Food Musings

A Winnipeg blog about the joy of preparing food for loved ones and the shared joy that travel & dining brings to life.

Cherry Pistachio Cremes


Three things I love came together earlier this summer: the company of women, delicious food and newborn babies.  We had assembled to celebrate the births of a little girl and a little boy.  We rocked babies, visited and sampled little treats-both savoury and sweet.  My idea of a perfect evening….

This was my favourite taste:

1/4 c butter, softened

1/4 c powdered sugar (I use icing is that the same as powdered?)

1 egg

1 1/2 c flour

1/4 t salt

1/3 c finely chopped pistachio nuts

granulated sugar

1 1/4 c powdered sugar

1/4 c butter, softened

1/2 t vanilla

1-2 T maraschino cherry juice

In a large bowl, combine 1/4 c butter and 1/4 c powdered sugar.  Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until well mixed., scraping bowl occasionally.  Add egg, beat until combined.  Gradually beat in flour and salt on low speed until well mixed.  Form a large cookie log.  Cover and chill about 1 hour.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Place pistachios in a shallow pan.  Roll the cookie log in nuts to coat.  Slice into 1/2 inch slices (you may require a glass of water to keep the knife moist) and place 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with the granulated sugar.  Bake for 8-9 minutes or just until edges begin to turn golden brown.  Transfer to a wire rack; let cool.  In the mean time, prepare filling: in a small bowl, combine 1 1/4 c powdered sugar, 1/4 c of butter and vanilla.  Beat in enough of the cherry juice to make a filling of desired consistency.  Spread a healthy teaspoon of filling on the bottom half of the cookies.  Top with remaining cookies, flat sides down, pressing lightly together. Makes about 21 sandwich cookies.  To store: layer cookies between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container; cover.  Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Kath’s quote:  “When I make cookies, I eat just four and throw the rest away. But first I spray them with Raid so I won’t dig them out of the garbage later. Be careful, though, because that Raid really doesn’t taste that bad.”-Janette Barber

The Redhead


The Redhead 349 13th St. between 1st and 2nd Ave. in the East Village.  We found this crazy/cozy little place on line and it was a pleasant stroll away from our home away from home in the Gramercy/Flatiron neighbourhood.

They do not take reservations and so our party of five had to perch in the bar until our table was ready.  We were content to start with Allagash “White” beer (from Maine)-a taste sensation that we do not enjoy back home on the Canadian prairies.  We also sampled the perfect bar snack-Bacon Peanut Brittle.    It satisfied our sweet/salty craving and was just enough to satiate us until we were transferred from the bar to the dining room-mere steps away.

I could go into detail about the housemade waffle fries with butter braised onion-dip , low country shrimp in Anson mills antebellum grits and pan-roasted grouper that we ordered but there is no need because the star of the menu and our evening was that ultimate comfort food-Buttermilk Fried Chicken!  Do not order anything else or you will sacrifice your taste of the most amazing fried chicken that I have ever tasted.  I am even including the freshly killed, fresh home bread  crumb-coated and lard fried version that my little Grandma used to make.  We speculated that the boneless breast and drum/thigh,  pieces were marinated in buttermilk to tenderize and maintain the unequalled juiciness.  All this was served with cornbread and a spinach, strawberry and almond salad for only $18.

We saw the Crawfish “Macaroni and Cheese” with tarragon and truffle jus being enthusiastically enjoyed at another table.  So too, the fried green tomatoes.  We could not resist an order of the Fried Blueberry Pie with lemon ice cream that we shared 4 ways.

The Redhead is a fabulous New York find for southern/comfort food at its finest.  To top perfection, they deliver individual cello wrapped coconut cookies with the bill!

Redhead on Urbanspoon
Kath’s quote:  “Food, like a loving touch or a glimpse of divine power, has that ability to comfort.”-Norman Kolpas

Outside Eats


Even though the evenings are chilly at this time of year, most of this last cabin weekend was spent outside. Friday night we celebrated a niece’s birthday with nachos and cupcakes around a fire pit.  Saturday we watched “Babies” and “This Is It” on a big outdoor screen.  These were chosen for their lack of complicated story line because we had two brand new international students from Bejing, China in the crowd.  We had the fire pit going that night too and also got out blankets and toques.  Popcorn and penny candy was passed around to the 25 of us assembled on the cabin front lawn.

