Food Musings

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

TV Dinners

February25
Canada Germany Olympic Hockey

Canada Germany Olympic Hockey

For two nights in a row I have fixed a quick dinner to enjoy in front of the TV.  I do not make this a habit; in fact I would proudly say that we have raised three kids to adulthood without compromising on this house rule.  But now we are almost empty-nesters and there must be some fringe benefits to this new found status.  My excuse is that the Canadians played Germany last night in Olympic Hockey and tonight they play Russia.  Besides everyone knows that rules are made to be broken.

Mid Prep

Mid Prep

To say I am a frugal cook is an understatement.  Anyone who has read my refrigerator soup recipe on this site can attest to that.  Tonight I found a couple of already formed hamburger patties in the freezer.  Just in case that didn’t taste their freshest, I decided to make patty melts.  Once you add the caramelized onions and melted Bothwell hot pepper cheese, who can detect how fresh the patty is anyway?

I’m happy to say that I was able to create a low fat version than what one might order at a restaurant.  Here you go:  Cook hamburger patties to desired doneness and set aside on a “holding” element.  Saute one sliced onion in 1 t of olive oil until brown.  Add to held patty container.  Clean pan and cover bottom of pan with 1 T olive oil.  Add desired slices of rye bread with a swish through the oil.  Top with a grated cheese and heat on medium until cheese is melted but at the same time checking that the browned side of the bread is not getting too dark.  Assemble all cooked ingredients and serve with a crunchy green veggie and oven roasted sweet potato “fries”.

Patty Melt Platter
Patty Melt Platter

Winnipeg is home to three of the greatest rye bread bakeries on the prairies: Natural Bakery, City Bread and Kub Bread.  Tonight I used Natural Bakery Rye.  Bothwell cheese is also a local company with many award winning selections.   Bothwell’s pre-grated Red Pepper Cheddar was perfect for this recipe.  Buying local is a great way to economize and I would rather spend my money supporting the producer than the long haul shipping company.

It’s the start of the second period-go Canada go!
PS Got this email this am: “I read your post this morning — yum!  I did something similar last night.. tried to find a quick and easy (but yummy) Olympic meal.  I threw a chicken breast in the oven and topped it with ham, mushrooms & cheese for kind of a stacked Chicken Cordon Bleu!” 
What is you fav TV Dinner idea?
Kath’s quote: “Sacred cows make the best hamburger.”-Mark Twain
th4_heart

This is the Lunch that never ends…..

February24

For one of our last lunches in Italy, my husband wanted to have an authentic seafood anti pasto.  We chose a restaurant called La Baraccia (named I think for the ancient Northern Italian Village of Baracca) in Monterrosso, CinqueTerreIMG_3034

It was busy with both tourists and locals which we thought was a good sign.  We sat outside on the big covered deck and were placed very close to our dining neighbours so we could see what menu decisions they had made.  I bet they were stunned if they watched the food that D and I put away at that lunch.  The cost was 18 Euros each and the minimum order was for two persons.

IMG_3033

We thought that perhaps we had misordered when the first 6 cold plates came out.  They were very delicious but we thought that the seafood feed had concluded too soon.  Then when the hot dishes came out and kept coming out, we felt silly about our mistake and had to admit that we were blown away.

IMG_3035

The look of a man who has consumed a LOT of seafood!
The look of a man who has consumed a LOT of seafood!

Antipasto means “before the pasta” but needless to say we never had the pasta.  In fact …we even skipped dinner that night. 

Kath’s quote: “Ask not what you can do for your country, ask what’s for lunch?”-Orson Welles

Salmon-heart_476x357

The Current

February23

I’ve been for many business meetings at The Inn at the Forks but never had a chance to dine at The Current.   Last night was my first opportunity.  I am a rock and stone collector and am soothed any time I am around water and so I was quite taken by the decor of the hotel lobby and the restaurant.

The Current

The Current

Chris was our waiter and although he was busy, he was very attentive.  The evening started with the delivery of an Amuse Bouche (a delightful taste) which was resembled a steak tartare on a crostini topped with a grate of Parmesan.  But this description does not do it any justice because the two and a half little bites were divine!

Amuse Bouche

Amuse Bouche

We then shared the Scallop appetizer which was succulent and gone too soon.

Scallops

Scallops

Awaiting the entree we had some time to gaze out the window where we sat and enjoy the comings and goings at The Forks.  There were many families there for the evening to skate on the central rink or along the world’s longest skating path.  There was a soft snow falling and it was a glistening night.

Rainbow Trout

Rainbow Trout

Pork Rack

Pork Rack

I’m glad that my husband chose the trout because I need help with the stuffed pork loin.  Even with his assistance, I still had enough to make a huge sandwich for lunch today.

We lingered long enough over coffee that we could fit in one more bite and Chris’s assistant helpfully suggested the Lava cake.  Even though I think Sister #2 does a better job of the cake itself-the homemade peanut butter ice cream that it came with was rich and wonderful.

Lava Cake

Lava Cake

The restaurant was bustling with family travellers and business persons.  It was a delicious and tranquil way to spend a Monday night in the winter.

