Food Musings

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

AAW Signature Awards at The Metropolitan Centre

May8

The AAW is the Advertising Association of Winnipeg and every year they recognize the best in advertising that is created in and for our city and province.  I have long been associated with this group and facilitate their Media Planning Couse each fall.  This provides a wonderful opportunity to meet the newest members of the industry and do my part to teach, mentor and pass the torch.  The Signatures are like our “Cannes” or as I have been known to say Winnipeg’s version of the Academy Awards; or the closest thing that we Winnipeggers will feel to experience such an event.  I suppose the more appropriate comparable would be the Golden Globes because guests sit at round tables and get to imbibe during the evening.  This sometimes creates some silliness at the podium both in Hollywood and in Winnipeg.

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Last night was my very first visit to the refurbished Metropolitan Entertainment Centre but certainly not my first visit to the building.  I clearly recall (and I recounted these stories last evening), being taken to see “101 Dalmatians” as a little girl with my twin brother and sister accompanied by our two eldest brothers.  I can also recollect viewing “The Poseidon Adventure” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark”.

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The building has been carefully restored and now looks like a beautiful Great Grandma, lovingly coiffed and dressed to attend a celebration for one of her great-grandchildren.

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The evening was one of those rare treats for me when my worlds collide, coupling the business that I have cherished over the years with my newish profession of blogger and food appreciator. I must confess at this juncture, that I did not have terribly high expectations for the food and I was pleasantly surprized.  The entire meal service was efficient and cordial.  We started with a subtle cream soup that was velvety smooth and slightly sweet and then immediately to a mixed green salad with oranges, cranberries, almonds and red onions.

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Both soup and salad courses are not often offered at formal dinners any more.  They happen to be the highlights for me.

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A bold move on behalf of the kitchen and organizers was the serving of pork for the entrée- a lovely surprize alternative to chicken.  The appropriate sized cut was accompanied by an array of mixed vegetables and a triangular potato pie.  Loved it.

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Dessert was a light chocolate mousse and was served as the lights dimmed and the award festivities began.

The Metropolitan Entertainment Centre on Urbanspoon

In all, an absolutely lovely evening.  I extend my thanks to the Signature organizing committee and my table host-Global TV.

Kath’s quote: “And do as adversaries do in law, strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.”-William Shakespeare

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Love-that is all.

 

Vegetable Strudel

May6

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Even though I am not partial to sweets, I love anything baked with apples: apple pie, apple crisp, apple jacks (perhaps these are a Winnipeg thing), apple platz (definitely a Winnipeg thing) and apple strudel.  After years of being timid about working with phyllo pastry, I had to step up to the plate when a food styling gig that I was contracted for, demanded that I make my first fruit strudel.  What did I discover?  Working phyllo is a piece of cake.

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I had some phyllo dough in the freezer and decided that a vegetable strudel would make not only a perfect dinner that evening but that left overs would be handy for lunch.  I love spanakopita (a Greek pastry filled with spinach and feta), so I worked up a recipe that would spring off of it.

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Vegetable Strudel
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Mediteranean
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
Next time I was serve it with a light tomato sauce to moisten up a bit more.
Ingredients
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 yellow pepper, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 big handful of mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 t canola oil
  • 1 t salt
  • ½ t pepper
  • 1 T fresh rosemary, needles pulled from stem
  • 2 c cooked barley
  • 1 c feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 pkg. phyllo sheets
  • 3 T canola oil
  • ½ c breadcrumbs
Instructions
  1. Roast all veggies in a preheated oven 400 degree oven for 30 minutes, turning once during roasting.
  2. Place veggies in a large bowl and add cooked barley and crumbled feta.
  3. Add salt & pepper, taste and adjust if necessary.
  4. Keep phyllo wrapped in the plastic while working with it or cover with a damp tea towel.
  5. Count out sheets and use half the number for half of the veggie mixture.
  6. Place a sheet of phyllo on a clean counter, brush with oil and sprinkle with bread crumbs.
  7. Repeat using half the total number of sheets.
  8. Place half the filling along the edge of the stack.
  9. Roll up lengthwise, transfer to a baking sheet that has been sprayed with canola oil.
  10. Repeat with second strudel.
  11. Slash top layers of phyllo on a diagonal in serving sized pieces and brush with any remaining oil.
  12. Bake in a preheated oven of 400 degrees for 45 minutes until well browned and crisp.

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Kath’s quote: “You may feel that you have eaten too much…But this pastry is like feathers – it is like snow. It is in fact good for you, a digestive!”
-M.F.K. Fisher

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Love-that is all.

posted under Entrees | 2 Comments »

Easter Lunch At Terrace in the Park

May5

Our Mom has had a tough go of it this winter.  She is waiting out her time for a place at a nursing home, at the Misrecordia Hospital.  Earlier this winter there was a respiratory infection that spread through the ward so they had to put the residents under quarantine to protect any further people in the hospital becoming sick.  The ward is old and Mom’s room is very small and even though friends gather together in the hallways to visit, Mom can’t hear very well and the echoey hallway does not promote a great conversation.  So, as you can imagine she was getting pretty antsy by the time the limitations were lifted, just before Easter.  Mom was supposed to go to Deer Lodge to have some dental work done and when her appointment was postponed, she was so disappointed.  When Sister #3 sympathized with her and said: “I know Mom, it must be frustrating to not be able to get your teeth worked on”.  Mom, replied: “No, my mouth isn’t bothering me, I was just looking forward to getting out of here.”

