July 18, 2005

Buzz Buzz I Wunder Why She Duzz?

Time for another batch blog!

Wednesday I went down to Roy Thompson Hall with Cass and Kim to sign up for shifts for the Toronto Film Festival. This year, instead of working at the Isabel Bader Theatre, I'll be at Roy Thompson (for the opening gala!) and the AGO. I'm looking forward to it... I had so much fun last year :) Later in the evening Christian and I had a summerlicious dinner at Canoe that consisted of Citrus Cured Mahone Bay Scallops Sweet Shrimp, Honey Mushrooms, Tarragon & Truffle Oil for the appetizer, Roasted Tenderloin of Pork Parsnip, Granny Smith & Maple Black Pepper Jus for the entrée, and Wild Blueberry Cheesecake that was to die for. Mmmmmmm.

On Friday afternoon I went to see a Fringe Festival play called Boygroove with Vanessa. It's part play, part musical that basically spoofs the whole idea of boy bands. It was soooo hilarious: the music, the characters and the storyline! While waiting in line for tickets, I bumped into Jen who was volunteering at the festival and gave her a spot in the line (shhh!).

In the evening Christian and I biked to the Distillery District for the PartiGras that kicks off the annual Toronto Beaches Jazz Festival. It was my first time in the area and I really liked the quaint atmosphere, which was nicely complemented by all the great jazz performances. I got home a lot later than I had wanted. I was so tired and I had to wake up at 7am the next morning for my second fashion shoot, but I wanted to discharge my camera batteries in order to have a fully charged battery to use. I should have just left it as it was because there was enough juice in it to last me the day- I was just really unsure how long it would last because the first 2 charges didn't give me a lot of battery life. By 1:30 am I was so ready to hit the sack and I was uploading and re-uploading pictures onto my computer to use up the batteries, but it didn't seem like it was doing much good. So for the next TWO hours I sat there shooting off my camera with the flash. Click. Click. Click. I was absolutely dying from tiredness but I had to keep going... and finally it was done!

Unfortunately, I ended up sleeping in until 8am the next morning when I had to actually be downtown at 8:30 :O Whoooops. Made a mad dash out the door and when I arrived at the studio, I found out I was switched to another team, where my partner had arrived as late as I (at 9am), and we were frantically trying to put our sets together in time for the shoot. However, it turned out that our model still hadn't arrived yet and we had no idea when she was going to be in. So we ended up shooting one of the model's sister, who was just there to watch everything. We actually had a pretty good shoot with her and I finished off a 1 GB card (and even had to delete some bad pics to shoot some more). Before lunchtime while my partner was shooting I went to Future Shop nearby to buy another memory card, but they were out since it was on sale for a really good price. I had no idea where else to get a cheap memory card, so I ended up TTC'ing all the way back up to North York Center to meet with my parents who would help me buy one at the Future Shop there. And thennnn, TTC back down to Ryerson to immediately start setting up my set for the next model (I had completely missed lunch). The next model was really pretty but she needed a lot of direction ("raise your right arm- no that's your left arm!"); it got to the point where I had to go in and move her body parts. Overall though, I had a lot more fun during this shoot than last week's. I felt a lot more comfortable, and I actually got to shoot for more than 30 min! I'm in the process of reviewing all the shots for my critique tomorrow, so I'll post them up when I get them all together :)

Posted by mich at 4:53 PM | dreams [1]

July 11, 2005

Mmm.... Cheesecake

I made cheesecake for the very first time today *sees everyone running for cover*. It tastes alright, but it's very mushy in the middle of the cake, probably from the sour cream (?) that the recipe called for. I specifically looked for a cherry cheesecake recipe since we've got a whole batch full of fresh cherries. It's really a cherry cheesecake with chocolate almond crust, but I just used plain graham crackers instead. My graham crust wasn't moist enough so it got really crumbly. I think for the next time I'll try the Philly recipes and just add cherries in it.

Continue reading for recipe...

Cherry Cheesecake with Chocolate Almond Crust

For chocolate-almond crust
3/4 cup blanched whole almonds, toasted lightly
20 thin chocolate wafer cookies
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

For cherry topping
3/4 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 tablespoon water
3 cups pitted picked-over fresh tart cherries (about 2 pints)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

For cheese filling
two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
an 8-ounce container sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup cherry juice reserved from making topping


Make crust:

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a food processor pulse almonds until ground. Add chocolate wafer cookies and grind fine. Add butter, sugar, almond extract, and salt and pulse until combined well. Transfer mixture to a 9-inch springform pan and press evenly onto bottom and 1 inch up side. Bake crust in middle of oven 10 minutes and transfer to a rack to cool. Crust may be made 3 days ahead and kept, covered, at room temperature.

Make topping:

In a very small bowl sprinkle gelatin over water and let stand about 1 minute to soften. In a heavy saucepan bring cherries, sugar, and lemon juice to a boil, stirring. Remove pan from heat and reserve 1/2 cup juice for filling. To mixture remaining in pan add gelatin mixture and almond extract and stir until gelatin is dissolved.

