Thursday, May 13, 2010

Interviews and Activism

Two major events in the last two days, and I just want to record them before curling up into a little ball and sleeping (after meditating- I am really trying to keep this up!), so it's gonna be a short post.

Yesterday saw my "interview" for the Self- Employment Benefits Program- and I put the interview part in quotations since there was only one interview style question, and it was "Begin."
Stone Soup Foodworks was presented with lots of detail and also lots of holes (like where are you going to be located, for example), samples of Peanut Butter and Yam soup were submitted and finances were discussed.  I have my fingers crossed for it, and I know I have lots of other support, but financial support would be great too.  It's so time!  Today I went to see a mobile kitchen on Bank Street- Donna, the owner, was all ready to open when her location fell through. Argh.

Second major event was the first public meeting of the Canadian Liberated Urban Chicken Klub, attended by over seventy people and a lot of media.  Four of us spoke, and we pretty much rocked it. The movement is forming, the movement is forming.

And to bed.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Here's What's Been Going On, or, April, a Reprise

April, eh?  Looks like more than a month has flown by since I blogged.  So much for the high level of commitment I started with ... And especially since it was such an interesting and active month. The thing was, I was pretty darn busy...

The month started out with a Vipassana retreat at the Dharma Center in Kinmount over Easter weekend.  I designed a fantastic spring menu that included an asparagus and mushroom risotto with a Puy lentil and roasted vegetable salad, this divine Marmelade Cake (oh my, oh my, this cake, this cake, with oranges and almonds and nutty healthy indulgence that I can't stop making, sharing and eating- if you haven't had it yet, you will, you will). There were also some of what are now becoming my Dharma Center standards, the ever popular Sweet Potato Coconut Curry Soup and a lovely Vegetable Stir Fry.  As usual at the Dharma Center, I got in some beautiful meditation time and a bit of time on the incredible property.  My energy was really low, and I found out later in the month that I have become nearly anemic again, which has also contributed to my blogging delinquency due to exhaustion.

Shifts at the Red Apron picked up again, I got some calls to supply teach, which I couldn't do since I was bumped from the supply list due to not having been called, and I started researching the business a lot, travelling to Peterborough and getting the house ready to be sold.  Excitingly, I went to an information session for the Self Employment Benefits program on April 19th that led to the very intensive creation of a business outline for Stone Soup Foodworks- there's a lot to catch up on here, so I will go into some more of the vision in another post- I will say, though, that spending so much time on the computer writing did not leave me at all interested in writing more on the computer-even in this format, which I am coming to love.  The proposal was twenty five pages long, including six pages of budgeting that required the use of borrowed textbooks...

Instead of blogging, I was doing a bit of the cooking demo life that I do adore.  I was a feature chef at the Ottawa Eco Fair, representing the Red Apron by making my own recipe of scrumptious Roasted Garlic and Heirloom Tomato Soup and giving out over 200 samples, and 200 postcards for the Red Apron.  It was a fantastic day, and I got to hang out with some great people, including Lyssa who I've gotten to know over our work getting hens into Ottawa backyards...

After the Eco Fair (did I mention it was fantastic?  And that I got PAID to do that?) it was back to the proposal, plus a day of soup making  so I could submit some samples.  I did my Magic Mung Bean Soup (no recipe yet) and a very energizing and healthy Jade Green Soup- this one is pureed garlic and asparagus and peas, that would be totally fat free were it not for the addition of cream... Oh, and a Tuscan White Bean Salad that I served in one of the sample packages I'd ordered while writing the proposal.

The proposal in, an interview scheduled to hopefully get me nine months of Employment Insurance Benefits, meant it was time to prepare for another retreat at the Dharma Center.  This one was particularly exciting as the other two legs of the Three Sisters (more on us later), Sweet Rhubarb and Pickled Beets, were attending the retreat and I got to make them food and talk for four hours on the way up and four more on the way back- and a little bit, slightly illicitly, in the middle of the silent retreat. It's hard to be silent with such great people...  And the food I made! My favourite to make was this salad of leaf lettuce, dandelion greens, cooked and cooled asparagus, strawberries, pecans and violets with a balsamic reduction.  The meditation being taught was Tantric, which involves visualization and a lot of focus on colour, so the food suited! 

I also prepared vegetarian brown rice sushi, which was a big hit, along with my favourite vegetable, prepared in my favourite way- spinach with ground sesame, a bit of tamari and a pinch of sugar.  Oh yum.

Along the way, I seem to have become the lead cook at the Dharma Center, which is pretty fantastic. It's sometimes hard to find dog care for sweet little Zip, but my folks were generous enough to take him this time around...

Well, off to finish organizing the paperwork for the house sale (it's going up- but not really due to the economy, rather due to a need for capital and a reduction of focal points in my life).  And do the million other things that need doing... I get to cook tomorrow with this guy- which should be great and a big learning experience... I will blog again sooner rather than later... Thanks for reading- and for encouraging me to write!