Sister #3 decided that it was time to make arrangements for an outing.  For as long as we can remember, visiting the flower conservatory at Assiniboine Park has been one of our family Easter traditions.  Sister #3 did some research to ensure that there would be something on the menu at Terrace in the Park for Mom to eat with her dental issues.  The plans were set into motion and I met the wheelchair van at the front of the Pavilion.  We had some time to spare before our reservation, so we took the elevator up to see the Winnie the Pooh Gallery and other enjoyable exhibits.

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The day was cold, gray and drizzly but we were cheered by our lovely round table waiting for us.

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We were hungry and dived into the bread basket.  This was how the piped butter was presented.  With such attention to detail, we were assured that our lunch would be lovely.

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We thought that Mom should be able to tackle the Crab and Pea Risotto.  She found it a little bland and asked for the salt shaker which is quite common with Mom.  But she was absolutely right-when the seasonings of the dish were corrected with a bit of salt, it was rich, creamy and satisfying.  I personally don’t “get” risotto.  I am not sure that all the effort of the constant stirring and adding small amounts of liquid and cheese is worth the pay off.  But, who am I to say?  Others don’t “get” my constant yearning for the perfect French fry; Sister #3 for one.

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Sister #3 selected the Beef Tenderloin that was crowned with baby gherkin pickles.  The accompanying fettuccine was particularly buttery and delicious and Mom had a couple of satisfying bites.

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The hit of the day was the Pickerel Po Boy.  Haven been to New Orleans and feasted on traditional po boys, I am not exactly sure why this sandwich would be so named.  Authentic po boys are a Lousiana version of a sub sandwich with battered and fried shrimp, oysters, soft-shelled crab or crawfish, placed on a baquette-like New Orleans French bread and usually dressed with lettuce, tomato, pickles and mayonnaise.  The Terrace’s fried fish seemed to be the only detail connecting it to a po boy.  This is in the small points department, because although the taste wasn’t authentic, it was none the less, absolutely terrific.  The fish was perfectly prepared, the grilled bread added a salty feature and the slaw provided crunch.  The fries, by the way were equally delicious.  We shared tastes from our three plates amongst us, so everyone was satiated.

Terrace in the Park on Urbanspoon

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The short trek over to the Conservatory was surprisingly brisk for Mom.  We realized later that she hadn’t really been outside for months.  During times like these, you can forget what a chilly wind feels like on your ears.  The journey was worth the trouble, for the flowers were magnificent and we all loved to see the bright dashes of spring colours.

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These soft and fluffy flowers were actually tulips, the likes of which we had not seen before.  The afternoon had to draw to a close as Mom was getting sleepy and tired from being in her chair all day. Sister #3 had planned a lovely afternoon.  One that we intend to repeat sometime soon.

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

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Love-that is all.

 

Winnipeg Alternatives to “Fast Food” (that are still quick and convenient)

May2

This post topic was suggested to me by a friend of mine who is a busy Mom and juggles many responsibilities.  Here’s her Facebook message to me: “Blog idea for you- fast food that is not from a drive through. I had an amazing (not hot) fresh mushroom pizza from Piazza de Nardi today
as I was rushing around, so much better than a greasy burger in the car and cheap at $2.49! I just ran in and grabbed it so it was just as
quick as a drive through, besides I was waiting for a train!!!”  This got me thinking about how we can still make nutritious choices, even when we are in a hurry.

Daughter #3 for example loves subs and artisan sandwiches that she picks up at the Safeway deli.  I have also tasted these and they are so much better than Subway’s.  I had not noticed, until I gave up salt recently, how salty tasting Subway is.  My husband picked up a six inch tuna sandwich for me last week and I could hardly eat it for the salt.

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Recently a Papa Murphy’s opened in our neighbourhood and D encouraged me to stop in on their opening weekend to save the hassle of cooking when we were on our way up to our beach house for the weekend.  All that is required is a pre-heated oven, remove the plastic wrap and presto, you have made supper!  We chose a large Gourmet Chicken Garlic which was created when a creamy garlic sauce (I would deem that it was close to alfredo) was smeared on their original crust (although the “delite” crust looks very appealing too).  This was covered with roasted chicken pieces, tomatoes, green onions, parmesan and herbs.  It came on its own special pan which ensured a crunchy crust when it was pulled out of the oven.  Best of all, it was ready in ten minutes! Did I mention that it was absolutely delicious-as good as I make, and that is pretty darned good?  Later that evening, D got out a piece as we were watching a movie and declared that it was even tastier cold.  I could not imagine this, so I had to try a piece myself and sure enough….what a great snack.  I thought that they were such a good deal that I purchased three single topping pies at $6 each to have around for our boarder, when we are not home for supper.  Even if he ate the entire pizza, I could never feed him for $6 AND since you bake them at home, there is no provincial sales tax-win, win, win.

