Browsing: Food Celebrations

The Keg Gives Back

October15

I do not live a spontaneous life, but there are occasions when spur of the moment decisions can be made and it is a wonderful feeling. This past Friday night I was invited to a “wet run” of the newly refurbished St. James Keg and although I knew that Sister #3 could accompany me, there were two more invites available and I did not want to let the opportunity go unredeemed.

So I invited along two young Moms who really needed a break and a treat (especially when it meant that their spouses managed bed time at home for the little ones).

We shared a couple of appetizers including this succulent Shrimp Cocktail.

The food was perfect with the teeny exception of the butter for the lobster tail which was not clarified.

The steaks and prime rib were tender and precisely cooked and the sides and additional courses gave me the opportunity to try a couple of things that I do not tend to gravitate to on The Keg’s extensive menu.

We ended our evening with 4 spoons and an Apple Crumble.

The service by petite Sam (female) was more than attentive and it would be an understatement to say that a good time was had by all.

Equally important to me and this particular circle of friends was that the token amount of money spent to be a part of the evening was being funneled through the Keg Spirit Foundation to the Rehabilitation Centre for Children.  Our family has directly benefited by their equipment loans and modifications of adapted devices.  Therefore, we were happy to top up the $5 per dinner with a generous donation.

Being able to give back when you are so enjoying your evening, your life and your blessings, is such a pleasure.  The Keg makes it easy every year when they offer up a special menu that provides a built in contribution to their Keg Spirit Foundation.  A sneak peak at this years offerings include Herb Roasted Chicken, Prime Rib and Snow Crab, Sirloin with Jumbo Shrimp & Scallop and Baked Halibut.  I have to get back there soon…

Since 2001 the Keg Spirit Foundation has contributed more than $1 million to Big Brothers Big Sisters at both national and local levels.  Other national charities that have been supported include Free the Children (I will be  attending “We Day” again, later this month) and the Ladybug Foundation program, initiated by Winnipeg’s own Hannah Taylor.

I am looking forward to seeing what the final tally for the evening will be but in the mean time, the opportunity for a fun and relaxing night out with the girls-priceless.

Kath’s quote: “Time is an herb that cures all Diseases.”-Benjamin Franklin

Love-that is all.

The St. James Keg Steakhouse and Bar

October11

On the very first night that the Keg ‘n Cleaver opened on Garry St., I was one of those full-length dressed hostesses to greet you at the end of the line (which was down the sidewalk).  The Keg was my start in the hospitality business, as well as so many other successful Winnipeggers.  My family has been entwined in its history ever since that first night.    The story goes on and on, but let me fast forward to last evening.

We were invited to the preview party at the newly refurbished St.  James Keg.  Before I got caught up seeing many beloved friends, I managed to take some photos of the sleek and still cozy new interior.

How has a restaurant like The Keg managed to keep reinventing itself in new and fresh ways, when most of its competition from back when it first opened in Winnipeg, is long gone? I have two thoughts on this:

1) They have always been true to their hero product-beef.  I know how stead-fast this loyalty has been because I was one of their “smart-alec” Marketing Directors that declared that their menu would have to evolve to less red meat and items like pastas if they were going to survive (boy was I wrong).

2) The Keg’s focus has always remained on people.  Young people have been given the best hospitality training and have been taught the value of very hard work and have been richly rewarded for their perseverance and talent.  Most members of Winnipeg’s Senior Management Team started in the dish pit and behind broiler bars.  They are a “family” and therefore treat their guests as if they were being welcomed into their home.

And in the case of the St. James Keg, home is an elegant and uncluttered space.

Gone in all the Winnipeg Kegs are the rough cedar walls, the brick a brack, the huge vases full of silk flowers and the celebrity renditions on the walls.

Fireplaces have been retained and comfy booths, but everything else has been packed away with those full length hostess dresses.

Angela Chapdelaine is the General Manager of the St. James Keg.  She runs a tight ship and you always know where you stand with her.  She is a part of a Keg Family Legacy in Winnipeg.  She lost her much-loved Dad this summer.  He would have been so very proud of what she has built and achieved.

But what of the evening’s food and drink?  Yes, we were greeted by trays of well-selected wine and those amazing Keg Caesars. The array of appetizers were delectable but I kept my appetite for the teriyaki steak skewers and the prime rib sliders.  Ahh, the beef.

Kath’s quote: “Beef is the soul of cooking.”-Marie-Antoine Carême

Love-that is all.

Birthday Steaks and Mock Apple Pie

October5

When it was J1’s family birthday dinner recently, I was surprized when he asked for a steak supper.  After all, he works part time as a dining room server at The Keg Steakhouse and Bar, wouldn’t he have had his fill of red meat?  Apparently not.

D went to great lengths to select the chicest of cuts.  Nothing was too good for our son on his 25th birthday.  The selection of Angus Beef meant that the steaks were beautifully marbled and oh so tender.  Since I am the daughter of a meat man, I know that marbling contributes to taste and aging enhances tenderness.

The Cutco steak knives that I took out of their wrappings for the evening certainly impressed.  J1 demonstrated just placing the knife on top of his steak and the utensil sliding through (with no effort on his part) to produce a perfect forkful.

Also on the menu were all of J1’s favourites: baked potatoes topped with real bacon, green bean casserole and herb pull apart loaf.  The heart image below is a random piece of the loaf-I kid you not! For dessert though I was stumped as J1 is not a cake guy but I remembered chatting with a friend about a Mock Apple Pie recipe and had to give it a try.

