In the Kitchen with Friends

May29

janes1

As indicated at the end of my previous Canola Connect Camp post, the next stop for campers was the gorgeous Jane’s Restaurant at the Paterson GlobalFood Institute at the downtown campus of Red River College. The teaching restaurant is located in a former bank building with its statuesque pillars and vaulted ceilings.

janes2

We didn’t have much chance to work up an appetite, but there were amazingly delicious appetizers waiting for us including these gorgeous vegetable packets.

janes3

My foodie friend Getty (a Home Economist) and I donned our chef hats and were ready to receive instruction. Getty is the originator of Manitoba Fruit Share and appears regularly on CTV Morning Live.

Janes8

We were given the opportunity to assemble an appetizing salad of mixed greens with a berry vinaigrette. My result is pictured below.

janes13

janes7

Chef Kelsey Fitzgerald finished her classes for graduation that very day but stuck around to teach us how to construct the “soft cooked egg” in the toast cup. She demonstrated the molecular gastronomy techniques using curried pumpkin for the yolk and cauliflower puree for the white. So cool! You may recognize my culinary teammate Pay Chen formerly of breakfast TV in Winnipeg. She now resides and continues to pursue her passion for food in Toronto.

janes10

Another esteemed chef- Chef Jeremy Langemann, the former Executive Chef at the Velvet Glove and the Fairmount Winnipeg Hotel is on staff at RRC. He is seen above chatting with Virgin radio’s Chrissy Troy while cutting the fresh pasta that we would hand roll into tortellini and then stuff with wild mushrooms. Chrissy is proud to declare that she is a Manitoba farm girl who is passionate about the prominent place agriculture plays in our provinces’ economy and on the world stage.

janes6

My tortellini packets were a disaster and Chef Jeremy patiently discarded them and then rolled out new sheets of dough for me to try again. In the end, the results were nutritious and delicious, especially when pulled braised short rib adorned the pasta packages.

janes5

Simply grilled vegetables accompanied the main and I indulged in my veggie crush-eggplant!

janes11

My friend and Chocolatier Constance Popp knows a thing or two about delectable treats and expertly held the tongs at one of the many donut bar stations.

janes9

Chef Mary Jane Feeke of Benjamin’s Gourmet Foods in Selkirk is RRC’s Chef Instructor for pastries. She instructed foodie friends including hunting and fishing aficionado Shel Zolkewicz and me on the fine art of donut making. Shel also makes regular TV appearances and her food photography is nothing short of exquisite!

janes14

One donut favourite were the S’mores- gingered donuts with madirafolo ganache and roasted vanilla bean marshmallow. Say that three times fast!

janes15

These two donut fusions were also lovingly created and served:

  • A rooibos and citrus infused donut with lemon and orange glaze, and candied citrus peels
  • A cinnamon donut filled with whipped cinnamon cream, and apple compote, drizzled with cinnamon glaze

janes12

My favourite was this sweet and salty invention-a nutmeg donut filled with apricot ganache, glazed with caramel fondant and garnished with crumbled crispy maple bacon. Heaven, I’m in heaven….

Janes4

As we headed out of Jane’s and back through the Winnipeg streets en route to our hotel, I looked around at the exquisite room one last time. I noticed this time that the carved ceiling was of fruits and vegetables. Perhaps the former bank was always destined to become a restaurant!

The next day the Canola Connect Campers were off on yet another adventure. Stay tuned.

Jane's on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Cooking is in an honest profession where you cannot hide and let others do the work for you. You have to show up, work hard and prove you can do it faster and better. And find a mentor who will recognize your talent and push you in the right direction.”-Marcus Samuelsson

hEART2

Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

 

 

Ducky’s Fish and Chips

May26

Many of us do our best to avoid deep-fried food whenever possible and perhaps this was the reason why I personally have never found an excuse to visit Ducky’s Fish and Chips at the corner of Notre Dame and Arlington St. For years and years, I have heard that Ducky’s was a “must try” for authentic English-style fish and chips. When one Canstar reader suggested it in our recent reader’s poll, I knew that the time had come.

Halibut, with its firm (some would say “dense”) flesh, has been a favourite of mine since the days when I first tasted the fish and chips at Eaton’s Valley Room restaurant. For those of us who remember, the Valley Room did an excellent job of from scratch cooking and I still think that their version of chicken pot pie is the best I have ever tasted, including my own!

