Food Musings

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



In a week the three sisters, a sis-in-law and honourary sister will be heading to New York City.  I was fascinated by the eating habits of New Yorkers upon my previous trips.  I have only been in one private home in New York but I understand that space is tight and kitchens are tiny.  Hence many New Yorkers pick up a meal on their way home or drop in for a quick supper to their favourite neighbourhood spot.  That was very much the feel as we dined at Niko’s last evening.  We were there early-at 5 pm and the place was filled with various groups grabbing a quick bite.

My dinner included a Greek salad-the dressing and the feta seemed unusually light and was a perfect way to start a more than substantial meal.

I would love to get my hands on their Lemon Roasted Chicken recipe.  The generous three piece serving was so tender and savoury.  A marinade,  a slow oven,  broasting?  How do they do it?

The chicken is accompanied by toasted pita (lots of garlic but a bit too much salt-and I LOVE salt) and your choice of carb.  No surprize-I went for the hand-cut fries.

I’m guessing many diners were able to take half their dinner home for lunch.  I managed to clean my plate like a good girl (I was with my Mom).  Supper and possibly lunch for $11.95-what a bargain.
Niko's on Urbanspoon
Kath’s quote: “Thou hadst better eat salt with the Philosophers of Greece, than sugar with the Courtiers of Italy.”-Benjamin Franklin

Mojitos-Part 2


Sister #3 is planning on joining us at the lake this weekend.  She isn’t Cuban but looks like she is and is getting really good with her Espanol.  She makes a mean Mojito-using a simple syrup and mashing the mint with a mortal and pestle.

Another mighty mojito maker is our son who was recently willing to experiment and mixed us this version for a Happy Hour treat at the lake.

Pina Mojito

1/3 c crushed pineapple (including juice)

1 lime wedge

1 t sugar

1 1/2 oz coconut rum (or vodka in a pinch)

club soda

pineapple garnish

In a shaker, combine pineapple, lime, mashed mint and sugar.  Shake well.  Add ice and rum and shake again.  You may wish to strain into a cocktail glass at this point but we liked everything floating around to include with our sips.  Top with soda and stir.  Garnish.

Another refreshing summer treat are light tasting and refreshing Okanagan Premium Pear Ciders  that a friend special ordered into Manitoba and then brought out to the lake.  The recipe is a blend of apple cider and seasonal sun-kissed fruits.

Kath’s quote:  “Cider was, next to water, the most abundant and the cheapest fluid to be had in New Hampshire, while i lived there, — often selling for a dollar per barrel.   In many a family of six or eight persons, a barrel tapped on Saturday barely lasted a full week…..The transition from cider to warmer and more potent stimulants was easy and natural; so that whole families died drunkards and vagabond paupers from the impetus first given by cider-swilling in their rural homes…..”-Horace Greeley (1811-1872)

Mojitos-Part 1


My first mojito was in Cuba in the early 80’s.  Our arrival was delayed by winter weather, we were kinda freaked out by the level of security at the airport,  the hotel transfer over a pot-holed highway was gruelling and our accommodations were less than five star.  We were too late for our welcome cocktail, so we chased the geckos off of our walls and crawled into bed.

The next morning I saw my first first glimpse of the Caribbean Sea! Ever since that sight,  I physically crave to be next to turquesa water and find ways to duplicate the effect in my everyday life on the prairies -sleeping under a turquoise duvet cover, wearing something turquoise every single day and decorating our home with this sparkling colour.

I digress………  Our welcome cocktail of a Mojito was served at 10 in the morning.

I have lost touch with my friend Cherrie who gave me this recipe.  Her parents are from Chile and she is engaged to a Cuban Gymnast who has lived in Winnipeg since the Pan Am Games were held in 1997.   These are individually made like the bartenders at Hotel Tortuga that once stood on Varadero Beach.

1 tsp sugar

1 lime

handful fresh mint leaves

2 oz Havana Club blanco (or any white rum)

sparkling water

Place the mint leaves and sugar in a tall glass, crush the sugar and mint with the back of a spoon for 30 seconds or until you can smell the mint.  Cut the lime in half and squeeze the juice from both halves into the glass, then drop the lime into the glass.  Pour in the rum and stir.  Add plenty of ice, then top the mixture with mineral water or club soda.  Garnish with a sprig of mint and Salude!

Kath’s quote: “As for the garden of mint, the very smell of it alone recovers and refreshes our spirits, as the taste stirs up our appetite for meat,”

Perseverance Pays Off


I have always been motivated by rewards, even those that I have established for myself.  Today was my pack and tidy up day at the cottage.  I had spent a wonderful couple of weeks, working from the lake,  but it was time to head back to the city.  Since I had been on my own most of the time, I thought that the process would be pretty quick.  I was incorrect (or perhaps too thorough).  I was finally done about 1:30 and would have rewarded myself with a walk on the beach but the wind and waves were high and there was no beach left to walk.  I had not had lunch (or breakfast for that matter) so I packed up the car and turned north instead of towards Winnipeg.  My destination was Albert Beach to see what other goodies the little creperie called Le Gouter had to offer.  Appropriately named Le Gouter means: “to taste or have an afternoon snack”.

I not only found the area’s best French fry but what better place to indulge in a Quebecoise treat but in this little French beach community?  The poutine  was divine!  The lovely girl at the order counter even pronounced it authentically-not “poo-teen” as I requested but “poo-tin?” was her reply.  The gray was savoury and even though they serve a grated cheese rather than traditional cheese curds, the cheese was appropriately gooey and stringy.  The portion was so generous, that I took half of it home and we added it to the appetizer supper that we enjoyed in front of the football game on TV.

Kath’s quote:  “The potato, like man, was not meant to dwell alone.” – Shila Hibben

“Don’t Fix What Ain’t Broke”


Her first taste of chicken feet

Daughter #2 does not like change.  Seems an extraordinary notion when she has just spent last semester travelling in South Africa.  She stayed in a variety of people’s homes, caves and even a jail.  And yet when I try a new chicken enchilada recipe,  she reminds me that she does not like change.

The version that she is attached to is one from my trusty old Campbell’s Soup recipe book.  I am trying to eliminate as many processed foods in our diet as possible and was looking for a more authentic alternative.

For this recipe, sliced chicken breasts (or leftover chicken) are sauteed and then tossed in a 1/2 c of  enchilada sauce (purchased from El Izalco Market on Sargent Ave.).  This mixture is then rolled up in a tortilla-I used spinach ones.

A layer of the sauce was spooned into the bottom of a baking dish and the rolled tortillas were placed on top.  The rest of the sauce was spread on top and baked in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes.  1/2 c of shredded mozzarella went on top before it was baked for another 15 minutes.

Daughter #2 declared they were okay but not as good as the Campbell Soup version.

Kath’s quote:  “Even while I protest the assembly-line production of our food, our songs, our language, and eventually our souls, I know that it was a rare home that baked good bread in the old days…. It is the nature of a man as he grows older, a small bridge in time, to protest against change, particularly change for the better. But it is true that we have exchanged corpulence for starvation, and either one will kill us. The lines of change are down. We, or at least I, can have no conception of human life and human thought in a hundred years or fifty years. Perhaps my greatest wisdom is the knowledge that I do not know. “-John Steinbeck

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