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Laurent Chapdelaine

September7

A week ago I attended the Funeral Mass for a great man on the Winnipeg restaurant scene.  He had silver hair and was dashingly handsome with a witty sense of humour and an unforgettable laugh.  He drove a truck and no, he was not a delivery person for a food-service company.  He was one of those astonishing men who kept the home fires burning while his wife was a successful restaurant owner and hands on manager.  His wife Joan was one of the first restaurant owner/operators on the Winnipeg scene and in the Keg Restaurant system.  I started at the Garry St. Keg just a short time before her.  I watched her rise through the ranks with her amazing attention to detail, hard work and perseverance.  She could not have done this without a special man at home.

Back in the old Keg days it was like we were family and many of us were-five families in particular: the Chapdelaines, the Furlans, the Reschs, the Grisims and my own.  Many of us worked side by side with our siblings and even our Moms (or in my case my future mother-in-law).  We didn’t all end up in the restaurant business but we learned many fundamentals for business success like loving the hard work, enjoying the celebrations and time to play, all the while keeping an eye on the bottom line.

Last Friday there were three generations of Grisims to mourn alongside three generations of Chapdelaines.  D and I have ignited the hospitality fire in our kids and now J1 is a stellar dining room server at The Keg working for one of Joan and Laurent’s children.  You see two of their five children are the General Managers of the Winnipeg Kegs.  Did I forget to mention this? While Joan was spending all those hours in the hospitality business, she and Laurent raised five children!  At one time or another, all the kids and even one of their grandchildren, all worked in the restaurants.

I am quite sure that you love food and restaurants, otherwise why would you be reading these musings?  So next time you are toasting a restaurant or Chef’s success, remember that behind every Joan there is a Laurent.  Perhaps not so big a person as this man was, with such a booming laugh and such a keen wit but someone to keep it all together at home, none the less.

Kath’s quote: “A married couple who enjoy the pleasures of the table have, at least once a day, a pleasant opportunity to be together.”-Jean-Antheleme Brillat-Savarin

Love-that is all.

Winding Down

August30

As I write this I am surrounded by the sounds of the forest and sleeping dogs.  But don’t be fooled, if I were to rise from my cozy couch, they too would spring up in anticipation of their next forest or beach walk.  This is how my day began today.  With a mug of coffee in my hand, I allowed myself to be pulled to whatever clump of trees or grasses they were eager to sniff out.  Just a simple thing but a real illustration of how my life (and attitude) is different here than 1 1/2 hours away, in the city.  When I am home, getting the dog out is another item on my checklist for the day.  I am relieved when I can get out the poop bag because that means I am also free to head home.  I wish that I could capture my lake state of mind when I head back to the city.

Today is going to be a hot one and even though we have a fairly efficient AC here, I have planned our meals around not having to turn on the stove.  Daughter #1 and I will head to Grand Beach for supper with my beloved bro-in-law, niece and the “Australian”.  The ocaission is their all-you-can-eat pickerel dinner that we have enjoyed in the past.

I do love to cook out here though, last night I slow roasted three 1/2 chickens on the barbie smothered with tomatoes, zuchini and ginger/curry sauce and topped with mixed nuts, raisins and coconut.

The night before it was pickerel cheeks with smashed baby potatoes and Greek salad.

Daughter #1 and I made a peach/blueberry crumble earlier in the week that has sustained us for our dessert fix after the pooches are walked for the evening and we are settled in for our Alias viewing. We retire early so that we can cozy up and read in bed when there is not a sound except for the odd rustling in the bushes.

But soon this lazy routine will be done for another year.  I love the change of seasons but hope that this amazing summer can sustain itself just a while longer.

Kath’s quote: “Summer cooking implies a sense of immediacy, a capacity to capture the essence of the fleeting moment.- Elizabeth David

Love-that is all.

West and Wewaxation at Wast

August22

I am on my summer vacation.  We are at our beach house and there are various configuration of family that come and go to the 4 cottages that we enjoy here.  The fact that my extended family is here too, means that there are often extra people at our table, sometimes invited and other times a meal just appears on the table on the deck, where some have accumulated to recount the latest fishing trip or time at the beach.

Life is different here-intentionally so. Now that the analog signal expired, we cannot catch the National!  I was kind of liking this. But this summer everything changed.  I was entitled to a remote access upgrade from my internet rocket stick and for less money, we acquired a wi fi hotspot at the cabin. One morning, as I tidied, there were  4 laptops, 1 mac tablet and three i phones recharging.  Nothing is constant except change, they say.

