Browsing: Food Celebrations

Share Our Strength-Taste of the Nation

March30

I start my day around 7 am with two mugs of coffee.  I know when it is about 10 am because I start to think about having a piece of fruit or my new favourite-PC Thin 4 Grain Bagels.  Around 1, I start snooping around the fridge for left overs.  At 3:30 or 4 I crave a cup of tea.  I find it fascinating that our bodies have built in timers as far as food input is concerned.  Do you sometimes get wonky or light-headed when you get too busy to eat or keep your liquids up?  Imagine what it would be like to have to send your kids off to school every morning, when you know that they are feeling this way?

One of our many “First Day of School” pics

I remember what a chore I thought that making lunches was when my children were school-aged.  I feel guilty even thinking this because my biggest decision was shall I make peanut butter, ham or tuna sandwiches today?  I never ever had to wonder whether I had sandwich fixings in the house. 

There are families right here in our own city that don’t have the food security that we enjoy.  Taste of the Nation is a wonderful opportunity to work towards ensuring that all children get the same opportunity for breakfast and lunch in our city.  Winnipeg’s Inner City is one of the poorest areas in Canada and this is precisely where the funds raised through this event will go: The Immigrant Centre, Flora House and St. Aidan’s Christian School. 

The evening is $80. and the tasting event takes place at The Fairmount Hotel on Monday, April 11th.  Tickets are available from Ticketmaster.   Your paid entry provides the opportunity to taste and sip until you are completely satisfied.  The very best of Winnipeg’s culinary talent will be sharing their creations for our pleasure.  I have my ticket.

Can we end hunger and poverty by attending this event?  No but we can make a difference one starfish at a time.  (If you would like me to post my “starfish” story, send me a comment.) 

Kath’s quote:  “There is a communion of more than our bodies when bread is broken and wine drunk. And that is my answer, when people ask me: Why do you write about hunger, and not wars or love?”-M.F.K. Fisher

Copyright (c) <a href=’http://www.123rf.com’>123RF Stock Photos</a>

The Decadent Birthday Dinner Party

February27

By guest blogger Michael R.

To anyone who has  followed Kath’s blog, it is most apparent that good food plays a central part in our family celebrations, and most especially birthdays. After their eighteenth birthdays though, the large family affairs for the kids come to a stop. My lovely wife, aka sister number two, was casting about for a creative way to keep the good times rolling for our son and daughter after eighteen and hit upon the idea of an annual birthday dinner party for each of them with their friends. This year we celebrated our beautiful daughter’s 22nd year  by creating an amazing four-course meal for her and eight of her BFFs.

Now when I said “we” created, I actually meant Sister #2. My duties consisted of menu design, photography, serving and bussing, as well as some minor food prep. The rest of the evening was in the hands of our resident  food magician, as Sister #2 dazzled the girls with an inventive and mouth-watering menu.

After a glass (or two) of fresh sangria was enjoyed, out came course number one: Roasted pumpkin soup, featuring roasted local pumpkin puree with a hint of curry, garnished with cream and chopped red pepper.

Accompanied by home made bread toastettes topped with herb unripened cheese and cherry tomato, with a drizzle of balsamic reduction, this first at bat was hit right out of the park!

Next up was Raspberry and Goat Cheese Salad, featuring raspberries and goat cheese (of course!) on a bed of baby greens, tossed in a homemade raspberry vinaigrette, and garnished with a sprinkling of chopped pistachio nuts.

Light and delicate, yet very flavorful, this was a perfect introduction to the evening’s Entrée: Grilled Tenderloin Of Pork. Brine marinated grilled medallions of pork tenderloin, finished with blackberry wine sauce. Accompanied by Heritage Carrots, teased with butter and fresh dill, sauteed spinach and pesto filled zucchini, baked in a bread crumb parmesan crust, and lastly potatoes with cream and cheese, whipped and piped into a baked potato shell.

Last on the evening’s menu was Grand Marnier and Amaretto Ice Cream, home made Grand Marnier and Amaretto liqueur flavored ice cream with chocolate almond crackle, topped with a hand made sugar crisp. This was truly not only a culinary delight, but surely a visual one as well.

Well, the girls left shortly thereafter for parts (and parties) unknown, leaving me with the dirty dishes and many fond memories of a wonderful evening of fun and incredible gourmet delights courtesy of Sister #2. One lucky daughter and one lucky guy!

Kath’s quote:  “The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.”-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ain’t it good to know, you’ve got a friend.

Doris’s Last Lunch

February7

If I owned a restaurant (and we still may give that another try) it seems to me that the compliment that would flatter me the most would be the request that my food be served at a person’s memorial service.  I attended an absolutely beautiful celebration of a friend’s life this morning.  She was well enough earlier last week to participate in the planning of this day.  She wanted to know the designated time and was content with an 11 am start.  That way, her daughter shared: “She could provide everyone with lunch”-one of her greatest pleasures.  When it was difficult for her to speak the words “cheese and fruit platters”, she drew circles in the air.  Luckily her daughter knew exactly what the gesture meant. 

When we moved from the sanctuary upstairs to the downstairs hall, the courteous ladies from Rae and Jerry’s were there to great us.  I am absolutely hooked on their salmon sandwich rolls and only get to savour them on other occasions such as these.  The salmon is not overloaded with mayonnaise but still moist with a gherkin pickle in the middle.  I know that there are also delectables made from shaved ham, chicken and corned beef.  Their ham and relish is particularly yummy.  Sister #3 loves the cream cheese and cherry. Rae & Jerry’s cheese trays are always a world wide collection of Fontina, Havarti, Camembert, Edam, Gouda and Cheddar (of course). 

