Food Musings

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

“Oh How She Glows” Dinner

August31

I have stated before and I will do so again: in my world, food=love. When one has the opportunity to prepare a favourite food for a loved one, it is an honour and a blessing for both the cook and I hope the receiver. Recently I had the opportunity to demonstrate love to a person that I had not ever met in person. Through inquiry, I knew that due to health concerns she was vegan, dairy and gluten free. Whereas I sometimes consider these dinners a challenge, I was happy for the task to cook for and thereby welcome a new person into our lives.

I don’t have a lot of experience with vegan cooking but I knew exactly where to go. A blogger friend of mine who is also vegan once gave me a “Oh How She Glows” cookbook. I had not used it often but I knew that the recipes were well-written and tested and that I should have most, if not all of the ingredients.

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These nibblies were actually all things that I had in the fridge and cupboard: mango salsa, red pepper hummus and antipasto. We also love these gluten free sweet potato crackers and sesame rice crackers.

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For the main I put out a kale salad and mixed fresh tomatoes, cucs and olives for a pseudo Greek salad. I also treated them to a taste of beach French fries which I reheated.

The focus of the dinner were avocados stuffed with black beans and corn and lovely fresh tastes of lime juice and cilantro. Cumin added a smidgeon of heat. I also soaked barley to add to my nephew’s and my dinner but left it out for the guest of honour to ensure that she was eating gluten free.

We had a lovely visit and I learned a whole lot more about her life in Australia. I think she might have acquired a bit more knowledge about my nephew (her new beau) as well, because I was able to add antidotes about our blended families and the joyful times when nine of us shared a 500 square foot cottage.

Kath’s quote: “Love grows best in little houses”. –Doug Stone

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Love never fails.

Guest Blogger: Sister #3 Visits Khao House in Winnipeg

August29

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“Recently a friend told me they thought I would enjoy a Netflix show called “Somebody Feed Phil” and they were right! Philip Rosenthal, the creator of great work such as “Everybody Loves Raymond” possesses the kind of humour that I love. He never puts anyone down, and is able to laugh at himself and cause others to do the same. He is goofy, has horrible dad jokes, and is super endearing. I could tell from the first episode, his trip to Bangkok Thailand that I was going to be hooked. I have since binge watched both seasons and am hoping for a season three.

On his trip to Thailand, he ventures out of Bangkok to the far North where he tried Khao Soi, a dish also found in Burma and Laos. I just couldn’t get the description of this coconut based noodle soup out of my mind. So I googled “Khao Soi in Winnipeg” and low and behold, there it was on the menu at Khao House, makes sense with the “Khao” being a common denominator. This was a place I had been meaning to try since it opened a couple of years back. I had been hearing great things about the fare being offered by chef Randy Khounnoraj and his partner Korene McCaig.

Located at 126 Sherbrook, in a quaint old west end house, the restaurant was uncluttered and filled with light. We were there for lunch and the vibe was casual with Korene toting around their little one who became fussy part way through the lunch hour.

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We started off with house made iced teas that were refreshing and not too sweet. Just like I like them.

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My lunch companion ordered the Spicy Miso Ramen, which she thoroughly enjoyed, and this was coming from a woman who has eaten her fair share of ramen.

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I obviously ordered the Khao Soi, and it was everything I had hoped it would be. The broth was bursting with flavor and the smooth taste of coconut was such a comfort to me. The noodles were sublime, and the crunchy noodles on top where the perfect addition. While there was chicken in the soup, the Thai eggplant was more of a feature. It was not overcooked and still had a bit of crunch without coming across as raw. I thoroughly enjoyed every spoonful and will be back to continue to explore their small, but comprehensive menu.”

Kath’s quote: “Food, like a loving touch or a glimpse of divine power, has that ability to comfort.”
-Norman Kolpas

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Love never fails.

