Food Musings

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

Easter at Purcell

April6

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New life, hope and joy-what we experienced this Easter. We commenced the weekend with a special Maundy Thursday lamb dinner, attended a poignant Good Friday service and then scooted out to our beach house for a piece of the weekend, returning bright and early Easter morn for a glorious celebration. The fall was an especially tough time for our family but we persevered through winter and now spring has arrived as it always does.

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We are a family who loves traditions and our annual Easter get-together is a highlight. Dinner provides the two families of our daughter-in-law J2 to sup together. She and J1 do such a marvelous job of hosting. Their mutual attention to detail makes my heart sing! There were three spring cocktails to choose from (in addition to his home crafted beer and plenty of contributed wine). This basil, amaretto, spiced rum and lime juice creation being just one.

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Appetizers included guacamole & salsa, brie baked with slivers of garlic, pesto and red pepper jelly. The Wee One joined in with gusto.

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Dinner items were contributed by all in attendance: a spiral ham, cheesy scalloped potatoes, pecan sweet potatoes, sherried mushrooms & green beans, stuffed mushrooms, maple brussel sprouts roasted with pancetta and from-scratch Caesar salad! Our dessert tradition is pavlova and this particular year, it was stellar.

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The Wee One patiently waiting for one of her beloved Poppas to serve up hers.

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The Wee One’s reading chair set by the fireplace, reminded me anew of the simple pleasures and blessings of life: a basket of books, a cozy throw, warm lighting and a family who thinks that she is the bee’s knees! What else could a 20 month toddler need?

We hope that you experience new life, hope and joy this Easter.

Kath’s quote: “Spring being a tough act to follow, God created June.”-Al Bernstein

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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

Healthy eating and staying in shape from the comfort of your home

April1

Like me, if you’re someone who enjoys anything and everything food related, we shouldn’t have to feel guilty about it, right? Right. But, as much as I love my food, it does mean that I have to try and maintain a balanced diet and eat as healthy as I can. This also means that with all the savoury foods, I enjoy, I have to keep physically active and fit.

The winters can reach extreme temperatures where we are which sometimes means it’s advised that we don’t leave our homes. This then becomes an easy excuse (if ever I needed one) to not go walking or to a fitness class. Well now I actually don’t have an excuse because it’s recently dawned that I can bring the gym to me. Ok well not a gym exactly, but definitely part of it. In this case, I have been thinking of investing in a treadmill to keep me active during the cold nights. Not knowing the first thing about treadmills or where to even start looking to purchase one I came across a website that has been a great resource, providing in-depth reviews and information they from experienced treadmill buyers. What’s great for fellow food lovers is that Treadmillreviews offers information to help us understand the numbers that make up our bodies, and helps to calculate the figures in helping to lose weight! There’s also a section on the website where you can answer a few questions and it will work out which treadmill is best suited to you. How cool is that?!

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With that all said and in mind, I thought that if I’m to make changes to my body, it needs to start with my diet. To begin with, my diet isn’t bad, but like anything there’s always room for improvement. I started doing some research on “healthy eating,” although that didn’t prove to be much help because it only showed me what I already knew; eat your fruit and veg, drink more water, cut out junk food, and so forth. What I was really looking for was some in-depth information that was going to make me want to drink a kale and spinach smoothie in the mornings and be satisfied with a chicken breast for lunch, something inspiring and motivating. That’s when I came across this Super Salads blog post.

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At first thought, a salad can seem boring. However, after doing some research into super salads I found that boring is the last thing they are and it is the perfect way of staying fit and eating healthy, but tasty food. Nutritional, great for detoxing, tastes fantastic and benefits your body. Of course, you still need to be wary of the ingredients you’re mixing together in a salad, but with the endless options and choices, lettuce has never tasted so good!

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What I have learned is that working out actually makes me want to keep healthy eating. And healthy eating is doing so much not just for my body, but my skin, my mood and overall lifestyle.

These gorgeous photos are from my niece and Goddaughter’s Joyful Vitality Facebook page. Check it out and then “like” it.

Kath’s quote: “We have said how necessary it is that in the composure of a sallet (salad), every plant should come in to bear its part, without being overpower’d by some herb of a stronger taste, so as to endanger the native sapor and virtue of the rest; but fall into their places, like the notes in music, in which there should be nothing harsh or grating: And though admitting some discords (to distinguish and illustrate the rest) striking in all the more sprightly, and sometimes gentler notes, reconcile all dissonances, and melt them into an agreeable composition.”
-John Evelyn, ‘Acetaria: A Discourse of Sallets’ (1699)

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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

Decadent Lunch at The Keg Steakhouse +Bar

March30

In the same manner that some of you (including my D) may have a sweet tooth, I have a rich savoury tooth. I crave foods like creamy cheese, seafood and grilled meats. This makes my regular sojourns to The Keg for lunch,  bit of a challenge. Not that they do not have items that foot the bill on their lunch menu. Au contrare, they have too many for me to a timely decision!

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On this particular day my lunch mates made savoury choices too: one selecting an appetizer for his lunch of bacon-wrapped scallops and the other, a half of a prime rib sandwich with a cup of the soup of the day. They were settled in to enjoy their satisfying lunches, while I tucked into mine.