Papa Murphy's Take N Bake Pizza on Urbanspoon

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This isn’t from The Calabria Market but The Marion Street Eatery

D and I recently met the folks who operate the Calabria Market on Scurffield Blvd.  When I mentioned that I would be teaching in the area this fall, they encouraged me to stop into their deli for an Italian sandwich made of Italian meats and cheese on a Panini.  I plan on doing so.  Although I also have yet to sample their pizza, I have heard their fans claim that it is the best pizza in Winnipeg.

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Have you ever tasted a Vietnamese sub?  They are called Binh Mi.  At Saigon Jon’s Vietnamese Kitchen they are made with a fresh baked white or multigrain baguette, pickled daikon/carrot slaw, cucumbers, pickled red onion, fresh cilantro, and choice of jalapeno-kind of like a Vietnamese Vermicelli Bowl but with a bun instead of the noodles.  You will get a choice of Aiolis/Mayo: Thai Basil Aioli, Sriracha Mayo, Roasted Shallot Aioli or Cilantro Lime Mayo.  I think that you would know which I would chose.

Saigon Jon's Vietnamese Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Prepared and fast foods have given us the time and freedom to see cooking as an art form – a form of creative expression.”-Jeff Smith

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Love-that is all.

 

 

Wine Dinner at The Garry St. Keg Cohosted by Penfolds

April30

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From the moment I met Natasha from Treasury Wine Estate, I knew that she was the real deal.  Not only is she drop dead gorgeous with the most beautiful complexion I have seen in a very long time, but she looked fit and healthy in her “Penfold’s red” dress.

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She was also upbeat and happy about her work and representing the iconic Australian winery Penfolds.  When you think about it, who wouldn’t want to travel the world, sip exquisite wines, taste fantastic food and then talk about it?  The key for me and my “liking” her is that wine aficionados can be pretentious and stand-offish and Natasha is anything but that.  She uses real language to describe her Penfolds wine passion-words like “pencil shavings”, marshmallow” and “lacy”.  As I pondered what made this woman so appealing, I just came out and asked her where she was from.  The answer? Regina-where the humblest and modest people in the world come from (second to Winnipeg, of course).

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As mini tuna tacos and shrimp cocktail were presented by efficient Keg servers, we sipped on a Bin 51 2012 Riesling.  I do love a lusciously sweet Riesling and this was dryer than my taste but I will admit that the hints of lemon and apple were a perfect complement to the seafood appetizers.  The first course was a delectable Lobster & Shrimp salad.  The Keg’s recipe including avocado, cremini mushrooms, black beans and corn is just my cuppa tea.  These distinct flavours were enhanced by the Thomas Hyland Chardonnay.  I especially liked the biscuity notes (another of Natasha’s down to earth descriptors).

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I was surprised, but more than appreciative when a Bin 2 Shiraz Mouvedre 2009 was served with the second course of the Keg’s Creole Chicken.  I skipped the chicken (trying to pace myself) but loved the shrimp and scallops with the spicy and earthy shiraz.  Natasha thought of it as an alluring “lady” wine with tastes of rosemary, thyme, lavender and cinnamon.

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My favourite food taste of the evening was the perfectly prepared Mustard Salmon served with another 2009 wine, this time Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon.  This was when Natasha’s description of pencil shavings came in and she was exactly correct.  The suggestions of blackberry and back cherry were another surprise with how well they magnified the mustard sauce and the salmon.

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The best was yet to come when another Shiraz (St. Henri) arrived for us to savour with Beef Tenderloin Medallions accompanied by drizzles of béarnaise and whiskey peppercorn sauces.  Natasha declared that the wine was veiled, perfumed, velvety with aromas reminiscent of Easter Lilies.  I simply took her word for it, not having as sophisticated palate as she, but knowing it was likely the finest Shiraz I have ever tasted.

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Grandfather Port, aged 30 years, was lovely to sip with the Dessert course of Chocolate Cake and fresh raspberries but even better when I followed the lead of one of our table companions, who poured his port right over his cake.  He is Sicilian and since we have travelled there, we know that Sicilians know how to eat, so I wasn’t going to challenge his decision.  He was right, the decadent richness of the cake was  put over the top with the baptism of port.

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The room and our table were beautiful, as were the guests whom we dined with.  The value offered by both Penfolds and The Keg was nothing short of astounding, with a ticket cost of a mere $100.  A friend in the lobby remarked that he would have happily paid double that amount. Best of all, was that all monies raised went to Special Olympics Manitoba.  In all, one of those memorable evenings that will stay with us for a very long time.

The Keg Steakhouse + Bar on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Wine is bottled poetry.”-Robert Louis Stevenson

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Love-that is all.

 

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