Browsing: Food & Travel

Full House

April21

I know I should not talk about gastro-infections on a food blog, but by now you likely know that I am pretty transparent, so here here goes.  My daughter has just arrived home from South Africa with a group of fellow students from Outtatown, CMU.  They came via Heathrow and left just hours ahead of the airport closures due to the volcano eruption in Iceland.  They missed their connection and had to wait for a later flight.  They had finally boarded the plane for Winnipeg when all of a sudden, fire trucks arrived on the runway and paramedics with face masks, boarded the aircraft.  When the paramedics asked if anyone had any intestinal illness in the past 24 hours, over half of my daughter’s group put up their hands.  Needless to say, they were detained overnight in Toronto.P4180016

It is now five days later and her 34 fellow travellers have dispersed to their various homes across Canada.  One such “special” departure was just this morning, when her new boyfriend flew home.  But true to daughter #2’s nature, she made the best of the day, assembling a couple of remaining group members and cooking up a storm.

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They were all assigned jobs and then lit the candles and sat down to their shared efforts.  About this time my husband arrived home from playing tennis, he pulled out a batch of leftovers and he and his tennis partner joined the girls in the dining room.

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There is nothing that makes me happier than a kitchen and dining room full of people who cherish life and love celebrating life with food.  I am so very glad that I have past this love down to my kids.P4200018

Kath’s quote: “To invite someone is to take charge of his happiness during the time he spends under your roof.”   Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

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Pozole Blanco

April20

My husband is a professional “foodie”, that is to say, he studies food for a living, working as a Procurement Management for a large food distribution business.  This weekend was his national conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan and he was blown away by the restored downtown of Grand Rapids , the Amway Hotel where they were staying AND the food that was highlighted over the weekend.

He came home raving about one dish in particular.  It was served as the second course at their formal dinner.  This version of Pozole was a chicken and beef consume with white hominy.  There were platters of garnishes on the table including, radish, onion, lime, cilantro and queso fresco.  Each person also received their own petite bottle of Tabasco sauce for personal fire.   I have come across other recipes which include  sliced avocados, shredded cabbage, crushed chilies, dried oregano and sour cream.

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Pozole is a traditional soup that adds enjoyment to many Mexican family gatherings.  There are also four other varieties beside white: verde (green), rojo (red), de frijole (with beans) and elopozole (with sweet corn, squash and meat).

Kath’s quote: “Only the pure of heart can make good soup.”-Beethoven

Tradition, tradition! (Part 3)

April7

Thank you to my patient readers, this is the last entry about our traditional Easter celebrations.  We have a group of friends that have been getting together for an Easter Feast for over a decade.  It started when Connie (our  transplanted Sicilian friend) remarked that she was missing her families’ celebration that year and so we decided to create an traditional Italian Easter celebration of our own. Connie and Roger are visiting from Castellammare del Golfo right now and so the timing was perfect.

Connie and I in her home town

Connie and I in her home town

Connie assembled the antipasto.  Three Italian meats, provolone cheese, olives, marinated veggies and spicy eggplant.  She picked everything up at Sobey’s and was very pleased with their selection and quality.

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Next course was Judy’s Caprese salad, topped with a light shake of olive oil from C&R’s own olive trees back home.  This was accompanied by Connie’s stuffed sun dried tomatoes-a recipe that she taught me when we visited them in Sicily. In addition, delicious and authentic breads purchased at De Luca’s (that were contributed by another attendee) were served. 

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The meat course was Italian sausages that I brown and then roasted with tri-coloured peppers and a roasted herb chicken that we have called “Ruth’s” Chicken since she shared the recipe with me 20 years ago.  Roasted potatoes and yams with a drizzle of truffle oil and yellow and green beans sauteed with toasted pine nuts, accompanied the meats.

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The person who was to have brought the salad course, which was to have been served next, couldn’t make it and so “uncleansed”, we ate on.  Gina contributed a decadent tiramisu that she purchased at La Grotta and Connie had brought a special cake from Sicily –Il Panettone Grandorato.  Jamie brought a platter of fruit to accompany the sweets and Doug put on the tea and espresso.

Kath’s quote: “Food is not about impressing people. It’s about making them feel comfortable.”-Ina Garten

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Sister#3 Isla Mujeres (Part 3- Fredy’s)

March31
Me & Freddy
 
My favourite Isla haunt for dinner is a little place called Fredy’s, named after owner, chef and all time funny guy Fredy.    

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He is famous for his chuleta Puerco which are two rib thick porkchops grilled to perfection on his B.B.-Q  but my favourite dish is the plato Mexicano.

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Sister #1 Interjections: One night when I arrived solo on Isla, Sis #3 had assembled this gang to meet me at the ferry.  I had a migraine but was so excited to see everybody that I wasn’t thinking straight (or walking straight for that matter).  I was passing off my knapsack and accepting a marguerita from an outstretched arm when OOPS my  foot slipped between the wooden dock and a concrete wall and got wedged in there.  But Fredy’s pork chops were calling me so I still made it out to dinner.  Fredy knows how to prepare them perfectly, which is to say, still pink in the middle.  I always have enough left over for a beach sandwich the next day.

Freddy's

Fredy's

We often have our first Isla dinner at Fredy’s and then our last, so I have also had the chance to taste many of his shrimp dishes, my favourite being shrimp baked in garlic and butter and accompanied with cilantro and cheese.  Other fans claim his Garlic Grouper and Lobster are best on the island.

Fredy’s is a bit further north on Hidalgo than most other choices.  Fredy’s hospitality and expert cooking makes the extra steps worth taking.  In fact in 2009 when there was construction on Hidalgo, we had to climb over bricks and a barricade and it was still worth it.

Kath’s quote: “There is poetry in a pork chop to a hungry (wo)man.”-Philip Gibbs

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Anchovies in Positano, Italy

March30

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Can you remember ever having a menu ordering accident?  That is to say,  you ordered a dish but realised when it arrived that you had misinterpreted what was stated on the menu and had to eat it anyway?  Exactly this happened to me when my husband and I were dining in Positano Italy this past fall. 

Near the Norman Cathedral of Monreale (Palermo)

Near the Norman Cathedral of Monreale (Palermo)

We started our Italian adventure in Sicily and one evening our host ordered a sumptuous dish in Palermo.  We had just toured Monreale and were in the vicinity of  the Palermo train station when we happened upon Antico Bar and Ristorante in the Piazza Giulio Cesare.  Concetta had ordered anchovy and fennel pasta and the forkful that I tasted was divine-an unusual blending of salty and savoury. 

The Antipasto that night-missed taking a pic of the entrees

The Antipasto that night-missed taking a pic of the entrees

Days later and on our own on the Amalfi Coast we asked Luigi, the wonderful owner of Hotel Le Fioriere in Praiano where his favourite restaurant in Positano was.  With his advice we headed out for Da Vincenzo’s.  

Under the Canopy

Under the Canopy

We did not have reservations but considered ourselves lucky to get a table outside but under a canopy as it had just started to rain.  We began with a calzone and this basil, mozzarella  and tomato salad.   

The Salad Plate

The Salad Plate

Remebering that single taste in Palermo, I ordered the Anchovies and I got just what I ordered but not what I was dreaming of.  

Just Anchovies?

Just Anchovies?

Kath’s quote: “The peasants of Sicily, who have kept their own wheat and make their own natural brown bread, ah, it is amazing how fresh and sweet and clean their loaf seems, so perfumed, as home-made bread used all to be before the war.”-D.H. Lawrencewine heart
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