Food Musings

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

A Most Hospitable Wedding

October31

The Frenchman is now officially a part of our family.  The wedding took place on a glorious fall Sunday afternoon.  I have watched in fascination as they toiled to make their day one of love, comfort, joy, simplicity and hospitality.

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Our family of “helpers”.

The objective was very intentional and with a vision shared by their bridal party, friends, family and the folks at Fort Gilbraltar, they beautifully achieved their goal.

The scripture quote below from Romans was read at their wedding ceremony.  It is also the theme of this blog space and is quoted on the “About”.  So how did Reb and Seb go about “practicing hospitality” on their wedding day?

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They knew that they wanted to celebrate somewhere in St. Boniface.  Since Seb is French and Reb is Metis, the geography made perfect sense.  If you recall, Seb had proposed on the Provencher St. Bridge.  Their ultimate choice of Fort Gilbraltar as their venue had a great deal to do with the success of the day.  They were quite sure when they met with the expert staff at the fort that their vision for the day was embraced by all.

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The room was soft and warm even before it was full of all the people who love the couple and had traveled from near and far to celebrate the day with them.

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With personal touches like the decorating of the mantle, it felt like you had entered someone’s amazing home.

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The outside space at the fort is almost as beautiful as the inside and provided a relaxed space for the kids to run around and the adults to enjoy the last warm rays of the setting sun.  Late in the evening a bonfire was lit and little paper bags of smore fixings were set out for a treat.

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The split second timing of the wedding party entrance was absolutely magical and set the scene for the rest of the evening.

I decided that it would be crass for me to take photos of the food throughout the evening and so I don’t have specific details to share with you, except to say that Reb & Seb also wanted the eating portion of the celebration to be in keeping with their overall vision.  As a result, instead of having a formal sit down dinner or even a buffet style where people would be “stuck” at a table, they wanted finger food to be passed around for a considerable length of time so that guests would be satiated but unconfined during the process.  My personal favourite were the mini tortieres, both in theme and taste.  But the biggest hit was the poutine bar that was set up late in the evening.  Not only were the fries perfection (and you likely know that I am a French Fry snob) but the savoury gravy and the “real” cheese curds were sublime.  I am a purist regarding my poutine but I understand that the pulled pork topping was an enormous hit as well.

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Of utmost importance to Reb and Seb was that the joy of the day would be captured in an informal and unobtrusive manner.  The fabulous ladies of  “Hello Love Photography” ensured that this was achieved.

Kath’s quote: “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”

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Love-that is all.

“Cooking with Frank’s RedHot Cayenne Pepper Sauce” by Rachel Rappaport

October30

I was first introduced to Frank’s Hot Sauce years ago when it was the hot sauce of choice used by The Keg (dubbed The Keg ‘n Cleaver in those days) on their Buffalo Chicken Wings.   Since that time, we often grab it from the door of the fridge to add some extra “oomph” to a chili or jambalaya.  One of my favourite dishes is J1 and J2’s low cal variation of cauliflower tossed in hot sauce that caramelizes when broiled-yum.

If you are interested in spicing things up in your kitchen in ways you never dreamed possible, you need to get yourself a copy of this recipe book.  There are 65 imaginative recipes that turn up the heat with Frank’s: Honeyed Beer-Hot Sauce Ice Cream (J1-did you hear that?), Cinnamon Cayenne Buns, Smoky Hot Bacon Mac and Cheese and Tangy Pineapple Pulled Pork.  The illustrations in the book are mouth-watering and best of all the font is big enough for me to see without my reading glasses!

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I made up a batch of the Spiced Party Mix with excellent results.  The recipes are well-tested and produce predictable results.

Kath’s quote: “I mixed business with pleasure, added some hot sauce, and ate it.”-unknown

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Love-that is all.

Peasant Cookery for a Family Birthday

October27

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How could you not think that this face is adorable-right?  Not everyone wants a baby sitting next to them in a restaurant.  Lucky for us, the Wee One has been dining out since the week that she was born and knows how to behave herself when called upon.  Besides, it was her Daddy’s birthday and she wanted to get in on the festivities.  We had assembled at Peasant Cookery in the Exchange and it was still early in the evening.

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Peasant Cookery has a pleasant and open feeling but you can still find a quiet corner to curl up with a loved one for a more romantic rendezvous.

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Daughter #2 could only stay for a brief time as she attends a weekly pottery class.  She had a quick treat of luscious poutine before she departed.

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The rest of us tucked into Peasant’s delectable charcuterie board.  I tried to keep up with jotting down the various meat selections as the board was placed in front of us but I could not.  I have misplaced my notes since that evening anyway.  Suffice it to say, each nibble was an adventure and as a family, we love sharing and discovering food in this manner.

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J2 was pleased that at first glance her pickerel was so abundant but found that it was mostly batter and thought that there  be more “sticks” in this dish named Fish & Sticks.

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The Frenchman was more than pleased with his tourtiere and he should know, having grown up on the dish.

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D chose the Mahi Mahi and especially liked the persillade (parsley) crusting.

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My choice was the spaghetti with clams and bacon.  This was a densely flavoured dish between the plentiful bacon and the pesto sauce and although I might choose something lighter next time, it certainly was a decadent treat.

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The birthday boy selected the Berkshire pork and took little nibbles for what seemed like a very long time in order to savour and fully enjoy the dish.

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Daughter #1 has a soft spot for gnocchi and orders it almost every chance she gets.  Peasant’s version includes aged cheddar in the dough and then the heavenly nuggets are tossed with sautéed sun dried tomatoes, spinach, red onion and piquillo peppers.   A moat of basil oil edges the plate.

