Browsing: Food Celebrations

Inland New Orleans

September2

We love  New Orleans.  The city, especially the French Quarter is a fascinating place to stay and the eating adventures are unequalled.  So when we were invited to a New Orleans themed party recently, thrown by CN to celebrate the success of the Canadian Women’s Open, we were thrilled to attend.

Upon arrival at a banquet room at the Delta Hotel, we were escorted down a cavern filled with card readers and fortune tellers.    The next stop was to dress up in beads and boas to further set the tone of the evening.  Overhead were persons “of the evening” calling out to us and throwing more beads.  From there we girded up with a cocktail called a  Hurricane, served in impressively tall glasses (but not quite so tall as the ones we were permitted to roam Bourban Street with).

There were duplicates of restaurant fronts reconstructed around the room with cafe tables set out as if out on the patio.  We choose a high bar table by a fountain.  From there we took turns going back and forth with samplings for each other.  There were little brown bags of chips and breaded pork along with sliders and sausages at one;  chicken skewers, jambalaya and cajun shrimp served in a jester’s chalice at another.  Fried banana peppers added some firey pops and BBQ meatballs and ribs made for deliciously messy eating.  For us though, the highlights were the prawn poh-boys, corn bread in a savoury broth, fried bananas in spiced rum sauce and bread pudding with Carmel sauce.  Alas, no oysters on the half shell…..

Saxophone and horn players wound through the crowd and on stage was a band flown in from Louisiana.  It was hard to believe that we were still in Winnipeg when we left the hotel that evening and drove up to the cottage.

Kath’s quote:  “New Orleans food is as delicious as the less criminal forms of sin.”~ Mark Twain

Celebrating Life with Food- Part 2

August30

This year’s theme was Italian and LB arrived in her Italian made shades, shoes and hip hugging skirt.  M came as the barefoot contessa (bare feet are in evidence in the corner of this pic).  I wore a beach cover up that I bought on the beach in Positano.

As we waited for everyone to assemble we had a selection of cheese and Italian meats from De Luca’s.  The next course was a Caprese salad made from tomatoes and basil from LB’s garden.

I was on deck for the pasta course.  I was taught this recipe by my friend Concheta in her kitchen in Sicily.  We asked her to feed us authentic Sicilian recipes but her family there chided her for cooking “peasant” food for us-we were delighted!

Next step was preparing the veggies as D put the Swordfish Siciliana into bake.

M&R prepared the salad course.  A refreshing and colourful salad of fennel and apple.  The leftovers were equally tasty.

By this time my memory of the evening becomes a little clouded but I do know that we moved out to a large table that I had set up in the backyard.  Limoncell0, fresh figs and many kinds of grapes accompanied what was teasingly called hamburger dessert because they were little amaretti cookie sandwiches filled with a sweetened mascapone that resemble little burgers.

I’ve run out of space to include recipes here.  I’ll do so in part 3.  The hilarity continued to the extent that we forgot to put out the intended espressos and anise candies.  The evening was over way too soon…until next summer, my friends.

Kath’s quote: “We dare not trust our wit for making our house pleasant to our friends, so we buy ice cream.”-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Celebrating Life with Food

August6

Tonight we are hosting dear friends who have been in our lives for over 35 years.  One couple (L&D) live just across the river from us and the other(M&R) are flying in this morning from The Beaches in Toronto.  We have been together through much-our marriage celebrations, pregnancy and the birth of our children (two of our boys are 3 months apart), catastrophic illness and the death of parents.  We lived “30 Something” (which was our favourite TV show) in the late eighties.  Somehow,  in those days dinner landed on the table and kids got fed.  It is a blur now as to how we accomplished this.

Now life although still too hectic,  is more leisurely around the preparation of dinner.  Perhaps our expectations are different too.  It is still about the care and taste of the dishes but mostly about the time to languish in each others’ company.

Last year’s get together had a Parisiene theme and we met at M&R’s cottage in NW Ontario.  Now that I am a blogger, I regret my wine consumption as I have no food photos. 

I only partly recall the menu-pate and cheeses, escargot in Cafe de Paris butter, grilled halibut, salad and a creme fresh with fruit.  I’ll ask for a memory refreshment tonight.

Kath’s quote: “Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead.  Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow.  Just walk beside me and be my friend.”-Albert Camus

My heart fascination is because of this precious friendship.  How can I find the perfect heart to share here.  I cannot….

Antipasto Kebabs

July6

It is surprising (even to me) that I am still blogging about my Mom’s Birthday Cocktail Party as it was months ago by this time. 

One of my assigned recipes were these easy and fun kebabs.  The prep was primarily about shopping at a high end Italian store for: spicy Italian olives, fine salami, an equally fine sausage and fresh cherry tomatoes.  I had cheese herb ravioli in the freezer that I added.  Simply assemble your chosen ingredients and spear onto a medium bamboo skewer.  It is a good idea to have a firm item at either end, in my case a tomato and large olive.  On the same plate I served prosciutto wrapped honeydew melon.

These turned out to be one of the hits of the evening and were definitely the simplest to prepare, plate, serve and consume.  There were other items served that would prompt my Mom to ask: “What do I do with this?”

Kath’s quote: “Enchant, stay beautiful and graceful, but do this, eat well. Bring the same consideration to the preparation of your food as you devote to your appearance. Let your dinner be a poem, like your dress.”-Charles Pierre Monselet

Cottontail Time

July1

Today as I was shopping for a variety of goodies to have as a late afternoon snacks for a stretch of time at the cottage, I was reminded of a now defunct family tradition.  When the kids were toddlers, we would pack up the cooler and head to the beach at about 11 am.  The kids loved when lunch time was announced.  The would waddle down to the water’s edge to wash their hands in the water and their wet hands likely picked up more sand on the way back to the beach blanket then there was in the first place.  They would have a sandwich and some veggies and immediately ask for the watermelon or grapes that they knew would be packed in mini zip locs.

After another dip in the lake or a walk to the creek to catch frogs or in the other direction to see the natural artesian well or the clay pits, we would head back to the cottage to escape the heat of the day.  The kids were encouraged to spend some quiet time-they didn’t necessarily have to nap but they were tucked in to read books or listen to some music.  Since the time was spent in a soft and cozy manner and also because of a phrase that they heard the adults using, they called it “cottontail” time.

The term that they were misquoting, gleeful declared by the adults?  Its cocktail time!

Kath’s quote: “Soup is cuisine’s kindest course.  It breathes reassurance; it steams consolation; after a weary day it promotes sociability, as the five o’clock cup of tea or the cocktail hour.”
Louis P. De Gouy

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