Food Musings

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

Carbone Coal Fired Pizza


I have just begun a fairly lengthy stay in a northern Manitoba community.  Earlier this week, when our son and his wife realized that we might not see each other for a while, they called to invite me to join them for lunch.  He went onto Urbanspoon to do some research to see what new and fun little places might be worthy of investigating.  To his dismay, I had already posted comments about many of his choices so he had to dig a little deeper to find a lunch destination for us.

His choice was perfect as I have wanted to visit Carbone ever since it opened last fall.  We soon discovered their sangrias were on special so we promptly ordered both red and white.  The latter mixing (if I remember correctly) apricot brandy, orange juice, soda and pinot grigio-refreshing and delicious.

In anticipation of dining on the road, I ordered something a little lighter.  The authentic ingredients of the salad, that is the tomatoes and buffalo cheese were exactly as desired with sweet and fresh tomatoes and creamy, chilled cheese.  Unauthentic though was the pile of arugula on the plate.  Even though I quite like a smattering of the peppery taste, we had already chosen a pizza that was topped with it.

Entitled the Isabella, it was covered with artichokes, roasted onions and goat cheese, in addition to the arugula.  The taste result was a combination of sweetness, creaminess and sharpness along with the pepperiness (pretty sure that’s not actually a word).

Artichokes were also found on the Capo along with red pepper, gorgonzola and capocollo.  I’m not partial to blue cheese but the other tastes were strong enough to de-emphasize the stinkiness.

I had to look up anthracite coal to find a number of positive qualities but the most important aspect is that it burns at 850 degrees which means that our pizzas were completely cooked in three minutes.

I have always known that good things are worth waiting for and this is certainly the case with my visit to Carbone.

Carbone Coal Fired Pizza on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Remind me to tell you about the time I looked into the heart of an artichoke.” Bette Davis as Margo Channing in ‘All About Eve’



Nook and Cranny


D and I are creatures of habit.  We love The Nook on Sherbrooke and everything about it-from the wait to get in, to the crowded tables, to the delicious food and the cheery waitresses who always have a coffee pot at the end of the arm.

It is not that the Nook and Cranny does not have these things but the coziness and neighbourhood atmosphere that we were hoping for, just was not there.

D couldn’t decide between the cinnamon bun French toast and eggs, so he ordered both-one of the many reasons why I love the guy (he has always known what he wants).

The eggs came with toast and hash browns and he was content.  Actually, he was quite impressed with the French toast and commented how resourceful they were for finding a use for excess buns.

I was in a more decadent mood that Sunday morning and ordered the asparagus omelet and a side of ham.  Ill admit, it was because it came with hollandaise that I was tempted.  Turned out that the asparagus was the star on the plate-bright, bright green and prepared to a perfect el dente.  My hash browns also came extra crispy as I requested.   This may seem to be in the small points department but it was huge for me.

So all in all, we had a lovely breakfast, we just have a preference for what feels more like home to us in the original Nook.

The Nook and Cranny on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote:   “One word, in this place, respecting asparagus. The young shoots of this plant, boiled, are the most unexceptionable form of greens with which I am acquainted.”William Andrus Alcott (1846)

Beef in Stout


In preparation for our “Anticipating Ireland” evening, I spent a wonderful, snowy afternoon in the kitchen.  When we entertain, I really appreciate recipes that can be prepared and held.  Beef in Stout fits that bill perfectly. The beef cubes are tossed in flour and sauteed in small quantities so as not to be crowded in the pan.  Once the veggies are added and the stout is poured in, you put on a lid, put it into the oven and simply remove it from the oven to serve.  Brother #1 said  that he could have just sat and lapped up the savoury gravy with the potato buns that I was lucky enough to find at Harvest Bakery the moment they came out of the oven.

Parsnips were peeled and quartered lengthwise and simply required a toss with some oil and honey and they too only required to be baked off.

Apples needed to be peeled and sliced for the traditional apple cake.  This too was baked in the afternoon and at serving time, I just had to add vanilla ice cream to a slice.

Even though the soup course could not be cooked ahead of time, the recipe is such a breeze.  Shallots, leeks and garlic are sauteed with olive oil and thyme.  Beer and clam nectar are brought to a boil and the mussels are tossed in and securely covered.  Once the mussels are all open, the cream is added and then fresh parsley and the soup is ready to serve.

I boiled the potatoes and shredded cabbage separately in the afternoon.  At serving time I brought both back up to temperature in the microwave while I heated cream in a saucepan.  Once everything was piping hot, I mashed everything together with sliced green onions.

The star of the evening-Beef in Stout.

