It all started beautifully:

Even Stella got into it:

This Valentine's day, I planned an elaborate three-course meal for my boyfriend Chris and I to eat together. I thought I was being super-impressive by cooking oysters in butter with a champagne vinegar mignonette, "beeting heart" salad with roasted beets cut out with a heart-shaped cookie cutter on a bed of watercress, asparagus and steaks. And to be fair, while we ate and enjoyed champagne, it was delicious. What sucked was later.

No, I'm not talking about later as in one of those epic Valentine's Day fights couples have that involve violent drunkeness, broken dishes and an ever-after aversion to the day, I'm talking about when my stomach started to feel like a long car ride between Mitt Romney and that gay Vietnam vet he denied partner benefits to. Slowly it dawned on me: it must be the oysters. Cautiously I asked Chris how he felt, and he felt lousy too. So there you have it. I accidentally tried to kill a man on the day of love. Whatever, God.

Most likely, this was the result of red tide, and after doing a little research I discovered that only the ignorant and mentally ill buy oysters from B.C. Our mild coastal climate results in frequent algae blooms, which means you're playing Russian roulette with your intestines. I'm certain you can get safe oysters in BC, I'm not saying that, but I am saying that all it takes is one to make you wish you'd never been born and wonder why you don't always sleep on your bathroom floor because it's so nice and cool.

So, yeah. We're still together but yeesh. Talk about your all time worst fuck-ups. I guess the moral of this story is don't get creative on V day. Because if you do get creative in the kitchen you might not be able to be creative in other places. Eh? Ehhhh? See what I did there?




Everyone knows that presentation is a crucial part of any plate, and we're stoked that CB2 has finally opened in the city to help out, particularly for those of us on a budget.  The store - whose Canadian presence had been limited to Toronto - opened this past weekend on Robson, and threw a great party to ensure we all knew.  An array of faves were on hand to cater, including Re Up BBQ, La Brasserie and the Dirty Apron, while we wandered the store eager to get our grubby mitts on all the food and product (we've got our eyes on their water pitcher, a metallic update on the famous Stelton standard).  All in all, CB2 managed to pull off a pretty impressive entrance to the local scene. 


Dammit but do I clearly remember every single second of Wayne's World. My dad took me to see it and I laughed so hard he was all "Jessie, you're really fucking embarrassing right now".

Anyhoo, the point of this story is that every time I see Tom Yum Goong soup on the menu at a Thai restaurant I think of Wayne's World. And then I order it for the double reason that it reminds me of Wayne's World and that it's fucking delicious.

I wanted to make my own mostly because I like to make my own version of everything and also because I wanted an excuse to buy a bag of Kaffir lime leaves. I think they are so beautiful.

Tom Yum Goong Soup (Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup)

3 large stalks fresh lemongrass
4 cups chicken stock
12 fresh or frozen Kaffir lime leaves
1 cup canned straw or button mushrooms, drained
2-4 tbsp roasted Thai chile paste or Tom Yum Goong soup paste (whichever is available, in my case it was the latter)
1/2 bag or about 16 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
4 thai chiles, stemmed and smashed with side of a knife
3 scallions, cut into 1" lengths
juice of 1 lime
2 cups cooked rice

Trim tip and roots ends of lemongrass stalks and remove and discard tough outer layer. Using a meat mallet or the side of a knife, smash lemongrass to flatten it; tie stalks into a knot and set aside. Pour stock into a 2 gt saucepan and bring to a boil. Add lemongrass and half the lime leaves, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until fragrant, about 5 minutes.

Remove and discard lemongrass and lime leaves and increase heat to high. Stir in mushrooms and chile/soup paste to taste, and boil for 1 minute; add shrimp and fish sauce and cook until shrimp are just cooked through, about 1 minute. Combine remaining lime leaves with chiles, scallions and lime juice in a serving bowl or tureen. Pour soup into serving bowl, stir and serve with rice (optional).

YES MA'AM. I love a hot soup. And when mixed with rice, it's a low-fat, filling meal. So savory and citrusey and delicious.

Other than hot soup, things have been pretty stagnant around here, like paralyzed stagnant. CAT-atonic:

For a few weeks now, Stella has been lying in the hall doing her best impersonation of a zombie. Not sure what's up there. Is it the seasons? Is she trying to freak me out? No doubt a little of both. Still love the bitch though, even though my newly developed allergies to her have made me go out and get not one but TWO inhalers so I can fucking breathe at night. SO lame. Just when you thought I couldn't get any sexier. Ah well. Enjoy the soup and all that crap.