Food Musings

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

Guest Blogger Lori-You Can’t “Beet” Local Produce

July30

Ah, summer!  The time of year when my kitchen comes alive.

I made a decision this year NOT to have a garden. Last year, I think the deer feasted on more meals from my garden than my family did.

My son clearly enjoying his first visit to the berry farm (http://www.bluediamondberryfarm.com/) down the road!

My decision may have been a blessing in disguise, however.  With my new-found love for my local garden centres (J & H Garden Centre, Headingley, Manitoba), I’ve discovered vegetables and varieties I’ve never even heard of, let alone grown in my own garden.  Last night for dinner, we cooked up golden beets and zucchini on the barbecue.  The combo may or may not have been a culinary mis-match.  I don’t know a whole lot about cooking other than what tastes good!  And this proved to be delicious.

Marinated in balsamic vinegar with fresh basil, garlic and some other spices from the rack, we grilled these gems in foil, and for a few minutes right on the grill to finish.  If you’ve never tried golden beets, you’re in for a treat.  Particularly if you’re not a huge fan of beets in general.  Golden beets have a much milder flavour to traditional red beets and don’t stain your hands!  Bonus!  These beets in particular were quite a bit smaller than the red beets I’ve had, although I’m not 100% sure if they were simply picked prematurely or are smaller by nature.

With every meal I prepare this summer and each visit to the market, I’m having more fun and getting more adventurous in what I put on the table.

When in doubt, ask the market staff for ideas on how to prepare veggies and you may be inspired to try something new.

Kath’s quote: “The difference of a single day is perceptible. Vegetables can only be tasted in perfection, gathered the same day.”- John Pintard (1759-1844)

Rozendal Essentia Vinegar

July29

A friend is representing this upscale vinegar line and knew that I would be interested in tasting them as they come from the Rozendal Farm of Stellenbosch, South Africa.  My youngest daughter visited the area this winter and was enthralled by the beauty of the vineyards and the crisp taste of South African wines.

When I saw my friend Jeff last night at the grocery store, he asked if I had a chance to sample the vinegars.  Having not tested a recipe at that point, I indicated no.  That was when he suggest that I pour a glass and enjoy it is an aperitif.  I was hesitant but OMGoodness-it was lovely. 

This is what the folks at Rozendal Farm have to say:  “we now make different blends of vinegar from our wine using ingredients from our farm: chili, elder flower, carob, basil and thyme.  We bring seaweed and green tea from elsewhere.  After serving it to our customers for years in the restaurant on Rozendal Farm we began bottling and selling it.   The Rozendal Red Wine Vinegar tastes good and drinks beautifully and we have noticed it makes people happy.”

For our supper, I poured a little bit into the bottom of a sautee pan to poach chicken breasts in it.  Next I mixed 3 T with 1/8 c of olive and 1/8 c of truffle oil for the dressing and tossed together spinach leaves, toasted pecans, mandarin oranges and the sliced chicken.  The taste was light and rich at the same time.

Kath’s quote:  “Vinegar, the son of wine”.  –Proverb

Pizzeria Gusto revisited

July27

I get all fired up before I go to a restaurant that I know that I am going to enjoy and be excited to share with my readers.  Because I am also prone to distraction, fascinating lunch conversation can often throw me off of my good intentions.  Such was the case yesterday when I was invited for lunch to Pizzeria Gusto on Academy Road.

For one, my guest had presents for me-lots of them.  For two,  we had not enjoyed lunch together for a long time and had a lot of catching up to do.  For three, she had brought two photo albums of a recent trip to Tanzania and I am particularly drawn to Africa adventures right now.

So what I’m saying is I don’t know that name of what I ordered and can’t recall all the savoury ingredients.  I was hoping that I could do an on line search of the menu to fill in the gaps but was unsuccessful.

I do know that they are in the midst of revising and reprinting their menu and that one of the pizzas will be featured on their upcoming edition.  The delightful server described it as the epitome of a sweet and salty combination.  There was a fruity preserve spread on the crust, a salty cured meat on top and then a stack of arugula and a squeeze of lemon was put on top when it came out of the wood burning oven.

