Browsing: Food Celebrations

Easter Goodies

April3
I was going to give myself the weekend off from a blog post but then I got an email from Sister #3 who had just made these gorgeous Easter cupcakes.  I just had to share them.

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“I had lots of fun making these. IMG_0003

I used a cake mix (white cake with pastel colour confetti sprinkles inside). I made the butter cream (1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cut shortening, whipped with 4 cups icing sugar and two Tbsp milk).”

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Topped with various sprinkles and M&M Easter eggs. ”

Kath’s Quote: “Spring being a tough act to follow, God created June.”-Al Bernstein

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Have a blessed Easter everyone.

Beaujena’s French Table

March11

This entry was made by a dear GF who celebrated her first wedding anniversary with dinner at this St. Boniface restaurant.  Chef Randy sent her the details of the menu that night which I have included below.  She selected the corresponding pics as she did wish to diminish the specialness of the evening with photo taking.

“The whole evening was AMAZING and the atmosphere was casual yet romantic. The staff were incredible making you feel more like family rather than customers. Definitely would recommend this restaurant to anyone wanting a nice evening out with amazing food and company! ”

Crab_Cake
“A shrimp cake with green apple salsa and a crab/mahi mahi cake with tarragon aioli. The two cakes were similar in some ways but very different in others. The green apple salsa had a tartness that went well with the sweet potato base of the shrimp cake while the tarragon aioli enhanced rather than over-powered the subtlety of the crab/mahi mahi cake.”
Cream of Mushroom Soup 500
“Cream of mushroom soup. No, not like the kind that comes in a can. This soup used crimini and shiitake mushrooms, sherry and very little cream. It was actually kind of light.”
Tuna_beans
“Coriander rubbed and seared tuna with white beans and spinach. This was a recipe I got while visiting Costa Rica. I seared the tuna for exactly 30 seconds per side then served it on white beans over spinach. Diners really appreciated this dish, saying that they had never had tuna that tasted so good. That’s in large part because most restaurants over cook fish and dry it out.”
“Chicken with apple and leeks on a bed of parslied pasta. The sauce contained apple cider which, along with the apples themselves provided a hint of sweetness to an otherwise savoury dish. The pasta was, as always home made.”
lambshank
“Braised lamb shank with a savoury bacon and olive cake. This lamb was cooked in the oven for three hours in a red wine marinade. Lamb can be gamey tasting but this preparation mellowed those harsh flavours in addition to making it fall off the bone tender. As for the cake, what isn’t better with bacon?”
“Spring greens with French lentils and diced red beets. A simple Dijon vinaigrette dressed this salad which served as a nice, light palate cleanser. “
pear-cake
“Chocolate upside down pear cake. Everyone has heard of pineapple upside down cake. Use your imagination.”
My friends also chose the five glass wine pairing. Menu prices, hours, address etc. are stated in this link: Beaujena’s.

Beaujena's on Urbanspoon


Kathryne’s note: In the month of March their menu is inspired bu Northern Italy and Southern France.  Since my husband and I holidayed there this fall I think we owe it to ourselves to check it out.  I promise I’ll take my camera (romantic dinners went out the window when I became a blogger!).
Kath’s quote of the day: Escargot – “Nobody is sure how this got started. Probably a couple of French master chefs were standing around one day, and they found a snail, and one of them said: ‘I bet that if we called this something like “escargot,” tourists would eat it.’ Dave Barry
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Greek Food Lament

February17

0905p50e-greek-islands-mI have only travelled to Greece once.  It was a University graduation gift to myself.  I was not a foodie then-okay I’ll admit it:  I was a spoiled brat as far as food went.  I would not eat tomatoes unless they were in a spaghetti sauce.  I would not eat cheese unless it was mozarella or mild cheddar and melted on something.  Feta?  Yuck-not on your life.  Olives? No way.  What is the wierd stuff in my lasagna?  It’s not lasagna-it’s mousakka?  Eggplant?  Gross.  I would pick through a Greek Salad and only eat the cucumbers.  OMGoodness-why was I such an idiot?

Danforth Ave.

I went with two girlfiends (and one gf’s Mom).  Both friends now live in Toronto but sadly I only keep in touch with one of them.  Very often when I visit her in TO we head to the Danforth where the Greek restauants are plentiful and fabulous.  There is nothing that I won’t taste now. Octopus and squid?  Bring it on!

I don’t know why we don’t go out for Greek fook more often in Winnipeg because there are many wonderful choices here as well.  It seems that the most of my Greek dining was in yesteryears.

I once worked at the Winnipeg Art Gallery when the Swiss Inn (now defunct) had the foodservice contract.  Manny was the Chef, and no he was not Swiss-he was Greek.  Ah I can still taste his Avgolemono (Greek lemon soup) now. Avgolemono I traced Manny to a restauant on Sherbrook called the Acropolis.  But I believe that is too defunct.  There was once a beautiful restauant on Grant called Matheos-gone.  I also loved Dionysis on Nairn-gone.

The owners of Dal’s Restauant used to be our neighbours and I have never been to their Transcona location.  I have been to Homer’s on Ellice and Niko’s on Corydon but it has been years.  I’va also been to the Pembina Village Restaurant and the Garwood Grill but only for breakfast and never sampled their reputed Greek menus.  Why, why why?

