Browsing: Food Celebrations

Four Generations Gather for Dinner

September20

You know the saying: “a watched pot, never boils”?  I think that is true of the way people grow and mature too.  The daughter on Sister #2 is more than my niece.  She is my Goddaughter but even more than that, our two families are intricately knit together.  Our unique connections go back to the time when she and her brother and our three offspring were all babies and toddlers.  The bond has been cemented over time with our two families sharing our little (500 square foot) beach house on Lake Winnipeg.  Close proximity, hormones, humidity, mosquitoes and heartache will do that.  Now, an exciting new time has begun for our families.  Sister #2’s family have moved to a new home that they are in the midst of building just a few doors away from us at the lake.  My niece has moved as well and not just out of their home, or across the province but to the other side of the world-Australia.  Were she to have stayed, I do not believe that I would have seen the osmosis in her.  She was always exquisitely beautiful and a talented artist and dancer.  But while she was away she also became this amazingly mature, knowledgeable, engaged, self-aware person.

This new person has brought knowledge to our family. She is exploring the complex wold of food science and raising provocative ideas amongst us. She has been with us for a wonderful summer and now she has gone back to her new home “down under”.  But not before we enjoyed one last Sunday meal together.

Mom and daughter planned the menu together.

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Cedar Plank Salmon in a honey mustard sauce.

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Brown and wild rice pilaf with celery and mushrooms.

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Asparagus tossed in pesto.

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Parsnips, carrots and parsley root with fresh dill.

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Beets with walnuts and chevre.

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I contributed this rustic caprese salad with heirloom tomatoes.

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All these good things created a gorgeous palate of colour on our plates.

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The piece de résistance was this amazing cake that crowned our time together. The recipe was not original so I cannot post it, but here is the link: http://nutritionstripped.com/chocolate-coconut-flour-cake-with-chocolate-mousse-frosting/#.UjfWOuDFVdg.

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The surprizing cake recipe was made with dates for sweetness and the frosting was concocted from avocado!  You just have to try it for yourself to believe the tasty results.

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My Mom with my Grandbaby. 

In addition to wishing my niece well before her departure, we all took the opportunity to snuggle with the Wee One and marvel at her growth and changes.

Kath’s quote: “Life is no brief candle to me.  It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it onto future generations.”- George Bernard Shaw

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Love-that is all.

 

 

Bacon Wrapped Queso Fresca Stuffed Figs

August29

I was reading through a blog post from last week and realized that I had not posted a recipe which I had promised.  This turned out to be one of the hits at the recent baby shower that Daughter #2 hosted for the Wee One.

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I find it mighty hard to leave all this behind.

Truth is, the appetizer was a bit of a fluke.  I wanted to do some of my prep while out at the beach house to lessen my responsibilities once I got into town.  So I  snooped around the freezer and found a pound of bacon.  I discovered that I still had some California figs left when the producers graciously sent them to me.  I tried a ricotta at first with no success-too mild and impossible to stuff without a pastry bag so I rattled around a little more in the fridge and found this deliciously salty cheese that I was going to brown in a fry pan and serve with taco chips.  Best of all, it was firm enough to be cut into little sticks and then pressed into the fig with ease.

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Bacon Wrapped Queso Fesca Stuffed Figs
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Fusion
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 package of bacon, cut each strip in half
  • count the number above
  • match that number with the same number of figs
  • match that number with the same number of cheese sticks
Instructions
  1. cut off the stem end of the fig
  2. use your paring knife to gently make a tunnel into the fig, making sure that you do not break through the other end
  3. gently ease the cheese stick into the fig
  4. wrap with one half strip of bacon and secure with a toothpick
  5. line a 8 x 8 square cake pan with parchment paper
  6. place the figs close together in the pan so that they will support each other making sure that the closed end is next to the pan
  7. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until the bacon has crisped up to your desired likeness

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So quick, easy and SO delicious.

Kath’s quote: “Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.”-Doug Larson

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Love-that is all.

Celebrating the Wee One

August26

For many years, Daughter #2 has been dubbed, a little Martha Stewart (even before the term might be considered derogatory).  Her recent efforts to celebrate the birth of her first niece (my first Grandbaby) beautifully demonstrated her creative talents.  She started with the thought “You Are My Sunshine” even before we knew the sex of Wee One and she set the date before the bundle of joy came into the world.  The tumultuous weather of late, made us all a tad nervous about whether we would have to change locales.

