Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I can't believe it's been a week since I've posted. I've been busy and exhausted, but always thinking about food.
I set a goal for myself: Eat a salad a day. So far I've met it. I ate a salad Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and today. Fresh, colourful, light, and healthy. I'm going to keep a record of it on the fridge. I'm going to start adding meat to them, too. Imitation crab meat, shrimp, and chicken is on the shopping list today. Sometimes I add cheese. Just a little crumble. I feel so nice and light after I eat them. A daily ritual I look forward to. Ritual is also something I have been slowly adding to my life. Not routine, but ritual. As in when I eat, I eat at the table without the TV on and I focus on eating slowly and wonderfully. It really is a way to inner peace and health and happiness. I think the Dalai Lama is still in the air here.
I don't think the Dalai Lama would like MSG. I remember when I was a kid, the big fuss about its undeniable grossness and prominence in Chinese food. Many or most places removed it from their cooking. But, I've noticed of late that MSG is still around, quite obviously in fact. In potato chips mostly-Doritos and Ruffles for example-as well as other random foodstuffs. How disappointing. Maybe one of my next food goals can be reading the ingredients of everything I buy everytime. Most of the time I just forget. It's not part of my shopping consciousness, just like it's not part of my clothes shopping consciousness to check the quality of stitching and buttons on garments I want to buy. Undoing ignorant lifestyle habits is extremely hard work, especially when our general disconnection from what I buy and eat, where it comes from, how its made, who made it is so deeply ingrained in North American society. One step at a time. In the meantime, I will continue to fantasize about crab meat dipped in hot butter.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Jess to Cyberspace, Are You Listening?

Well, I don't have much to say today. I guess I just wanted to write something. I'm not feeling that great this week. Down, sad, really stressed. Did you know that the average person today suffers from the same amount of stress as the average psychiatric patient in the 1950's did? That's insane, no pun intended. We've got to find ways to relax, chill out our lives, and be happier. Food is one way to do that. It helps me sometimes. Cooking a great meal for yourself is rejuvenating, a confidence-booster, a smile-enhancer. Even something as simple as the egg salad sandwich I made for myself today was a boost. It's nice to know that when you chop a boiled egg up in a bowl, mix in some mayonnaise, sprinkle some cayenne pepper in it, and throw some chopped red peppers in the mix, you get what makes a great egg salad sandwich. Every time. Without fail. Reassuring I guess is what it is. I think it's perfectly okay to find comfort in food. Maybe not drowning your sorrows away by eating bags and bags of Doritos, or pints of ice cream. Well, every now and again, that's fine, maybe just don't make it a regular habit. Food is a powerful antidote to almost anything that feels negative and shitty. That downright is negative and shitty. Whether you made it for yourself or not. A hilarious side note here, I eventually figured out why my coffee was so gross and weak this morning...in my daze, I just went ahead and took the '6' on the coffee jug as 6 oz. Which it is so definitely not. More like 6 cups!:P Haha. Oh well. All for the better really. That awesome cup of joe I will make myself tomorrow will be the best one ever brewed in comparison to the one today.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Link in a Blink


This is the link to the recipe I used for making my deliciously perfect mushroom risotto. I used half the mushrooms and replaced the chives with green onions because that was the closest thing to chives in the fridge...I think green onions will be permanently taking the place of chives on the risotto roster. Sorry chives, you're on the bench for now.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Curse of the Food Allergy (or My Search for Vancouver's Best Pizza)

Just finished munching on a piece of celery here. I always feel incredibly better, lighter, and healthier after a nice crunch stick of celery. Not to go all nutritionist on you, but eating celery, asparagus, and grapefruit are surefire ways to keep you feeling light and clean. I guarantee it.
I have a food allergy, you see. Actually, I have many. Bananas, raw carrots don't sit well with me, dairy products, I'm having a deja vu here-I think I wrote about this before. Well, it occupies much of daily mindspace, as having food allergies is a total pain in the ass, but something you really have to pay attention to if you don't want to feel bloated, fat, and disgusting. Did I mention disgusting? The one that is alternately the bane of my existence and a blessing in disguise is my wheat, gluten, and yeast allergy. Sooo many products have these ingredients in them, or at least one of them. I started getting really serious about taking care of my health and avoiding the foods which make me feel bloated, fat, and disgusting (about a year and a half ago). I am a devoted follower and eater of spelt and kamut products. I almost always have spelt bread and pasta in the house; the pasta is the lightest I have ever had. I think it has a makeout session with my stomach everytime I have that. It's truly delightful. I avoid anything that either obviously or most likely has wheat or gluten or yeast in it, for the most part anyways. This past week and a half I have been misbehaving and my stomach is fucking fed up with me. Too many pizza slices-four slices of pizza in a month is an overdose for me-, baked goods, etc. However, these dietary mishaps-which won't happen again, not for awhile anyways, no one's perfect-have led me on an accidental quest for the best pizza slice in Vancouver. So far, although I am always partial to the beef and blue cheese found across town, the best slice was a beef and blue cheese type slice with veggies at Pizza Garden at Napier and Commercial. Surprisingly good. The secret: the dough, light and crispy, and all the crunch sesame seeds on the crust. Check it out, I recommend it.
Well, I wish I could be wry and witty. I don't think I'm very funny. I guess not anyways. I thought that the title of one of my last posts-A Blender and A Whisk-would be a great title for a children's book or short story. Could I become a children's writer? Maybe. If I could give half the amount of joy to kids from a book, as the elation that a boy today at Kitsilano Farmers' Market was experiencing by drawing all over himself with chalk, I'd be all over that shit. Maybe.
I still think of hollandaise sauce and artichokes. Soon. I promise. We will be together.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Risotto and I

