Sunday, April 3, 2011


The seeds my kids and I planted last Saturday...
To me, this image is the epitome of anticipation.
And is the perfect image to sum up how I was feeling.

I love the word anticipation.  It sounds even better when you say it like this:

antici...(wait for it) pation.  

When teaching etymology (the study of words), I ask my students to think about whether a word has negative or positive connotations when deciding about how to use it.  For example, cancer is a negative word, so when using it, it will always be viewed in a negative manner, such as "the rumour spread like a cancer," evoking a very powerful and relevant image.  On the other hand, consider this statement: "the mushrooms grew like a cancer on the log." While technically correct, it may not be the image you wish to evoke...especially if you are a mushroom farmer.

With this in mind, I am telling you that I think anticipation is most definitely a positive world.  This opinion may be contrary to how others use it, such as, "I anticipate my stock will plummet," or "I anticipate that this dinner party with stink." But for me, anticipate brings images of colourful, tickly butterflies in my tummy and it always makes me smile with excitement.  

Last week was the first absolutely beautiful day of spring (which I was in town for) and my kids and I celebrated by planting almost 100 seedlings for our edible garden.  I am anticipating eating my very own organic, extremely local, and extremely delicious cauliflower, leeks, watermelon, spinach, arugula, cucumber, tomatoes, and basil shortly...just to name a few.

Last week I was anticipating my mom coming to my school and teaching my grade 7's how to dance the Meringue. She had never seen my classroom or watched me in action or met my friends from school.  I don't care how old you are, you always want your mom to be proud of you.  

So how did it go?  Amazing!  The kids loved it!  Next up?  The waltz!

Last week I was anticipating going to this Passover cooking class with my friend, Erin.  I was especially anticipating the pre-cooking event that honoured me with helping the chef, Susie Fishbein, prep the tasting food for the class.  Ultimately, this involved making over 150 matzoh balls by hand, frying over 50 chicken lollipops (see below), and cracking dozens of eggs...and did I mention the yolks needed to be separated from the whites? 

Chicken Lollipops
(adapted from a recipe by Susie Fishbein from Passover by Design)
So easy and delicious to make!
1. Cut 4 chicken breasts and 4 green onions into 2 inch pieces.  Trim the sides so that the chicken & onion are the same length.  Not necessary for taste but it makes them look pretty.  And we all know we eat with our eyes first, right?
2. Thread onto a skewer.  She did 3 onions & two chickens on a long skewer.  I did one of each on a toothpick.
3.  Bread: set up a breading station of 3 wide-bottomed bowls and bread in this order:  
a)1/2 cup flour combined with 1 tbsp seasoned salt
b)2 eggs beaten lightly
c) 1 cup panko bread crumbs combined with 2 tbsp very finely chopped parsley & 1 tsp salt
4.  Heat 1/2 cm vegetable oil in a pan & fry each lollipop until golden on each side.  This will not cook the chicken through so you will have to ...
5.  Finish cooking the chicken in a 300 oven for about 10 min or so.
6. Susie served them with spaghetti squash and a curried dipping sauce but you go ahead and serve it with whatever your little heart desires.
Susie Fishbein in action.  This woman is amazing.  Four kids, eight cookbooks, an Honoured Guest at the White House, and named one of the 50 most powerful Jewish women.  All while looking gorgeous.   

Susie's Parve Scalloped Potatoes

I was anxious (the negative counterpart of anticipate) that these would not be good since there is no milk or cheese or cream in them.
But I was wrong...
I should have anticipated that they would be delicious...because they were.
Now every good Jew can eat scalloped potatoes with meat and not feel guilty!

1. Slice 4 potatoes into 1/4 inch rounds
2. In a sauce pan, melt 3 tbsp butter (or margarine to keep it kosher)
3. Whisk in flour to create a roux
4. Add in 1 diced onion, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, tsp salt, and 2 cups chicken stock.
5. Stir until smooth and sauce thickens.  Just a couple minutes.
6. Ladle 1/3 the sauce in the bottom of a square non-stick sprayed baking dish
7. Spread half the potatoes on top of that, layering them
8. Repeat step 6, then 7, then 6 again.
9.  Sprinkle with paprika and bake at 350 for an hour or more..until the potatoes are done and the top is golden.  You will know the potatoes are done by sticking a fork into the middle of the dish and it going in very easily. 
The last but certainly not least thing I was anticipating this week was my first road race of 2011, The Harry's Spring Run off.  I know I said in my New Year's resolutions that I was not going to worry about racing, that it was about the run...but really, I LOVE the races.  P.S.  I also broke resolution #9, about not chemically straightening my hair. It was just impossible.
My new Breakfast of Champions:
Steel-cut oatmeal with brown sugar and soy milk
It takes 25 min to cook & an hour to digest
Just enough time, energy & food for the butterflies to subside enough to allow me to run an awesome race.
Try them for an awesome start to your day!
(Did that sound too much like a cheesy commercial?)

I could write about the race, but instead I have a couple before and after videos that say it better than I ever could (even though they are me talking):

I was right.  I did run sub-30 min.  29.02.  Considered a good time by some people, a not so good time by other people, but an awesome time by me!
The seedlings one week later (seriously! One week! These things went nuts!)
Anticipation realized.
And once, again, this is how I am feeling right now.
Isn't great when you have weeks that literally leave you bursting with happiness?

One week later and most of the anticipation butterflies are gone (there are still a few remaining, such as finally getting to try one of Johnny's Hamburgers this afternoon and reading the new highly acclaimed book by my high-school friend, David Bezmozgis, The Free World.)  

What are you anticipating this week?  I hope its something wonderful!

1 comment:

  1. Update: one seedling failed to grow...Johnny's is closed on Sundays. No burger for me today :-(