Food Musings

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

In Honour of the Father of my Children

June17

Another excerpt from Paula Butturini’s “Keeping the Feast”. 

“I loved John also because, like me, he liked to cook as much as he liked to eat, because both of us grew up in homes where honest food was the central magnet that brought us all to the same table two or three times a day.  I loved him because both of us were blessed with a metabolism that let us eat with pleasure, not guilt.  I loved him also because both our families came to the table not just to eat, but to talk, laugh, share our problems, share our lives.  I loved him because I could envision a lifetime of ordinary meals together, alone or with good friends who might share our sense of what nourishment really means.  I loved him because he knew that good talk, good books, good music were one staff of life, and that simple, good food, shared with others was the second.  I loved him because he was smart enough to know that food was a lot more than fuel.”

If I was a writer as eloquent as Paula, I could say just about the same things about my husband D (except for the metabolism part). I remember early in our relationship when we went out for breakfast together.  I carefully perused the menu to see what items came with hash browns because potatoes (as you likely already know about me) are my favourite part of any meal.  D too was trying to make a decision based on his favourites so he ordered eggs that came with hasbrowns AND a side of buttermilk pancakes!  I was impressed!  You can do that?  You can have two carbs in one meal and live to see another day?  Well if I hadn’t decided yet that I wanted him to marry me, it was not long after.  To be specific, it was when he told me that he wanted to have six kids and that he wanted to be a young Dad (we stopped at three). 

D heads to the gym 3 times a week, rides his bike to work whenever he doesn’t have a trunk full of stuff and plays a mean tennis game.  He is intelligent, a hard worker and an expert on the news of the world.  He loves rock on the edgy side and a good margarita.  He was always the kind of Dad who would run and wrestle and make the kids laugh when they thought that they might want to cry.  AND people sometimes think that he is the older brother of our 26 year old daughter.

He not only does all the grocery shopping and laundry, he picks up dog poop.  He is so organized that he has already slow roasted the ribs that we will finish on the grill Sunday night for his Father’s Day dinner.  When we travel together, he makes all the arrangements and just tells me what time to set my alarm.  He has made all my dreams come true and he is an energetic, fun-loving, Dad who loves our kids unconditionally.  I am blessed that he choose me to be the Mom to his children. 

Kath’s quote: “A woman who knows how to compose a soup or a salad that is perfectly harmonious in flavour ought to be clever at mixing together the sweet and harsh elements of a man’s character, and she will understand how to charm and keep forever her husband’s heart and soul.”-Berjane

How do you like your Asparagus?

June15

More from “Keeping the Feast” by Paula Butturini”:

“Some mornings, beginning in March, I wake up hungering for green asparagus.  It is a grown-up hunger, for I don’t remember asparagus cravings before I was twelve or thirteen, when my father learned to braise them in butter under three or four leaves of dripping wet lettuce.  The lettuce, lightly salted, would wilt, then give up a mild sweet juice, in which the asparagus would steam.  When they were done my father lifted the lid, a cloud of vegetable essence would fill the entire kitchen.  My mother would sigh in delight at the smell of it, and even my brother, five or six at the time and still finicky in his appetites, would devour them.  On those days, our hunger for asparagus was boundless.”

Asparagus wrapped in phyllo pictured here with goat cheese toasts.

The asparagus imported to Manitoba this spring is gorgeous and I have been devising all kinds of reasons to consume it.  Last weekend at the cottage, I made an omelet of asparagus and goat cheese.  And last night we had asparagus wrapped in phyllo as an appetizer.

This recipe is so simple and so delicious.  Melt some butter.  Then roll up asparagus in individual phyllo sheets.  Brush with butter and bake at 375 degrees.  Check after about 10 minutes and if crispy, then flip and continue baking until crispy on the next.  That’s it!  You can change them up by topping them with grated Parmesan or sesame seeds as Sister #2 likes to.  I was thinking that lemon rind and cracked black pepper would be good too.

Kath’s quote: “Pray how does your asparagus perform?”-John Adams, in a letter to his wife Abigail

posted under Appetizers | 3 Comments »

Colossal Cafe-Minneapolis by Guest Blogger Daughter#3

June13

Daughter #3 is not “actually” my daughter-  I just love her like my own.  She is married to our son.

“For as long as I can remember my mom has always taught me, when it comes to food, real is best.  Sugar, butter and whip cream are not the enemies.  Just be smart about how much you eat and don’t forget to exercise!  I still follow the same philosophy today at home and eating out. When J and I go out for a meal, we want it to taste good- period.  If that means riding our bikes to and from the restaurant to burn off the extra calories, we’re happy to oblige.  This is probably the reason that the deep-fried, calorie-rich food featured on the show “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” never seems to scare us off.

