Food Musings

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

My Turquoise House-Inspired by our Travels

February18

I first fell in love with the colour turquoise years ago when I entered a water cave called the Blue Grotto off of the Amalfi coast in Italy.  A subsequent trip to Cozumel with Sister #3 cinched the deal. I was smitten and started incorporating azure in my jewelry, wardrobe and eventually in my home.

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In our bedrom, turquoise is combined with lime green and mauve. That might sound kind of “out there” but I think that it works. On my side of the bed are photos of my first journey to Isla Mujeres with my sisters in 2005 and D’s first trip a year or so later. Above our bed is also an original print that I bought while visiting the Frenchman’s family home in Peterborough.

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By D’s bedside is a photo of the Wee One’s first visit to Isla. Black and white photos of Italy and Paris also adorn the walls. A coral heart found on the beach outside our little apartment on Isla has a prominent perch.

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This hutch in the dining room was my first big commitment to the colour. It houses china, glassware and crockery but of particular delight are the bowls that I purchased for each of us from my favourite dressmaker’s shop on Isla Mujeres.

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I love organic pieces like shells, rocks and coral that I accumulate as I beach comb wherever I travel. If there’s a beach-I’m on it!

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This window box is full of shells collected on Isla.

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In the vase above are a bouquet of the internal spiral of bleached conch shells.  I think that they resemble cala lilies. The photo montage are of the gorgeous coloured buildings found on Isla.

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On another wall of the dining room is a collection of photos from Sicily, the Amalfi Coast, Cinque Terre, the French Riviera and Paris.

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Turquoise has even crept into the grey and yellow colour scheme in the kitchen.

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This pretty little bowl was also purchased on Isla.

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Turquoise with red, brown and black in our family room.

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And so it is in my cozy little home, dreaming of a turquoise sea.

Kath’s quote: “She would be half a planet away, floating in a turquoise sea, dancing by moonlight to flamenco guitar.”  -Janet Fitch

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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

 

“Tasting The Seasons”-by Kerry Dunnington

February16

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I do not say this to boast: D and I are really good cooks. I say this to explain why it is not very often in our house that D will go on and on about how tasty a recipe was. But such was the case, the first time I prepared a dinner from a new cookbook on my shelf “Tasting the Seasons”. I was looking for a one-bowl dish that we could enjoy in the living room whilst watching the Jets game. This dish was so easy to assemble with items that I already had on my pantry shelves and in my freezer.

The dish was entitled “Greek-Style Shrimp” and had caught my eye because we had just had a lovely visit with Boo and The Frenchman to hear about their upcoming honeymoon to Greece. As we spoke about all the things that they would see and taste, I had a yearning for olives, lemon and oregano. In this recipe, I had to switch out the shrimp for rockfish as that is what I had defrosted for our dinner.

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The results were so delectable. Not only did D scoop up two helpings but he could not speak of anything else. This is even more unusual in the middle of a thrilling Jets game, where we are typically either in concentrated silence or yelling at the screen to go after the puck! The casserole was a layered dish starting with spinach, then tomatoes, garbonzo beans and brown & wild rice. Cooked shrimp was called for next but I layered the uncooked rockfish that I had tossed in olive oil and lemon zest and then placed it right on top of the other layers. More tomatoes and crumbled feta went over the fish and then it was covered and baked. The “icing on the cake” was a mixture of Greek yoghurt, oregano, red pepper flakes and pitted & diced Kalamata olives. Wow-deep pungent tastes enhanced by the spritely lemon zest and fish!

I guess that we could have ordered a pizza but in keeping with author Kerry Dunnington’s philosophy we were content to taste the seasons:

…we are reducing our fast-food indulgences (and their wasteful packaging) in favour of home-cooked meals, served with eco-friendly, china, glass and flatware. …the meals you cook at home are more likely to be nutritious and satisfying-as well as far less taxing on your budget and the environment-than store-bought, carry out, drive-thru or prepared food.

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By the end of the evening D was delighted by another circumstances-the Jets beat Detroit in a shoot out! He had burned all the calories of our delicious one-bowl dinner by jumping up and down in front of the TV during the game’s exciting conclusion.

Kath’s quote: “It is probable that the lemon is the most valuable of all fruit for preserving health.” –Maud Grieve

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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

 

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Kudara Korean & Japanese Restaurant

February13

Korean cuisine is not familiar to me, so I had to ask an expert to join me when I dined at Kudara Korean & Japanese Restaurant. Sister #3 hosts international students in her home including those from South Korea and is a food expert in her own right.

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She introduced me to Kyung Jae Lee, the gregarious owner of the four table spot.

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The beautiful red walls and brightly coloured photos adorning the walls are as a warm and spritely as the proprietor.

“KJ” arrived in Canada in 1997 and purchased this location two and a half years ago. She and her husband prepare authentic Korean and sushi together.

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We appreciated the miso soup to start, as it was a frigid winter day when we dined.

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Soon after, a hot stone bowl arrived at the table heaped with steamed rice, stir fried veggies, marinated beef and a glistening egg yolk. The dish is dubbed Bibim Bap. Had my expert not been with me, I would not have known that the contents of the bowl are meant to be stirred up immediately so that the egg adheres to the other ingredients and gets cooked from the heat radiating from the bowl. The rice that was at the bottom of the basin stayed there the longest and became crunchy to the tooth. As a result, the complex flavours included sweet, savoury, tangy and salty and the textures ranged from silky to crispy. With the taste of one dish, I was hooked on Korean food!

