Spring Gillard

Mattress Money

alleycarsMy back alley is a parking lot, for more than cars. Guess people are trying to avoid the very minimal residential parking permit fee (under $40/yr). Maybe it’s time to charge for alley parking too. Then the city would have a little more money to haul away the old couches and mattresses.

Storm FX

cartreeClimate change just came to my neighbourhood. The wild wind storm Saturday night uprooted trees all over the city. The soil was so dry it couldn’t hold the rootreeroots. The trees were heaved up out of the ground, smashing cars and blocking streets. This is one of the reasons the city always reminds people to water the boulevard trees. BC Hydro has been focusing on removing downed power lines and restoring power to those without it. This is a small emergency in the scale of things. Makes me think 72 hours worth of emergency supplies in my earthquake kit might not be enough.

NEU Energy

NEUThe city is expanding the neighbourhood energy utility (NEU) beyond Olympic Village to the Great Northern Way Campus. The NEU provides heat and hot water to buildings in the South East False Creek neighbourhood. It is the first utility in North America to use waste heat recovered from untreated urban waste water. Greenhouse gas emissions are 62% lower than with conventional heating systems. Read more here.

City Fabric

FabricArtI have been riding under this fabric beneath the Burrard Street Bridge for awhile now. I thought the City was still doing repairs on it. But then I noticed the sign and realized it was public art! Artists are Rebecca Bayer and Matthew Soules. Very cool. Read more here.

Lucy’s Lemon Squares

EvfehL8T13c213737353635323vfehL8Ta_1435133143A colleague made these squares for a staff party recently. I was surprised when she told me where the recipe was from – the Peanuts Cookbook! So delicious, thank you Lucy. So easy, even Snoopy could make them.


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tblsp. fresh lemon juice
  • dash of salt


  • 1

Sift flour and powdered sugar into bowl. Blend in butter with clean fingertips till well mixed. Pat evenly into the bottom of an 8×8 inch baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

  • 2

Meanwhile, beat the eggs, granulated sugar, baking powder, lemon juice and salt togeher. Pour over baked crust and return to oven.

  • 3

Bake for an additional 20-25 minutes.

  • 4

Cool on rack. Cut in squares. Sprinkle with sifted powdered sugar.

Deign to Open

audainThere are a lot of museums and galleries on the UBC Point Grey campus and I’ve been trying to visit them all before I leave the student life. I’ve tried to get into the art gallery at the Audain Art Centre no less than four times. I’ve tried at different times of the year, different days of the week, different times of the day. There is usually a sign up. Twice the sign said there was an exhibit being constructed. Another time there was no sign, the door was just locked. And this last time, well turns out it’s closed during the summer. I can’t be the only one who’s been trying to visit the gallery. There are a lot of tourists on campus in the summer too. Dear Audain, we would like to experience your art, if only you would deign to open your doors.

Stem the Water

waterglassI heard Ian Tostenson, the president of the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association on CBC Radio recently during a piece about the drought in Vancouver. With stage three water restrictions in place throughout Metro Vancouver, the announcer was curious what the restaurant industry was doing to help ­– such as not automatically serving water to customers. Tostenson wouldn’t commit though, only saying he was sure restaurant owners would do their part. I have eaten out probably five times since that interview and each time, the waiter automatically filled the water glasses, without asking us if we wanted the water first. What is worse in my mind, is the incessant and annoying refilling of the water glass, particularly towards the end of the meal. There’s no doubt that a lot of perfectly good water goes down the drain because of this outdated and unnecessary practice. Restaurants use a lot of water anyways, this is one way they could help conserve during this ongoing drought. Restaurant owners and managers will respond to customer feedback though, so we can all help to educate our favourite restaurants about this one small way they can stem the wasteful flow of drinking water.

Rain or Shine Seating

icecreampkRain or Shine, Kitsilano’s favourite ice cream hang out, has a new outdoor seating area. They’ve taken over two parking spots on 4th Avenue. Car park or ice cream park? I know which one I’d choose. I suspect they are participating in the City’s Viva Vancouver program which is exploring new ways to create public spaces.

Warm Red Cabbage Salad

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

I’m going to make this dish for a potluck picnic this weekend. It’s always a favourite. It’s from the Greens Cookbook by Deborah Madison (the wonderful San Francisco restaurant).

The cabbage is cooked just enough to soften it, then tossed with apple, goat cheese and roasted walnuts. This is a very nice salad for fall when both walnuts and apples are newly harvested. For variation in flavor and color, mix the cabbage with other greens, such as spinach or curly endive.

15 to 20 walnuts (about 3/4 cup, shelled)
2 teaspoons walnut oil, or possibly an inexpensive oil
Salt and pepper
1 small red cabbage (about 18 oz.)
1 crisp red apple
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
3 to 4 oz. goat cheese, broken into large pieces (feta will work)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh marjoram

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cram the walnuts, leave the meats in large pieces, and toss them with the walnut oil and some salt and freshly ground black pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for 5-7 minutes or until they begin to smell nutty. Then remove them from the oven and let them cool.

Quarter the cabbage and remove the core. Cut the wedges into thin pieces, 2 to 3 inches long, and set aside. Cut the apple lengthwise into sixths, cut out the core, then slice the pieces thinly, crosswise.

Put the garlic, vinegar, and oil in a wide saute pan over a medium-high flame. As soon as they are hot, add the onion and saute for 30 seconds. Next add the cabbage, and continue cook for about 2 minutes or until just wilted. The leaves will begin to soften and the color will change from bright purple-red to pink. Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper, and more vinegar, if necessary, to sharpen the flavors.
Add the goat cheese, apple, herbs, and walnuts. Toss briefly and carefully before serving. Serves four to six.

This salad was inspired by Jeremiah Tower. His version uses plenty of pancetta, we use apples.

Source: The Greens Cookbook by Deborah Madison

Cut Out Waste

food-waste-3_MG_8896-2-690x518There’s a great feature on food waste in the August issue of Alive Magazine. Here’s an excerpt, but there’s much more if you click on the link.

In Canada, we throw away more food per year than Africa produces. This figure may seem shocking, but there’s no denying the cost of food waste—nearly $31 billion a year. Learn more about the social and environmental impact of wasted food, and how you can cut down on unnecessary throwaways.

As Canadians, we each toss out the equivalent of two apples a day. It may not sound like much, but if we also factor in kitchen scraps, plus wastage/spoilage in restaurants, hotels, and other food-serving facilities, along with what’s thrown out along the food chain, those two apples become the proverbial barrel.

A massive loss

Worldwide, 1.3 billion metric tonnes (2.9 trillion lb) of food is lost or wasted each year—about one-third of the food produced for us to eat.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations calls food losses “a significant cost to the world economy [that] greatly impacts our ability to feed the world.” The FAO wrote in a recent report that food waste compromises efforts to

  • combat hunger
  • raise income
  • improve food security

In developed countries, wastage usually occurs at the consumer level, meaning that food is thrown out even though it’s still fit for eating.

Read the rest of the article here.