Saturday, March 29, 2008

Lights, camera, police... and a side of gluttony

Today was a productive/unproductive day. Steph was kind enough to take us to Jumbo this afternoon to get some lights and a ladder - despite having all our furniture arranged and our apartment pretty much finished, we still have naked wires hanging down from the ceiling in every room. I think I mentioned it before, but then again I've never been averse to repeating myself, so here goes: when you move into a new apartment here, it seems like ceiling lights are generally not part of the deal - each renter provides their own. We've been using floor and desk lights in every room since October or so. Our shopping trip today was meant to remedy that situation. We found several lights we liked - we're only one short for the dining room right now - in part because Mr K and I are at odds as to whether the dining room would benefit from a light... (I'm the 'aye' camp and Mr K is the 'nay' camp, in case you were wondering.)

On the way home, as we got close to our apartment, we saw the road ahead blocked off by either a parade or protest - it's so difficult to tell here sometimes. It was obvious that Steph wasn't going to be able to get through the crowd in less than 30 minutes, so we begged her to let us out near the train station and we would walk the last one third of a block - nice and easy! As we rounded the corner at our building, we saw what a good choice this had been. It seems that in addition to the parade-protest in front of our building, the police had cordoned off the park and hotel and parking lot behind our building. We stood around and watched for a few minutes - mainly because we were trying to see if it was possible to skirt the police tape and get to our favorite kebab place - nope. Still craving a bit of junk food, we headed to McDonalds (first time this year) to grab a quick lunch and get home so Mr K could grab his camera and take some pictures.

At McDonalds we had yet another mini-adventure. We're not sure if it was our faulty French or the confusion of a new employee, but somehow instead of getting Mr K's "Number Two Cheeseburger Meal" we ended up with 35 less francs and "two cheeseburger meals" in addition to my "chicken mcnugget meal." That means triple coke zero (with ice) triple french fries and two cheeseburgers - Gluttony Saturday! Clearly we've been out of the US for too long, though, as we were unable to eat the whole pile of food and had instead to store the extra fries and cheeseburger for later consumption...

As we downed our french fries and delicious, icy beverages, we stood on our balcony - Mr K with camera and me with my binoculars - and watched the police continue to accumulate in the parking lot below us. We watched as the police cleared out the hotel and brought a canine unit in to walk around. For over two hours, police wandered around the parking lot, going in and out of the hotel and shooing away anyone who approached the police tape. A large yellow van with blue lights pulled up - it looked like a bomb squad, but nothing came of it and the van's doors remained unopened. At six PM on the dot matters seemed to be taken care of - the police tape was taken down, the police loaded back into their cars, and the staff and guests allowed back in the hotel. We still have no idea what happened. Excitement!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Originally uploaded by hellomizk
So I've been a bit slack on the blog thing recently - nothing too terribly exciting going on here... just a lot of painting, recently. Mr K has been on a ink-and-paint buying spree so our supplies are replenished!

In other news, I can't stop listening to this song, "Young Folks" by Peter Bjorn and John, or this song by the same people. Thanks, Miz J!

Thanks mom and dad for the easter candy and the PEEPS! With the proper care and feeding, I bet they last til next Easter too!

Annnnd I'm out of words. I'll try to think of more soon!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Cooking without the Campbells...

Why yes, I am writing about food yet again! I do a lot of cooking, so I do a lot of thinking about food as a result. Whatever I'm thinking about the most is what's going to show up here... Yesterday I decided to try my hand at an American classic: Chicken Divan. All the recipes I came across were for "Speedy Chicken Divan" or "Quick Chicken Divan" or "Instant Chicken Divan" - somewhere along the line, someone told American cooks that a meal should take no more than 30 minutes to prepare and cook (I'm looking at you, Rachel Ray) and the idea appears to have stuck. I have nothing against quick meals and will even admit that reading Rachel Ray recipes is a bit of a guilty pleasure... The problem I have with quick recipes is trying to make them while living here - in the land of no canned Cream of _____ soup and no cheap rotisserie chickens - the land of no shortcuts. So my goal yesterday was to come up with my own Chicken Divan recipe, shortcut free (give or take a cube of bouillon).

It has now been 20+ hours since eating that Divan and, since neither Mr K nor I have keeled over from any exciting food-related illnesses, I feel ready to throw my chicken recipe out to the world. As to the title... well, it doesn't actually take all day - more like 45 minutes prep time and 35 - 45 cook time if you're efficient. Took me more like an hour and 20 minutes of prep, but I do dishes as I go, so that slows me down. Here it is - if anyone tries it, let me know what you think. This is my first foray into recipe writing.

