Browsing: Food Celebrations

Chicken Mole-Bikinis & Margaritas Pt 3

September18

Mole Poblano is a popular sauce in Mexican cuisine.  It is prepared with dried chilies,  ground nuts and seeds, spices, Mexican chocolate (which is traditional ground with sugar and cinnamon) and a variety of other ingredients including onions, plantain and garlic.  Because of the labour-intensive nature of the mole, it is often made in large batches for special occasions, such as holidays, birthdays and weddings.  Since we were celebrating upcoming nuptials and because Laura never does back down in the face of a challenge, she lovingly prepared this authentic dish.

Laura gave me two recipes which she indicates that she used in combination for her dish.  This version is from the Food Network and is marked “Easy”. (Doesn’t look easy to me-I typically buy the Dona Maria Mole Sauce at the Mexican grocer).


Chicken Mole
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Laura poached the chicken breasts, placed on a bed of rice and then poured the mole over top at serving time.
Ingredients
  • 1 chicken (3-4 pounds) cut into pieces (Laura used boneless breasts)
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • kosher salt
  • ½ c sesame seeds
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ t anise seeds
  • ¼ t coriander seeds
  • 6 dried quajilo chile peppers
  • 4 dried ancho chile peppers
  • 6 T canola oil
  • ¼ c raisins
  • ¼ c whole almonds
  • ¼ c hulled pumpkin seeds
  • 2 6 inch tortillas torn into pieces
  • 1 2.7 oz. disk of Mexican chocolate, broken into pieces
  • pinch of sugar
Instructions
  1. Place chicken and peppercorns in large pot, cover with water and season with salt.
  2. Bring to a gentle simmer over low heat and cook until tender, about 40 minutes.
  3. Transfer the chicken to a large plate and set the cooking liquid aside.
  4. Toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat, tossing until golden, about 5 minutes.
  5. Set aside 2 T for garnish and transfer the rest to the blender.
  6. In the same skillet, toast the cloves, cinnamon stick, and anise and coriander seeds until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  7. Add to the blender.
  8. Meanwhile, add the raisins, almonds, pumpkin seeds and tortilla pieces to the canola oil and cook, stirring, until the seeds and tortillas are golden brown, about 2 minutes.
  9. Add to the blender along with oil from the skillet and cook, stirring, until the seeds and tortillas are golden brown, about 2 minutes.
  10. Add to the blender along with the oil from the skillet.
  11. Add the softened chilies and puree, pouring 2 to 3 cups of the soaking liquid to make a thick, smooth sauce.
  12. Heat the remaining 2 T canola oil in a large pot over medium heat, Add the chile sauce and fry, stirring until thickened, 5 to 6 minutes.
  13. Add 4 c of the reserved chicken cooking liquid and simmer until the sauce starts to thick, about 20 minutes.
  14. Add the chocolate and simmer, stirring frequently, until the chocolate melts and the sauce reduces, about 20 more minutes.
  15. Add the sugar and season with salt.
  16. Add the chicken pieces to the sauce and warm through over low heat.
  17. Garnish with reserved sesame seeds.

My contribution to the evening was a simple watermelon and feta salad.  I prepared three c of watermelon balls, covered with 1/2 small red onion slices and 1/2 c of crumbled feta and drizzled balsamic vinegar over all.

Kath’s quote (I was searching for Mole quotes and found this one -wrong kind of mole but…): “Their [watermelons] cleansing action you can discover for yourself; just rub them on dirty skin. Watermelons will remove the following: freckles, facial moles, or epidemic leprosy, if anyone should have these conditions.”-Galen (129-216 A.D.)

Love -that is all.

 

Bikinis and Margaritas

September12

You are truly blessed if you have someone in your life that will virtually guarantee a fabulous time if you are invited to their home.  My friend Laura and her husband Allan are such people.  And knowing that they love hosting as much as their friends benefit from their hospitality, is like a double blessing.  Their comfortable home is perfect for entertaining, especially when the guest of honour, whose upcoming nuptials we were celebrating, requests a Bikinis and Margaritas evening.

Allan had the blender and freshly cut strawberries set up when we arrived.  He was offering Pink Bikini Margaritas or traditional lime versions.  Seeing as though a cocktail is the closest way I am going to be a associated with a pink bikini, I opted for the former-a delicious way to start the evening.

Laura’s Shrimp Cocktail

We were an assembly of old friends and were comfortable to perch on the stools in front of their cooking island.  I don’t know whether we started with the Sopa de Lima or Mexican Shrimp Cocktail and my photos do not give me any hints as to the order.  (Good thing I stopped with a single margarita).  Let’s say it was the shrimp.

Shrimp Ceviche at the Fisherman’s Cop-op on Isla Mujeres

Laura’s version is the closest thing that I have tasted to the ones that we dream about from the little seafood restaurants lined up on the sandy beach of Isla Mujeres.

