Food Musings

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

Tradition, tradition! (Part 3)

April7

Thank you to my patient readers, this is the last entry about our traditional Easter celebrations.  We have a group of friends that have been getting together for an Easter Feast for over a decade.  It started when Connie (our  transplanted Sicilian friend) remarked that she was missing her families’ celebration that year and so we decided to create an traditional Italian Easter celebration of our own. Connie and Roger are visiting from Castellammare del Golfo right now and so the timing was perfect.

Connie and I in her home town

Connie and I in her home town

Connie assembled the antipasto.  Three Italian meats, provolone cheese, olives, marinated veggies and spicy eggplant.  She picked everything up at Sobey’s and was very pleased with their selection and quality.

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Next course was Judy’s Caprese salad, topped with a light shake of olive oil from C&R’s own olive trees back home.  This was accompanied by Connie’s stuffed sun dried tomatoes-a recipe that she taught me when we visited them in Sicily. In addition, delicious and authentic breads purchased at De Luca’s (that were contributed by another attendee) were served. 

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The meat course was Italian sausages that I brown and then roasted with tri-coloured peppers and a roasted herb chicken that we have called “Ruth’s” Chicken since she shared the recipe with me 20 years ago.  Roasted potatoes and yams with a drizzle of truffle oil and yellow and green beans sauteed with toasted pine nuts, accompanied the meats.

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The person who was to have brought the salad course, which was to have been served next, couldn’t make it and so “uncleansed”, we ate on.  Gina contributed a decadent tiramisu that she purchased at La Grotta and Connie had brought a special cake from Sicily –Il Panettone Grandorato.  Jamie brought a platter of fruit to accompany the sweets and Doug put on the tea and espresso.

Kath’s quote: “Food is not about impressing people. It’s about making them feel comfortable.”-Ina Garten

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Tradition, tradition! (Part 2)

April6

Saturday of Easter weekend we went to another service where we rang bells and noisemakers at an appointed time.  It was like New Year’s Eve but even more fun because we celebrated many times not just once at midnight. 

My family assembled for dinner before the service and we walked over to church together.  I prepared all the items in advance and assembled them to go into the oven when the baked ham came out for a “rest”.

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Doug did a superb job of the ham.

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This was accompanied by  a mandarin/almond salad which I veggied up red onion, red pepper  and sprigs of fresh cilantro. P1010059

We also  had cheesy scallop potatoes, sweet potatoes tossed in honey, green beans topped with crispy onion rings and herb pull-apart loaf. P1010053

For my new daughter-in-law I prepared one of her families’ traditions when ham is served-hot curried fruit ( I used pineapple, peaches and mangoes). 

I also made this hot mustard sauce to go with the ham:

Whisk together 1 T of flour with 3/4 c sugar and 1 T dry mustard.  In a separate bowl, blend 2 egg yolks with 1 c milk.  Whisk the contents of the two bowls together and then whisk in 1/2 c tarragon vinegar.  Transfer to saucepan and bring to a boil, whisking the entire time, then reduce and simmer until desired thickness.P1010057

It was a wonderful weekend and we created some new traditions.

“I do not green eggs and ham.  I do not like them Sam I am.”-Dr. Seussimages

Tradition, tradition! (Part 1)

April5

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At Easter we always start the long weekend by attending a Seder supper on Thursday night.  It is an evening steeped in tradition and the consumption of ancient, symbolic foods.  The first item was the karpas -greens illustrating life dipped into salt water representing the tears of life.    Horseradish follows which is a reminder of the mortar of the bricks that the Israelites made for Pharaoh.  The hagigah is a brown egg which represents burnt offerings.  Lastly was the zeroah -a lamb shank bone, a symbol of the first passover lambs.   

We did get to eat “real” food as well and this year it was lovingly prepared by our youth leader and her husband. 

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We also symbolically spilled our red wine- a drop for each of 10 plaques as they are recited.

 

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The unleavened bread called matzahs, which are made with stripes and piercings, are wrapped in a special cloth  called a matzah tosh which has three pouches.

Afterwards, we ascend to the sanctuary which has been stripped of all adornment, reciting psalms as we climb the stairs.  Scripture is read in the darkness, of Jesus in the garden, then the book is slammed shut and we leave in silence.

Kath’s quote: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son” –John 3:16

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Easter Goodies

April3
I was going to give myself the weekend off from a blog post but then I got an email from Sister #3 who had just made these gorgeous Easter cupcakes.  I just had to share them.

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“I had lots of fun making these. IMG_0003

I used a cake mix (white cake with pastel colour confetti sprinkles inside). I made the butter cream (1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cut shortening, whipped with 4 cups icing sugar and two Tbsp milk).”

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Topped with various sprinkles and M&M Easter eggs. ”

Kath’s Quote: “Spring being a tough act to follow, God created June.”-Al Bernstein

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Have a blessed Easter everyone.

Vietnamese Rice Rolls

April1

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There are many excellent Vietnamese restaurants in Winnipeg: Viva and Thanh Huong (both on Sargent) and Pho 1 (on Isabel) are a few of our favourites.  KG Saigon (also on Sargent) was recommended just recently.  But it is Little Saigon on William Ave. where we’ve been going to for years.    When my office was on the same street,  I enjoyed it frequently with colleagues for lunch.  More recently, it is a place that the three sisters take our Mom for a night out.  We really enjoy their Salt and Pepper Shrimp.  This is the place that I first tasted Vietnamese rice rolls.  I am allured by the fresh taste of the herbs and veggies and of course by my favourite taste combination of salty/sweet. 

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Tonight we are having a guest for dinner that I thought might enjoy them.  I did most of the preparations before I left for my baby hugging shift.  Then when I got home, I just had to soak the noodles and the rice wrappers.

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These are the ingredients that you assemble for do-it-yourself rolls:  romaine lettuce leaves, sliced cucumber,  fresh mint leaves, fresh cilantro leaves (optional) and bean sprouts (which I did not have on hand).  Saute thinly sliced pork or chicken that has been marinated in a sauce such as hoisin.  Cover with peanuts that have been crushed with brown sugar.  Put out additional sauces like peanut and sweet chili. 

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Here is the recipe for a Vietnamese dipping sauce which is always a hit:  Dissolve 3 T of sugar in 2 T lime or lemon juice, add ¼ c rice vinegar, ¼ c fish sauce , 1 clove garlic and some chili flakes to taste.  Zap them together in a blender.

Kath’s quote: “To see cucumbers in a dream denotes that you will speedily fall in love. Or, if you are in love, then you will marry the object of your affection.”-Richard Folkard in ‘Plant Lore’

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