Since those “olden” days, halibut has become dearer in price, making way for the more affordable Haddock and in recent times Cod. Halibut has very little, if any, natural fat and that was why it lent itself perfectly to deep frying. A couple of dabs of Ducky’s tartar sauce added moisture and even more flavour.

duckys2

On this day, my lunch companion ordered the shrimp and chips and commented on how light tasting the crispy batter was. She was hard-pressed to finish all of her perfectly cooked French fries, which I admit; I had no trouble in accomplishing.

duckys1

In spite of our extensive indulgences, there was still one more to enjoy. Dubbed “Ducky’s Melt” on the short dessert section of the menu, long-time owner (since 1993) Carol Finley, batters and deep fries an entire Mars Bar and then serves it over ice cream. The result was absolutely luscious with hot and oozing caramel and chocolate, cooled down by the ice cream and made crunchy by the crispy coating. Definitely an item you need to experience, even if only once in a lifetime.

Ducky's Fish & Chips on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “There’s a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore looking like an idiot.”- Steven Wright

tree heart

Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

 

Gettin “CIGI” With It-Canola Connect Camp

May21

cigi1

On the afternoon of day one of camp, we were off to CIGI (Canadian International Grains Institute) with a perfect view of the Canadian Human Rights Museum.

The host for our afternoon has traveled around the world with CIGI. Here’s what CIGI does:

CIGI’s technology facilities provide access to a large variety of processing equipment in one location. Combined with the knowledge and expertise of our staff, we have the capacity to meet the specific needs of customers seeking to investigate and optimize the use of Canadian field crops in their products.

cigi2

We toured their milling and bio-product facilities in addition to pasta processing and noodles and Asian products. I learned something new that day-a noodle is cut and a pasta is extruded. I had never thought about the distinction before.

cigi6

Of particular interest was the baking facility where CIGI’s pilot bakery can simulate practices used in large and small commercial bakeries throughout the world.

Pasta, noodles and bread are my absolute favourite foods (with the addition of my beloved potatoes of course).

cigi4

At home in the same building is the CMBTC (Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre) which is a unique, one of a kind, non-profit organization created to add value to the Canadian malting barley industry. In addition to malting facilities, we visited both of the brewing facilities which are capable of brewing 11-300 litres of finished beer. The Friday afternoon was a warm one and our tour was drawing to a close, so beer sampling seemed like a very, very good idea!

The last stop for that day was an extended time at Jane’s restaurant at the Red River College Patterson Global Foods Institute; the details of which will have to wait for another day and another post.

Kath’s quote: “Most people hate the taste of beer – to begin with. It is, however, a prejudice that many people have been able to overcome.” -Winston Churchill

water heart

Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

Canola Connect City Camp-Keeping An Open Mind (and Heart)

May19

Our first morning of “camp” began with a presentation about how public perception is fashioned and our role in maintaining our own perspective a.k.a “keeping an open mind”. I added the “heart” part because I believe that perception isn’t just about what our brains process but what our emotions tell us as well. Sometimes I get labelled as being “too emotional”, typically by a person who is (in my opinion), too “rational”. In this, and most aspects of my life, I believe that the extremes must meet in the middle to find a common ground. I strive to do this on a daily basis.

camp2

Case in point, I had preconceived notions about what I was going to see and learn about on an agricultural based biotechnical tour, which was the first stop of our day. I imagined robotic machines and rooms of whirring and spinning contraptions with few, if any, people involved in the process. I was surprised to be shown otherwise. Canola plants were lovingly being tended to by real people.

camp1

I love farmers and I am especially fond of the Canola farmers that I have met over the years. They are risk-taking, intelligent, educated, family-centric, land-protecting, animal-loving, community-giving persons who work hard, so very hard. In my mind, I am all for whatever can be done to make their jobs easier. They feed me, my family and the world.

We learned about the making of improved canola hybrids ( simply put: a hybrid is like the offspring of D and I). Scientifically stated: “A cross of specific parent plants using controlled pollination. The resulting seed will produce plants with very specific characteristics.” Just like our son is the perfect blend of my husband and my characteristics… “From the twinkle in the breeder’s eye (tee hee), it takes 7-10 years to develop and make a canola hybrid available to the farmers.” We’re talking disease resistance, water use efficiency, etc. and why this is so important on a Global scale was explained to us the next morning. The lady wearing the gorgeous turquoise gloves above is carrying off the “controlled pollination”. In other words-the Canola Connect group were voyeurs of plant sex!