Kath’s quote:”Wine is sure proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”-Benjamin Franklin

heart_stone

The Current on Urbanspoon

Pepitas

February22
Maria March 2010

Maria March 2010

I live in the heart of sunflower country and they are my favourite “summer at the beach” snack.  But, my favourite “winter at the beach snack” are pepitas!

Maria-the Pepita Lady

Maria-the Pepita Lady

Maria is the primary reason why I love pepitas so dearly.  Maria lives on Isla Mujeres and walks the beach daily (weather permitting) selling her product.  She has an uncanny sense of timing-just when you have ordered a frosty Sol and are thinking that you might just be getting  a little bit peckish, Maria will stroll along.  Her skin is well weathered and crinkles up when she smiles in recognition of you.  With your permission, she lovingly squeezes a wedge  of lime over your pepita snack.  She will stop for a little chat and then continue on her way-leaving us to wonder how she manages to wade through the heavy sand every day.

North Beach-Isla Mujeres

North Beach-Isla Mujeres

In my mind no one will ever be able to exactly duplicate the taste of Maria’s pepitas.  As taste is a multi-sensory experience for me-it also has to do with the sights, sounds and feelings of contenment that I enjoy whenever I am on Isla Mujeres. 

BUT Sister #2 has made a very good attempt at recreating the recipe.  With her permission, I share it here:

 

Pepitas

Pepitas

3 cups hulled pumpkin seeds

3 tbsp canola oil

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp salt

1 lime

Method

Preheat over to 300ºF. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. Combine oil, chili powder, cumin and salt, stir well. Add pumpkin seeds and toss to coat. Spread seeds on cookie sheet in a single layer. Roast for 25 minutes, until seeds are lightly browned and crunchy. Shake or stir seeds occasionally for even cooking. Be sure to check frequently during the last few minutes to avoid over cooking. Let seeds cool slightly before serving. Serve with wedges of lime which can be squeezed over top of the warm seeds. Seeds can be stored in an airtight jar for 1 week at room temperature or 1 month in the fridge (as if there are ever any left). Makes 3 cups.

DSCF1499

Kath’s quote: “Too much work, and no vacation, deserves at least a small libation.  So hail! my friends, and raise your glasses; work’s the curse of the drinking classes.”-Oscar Wilde

valentine_beer

Cilantro

February19

coriander_fresh

I very clearly remember the first time I tasted cilantro.  My husband and I were on our first winter vacation.  We were sitting on the second floor of one of those crazy Mexican places like Carlo and Charlie’s.  Now this was more than 15 years ago and these places were quite the novelty back then.  This is how I make my guess of the authentic Mexican version:  Combine 3 chopped tomatoes, ½ c chopped white onion, 1 jalapeño seeded and chopped, ½ c chopped cilantro, 1 clove of garlic chopped with 2 t freshly squeezed lime juice and salt to taste.  For a different twist I sometimes add a chopped up “pickling” cucumber.  Let the flavours blend before serving.  Consume with La Cocina taco chips (locally made and the best chip I have ever tasted).salsa3inch

I am currently reading a enthralling book that I will blog about when I have completed it but this is what I read last night about an authentic Mexican salsa:  “When it was mixed together, the salsa was a celebration of red and white and green, cool and fresh and alive.  On a tortilla, with a bit of white queso fresco, it was both satisfying and invigorating, full of textures and adventures, like childhood help in your hand.”

One of my favourite treats when I’m trying to “drop a few” is a half of a toasted whole wheat bagel with a bit of light cream cheese, covered with cucumber slices, salt & pepper and tons of cilantro.  It tastes like spring time in my mouth.

A cilantro dish that my  family loves is adapted from Bonnie Stern’s Heart Smart Cooking.  Cilantro-Grilled Chicken Breasts:  Marinade: in a food processor chop 4 cloves of garlic, 1 small onion, and 1 cup of cilantro including the stems.  Add 2 T of Thai fish sauce, 3 T of freshly squeezed lime juice, 2 T rice vinegar, 2 T hoisin sauce and ½ t hot chillipaste.  Process to form a paste.  Spread over 8 boneless, skinless chicken breast and refrigerate up to 2 hours.  Remove chicken, shake off excess and grill.  

My daughter's new location is Kayamandi Township, South Africa

My daughter's new location is Kayamandi Township, South Africa

A recipe that I have not yet tried are spicy African Potatoes from the Focus on Africa- Fundraising Cookbook that I mentioned in yesterday’s blog entry.  Brown a sliced hot red chili pepper, sliced thinly lengthwise in 3 T olive oil.  Add 1 t cumin, 1 t sesame seeds.  Heat until the seeds “hop”. Set aside. Boil 6 large potatoes cut into cubes.  Mix with spices and peppers.  Stir in an entire bunch of finely chopped cilantro.

A drink that we Canadians love is called a Bloody Caesarand many bartenders mix it with their own enhancements-some use a splash of dill pickle juice, others rim their’s with a mixture of rock and celery salt.  The very best version was one that I had with cilantro!Kath's Caesar

« Older EntriesNewer Entries »