!

Last weekend was the Victoria Day long weekend. I went up to Montreal on Sat. with my family for a mini family reunion. Did the mandatory bai san on Mont Royale, then chilled out at my sister's apartment for a bit before going to dinner to meet up with my cousins from Boston, my cousin Lawrence's new Venezualan wife, and uncles, aunts, and grandma. The next day I went on a shopping bonanza at Simons. I was in the store right when it opened at noon (and it was already a zoo), and stayed there until 2:45 :O I don't think I've ever gone that crazy before. By 1:30 I was already starving, yet the shopaholic in me kept saying, "Must.... keep... going...". So after 2 rounds of purchases I ended up with 2 asymmetrical zip-up sweaters (one of which is Groggy!!), 2 tanks, a halter top, a white sheer t-shirt w/ asymmetrical neckline, socks for my kitten heels, and a black sheer sleeveless with a pink halter underneath. I was such a happy girl afterwards. But I had to restrain myself from buying anything else while walking around the downtown shops until 5pm. Over the weekend I was pretty productive (aside from the shopping mission). I read a short book that taught me how to create a web site in Flash, and I started reading my Flash Savvy book that I ordered from Chapters.

And speaking of productive, I finally got my portfolio site up and running. I still have to do some tweaks here and there, but here it is:

[Edit: added Oatmeal Raisin Chews recipe]

Oatmeal Raisin Chews

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup salted butter, softened
2 Tbsp. honey
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cup (8 oz.) raisins
1/2 cup (3 oz.) walnuts, chopped (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

2. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking sodea, salt, and oats. Mix well with wire whisk and set aside.

3. In a large bowl blend sugars with electrical mixer set at medium speed. Add butter and mix to form a grainy paste. Scrape down sides of bowl, then add honey, vanilla and eggs. Mix at medium speed until light and fluffy.

4. Add the flour mixture, raisins and walnuts, and blend at low speed just until combined. Do not overmix.

5. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheets, 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake for 22-24 minutes or until cookies are light golden brown. Immediately transfer cookies with a spatula to a cool flat surface.

Makes 3 dozen without walnuts, 3 1/2 dozen with walnuts.

Posted by mich at 12:55 PM | dreams [1]

May 17, 2005

Bumming Around

Life as an unemployed bum is hard. Too much to do... I've become a busy busy bee. Aside from a full-time "job" of building my online art/design/photography portfolio and applying for jobs, a girl's got to have some fun too!

Last Tuesday was the CSSU handover dinner at The Keg, where I learned the hard way that prime rib is really steak instead of a rack of ribs (disappointment #1). The mashed potatoes were fabulous, but halfway through I decided to add butter. However, I had mistaken my small cup of horseradish for butter in the dim light. I mixed around the horseradish and practically choked on my first bite- it was utterly disgusting. I had completely ruined the rest of my scrumptious mashed potatoes (disappointment #2). After dinner a handful of us went to Dmitre's on Eglington for dessert. I was so tempted to get the strawberry milkshake, but learning from my lesson at the Keg for not diversifying from Chris' choice, I decided to try the strawberry smoothie. It was the WORST smoothie I ever had in my entire life. It was tasteless and SOUR. Should not have diversified (disapointment #3).

Wednesday, Christian came uptown to hang out for the day. We lunched with Chris, Tony and Sandra at Ding Tai Fong Shanghai restaurant at First Markham. Watched a few episodes of 24 in the afternoon and then made dinner for my family at night. This dinner was much more successful than our first attempt as we got no complaints from anyone (and had enough food for everyone)! The night's meal consisted of rice, roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, BBQ spare ribs, and baked chicken breast. The rosated veggies and mashed potatoes were delish! Gotta love my Betty Crocker cookbook :) [continue reading for recipes]

Friday is known as couch potato day... really! I swear, Christian and I left permanent bum marks on the couch from sitting in front of the TV ALL day watching 24. Ok I exaggerate. We got up to make salad and perogies with onions for lunch. Then we plopped back down. 11 episodes in a day. 6 more to go!

On Sunday I was accomplice to a shopaholic spree at the Eaton Centre. I got to take Christian shopping for grownup clothes! He cleans up pretty nicely... from a bum to a lang jai all in one afternoon :P

'Twas a pretty long day today. Transported my bike downtown in the morning, grocery shopped in Kensignton with Christian for picnic lunch things, then prepared lunch. Early afternoon we went out with Joseph for a light lunch at a Tibetan restaurant where I tried some Momos (dumplings). On our walk back to Chris' place, a pigeon pooped on Chris' shoulder... yucky! (proof #1 that bad things happen to bad people). We took out our bikes and biked down Bathurst Street to Queen's Quay then along the lakeshore all the way to High Park. We biked around the park and in some forested areas then lunched on our yummy yummy sandwiches (I love that creamy Havarti cheese!). After that we visited Christian's best friend's family and socialized until the evening. During dinner, Chris sat on a stool that broke right when he sat down (proof #2 that bad things happen to bad people). Hm, I think I'm onto something.

Back to portfolio-ing.

Mashed Potatoes

6 medium potatoes (about 2 pounds)
1/4 cup margarine or butter
1/4 teaspoon salt, if desired
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper

1. Wash and peel the potatoes, and cut into large pieces. Remove the margarine from the refrigerator so it can soften while the potatoes cook.

2. Add 1 inch of water (and the 1/4 teaspoon salt if desired) to the saucepan. Cover and heat the boiling over high heat. Add potato pieces. Cover and heat to boiling, reduce heat just enough so water bubbles gently.

3. Cook covered 20 to 25 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. The cooking time will vary, depending on the size of the potato pieces and the type of potato used. Drain potatoes in a strainer.