Greek Potatoes

Greek Potatoes

This weekend I cooked Greek Food for Valentine’s Day dinner.  I had never cooked Greek potatoes before and they were fabulous. Here’s the recipe that I used:  In a small bowl mix 1/3 c olive oil, 1 1/2 c water, 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1/4 c fresh lemon juice, 1 t thyme, 1 t rosemary, 2 t dried chicken stock and black pepper to taste.  Arrange 6-8 peeled and quartered potatoes in a baking dish.  Pour the oil mixture over top.  Bake 1 1/2- 2 hours at 375 degrees, stirring every once in a while.

Chicken

Chicken

My husband got out the barbeque for chicken.  Marinated in Carver’s greek dressing, grilled and then served with sliced and grilled tomatoes, sliced black olives and a crumbling of feta-yum.

Italian Memories Dinner Party

February15

There were three couples assembled to relive the details of our separate trips to Italy.  One couple had kept a similar itinerary to ours and the other had spent extensive time in Tuscany.  The host served Mario Bateli’s Osco Bucco (recipes in link)–a regional Italian dish that I have never attempted.  She made her decision from five different recipes-an indication of the care that she puts into her cooking.  It was perfection-“fall off the bone” and yet did not tasted “stewed”.  She also prepared his Risotto Milanese (with Saffron)  but admitted that it tuckered her out and decided to forgo her dessert course of poached pears and Carmel sauce.  We had a delicious tiramisu instead.

The wines were beautifully paired and we took over limoncello for after dinner sipping.

Our hosts in Amalfi-who served their own Limencello in their cozy bar

Our hosts in Amalfi-who served their own Limencello in their cozy bar

Limoncello

  • 750 ml bottle of grain alcohol
  • 7 or 8 large lemons (make sure they’re organic and not sprayed, you’re using the peel!)
  • 5 cups water
  • 3 cups sugar

Directions:

  • Wash the lemons thoroughly – scrub them clean of all residue.
  • Using a peeler, take off the skins being careful not to get any of the white lemon “pith” onto your peelings or it will add bitterness to your limoncello.
  • Put the peels into a large, open-mouth jar with the alcohol and seal the lid tightly. Put the date on the bottle.
  • Put the jar in a cool, dry place for one week – once a day, shake the contents well to remix everything. You’ll notice the color of the liquid changing to yellow and the color of the lemon peels fading.
  • One week later, dissolve the sugar completely in water by heating it on the stove. Then cool the sugar-water mixture to room temperature.
  • Strain the lemon peels out of the alcohol and then mix the alcohol with the sugar-water. Usually the color of the alcohol changes from clear yellow to cloudy yellow when it’s combined with the sugar-water.
  • Pour the mixture into bottles which can be sealed tightly and store them in the freezer. If the limoncello is kept “frozen” until serving it becomes thick and syrupy.

These make great gifts; just get some small, pretty bottles and label them yourself and you’ve got a great taste of Italy to hand out to friends and family.  I’ve not tried this yet, but this same recipe can be used with any citrus fruit – orange, lime, grapefruit, etc.

DSCF1036We also took over the antipasto.  It was a recreation of our favourite one while travelling.  Antipasti are very regional depending upon the local ingredients available.  Our favourite was in Ravello and it was primarily a selection of vegetables that had been cooked, marinated and served cold.

The restaurant was called Cumpa Cossismo and it has been run by the same family for decades.  All the dishes served were Netta’s recipes and she still supervises the cooking, greets all the guests and then it appeared that her most important role is collecting everybody’s euros before departing.

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Netta has hosted the likes of Jacqueline Onassis and Mariah Carey.  Having been caught in the rain on this morning-I don’t feel much like a diva in this pic.

Valentine’s Weekend

February13
One of the first courses on our 2nd Honeymoon.

One of the first courses on our 2nd Honeymoon.

It is the time of year that we celebrate St. Valentine.  I have learned that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret.   In the end Valentine died for love because when his illegal actions were discovered, he was put to death.

There are many kinds of love, even though the English language does not distinguish between them very well.  In addition, Hallmark has morphed this love celebration into one of romantic love.  In my life, I celebrate the many kinds of love…and its no surprize, I celebrate them with food!

Chicken Crepes at Bistro Dansk

Chicken Crepes at Bistro Dansk

Last night-I dined with my sisters and my Mom and celebrated “storge” which means “belonging”.  My family loves me unconditionally and no matter what the circumstances-I belong.

Schnitzel, Sweet & Sour Cabbage and Pan Fried Potatoes at Bistro Dansk

Schnitzel, Sweet & Sour Cabbage and Pan Fried Potatoes at Bistro Dansk

I intend to repeat this celebration on Sunday night when we have a family dinner with my kids. Unconditional love is even fiercer when experienced as a parent.  This dinner will be attended by my newly married son and his bride.  Their “epithumia” love is apparent.  It is the love of attraction.

Epithumia

Epithumia

Tonight, we join old friends (and I’m talking decades) for a dinner party.  We will celebrate our long-standing friendship and “phile” meaning “cherishing”.

On Monday because it is a long weekend I will celebrate romance or “eros” with my husband.  We haven’t yet decided if it will be with a supper at home or with a quick bite out.

And so that just leaves “agape” love-the act of selfless giving.  I will challenge myself and all of you to shift our concentration on this Valentine’s weekend to this kind of love.

Love is Everywhere!

Love is Everywhere!

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