Monday, May 31, 2010

Sharing a kitchen

When I tell people about our living situation, they wonder how two couples can share a kitchen. They expect to hear about an awkward arrangement, I think. Truth is, sharing a kitchen and cooking for each other has been one of many unforeseen benefits of living with another couple.

Currently, each roommate cooks dinner for the other three once a week. We've chosen specific days -- I usually cook on Mondays -- but the schedule is flexible since there are three remaining days up for grabs. On the days when no one cooks we eat left-overs and simple concoctions (scrambled eggs, anyone?), or we eat out.

We didn't have any plans on this front when we decided to move in with Marc and Jen. I had some schemes in mind, as always, but we figured we'd let the meals sort themselves out once we were settled.

They sorted themselves out pretty quickly, in the end. It started on a fortuitous evening when Michael and I were too tired to figure out dinner plans.

We both arrived home without groceries and without the energy to go out for dinner. We had just finished moving over the weekend, we were back at work and we were pretty burnt out.

We dragged ourselves downstairs to get ready to leave the house, and that's when Marc and Jen announced that they had just finished making dinner and that they had plenty of food to feed us.

It was a magical moment.

The following weekend, Michael and I made a dutch baby pancake for breakfast, which came out of the oven just as Marc and Jen woke up. We had made sure to make plenty for everyone. These two events were so satisfying that they set the stage for formalizing our cooking plans. There are still pleasant surprises, though, like chocolate chip cookies or brownies for dessert after a long day, and that's what makes living with friends so fun.

For those of you interested in logistics, I can tell you that we each buy the groceries for our own meals and we share the cost of things like olive oil and sea salt. As far as sharing plates, utensils and other accouterments, we've found our supplies to be surprisingly complementary. That, and our new kitchen is bigger than our former kitchens, combined, so there's plenty of space for doubles.

I'll start keeping track of the meals that we've been making on Things Worth Making, if you're interested. You'll find that the vegetarian recipes of Peter Berley figure prominently in our menus.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hang out to dry

Michael's parents came for a visit this weekend, and we got up to all sorts of fun. We strolled the Government House gardens. We ate waffles at the Highland Games. We sampled cider, chocolate and wine in the Cowichan Valley. Fun, right? On Monday, after we took them to the airport, I soaked up some sun along with some of my favorite tops. It was the first time that I've used our clothes line, and it was awesome.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Making sense of spices

I've always been on top of managing my spices, but I wasn't satisfied with my assortment of containers. They were hard to clean. They were plastic. I couldn't find replacements. It was awful (or slightly annoying, depending on how excited you get about these types of things).

When we moved, I saw a perfect opportunity to transfer our spices to small jam jars. Jade, a high school friend, implemented this method a couple of years ago, and I've been planning to replicate it ever since.

I bought my jars at Canadian Tire. I have a lot of spices, so I bought 3 boxes of 12. I also bought some cute lids to mix it up. The total cost was about $30.

There are many benefits to this system, beyond the low cost: the jars are glass; I can clean them easily; I can label the lids with a permanent marker and it won't come off in the dishwasher; I can find replacements easily; and, since the jars can be stacked, I can spot the spices I need (most of the time).

I have nothing but good things to say about these jars!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Tofino Feast

Remember when we stayed at the Wickaninnish Inn last fall? We were in Tofino for a dinner party organized by a friend, and I can finally share the details with you (and day dream about the delicious feast). Chris' article is in the current issue of enRoute:

British Columbia’s Iron Chefs: The West Coast's best chefs cook up a storm in Tofino, where life’s a beach and then it rains.

You can see a cute picture of Chris and Jillian, and you can see my silhouette in one of the photos. Most importantly, you can read about the best oysters of all time.