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As an intermission between our two Korean dishes, came a sushi duo of Yammy Yammy which is my sister’s all time favourite sushi roll

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and a selection appropriately called the Academy Roll named by one the restaurant’s regular customers. Originally concocted by KJ’s son it contains avocado, crab, salmon and pink roe. The roll is then crispy fried and adorned with a drizzling of sweet chili and mustard sauces.

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Last but not least, was the arrival of Dak Galbi-spicy marinated dark chicken meat, cabbage, onions, and carrot threads sizzling on a wrought iron platter. One taste and you too may become a fan of Korean food. My sister predicts it is the new ethnic cuisine trend.

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Kudara Sushi on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “I love food, all types of food. I love Korean food, Japanese, Italian, French. In Australia, we don’t have a distinctive Australian food, so we have food from everywhere all around the world.”- Hugh Jackman

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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

 

Opportunities and RAW:almond

February12

by guest blogger Lori Dyck

When was the last time you were given an opportunity?

Ok.

When was the last time you took an opportunity.

See, if you wait for them.. they may never come. Today I took one and I’m so glad I did.

I wanted so badly to go to RAW:almond restaurant this winter.  When a friend tried to book us in for dinner this year and told me that it was sold out I was incredibly disappointed. RAW:almond, a unique winter dining experience on the river at the Forks in Winnipeg is only open for a short time… and it’s tough to get in. A few weeks ago I received an email invitation from Sara Comrie who organizes an informal group I belong to called the Media Mavens. I hadn’t attended a Media Mavens get together in some time due to family commitments, but when I saw the subject line from Sara that said “Register now for an exclusive RAW:almond lunch on the river!”, I said, “I’m in!”.

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I didn’t know the guest speaker Susan Krepart before walking into the luncheon. I’m now so glad I’ve heard her story. She talked about exactly what brought me to the luncheon in the first place. Seizing opportunity. Susan was the woman who single-handedly organized the Magnus Hay Formula Drive when she heard that Winnipeg Harvest didn’t have enough for their Hunger for Hope program last Christmas. And by organized I mean, she drove all over the city picking up donations and stored them in her dining room. Oh THAT Susan! Of course I had heard of her! She’s a Manitoba Hero, after all!

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Susan’s message resonated with me.

“We often think and feel a lot and don’t do anything about it.”

We don’t have the time, we don’t have extra money to give, right? But when it comes down to it, like Susan said:

“Babies going hungry in Winnipeg is unacceptable.”

For the occasional formula I gave my own babies, I know how expensive it is! Many Winnipeg families depend on Winnipeg Harvest’s Hunger for Hope program to feed their babies and for many, formula is the only option. Susan undoubtedly inspired every single person that attended the luncheon today, which was organized by the Women in Communications and Technology (WCT).

RAW:almond was actually the perfect setting for today’s event. Not only because the food is amazing but because of what the restaurant is about. Chef Mandel Hitzer, co-creator of the pop-up restaurant explained to our group why he started this concept in the first place: to bring people together, to share food and stories. Mission accomplished, I’d say.

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Media Maven co-ordinator Sara Comrie with RAW: almond creator and chef Mandel Hitzer

Oh, and the food! You can’t go to RAW:almond and not brag about the food you just ate! Our lunch was served family-style along the wood-topped table runner. Plates of roasted beets, parsnips, radishes topped with a yogurt dressing and fresh dill, arugula salad with asparagus and bulgur, and deliciously seasoned skin-on chicken topped with baked fries. So good. Glad I took this opportunity to have lunch with these women today, to check out this fabulous Winnipeg restaurant and to hear Susan’s story. I left full and inspired.

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Cozy Up in Winnipeg

February11

Fresh snow on the ground and 20 below temperatures make me (and I am guessing many Winnipeggers), think “cozy”.

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For me, cozy is being inside but seeing the wind blow the snow around outside.  You can do this and enjoy savoury soups at Prarie 360, Terrace 55 in Assiniboine Park or the Tapastry at the Niakwa Golf and Country Club. The Peasant Cookery has a couple of snugly booths to enjoy gooey poutine (to add an extra layer of insulation).

Sipping a glass of red wine in front of the fireplace at Confusion Corner Bar & Grill or any one of the Keg Steakhouse + Bars can warm up an evening-especially if you are getting caught up with a close friend.  The toss cushions and soft drapery of the Clay Oven on Kenaston is sure to cozy you up and an order of their Vindaloo Shrimp guarantees it (you can decide the fieriness). The natural wood details at The Chew, Deseo Bistro and Segovia can get me thinking about a walk in the forest. Truth is, I walk work through anything to taste the offerings of these three restaurants.

The wood burning ovens at Pizzeria GustoFood Evolution and Bonfire Bistro are sure to throw some heat.  Doesn’t matter what you order-its all good!  A hot made- from -scratch cocoa at Chocolatier Constance Popp’s or Baked Expectations should increase your cozy quotient.

If an intimate pub is your cup of tea, head to The Grove or the King’s Head for a pint and fish and chips.  Speaking of tea-special local blends are concocted at Cornelia Bean on Academy and are also served up, down the road at Saucers Cafe.  Isn’t it lovely to warm your hands around a cuppa?

Somehow just “being” in St. Boniface especially during Festival is a toasty time.  Chaise Café and Lounge and the Promenade Cafe make you forget that it’s even winter outside.  Muddy Waters Smokehouse is a fun place to warm up after a skate.  Any of the Osborne Village eateries are good destinations when you stroll down the Riverwalk.

Kath’s quote: “Soup is cuisine’s kindest course.  It breathes reassurance; it steams consolation; after a weary day it promotes sociability, as the five o’clock cup of tea or the cocktail hour.”-Louis P. De Gouy

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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

 

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