Having worked up a hearty appetite, lunch was served in the adjacent dining room. Lovingly prepared and catered by Seasons Catering, the menu was an extensive offering of prairie treats:

camp6

The Wheatberry Salad featured was a delightful assembly of cranberries, pepitas and diced apples tossed in a blood orange vinaigrette utilizing Winkler Virgin Canola Oil.  Thick tomato slices of tomato were topped with boccocino cheese, ribbons of basil, balsamic vinegar and East Selkirk Virgin Canola Oil. A third oil -Grandview Canola was highlighted in the Chimichurri. We would learn more about theses artisan oils over the weekend.

camp4

Sablefish (also known as Back Cod) has a high fat content and is perfect for roasting. The dollop of pesto added to its moisture and flavour.

camp2

Dessert was a selection of verrines including Cholocate Panna Cotta with White Chocolate Mousse, Lime, Coconut & Mango and Raspberry & Lemon. All were silky and sublime. We campers were wonderfully nourished, rested and off on our next adventure.

Kath’s quote: “I prefer to regard a dessert as I would imagine the perfect woman: subtle, a little bittersweet, not blowsy and extrovert. Delicately made up, not highly rouged. Holding back, not exposing everything and, of course, with a flavor that lasts.” -Graham Kerr

pebbleheart

Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Menu at Joey Restaurant

May15

Recently I was invited to attend a media tasting at Joey’s Polo Park location. Having been many times before (in fact I was a paid shopper for Joey for a number of years), I was familiar with their fresh and carefully crafted food. But I declare, with this menu, they have really stepped up their game.

joey3

We started with a Spa Cosmo-a cranberry concoction with muddled cucumber adding a refreshing switch up.

joey1

In addition to a Mezze Plate from half way around the world, specifically the Balkan area of the Mediterranean (east of Greece). I enthusiastic swiped the crispy pita chips through the smooth hummus and sparkling tzatziki. Particularly enthralling was the Macedonian feta which was creamy and not overly salty. The marinated Greek olives added that pungent salty taste.

joey4

Traveling another third of the world, Korea was the next food inspiration. The chefs explained how they cull through cauliflower heads to select bite sized pieces which are then dipped in a tempura batter and fried, before being tossed in a sweet chili sauce. Lastly, white and black sesame seeds and cilantro leaves are scattered on top. And that folks is how you make Korean Cauliflower!

joey5

Blueberry Mojitos arrived next

joey2

along with Sliders Royale so that we could be definitely reminded that summer and patio season was imminent. I was particularly impressed with the texture of the beef. Sometimes burger patties take on a dense texture but when the meat is broken up and then gingerly hand pressed, the “mouth feel” is pleasant and other flavours can share centre stage-in this case a wonderful cheddar. The cheese doesn’t simply top the slider, it has been grilled to bring out the sugars and create a crispy texture. Enhanced with raw onion and “secret sauce” it is no wonder why the Joey sliders have long been popular.

joey7

I had never before tasted a Vinho Verde, a Portuguese “green” (young) wine. I was very impressed with the light and fresh taste especially when paired with Joey’s “500 Salad”; 500 being the calorie count.  Wheat berries are tossed with greens and a new fav of mine-pickled currants. The melding of flavours comes together with a tart dressing. But because we all feast first with our eyes, the watermelon radish elevates an already tasty salad to new heights.

joey8

Next up were the “mains”, as if the assembly of bloggers hadn’t already eaten their fill. I already love Joey’s rotisserie chicken. When it is pulled and layered with crispy green apple slices and served between two toasted slices of fruit and nut bread, it is the perfect balance of crunchy, sweet and savoury. The sandwich was said to also include crispy baked pancetta but I don’t think that my portion did. No matter, it was already pretty sensational.

joey6

Juicy grilled shrimp arrived next perched upon lobster ravioli. The white wine sauce made the rich, silky tastes even more decadent!

joey9

joey10

Desserts are not typically my “thing” but when I heard the passionate chefs speak of their care with house made ice cream, apple pie, key lime pie and chocolate lava cake, well, who was I fooling? I dug my fork in and the rest was history.

Joey on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “The qualities of an exceptional cook are akin to those of a successful tightrope walker: an abiding passion for the task, courage to go out on a limb and an impeccable sense of balance.” - Bryan Miller

treeheart

Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

 

 

 

« Older Entries