Browsing: Food Celebrations

Icelandic Cream Wafers

January6

When our Son and Daughter #3  (in law) decided to serve their favourite cookies and milk instead of wedding cake at their wedding,  I had the simple task of ordering J’s Dream Cookies from Gunn’s Bakery where they are known as Diplomat cookies.  My friend Victoria though made Jen’s favourite from scratch which as I understand it is a time consuming task.  She and a friend have made these together for years and I think this is wise advise.  If you have a time-consuming job to do, share the task with a friend to make the time pass more pleasantly and then share the fruits of your labour.

Cookie:

1 c butter

2 c flour

1/2 c whipping cream

Cut butter into flour with pastry cutter or 2 knives.  Add whipping cream until dough forms.  Roll out to 1/4″ thickness.  Cut out 1″ circles (spice caps work nicely).  Prick with fork and sugar both sides.  It doesn’t say in recipe but I imagine that you place them on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake at 375F for 7-9 minutes.

Icing:

1/4 c butter

3/4 c icing sugar

1 t vanilla

red and/or green food colouring

Beat ingredients together and spread between 2 wafers forming a mini cookie sandwich.

Kath’s quote: “The most dangerous food is wedding cake.”-James Thurber

somebody loves you

Happy New Year

January3

I love my life.  I am a very content person and 2010 was a good year:

-Lots of time with family, friends and food. 

-Good health and the energy to learn and try new things. 

-A little bit of money put aside to travel to favourite places and on brand new adventures. 

-The marriage of our son and his beloved Jenny.

-Lots of time walking by the water and collecting heart stones.

-A wonderful/crazy granddog to have for sleep overs.

-A big, gentle Frenchman hanging out with our family.

And so it was that we were not anxious for 2010 to pass into the history books and in all honesty, New Year’s Eve is not ever a big deal in our house.  But we do love to be with family and dress up and taste wonderful treats and have a little spin on the dance floor and was so glad to attend “In Dreams” at the Winnipeg Convention Centre.

We started with appetizers as we perused the silent auction table.  Then found our table with Sister #2 and her husband.  The soup was a ginger roasted carrot and smoked salmon bisque garnished with crispy leeks and a fleron.

Next came a Caprese Salad of arugula and basil leaves in a cucumber ribbon with a peppery balsamic truffle oil garnished with hearts of palm, pea shoots, grana padano crisps and crostini.

 

The cleanser was a strawberry sorbet in an orange shell with a cluster of mint and oven dried grapefruit.  I loved every taste and had eaten from every food group, and would have been content to throw in the napkin.

But next came a perfectly grilled Filet with a glace de Viande napped with cafe de Paris beurre and twin marinated prawns Provencal served with roast garlic mashed potatoes, mushroom saute and a grilled vegetable and cheese flan. I politely tasted everything on my plate but was truly done.

can anyone identify the yellow berry on the plate-tasted citrusy?

OMGooness, then dessert arrived: gateaux St. Honores served with a tuile spoon, pulled sugar and berries!  One of many amazing new year’s dinners that we have enjoyed by the chef’s at the Convention Centre.  Top shelf ingredients and inventive presentations and how it arrives hot to the hundreds of diners in an incredible fete.

Ron Paley’s big band had taken their places on stage.  Beautiful women in evening gowns were escorted to the dance floor by their tuxedo clad partners.  The music was incredible with cameos of Winnipeg’s finest including Sierra Noble.  But the highlight for me was the drummer Jeremy Russo who we know from a number of connections-WOW.

We dutifully assembled on the dance floor for the 2011 count down as balloons, showered down from the ceiling.  We had just dance to D’s favourite song-“Its a Wonderful World” and it is.

To top off a perfect evening D was highest bidder for a gorgeous mountain bike that he decided to ride out of the Convention Centre (we were on the third floor).  We had a safe ride home (in a car) and a restful sleep.  A new year had begun. 

Kath’s quote:  “An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.”-Bill Vaughn

if you get-give, if you learn-teach

Salted Roast Turkey with Herbs and Shallot-Dijon Gravy

December29

Our Christmas schedule is hectic to say the least. Over the course of 72 hours we attended one turkey dinner, hosted another, celebrated the 75th birthday of D’s Mom, hosted a Christmas Eve soiree and attended a Christmas lunch for 30. So I’ll be frank, we took some turkey shortcuts for the Christmas dinner that we hosted.  That is, we threw it in the oven with a lid before we left for most of the day, pulled it out of the oven and served it-ta da!

In the mean time, a good friend of mine, shared her elaborate turkey recipe with me to hold onto for future Christmases and here it is:  

 

salt varieties in Nice market

Herbed Salt:

1/3 c plus 1 T coarse kosher salt

1 1/2 t dried rosemary

1 1/2 t dried rubbed sage

1 1/2 t dried thyme

1 t black peppercorns, crushed

3 small bay leaves, coarsely torn

1 t finely grated lemon peel

Turkey:

1 14- to 16-pound turkey (neck, heart, and gizzard reserved)

1 large onion, chopped

1 large celery stalk, chopped

1 whole lemon, chopped with peel

1 t dried rosemary

1 t dried rubbed sage

1 t dried thyme

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups (or more) turkey stock
 

Gravy:

3 1/2 c (about) turkey

2/3 c chopped shallots

1/2 c all purpose flour

1/2 c dry white wine

2 t Dijon mustard

2 t chopped fresh rosemary

Preparation

For herbed salt:
Rub first 6 ingredients in small bowl to crush herbs finely. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 week ahead. Cover; store at room temperature. Stir in peel before using.

