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Spatchcock (aka Butterflied) Turkey

Canadian Thanksgiving is long over, but I still think about the turkey we made all the time. It turned out SO GOOD. And it only took 80 minutes to roast a 16 lbs bird! Rosemarie declared that she’s never eating turkey again unless it’s spatchcocked, hahaha. Anyway since American Thanksgiving and Christmas is coming up, here we go.

Look how beautiful it turned out!!

I used the Serious Eats set of instructions. They promised that spatchcock (aka butterflied) would ensure that the breast AND thigh meat would cook at the perfect rate and result in a perfect flavourful juicy turkey.

They recommend a dry brine, which is excellent because it’s stupid easy: Wash & dry your (defrosted) turkey, mix up 1/2 cup kosher salt & 2 tbsp baking powder, sprinkle the mixture over all sides of the turkey. Leave the turkey uncovered in the fridge for 12-24 hours. That’s it.

Thanksgiving Day I picked up Leslie and some shears and we got to work. Warning! Gory raw meat pictures ahead! This slideshow was extremely helpful for the prep and the carving.

First cut up one side of the spine.

Then the other side.

Remove the spine and cut off the plastic leg holder thingy.

Flip the bird over and press down hard on the sternum to crack it so you can make the bird as flat as possible. I was not strong enough to do this so Scott jumped off a chair and did a sweet wrestling drop. It cracked.

Just like this.

Cut off all the extra bits of skin around the neck and the… butt?

Flat Stanley. With tucked in wings.

Pop it onto a wire rack on top of vegetables on top of a baking sheet. PS I love our enormous baking sheet. I sprinkled on a few herbs. No butter or salt. And bake! At 450ºF.

There wasn’t much drippings, I guess because we removed a lot of the extra skin and didn’t use any butter. Healthy!

We baked our 16 lbs bird for 80 minutes and honestly it probably only needed 70 minutes, because when I checked the temperature in the breast it was already higher than 150ºF. Whatev it still turned out extremely moist and flavourful. Like a 9.7 out of 10. Rosemarie said she ate 4 times as much meat as she usually does.

Next time will be 10 out of 10. :D :D Can’t wait.

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September and October

It’s been an incredibly busy fall. I’ve been working almost full time, weightlifting at Terminal City Training twice a week, training on my own, push training at the Richmond Oval about once a week, walking home from work when I can, working on a really complicated project, meeting up with tons of visitors, and more! OMG.

Everything is going really well though. I am not complaining about being busy at all.

It’s actually the one year mark of me joining Al’s weightlifting gym. I’ve added about 30 lbs to my press and benchpress, and 60 lbs to my deadlift and squat!! Sweet sweet noob gains. Group training is the highlight of my week, tbh.

Push training is also pretty fun. It’s a flat track with a metal skeleton sled on wheels and an emergency crash pad at the end. It’s fairly realistic, although the sled is quite heavy, and there is no chance of popping the groove. We can run as far as we want basically and then you drag your toes to slow down. Running bent over, while trying to accelerate a sled without actually putting much weight on it is very difficult!! I don’t think I will ever be a very fast starter but hopefully it’s still helping me get BETTER.

The Whistler skeleton season starts November 4th, by the way.

Scott walks home from work almost every day now. It takes him about an hour. It’s saving us a lot of money, and he gets his daily exercise. Win win! I walk sometimes, but definitely not as often as Scott. I did walk home from UBC once though, haha. It suddenly started taking 5ever to get home on the bus when the university students went back to school so out of frustration I decided to just walk home. It took 3 hours and it was quite boring and my knees hurt. But I will probably do it again if I’m at UBC again on a Friday.

We’ve been super lucky to have lots of visitors lately!

  • I met up for bubble tea with Anna, one of the German girls I camped with in Bowen, Australia while we packed corn and beans. She had been living in rural Saskatchewan trying to get her Canadian PR but the restaurant laid her off and she had to go home. What a bummer. She came through Vancouver on her farewell Canada tour and it was really nice to catch up after 6 years.

