Food Musings

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

Mask Restaurant-Gimli


On our way to our cottage, when we drive over the last hill with our first glance of the lake, we can often see the lights of Gimli on the opposite shore.  The distance is about twenty miles as the crow flies and yet we often do not get over to the east shore of Lake Winnipeg.  But on this weekend, we were invited to a family wedding and decided to stay the night to enjoy some time meandering the shops and galleries of this Icelandic community.

We asked for breakfast recommendations and the Mask Restaurant was the unanimous choice.  The cafe has two entrances-one for breakfast and lunch and the other for fine dining.   The casual side is painted a beautiful “brillante giallo” -a vibrant yellow reminiscent of cafes that we visited on the west coast of Italy.

Sisters #2 and 3 were immediately drawn to order the Eggs Benedict- a family favourite.  I got to taste the homemade hollandaise sauce on the dish that I just had to try.


The “Fisherman’s” breakfast includes a pan-fried piece of pickerel with a drizzle of the lemony/buttery sauce.  Fish for breakfast?  Well, never before, but it was amazingly delicious!  The dish also included two rashes of crispy bacon, a perfectly cooked over-easy egg, lacy hash brown potatoes and marble rye toast.  

Our server was always around to refill the fabulous coffee or a stronger European blend if you so choose.  If breakfast is this good, what on earth would dinner be like?

Alas, it will be a very long time before I get to find out as the regular treks to “our” side of the lake are about to begin.

Mask on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote:“Love, like a chicken salad or restaurant hash, must be taken with blind faith or it loses its flavor.”-Helen Rowland

Squashed Potatoes


Have I mentioned that I’m crazy about potatoes-jk?  I know that I talk about how much I love my carbs all the time.  Because I indulge in consuming my starchy friends so often, I am conscious about enjoying them as simply prepared as possible because we all know that it is not the poor potato’s fault but all the butter, sour cream and even cream cheese that we like to slab on them.  The following recipe is a low fat option and even better-the fat is olive oil; said to be a “good” fat. 

Boil smallish potatoes in plenty of salted water until you can pierce them almost all the way through with a fork.  Drain (you may want to retain the potato water for soup stock).  Liberally dollop olive oil onto a baking sheet and arrange potatoes without the edges touching. 

Take a potato masher and gently press down on each potato so that they are squashed but still in tact.


Drizzle with more olive oil and your favourite herb (we loved rosemary on spuds).  Sprinkle with course salt and freshly ground pepper.  Bake at 450 degrees for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

and voila!

Kath’s quote:  “Pray for peace and grace and spiritual food,
For wisdom and guidance, for all these are good,
but don’t forget the potatoes.”-
John Tyler Pettee

posted under Entrees | 4 Comments »

Love to Lunch


There are many benefits to working out of a home office.  My day doesn’t begin with a commute but a wander around the house to tidy up and when it is fair enough, a lap around the yard to see what has poked its head out of the earth overnight.  I am rarely awake to see my husband off and Daughter #2 sleeps until the very last moment before she leaves for University.  I do admit that I spend too much time on Facebook and Twitter to satisfy my interaction urges but I still miss being with other people during my work day.  And so I lunch……

All the places that I’ve lunched lately are familiar places, sometimes with new acquaintances, other times with life-long friends. 

First stop: my first patio lunch with one of the beautiful Sarahs that I have met on Twitter.

I always order this dish because it features both eggplant and artichokes! Angel Hair Pasta tossed with Grilled Vegetables, Roasted Red Peppers, Concasse Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives, Feta Cheese, Pickled Eggplant, Wilted Greens and Artichoke Hearts.

Second stop: The Southside Keg with my long-time friend Gord (he always treats).  This is their new Wedge salad and he likes his with lots of pepper.

I had the Prime Rib Dip-oh my.

Next stop was with one of my very youngest friends-our new Goddaughter (with her Mom and family) to the Falafel Place for some Israeli fixings.  Do you think that she can finish her plate?

The Falafel  Place is one of our favourite neighbourhood places-huge portions of freshly prepared, nutritious food.  I had the Tabouli salad but didn’t include the photo because it looks like a plate of grass-so GOOD!

Last Stop: the Spicy Noodle House on Osborne.  We love the peanut soup with a side of fried pork chop.  I had the deluxe Curried Vermicelli.

What was particularily fun about this lunch was that I got to meet this international student from Brazil who is homestaying with my friend Laura’s family.  This was her first taste of peanut soup.  But I do not think her last.