My family already knows a piece of music that I would like at my memorial.  I tucked a copy of it in a file so it could be found at an opportune time.  Maudlin?  Not at all.  They will also know that I want lilies everywhere and that they are to to give everyone who attends a heart stone that I have collected on my habitual beach walks. They know the two places that I would like my ashes thrown into the wind.  They also know that I want baskets of kettle- cooked potato chips, bowls of fresh salsa, black truffle Bothwell cheese, rosemary and Parmesan Triscuits, bowls of ripe black olives and marinated artichoke hearts and cubes of feta cheese.  For dessert-Dream cookies.  Scads of them, so that everyone can eat their fill and then take home pockets full for their kids.  But just in case someone forgets a detail-now it is all outlined here…..

I want to be like Doris.  I want to live a long, full life and then bless in death, all the people that I love in the same way that I have demonstrated my love for them in life-with one last lunch.

Kath’s quote:“Everything ends this way in France – everything. Weddings, christenings, duels, funerals, swindlings, diplomatic affairs — everything is a pretext for a good dinner.”-Jean Anouilh

She flies on.

Another Snowy Weekend

January28

By Guest Blogger Laura

One of winter’s first snowy Saturdays and as luck would have it, we planned the perfect welcoming event  – a fondue party to celebrate a friend’s birthday.  There are so many different ways to enjoy this congenial way of eating but we have our favourite plan and usually stick with it for the most part.  We use two pots of boiling oil – many people use chicken or beef broth which is terrific too – but we generally go for a combination of canola and peanut oil.    The most exciting part of the fondue for me is the creation and presentation of a wide variety of dipping sauces that allow guests to try new flavours and combinations that they wouldn’t normally try.  Each and every bite can be different from the one before and it’s that experimenting that makes this such a celebration of eating. 

Early in the day I prepare a hearty plateful of each of prime rib steak, boneless pork, boneless chicken breast and peeled and deveined shrimp.  My husband prepares the chocolate fountain and cleans strawberries, cuts bananas, peels mandarin oranges and cuts up sponge cake. 

 I wanted to be sure to have a good variety of choices.  I picked up some store bought sauces…sweet and sour, BBQ, seafood sauce and then had tons of fun preparing the homemades. 

Horseradish Cream – 1 cup sour cream, 3 T horseradish, 2 t lemon juice, 2 green onions, ¼ t worchestershire, salt & pepper

Herbed garlic butter – 1 C butter, 2 T lemon juice, 1 t fines herbes, 2 cloves garlic

Peanut sauce – 1 cup vegetable broth, ½ c peanut butter, 3 T shallots, 1 t worchestershire, 1 t sugar – cooked on stove and allowed to thicken and cool

Honey Mustard – ½ c mayo, 2 T honey, 2 T grainy mustard, salt & a pinch of cayenne

Curry Mango – ½ c unflavoured yogurt, ½ c mayo, ½ c mango chutney, 1 T lime juice, 2 t curry powder, 1 T chopped red onion, dash of cayenne

The surprising hit was one I just invented at the last minute.  I used a small jar of green jalapeno jelly and mixed it with ½ c mayo.  Then I chopped in some fresh red chile pepper and green jalapeno pepper primarily to add some colour because the sauce wasn’t looking that attractive.  Even the guests who don’t usually go for food with too much heat loved this combination of sweet and spicy. 

Our friends brought along a bowl of cheese fondue which we simply heated in the microwave and put on a warmer and then enjoyed with chunks of French bread.  They also contributed mushrooms, peppers and pearl onions along with a beer batter that worked really well in the fondue pots. 

I’m not sure there is a better way to enjoy wonderful dinner conversations than with good friends sharing  a fondue.

“When you ask one friend to dine,
Give him you best wine!
When you ask two,
The second best will do!”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

invite someone to warm up at your table

The Most Decadent Lasagna

January26

Do you know the song entitled Seasons of Love from the play/movie Rent?  The lyrics are about quantifying the passing of time: 

Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?

In my family we recently reached a milestone.  We celebrated the 18th birthday of the thirteenth and youngest grandchild in our family.  We had been celebrating these birthdays for 20 years and in all there were 234 of them.  A person much better at math (my husband or one of my children) could calculate exactly how many birthday candles had been blown out over the years.   

Our family has grown to be so large that we have to rent a room to accommodate us all for dinner.  The special efforts put into this last soiree were handled beautifully by Sister #2 and her husband-complete with video tributes and trivia games.  And is always the case-there was a lot of love poured into the preparation of the food. 

Sister #3 is the sister that is a formally trained cook.  I am said to be an “inventive” cook and Sister #2 is an “indulgent” cook.  For this dinner she prepared four different kinds of pasta including two lasagnas that were to die for.  This recipe is appropriately entitle “Death to Dieters Chicken Lasagna” as it is made with…..Hollandaise sauce!  Can you see how she came about her title?

3 c fresh mushrooms, sliced

2 c onions, chopped

3 c hollandaise sauce (2 packets if not making from scratch)

1 lb. pakage lasagna noodles, cooked

2 lbs. chicken breast, cooked & thinly sliced

1 t basil

1 t oregano

3 c mozzarella, shredded

1 c parmesan, grated

Saute mushrooms & onions until soft.  Using 2 9″x13″ pans, spread a small amount of hollandaise on the bottom & place a layer of noodles over top, then cover with 1/2 of the chicken .  Top with 1/2 of the mushroom and onion mixture, then 1/2 of the remaining hollandaise and sprinkle with 1/2 of the basil & oregano.  Top this with 1/2 of the mozzarella and Parmesan.  Repeat the layers ending with the cheese.  Cook uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes or until hot and bubbly.  Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.  Serve with a salad with a tart dressing to offset the richness.  Serves 20-24. 

Kath’s quote:  “You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.”-Julia Child

Today is my Mom’s 84th birthday!

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