Would you know that it was filled with zucchini from this photo?

Zucchini Mock Apple Pie
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Fooled ya!
Ingredients
  • 6-8 c zucchini, peeled and cut into "apple-sized" pieces
  • ¾ c sugar
  • ½ c brown sugar
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • ¼ t nutmeg
  • ¼ t cardamom
  • 1½ t cream of tartar
  • 2 T corn starch
  • ½ t salt
  • 1 t vinegar
  • 1 T butter
  • 2 pie crusts (I cheat and purchase frozen Tenderflake)
  • ½ t sugar, topping for crust
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Follow package directions t defrost pie shell.
  3. Cook zucchini in boiling water until barely tender (about 2 minutes).
  4. Cool and drain. Squeeze out as much excess moisture as possible with paper towels.
  5. In a bowl, well toss zucchini with sugars and all other ingredients from list stopping with the salt.
  6. Fill the pie shell with mixture.
  7. Dot with butter, drizzle with vinegar.
  8. Top with second crust.
  9. Create steam cuts in the crust.
  10. Dust with sugar.
  11. Bake for 15 minutes at 425.
  12. Reduce heat to 350 and continue baking about 45 minutes.Serve hot with vanilla ice cream.

D said with amazement at a taste of the pie: “Well this proves that you can put sugar and cinnamon on anything and it will taste good!”

Kath’s quote: “Every year the number of new cookbooks increases, but in spite of them the progress made in this most useful of the arts is not ever overpowering. On the contrary, we must regretfully admit that nowadays people no longer prepare the fine and nourishing dishes that our mothers used to make.”-Anna Dorn, Cookbook Author (1834)

Love-that is all.

Pumpkin Crunch

October3

Our plans are in place for Thanksgiving weekend and I have my assigned dishes to prepare at “Life is Good” and then wrap and carry to “Kappy’s Korner” where we will all assemble.

This will likely be the last Thanksgiving dinner spent in this way as Sister #2 and her husband will have their neighbouring cottage completed by this time next year.

I think that the great room in that locale was designed especially with extended family dinners in mind.

The biggest hit most years is Sister-in-law #2’s Pumpkin Crunch Dessert.  This year, I am actually remembering to post her recipe in advance o that you can make it for your festivities if you wish.  39 of my family members think that it is the best thing to happen to Thanksgiving dinner.

 

Pumpkin Crunch
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 package yellow cake mix
  • 1 can (16oz) solid pack pack pumpkin
  • 1 can (12oz) evaporated milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1-1/2 c sugar
  • 4 t pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ t salt
  • 1 c chopped pecans
  • 1 c melted butter
  • Whipped topping
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease bottom of 9×13 pan.
  3. Combine pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in large bowl.
  4. Pour into pan.
  5. Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over pumpkin mixture.
  6. Top with pecans.
  7. Drizzle with melted butter.
  8. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until golden.
  9. Cool completely.
  10. Serve with whipped topping.
  11. Refrigerate leftovers.

Kath’s quote: “Pumpkin pie, if rightly made, is a thing of beauty and a joy – while it lasts…..Pies that cut a little less firm than a pine board, and those that run round your plate are alike to be avoided. Two inches deep is better than the thin plasters one sometimes sees, that look for all he world like pumpkin flap-jacks. The expressive phrase, ‘too thin’, must have come from these lean parodies on pumpkin pie. With pastry light, tender, and not too rich, and a generous filling of smooth spiced sweetness – a little ‘trembly’ as to consistency, and delicately brown on top – a perfect pumpkin pie, eaten before the life has gone out of it, is one of the real additions made by American cookery to the good things of the world. For the first pumpkin pie of the season, flanked by a liberal cut of creamy cheeses, we prefer to sit down, as the French gourmand said about his turkey: ‘with just two of us; myself and the turkey.'”-‘The House Mother’

Love-that is all.

Asessippi Autumn Feast Dinner

September26

Nestled deep in the Shell River Valley is the Asessippi Resort and Ski Area.  I have to admit, that I have never been to the ski hill in winter and certainly not on a gorgeous late summer day, as this day was.  Tables were set up at the apex of the hill so that we had a stunning view of the valley and for miles around.

The dinner menu was extensive, and all items had been carefully sourced and prepared by Chef Wes Osborne from the Russell Inn.

Our el fresco table had been set with care.

We were invited to serve ourselves from the buffet tables which were literally overflowing with choices.

I tried to chose very carefully so as not to waste any precious food.

My happiest discovery was the array and abundance of Bothwell cheese.

I savoured a couple of cubes with my dessert selection.

These chaps were part of the pre-dinner entertainment.  They might have been called the “Young Neal’s” or something equally as fun.

But for me-this young girl was the absolute highlight of our evening.  She and her younger brother have raised tens of thousands of dollars under the banner “Kids Helping Kids” where they sponsor first generation parents (who have immigrated to the area to work in the agriculture industry) to reunite with their kids.  We passed the hat amongst the foodies that I was traveling with and raised a contribution to go towards their wonderful cause.

The time had come to board the bus for our journey back to the Barn in the Bush.  But first, I scooped another couple of these rhubarb squares (supposedly for breakfast) but I ate them on the way home.  They turned out to be my favourite recipe of the evening and I would love to get my hands on a copy.

Another stunning sunset on another stunning prairie day…..

Kath’s quote: “Never rub another man’s rhubarb.”-Jack Nicholson as The Joker, ‘Batman’

Love-that is all.

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