Food Musings

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

Dessert Sinsations

June6

The three sisters love to dine together and use the excuse of our birthdays, fairly well placed throughout the year, to get together.  Well as you know, mine was recently and I carefully choose the restaurant.  A central location is key because our Mom and Sister #2 are in EK and Sister #3 in Corydon Village.  We also have an eye of accessibility for my Mom and Dessert Sinsations Cafe filled the bill on all accounts.  To find that it was Mexican Fiesta month, was the icing on the proverbial cake.

Chef Barbara’s partner Rich, is known to us from our former restaurant days when we all worked together.  We were very impressed with their new twists on some of our old favourites.

I kicked the night off with a mango Margarita and then followed with a savoury Mexican soup. 

Sister #3 had a Taco Salad that she seemed quite pleased with.

Sister #2 tucked in to the chicken fingers which had a layer of curry under the crunchy breading. 

Our Mom, the gravy-lover, opted for the poutine made with a mixture of white and sweet potatoes. This inspired us to try the lobster and dill hollandaise poutine for the table.

When asked what I would like to sample from the dessert display, my answer was a fork.  I was too satiated for a full dessert but was happy to share one four ways.  It was a tough decision (as one might expect at a restaurant so named).  In the end, the red velvet chocolate cake was the winner. 

Dessert Sinsations Cafe on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Sir, Respect Your Dinner: idolize it, enjoy it properly. You will be many hours in the week, many weeks in the year, and many years in your life happier if you do.”-William Makepeace Thackeray

“The World at My Table”

June1

Every once in a while, I unexpectedly stumble across a gem of a cookbook.  My latest find is this one: a collection assembled from the learners of the former Age & Opportunity (English as an Additional Language) for Older Adults program.  Two of the recipe writers have since passed on and their recipes are a memorial.

I so wish that the recipes from my little Polish Grandma Felice had been recorded somewhere but since they have not, I scan collections such as this for the possibility of her jarred meat, her prune dumplings or her thimble cookies.  Her Poppy Seed Roll was legendary (well perhaps only to her neighbours of the little town of Limerick SK) but stellar in my memory.

In the Recipes from Europe section there is a version but it is from the Ukraine and not Poland.  Still I will give it a try.  Others on my list:

Mullah Potatoes from Sudan

Alfajores (Dulce de Leche Cookies) from Argentina

Fried Milk from China

Lumpia (Spring Rolls) from the Philippines.  I’ve always wondered what lumpia rolls were at Confusion Corner.

and Plov from Uzbekistan (I’m going to have to look that one up in my atlas) 

The collection itself is very user friendly as it has a spiral spine which means it will lay flat in the kitchen.  The design by Jeff Lukin is excellent;  done with a template of clouds on every page as if you were flying the world to savour these dishes.

To find out where you can pick up your copy-contact Age & Opportunity at 956-6440. 

Kath’s quote:  “I know the look of an apple that is roasting and sizzling on the hearth on a winter’s evening, and I know the comfort that comes of eating it hot, along with some sugar and a drench of cream… I know how the nuts taken in conjunction with winter apples, cider, and doughnuts, make old people’s tales and old jokes sound fresh and crisp and enchanting.”-Mark Twain

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Celebrate Good Times-C’mon

May31

My lovely daughter-in-law missed out on the celebration of her birth on her birthday weekend as we were all away in Minneapolis and she was not feeling well.  My son and husband thought that it might be nice to combine events and recognize both birthdays with a special lunch.

So what was on the menu?  We had a stash of beautiful strip loins in the freezer and while at The Keg Friday night for after work beverages-was inspired to do steak toppers.  D concocted three luscious choices:

mushrooms and onions sauteed in butter and garlic

roasted pecans, chevre and a basil & balsamic salsa

pan fried shrimp and bernaise sauce

Over mojitoes, made the authentic way by mashing the mint and sugar, we amused our mouths (amuse bouche) with a baked brie smothered in bubbling blueberries.

Mounds of roasted sweet potatoes and spring asparagus accompanied the topped steaks along with a family tradition: herb pull-apart loaf just out of the oven.