All-Day Divan Poulet

Serves: two big dinners and one lunch portion for the next day


  • 2 tablespoon butter

  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth

  • 1 cup milk

  • 4-5 small white button mushrooms, finely chopped

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 1 pound of fresh broccoli, florets chopped, stem peeled and chopped

  • 2 boneless chicken breast halves

  • ¼ cup mayonnaise

  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice, divided

  • ½ – 1 teaspoon curry powder

  • ¼ cup chopped green onion

  • 1 ½ cups shredded Cheddar cheese

  • ½ cup fresh bread crumbs


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Step one: Prepare Divan sauce

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Gradually stir in flour, one tablespoon at a time until smooth. Remove from heat and add the chicken broth, milk and finely chopped mushrooms, a little at a time, stirring to keep smooth. Return to heat. Bring sauce to a gentle boil; cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens. Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed to taste. Pour into a medium-sized bowl and set aside to cool..

Step two: Prepare chicken and broccoli

To cook the chicken breasts, bring a cup of water to a boil in a shallow pan with a tight-fitting lid. Add one tablespoon of lemon juice to water. Add salt and pepper to taste. When water boils, add chicken breasts, cover, and remove from heat. Let chicken steam for 15 minutes or until opaque. Let chicken cool slightly before chopping into bite-sized pieces.

Steam broccoli for 5 minutes or until bright green, taking care not to overcook. Drain broccoli.

Step three: Build Divan

To bowl of Divan sauce, add chopped green onion, one tablespoon of lemon juice, curry powder and mayonnaise. Stir sauce to incorporate and set aside.

Layer steamed broccoli in the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch casserole pan. Layer chopped chicken over broccoli. Pour reserved Divan sauce over chicken and spread evenly. Sprinkle shredded cheese over sauce. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over cheese.

Step four: Bake

Bake 35 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven, until bubbly and lightly browned on top.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Art night

Art night
Originally uploaded by hellomizk
Inspired by Illustration Friday, Mr K and I have taken to spending the later parts of our evenings recently ignoring computer and video games and having "Art Night."

When we first met, we used to sit around and paint or draw or doodle together while watching movies all the time. After a few months we moved on to video and computer games, but still went back to art night fairly frequently. Sometimes it was polymer clay night, other times it was painting night. Art night had been pretty infrequent since our arrival, however, until this past Sunday night. We broke out all the paints, inks, pens, pencils, brushes, crazy papers, drawing boards, stamps, and countless other toys and moved everything to the living room. We put on the first disc of Heroes to rewatch and started painting! You can see both of our little oddities on our Flickr sites if you're interested.

In an unrelated but equally exciting note, it snowed all last night! So pretty!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Toute les poissons

Dani mange!
Originally uploaded by hellomizk
Last night we went out for Japanese food with Dani, Steph, and Dani's friend Sam. Mr K was excited to eat sushi as he hasn't had any since we moved here. I was promised there would be swimmie-free options and I was excited about the possibility of edamame. The edamame didn't make an appearance, but dinner was still wonderful. I had teppan-yaki chicken and a really delicious fried rice (saute rice according to the menu) and Mr K had 28 delightful bits of bait. Steph opted for a five or so course menu of all sorts of pretty little treats and Dani and Sam chose to consume the remaining fish in the ocean.

Dani told us the previous sushi record was somewhere around 40 pieces each for himself and for Sam. Last night, they broke that record. In the picture you might notice Dani's look of satisfaction at a job well done. If you look behind Dani, you might also notice Sam's look of "help me, I'm stuffed." This would be a result of the armada of sushi the two of them consumed. Each ordered a 40 piece sushi boat - served on a wooden boat roughly a third the length of our table. As Dani was finishing up his boat, he signaled our waitress to request... another boat! He and Sam split boat two in a display of fish-consumption-induced-machismo coupled with much high-fiving. Sam generously begged Mr K to finish his last hand-rolled funnel o' fish. As the last boat left the table, the new record was set - 60 pieces of sushi per person. Ouch!

With all that sushi, it should come as no surprise Dani and Sam had no room left for dessert. Steph and I both had green tea ice cream, which was very nice and light. All in all, a very nice dinner! Fribourg certainly does Japanese food much better than it does Mexican...