Welcome to the weekend! It’s my brother’s birthday, so I’m hoping to make a special treat and drop it off (a strawberry version of these maybe?). We’re also getting our fence replaced starting on Monday, so there’s a bit of prep for that (tearing down a cruddy old shed and disposing of a pile of broken bricks and concrete slabs–fun!). I want to get out for a nice coffee and maybe we’ll hit up the drive-in theatre for the first time this year. We’ll put on the Monaco Grand Prix for sure (even though I honestly find it to be one of the more boring races of the year) and I’m weirdly nervous about the Succession finale!
My parents gave us a bistro set of their’s that I’ve been using as a little outdoor work station on our back patio. It’s really nice to spend time out there and to see the yard coming along. The first two years that we lived here, we didn’t do much because it was honestly overwhelming. The gardens were all overgrown and tangled up and the patio spaces were in rough shape. We’re making it better this year, bit by bit. It’s really satisfying and makes me proud. Am I a pro gardener? Not at all. But my mom definitely is and I just plant/do what she tells me to haha.
Here’s the usual assortment of reads, good things, and answers to some of your questions below. Hope you’re taking care this weekend and that something great happens for you 💕
5 Things I’m Reading:
- Your Next Big Move Should Scare You
- How to stop hating your face
- ‘A living pantry’: how an urban food forest in Arizona became a model for climate action
- The Death of Fancy Ketchup
- The Tyranny of ‘the Best’
5 Things I’m Enjoying:
- My newly posted, fully dialed-in vegan parmesan recipe! A sprinkle of it is perfect on basically everything savoury.
- I find Bryan Johnson’s aging backward project so fascinating. This video that he posted about his sleep routine is wild (also weird, also inspiring).
- Tea Sparrow’s Lavender Cream Tea is perfect.
- Sedums forvever.
- Rewatching Tina as soon as possible.
- Is Aceto Balsamic Vinegar overrated? What vinegar do you mostly use?
It is not overrated! Authentic aged balsamic vinegar is naturally sweet, has a depth of flavour, and a slightly syrupy texture. Sometimes I drizzle it over greens, finely cut veg like fennel, with just salt and pepper and that’s good for me. No olive oil needed, which feels wild to say. I find that high quality vinegars make a big difference in my cooking. Along with aged balsamic vinegar, I also love white balsamic and sherry vinegars from O Oils & Vinegar. I also really like the flavoured vinegar options from Acid League (Garden Heat is amazing).
- Any vegan alternatives for a campfire weiner roast that you like? Marinated carrots?
If I’m going full weiner roast, I’m using the Beyond Meat hot Italian sausages or any of Field Roast’s sausage options. They both hold up great over fire and deliver on traditional flavour. I’ve tried carrot dogs a few times and it’s just like… eating a charred carrot in a bun? Which is fine, but sometimes just not the right vibe for the occasion.
- Best way to get the BBQ effect without a BBQ?
I would use a cast iron grill pan (like this one) to get the sear on the veg, veggie patty etc and then finish in the oven/air fryer if necessary to get something cooked through. For the full effect, you could bring a portable burner and your grill pan outside with a cold beverage :)
- Best, most versatile pot for small kitchens with limited storage?
I really think it’s the Always Pan 2.0! I reach for this one a lot in my kitchen (that has all the gear). It’s deep enough for braising, a small batch of soup/stew, perfect for sautés, pancakes, steaming, tofu scramble, shallow frying, basically anything! I also love that the new version is oven-safe up to 400 degrees.
- Do you have something that you consistently cook weekly?
Burrito bowls! This is a quick and easy meal that my partner and I both love. It’s easily customizable–I keep mine vegan and my guy can use those same base components while also adding meat or cheese if he wants to. I always have the stuff on hand for it: bell pepper, onion, frozen corn, salsa, romaine lettuce, rice, black beans, and avocado. Sometimes I mix it up by adding roasted sweet potato, drizzles of vegan sour cream, or BBQ-style jackfruit. I can make this meal with my eyes closed at this point haha.