The second pizza had opposite and yet complementary ingredients.  It was topped with roasted potato and pecorino cheese and a soft /creamy cheese as well.   The pizza reminded me of a Ligurian dish I had enjoyed in Cinque Terre Italy-potatoes tossed with linguine and topped with pesto.

I also left the house without my camera’s memory card and had intended to take a photo of the chef’s hand-throwing the dough by the open hearth.  I’m a very bad blogger……
Pizzeria Gusto on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote:  “What keeps me motivated is not the food itself but all the bonds and memories the food represents.”-Michael Chiarello

Live Lobster

July27

We’ve attempted to order Atlantic lobster ourselves and steam up a pot for friends.  The process is rather traumatic and the shells an enormous mess.  We’ve had all the neighbourhood cats hanging around our trash cans.  It is much easier to let the experts take care of things.

Our youngest who is still not into fish per se is developing a taste for shellfish.  She has begged me all summer long to take her to The Keg for live lobster.  Tonight I agreed.   We are geographically situated almost equal distant between all three Winnipeg Kegs.  We chose to head south to the Southside Keg on McGillivray Ave.

We’ve come a long way from the times when we would take the kids out for dinner with us and I would have to hide my whole lobster under a linen napkin and perform surgery on it to remove the flesh for consumption.  They didn’t mind my eating it-they just didn’t want to see the process take place.

The Keg makes is easy by cracking the claws and splitting the tail.  I showed her my technique of running the legs between your teeth to remove the tender morsels of meat from there.  We split one lobster and ordered a second entree of chicken topped with shrimp, lobster, asparagus in a tarragon cream sauce.  We brought a doggie bag of half a tail home from my husband and were still stuffed to the brim.  Amazing value at $32 per person.
The Keg Steakhouse & Bar - Southside on Urbanspoon
Kath’s quote:  “A woman should never be seen eating or drinking, unless it be lobster, salad and champagne. The only true feminine and becoming viands.”-Lord Byron

Hot Fudge sauce

July26

My husband’s family are Minnesotan Americans with a Scandinavian heritage typical of the area.  His large family of seven kids would have to take turns stirring their home-made ice cream and Christmas candy.  For their birthdays they would be given an entire pie that they did have to share with anyone else.  Pecan pie was his request. 

We’ve had the pleasure of sharing many family classics over the years-candied yams, ham gravy, Swedish meatballs, Lefsa, Belgian Waffles, Reid’s Candy and something called Tater Gem hot dish (which was less of a hit). They would make their own fudge sauce for ice cream as a special treat when baby-sitters came over.

Now my husband puts it together for gangs of kids on the deck at the lake and for a special dessert after a family birthday party.  The first time our daughter-in-law tasted it, she asked to eat the left-overs out of the pot with a spoon.  Such was her pleasure at the taste (it proved to be a little too rich for her little tummy). 

We do not often have dessert, but try to after our Sunday family dinners.  Last night as we sat down to just picked corn and beans and chicken breasts grilled in a yogurt/curry sauce -we warned that everyone should keep room for dessert.  The kids indicated that if they needed room for dessert, we shouldn’t cook such tempting meals.  So we sat in the bright dining room with our beverages, having philosophical conversations until we had some more room to enjoy.

The hand-written recipe is hard to read as it has faded ove the years.  I got special permission from my husband to share it with you:

1/2 c sugar

2 T cocoa

3 T butter (cannot be margarine)

1/4 c cream

Blend in a heavy bottomed saucepan and keep stirring as it comes to a boil.  Continue to boil for 2-3 minutes until it passes the “ball” test-i.e. drop a small amount into a cup of cold water.  If it dissolves it is not ready but if it stays in a ball it is.  Serve with vanilla ice cream and fresh fruit. 

Kath’s quote:   “Research tells us fourteen out of any ten individuals likes chocolate.”- Sandra Boynton
 

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