In spite of how much our family loves traditions, even to the extent of annual dinners, Sister #2 took a risk and made a decision to simplify the menu for this year’s Labour Day Weekend Beach Barbecue.  She usually makes skewers of pork, chicken, beef and shrimp and then veggie skewers.  But the prepped last year just about did her in.  She headed to the beach about half an hour before the rest of us to light the live coals in our two little grills.

While the burgers cooked, she had red pepper hummous, artichoke and jalepeno dips, as well as her own delicious concoction of cream cheese, Imperial cheese and strawberry preserves.  These were accompanied by a vermouth, soda and lemon cocktail.  Beer and Shiraz were served with the prime rib burgers.

Besides sauteed onions and bacon, she had made pesto basil and sun dried tomato mayonnaises.  She also put out huge bowls of potato salad, Greek pasta salad and Caesar salad.

We delayed dessert until much later in the evening (as we were literally groaning over our supper) when we  reassembled around a fire back at the cottage.  Cranberry oatmeal cookies and fire grilled blueberry, apple and raspberry pies were a wonderful snack later in the evening.

Kath’s quote:  “Grilling, broiling, barbecuing – whatever you want to call it – is an art, not just a matter of building a pyre and throwing on a piece of meat as a sacrifice to the gods of the stomach.”-James Beard

Just Soup-Little Saigon


I have watched with envy in various cities but especially New york, when the supper hour arrives and people pop in on their way home from work to pick up supper.  This has never been a part of our lifestyle until recently.  I was on my way home from my baby hugging shift at the hospital and D’s tennis game had been cancelled due to rain.  I decided to stop at the Little Saigon Restaurant for soup-just soup, I kept telling myself as I remembered my favourite menu items and even their menu numbers by heart:

#1 Spring Rolls, #5 Charbroiled pork with rice vermicelli and fresh vegetables, #21 Deluxe Won Ton Soup and #80 Salt & Pepper shrimp with the shell off.  Just soup, just soup.

I did it.  I placed the order for 2 portions of #12 Deluxe Beef & Rice Noodle Soup.  They had to pack the containers in a handled bag for me to carry it out to the car.  And that bag was heavy!

Two containers included the lovely, rich broth with slices of spring onion floating on top.  The other two packages (where the weightiness came in) were filled with the noodles, bean sprouts, rare shaved beef, a lime and a sauce of spicy hoisin.

We placed our fixings in the bottom of a huge pasta bowl and poured the broth over top.  It took 2 hands to carry each bowl to the dining room table without spilling.  Savoury, so satisfying and amazingly, it was just soup.

Little Saigon Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: The smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls, ready to remind us…..”-Marcel Proust

Inland New Orleans


We love  New Orleans.  The city, especially the French Quarter is a fascinating place to stay and the eating adventures are unequalled.  So when we were invited to a New Orleans themed party recently, thrown by CN to celebrate the success of the Canadian Women’s Open, we were thrilled to attend.

Upon arrival at a banquet room at the Delta Hotel, we were escorted down a cavern filled with card readers and fortune tellers.    The next stop was to dress up in beads and boas to further set the tone of the evening.  Overhead were persons “of the evening” calling out to us and throwing more beads.  From there we girded up with a cocktail called a  Hurricane, served in impressively tall glasses (but not quite so tall as the ones we were permitted to roam Bourban Street with).

There were duplicates of restaurant fronts reconstructed around the room with cafe tables set out as if out on the patio.  We choose a high bar table by a fountain.  From there we took turns going back and forth with samplings for each other.  There were little brown bags of chips and breaded pork along with sliders and sausages at one;  chicken skewers, jambalaya and cajun shrimp served in a jester’s chalice at another.  Fried banana peppers added some firey pops and BBQ meatballs and ribs made for deliciously messy eating.  For us though, the highlights were the prawn poh-boys, corn bread in a savoury broth, fried bananas in spiced rum sauce and bread pudding with Carmel sauce.  Alas, no oysters on the half shell…..

Saxophone and horn players wound through the crowd and on stage was a band flown in from Louisiana.  It was hard to believe that we were still in Winnipeg when we left the hotel that evening and drove up to the cottage.

Kath’s quote:  “New Orleans food is as delicious as the less criminal forms of sin.”~ Mark Twain

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