D wanted to honour two favourites by purchasing me a Jeanne’s cake and making hot fudge sundaes for Daughter #3. The recipe for D’s family recipe is included in the recipe archives.  Years ago we knew that Daughter #3 would fit into our family perfectly when D made hot fudge at the cottage and #3 asked for a spoon to clean out the sauce pan.

Red wine was poured all around and I savoured mine in my new ceramic wine goblet made by my favourite potter Kathryne Koop, with whom I share an unusual name spelling.  D remarked with dismay that now he won’t be able to keep track of how much is in my glass (to refill it of course).

The number of birthdays that we celebrate is not infinite, so make each one special and use the day to celebrate family and its unique bonds.

Kath’s quote:  “The dinner table is the center for the teaching and practicing not just of table manners but of conversation, consideration, tolerance, family feeling, and just about all the other accomplishments of polite society except the minuet.”-Judith Martin

Thank you my sweet babe.

Doesn’t Take Much

May30

Are you familiar with the expression “Well it must not take much to make you happy” usually said with a sneer and a sarcastic tone?  How could receiving happiness from the little things in life, possibly be a bad thing?  Today  I have chosen to be alone. I got a few urgencies taken care of this morning in the city and arrived at our little cottage about noon. 

This is how I have spent the time since I got here: I immediately took my Granddog for a walk down to the beach to see how high the water level was and to see what damage that it has done over the winter.  I returned to the cottage and had a lovely lunch of delicious leftovers.  I then ventured out again, this time with a spade and a bucket to dig up marsh marigolds from a flat/wet stretch by the beach.  

The plan for the rest of the day is to write and mark papers from my perch on the wicker love-seat  on the deck.  I may make a cup of David’s tea that was a recent gift from Daughter #1 and tonight if the weather is not too wild I will head down for sunset with a lovely glass of Merlot -a gift from daughter #2.  As an extra special treat, I will have an end piece of Jeanne’s banana cake.   You see, today is my birthday. 

So why would I choose to be all alone on my birthday?  Well, for one I had a wonderful day of celebrations yesterday and for two, I love being alone.  It is one of the things on my list of simple things that make me happy.  It goes together with eating only when I am hungry and eating exactly what I want.  Because I am alone I could have cracked pepper sunflower seeds and an iced coffee for breakfast today. 

I am getting older but not too old that I couldn’t stand and dance for two hours at the U2 concert last night.  Not too old that I can’t take a spin on my turquoise Road King bicycle that I brought from the city with me today.  Not too old that I can’t hear and identify the individual sounds of the birds that live in the forest around the cottage.  Not too old that I can’t smell and savour the rich scent of the lush underbrush and wild flowers that are abundant because of this wet spring.  Not too old that I can’t get on line and enjoy all the best wishes of my Facebook friends.  Not too old and pre-occupied with aches and pains instead of the well-being of good health and vitality that I enjoy.

I have a puppy dog curled up and snoozing beside me; I have work that I love that can be accomplished from any location; I have a family and a circle of friends whom I adore; I have a good book waiting for me when my work is done; it is the little things.  I am content-happy birthday to me.

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

Third Loncheria at the local market-Isla Mujeres

May26

In keeping with the laid back nature of my favourite destination-many businesses are known for the “relational” name rather than an actual business name.  I think that this particular place has the word Taco in its official name but I simply know it as being two doors down from Alexa & Giovanni’s.  There is a row of loncherias that look like a row of garage doors when closed but bustle with people, coloured table cloths and amazing aromas when open. 

 The food is prepared and priced for the locals but the Islanders are such a friendly lot that they’ll always make room for one more.  On this day, we were with Isla friends that we see once a year while on vacation.  We were getting together for a birthday party around our hotel pool that night but because we were hosting the event, we were concerned that we might not get enough of a visit in.

Amidst the chatter I ordered Soupa de Pollo with Lima.

D dug into the platter of fresh fish.

One of the guys sampled the Mole Chicken.

J loved the pork chops and another J, the chicken enchiladas (except that the photo did not do the dish justice).  

All were plentiful portions of freshly prepared, delicious food.  I think that the le quenta including beer was about $7 each!  We love Isla Mujeres for so many reasons, not least of which is the fabulous food. 

Kath’s quote:  “Food responds to our soul’s dream as to our stomach’s appetite.”-Joseph Delteil

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