Picus Shrimp Cocktail on Isla Mujeres

I am rambling on about Isla because only Laura knows how to make the Yucatan dishes that I long for.  Someone in Winnipeg should seriously hire this talented woman to fashion their Mexican menu for them…..but I digress.

Here is Laura’s Mexican Shrimp Cocktail recipe:

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetiser
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Cooked shrimp are chilled in a spicy tomato-juice cocktail.
Ingredients
  • lbs. cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 T crushed garlic
  • ½ c finely chopped red onion
  • ¼ c fresh cilantro,chopped
  • 1½c tomato and clam juice cocktail
  • ¼ c ketchup
  • ¼ c fresh lime juice
  • 1 t hot pepper sauce sauce, or to taste
  • ¼ c prepared horseradish
  • salt to taste
  • 1 ripe avocado-peeled, pitted and chopped
Instructions
  1. Place shrimp in a large bowl.
  2. Stir in garlic, red onion and cilantro.
  3. Mix in clamato juice, ketchup, lime juice, hot pepper sauce and horseradish.
  4. Season with salt.
  5. Gently stir in avocado.
  6. Cover and refrigerate 2 to 3 hrs.
  7. Serve in one large bowl or ladle into individual bowls.

Everything about this recipe was so delicious that I poured the nectar onto taco chips, so as not to miss a single taste.

Kath’s quote: “To make people who have no appetite eat, to make the wit of those who have it sparkle, to enable those who want these qualities to find them — this is the supreme science of a gastronome-host.”-Lucien Tendret

Love-that is all.

Guest Blogger: Sister #3-GLEE does Hawaii

August29

The dinner club I belong to known as GLEE (Girls Laughing, Eating and Entertaining) is almost always based on dinner and a movie. Usually the dinner theme comes first, i.e. Greek food and the movie options; My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Shirley Valentine, Mama Mia, follow.  This was not the case with the last get together that I hosted. The girls and I were all eager to see “The Descendants” with George Clooney.  The move was picked first so the theme of Hawaii was what we had to work with. Determining a menu for a Hawaiian dinner party is not as easy as one might expect, especially in the Canadian prairies in the dead of winter where its hard to find a nice pineapple, never mind banana leaves. Lots of the food is hard to find and can be complicated to prepare, anyone want to dig a pit in the back yard to slow cook a suckling pig?  The cuisine’s identity is sometimes had to pin down being a mix of American, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Polynesian and Portuguese influences.  But we set forth doing the best we could and the end result was a pretty yummy dinner.

We started the evening with this cocktail

Hawaiin POG Punch
Recipe type: Beverage
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups passion fruit Juice
  • 3 cups Guava nectar
  • 1 ½ cups Orange juice
  • (I couldn’t find all these ingredients so I used a mixed juice that included these juices)
  • 10 oz Malibu rum
  • 750 m. bottle of dry champagne
  • garnish with pineapple slice
  • makes 10 cocktails

Along with this we enjoyed our Pupu chicken appetizer created by my friend Lucille.

Kathy T#1 brought a mandarin and almond salad and Kathy T #2 made a lovely pineapple rice dish to accompany the vegetable medley and macadamia nut crusted Mahi Mahi that I made. http://www.foodnetwork.ca/recipes/Salad/Herbs/recipe.html?dishid=3505

I made the onion Maui onion salad but forgot to serve it.

It was hard to pick what was yummier, the food or George?

Dessert was pulled together by Barb who kept it simple with angel food cake, fresh pineapple, chocolate sauce and whip cream.

Kath’s quote: “He who receives his friends and gives no personal attention to the meal which is being prepared for them, is not worthy of having friends.” –Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Love-that is all.

Guest Blogger: Sister #3-GLEE does Africa

August28

This particular evening my dinner club decided to forgo a movie for more visiting time and we decided to visit Africa. Our post dinner activity included doing some shopping from a selection of hand crafted items from a number of African locations.  An acquaintance of one of the GLEE girls is a missionary who brings items to Canada to
sell and then returns with the proceeds to the woman who made the item.

Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera that evening so can’t share a photo of the amazing peanut soup or our fantastic main of ground nut stew served with couscous, flat bread and all the accouterments, but it was all delish!  We finished the evening with milk tart made from the recipe that my niece Bekah brought back from her time in Africa.

I was on appetizers and decided to do try two recipes I found on my favorite website www.epicurious.com Shrimp charmoula and Tunisian tuna and egg turnover also known a “brik”.  Two delicious appetizers I would likely never have tried if it were not for the need to provide something African for this event.  The shrimp was than any preparation of shrimp I have had before. The recipe was really easy and I made it ahead of time.  I will certainly make it again.