 

 

 

Willard Lake Revisited

August24

We met the first year of university where we were both in Dramatic Studies at the University of Winnipeg (now called the Department of Film and Theatre I believe). She was petite like me and I loved her smile and her head of curls. From there we traveled to Europe together and both worked at the same restaurant where we met many more hard working friends. Years later, we intentionally bought a house on their street so that our kids could grow up together. We sent the kids to the same kindergarten and elementary school and before that, we shared the same Nanny.

We arrived at Willard Lake for a lateish dinner on Friday evening.

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Our wires got crossed and even though D and I brought a supper of antipasto,

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they had prepared wings and salads, the latter one of melons, blueberries and Bocconcini.

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I had made a batch of artichoke nibblers earlier that day to share as well.

I remembered that the artichokes were a recipe we enjoyed when we were young married couples. Our times in those days were like the show “Thirty Something”-with  wine-filled impromptu dinners, complaints about work and kids playing somewhere in the house together.

Friday evening we started with our fare and moved to theirs. The food was all delicious

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especially the carefully rubbed and barbecued wings.

I understood their move to Toronto but I was sad just the same. Sad that I would lose my dear friend and our son, his best buddy.

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We started both days with coffee on the dock as we watched the resident loon teach her baby how to dive and fish.

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R & M provided a delectable Saturday breakfast of barbecued bacon and sausages as well as blueberry pancakes, fruit and maple syrup.

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D and R headed out for their annual kayak and although M intended to have a swim, we both were content to stay put, continue to chat and watch a great blue heron who was fishing near by.

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D and I provided Saturday’s appetizer of chili rubbed shrimp (recipe courtesy of Zest Cooking Solutions aka Sister #3) and D whipped up some corn bread.

Even though it had been in ebbs and flows, the four of us have kept in touch and have found fairly frequent reasons to visit each other and even holiday on the same Mexican island.  But our annual sojourn to their summer home on Willard Lake was the best time of all. As you could tell, we did very little except visit, cook, eat, sip and then start the cycle all over again. The time was sweet, very sweet indeed.

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The grand finale was Saturday evening with a feast of corn on the cob, garden beans, roasted beets, ribs and lemon chicken. R’s chicken & ribs were nothing short of sensational!  I made an apple platz and D produced a pot of hot custard. We were all absolutely stuffed but still we continued to chat and didn’t want the evening to end.

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Sunday morning D and I provided a late breakfast of smoked salmon and potato pancakes

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and then we ended our visit with a short walk to a special church in the vicinity.

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On our drive back to the city D and I reflected on how peaceful and relaxed we all were together.

Kath’s quote: “One measure of friendship consists not in the number of things friends can discuss, but in the number of things they need no longer mention”.- Clifton Fadiman

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Love never fails.

What’s on the menu? Love, you say?

August16

A dear friend of mine wanted to repay us for helping out with the pre-wedding festivities of her two offspring. Now in truth, no thanks and definitely no repayment was required but I must admit, it was lovely to have our efforts acknowledged.

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The table was set beautifully when we arrived.

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There were little gifts at every place settings-dark chocolate and a fragrant candle.

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The host of the evening is a transplanted Brit and we were honoured that she included a number of her traditions from home into the evening. We started with a “prawn” cocktail where succulent shrimp were tossed in a homemade sauce and enhanced with slices of silky avocado.

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The entree was a chicken breast poached in a luxurious sauce. Cilantro was included so that the dish sparkled with a light, fresh taste.

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Accompanying the main were carrots and peas, green beans and fabulous roasted potatoes. I thought that the latter may have been blanched first but our host indicated that they were simply roasted with olive oil, garlic paprika and rosemary.

I was prepared to have another helping of those potatoes as my dessert but I had forgotten that our host was about to prepare another of her traditions -hot custard which we poured over apple platz. Ice cream was also available to adorn the pair.