Thankfully, there are some traditions that are still accomplished in a slower manner.  This week I saw a corn sign on the highway and so we swung in to make our purchase.  When the gentleman who was working on a project in his home came out, I asked him if he had had a chance to pick any corn that day.  He said no-he picks to order.  So he hopped on his little tractor and 4 minutes later, we were driving away with 2 dozen freshly picked ears!  We ate a platter full that night for dinner.  It was so firm and sweet that butter was not required.  I had mine with a squeeze of lime and some freshly ground sea salt-oh yum…

Today will be spent walking the dogs in the forest, riding my ancient bike to the beach or reading in the hammock-perhaps a little of everything.  Life is good.

Kath’s quote:  “For the millions of us who live glued to computer keyboards at work and TV monitors at home, food may be more than entertainment. It may be the only sensual experience left.”-Barbara Ehrenreich

Love-that is all.

 

Hoisin Beef Burgers

July16

One of the many wonderful attributes of burgers is that they adapt to most every cuisine.   In the winter months we consume lots of dim sum and Asian dumpling soups but we begin to miss the fresh, crisp tastes come summer.  So I adapted my Hoisin Meatball recipe to produce these delectable burgers.   Ground beef is economical and kids love it!


Hoisin Beef Burgers
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-4
 
Fusing Asian ingredients with a summer burger treat.
Ingredients
  • 8 oz ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t chopped mint (or cilantro)
  • 2 T minced red onions
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1 t grated ginger
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 2 T+ hoisin sauce
  • 3 T dried breadcrumbs (delete for gluten free)
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Combine and mix with clean hands.
  3. Form into patties and place between sheets of parchment paper.
  4. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  5. Grill to your likeness on open flame adding more hoisin sauce if desired before removing from heat.
  6. Serve with toasted burger buns and grilled tri-coloured peppers if desired.
  7. More hoisin can be smeared unto the bun.

We needed the energy that beef delivers because we had a busy weekend at the cottage which included spending some time as babysitters to three of our grand nieces and nephew.

D need his strength to tickle and wrestle with the youngest as the girls and I had a lovely time walking our dog on the beach.

Find out what your burger personality is at: https://www.facebook.com/ILoveCanadianBeef/app_325742427515323 I’m a Canadian Beef Ambassador and I love Canadian Beef.

Kath’s quote: “Beef is the soul of cooking.”-Marie-Antoine Carême

Love-that is all.

 

Stella’s Catering

June22

At this time every year, the fall TV line up is announced by the local stations.  In former (more prosperous) times this meant golf tournaments, steak dinners and lavish prizes of trips; or lunches catered by private chefs in glass-walled board rooms.  As media has converged and down sized for efficiency, those times are history.

But because for this media buyer, it is all about the food, I was delighted to attend the CBC luncheon event this week.  The timing overlapped with a teaching opportunity, so I arrived and hour after the event had begun, just as guests were being whisked off to the presentation room.  This meant that I had the platters of Stella’s Canapes to myself!  I very carefully made my decision of the Pickerel Cheeks which was so sensational, that I scooped up as many as I could recognize and stood at the doorway of the speaker’s room so that I could see and hear and savour my lunch at the same time.

Photos were not an option as I was trying to be discreet about my consumption.  Besides, I did not even remember to bring my camera along, as hurried as my day was.  So even though I cannot offer you the eye feast of this event, I can tell you that the canapes were sublime.

I pulled this list off of their website in hopes that the words might make up for my lack of images:

Asparagus Frittata, Prosciutto, Roast Beef, Shrimp & Egg, Blue Cheese and Walnut, Chevre & Pepper Jelly, Smoked Salmon, Vegetarian Muffaletta, Roasted Asparagus & Chevre, Mushroom and Caramelized Onion, Gravlax (Scandinavian Cured Salmon) and Bison & Saskatoon Jelly.

The artisan breads that they were served upon were equal to the fine ingredients perched on top.  The dessert trays looked just as tempting with bakery made Nanaimo slice, carrot cake, brownies and macaroons.

I highly recommend that you include Stella’s on you list of potential caterers for a casual midday event.

Kath’s quote:  Sandwiches are beautiful, sandwiches are fine.  I like sandwiches , I eat them all the time.  I eat them for my supper and I eat them for my lunch.  If I had 100 sandwiches, Id eat them all at once. -Fred Penner

Love-that is all.

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