4. Return the drained potatoes to the saucepan, and cook over low heat about 1 minute to dry them. While cooking, shake the pan often to keep the potatoes from burning, which can happen very easily once the water has been drained off.

5. Place the potatoes in a medium bowl to be mashed. You can mash them in the same saucepan they were cooked in if the saucepan will not be damaged by the potato masher or electric mixer.

6. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher or electric mixer until no lumps remain. Add the milk in small amounts, beating after each addition. You may not use all the milk because the amount needed to make potatoes smooth and fluffy depends on the type of potato used. Add the margarine, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Beat vigourously until potatoes are light and fluffy.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Roasted Vegetables

1 medium red or green bell pepper
1 medium onion
1 medium zucchini
1/4 pound mushrooms
Olive oil-flavoured or regular cooking spray
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh or 2 teaspoons dried basil leaves, if desired

1. Cut the bell pepper lengthwise in half, and cut out seeds and membrane. Cut each half lengthwise into 4 strips.

2. Peel the onion, and cut in half. Wrap on half of onion, and refrigerate for another use. Cut remaining half into 4 wedges, then separate into pieces.

3. Cut the zucchini crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Cut off and discard the end of each mushroom stem, and leave the mushrooms whole.

4. Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray the bottom of the pan with cooking spray. Arrange the vegetables in a single layer in the sprayed pan. Spray the vegetables with cooking spray until lightly coated. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and basil.

5. Bake uncovered 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven. Turn vegetables over. Bake uncovered about 10 minutes longer or until vegetables are crisp-tender when pierced with a fork.

Makes 4 servings.

Posted by mich at 11:18 PM | dreams [1]

May 10, 2005

The Edge Sucks!

Coldplay dropped by at The Edge radio station this afternoon at 6:30. I, being the silly girl that I am and who had not been able to get tickets for the Koolhaus show, wanted to see Coldplay really bad so I stood in line at 1:15 to see them. Fortunately, I got Chris to come wait with me for the company :P I would have never wasted so much time to wait in line if I didn't think I had a chance to go inside to see them... being the 84th/85th people out of the possible 200 that can go in, I thought the standing, the sore legs/feet, and coldness was justified. But no. By the later part of the afternoon, a new line had formed on the other side of the door going in the opposite direction to see the band from outside through the windows. That entire line was let in by the security guards to go in, while people in our line were outraged. Even people who were waiting since 7am didn't get to go in. How retarded is that?? In the end, we could barely hear what was being said over the speakers from outside, and they even cut out the speakers at the beginning of Yellow. GRRRRR.

Posted by mich at 12:45 AM | dreams [0]

May 6, 2005

I Miss Japan!

Today marks one year since the beginning of our adventurous Japan trip. I can't believe how fast time flies by. The next time I go back, I want to spend at least a month exploring the entire country from one end to the other... but only after I'm rich enough to support that kind of living! :P

Looks like my student career still hasn't ended yet. I just registered for a fashion photography course at Ryerson instructed by Struan. I'm pretty excited for it. I don't normally do people photography so this is a fun opportunity to explore and learn about this specific style.

Posted by mich at 11:18 PM | dreams [0]

May 4, 2005

Back to Kitchen Madness

Now that school's out, that leaves some time for some cooking craziness :) So Christian and I made Chunky Broccoli Soup for lunch yesterday and it was marvelous! I've never had such yummy soup (except for New England clam chowder) :P

Continue reading for the recipe...

Yup I was a rabbit yesterday. The soup was so filling that I could only have a garden salad for dinner. We went out to dinner at Milestone's and bubble tea at Ten Ren's with Justine, Brad, Jon and David. Unfortunately, I almost killed someone with the pecans in my salad. Poor baby :( And all I can say about Jon and David is that... they're craaaaazy! :P

This week I'm gonna get so fat. I'm going out to eat practically every single night o_O I also found out that we have family friends from Ottawa coming in tomorrow evening to stay with us until Sunday for Jon's (not JD) graduation. So tomorrow we're going out to dinner for Mother's Day, since Vanessa is going back to Montreal on Sat., then dessert at Dmetre's with Darryl and Co., Friday is the CS grad BBQ (which means I miss out on dinner with our guests), Saturday is dinner with the CS gang, and Sunday is Mother's Day dinner with grandma. OK, I'm off to go jogging now... better start burning the calories off before they even arrive right?

Chunky Broccoli Soup

1 large or 2 small stalks of broccoli (about 3/4 pound)
1 small carrot
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) ready-to-serve chicken broth
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cold water
1 cup half-and-half

1. Trim the large leaves from the broccoli and cut off any tough ends of lower stems. Rinse broccoli with cool water. Cut flower end from stalk, and cut flowerets into bite-size pieces. Cut the stalk into small pieces, about 1/4- to 1/2-inch cubes. You should have about 3 cups of broccoli, including the flowerets, but having a little more or less is fine.

2. Peel and shred the carrot. Any size shreds is fine.

3. Heat the broccoli, shredded carrot, salt, pepper and chicken broth to boiling in the saucepan over high heat. Once the mixture is boiling, reduce the heat just enough so mixture bubbles gently. Cover and cook 6 to 8 minutes or until broccoli is tender when pierced with a fork.

4. Mix the flour and water in a small bowl or measuring cup with a fort or wire whisk until the flour is dissolved. Pour this mixture gradually into the broccoli mixture, stirring broccoli mixture constantly while pouring.

5. Heat to boiling over high heat, stirring constantly. Continue boiling 1 mintue, stirring constantly.

6. Stir in the half-and-half. Cook, stirring occasionally, until hot. The Soup should look hot and steamy, but do not let it boil.

Makes 4 servings.

Posted by mich at 9:27 AM | dreams [2]