  • My friend Chris, from Halifax stopped through Vancouver too, on his way to his next WWOOFing place. I hadn’t seen him since 2007!! We went to the Richmond Night Market and ate takoyaki and fish sticks and deep fried cheesecake that made our teeth hurt. I was too scared to sit on the Throne of Rotato.
  • Leslie visited from Victoria (so nice that we at least live in the same province again!) for Thanksgiving. She helped document the whole spatchcocking the turkey project (more about that later), and get ready for our potluck Friendsgiving Thanksgiving dinner. We made tons of food and delicious cocktails (hello Automnal Cinnamon Apple Whiskey Sour!!) and had a really nice dinner. I love hanging out with old Ace Gang members.
  • And last night I met up with Catty and Samir who were in town for a conference. Again, I hadn’t seen her in years too! We went out and watched the Blue Jays game with Scott and then went out for ramen with Rosemarie and Lauren. All was good except for the Jays losing, and a super long hair in Samir’s ramen… blech.

Rosemarie is doing her last semester of uni now so she’s very busy these days, but we still try to squeeze in as much hanging out time as possible. We spent one afternoon making 9000 dumplings: some pork and some shrimp. We’re not very good at being able to seal them when the dough is thin so they ended up pretty pudgy… but very very very tasty.

We also went bouldering for free at The Hive, because we voted. They were supposed to offer more free days too but apparently it’s again election law, ha oops. I struggled because my hands are in such bad shape (dry and cracking… gross and painful), but Scott climbed A LOT!

How about that election eh? I watched the election results like Scott would watch the rugby world cup final, hahaha. So relieved we have a non-conservative government again. Scott was pretty happy about being able to vote in Canada for the first time too!

What else what else…

GE randomly threw a free nuclear medicine conference, which a bunch of us from VGH went to. They had a wine and hors d’oeuvres and we… had fun. Closed down the bar. The talks to the next day were pretty entertaining, and I learned a few new things too. It was fun to see a lot of techs from other hospitals that I hadn’t seen since being a student as well.

Scott won tickets to a Canucks pre-season game from work. We actually got to sit pretty close to the ice for once! They Canucks lost and the security people confiscated my bag of cherry blasters I tried to bring in. :/

We had another games day with Marjorie, Latif and Phil. We played King of Tokyo, For Sale (a super simple real estate card game), Galaxy Truckers, and an epic long game of Lords of Waterdeep with both expansions, which I won by 1 point. :D That’s my favourite game lately.

I got a haircut. It’s nice to not have so much hair. It took the girl 2 hours and 20 minutes hahahaha. Fun times at the Aveda Institute. At least is only cost $21.

Oh and like other years, we watched the AFL Grand Final at Moose’s Down Under. We had 20 people this year! Mmm those parmas were delicious. The game was not super exciting, but it was still fun, as usual.

Alright! I think I’m caught up. Until next time my friends!

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Wolf in the Fog in Tofino, BC

Wolf in the Fog is a relatively new restaurant in Tofino that got super duper popular after winning an award last year. It’s a pretty big restaurant, with a surfy vibe, with mismatched thrifted dishes. They have an incredibly interesting cocktail menu, large sharing platters, and small dishes to choose from.

I had two drinks. The first was the Hanging Garden: gin, martini bianco, sorrel and lemon. It tasted awesome. It SMELLED awesome. So refreshing. Sorrel is my new favourite herb, it’s sweet and a little bit sour when you chew it, like a candy. The second drink was the Cedar Sour: cedar infused rye, lemon, thyme and egg white. This one also smelled amazing, like walking through a forest. It was a bit stronger, but very drinkable.

We ordered a whole bunch of food, hehe. Everything just sounded so good!!

Potato crusted oysters sounded so intriguing, but wasn’t our favourite. It had some kind of thick paste inside of it that was a bit stodgy. The potato was cool, but I think I just prefer my oysters raw.