I thought it would be fun to have an interactive component to the evening so decided to show my friends how to make the turnovers so they would be hot and yummy and I wouldn’t be stuck in the kitchen while they were all enjoying cocktails.  So I set up an electric fry pan on the kitchen island and gathered my students around me.  Each woman made her own turnover, or two and a good time was had by all.  If I were to make these again I would most certainly do it as a hands-on activity for my guests.

Tunishian Tuna and Egg Brik
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
 
Ingredients
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tuna, drained
  • ¼ cup chopped scallions
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1½ tablespoons drained capers, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for brushing
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • About 3 cups vegetable oil
  • 6 (8-inch-square) spring-roll wrappers
  • 6 whole eggs (preferably medium)
  • 
Special equipment: a deep-fat thermometer; 2 pastry brushes
  • Accompaniment: lemon wedges
Instructions
  1. Mash together tuna, scallions, parsley, capers, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl until tuna is broken up and mixture is combined well.
  2. Stir together egg white and water in a cup with a fork.
  3. Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 200°F.
  4. Heat ½ inch vegetable oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet until it registers 350°F on thermometer.
  5. While vegetable oil is heating, arrange 2 spring-roll wrappers on a work surface and brush centers lightly with olive oil (do not oil edges). Leaving a 1-inch border all around, put 2 tablespoons tuna mixture near lower right corner of 1 wrapper and form mixture into a ring (about ½ inch high and 3 inches in diameter) to contain egg.
  6. Repeat procedure with other wrapper. Brush edges of both wrappers with egg white mixture (use separate brushes for oil and for egg white), then break an egg inside each "ring" and season eggs lightly with salt and pepper. Fold top left corner of each wrapper over egg to form a triangle and press edges together to seal.
  7. Immediately lift 1 brik gently by tip of triangle and lower into oil, keeping long side of triangle in center of skillet. Repeat with second brik and fry briks, lapping oil over exposed wrappers with a metal spatula, until undersides are golden, about 1 minute. Flip each brik over sideways with aid of 2 metal spatulas, so long side of each triangle stays in center, then continue to fry, lapping exposed wrapper with oil, until wrapper is golden and egg is cooked but yolk is still runny, about 1 minute more. Transfer to paper towels to drain briefly, then put on a baking sheet and keep warm in oven while making remaining briks.
  8. Make more briks in same manner (using a second baking sheet for keeping last batches warm). Return oil to 350°F between batches.
  9. Serve briks warm.
  10. Cooks' notes: To take the temperature of a shallow amount of oil with a flat-framed metal deep-fat thermometer, put bulb of thermometer in skillet and turn thermometer facedown, resting other end (not plastic handle) against rim of skillet. Check temperature frequently. 
·Tuna mixture can be made 4 hours ahead and chilled, covered. 
·Each brik must be fried shortly after cracking egg onto wrapper so wrapper does not become too soggy to lift.

Kath’s quote: “Serenely full, the epicure would say, Fate cannot harm me, I have dined today.”- Sydney Smith

Love-that is all.

Our Canadian/American Family Gathers-Part 2

August15

The rest of the afternoon was spent with more visiting and a team scavenger hunt (where my team reigned victorious)!  Then it was off to the local park for a cross-border softball game.

Everyone who was willing was invited to partake from the youngest to Grandma Jean herself.  There were some surprize hitters and base runners and it was a close match.  Lightning called an end to the game and the start of our picnic supper.

In the end the Canadians won (in our minds at least)-consistent with the Olympics we brought home a bronze…..   Supper was another all American feast of fried chicken, beans and cole slaw.

After a leisurely morning sipping big mugs of coffee, we assembled for brunch on Sunday morning which was put together at various kitchens and by a variety of participants.  There was an egg casserole, French toast, fruit salad and pecan, cinnamon buns-yum.

Catching (and releasing) baby trout with a net.

The youngest member of the gang, still in his pjs.

Hanging on tight to Big Mable.

Prince Harry hair styles on the Ladyman brothers.

The sky had cleared and the temperature had risen and water sports dominated the rest of our stay.  Various configurations of cousins went fishing in the stream and lake, tubing, kayaking and sojourned to a floating trampoline.  I got to join in on an invigorating speed boat ride to the other end of the lake where we spotted loons and a perched eagle upon our return.

Family members started making their departures at staggered intervals.  Almost an hour was spent when D and I decided to do the same, exchanging emails and making declarations to befriend each other on Facebook so that we could keep in closer touch.   I love when social media is used for positive connections and not just frivolity and gossip.

Actually, there was a rumour started even before we had pulled out of the drive way, that the next get together would take place on the Canadian side, eh?

Thank you Sharon, Dan, Danny, Nancy, Dale, Tammy and all the kids for all your trouble hosting and loving us with food.

Kath’s “In any world menu, Canada must be considered the vichyssoise of nations — it’s cold, half-French, and difficult to stir.”-James Stuart Keateqyote

Found on the little island where I spent my morning.

Love-that is all.

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