Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Hello again!

*Being full of sickness is an excellent opportunity to catch up on long overdue LG posts*

Bonjour a tous et toutes (encore une fois)!

I am Cyn and here is a short description of myself for anyone who doesn't already know me: Im currently 27, married for 3 years, a daycare educator, and am part Greek and part Quebecois/Canadian.

Can I have a moment to say how super grown up I feel right now? :)

So, I love food and I know slash love Amy, that's how I got here! And here is my flurry of questions!


- Take a picture of the front of your fridge. What's on it and why?

Ooo, I like this one! I've got a pretty standard fridge front, on the right, top to bottom, knife sharpener, magnet my mom brought me back from Les Iles de la Madeleine, my weekly menu (I seriously wouldn't be able to function without planning a menu, seriously), a postcard of the Pope my bro-in-law brought me back from the Vatican last year (along with a rosary that had been blessed by him, a treasured gift) coupons and election papers. On the left, a postcard one of my students sent me from China where he is spending his summer, pictures of Jeff and I on our wedding day, our dogs, and a picture and postcards from my best friend who moved to England/Ireland for an undetermined period of time. As to the why, everything on my fridge either has a purpose or brings me comfort. 

- Three things you learned in the kitchen in the last year/the last five years.

Hmm.. I feel as if I've learned so much I have a hard time pinpointing 3 down. I would say resting my meat is a huge one (I thank the food channel for that). Also, how to combine different cooking techniques on the same item, ex: when I roast a pork tenderloin, right after pulling it out of the oven, I give it a quick sear in a super heated iron cast pan, then let it rest. It gives a nice textural crust to the pork while keeping the insides very tender. And lastly, my mood very much affects the food I make. For me, when I cook (especially elaborate dinners that require multi-tasking to the extreme), its like a dance. Do this, stir that, chop this, saute that, lower the temp on that, etc. If I'm not feeling good or feeling up to it, that dance is disrupted and the fails happen, So Im slowly learning to evaluate myself and what I'm capable of in the moment, rather than forcing myself to do whatever I said I was doing. Like two Sundays ago, I had my family over for dinner, and had planned this work intense fancy dinner. But with a bad head cold/allergies, my head was really really not into the game, so I threw a spaghetti sauce in the slow cooker, made a quick salad and bought a fresh loaf of bread from Premiere Moisson. Done, and I could rest all day and actually enjoy supper with my folks. Had I stuck to the previous plan, things wouldn't have turned out and I would have been stressed and upset and generally failed the entire day.

- If you have a decent budget for a small dinner party, where do you turn for food inspiration?

I looove dinner parties. I love to host. Having people in my home to cook for, to serve, to treat as if they were a king or queen, that is what I love the most. People have completely lost the art of hospitality and taking the time to enjoy company with food and beverage, so I try to make my home an oasis of good food and good love. The first thing I always do is ask for dietary restrictions and the sort, because as much as I'm inspired by that beautiful purple cauliflower, someone might be allergic to it, and then where would we be? So that being done, I then look at what I have in my fridge/freezer/pantry, and what's on sale/in season. I will choose one main ingredient to center the whole course around (i.e.: butternut squash for the entree, trout for main course, strawberries for dessert) and its only then that I start looking through my cookbooks and the internet to build on those ingredients (squash becomes a soup, trout becomes a grill, strawberries become a berry salad with gelato). Once I've got my menu firmly planned, I then go purchase my items in the store. I have walked through a store or market and pulled inspiration straight from the ingredients, but that always seems to end up costing me more than planned, and that in turn doesn't make the husband happy, which in turn reduces his enthusiasm for said dinner parties.

- Have you discovered a new favourite cook book lately? Restaurant? Ingredient?

Less of a new book/ingredient, and more a shift of my philosophy. I love to cook, we all do or we wouldn't be part of this lovely blog. But there is something to be said about raw ingredients, and the more I read about it, the more I'm convinced we (meaning my household) need to eat a diet that is much more infused with raw fruits/veggies, which is surprisingly a hard thing to do when you're used to roasting/cooking/sauteeing/steaming/grilling pretty much anything you can get your hands on. But slowly we are introducing a portion of every meal as raw, and learning what works and what doesnt (I hate raw peppers, Jeff loves them).Raw doesn't mean there's no flavoring, just forcing my brain to find different ways to adapt and adjust. 

