Browsing: Food Celebrations

Dessert Sinsations

May25

Even though some time has past since Mother’s Day, last night was the absolutely perfect time to celebrate with our Mom.  When you are 85 and health issues limit your outings, spreading them out a little bit is a smart strategy.

When the Karsh exhibit was at the Winnipeg Art Gallery we parked just adjacent, had a delightful lunch and spent a leisurely time in the gallery.  Mom had such a lovely day, that she requested that we repeat the scenario so that we could attend the Norman Rockwell exhibit before it leaves the city.

And so it was that we assembled again at Dessert Sinsations.  Being a part of the marketing world, I can’t help but reflect that the name of the restaurant does not really do it justice.  Yes, their dessert case is over the top with selections and I have tasted many delicious treats from that bounty.  But I personally do not live for dessert and this lovely cafe offers so very much more.

The savoury dishes that my Mom chose on her last visit, must have been memorable because she ordered exactly the same thing for this celebration-the garlic and mushroom soup and the poutine (I have obviously inherited her poutine-loving genes).  She ate til her heart was content and then packaged the rest up for her lunch today.

The three sisters, made healthier (but not less delicious) choices.  Sister #2 went with the Black and Blue Salad-blackened steak and blue cheese.

Sister #3 chose The Gardener which looked amazing when it arrived at the table.

And even more so, when we peaked inside.

My gorgeous pear and walnut salad was a masterpiece when it was placed in front of me.

And looked completely different when I placed the addition of the grilled chicken breast.  The light dressing had a slightly maple taste which complimented the ground walnuts of the dish-kind of like having a healthy version of maple/walnut ice cream!

The kind servers (we had three of them popping over to our table) allowed us to stay parked as we ventured over to the Winnipeg Art Gallery (my first post-university job).  We were all enamoured with the exhibit, Mom particularily so with the depiction of a little boy’s discovery of a Santa suit in the bottom drawer of his Dad’s bureau.

Delicious and wholesome food and exquisite artistry which celebrates good old fashioned values and family-the perfect way to celebrate a belated Mothers Day.

Dessert Sinsations Cafe on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote:  “A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie”. ~Tenneva Jordan


“The whole Mediterranean … the wine, the ideas … seems to ride in the sour pungent taste of those black olives … A taste older than meat, older than wine. A taste as old as cold water.”

Lawrence Durrell

Greek Chicken with Tomatoes, Feta & Olives-Mothers Day 2012

May24

My Mother’s Day a couple of weeks ago was perfect in so many ways.  We celebrated on the Saturday so that D could have lunch with his Mom on Sunday and I could head out to the cottage for the day, to get some spring cleaning accomplished.

There was a delay in celebrating my Mom’s special day as she was not feeling well, but the three sisters are taking her out this evening for dinner and a visit to the Winnipeg Art Gallery for the held over Norman Rockwell exhibit.

I spent that Saturday lazing around in our backyard on one of the prettiest days of the year-when all of our fruit trees are in full blossom.

D as always, was busy at the grill and produced my favourite Greek Chicken recipe.  The dish typically starts with the chicken marinating in Greek dressing but in order to cut down on the fat content, D used a dry rub of Greek spices instead.  The brand is Victorian Epicure and it is the basis for their Greek dressing containing herbs, onion, garlic and red and green peppers.


Greek Chicken with Tomatoes, Feta & Olives
 
Ingredients
  • 6 boneless chicken breasts
  • ½ bottle of Greek salad dressing
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, thickly sliced
  • 1 c grated feta cheese
  • 1 c kalamata olives
Instructions
  1. Marinate chicken in Greek dressing for 2 hours
  2. Slice tomatoes & assemble other toppings
  3. Grill chicken on barbecue over medium heat
  4. Add tomatoes to grill for last minutes
  5. Remove chicken to a large platter, top with tomatoes and then crumbled feta and olives.
  6. Serve at once

He also grilled zucchini and eggplant to accompany the chicken.

The kids had to disperse and we headed out to a cocktail party that evening but when we got home, it was still pleasant enough to be outside again and so we sat under the illuminated trees and lit the candelabra.  Ahh spring time in Winnipeg.

Kath’s quote: “The whole Mediterranean … the wine, the ideas … seems to ride in the sour pungent taste of those black olives … A taste older than meat, older than wine. A taste as old as cold water.”-Lawrence Durrell

Daughter #2’s Favourite Salads

May17

While I am on the topic of Daughter #2’s birthday, the Frenchman totally surprized her with a birthday barbecue dinner where we assembled for our mandatory Sunday night family supper and a number of her bestie old friends and new school friends were also invited.

You know that you have done a pretty reasonable job raising a child when you see the people that she has chosen to surround herself with.  Every single one of them: engaging, intelligent, creative, demonstrative and authentic.  They all have hearts for social justice on a global scale-this generation is about to change the world!

But I digress.  I volunteered to make her favourite salads knowing that some guests might need to fill up more than others since it was a pot luck invite.  Here are the recipes:

French Potato Salad

2 lbs. small red and white new potatoes

hard cooked eggs to your liking, we start with 4

3 T chopped fresh parsley

2 T chopped fresh dill

4 green onions, chopped

1/3 c finely chopped red onion

Dressing:

1/3 c red wine vinegar

3/4 olive or canola oil

2 t Dijon mustard

1 clove garlic, minced

freshly ground black pepper

Boil potatoes until just tender.  Drain and cut according to your liking (various preferences in our family from almost mashed to almost whole).  Hard boil eggs for 12 mins., cool, peel and slice.  Place both into bowl with remaining salad ingredients.  Combine dressing ingredients, mix well and toss with warm potatoes.  Add freshly ground pepper.  Salad should marinate in dressing for several hours in refrigerator.