Peasant promises rustic seasonal food and it delivers.  Most importantly, the birthday boy felt pampered and lovingly nourished and isn’t that what it’s all about?

Peasant Cookery on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Peasant foods often involve skilled preparation by knowledgeable cooks using inventiveness and skills passed down from earlier generations. Such dishes are often prized as ethnic foods by other cultures and by descendants of the native culture who still desire these traditional dishes even when their incomes rise to the point where they can purchase any food they like.”-Wikipedia

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Love-that is all.

Enoteca Wine Repository

October24

Living in River Heights has many advantages; the canopy of elm tree- lined streets is only one of many. The exceptional restaurants within walking distance of our home verge on gluttonous: Fusion Grill, In Ferno’s, Pizzeria Gusto, Chew, Bonfire Bistro, Mona Lisa and now right smack at the end of our street at 1670 Corydon Ave.: Enoteca Wine Repository!  We were very lucky to get a reservation on a recent Friday evening.  We had the choice of 5:30 or 9 pm.  We picked the former, thinking that we would be the only ones dining at such a gauche hour but such was not the case.  The little place was singing with happy diners.

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We were celebrating Sister #3’s birthday so we let the guest of honour choose a couple of small plates to start us off.

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First up were roasted beets and oranges accompanied by shards of fennel and horseradish and garnished with toasted pine nuts and pumpkin seeds along with a cool ladle of labneh (strained yoghurt).  Olive oil may have been drizzled onto the plate or perhaps the sparkling ingredients simply oozed their natural juiciness.

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Along next was freshly made fettucine with lamb sugo which I would describe as a meaty broth, sugo literally meaning the natural juices of a roast. Chevre and a second sauce of parsley, garlic and lemon zest adorned the top and floated around the edges of the dish.

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The piece de résistance was a braised short rib, pressed into a smoked potato puree and topped with oyster mushrooms and hot mustard. The essence of the dish was sauce perigeux which is made with Madeira and decadent and earthy, black truffles.  Just a little of the latter goes a long way.  This and all the sauces were so heavenly that we did something that we should have done at the start of the meal-we ordered a bread basket to lap up the sauce. The attentive serving staff tried to clear the plate a couple of times, but we continued to grasp it until the toasted bread arrived.

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The Bread Pudding that the birthday girl chose was no ordinary bread pudding as it was made with buttery brioche. The caramel burnt butter sauce caramelized walnuts and in-house made ice cream put the humble dessert over the top.

As opposed to oohhing and ahhing about each dish separately, I have waited until this point. Each dish was simply sensational and it is hard to find the words to say the same thing over and over again.  Simply sensational…  The service is an added bonus to the food.  A team of servers took care of us under the leadership of waiter Doug.  We have met Doug before at Segovia and believe that he is one of the city’s best. That evening, my friend Laurie Hughes who is the publisher of Taste and Ciao Magazine was catching an early dinner with her daughter (in fact, she offered to take the photo of the three sisters).  She loved everything that they sampled too.  Praise from Laurie is high praise, indeed.  Go, just go.

Enoteca on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Anybody can make you enjoy the first bite of a dish, but only a real chef can make you enjoy the last.”-Francois Minot

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Love-that is all.

Last Minute Lunch-Terrace in the Park

October23

I have an exciting life-one that is full of treats and surprizes.  But it does take some spontaneity and flexibility on my part.  Case in point: one morning I got an email from a friend asking me if I could make it to lunch that day.  The restaurant that she does some promotional work for, required “bodies” for a TV program entitled “Meagan’s Menu”.  Alas, I wasn’t free as I had a baby-sitting date with the “Wee One”.  Moments later J2 texted me to say that her client had to cancel and therefore my grandma time was not required.  Although I was disappointed about not spending time with my grandbaby, I glanced at my watch, delighted that I could now enjoy the lunch opportunity.  Luckily, Assiniboine Park where the gorgeous locale of “Terrace in the Park” is located, is only minutes away from our home.

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I tucked into the Edaname Salad and decided to take a taste so that I would have room for the rest of the courses that I knew where on their way but I could simply not resist and ate almost every bite.  I love the taste of edname beans all by themselves so to be enhanced with red pepper, cucumber, wakame (seaweed) and a citrus dressing was all a bonus.  But best of all was the was the complement of plenty of fresh cilantro making every taste simply sparkle.

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My favourite flavours of lime and cilantro were continued in the salmon dish.  Some people like to switch up flavours between courses but when I like something, I cannot get enough of it.  Besides, the manner in which the panko-crusted salmon mingled with the herb and citrus flavours were completely different than with the beans.  But I could truly only manage one taste of the ample fish, rapini and baby potatoes.  I had the rest boxed up and shared it with D for supper.  The nifty and pretty yellow package was a lemon wrapped in cheesecloth so that no seeds escaped onto the fish whilst enjoying the juice.

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I rarely am tempted by dessert but I simply could not resist the sounds of this one- a cheesecake not incorporating cream cheese but chevre goat cheese!  Each taste was rich and immensely satisfying and I was hard-pressed to ask to have it boxed up as well.  The flecks of nutmeg and the sour cherry compote were delectable enhancements.

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Although the day was gloomy, the naturally lit solarium was bright and fresh.  Through the window next to my table, I could see that they were setting up for a ceremony of some kind.  What a heavenly setting!

Terrace in the Park on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Oh, the pleasure of eating my dinner alone!”-Charles Lamb

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Love-that is all.

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