For turkey:
Rinse turkey inside and out (do not pat dry). Pull any fat pads from main cavity and neck cavity of turkey; wrap, chill, and reserve fat for roasting. Place turkey in roasting bag; sprinkle inside and out with herbed salt. Close bag. Place on baking sheet; refrigerate 18 to 24 hours.

Set rack at lowest position in oven and preheat to 325°F. Rinse turkey inside and out; pat very dry. Stir chopped onion and next 5 ingredients in small bowl. Divide onion mixture between main and neck cavities. Fold neck skin under and secure with skewer. Tuck wing tips under. Tie legs together loosely. Place turkey on rack set in large roasting pan. Spread butter all over turkey. Place reserved fat pads and reserved neck, heart, and gizzard in pan; pour in 2 cups Golden Turkey Stock.

Roast turkey 45 minutes. Baste with pan juices. Continue to roast until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 165°F to 170°F, basting every 45 minutes, adding stock or water to pan if dry, and tenting loosely with foil if browning too quickly, 3 to 3 1/2 hours longer. Transfer turkey to platter; tent very loosely with foil and let rest 30 to 45 minutes. Reserve roasting pan with juices for gravy.

For gravy:
Remove turkey neck, heart, and gizzard from roasting pan. Pull meat off neck; chop neck meat, heart, and gizzard and reserve for gravy, if desired. Pour pan juices into 8-cup measuring cup. Spoon off fat from surface, reserving 1/2 cup fat. Add enough turkey stock to degreased pan juices to measure 5 1/2 cups total.

Place roasting pan over 2 burners on medium heat. Add 1/2 cup reserved fat and shallots; sauté 1 minute. Whisk in flour. Cook until roux is light brown, whisking constantly, about 2 minutes. Whisk in wine, stock mixture, mustard, and fresh rosemary. Bring to boil, whisking to blend. Boil until gravy coats spoon, about 3 minutes. Add neck, heart, and gizzard, if desired. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve turkey with gravy.

Thank you lovely Amanda.

Kath’s quote: “How to thaw a frozen turkey: Blow in it’s ear.”-Johnny Carson

and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make

The Next Generation

December20

I believe in hospitality.  Over the years we’ve tried very hard not to turn down any of the kids’ request to open up our home to their friends.  Once I was woken up by one of those middle of the night calls-it was our son and I was so relieved to hear that he was okay, that when he told me that it was last call and he had told that band at the Zoo that they could crash at our place-I immediately agreed.  (As I fell back to sleep I remembered that my husband was away and wondered if I had done the right thing).  Well besides the fact that they used a lot of water -all having showers and washing their clothes in the middle of the night, I didn’t even know that they had been there.

Daughter #2 and her BF lead a youth group and wanted to treat them to a Christmas banquet.  The menu was traditional Christmas offerings but it really would not have mattered what was served-it was that they were assembled around one table of friendship.  They did want the kids to experience a formal setting and served them in courses. 

I think the evening was a hit based on the hilarity that went on while we were upstairs watching a season finale.  At the dinner table the gang were perfect ladies and gentlemen.

Kath’s quote:  “The ultimate aim of civility and good manners is to please: to please one’s guest or to please one’s host. To this end one uses the rules laid down by tradition: of welcome, generosity, affability, cheerfulness and consideration for others. People entertain warmly and joyously. To persuade a friend to stay for lunch is a triumph and a precious honour. To entertain many together is to honor them all mutually. It is equally an honour to be a guest.”-Claudia Roden

practice radical hospitality

Its Coming on Christmas

December14

D prepares an event each year round about the first week of December.  He has been catering to this same not-for-profit group for the past 12 years.  There are some dishes that are constant-turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, fresh rolls but each year he changes up the salad, stuffing, potatoes, sweet potatoes, another veggie dish and dessert.  This year his menu was as follows:

Cranberry & Spicy Pecan Spinach Salad with Balsamic Dijon Dressing

Broccoli, Wild Rice and Mushroom Stuffing

Mashed Potaoes in their Jackets with Rosemary & Butter

Roaster Red Pepper and Herb Corn

Sliced Sweet Potatoes with Apple Butter

Chocolate Mint Mousse

Here is his Stuffing Recipe that we can’t wait to have again for our dinner on the 25th.

Broccoli, Wild Rice & Mushroom Stuffing

1/2 c uncooked wild rice

1 1/2 c water

2 c chopped fresh broccoli

1/2 c butter

1 1/2 c sliced mushrooms

1 c chopped onion

14 oz. chicken broth

1/2 c sliced almonds

1 16 oz. package of herb seasoned stuffing mix (or substitute equal volume of bread cubes and poultry seasoning to taste)

Bring rice and 1/2 c water to boil.  Cover, reduce to low and simmer 45 minutes.  Place broccoli in a pot with enough water to cover and boil 5 minutes or until slightly tender.  Remove from heat and drain.  Preheat over to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease a baking dish.   Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat and saute the mushrooms and onions until tender.  Mix in cooked rice, cooked broccoli, stuffing mix , broth and almonds,   Transfer to prepared baking dish .  Bake 30 minutes in pre-heated oven or until golden brown.

Kath’s quote: “No more turkey, but I’d like another helping of that bread he ate.” Anonymous

Love is all around.

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