In our conversations we strategized about all of the things we wanted to see and experience when we travel to Ireland together.  Of course, much of our chatter was about where and what we hoped to taste and eat while we are there including the Galway Food Festival which we are very much looking forward to.

Kath’s quote: “Talk of joy: there may be things better than beef stew and baked potatoes and home-made bread — there may be.”-David Grayson, ‘Adventures in Contentment’

And the winner is….


For as long as I can remember I have been watching the Academy Awards (with the exception of 1 year when I gave TV up for Lent).  The first time I clearly remember rooting for someone was when Julie Andrews was nominated for the Sound of Music.  Kind of ironic that Captain Von Trapp (Christopher Plummer) won his first Academy Award last night.  I don’t recall food being a part of those evenings back then, just the thrill of being permitted to stay up past my usual bedtime.

The Oscars have been a part of the family that D and I have created for over 25 years.  We were remembering last night when our eldest was little and we woke her up to watch the Best Song Category when The Little Mermaid was nominated some 20 years ago.

We were pretty well informed for the festivities last night, having seen 3 of 5 performances in each of the acting categories and 4 of the Best Picture nominations. Daughter #3 was over early so that we could watch all of the red carpet festivities.  I have some major philosophic issues with the entire parade and yet I guiltily watch anyway and declare my own oohs and aahs.

D makes things very special in our house as far as food is concerned.  Since I typically prepare and serve his favourites for Superbowl, he reciprocates for the Oscars.  Last night was no exception.  Instead of sitting around the dining room table for our mandatory Sunday dinner, we enjoy little plates in the living room.

Last evening started with these peel and eat shrimp.  They were actually crunchy (and yes I did remember to peel them) because D knows how to time their cooking perfectly and then immediately plunges them into an ice water bath.

Next up were vegetable dumplings served with hoisin sauce for dipping.

And then this crown of curry chicken chunks with raisins, dried cranberries, apple and walnuts.  D is so resourceful that he made enough to send home with three of the kids for lunches this week.

Lastly (as far as entrees were concerned), he served blackened tenderloin strips.  I had accidentally pulled three certified Angus beef tenderloins from the freezer when I was making stew on Friday.  D saved them from the stew pot to quickly sear them in butter, tarragon and a variety of other spices for last evening.

As far as Oscars go, the program seemed to flow quite nicely as did the wine and rum and mango cocktails.  We’ve got some more movie watching to do-with The Artist and Hugo next on our lists.

Kath’s quote: “Cooks are in some ways very much like actors; they must be fit and strong, since acting and cooking are two of the most exacting professions. They must be blessed – or cursed, whichever way you care to look at it – with what is called the artistic temperament, which means that if they are to act or cook at all well, it cannot be for duds or dummies.”-Andre Simon (1877-1970)

Anticipating Ireland


Our destination: Hag’s Head, Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

We grieve in different ways.  I have always known this.  When I lost my brother quite unexpectedly this summer, I was comforted by the knowledge that he was in a place free of worry and pain where he could breathe easily and that the leg that he had lost had been restored.  I also focused on all that he had been in his life and all that he had given and taught us.  Well, here it is months later and I am overwhelmed with the sadness that he is no longer with us.

Why today?  I know very well why.  The brother that died was my second oldest brother.  He was one year and a day younger than the eldest of our clan.  The two boys and then men, were as close as bothers and friends could be.  Tonight Brother #1 is coming over for dinner with his wife for us to start to anticipate and plan a trip to Ireland that we are taking together and is quickly coming upon us.

We said yes to this trip because we knew that we should celebrate our good health that we cannot take for granted.  The sights yet to be seen and the experiences yet to be lived, will not wait for some day.  D and I are doing our best to live our “golden” years right now and every day. Brother #2 would have loved to have traveled to this and many places if ill health had not struck him at the exact time of his retirement.

We will be staying in Adare in the vicinity of many of the most beautiful golf courses in the world and Brother #2 was a golfer.  He also loved his beer and food and ancient traditions.  I understand that Ireland is particularly rich in all these things.

So for tonight, here is my menu (from Irish Pub Cooking-loaned to me by the Frenchman, let me know if you would like any of these recipes posted):

Mussel and Beer Soup served with potato buns and Irish soda bread

Salad of Greens and Fresh Herbs

Beef in Stout with Suet Dumplings

Calcannon (potatoes with cabbage and scallions)

Honeyed Parsnips

Apple Cake with fresh cream

The menu is full of carbs and cream to warm us up on this snowy winter day, as I dream of an Irish spring.

Kath’s quote: “The ambition of every good cook must be to make something very good with the fewest possible ingredients.”-Urbain Dubois (1818-1901)


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