Food Musings

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

Beloved Falafel Place

January4

We have followed the Falafel House from its tiny location on Academy to its first location on Corydon (at the end of our street) to its current home at Corydon and Wilton.  We have been hosting a guest who is vegetarian so it was the perfect place to take her for our last brunch together.

As D had travelled to Israel this fall, he had a real hankering for falafel and ordered the “Middle East” with eggplant and extra spice.  I had a taste of the eggplant-perfection.

“Israeli” falafel was also ordered and came topped with home made French Fries.  There were eight perfectly seasoned falafel in each order.  Even the big appetites at our table had trouble cleaning their plates.

Our vegetarian guest was delighted with her vegetarian hash and they allowed her to substitute her toast for potato pancakes which we all got to taste.  Crunch on the edges and hearty in the middle-just the way we like em.

I wanted to taste the schnitzel but also wanted eggs to go with their hash browns that can be customized with onion and garlic.  A huge brunch plate and great value (but made for a boring photo).

We waited in line to get in and were kinda squished in our booth so we dined quickly to make room for the line up that was now out the door.  I have read that some people take offense to the owner’s “hustle in and out” atmosphere.  I think many appreciate it when a table gets vacated for them but change their mind when they are told: “no more coffee for them-thank you for leaving”.  We love his good natured chants-it reminds us of our favourite New York deli and bagel shops.

The Falafel House puts out fresh food, deliciously prepared and so affordable-he can run his restaurant any way he wishes.

Falafel Place on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”-Albert Einstein

love shouts

Happy New Year

January3

I love my life.  I am a very content person and 2010 was a good year:

-Lots of time with family, friends and food. 

-Good health and the energy to learn and try new things. 

-A little bit of money put aside to travel to favourite places and on brand new adventures. 

-The marriage of our son and his beloved Jenny.

-Lots of time walking by the water and collecting heart stones.

-A wonderful/crazy granddog to have for sleep overs.

-A big, gentle Frenchman hanging out with our family.

And so it was that we were not anxious for 2010 to pass into the history books and in all honesty, New Year’s Eve is not ever a big deal in our house.  But we do love to be with family and dress up and taste wonderful treats and have a little spin on the dance floor and was so glad to attend “In Dreams” at the Winnipeg Convention Centre.

We started with appetizers as we perused the silent auction table.  Then found our table with Sister #2 and her husband.  The soup was a ginger roasted carrot and smoked salmon bisque garnished with crispy leeks and a fleron.

Next came a Caprese Salad of arugula and basil leaves in a cucumber ribbon with a peppery balsamic truffle oil garnished with hearts of palm, pea shoots, grana padano crisps and crostini.

 

The cleanser was a strawberry sorbet in an orange shell with a cluster of mint and oven dried grapefruit.  I loved every taste and had eaten from every food group, and would have been content to throw in the napkin.

But next came a perfectly grilled Filet with a glace de Viande napped with cafe de Paris beurre and twin marinated prawns Provencal served with roast garlic mashed potatoes, mushroom saute and a grilled vegetable and cheese flan. I politely tasted everything on my plate but was truly done.

can anyone identify the yellow berry on the plate-tasted citrusy?

OMGooness, then dessert arrived: gateaux St. Honores served with a tuile spoon, pulled sugar and berries!  One of many amazing new year’s dinners that we have enjoyed by the chef’s at the Convention Centre.  Top shelf ingredients and inventive presentations and how it arrives hot to the hundreds of diners in an incredible fete.

Ron Paley’s big band had taken their places on stage.  Beautiful women in evening gowns were escorted to the dance floor by their tuxedo clad partners.  The music was incredible with cameos of Winnipeg’s finest including Sierra Noble.  But the highlight for me was the drummer Jeremy Russo who we know from a number of connections-WOW.

We dutifully assembled on the dance floor for the 2011 count down as balloons, showered down from the ceiling.  We had just dance to D’s favourite song-“Its a Wonderful World” and it is.