Make filling:

In a bowl with an electric mixer beat cream cheese with sugar until smooth. Beat in flour and add eggs 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in sour cream, vanilla, and reserved cherry juice until combined well.

Pour filling into crust and bake in middle of oven 50 minutes. (Cake will not be set in center but will set as it cools.) Transfer cake in pan to a rack to cool completely. Chill cake, loosely covered, 1 hour. Remove side of pan and transfer cake to a plate. Spread topping evenly over cake. Chill cake, loosely covered, at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.

Makes 1 Cake.

Posted by mich at 11:48 PM | dreams [0]

July 10, 2005

My New Toy

Haven't updated in a long time so this might be a long entry!

The big news first: I finally got a digital camera! The Nikon D70s.
Yup, I've crossed over to the dark side, but it's come to the point where I it's about time I go digital. Especially with the fashion photography course I'm taking, digital is the way to go.

Ok now let's recap on my last few weeks....

The last weekend in June I went camping at Algonquin Park's Mew Lake. I got attacked by vicious black flies, but other than that, the trip was fine and dandy! We got into the campsite at around 11pm Friday night and ended up having to set up our tents using the car headlights as our light source. The next day we rented canoes and paddled around Canoe Lake, then did a little hiking trip to an outlook. Unfortunately those were the only outdoorsy activities we got to do. Most of our time was taken up being iron chefs.

For the Canada Day long weekend Christian and I went to the nation's capital. We got in by bus on Thursday at midnight. We stayed at a cute B&B about a 15 min walk from Parliament. On Canada Day we checked out the events going on at Parliamnet Hill and Major's Hill Park, walked about Byward Market, and went to the National Gallery for the Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and the Renaissance in Florence exhibit. We took a lunch break at Byward Market for Chris' mandatory poutine meal, then headed back to the gallery to look at the permanant collections. At 3pm we headed back to the B&B to rest while it rained outside. Mr. Sleepyhead passed out for a couple of hours and left me to go off walking around by myself! When he came to, we had dinner at a Thai restaurant at Byward, then headed to the Hill to catch Sam Robert's performance and the fireworks. The scene after the fireworks was nuts. We were pushed and shoved around and packed like sardines walking down Wellington St. We made a pit stop for Beaver Tails at the Market before attempting to meet Thy at the Aristocrat Suite she was staying at for the night. Unfortunately, with a faulty set of directions we totally missed the hotel and walked all the way down to the Museum of Nature area. By the time we figured out where the hotel really was it was already 12:30 and we were beat so we just headed back to the B&B :(

On the Saturday we watched a bit of the changing of the guards on the Hill, visited the Museum of Contemporary Photography, made necklaces at Sassy Beads in the Market, and had a patio lunch at Black Tomato, where I had a tiny bit of alcohol with my meal. Big mistake. I developed a headache and was so tired after lunch that I needed a nap nap in Major's Hill Park. That evening we took the bus to Kanata, met up with Jon and we visited our old houses- they looked sooo much smaller than we remembered. The good ol' days... *sigh*! We went out to dinner with Jon and his parents at a Texan restaurant then retired early with plans to wake up at 5am the next morning (haha, yeah right!) The next morning we woke up at 6am and explored downtown during sunrise before heading back to the B&B for breakfast. We didn't do much else that morning before we had to head to the bus station back to Toronto.

This weekend has been quite busy as well. Friday night was the opening ceremony for the Toronto Street Festival. Chris and I checked it out at Yonge Dundas Square- we saw Great Big Sea perform and Les Girafes Urban Operetta, which was basically a parade of red elephants on the street. Not as impressive as the Malaya Winterfest closing performace, but still a fun spectacle nonetheless. Yesterday morning I had to wake up at 7am to make it down to Ryerson for our first fashion shoot with models and make-up artists. Everyone was split up into pairs except my group, which consisted of 3 people. More people to split up the time with the model plus a SUPER SLOW make up artist didn't leave our group members much time to photograph. I only got to start shooting after 3:30 (we were supposed to finish by 4). It was pretty stressful and that day only confirmed how uncomfortable directing and managing people. I did come out with some nice shots though... hopefully everything will go better during the next shoot. Later in the evening I went to the Harbourfront Centre's Electronic Music Festival with Chris and Mike, and later met up with my sister and her friend, and Tony. We ended up having Indian dinner in the eastern part of the city at 11pm. The food took FOREVER to come which was driving me crazy. To top it all off, I asked for my dish to be mild, but it turned out to be spicier than everyone else's dishes! It's official- no more Indian food for me EVER AGAIN! Five strikes. Thanks again to Tony for driving me and my sis home :)

Today my family and I went to E.D. Smith Farm in the Niagara Escarpment for cherry picking. It was pretty fun aside from the burning heat, my out of control allergies, and the 40 minute wait in line to get into the fields.

Posted by mich at 10:49 PM | dreams [2]