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In the end, the grey clouds parted and the sun shone brightly on the day (just like song lyrics that were her selected theme).

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Here she is with her Grandma (our Mom) wearing yellow, of course.

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This is her other Grandma cuddling with Wee One.

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Her yellow colour theme was beautiful against the lush green after the recent rains.

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She thought of everything including a Dream book for the baby, where we all recorded our hopes and dreams for Wee One.

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The big hit was the opportunity for us all to demonstrate our artistic abilities.  She purchased onsies in various sizes along with socks and bibs and we were invited to decorate them to ensure that Wee One has a funky wardrobe.

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She had set up a double clothesline in advance where the articles could be pinned while the paint dried.  This also gave us a gallery to admire each other’s handiwork.

Were the refreshments good, you ask?  She had thoughtfully put out huge urns and red and white sangria, along with a berry punch.

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She recruited the three sisters to provide the savouries.

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She wanted everything to be served at once and had designated the gazebo to be the food and beverage station.

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This meant that we could all participate in the festivities, with the exception of Sister #3 who somehow got stuck keeping the yellow jackets away from the food.  At least the pesky yellow insects came appropriately attired!

The savoury menu included:

An array of garden party cucumber rolls up, cherry, carmelized onion, goat cheese bruschetta  and her infamous phyllo wrapped asparagus were provided by Sister #2,

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along with her spicy pork tenderloin which is delicious cold.

Sister #3 made from-scratch Humus (including peelinge every single chick pea), Baba Ganesh with baked pita chips,

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Prosciutto and Parmesan Palmiers,

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and these gorgeous Antipasto Skewers which were as delicious as they looked.

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I provided a stack of Artichoke Nibblers,

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Cauliflower Strudel, Chili-Rubbed Shrimp

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and what turned out to be a new favourite: Bacon-Wrapped, Cheese-Stuffed Figs.   I am going to provide the recipe for these in a subsequent post and if you would like any of the others, please simply leave a request in the comment area.

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Desserts were volunteered by a number of participants.  No wonder the wasps were attracted to the table, the colours were as vibrant as an exquisite garden in full bloom.

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Daughters of Brother #3 looked smashing in their dessert coloured dresses.

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Speaking of smashing, these beautiful cake pop Party Favours were lovingly provided by our friend Caroline whom is an expert cake maker.

Wee One and her gorgeous Mom were showered with love and beautiful gifts.  The afternoon was a lovely way to celebrate new life and family and friends (who are just like family).

Kath’s quote: “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are grey, you’ll never know dear, how much I love you, please don’t take my sunshine away.”

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Love-that is all.

Guest Blogger: Sister #3- Amici at the Niakwa

August15

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Each year I attend a dinner at the Niakwa Country Club as part of the Pink Ribbon Ladies Golf Classic for Hope.  This event is a major fundraiser that supports the work I do at CancerCare Manitoba Breast Cancer Centre of Hope.  I never golf in the event, even if I was good enough to golf in it (which I am not) I would not be able to get a spot as it sells out each year to repeat supporters.  I do however enjoy joining the ladies as they get off the links and sit down to an evening of good food and great conversation.  In the past the food has been very good, so last year when I heard that Amici had taken over the food service I was very excited.  I have to say I was terribly disappointed.  So much so that I didn’t bother blogging about it. Like mom says, if you don’t have anything nice to say….. I am happy to report that Amici has worked out the kinks and the food this year was lovely.

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The banquet room is always packed with tables adorned in shades of pink. This year’s theme was “Angels Walking in our Shoes”. The shoe motif was everywhere, from our napkin rings to the centerpieces and even our dessert. The angel theme was reflected in the set of white feather wings on the back of our chairs.  We were all encouraged to take our wings home with us, just in case we want to pretend to be Victoria Secret runway models I suppose.  The décor is always beautiful and the planning committee so creative with amazing attention to detail.

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Our meal started with the Mista salad, AKA Amici’s house salad, one of my favourites.  Tender butter lettuce with house dressing and toasted pine nuts – simple and classic.

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Our main was once again Chicken Wellington, which I guess is a safe choice when feeding a room full of women.  The chicken breast was stuffed with mushroom duxelle; a paste of mushrooms, onions, shallots and herbs, wrapped in puff pastry. I was impressed that the puff was still crisp and not made soggy by being topped with an herb jus. It was served with wild rice and mixed vegetables.

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The dessert this year was these delightful Stiletto cupcakes courtesy of the Cupcake Corner.