I made a perfect mushroom risotto tonight. Yes, I did. And my stupid fucking keyboard just deleted my entire post. Fuck. Honestly, just fuck!! Well, back to the risotto. It was perfect. A delicious blend of flavours, the capabilities of Arborio rice to absorb and absorb, and communicated such wonderful tastes is really amazing. Cooking is a great experience, an exercise in creativity, control, rolling with the punches, lack of control, a place where mistakes can be celebrated and often turn out for the best. Like spilling 1/2 cup of chicken stock because of the prime difficulty in pouring stock from a pot without a handle into a measuring cup which then must be poured into another pot (with handle). Turns out 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock is the perfect amount for my risotto, not 2 cups. It isn't often in life that so-called mistakes, flubs, fuck-ups, accidents are often the opposite: wonderful surprises, fortuituous, and joyful. Add in a nice fresh salad to start and a vanilla candle burning on the table, it was quite pleasant. I still think a lot about hollandaise sauce and artichokes. Once I have some cash. I'm know working for the Vancouver Farmers' Markets three days a week: two markets and then in the office. I've been hired by the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts. There is light on the horizon. I hope I get to the horizon soon, or the sun just rises really fast, or whatever other appropriate metaphor works here. In the meantime, I'll console myself with making great wheat-free, gluten-free recipes and enjoy the fall bounty at the markets. And flip the bird to my former employer.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Blender and a Whisk

I've been away for a while. Longer than I thought actually. I guess I hit a bit of a brick wall last week. Job applications are supremely exhausting and my brain just shut down. I didn't think my writing was very good. It sounded like some vegan gluten-free baking: bland, boring, and lifeless. It seemed stilted, not witty or interesting. Creatively-as far as writing went-I had come unglued. I'm still feeling that way actually.
I desperately want to make a hollandaise sauce. In the next week I hope. I don't know if that plum cobbler will ever happen. All I can think about is the scene where Eric-Julie Powell's husband-is sucking on a piece of artichoke dipped into hollandaise sauce. It's like I can taste it right now: creamy, delicious, and decadent. This near-obsessive pre-occupation with hollandaise sauce and artichokes has brought me to a new must-have-now (or soon) list: a blender, a whisk, and a mixing bowl. The blender will have to wait, but I think a trip to Kitchen Corner is on the menu this week to pick up a whisk and a mixing bowl, and maybe a door mat.
The enjoyment of food is truly a sensual, even sexual experience. Is that weird? Well, if it is, I'm revelling in its weirdness.
Back to job applications. Now to make things clear, I am not jobless. I do have a job and I was just offered a new one. But the pursuit for full-time hours is one I am still questing towards. "Questing". New word. Copyright 2009. Jessica Roberts-Farina.
Groggy today. Pray for my hollandaise sauce. I'll try to keep myself awake. That's equal responsibility right?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Grocery Shopping

I don't think there is a better feeling than coming home from a fun grocery shopping trip, filling the fridge with goodies, and seeing the final result: a full, colourful fridge. I love grocery shopping when I have the time to go to a few places, and get the best deals and learn to love food. My boyfriend hates grocery shopping; it's a one-stop shop at Safeway for him. Which is fine, of course. But, I derive so much joy from food that it would seem a grave injustice to myself, and the incredible bounty the world (and people) produce for me to eat and enjoy, to dislike it and not give grocery shopping the time and respect it deserves. Today the groceries were culled from Drive Organics, Santa Barbara Market on the Drive, and Safeway. I bought some parsley today-for the first time ever probably-because I heard that it is good in upping your sex drive. Hey, what can I say, I love food and sex. Santa Barbara Market is another Drive revelation. They have everything that I love-green onions, goat's feta, sandwich meats-and all of great quality, and honestly of the most importance to me right now, great price! You know, this is what shopping for food should be about: adventure, epiphanies, discovery, sensual delights, excitement, child-like giddiness!
Food, glorious food.
On tonight's menu: salad with imitation crab. Mmm mmm, good. Looking forward to it as always.
On my life's dream list: becoming a food critic. What a great job that would be? Getting paid to write about and eat food, for free. Better than winning the lottery even. Unless the lottery included free dinners for life at my favourite restaurants. A girl can dream man.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Bacon and Brie Sandwiches

