Food Musings

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

Four Birthdays and a Cocktail Party


I have posted before about the cocktail party that the three sisters give to our Mom as her birthday gift.  Her birthday is in January but we always wait for the fair weather so that her friends will have an easier time of driving and managing the stairs.  We quite randomly decided upon this year’s date in June to find that it was the actual day of my oldest brother’s 65th birthday, the day before my second oldest 64th birthday and two days before my Mom’s best friend’s 81st birthday.  So it turned out to a multi-birthday celebration.  Celebrating long life, good health, family and friends with food-what a splendid idea!

Chili Rubbed Shrimp

Chicken Satay

Goat Cheese en Croute with a Balsamic Redux

Anti-pasto Kebabs

Jerk Pork tenderloin

Artichoke Nibblers

Mushrooms Neptune

Korean Pork Cups

Asparagus in Phyllo

Last year the food was wonderful but Mom complained that “her girls” were too busy in the kitchen and did not have the time to visit with her guests (she means brag about us while we are in the room).  So we simplified the menu to these selections.  All were prepped ahaead of time and many served cold.  Clean up was a breeze!  Most recipes are already posted here but if there is one that you would like-leave a comment.

Give a party as a gift-it is the gift that keeps on giving…..

Kath’s quote:  “The Cocktail Party – a device for paying off obligations to people you don’t want to invite to dinner.”-Charles Merrill Smith

Untrue in this case.

Bimbo Dogs (I didn’t name them)-Isla Mujeres


We go on our annual sojourn to Isla with a list.  A packing list?  No-I am happy to say that I’ve made the trip so often, that I know that I can pack light and spend most days in a bathing suit, pareo and flip flops.  I also come home with more clothes than I take because our friend and expert dress-maker Hortenzia whips me up a summer wardrobe each time I visit her.

The list that I refer to is a food list-restaurants that have opened on Hildalgo since our last trip, a number of places whose dishes I dream about all winter long (Fredy’s pork chops, La Brisa’s Fruite de Mare Linguine, Tino’s ribs) and undiscovered places that I’ve investigated in the Colonias.  Bimbo Dogs are always on the list too, but have never been checked off. I don’t know if this is their real name or the slang that Isla forum posters use-but this is how we know them.

The street carts are around the ferry landing and when we arrive on Isla we are so excited to head to our hotel or apartment and get settled in that we bypass them.  On other days we are heading to the beach with arms ladened with beach chairs, novels, sudukos, journals and perhaps a cooler full of Sol.

On the last day of our 2011 trip we were ticking many “must eats” off the list: we had breakfast biscuits from Barlitos, lunch at Rolandi’s, La Lomita’s Chiles Relleno for happy hour and were heading for yet another feed of fish and chips at Bally Hoo before boarding the ferry.  We were once again going to say “no gracias” as we walked past the cart but the aroma of the carmelized onions and buns steaming on the grill top was too much to resist.  And did I mention?  Bimbo Dogs are wrapped in bacon!

Kath’s quote:  “The hot dog, as the phrase runs, seems to have come to stay. Even the gastroenterologists have given up damning it…..I am informed by reliable spies that at their convention in Atlantic City last May they consumed huge quantities…..and with no apparent damages to their pylorus.”-H.L. Mencken

Le Bebe Rouge-Guest Blogger: Sister #3


At least once a summer I like to take a drive south on hwy. 59 to the town of Ste. Pierre Joly.  My first visit to this lovely little French community took place in the late 80’s.  My then boyfriend was from Ste. Pierre so on our way into town we would always stop at the first gas station on the left and go to the drive-in for a burger. 

Le Bebe Rouge is one of those places that you might see and just drive by.  But take my word for it and make a point to stop.  I now have good friends that farm in Ste. Pierre and when I go for a visit I like to meet them at Bebe Rouge for a burger before heading to their farm for coffee. 

The burgers are homemade….straight up ground beef, pure and simple.  Cooked on a grill top, you get that salty crunch on the outside and the true flavour of beef on the inside.  The buns are always fresh and look steamed, like they are put on the top of the burger and covered with a lid for the last bit of cooking.  I have heard that all the variations of this burger are tasty but I favour the Bebe Rouge. A loaded burger with lettuce, tomato, back bacon, cheese and just the right mix of condiments.  On my most recent visit I shared their poutine with three fellow dinners.  While my student Gabrielle from Quebec City pointed out the cheese was not the authentic curds, we all still found it to be a tasty rendition of this French classic.  The girls finished the meal with banana milk shakes and the sip I had makes me think that next time, I need to leave room for a shake as well.

Kath’s quote: “It is the Americans who have managed to crown minced beef as hamburger, and to send it round the world so that even the fussy French have taken to le boeuf hache, le hambourgaire.”-Julia Child

In Honour of the Father of my Children


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?


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

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