Browsing: Food & Travel

Guest Blogger: Sister #3-GLEE does Africa

August28

This particular evening my dinner club decided to forgo a movie for more visiting time and we decided to visit Africa. Our post dinner activity included doing some shopping from a selection of hand crafted items from a number of African locations.  An acquaintance of one of the GLEE girls is a missionary who brings items to Canada to
sell and then returns with the proceeds to the woman who made the item.

Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera that evening so can’t share a photo of the amazing peanut soup or our fantastic main of ground nut stew served with couscous, flat bread and all the accouterments, but it was all delish!  We finished the evening with milk tart made from the recipe that my niece Bekah brought back from her time in Africa.

I was on appetizers and decided to do try two recipes I found on my favorite website www.epicurious.com Shrimp charmoula and Tunisian tuna and egg turnover also known a “brik”.  Two delicious appetizers I would likely never have tried if it were not for the need to provide something African for this event.  The shrimp was than any preparation of shrimp I have had before. The recipe was really easy and I made it ahead of time.  I will certainly make it again.

I thought it would be fun to have an interactive component to the evening so decided to show my friends how to make the turnovers so they would be hot and yummy and I wouldn’t be stuck in the kitchen while they were all enjoying cocktails.  So I set up an electric fry pan on the kitchen island and gathered my students around me.  Each woman made her own turnover, or two and a good time was had by all.  If I were to make these again I would most certainly do it as a hands-on activity for my guests.

Tunishian Tuna and Egg Brik
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
 
Ingredients
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tuna, drained
  • ¼ cup chopped scallions
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1½ tablespoons drained capers, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for brushing
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • About 3 cups vegetable oil
  • 6 (8-inch-square) spring-roll wrappers
  • 6 whole eggs (preferably medium)
  • 
Special equipment: a deep-fat thermometer; 2 pastry brushes
  • Accompaniment: lemon wedges
Instructions
  1. Mash together tuna, scallions, parsley, capers, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl until tuna is broken up and mixture is combined well.
  2. Stir together egg white and water in a cup with a fork.
  3. Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 200°F.
  4. Heat ½ inch vegetable oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet until it registers 350°F on thermometer.
  5. While vegetable oil is heating, arrange 2 spring-roll wrappers on a work surface and brush centers lightly with olive oil (do not oil edges). Leaving a 1-inch border all around, put 2 tablespoons tuna mixture near lower right corner of 1 wrapper and form mixture into a ring (about ½ inch high and 3 inches in diameter) to contain egg.
  6. Repeat procedure with other wrapper. Brush edges of both wrappers with egg white mixture (use separate brushes for oil and for egg white), then break an egg inside each "ring" and season eggs lightly with salt and pepper. Fold top left corner of each wrapper over egg to form a triangle and press edges together to seal.
  7. Immediately lift 1 brik gently by tip of triangle and lower into oil, keeping long side of triangle in center of skillet. Repeat with second brik and fry briks, lapping oil over exposed wrappers with a metal spatula, until undersides are golden, about 1 minute. Flip each brik over sideways with aid of 2 metal spatulas, so long side of each triangle stays in center, then continue to fry, lapping exposed wrapper with oil, until wrapper is golden and egg is cooked but yolk is still runny, about 1 minute more. Transfer to paper towels to drain briefly, then put on a baking sheet and keep warm in oven while making remaining briks.
  8. Make more briks in same manner (using a second baking sheet for keeping last batches warm). Return oil to 350°F between batches.
  9. Serve briks warm.
  10. Cooks' notes: To take the temperature of a shallow amount of oil with a flat-framed metal deep-fat thermometer, put bulb of thermometer in skillet and turn thermometer facedown, resting other end (not plastic handle) against rim of skillet. Check temperature frequently. 
·Tuna mixture can be made 4 hours ahead and chilled, covered. 
·Each brik must be fried shortly after cracking egg onto wrapper so wrapper does not become too soggy to lift.

Kath’s quote: “Serenely full, the epicure would say, Fate cannot harm me, I have dined today.”- Sydney Smith

Love-that is all.

Guest Blgger: Sister #3-Juliette & Chocolat in Montreal

August26

On my last evening of a recent trip to Montreal, my niece and I decided to head out for a late dinner.  We really didn’t have a place in mind so jumped on a subway to St. Denis Street to see what struck our fancy.  We happened upon Juliette & Chocolate, at which point Bekah said she had wanted to try it and I realized that I had seen one of their salads on a friend’s Facebook page and I too had it on my “must try” list.

I had the namesake Juliette & Chocolate salad which was an interesting combination of flavours.  Mixed greens with strawberries, pear, goat cheese and a balsamic and chocolate salad dressing, it was topped with a crouton like object made by swirling buckwheat crepe batter in a hot pan.  I was pleased to find that it was not overly sweet but instead the dark chocolate notes and the vinegar was a nice combination with the crunch fruit and the creamy chevre.

Bekah selected the buckwheat crepe topped with pesto, walnuts and goat cheese. We were both satisfied with our choices.

Juliette Et Chocolat on Urbanspoon

“All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt” Lucy of Peanuts – Charles M. Schulz

Love-that is all.