 

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What could be more decadent than Lobster Mac and cheese? The casserole arrived still bubbling from the oven. I moved the succulent lobster pieces aside to save them for my last bites while I took mini tastes (to make the treat last that much longer) of the perfectly prepared pasta, bechamel sauce and sharp cheddar cheese. The lobster held its own against the other rich ingredients and I was perfectly satisfied. Well, almost. I had been thinking that a little drizzle of truffle oil that reminded of a chef’s special I had tasted at The Keg some months before, would have been the perfect savoury taste. See? I am obsessed!

Lunch this day, reflected my day to day philosophy. Life’s short, eat a rich casserole first.

The Keg Steakhouse + Bar on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we diet.” -author unknown

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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

Tikin Xic

March28

At the request of another Islaholic, here is the recipe for Barbeque Fish. It was provided by Patsi Hendricks of Villa Amistad in the cookbook entitled Cocina Islena-a fundraising initiative for PEACE Isla Mujeres.

In the Yucatan, this very typical way to serve fresh fish dates back to the very early Maya.  On Isla, it is served at many beach restaurants, as well as other restaurants that serve local food. Tikin Xic (pronounced teek-in-sheek) is usually cooked on an outdoor wood grill. In Mexico the fish is served with the head, tail and spine intact!

1 grouper or equally firm fleshed fish, about 2 1/2 pounds cleaned, head, tail and spine removed, split down the middle to lie flat
3 ounces (1 package) achiote paste
1/3 cup bitter orange juice, or: mix sweet orange juice (3 oranges) and white vinegar half and half
1 small poblano or green pepper, seeded and cut into rings
1 guajillo chili, seeded and sliced into thin strips lengthwise (any mild chili could substitute)
1 medium tomato, sliced into thin rounds
1 small purple onion, sliced into rings
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
4 ounces beer
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 banana leaf, softened over a flame (if this is unavailable use foil)

Wash the grouper, pat it dry with paper towels and salt and pepper it. Mix the achiote paste and bitter orange juice, spread the mixture over the fish, and let it marinate for 3 hours.

Place the fish on the softened banana leaf and arrange the bell pepper, chili, tomato and onion slices on the fish; sprinkle with oregano, olive oil and beer.

Wrap the banana leaf or foil around the fish and place it in an oblong baking dish. Bake in a 350 degree oven for approximately 40 minutes, or until it is cooked through. Can be grilled. Be careful to not overcook the fish. If using a smaller amount of fish, shorten the cooking time.

Serves 6.

Kath’s quote: That outdoor grilling is a manly pursuit has long been beyond question. If this wasn’t firmly understood, you’d never get grown men to put on those aprons with pictures of dancing wienies and things on the front…”-William Geist

 

Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

Eddy’s Place

March27

A friend, who is a long time and proud North End resident, once told me about a pool hall with food so delectable that Winnipeg businessmen would hold their breakfast meetings in the booths set along one wall of the hall. If they managed to snag the perfect table, they could keep a watchful eye on their Mercedes or BMW parked in the lot across Selkirk Ave. Perhaps this custom has changed because today’s regular clientele, appear to have long retired from the life of commerce.

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It was my very first visit to Eddy’s Place, 669 Selkirk Ave., so I needed some time to take in my surroundings of orange acrylic tables, patterned carpets, wood walls, moose antlers and a beer-can fishing rod, before I could peruse the extensive menu.  I very much wanted to sample the Kubby and Perogies but my lunch date was hesitant, indicating that few restaurants can prepare them as carefully as they are served in Winnipeg homes. She shared her secret, that they should first be boiled and set aside (my Mom would drizzle melted butter in between the layers ) and then be pan-fried just before eating, with a smidgeon of water in the pan to keep the dough tender and moist.

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Eddy’s perogies came very close, but perhaps could have benefitted from the “secret” ingredient. Our server indicated that they are made especially for the restaurant by a local lady. The accompanying sautéed onions were lovely. The specifics of the cheese when mixed with the potato stuffing were difficult to determine, I am not sure what “North End perogy making experts” use, but my Mom swore by the inclusion of Velveeta cheese.

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The generous cuts of kielbasa were fried on the grill and were fine enough. I prefer the course (chunky) variety that you can source from the many amazing butcher shops that still dot the city. A “ring” of the delicacy ensures a natural casing, whereby we detected that this offering was from a coil.  No wonder, as the best kielbasa rings are a very dear price.

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The hand cut fries that accompanied the Rueben that we were also sharing, were delicious on their own and elevated with the grated marble cheese and homemade chili that was the feature on this day. The Rueben was sensational including a smear of mustard in addition to the traditional ingredients.  I teased the waitress by stating that the best Rueben in the city is still found at Luda, knowing that there has been a long-standing history between the two restaurants.

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If you plan on visiting over the summer, note that they are closed Saturdays from May Long until Labour Day.

Eddy's Place on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Square meals, not adventurous ones, are what you should seek.”-Bryan Miller (NY Times Restaurant Critic)
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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

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