Congratulation to the committee for another wildly successful event!

Amici at Niakwa on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “When one has tasted watermelon he knows what the angels eat.”-Mark Twain

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Love-that is all.

Savoir Faire -Weekend Dinner

July11

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Is it hard for you to pull off something different and unique for a loved ones’ birthday?  In a family of culinary and wine fanatics, this sometimes is problematic for us.  I typically let the person celebrating decide whether they want me to cook for them, order in or dine-out.  Recently though for Daughter #1’s birthday, we had the perfect solution.

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Nine of us assembled in the private dining room at the Winehouse at #110 – 1600 Columbia Drive (Kenaston Commons) where we were the first guests of Susan Kapilik

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and Patty Black who are hosting private wine pairing dinners called Savoir Faire.  The goal of these special evenings is to take the intimidation out of cooking and wine pairing, using an interactive, relaxed and fun approach.

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Both hosts are an expert source of culinary and wine knowledge offering practical instruction without using all those fancy terms that you then have to use your smart phone to look up.  J1 knows a great deal about wine and was the most enthusiastic participant at the table-hanging on Patty’s every word and jumping up to assist Sue in the kitchen and absorb her skills and knowledge.  I know less about both than the hosts, but I felt invited just to sit back, relax and have a fun time surrounded by my family.

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Our beautifully selected menu included Chili-rubbed Shrimp on an Avocado Corn Salsa appetizer

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and Peach, Prosciutto & Mozzarella Salad paired with Zeta Cava Brut Sparkling from Spain.  We detected grapefruit and apple notes in the aperitif which went beautifully with the seafood and salad.

J1 assisted in the preparation of the salsa and Daughter #2 with the plating and serving of the amazing dish.   The uncooked corn and creamy avocado were the perfect ways to offset the subtle fire from the shrimp.  The latter were huge, meaty and still crunched on the tooth.  The salad-oh the salad!… Imagine every taste you crave in one bowl and on each forkful- sweetness, sourness, saltiness, bitterness, and umami!  I am officially addicted to this salad.

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Daughter #1 helped piped the Duchess Potatoes that were served alongside the Chicken with Port and Mushroom Sauce.  Everything was perfectly cooked, right before our eyes.  The tastes were magnificent especially when enhanced by the Clayhouse Adobe Red and Cameron Hughes Chardonnay.

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What turned out to be the biggest surprize for me, was that my favourite new wine of the evening would be the dessert wine.  I enjoy Concha Y  Toro Chilean Merlots frequently, but never thought to expand my horizons with their Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc.  I drank more than my own tasting glass and loved the honey tones with the Apple Galette and Salted Caramel Sauce that concluded our dinner.  Dessert was such a hit that three family members had seconds (I rarely serve dessert-perhaps this too, was motivation).

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I can’t say enough about the pairings, that we all agreed, were thoughtfully selected.  The dinner itself was perfection and so very satisfying.  Not only did we gain an abundance of culinary tips and knowledge but in helping with the various courses, we knew the satisfaction that a well-prepared food offering can bring.  Best of all, we enjoyed an “as comfortable as home” dining experience without having to partake in the dishes and clean up (worth very single penny, in my mind).

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Patty from the Winehouse is a joy and so knowledgeable about her product.  Best of all, she shares her insights about wine in such an accessible manner-not with the arrogance that you might sometimes detect from a sommelier.  Patty teams up so well with Susan who is a professional cook that received her training at Red River College.   Her years in hospitality certainly shine through her skills in the kitchen and her easy, engaging manner.  But I knew this would be so, because Susan is Sister #3-my very own baby sista!

Suze (to me) specializes in Group and Individual Cooking classes in a variety of themes and techniques.  When teamed up with Patty wine pairing dinners are also offered.  The next time you are planning a corporate or charitable event and want to offer up something unique or want to assemble your family for a special celebration, contact Susan at 204-452-2212 suekapilik@mts.net.  Our dinner that evening cost $75. per person and private appetizer parties start at $65. per person.

Kath’s quote:  “Cooking is an art and patience a virtue… Careful shopping, fresh ingredients and an unhurried approach are nearly all you need. There is one more thing – love. Love for food and love for those you invite to your table. With a combination of these things you can be an artist – not perhaps in the representational style of a Dutch master, but rather more like Gauguin, the naïve, or Van Gogh, the impressionist. Plates or pictures of sunshine taste of happiness and love.”-Keith Floyd

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Love-that is all.

 

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