On this occasion we were heading to Minneapolis for a family wedding, and the weekend happened to land on my birthday.  A friend recommended “The Colossal Cafe” (featured on “Triple D”) to us after hearing about our upcoming trip and we quickly went to YouTube to look it up.  Our mouths watered as we watched the owner prepare the Marinated Pork sandwich (Fresh pork loin, marinated with rosemary, garlic, lemon, white wine, olive oil, Dijon mustard, oregano & pepper, with greens and rosemary aioli, served on a fresh baguette) and the Meatloaf sandwich (homemade Meatloaf, with greens and cranberry chutney on a homemade roll), but what really caught my attention were the Apple, Walnuts, brown sugar, honey & Brie flappers(yeast-based pancakes).  

J and I went to the cafe for breakfast and ordered the latter, as well as the Egg, Prosciutto, Sun-dried Tomatoes & Swiss sandwich. 

They both were just as delicious as anticipated.  Together with 2 coffees, we spent less than $20 and had a fabulous time on the patio just outside the tiny restaurant.  We will definitely continue the tradition of looking up a “Triple D” destination next time we head back to the States.”

Colossal Cafe on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote :“Square meals, not adventurous ones, are what you should seek.”-Bryan Miller



Gruyere Scalloped Potatoes

June8

There are times when for the sake of variety, I change up a favourite dish.  Other times, when I run out of a certain ingredient that I do so.  On this day it was for both reasons.  Besides, being an “inventive cook” means switching things up every once in a while.  There are recipes that my family will not tolerate my messing with (my chicken enchiladas for example), but everyone seemed pleased with this new twist on a classic.

I took these and a dish of “regular” scalloped potatoes (with cheese and onion) to a Easter dinner this spring.  Looks gorgeous to have one scoop of each on a dinner plate alongside a classically baked ham.

2 garlic cloves minced

2 1/2 c half & half cream

6 potatoes

2 T flour

3 c grated Gruyere

S & P to taste

Stir garlic into cream and set aside.  Slice potatoes into paper-thin rounds and toss with flour.  I leave the peel on for nutritional purposes and an extra bit of colour.  Arrange them in a 9″ x 13″ glass baking dish.  Sprinkle with half of the cheese and pour 1/2 of the cream mixture over top.  Sprinkle with S & P.  Repeat layers.  Cover and bake at 325 degrees for one hour.  Remove cover and continue baking for 1/2 hour or until potatoes are tender. 

Kath’s quote:  “People have been cooking and eating for thousands of years, so if you are the very first to have thought of adding fresh lime juice to scalloped potatoes try to understand that there must be a reason for this.”-Fran Lebowitz

posted under Entrees | No Comments »

“Keeping the Feast”-Part 1

June7

Every once in a while, a book comes into my life that I know will live with me for a very long time.  I had never heard the title or the author until this treasure was gifted to me on Mother’s Day by my son and his wife.

The author, Paula Butturini, is recounting a stretch of time spent in Rome.  The work is non-fiction.  The read restores memories for me of our time in Italy.  I am unable to adequately describe the Italian’s reverence of food although I have attempted it often in this space.  I believe that we are intended (like the Italians and French) to shop daily and then prepare fresh food with urgency.  If this was the case for us in North America I know that our reliance on packaged and processed food would be a thing of the past.  We would enjoy better health and families would once again gather around the dinner table.

The Campo that is mentioned here is the Campo dei Fiori which means “field of flowers”.  It was originally a meadow, then cobble-stoned in the 1430’s.  It was transformed into a public market in 1869. 

This is from Paula’s prologue:

“Morning after morning for an entire year, I walked to the Campo before most people were up.  Noisy, hoking, shouting Rome is almost quiet at that hour, and what began as a simple routine soon took on the trappings of a ritual.  I woke up early, dressed, walked out the door and over to the Campo.  I would buy a shiny, plump purple-black eggplant.  Or a handful of slender green beans, so fresh and young, you could eat them raw.  I bought three golden pears, or a heavy bunch of fat, green grapes.  I bought a few slices of Milanese salami, a bit of veal.  I bought a thin slab of creamy Gorgonzola, to spread on crusty, still-warm bread.  I bought milk, yogurt, butter and eggs, and finally the newspapers.  Then I would head home, stopping in the tiny church of Santa Brigida, which lay halfway between the Campo and our apartment.” 

Kath’s quote:  “When I was alone, I lived on eggplant, the stove top cook’s strongest ally…. “-Laurie Colwin

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