To top off a perfect evening D was highest bidder for a gorgeous mountain bike that he decided to ride out of the Convention Centre (we were on the third floor).  We had a safe ride home (in a car) and a restful sleep.  A new year had begun. 

Kath’s quote:  “An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.”-Bill Vaughn

if you get-give, if you learn-teach

4 Play and 4 Yummy Food!

December30

I drag my husband to lots of restaurants where the food looks like it comes from a coffee table book, we leave $200 and an hour later he is getting out the peanut butter and crackers.  Last night I took him to 4 Play Sportsbar for dinner and he was in heaven.

His mouth dropped at the size of the 24 foot projection screen and he looked longingly at the 50 lazy-boys set up theatre-style.  I knew if we sat shoulder to shoulder I would lose him completely to the football game that was airing so we compromised with a high top table just at the edge of the seating area.    

We had a hard time deciding what to order as we were very tempted by the Blackened Basa Fish Tacos and the 3 Style Meatloaf but finally tucked into Rotisserie Chicken and their specialty burger.  I ate all of the white meat which was substantial and asked our lovely server Charmaine to wrap up the drum and thigh.  I also savoured every single hand cut french fry.  D let me taste his burger-a combo of ground beef and steak.  He too cleaned his plate of the hand cut sweet potato fries. 

Before dinner he enchantingly wandered around to check out the virtual golf and the arcade area.  He thought that it would be a perfect place to arrange a pre-wedding gentleman’s dinner-our only son is married so I’m not sure who’s.  The manager also opened up the private suite for him to check out.  By the time he sat back down, his eyes had that far-away look and I could tell that the wheels were turning about upcoming football games and tennis matches.

We watched the first period of the Junior Hockey tournament surrounded by many enthusiastic Canadian fans who by now had settled in for the evening.  A fun night and the best part-$54 including beer!   

4Play Sports Bar and Entertainment Zone on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Beer: Take pure spring water. The finest grains. The richest ingredients. And then run them through a horse.”-unknown

PS-went back again for beef and chicken sliders and chicken nachos-sensational.  The BEST sport bar food in town!

Salted Roast Turkey with Herbs and Shallot-Dijon Gravy

December29

Our Christmas schedule is hectic to say the least. Over the course of 72 hours we attended one turkey dinner, hosted another, celebrated the 75th birthday of D’s Mom, hosted a Christmas Eve soiree and attended a Christmas lunch for 30. So I’ll be frank, we took some turkey shortcuts for the Christmas dinner that we hosted.  That is, we threw it in the oven with a lid before we left for most of the day, pulled it out of the oven and served it-ta da!

In the mean time, a good friend of mine, shared her elaborate turkey recipe with me to hold onto for future Christmases and here it is:  

 

salt varieties in Nice market

Herbed Salt:

1/3 c plus 1 T coarse kosher salt

1 1/2 t dried rosemary

1 1/2 t dried rubbed sage

1 1/2 t dried thyme

1 t black peppercorns, crushed

3 small bay leaves, coarsely torn

1 t finely grated lemon peel

Turkey:

1 14- to 16-pound turkey (neck, heart, and gizzard reserved)

1 large onion, chopped

1 large celery stalk, chopped

1 whole lemon, chopped with peel

1 t dried rosemary

1 t dried rubbed sage

1 t dried thyme

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups (or more) turkey stock
 

Gravy:

3 1/2 c (about) turkey

2/3 c chopped shallots

1/2 c all purpose flour

1/2 c dry white wine

2 t Dijon mustard

2 t chopped fresh rosemary

Preparation

For herbed salt:
Rub first 6 ingredients in small bowl to crush herbs finely. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 week ahead. Cover; store at room temperature. Stir in peel before using.

For turkey:
Rinse turkey inside and out (do not pat dry). Pull any fat pads from main cavity and neck cavity of turkey; wrap, chill, and reserve fat for roasting. Place turkey in roasting bag; sprinkle inside and out with herbed salt. Close bag. Place on baking sheet; refrigerate 18 to 24 hours.