Kath’s quote:  “A man may be a pessimistic determinist before lunch and an optimistic believer in the will’s freedom after it.”-Aldous Huxley

Frutti de Mare-Isla Mujeres


All through Sicily and our sojourn up the west coast of Italy, we ordered either a mixed seafood pasta or pizza at every opportunity.  The variety of seafood was changeable depending upon what the local catch had produced and species native to the area.  The varieties would usually include: prawns, mussels, clams, calamari, conch and whitefish.

On Isla Mujeres the seafood choices are as plentiful and the chefs as expert.  I can especially commend La Brisa’s Grill right on the beach (off Medina) and Angelo’s on Hidalgo.

I actually got to sample La Brisa’s Frutti de Mare linguine twice.

First time at La Brisas

The first time we were a large table and were able to sit right in the sand on a beautiful evening.  I employed a spoon and a fork to get a perfect bite of seafood and pasta with every bite and used up all my pasta before I could consume all of the seafood-that’s how plentiful the seafood was.  I took home the prawns and got to enjoy them in a picnic lunch the next day.  When my daughter arrived on Isla and heard my ravings about La Brisa,  she requested that we go there for lunch near the end of our stay.

Lunch at La Brisas

Three of us shared the linquine again, along with an order of their Frutti de Mare pizza to compare it to Angelo’s.

La Brisa’s Pizza

Although it was my first time to La Brisa’s, I’ve enjoyed Angelo’s many times during the years of our stays on Isla.  On this night the weather was variable and we started the evening at a table on the street; but as the rain made an appearance, they were able to move us all under shelter in the open restaurant. 


Angelo’s Linguine

D ordered the pasta on this occaission and I the pizza.  Except for the pieces of mussel shell that surprized me a couple of times-I was as crazy for the pizza at Angelo’s as I had been for the pasta at La Brisas’s.

Angelo’s Pizza

I would say that La Brisas won the Frutti de Mare pasta round and Angelo’s the pizza one.  Two fabulous restaurants serving up Italian fare as good as is found on the Italian coast, on the little piece of land known as Isla Mujeres in Quintano Roo, Mexico.  Who woulda thunk?

Kath’s quote:  “Do not overcook this dish. Most seafoods…should be simply threatened with heat and then celebrated with joy.” –Jeff Smith

Turtle Cheesecake


It was B’s birthday this past weekend and I am so appreciative when D volunteers to make the cake.  I am not a baker, as I have admitted in this space before.  D on the otherhand gets a “kick” (his words) out of spending an entire Saturday night on one baking project.  I think that this special gift for our gang, harks back to the days when his Mom used to baked her kids their own pie for their birthday.  They would not have to share it with their siblings and I recall D saying that he kept his under his bed.

The Birthday Girl and her Fella

Pecan Crust

1 1/2 c flour

3 T sugar

3/4 c butter or hard margarine cut up

3/4 finely chopped pecans

Caramel Layer

3 T light cream

32 carmels-unwrapped (this was my only task)

1 c toasted chopped pecans

Cheese Layer

3 x 250 gr blocks of cream cheese, softened

1 c brown sugar

2 T flour

3 eggs

1 c cottage cheese, zapped in a blender

1 1/2 t vanilla


1 c whipping cream

7x 1 oz. squares of chocolate baking squares

toasted chopped pecans (enough for garnish)

Crust: Combine flour & sugar.  Cut in butter until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Add pecans. Stir. Press into bottom of 1″ up side of greased 10″ springform pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until edges start to turn brown.  Let stand in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes.

Caramel Layer: Heat & stir cream and caramels in small saucepan on low heat until caramels are melted.  Pour over crust,.  Spread evenly. Sprinkle pecans over top.

Cheese Layer: Beat cream cheese & brown sugar in large bowl until smooth.  Add flour. Beat.  Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition.  Add cottage cheese & vanilla. Beat on low until just combined.  Pour over pecans.  Spread evenly.  Bake in 360 degree oven for about 1 hour until centre is almost set.  Run knife around inside edge of pan to allow cheesecake to settle evenly.  Let stand in pan on wire rack set in a baking sheet with sides until cooled comepletely.  Remove ring of the pan.

Chocolate Glaze:

Heat whipping cream in heavy saucepan on medium low until bubbles start to form around edge.  Do not boil.  Remove from heat.  Add chocolate.  Stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.  Makes about 1 1/4 c of glaze.  Let stand for 5 mins.  Pour over cheesecakem allowing glaze to drip down side in smooth, even coating.

Sprinkle pecans over top.  Chill for at least 1 hr.  Cuts into a least 16 wedges. 

Note: If you do not serve immediately, refridgerate but remove in time for caramels to soften before serving.

Kath’s quote: “….I can dream away a half-hour on the immortal flavor of those thick cheese cakes we used to have on a Saturday night.”-Mary Antin

posted under Desserts | No Comments »
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