We got a salad that had smoked trout, beets and a whole bunch of other things that I can’t remember now. Their menu is seasonal and the same salad isn’t on there any more! Oops. Anyway it was a good salad and they were pretty generous with the smoked fish.

We also got a squid dish that had grapefruit, cilantro, basil and sprouts. The squid was cooked perfectly tender, not chewy at all. It was lovely. Well balanced dish.

We also split an entrée. They were very accommodating and split the dish on to two plates for us. We had the halibut with gnocchi, sorrel, peas, pickled onion, and again more that I am probably forgetting. The fish was cooked perfectly and I loved the fresh lemony sorrel.

We were stuffed but still found room for dessert. We had the sticky date caramelized banana sundae and it was awesome. Sweet, salty, bitter, creamy, crunchy, warm and cold. Checks all the boxes.

Overall we were very happy with our meal and experience. They really do have helpful staff, who will help you decide things and get stuff split if you want. I would love to go back and try a few more of their unique cocktails for sure.

Wolf in the Fog Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Fish Store & Oyster Bar in Tofino, BC

After coming back from the hot springs we were a little worn out, kind of dirty, and MEGA hungry. We parked the car in the middle of Tofino and wandered around in search of seafood. The Fish Store and Oyster Bar (that’s the actual name!) was perfect.

I was having MAJOR indecision with the menu. I couldn’t stop flipping between the mussels and clams with bread, and the shrimp and scallops dishes. Like seriously I must have changed my mind 20 times. Eventually I just told the waitress that I couldn’t decide and asked her what I should get. She said that the shrimp and scallops dish was actually pretty small, and if I wanted she could actually get the cooks to make me the mussels and clams dish with a bunch of scallops too FOR THE SAME PRICE. OMG! Made my day.

So that’s my giant bowl of mussels, clams AND scallops, with a butter garlic sauce, and bread. It was SOOOO GOOD. It came with FIVE scallops on the shell! Plus probably 10 each of mussels and clams. Yum yum yum. I was extremely pleased. I love molluscs.

Scott got a Thai salmon noodle dish. He thought it was delicious. I don’t know what else to say about it.

They also have a small shop in the back of the restaurant. We bought a little bit of their smoked salmon to put on bagels for the next day’s breakfast. The guy was nice and rung it up as smoked tuna to make it cheaper too, awesome.

Overall we were really happy. Great service, great food. Highly recommended.

Fish Store and Oyster Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Hot Springs at Maquinna Provincial Park

It costs a bit to do a trip to the hot springs near Tofino, but I recommend it for sure! Here are 3 good reasons you should go:

Firstly, it’s got built in whale and wildlife watching. The boat ride takes about 1.5 hours each way, and they’ll look for whales and other animals the whole way there and back. September is the end of the whale season but we still managed to see a grey whale (no pictures, I was using my brain camera). We also saw a black bear (digging for crabs on the beach), cute floating sea otters, stinky sea lions, and bald eagles.

Secondly, the hot springs are so neat!! It’s about a 25 minute walk through the forest on a board walk to the springs. Then there a whole bunch of pools of (hot) water in between the rocks. The pools at the top are super duper hot, and then as you go down a bit further they get a bit cooler from the tide. There are plenty of places to lie down and soak. It smells a bit farty but not that bad.

Thirdly, there is a HOT WATERFALL!! Almost too hot to stand directly under. I enjoyed sitting half under the water and half in the crisp September air.

After a couple of hours our captain brought us back to Tofino. Everyone was pleased. It really was the highlight of our trip.

Few notes: It’s kinda dangerous, because the rocks are ultra slippery, but still ok. I managed it even with my PTSD from slipping on rocks in Thailand and getting 12 stitches, haha. Water shoes might help. Bring some snacks and drinks because you’re out for a pretty long time! The boat ride might be a bit rough. I was happy we went a calmer way back (but I guess less chance of seeing whales that route). And there are washrooms and change rooms at the hot springs.

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