Rotini & Mediteranean Veggie Salad

2 c uncooked rotini

12 asparagus spears chopped into 2 inch pieces

Dressing:

3 T white wine vinegar

1 T grainy dijon mustard

1 T honey

2 T coarsely cut fresh dill

1 tsp finely cut capers

1 garlic clove, smashed & chopped

S&P

1/3 olive or canola oil

 

1 c halved cherry or grape tomatoes

1/4 c pitted & coarsely chopped kalamata olives

1 T roasted pine nuts

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil and add rotini.  Cook for about 15 minutes until el dente, adding asparagus to pot during last 2 mins.  Drain both in a colander, rinse with cold water and set aside.

To Prepare dressing:

In blender or food processor, combine vinegar, mustard, honey, dill, capers, garlic, S&P.  Slowly add oil and continue to emulsify.

Place pasta and asparagus in large bowl and toss with dressing.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving and gently toss in tomatoes, olives and pine nuts.

There were other lovely treats contributed to the dinner including Sam’s amazing sushi and J2’s Chocolate Trifle with real (not instant) chocolate pudding-oh my!

Kath’s quote: “To remember a successful salad is generally to remember a successful dinner; at all events, the perfect dinner necessarily includes the perfect salad.”-George Ellwanger

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Dani’s Dinner

April9

I was recently going through my blog drafts and realized that I had never posted this one about the farewell dinner that D and I prepared when one of our nieces left to spend an extended time in Australia.

I asked her in advance what she would like us to make for her and she replied with “Auntie, I love everything that you cook!”  So I gave her a shorter list of options and she selected Mexican as she is an Islaholic like the rest of us.

D marinated both chicken and beef marinated in Goya brand Mojo Criollo that we had purchased at the El Izcalo on Sargent Ave. here in Winnipeg.  The sauce is a tangy blend of bitter orange and lemon juices, accented with garlic and spices.  He also rubbed Achiote Contimentado paste on the pork before he wrapped both in banana leaves as he is doing in the photo above.

I also made Chopped Zucchini with Corn that was topped with Queso Fresco: Fresh Farmers Style Cheese.

I prepared this dish of condiments to be inserted into the corn or flour tortilla shells with the meat.  Sister #3 brought along her glorious homemade guacamole.

 

In preparation for the evening, I had to set up two dinner tables: our usual one in the dining room with the two extra leaves and a temporary one in the living room to accommodate the “Adults”.  This is written with tongue and cheek because all 14 of us are adults.  Imagine having so many people who you love that you can’t fit them all at one dining table?  This is my life.

Sister #2 contributed the chocolate fondue for dessert.

Dani is due to come home in June, if everything goes as planned.  Some things have changed in our family since Dani left in January. But one thing will never, never change. We are a family who demonstrate our deep love for each other with the sharing of food.  Miss you Dani. Muah!

  

Kath’s quote:

“Wine comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That’s all we shall know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
 I look at, and I sigh.”

William Butler Yeats

(Just got back from Ireland and kind of fixated on Irish prose)….

And the winner is….

February27

For as long as I can remember I have been watching the Academy Awards (with the exception of 1 year when I gave TV up for Lent).  The first time I clearly remember rooting for someone was when Julie Andrews was nominated for the Sound of Music.  Kind of ironic that Captain Von Trapp (Christopher Plummer) won his first Academy Award last night.  I don’t recall food being a part of those evenings back then, just the thrill of being permitted to stay up past my usual bedtime.

The Oscars have been a part of the family that D and I have created for over 25 years.  We were remembering last night when our eldest was little and we woke her up to watch the Best Song Category when The Little Mermaid was nominated some 20 years ago.

We were pretty well informed for the festivities last night, having seen 3 of 5 performances in each of the acting categories and 4 of the Best Picture nominations. Daughter #3 was over early so that we could watch all of the red carpet festivities.  I have some major philosophic issues with the entire parade and yet I guiltily watch anyway and declare my own oohs and aahs.

D makes things very special in our house as far as food is concerned.  Since I typically prepare and serve his favourites for Superbowl, he reciprocates for the Oscars.  Last night was no exception.  Instead of sitting around the dining room table for our mandatory Sunday dinner, we enjoy little plates in the living room.

Last evening started with these peel and eat shrimp.  They were actually crunchy (and yes I did remember to peel them) because D knows how to time their cooking perfectly and then immediately plunges them into an ice water bath.

Next up were vegetable dumplings served with hoisin sauce for dipping.

And then this crown of curry chicken chunks with raisins, dried cranberries, apple and walnuts.  D is so resourceful that he made enough to send home with three of the kids for lunches this week.

Lastly (as far as entrees were concerned), he served blackened tenderloin strips.  I had accidentally pulled three certified Angus beef tenderloins from the freezer when I was making stew on Friday.  D saved them from the stew pot to quickly sear them in butter, tarragon and a variety of other spices for last evening.

As far as Oscars go, the program seemed to flow quite nicely as did the wine and rum and mango cocktails.  We’ve got some more movie watching to do-with The Artist and Hugo next on our lists.

Kath’s quote: “Cooks are in some ways very much like actors; they must be fit and strong, since acting and cooking are two of the most exacting professions. They must be blessed – or cursed, whichever way you care to look at it – with what is called the artistic temperament, which means that if they are to act or cook at all well, it cannot be for duds or dummies.”-Andre Simon (1877-1970)

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