Food Musings

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

Cooking up a Storm-Part 2


I mentioned in part 1 that all the dishes were already on the site with one exception, this one:  Classy Chicken.  This recipe is showing its age by its name and its inclusion of a can of cream of chicken soup.  In the 80’s when fast food was not quite as plentiful as today, food was made more quickly in our homes by the inclusion of short cuts like a “Cream of…” soup.

Now a day, my time in the kitchen is more leisurely, in addition to a common concern to reduce processed foods in our diet.  So the soup in this recipe can be replaced with the following: Melt 1 T of butter and whisk in 3 t of flour.  Stir constantly for 30+ seconds until the flour has had a chance to cook (but not brown).  Whisk in ½ c of chicken stock and ½ c milk.  Increase to a comfortable high heat and continue to stir constantly until the sauce is thick.

Classy Chicken

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

¼ t freshly ground pepper

Olive oil for sautéing

Approximately ½ lb. fresh asparagus or broccoli (frozen broccoli will suffice)

1 can of “Cream of” or substitution

½ c mayonnaise

1 t curry powder

1 t lemon juice

1 c grated cheddar

Cut chicken into cubes and sprinkle with pepper.  Sauté slowly in olive oil over medium heat until white and opaque about 5 minutes, drain.  Cook or defrost veggie until tender crisp.  Drain and arrange in the bottom of a buttered casserole.  Mix soup (sauce), mayo, curry and lemon juice together, add chicken and then pour over veggie.  Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top and bake uncovered at 35 degrees for 30-35 minutes.  Serve with a noodle or rice pilaf.  Serves 4.

Kath’s quote: No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers.”-Laurie Colwin

posted under Recipes | 1 Comment »

Bro D


When I reflect on key food influencers in my life-my brother-in-law from Toronto ranks right up there.

He has exquisite taste in restaurants and introduced me to “Fred’s Not Here” in Toronto and Keith McNally’s “Pastis” and “Union Square Cafe” in Manhattan.

He is a great cook, especially grilled items, learning early as a teen aged Broiler Chef at the Keg Restaurants alongside my husband.   The last time he cooked for me, I went on and on about the grilled potatoes (potato aficionado that I am).  He shared that his secret ingredient was truffle oil that he had purchased on a trip to Italy. Of course I had to do the same and bought a beautiful bottle on the beach in Positano, Italy.  When it was snatched with our luggage on a train platform in La Spezia, we had to repurchase one in Monterosso al Mare.

Truffle oil is precious to begin with and this little bottle is placed on the table as a flavour to top a salad or a pasta course for very special guests.

I am prompted to write all this as my husband is staying with his brother this weekend.  As he was heading out the door to catch a flight to Toronto he reminded me that he was taking my camera.  Thankfully, I remembered that the memory card was in my laptop and quickly removed it for his departure but not in time to transfer all my current photos which were for my upcoming blog entries-drat.

Kath’s quote:  “There are two types of people who eat truffles: those who think truffles are good because they are dear and those who know they are dear because they are good.”-J.L. Vaudoyer

Cooking Up a Storm-Part 1


My Daddy taught me many lessons but the most important was the value of hard work.  We have passed this trait along to our children.  This summer our youngest has held down 2 almost full time jobs and 2 part time jobs.  Needless to say, when she is not working, she is sleeping.  I sometimes see her before noon but only if she has received a long distance phone call from a special someone.  Well this morning that someone has arrived as our guest.  It is only 9 am and she is not only awake, she has already cooked a multi-coursed breakfast which is currently being consumed in the dining room.

In anticipation of this arrival, she also wanted to get some special meals in the freezer.  So this past weekend we cooked up a storm.

I’ve learned from my parents and now I am learning from my children.  I’ve thought a lot lately about the many benefits of batch cooking.  Not only is it a time, stress and money saver but it is an environmental saver as well:

you can purchase ingredients in larger quantities (i.e. less packaging) because you are cooking them all at once

you only heat up elements and the stove once instead of many times in a week

you use less dishes as a saute pan can be used for more than one item

you only do one large load of dishes, pots and pans, instead of many smaller loads during the week

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of all of this is that Daughter #2 made small dishes of everything to share with Daughter #1-that’s my girl!

Most of the dishes that we made have recipes previously posted on this site (with one exception) as they are family favourites.  Our list was:  Italian Sausage Spaghetti Sauce, Classy Chicken (curried chicken and broccoli), Chicken Enchiladas, Gourmet Mac and Cheese and Hamburger Soup.  Almost all these are from the Best of Bridge cookbook series-which includes convenient and kid-friendly recipes that we relied upon as our family was growing up.

Kath’s quote:  “In general, I think, human beings are happiest at table, when they are very young or very much in love.”-M.F.K. Fisher

posted under Cookbooks | 2 Comments »

La Pizzeria Fresca Ristorante-Part 2


We were able to get right in to La Pizzeria Fresca Ristorante without a reservation.  We were seated at a comfy table against the exposed brick wall with a view of the wood-burning pizza oven.

We started by sharing the Insalata di Rucola when wild arugula and  endive was topped with shaved Parmigiano Reggiano and the Insalata  Mista.

We paused to pinch ourselves as we had only been in New York for a couple of hours and then proceeded to sample the Ruastica Pizza where pancetta was  sauteed with onions and covered with fresh bufala mozzarella.

The special pizza that evening was as sophisticated as our surroundings-a savoury asparagus pie.

I couldn’t resist the Linquini Voncole e  Zucchine-a trillion fresh baby clams and slivers of zucchini steamed in Pinot Grigio.

We were appropriately tempted by the sorbetti, tiramisu and panna cotta but managed to resist.  Instead we enjoyed the stroll to our temporary home (with a detour to shop at Union Square).

Our compliments to chef Alessandro Cargiolli from Liguria,  Italy.  I loved the cuisine of his home region when we visited Riomaggiore last fall, one of the Cinque Terre villages.

La Pizza Fresca Ristorante on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.” Yogi Berra


La Pizzeria Fresca Ristorante-Part 1


On this my third visit to New York City I was so pleased to once again find affordable accommodation in the Flatiron/Union Square area.

A beautiful stroll down E 20th took us to Park Ave. and the famed locked Gramercy Park.  In this case the journey was as pleasant as the destination as the elegant brownstones and town homes in the area are a indication that the gentry of New York is alive and apparently still thriving.

La Pizzeria Fresca Ristorante boasts the certification of “Verace Pizza Napoletana” (Original Artisan Neapolitan Pizza) which is a Italian organization headquartered in Naples which upholds the ancient traditions of pizza making in a response to the frozen and fast food industry making false claims to the consumer.  The chair states: “The pizza secret lies all in the dough rising.  The recipe?  It doesn’t exist and I can tell you that because I’ve learned since I was a child that dough rising changes according to the weather…it is the experience that refines the art.”

The little shop in Naples where pizza was invented is still serving them up today.  My husband and son are of the few that can boast of visiting its doors and tasting its wares, having backpacked Europe together in 2006.  D can still vivdly remember the taste of the Margherita pizza they sampled that day.  Named after Queen Margherita of Savoy, the ingredients display the colours of Italian flag and was invented to honour her visit.

Kath’s quote:

“We live in age when pizza gets to your door faster than the police.”- Jeff Marder

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