- What were your favourite things that you've eaten in the last week?

Yesterday's supper wins this week's tasty award. Honey mustard chicken thigh (1/3 cup honey, 1/4 cup yellow mustard, 1/4 cup dijon, 1tsp paprika/oregano/crushed pink peppercorns and a couple sprigs of rosemary. Bake for 30 mns @350 in a covered pan and then uncovered for 15mns @375) served on rice, with barely steamed ginger carrots and a little tomato/basil/cuke salad. Oh and a bit of cranberry sauce my friend made for Thanksgiving.

- What do you listen to when cooking?

Everything is according to my mood. In the last four days, Ive listened to an opera play mix, Bob Marley, Snoop Lion/Dogg whatever he calls himself (dont judge me, I love his album Reincarnated so) Matisyahu and Red Hot Chili Peppers. I have no particular genre I prefer.. although I tend to put on country kitsch when I make bread (??).

- What are your favourite smells in the kitchen right now?

Ill tell you what my fave SOUND is.. I love the sound of food hitting a hot pan, especially a piece of steak or onions. 

- What has frustrated you in your food & cooking life in the last year?

This is in two parts. First thing that was a really hard thing to go through was basically the past 3 1/2 months. We moved out from our apartment into my grandmothers basement for about 1 month, and then we moved into our current location before it was completed so I couldn't really cook, apart from a slow cooker. I thought I had it all planned out and would be on top of things, but no, I really didn't. It was a nightmare, stressful, shit food everywhere, I completely lost inspirations or desire to be in a kitchen. 

The second frustration was that I learned I had Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, which among a whole bunch of other things, determined I have an insulin resistance, It answered a whole bunch of questions, like why I wasn't losing weight. Weight has been a battle for my whole life, and well meaning people always told me two things: stop eating so much/eat healthier, and start moving more (of course, these were the same well-meaning people that told me margarine was healthy). My job requires a high level of energy and movement, and my eating was healthy, fresh, and made by me (this was prior to the move), so why wasn't I losing weight like normal people? Everything was explained, and that on top of everything else was too much. The will to cook, bake, make beautiful food was completely gone, replaced by desire to be done with this eating and making food thing as fast as I could possibly do it. It was a dark 3 months, and were not out of the woods yet, but I'm finding my joy back, and most importantly my interest in the way ingredients are made, cooked, boiled, spiced, etc was renewed and I feel stronger than I was back in June. My relationship with Jeff is stronger than ever and his interest in food has been lighted as well (in fact hes cooking more than ever, and fancies himself a pancake expert... I'm inclined to agree!!)

- What do you want to get into or explore in the coming year?

DEEP BREATH... I want to go to cooking/pastry school!!! I really really do and the only reason I haven enrolled already in night class is because of our imminent move in July.. when Jeff graduates, we might be moving across country depending on where he will start his career. It could be in Vancouver or right here in Montreal, we just dont know, and so I cannot start something I would have to drop before I finished.

- Write a haiku about one of the following: a kitchen fail, a kitchen win, the last time somebody cooked for you, eating outside, or dining with friends.

Although I think most of us are on fb and have seen this, Im going to repost it just because. This is literally what I look like when I cook, all the time.

My apron is my armor; my wooden spoon, my sword. 
I will fight the wars of my world with food, love, and kindness. 
I have no weapon in my arsenal more appropriate or more powerful.


  1. Beautiful!! Dude I had no idea about pastry school, that will be super fabulous!! I've toyed with the idea myself, oh my goodness you will have to update us CONSTANTLY, especially if you move!!

  2. CYN this was amazing! YES, the SOUND of a sizzling hot pan is the best sound in the kitchen! and PASRTY school. WHAT! We should all enrol at the same time. I'm already thinking about the blog posts this would create. Maaaaaan!

    1. Amy, I will never leave the Leek Geeks, no matter where I live, as long as its up and running! And Sam, THATS A FREAKING AWESOME IDEA!!