The last course was the sharing of a special bottle of port and lovely international cheeses. I was partial to the hard Bella Vitano cheese and felt sure that it heralded from Italy. In fact with research, I find that it is make in the cheese state of Wisconsin. It was sturdy at first bite and then had a lovely mouth feel. I also loved a smoked Gouda, especially with light and thin beet crackers.

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As the evening of being basked in love came to a close, I set the left over platz at the front door so that I would be sure to remember it. Another ‘lady” realized that she hadn’t had enough treats that evening and only stopped slurping down the platz, when we pulled the dish away from her. I warned my husband as I crawled into bed beside him, not to be tempted to eat the dessert that was in the kitchen sink.

We are all very different people who speak different love languages. My love language is food and hospitality in the giving and the receiving.

That evening I felt so loved and appreciated. The gift of the evening itself and the actual gifts that I took away, were blessings to me from a woman I consider a sister.

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Kath’s quote: “Friendship isn’t about who you’ve known the longest. It’s about who walked into your life, said “I’m here for you”, and proved it.”

Love never fails.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leopold’s Tavern-Winnipeg

July26

At D’s former job representing a major food-service company, he often had to travel to western Manitoba and Saskatchewan. He didn’t especially enjoy the travel unless he was in Regina. In fact, a couple of times he even took me along to enjoy the city. He often remarked at how well populated Regina was with restaurants, bistros, café and taverns. In fact on a per capital basis, he thought Regina had more great restaurants than Winnipeg! He was especially fond of a place dubbed Leopold’s Tavern.

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Fast forward a couple of years and Leopold’s has found its way to Winnipeg. Opening in the heart of south Osborne, next to the Park Theatre in the former Deseo location, it was easy to locate and find parking. It wasn’t so easy to cross Osborne at midday so here’s a little tip: park close to one of two pedestrian crosswalks. That way you’ll be eating sooner and back to work that much earlier as well. This day was one of their pre-opening events-free lunch to suppliers and friends!

We were invited to share an appetizer and each order an entrée. Since their lunch menu also covers off the evening, we got a great preview of what will be offered up.

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We choose Buffalo Cauliflower where Leopold’s pretty much duplicates the taste of Buffalo Wings without the high calorie count of actual wings. The crumbled blue cheese and dressing cooled of the pleasant fiery tastes. Our helpful server indicated that on Wing Wednesday you can choose the cauliflower with 8 other wing sauces. We tucked that info away for good keeping.

With a nice cool pint of 1919 by Little Brown Jug, I could have pretty much called it lunch and been satisfied, but our entrees had not yet arrived.

At first glance I decided upon their Fish & Chips and was hoping that D would select the Mac & Cheese. He remembered the fried chicken from Regina and opted instead for Leopold’s Buffalo Chicken Ranch burger. When he generously offered to share his fries, I switched to Mac & Cheese myself, adding bacon for good measure. Because after all, I was ordering the fish to get the fries, so why not indulge in both!

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When the burger arrived, two rashers of thick meaty bacon were escaping the premise-made hamburger buns. The crunchy chicken was as superb as D remembered it and he was very content.

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On the other hand, I was a little overwhelmed when my casserole of Mac & Cheese was delivered to the table. I felt like a glutton, but tucked in anyway. The tart mix of white wine with three gooey cheeses made for delicious eating. The added bacon, crumbled Ritz biscuits and parmesan put the dish right over the top! Perhaps I completed an eighth of it when I put my fork down and surrendered.  The left overs will be much appreciated by my hungry family.

I recognised the front windows and staircase of the former restaurant inhabitants. Leopold’s brightened it up with skylights on the stair wells and various retro paraphernalia adorning the walls.

As well as meeting the General Manager, pretty much every staff member greeted us upon arrival and departure. I am quite sure that soon they will be the place “where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came” sing with me now…..

Kath’s quote: “Food is not about impressing people. It’s about making them feel comfortable.”-Ina Garten, ‘The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook’

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Love never fails.

 

 

 

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