Thursday, March 30, 2017

Yum!



A couple of days ago I discovered this recipe on Yummly for eggplant bacon and decided today was the day to try it. Even though I am not a big breakfast person, primarily because I can't eat anything on a regular breakfast menu, I had a Japanese eggplant that was starting to go off, so I thought it would be the perfect way to use it. Although I didn't have any miso, I followed the rest of the recipe and it came out really delicious. I need to make this more often. 

1 eggplant (large)
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoons gluten (free tamari soy sauce)
1/2 teaspoons light miso (or mellow)
freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Set a cooling rack on top of a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  2. Cut off both ends of the eggplant. Then, with the cut bottom end flat on the cutting board, cut the eggplant down the middle. Lay each half, cut side down, on the board, and slice into 1/4-inch (5 mm) strips.
  3. In a large colander, layer the eggplant strips, sprinkling liberally with sea salt as you go. After you finish the layering, let the eggplant sit for 15 minutes. I usually set the colander over a plate or in the sink to collect the liquid escaping the eggplant.
  4. Rinse the eggplant thoroughly. Towel-dry the pieces of eggplant, and arrange them on the rack-fitted baking sheet.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, smoked paprika, tamari, and miso. Brush half of this mixture onto the eggplant strips. Season the eggplant with black pepper.
  6. Slide the baking sheet into the oven and roast for 20 minutes. Remove the eggplant and use tongs to carefully flip over all the strips. Brush the remaining half of the oil and maple syrup mixture onto the exposed side of the eggplant. Season the eggplant with black pepper once more. Roast the eggplant for another 15 minutes or until you start seeing some crisped edges. Serve eggplant bacon hot.



Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Who we are?


As I wrote before I have been spending a lot of time of late working on a new book that details the history of our house. Most of the material is based on tax assessments that I collected over the years from the City of Toronto archives. The process is slow and laborious, reading assessments handwritten assessments that were microfilmed for everyone to use. 

In order to collect information about any given property it is necessary to know which years you want to look at and then you sift through the microfilm until you find the address you are looking for. Each microfilm records the assessments for one year at time so it is a lot of searching through the films themselves. Once you find the house, then you can record what ever information you want from the assessments, including the name of the head of the household, their age, their religion, their occupation, the number of residents, the type of house, size of the house and property and of course the assessed value for tax purposes. 

To supplement the information I collected from the archives I decided last week to invest in an ancestry.ca subscription. Sadly, they don't have the assessments online but they do have a lot of other historical documents, including the federal census, city directories, birth and death records and voter information. With the names I collected from the assessments I can then check them against any ancestry.ca records to see if I can find any other related information including other residents of the house, including family members and often their ages, occupations and they dates they immigrated to Canada. It really is a great resource but sadly, a lot of the information they have transcribed I have discovered is actually wrong. Luckily wherever they have provided the information they also have a digitized copy of the actual handwritten record so you can check it against what they transcribed, but it is always important to check. 

I believe that the ancestry online project is funded and put together by the Mormons, who believe genealogy is an important part of their articles of faith, but I like the idea more than the practice of what they have created. I can imagine a time when every single document, photograph or artifact is digitized in some form or other allowing anyone to search the information that lays buried in these historical sources. I know that photographs were taken of our house, by those who lived it in the past. They took snapshots of important family events to record their lives, but imagine if there was a way to collect them all, process them digitally and then have them available for everyone to use and what we could learn about ourselves and our past. I have lived long enough already to see how the world can transform itself with technology and dream of a day when everything will be available at our fingertips. 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A Hint of Spring

A hint of spring, 
paraphrasing Katherine Hepburn,
the croci are in bloom again.


Sunday, March 26, 2017

A Sunday Walk


After spending a lot of the weekend in front of my computer writing about the neighbourhood I needed to get out for a walk. So this morning Mr.T and I decided to walk over to the Dufferin Mall, just to get out of the house. After walking around the mall we found some iron-on fabric that I could use as a patch for a pair of pants that were wearing out in the crotch. Mr.T also picked up some apples from the No Frills, just because they are cheaper than everywhere else. We then walked north to Bloor Street before making our way back home. 

Sadly, we were caught in a little rain shower so we ducked into a local bakery to escape the rain and I had a bacalao while Mr.T had a bacalao and a Portuguese egg custard, a nata. Once the rain let off a bit we continued walking east where I spotted this really nice small Bosch oven that I really liked in an appliance store on the south side of Bloor. Walking a little father east we stopped for a really, yummy, all though way too sweet peanut butter & chocolate donut from Apiecaplyse on Bloor at Christie. I love the way they make their donuts, they are really delicious but sometimes how they top them is just way too sweet for my taste. 

Ear Worm


This song has been rolling around in my head for the past couple of days, but it wasn't till last night that I remembered where it was from. 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Writing Jag


The past couple of weeks I have spent every spare minute I have writing. After we moved into the house years ago I was curious about all those who came before. To that end I began going to the City of Toronto Archives to look through City Directories and assessments for lists of previous residents. While I was doing this work I decided to collect the information about the residents of a few others houses next door. I never knew exactly what I was going to do with the information but thought it would make a really interesting book that I began but never finished. 

I don't know why, but lately I decided to pick it up again and it seems it is almost writing itself. It is wonderful when the work just flows out of you and I am really enjoying taking the data from my database of names and weaving them together into a narrative about the house. To help with the project I decided to sign up with ancestry.ca for a limited membership. While ancestry doesn't have the assessments online, I needed those to discover the names who lived where and when, they do have all the census and city directories online. This means when I have the names, occupations and approximate ages, all things listed in the assessments, I can usually find the right person in the ancestry records. 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

A Sunday Walk


This morning after Mr.T and I awoke from all the drama of this morning we decided to go for a walk because it was promising to be a little brighter today. We walked down Bathurst Street to the Winner's on Portland then made our way along Richmond Street to Spadina. There we checked out the Home Sense and the Spadina Winner's then walked east along King Street ducking into the PATH to walk north to the Eaton Centre. Once there we had a snack in the food court before making our way back home. For dinner I made a really yummy cod and seafood stew with oven baked tomatoes and black olives. I added the olives at the last minuted unsure if it would all come together, and they were a wonderful addition. 

Drama


Mr.T woke me at 3:30 this morning because of a three alarm fire this morning in the rooming house that sits across the street from us. Two of the fire engines were parked on the street in front of our house with their white floodlights on bathing the area in light. There was lots of commotion and a lot of smoke that looked like it was coming from the kitchen in the back of the house. Thankfully, it looked like there was more smoke than fire but they evacuated all of the residents of the rooming house and the neighbour in the adjoining house. By 4:30 everything was over and the crowd of firemen, fire trucks, EMT and police left allowing the residents back into what I sure were smokey houses.