Happy belated Earth Day, everyone!

The week after school has been a whirlwind. Filling in at the store to help prep for event day (April 29th!), volunteering, visiting my doctor, seeing my Grandma for the first time since Christmas, and spending quality time with my brothers and sister. I have been covered in a mountain of clothing, coated up to my elbows in fish goop, ordered to wear a knee brace, stuffed with Chinese food, and hugging and high-fiving and feeding siblings. I managed to get some sleep and started cleaning my place, but somewhere, there has to be a maid who wants to get paid in food, right? Wishful thinking!

Tarek (my brother) rescued me from continuous blogging hunger: Chicken with braised leeks and asparagus. Mmmm...

Cooking at Tarek’s is funny. It can be a challenge sometimes because he eats very lean foods and I often throw my hands up, saying “We need butter!” or “We need milk!” or “We need to cook with a fat that isn’t extra-virgin olive oil!” This is usually followed by rummaging about, looking for substitutes, like adding creaminess to the leek sauce by stealing blue cheese from the fruit plate that I just assembled. We stumbled upon an unsalted butter sale the other day and there are now five bricks in my fridge. That show Hoarders ought to have a culinary spin-off.

I spent Thursday nerding out on laptops with our friend Denzil, who helped me navigate the seamy underbelly of internet domain mapping and hosting. Some of you may not have noticed yet, you have been re-routed to !!! $15 seemed like a reasonable investment to stab my sparkly, pink culinary flag into a chunk of online real estate. I thought of it as a graduation/birthday present to myself that would also keep me from spending $15 on something silly and less cool.

Endless thanks to Denzil, whose kindness and patience outlasted my frequent “Uggggh!!!!”s andWhy is this happening?s, and to all of you lovely readers, who I wanted to set up a new home for. I am still working on a few little changes here and there that you’ll see popping up in the near future, so hopefully they’ll look great.

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On Friday and Saturday I volunteered at Terra Nova Schoolyard Society, prepping food to thank their Earth Day volunteers for tearing down ivy vines, mixing soil, and planting. We rushed like Dinner Impossible, assembling and serving wraps to about 200 people, full of a lot of healthy ingredients from around the farm!

Purple kale buds, flowers and leaves... go into "West Coast" burrito filling! Cous cous, chick peas, kidney beans, roasted corn, chopped herbs and salad greens, kale (purple and regular type!), flaked salmon, and more.

Working with Chef Ian and Johnathan (from Foodies) is always a treat, and this was a fun opportunity to take on something that I never do at home, like filet whole salmon. I washed scales and flecks of meat off of my arms, thinking about how lucky we were. After the first few, you get quicker and quicker!

About the last visit at the farm, I’m not in any pain, but have to wear a knee brace (for 5 1/2 more weeks)! The doctor said that I strained the collateral ligament in my knee and have to make sure that it gets support. I’m looking forward to doing a lot of bike riding this summer so hopefully this will go as quickly as 5 1/2 weeks in culinary school did, because the brace is equally hideous and uncomfortable! Ick.

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Theme parties are awesome, and Tarek had one for making Japadogs, those deliciously popular hot dogs with funky Japanese toppings, like nori strips, bonito flakes, and edamame. Yum! I made some funky sauces (from scratch!) and veggies to help out.

Clockwise from bottom left: Caramelized onions, teriyaki mayo, sesame mayo, wasabi mayo, teriyaki glaze, and pickled daikon radish. "What stinks?" "Radish water."

Tarek said he wanted to host the best sausage party. Hey-o!!!

Sugoi! A cross between Spicy Cheese Terimayo and Oroshi!!! Love that stir-fried cabbage.

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I’m working like crazy this week and not working at all next week, which means that it’s time for me to go and find a food-related job. It’s scary and a bit overwhelming to jump into a new industry like this, and for once, not to have a safety net. And to start resume-building all over again! This is when thinking positively helps. My current employer said that with all of the times that I’ve asked her to be a reference, for volunteering with different agencies, applying to school, or finding new homes, nobody ever calls her and they just end up giving me whatever is being sought after, which I was not aware of until she told me yesterday! Hoping for good luck and better news.

Eat well!


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