Set rack at lowest position in oven and preheat to 325°F. Rinse turkey inside and out; pat very dry. Stir chopped onion and next 5 ingredients in small bowl. Divide onion mixture between main and neck cavities. Fold neck skin under and secure with skewer. Tuck wing tips under. Tie legs together loosely. Place turkey on rack set in large roasting pan. Spread butter all over turkey. Place reserved fat pads and reserved neck, heart, and gizzard in pan; pour in 2 cups Golden Turkey Stock.

Roast turkey 45 minutes. Baste with pan juices. Continue to roast until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 165°F to 170°F, basting every 45 minutes, adding stock or water to pan if dry, and tenting loosely with foil if browning too quickly, 3 to 3 1/2 hours longer. Transfer turkey to platter; tent very loosely with foil and let rest 30 to 45 minutes. Reserve roasting pan with juices for gravy.

For gravy:
Remove turkey neck, heart, and gizzard from roasting pan. Pull meat off neck; chop neck meat, heart, and gizzard and reserve for gravy, if desired. Pour pan juices into 8-cup measuring cup. Spoon off fat from surface, reserving 1/2 cup fat. Add enough turkey stock to degreased pan juices to measure 5 1/2 cups total.

Place roasting pan over 2 burners on medium heat. Add 1/2 cup reserved fat and shallots; sauté 1 minute. Whisk in flour. Cook until roux is light brown, whisking constantly, about 2 minutes. Whisk in wine, stock mixture, mustard, and fresh rosemary. Bring to boil, whisking to blend. Boil until gravy coats spoon, about 3 minutes. Add neck, heart, and gizzard, if desired. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve turkey with gravy.

Thank you lovely Amanda.

Kath’s quote: “How to thaw a frozen turkey: Blow in it’s ear.”-Johnny Carson

and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make

12 Favourite Foodie Things (Part 2)

December24

Without further adieu:

7) Mandatory Sunday dinner with the kids. Even when we are up at the cottage for the weekend, we get back into town early enough to have them over for dinner.  In the summer we enjoy cocktail time in our big backyard while D has something roasting on the rotisserie and then assemble around the table on the deck. 

Chocolate croissants in the expired bread rack at Superstore.  if you have to get out of your cozy bed to get some groceries before your workday begins, I highly recommend this motivator.

9) A supper network set up for Mom’s with newborns by other Moms of newborns.  Imagine not even thinking about what to take out of the freezer for a couple of weeks. 

10) Home cooked foodie gifts: a good friend gave me a gift bag filled with a bottle of their homemade wine which we are serving over Christmas, a red pepper jelly which we have already put out for guests and plan to again and a loaf of banana bread which will be a our Christmas morning treat as we open gifts.

11) We’ve rediscovered Crepes.  The Garden Creperie used to be one of our favourite restaurants.  My choice was always the Crepe St. Jacques in those days.  I hear Kawaii Crepes in the village is absolutely wonderful and very affordable.

12) Breaking Bread with family at Christmas.  My Mom, three brothers, two sisters, three sister-in-laws, one brother-in-law, six nephews (and  their children and significant others), four nieces (and their SOs) all live in Winnipeg.  Two of D’s three brothers are home as well as two of his three sisters.    Along with D’s Mom and husband there are 13 nieces and nephews-7 are here to celebrate with us.

13) sorry I can’t stop….  the joy of giving and serving: fetching a beer, hanging up a coat, fixing a traditional recipe, sweeping a walk, cooking up a fancy breakfast for no special reason, tucking a surprize in a pocket, you take it from here.

I hope that you are surrounded with all of your favourite things this Christmas.  Perhaps you don’t have a list…then take a minute to create one.  It does the heart good to reflect on the blessings in our lives at Christmas.

Kath’s quote: “It is not good for all our wishes to be filled; through sickness we recognize the value of health; through evil, the value of good; through hunger, the value of food; through exertion, the value of rest.”-Dorothy Canfield Fisher

Peace on earth and godwill to all people.

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