Guest Blogger: Sister #3- Île d’Orléans in Quebec City

August17

If you ever had to opportunity to visit Quebec City I would highly recommend a quick trip over to Île d’Orléans.  This picturesque island is made up of six communities and loads of farms, shops, churches and museums.  Known as the “Garden of Quebec” the island is a great place to purchase seasonal fruit and vegetables, the strawberries where ready when I was visiting, as well as awesome and maple and apple products.

We stopped at Cidrerie Verger Bilodeau, an apple orchard in St. Pierre where the hostess provided endless samples of apple liquors, dressings and spreads. I purchased apple dessert wine and some apple butter which I enjoyed with brie and baguette once I arrived in Montreal to visit my nieces.

Next was Les Fromages de l’isle d’Orléans in Ste-Famille, home of the first ever cheese made in the Americas. Le Paillasson cheese is first recorded to have been made in 1635 and is a firm cheese that you fry in a pan of butter, similar to the way the Greeks prepare Halloumi.

Our second stop in Ste-Famille, was at ferme au gout d’ autrefois, purveyors of duck and goose products.  My hostess, Chantal picked up a jar of goose thigh cooked in salt and goose fat.

Our final destination was Chocolaterie de l’île d’Orléans in Sainte-Pétronille to pick up a treat of Belgian style chocolate for the drive home.

The next morning we feasted on our lovely purchases as part of our breakfast.

Kath’s quote: “How can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese?” –Charles de Gaulle

Guest Blogger: Sister #3-Aux Anciens Canadien in Quebec City

August16

When you walk the streets of old Quebec City you soon realize just how young the western provinces are in comparison.

After a hot day full of walking up the steep hills of this amazing place, we were all ready to tuck into some comfort food.  We were advised to make our way to St. Louis Road to Aux Anciens Canadiens.

Housed in a home that was built in 1675, this quaint restaurant was the perfect setting for an early dinner. The menu du jour is offered until 5:45 p.m. daily and we arrived just in time to take advantage of this incredible value.

We started with a choice of the Portage du jour, Chicken vegetable the day we visited, or the Soupe aux pois Grand-mere AKA Grandma’s pea soup.  I choice the later and was pleased with my choice.

There was a wide variety of main courses to choose from.

Gabrielle selected the Fricassée de suprême de poulet et legumes, like an open faced pot pie of puff pastry with grilled chicken and veggies.

Marie choose the Tourtière du Lac St-Jean aux gibiers which featured a variety of wild meat. It was served with fruit catsup and purple cabbage, which the girls tell me is just how their grandma would have served it.

Chantal and I selected the Saumon à la façon coulibiac et sa fricassée de légumes et crevette and it was decedent and fantastic!  Salmon is mashed with seasoned potato, topped with matchstick vegetables, wrapped in puff pastry and served on a pool of shrimp cream sauce.

Unfortunately they were out of the strawberry pie that they had offered as their dessert of the day.  I should have gone with the pear sorbet which would have been the perfect end to a rich dinner, but I was in Quebec so I had to try the tarte au sirop d’érable, a maple syrup pie that was amazing.

So our dinner included fresh bread, soup, entrée, a glass of wine and dessert.  My bill was $19.95 plus tax.  I told you it was an amazing value.  All of this in a sweet, traditional setting, with good service and the best company.  An evening I will never forget!

Restaurant Aux Anciens Canadiens on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “He showed the words “chocolate cake” to a group of Americans and recorded their word associations. “Guilt” was the top response. If that strikes you as unexceptional, consider the response of French eaters to the same prompt: “celebration.”  Michael Pollan

Love-that is all.

 

Whiteys-Grand Forks

August10

Whiteys Cafe has a rich history in Grand Forks and yet the funny thing for me is that I had never heard of it until recently and I have been traveling to GF for decades.  I suppose it is a local phenomena like Sals in Winnipeg.

We were surprized upon arrival that it was not busier but then again when I was served my salad without utensils and could not catch anyone’s eye to accommodate me, I guess we weren’t so surprized. But D and I are very understanding diners, having been in the business ourselves.  We often think when we see tempers flare by disgruntled guests that they should don an apron and see just how complicated the job can be.

D chose the Caprese Sandwich in an attempt to eat a little lighter after consuming many of his fav American treats-Salted Nut Rolls.  We both love Caprese salads and he thought that this sandwich rendition was a delicious choice.

This is my salad mentioned above.  i suppose I could have picked up and dipped the old school ingredients into the ranch dressing but I opted for utensils.  American cooks sure know how to make a good buttermilk ranch dressing.

I had not been indulging in American sweets so that I could savour a hearty lunch and my meatloaf sandwich was a great choice.  The grain and texture of beef in the US seems different than Canada or perhaps the loaf was a mix of beef, pork and perhaps even ground chicken because it retained a lightness that did not taste like home.  Meatloaf sandwiches are a favourite treat for me and this one was exceptional.

We still had more shopping to accomplish and so we did not linger long.  Whiteys is a great stop to grab a mid day meal.

Whitey's Cafe & Lounge on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “If we aren’t supposed to eat animals, then why are they made out of meat?”-Jo Brand

Love-that is all.

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