Food Musings

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

That Old Black Magic

April28

There was a time in Winnipeg when my favourite restaurant was the Pasta la Vista downtown location.  Whenever I had to meet a client or had a special work-related celebration, I would suggest it.  In addition, it was the place where we had our last family restaurant celebration before my Dad passed away, so it holds particularly sweet memories.

The title above was my favourite menu item.  When WOW Hospitality put out a cookbook through Studio Publications a number of years ago, I could not wait to get my hands on this recipe. 

2 T canola oil

1.2 roasted red pepper, julienned

2 lbs. Mussels, cleaned and debearded

1 line, quartered

1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped

1 T minced garlic

1 T sambal olek

1 t salt

½ t pepper

½ c fish sauce

40 pieces 41/50 count shrimp, peeled & deveined

1.2 c white wine

4 T butter

2 ½ lbs. Cooled squid ink fettuccine (or other if cannot be obtained)4903357_s

Frazzled leeks (recipe below) OR in a pinch French’s Fried Onions

In a large sauté pan, heat the oil & add the peppers, mussels, lime, jalapeño, garlic & samba olek.  Sauté for one minute before adding the salt, pepper and fish stock.  Cover & simmer for 2 minutes.  Add shrimp and wine and cook until the mussels are open.  Add the butter & pasta & simmer for 2 minutes until the pasta is heated through.  Remove from heat.  Place in a serving dish and garnished with frazzled leeks.

4 c canola

¼ lb. leeks, julienned & soaked in cold water

¼ lb flour

½ t salt

¼ t ground black pepper

In a large pot or wok, preheat oil to 360 degrees.  Drain water off leeks and shake off all moisture.  In a large bowl, toss the leeks in flour until evenly coated.  Shake off excess flour.  Carefully place small handfuls of leeks into the oil.  Be careful not to overfill as the oil will bubble up when the leeks are added.  Stir the leeks with metal tongs until they are golden brown and crispy.  Lift the leeks out of the oil and place onto a cloth or paper towel to absorb the oil.  Repeat with remaining leeks.  Season with salt & pepper & store in a dry place.

Kath’s quote:“Well loved he garleek, oynons, and eek lekes. And for to drinken strong wyn, reed as blood.”Geoffrey Chaucer (1340 – 1400) ‘Canterbury Tales’

Dreams Really Do Come True

April27

My husband has a distinct memory from his childhood and that is of the rotisserie turning on the barbecue every Sunday afternoon.  Of course in those days it was over live briquettes which we still use up at the cottage for beach barbecues. My husband and I are not major consumers.  We had been married five years before we purchased a gas lawn mower or a brand new vacuum.  Well, we’ve just marked our 25th last fall and my husband has finally gotten his rotisserie!

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Last Sunday we invited the kids over for backyard cocktails and supper on the deck. Now that we only have one living with us at home, we try to assemble for at least one meal together every week.  P4250065

My husband put a couple of chickens on the spit and then grilled portobello mushrooms.  I sauteed spinach in bacon, onion and almonds and then tossed new baby potatoes in sour cream and fresh dill.  P4250058_edited

We also enjoyed a crisp Chenin Blanc that Daughter #3 brought back from Stellenbosch, South Africa.

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Kath’s quote: “Wine is sunlight, held together by water.”-Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)
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Shrimp Ceviche

April26

The first time I ever tasted Ceviche (raw fish “cooked” in line juice) I was with Sister #3 at a restaurant called El Rico Maya in Cozumel in the late 1980s!  When the three sisters first travelled to Mexico together in 2005, we tricked Sister #2 into trying Ceviche Mixto by telling her that the cylindrical fish (octopus) were scallops.  She bravely had a taste.

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Tonight we are all assembling to celebrate the birthday of a dear friend who also happens to be our son’s Father-in-law.  The theme is Mexican and since it is spring, all of the ingredients are plentiful and well priced on the prairies.

This is the recipe that I have adapted over the years-modifying it to partially cook the shrimp before I take it to a party where it sits out all evening.

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1 lb. medium shelled shrimp (optional: before shelling, steam until shell JUST start to turn pink, then remove from heat and rinse in very cold water)

freshly squeezed juice from 2 large limes

salt and pepper to taste

1 small white onion, chopped

3 roma tomatoes, finely chopped

1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, loosely chopped

1/2 t chili flakes

1 T ev olive oil (optional)

In a glass bowl, toss together shrimp and lime juice.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (This is particularly NB if using unsteamed shrimp as this is time is required for the shrimp to “cook”).  When shrimp are opaque, add all of the other ingredients and toss.

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Here’s a photo of the dish being prepared by my man-servant-jk.  I took this of the Chef at Tibouran on Isla Mujeres when we requested an order to go for “happy hour” on our hotel balcony.

Kath’s quote: “Life is like an onion: You peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep.”-Carl Sandburgheart-of-leaf

Sister #3-Isla Mujeres (Part 6-Asia Caribe & Mango Cafe)

April23

Note to Son #1 and his Exquisite Wife:  Thank you for suporting me by reading, clicking, searching and buzzing me.  But especially for your attention to detail and advice.  Most of all, I hope you know how much it means to Dad and I that you will drop everything to buy some beer, cook up some smokies and just BE with us as we celebrate life and laughs and lives that have sadly ended. 

As Sister #3 indicated in an earlier post: “While the traditional regional cuisine on Isla Mujeres is amazing, there is also a huge variety of fare available because people from around the world have discovered this little Island and now call it home.

  Sticky Ribs

The owners of Asia Caribe are California natives who also have a house in Maine.

 Cashew Chicken

 

Their sticky ribs, cashew chicken & stir fried veggies were all great. Dessert of Kahlua -Chocolate mousse and coconut cheesecake top off a delicious evening.

 Jamician Chicken

 

You can even find Jamaican B.B.- Q. on Monday nights at a place called Mango Café in the Colonias.” Kath interjects here: “This dinner included two cocktails called ‘Dark & Stormies’ which were a refreshing start. There was this huge platter of food and I seem to recall a homemade vanilla bean ice cream for dessert as well-and all for 160 pesos! I especially enjoyed the sauteed plaintain and carrots steamed in coconut . We had to walk half way home to wear off our dinner AND I took one of the chicken breasts home and had it for lunch the next day! This is how affordable delectable dining is on Isla.

 Mango Cafe

We considered ourselves very fortunate to get the last table in the restaurant-well not really “in” the restaurant-we sat out on the sidewalk and enjoyed every minute.  From here we could watch the line up of people assembling for the next available tables. A wonderful girl from GB took care of us and we had a perfect evening.

 

Kath’s quote: “Grilling is like sunbathing. Everyone knows it is bad for you but no one ever stops doing it.”-Laurie Colwin

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South African Melktert (Milk Tart)

April22

Trying to take immediate advantage of daughter #2’s recent experience with South African cooking.  This is the first recipe that came to her mind.

View of Muizenberg from Simon's Town

View of Muizenberg from Simon's Town

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups milk
  • 3 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon sugar

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Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Coat a 9 inch deep dish pie plate with vegetable oil cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the egg yolks and beat until light and fluffy. Sift in the cake flour, baking powder and salt, and stir until well blended. Mix in the vanilla and milk. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites to stiff peaks using an electric mixer. Fold into the batter. Pour into the prepared pie plate, and sprinkle cinnamon sugar over the top.
  3. Bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven, then reduce the temperature to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Continue to bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the center is set when you gently jiggle the pie. Serve hot or cold.

Kath’s quote: “The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.”-Lucille Ball
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