That is what I am lusting after right now. I made a bacon, brie, and sweet green pepper sandwich on spelt bread a couple weeks ago and it was delicious. I am so poor right now that I can barely afford groceries. Well, there is a glimmer of light, I was invited to a group interview for one of the jobs I applied to. I am excited and nervous about it; I definitely want the job. Pays decent, is in the performing arts/customer service sector. I go through all the range of emotions in a day, what with being a professional job-seeker and a fucking pissed-off employee, well almost former, of a certain employer (if you have read my other posts, you'll know who I am referring to). Anger, denial, depression, happiness, hope, determination, surrender, anger, happiness, hope, anger, depression,  hope. It really sucks having reality hit so hard all at once-yeah Jess, you need a full-time job-and to be screwed over by the idiocy and disorganization of others. Well, getting the interview shows that my determination and persistence and follow-up and qualifications are getting me somewhere. I just have to keep that up. It takes strength mind you, it takes strength. Anyways, this isn't really about food at all, except for my lack of moola to buy some. However, tomorrow I am buying-what with money made from selling used books and participating in market research at UBC-some vanilla extract so I can make plum cobbler tomorrow. I'm excited! I almost never bake, but tomorrow I will. And it will be fantastic. Maybe I'll even buy some real whipping cream (no fucking cool whip in this house) to put on it. Mmmm. Now I'm going to go have some cheese. And relax. Ahhhh.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Julie & Julia

Julie Powell is to me what Julia Child is/was to Julie. At least, she is becoming that way for me. Julie is the reason why I decided to write this blog. She will probably never read this; she may not even like my blog, but in my head, she is awesome. I saw Julie & Julia for the second time today and I loved it. Everything feels better, more sumptuous, more wonderful, more possible when I watch that movie; when I'm lost in the worlds of Julie & Julia, New York and France, respectively. With some stops in Oslo and Connecticut along the way. Thus, I bought Julie & Julia for myself today. On my credit card yes, but I figured I deserve it. I'm determined to cobble together full-time work. Yes, my frighteningly low-sub one hundred dollars-chequing account is acting as motivation, but in a similar effort to Julie, I want to better my life because I deserve it and I am capable of doing so. I've been struggling financially for some time now and it is in food that I can escape. And create and make and please and love. I remember reading a few months ago some reporter saying that in times of crisis, economic crisis to be exact, people look to food for comfort. At the time, I thought that was bullshit. Well, now, to say the least, I have been changed.
Tomato soup and fries for dinner. Nothing earth-shattering, certainly no oeufs des cocottes (gosh I don't even know if that's spelt right), or boeuf bourgignon. But it's food and I'm going to enjoy it.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Comfort from Food

I'm back for another short post. The anger has officially set in. Here's a big fuck you to you know who. Well at least I have a couple positions with the Vancouver Farmers' Market going on. But working 16 hours a week at 10/hr doesen't pay the bills, so the job applications shall continue and likely intensify. The real world sucks. But I'm so lucky in many respects and I have to keep reminding myself of that. Not many people ever meet or find the love of their life, but I have. Not everyone has a loving mother, but I do. Not many people have a solid roof over their heads, but I do. So, I'll be okay. Karma, I hope you send some good stuff my way.
The sole and potatoes turned out wonderfully. Perfect actually. Simple, easy, and delicious. Sole is a incredibly tender, sweet, delicate, beautiful fish. I thank you fish for the nutrients and joy that you gave me. It is very much appreciated, especially today. I'm enjoy some Welch's grape juice right now. I've never bought it for myself and I don't really remember having it in the fridge as a child. But a friend mentioned how concord grapes taste like Welch's grape juice the other day, and I thought, I have to have some.
One thing I have to work on with food is although I have a lot of fun and feel energized and empowered when I am making food and I enjoy it when I make it for myself, when I make it for others, I'm just too caught up in their opinion to carry through that fun and energy and empowerment when we're eating. Things come with time and effort I suppose.
On tomorrow's menu? It's up in the air at this point. Maybe some more sole and boiled potatoes. What's simple is often what is the most luxurious in life.

