Browsing: Food Celebrations



Sister #3 is hosting a lovely international student from Beijing and gathered a group of of friends together last night for a traditional Chinese celebration.  I think the intent was to make her student feel more at home, learn more about other customs and gather a group of other families who are also hosting Chinese students.  From my estimation the evening was a wonderful success;  not only because I loved the special tea and treats but from the happy sounds of the four students chatting and sharing, who hadn’t known each other previously.

Sister #3 is the perfect host (so is Sister #2 for that matter).   She had decorated with lanterns and got out her best china.  She had colouring sheets for the kids and read us the legend of the wood-cutter who was banished to the moon.  But she also opened the story telling up to the students to interject the versions that they had learned back home.

The moon cake itself was full of nuts and was satisfying and not too sweet.  Supposedly the “moon” (a round egg yolk)  is baked into the cake but my wedge did not contain it.  I had never tasted anything like the tea before-made from plums and chrysanthemums it was perfectly clear and lovely and sweet.

Another way to celebrate the richness of life with food!

Kath’s quote: “Ecstasy is a glass of tea and a piece of sugar in the mouth.”-Alexander Pushkin

Can’t Explain


I have lived in River Heights for almost 18 years and think that this restaurant has been on Waterloo and Corydon for at least that long but I have never tasted a Santa Lucia Pizza.  I can’t explain how this happened.  Sister #3 claims its Winnipeg’s best pizza and I would be tempted to agree.  But I would love your opinions on this topic if you have other favourites.

Earlier this week I was in what you might describe as a middle aged woman’s heaven: I got together with two women whom I love and we ate pizza, then a banana log Jeannie’s cake, washed it down with a fine German Riesling and watched the premiere of this season’s Dancing with the Stars!  Hard to decide what was the best part but the pizza was definitely outstanding.  We ordered the Santa Lucia’s Aloha which is double ham, double pineapple and cheese and a large feed four of us to satiation with a couple of pieces left over for lunch.

Now we are a home-made pizza family and I am very picky about my pizza.  I figure if I’m going to eat a day’s calories at one meal-it better be worth it.  Their crust tasted very close to the bread dough recipe that I use.  There was the perfect amount of robust sauce on it and once you add their toppings and cheese-yummers!

This photo is not a Santa Lucia Pizza-we ate it to quickly for me to take a one.

Kath’s quotes:  “Life is so brief that we should not glance either too far backwards or forwards…therefore study how to fix our happiness in our glass and in our plate.”-Grimod de la Reynière

Big Guys, Big Steaks, Big Screen


Many traditions surround food in our home and a new one was initiated just last weekend.  D purchased an entire strip loin and then cut his own New York steaks to grill and then serve to the gang that assembles in our basement each Sunday afternoon of the NFL season.

He wrapped huge baked potatoes in foil to bake in the oven.  He then sliced green onions and crumbled bacon and plated them with sour cream and butter.  Each of the guys could have a “Keg” sized potato with the “works”.  D also sauteed mushrooms in garlic, butter and white wine.

He also rearranged the TV room and purchased a couple more “man” chairs so that each spectator had his own leather recliner and food stool.  Ah boys, they will be boys.

Kath’s quote:

“To see the butcher slap the steak before he laid it on the block, and give his knife a sharpening, was to forget breakfast instantly. It was agreeable too – it really was – to see him cut it off so smooth and juicy. There was nothing savage in the act, although the knife was large and keen; it was a piece of art, high art; there was delicacy of touch, clearness of tone, skilful handling of the subject, fine shading. It was the triumph of mind over matter; quite.”-Charles Dickens

Cherry Pistachio Cremes


Three things I love came together earlier this summer: the company of women, delicious food and newborn babies.  We had assembled to celebrate the births of a little girl and a little boy.  We rocked babies, visited and sampled little treats-both savoury and sweet.  My idea of a perfect evening….

This was my favourite taste:

1/4 c butter, softened

1/4 c powdered sugar (I use icing is that the same as powdered?)

1 egg

1 1/2 c flour

1/4 t salt

1/3 c finely chopped pistachio nuts

granulated sugar

1 1/4 c powdered sugar

1/4 c butter, softened

1/2 t vanilla

1-2 T maraschino cherry juice

In a large bowl, combine 1/4 c butter and 1/4 c powdered sugar.  Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until well mixed., scraping bowl occasionally.  Add egg, beat until combined.  Gradually beat in flour and salt on low speed until well mixed.  Form a large cookie log.  Cover and chill about 1 hour.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Place pistachios in a shallow pan.  Roll the cookie log in nuts to coat.  Slice into 1/2 inch slices (you may require a glass of water to keep the knife moist) and place 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with the granulated sugar.  Bake for 8-9 minutes or just until edges begin to turn golden brown.  Transfer to a wire rack; let cool.  In the mean time, prepare filling: in a small bowl, combine 1 1/4 c powdered sugar, 1/4 c of butter and vanilla.  Beat in enough of the cherry juice to make a filling of desired consistency.  Spread a healthy teaspoon of filling on the bottom half of the cookies.  Top with remaining cookies, flat sides down, pressing lightly together. Makes about 21 sandwich cookies.  To store: layer cookies between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container; cover.  Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Kath’s quote:  “When I make cookies, I eat just four and throw the rest away. But first I spray them with Raid so I won’t dig them out of the garbage later. Be careful, though, because that Raid really doesn’t taste that bad.”-Janette Barber

Outside Eats


Even though the evenings are chilly at this time of year, most of this last cabin weekend was spent outside. Friday night we celebrated a niece’s birthday with nachos and cupcakes around a fire pit.  Saturday we watched “Babies” and “This Is It” on a big outdoor screen.  These were chosen for their lack of complicated story line because we had two brand new international students from Bejing, China in the crowd.  We had the fire pit going that night too and also got out blankets and toques.  Popcorn and penny candy was passed around to the 25 of us assembled on the cabin front lawn.

In spite of how much our family loves traditions, even to the extent of annual dinners, Sister #2 took a risk and made a decision to simplify the menu for this year’s Labour Day Weekend Beach Barbecue.  She usually makes skewers of pork, chicken, beef and shrimp and then veggie skewers.  But the prepped last year just about did her in.  She headed to the beach about half an hour before the rest of us to light the live coals in our two little grills.

While the burgers cooked, she had red pepper hummous, artichoke and jalepeno dips, as well as her own delicious concoction of cream cheese, Imperial cheese and strawberry preserves.  These were accompanied by a vermouth, soda and lemon cocktail.  Beer and Shiraz were served with the prime rib burgers.

Besides sauteed onions and bacon, she had made pesto basil and sun dried tomato mayonnaises.  She also put out huge bowls of potato salad, Greek pasta salad and Caesar salad.

We delayed dessert until much later in the evening (as we were literally groaning over our supper) when we  reassembled around a fire back at the cottage.  Cranberry oatmeal cookies and fire grilled blueberry, apple and raspberry pies were a wonderful snack later in the evening.

Kath’s quote:  “Grilling, broiling, barbecuing – whatever you want to call it – is an art, not just a matter of building a pyre and throwing on a piece of meat as a sacrifice to the gods of the stomach.”-James Beard

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