Someone Just Cut Some Stinky Cheese

This post will be short. The scheduler for my job at the market can go suck it. Thanks for the one week notice that I will no longer be needed at the markets after next weekend. Please pass me on as a reference as I highly regard your work, she says. Some regard. I hope someone cuts some stinky cheese in your face you stupid cheese-face. On the bright side, I'm making a nice dinner tonight: sole baked with a bit of honey, crushed pecans, and vegetable oil, and some simple boiled potatoes with butter, salt, and pepper. And you know, it is true, Julia Child does sort of look like Dan Akroyd. She is on KCTS right now, but my god, she is an incredible chef. I have never seen anyone make eggs so perfectly and quickly. Next thing on kitchen wish list: cast-iron pans.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Here I am enjoying my morning coffee, or should I say midday coffee. Maybe once every couple of months one of my daily dalliances with food involves me with a catastrophic stomach upset on the toilet for an hour emerging five pounds lighter. I am one of those people who has a lot of allergies: lactose-intolerant (an ex-roomate of mine affectionately called me a 'lactard'), gluten-intolerant, allergic to wheat, yeast, bananas, pets (not food, but still something I love very much). Also I can't seem to tolerate a lot of raw vegetables like cucumber, carrots, and apples, and popcorn hates me too. Yikes right. Well, I've learned to live with it and on a day to day basis, I do alright, avoiding those things-especially wheat or any wheat products-that tear apart my insides. I'm convinced I have IBS and potentially celiacs, but I'm 'undiagnosed'. Anyways, today I must tread carefully with what I ingest so that my poor little allergic stomach can heal.
I tried my fried, breaded eggplant dish this morning and it was alright ya know. Still not as good as my dad's; I've got to watch him make it again to figure out what I'm missing. The first time I threw it together myself was a few weeks ago, returning home from the farmers' market with some delicious eggplant, tomatoes, basil, and garlic obtained from trades. I just threw it altogether with olive oil in a pan and it was fucking un-be-liev-able tomatoey oily garlic-y eggplant goodness. Since then, I haven't been able to replicate that perfection. I'm convinced it was the tomatoes and the oil, all the juices from the former and the slippery-ness from the latter co-mingled and it was awesome. Plus I didn't use actually dip said eggplant in egg base and panko bread crumbs and parmesan cheese mixture before hand like I did this morning and other times since that first success. Huh. Thanks blog. I think I just had an epiphany. Maybe like Julie Powell, with her bad luck with anything jellied or aspic-d, I have bad luck with anything breaded in egg base. Anyways, we're going to have dinner at a friend's place tonight; it's always nice to eat something someone else has cooked just for you. I'm looking forward to it. What's next on the menu? Something with shrimp, sole, or crab meat. I wonder if I could handle a seafood chowder?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Coffee and Potatoes

Well, I've been bad, and missed out on my daily blog for the last two days. I officially have a follower! It's my boyfriend, but still, how nice to have one. Maybe, as Julie Powell called them, I'll get a second "bleader" (blog-reader) at some point.
I made a spaghetti carbonara on Saturday night that turned out much better than I thought it would. Something about quickly tossing pasta in a hot oiled pan just sounded like it was meant for disaster and a pile of pasta perma-glued to a pan destined for the garbage. But that didn't happen. Although the minced garlic that I threw in the hot oiled pan for 1 minute (true to instructions), burnt almost on contact, so that left a bit of an unpleasant taste of charred something in the pasta and me chasing away the bits of garlic that I could as to avoid said charred something taste. I will definitely make it again, but take some other suggestions of adding cream and nutmeg to the mix.
The Steveston Farmers' Market was reliably annoying, but better than normal. At least less people asked for plastic bags for one block of cheese and no one asked "So what are you selling here?". You wouldn't believe how many times I get that question. I tend to just ignore the question, when really I want to say "Oh, we're just selling a nice foot up your ass you stupid fuck!". Anyways, on a much happier note, my boyfriend and I went for our romantic picnic at Trout Lake yesterday, complete with runny brie, toasted baguette, blue cheese stuffed olives, kielbasa sausage, grapes, and white wine. That's the way food was meant to be enjoyed: al fresco, with a loved one, with wine. It was great and delicious and felt very luxurious. Even though altogether, it only cost like $10, what with the brie and baguette obtained through market trades, the white wine made by my dad, and the kick-ass vintage picnic basket/set given to us by my dad. Schweet!
Well, this morning I had some more fried breakfast potatoes, which were great. And I'm having a coffee now. Still feeling groggy as heck. I must not have slept well. Too many dreams of food? I wish. What's for dinner? Right now, all I can think of is sleep. The next best thing to sex and food. Yeah. Peace out bleaders. Or, should I say, my one and only best of all bleaders, Anthony. :)