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Many Hands Make Light Work

November17

We gathered recently for a good old fashioned working bee.  Daughter (in law) #3 had made too much perogy filling for another get together that she had hosted and invited a gang over to use it up.

We set up different work stations: one to stir the dough for the outside, another to cut the dough, a multi-person station to fill the wrapper and another to package the finish product. 

Not what ours looked like

Son #1’s first ever home-made perogy!

Now here’s where we went amiss. I had a whole stack of won-ton wrappers at home in my freezer and I brought them along to speed the project along.  Had we also set up a boiling station, I think the end result would have been more successful because my perogy portion got overly soft and a bit gummy before I could serve them as a meal.  Hindsight is 20/20 as they say.

We even got out our Baba aprons.

What a lovely way to pass an evening.  Son #1, Daughter #1, Goddaughter #2, Sister #3, Daughter (in law) #3 as I had mentioned and me.   There was pizza, wine,  good conversation and great laughs and we all went home with a packet of our accomplishment.  I’m thinking they knew what they were doing in the “olden days”.

My Mom is the Peroqy Queen-ask anyone who has ever tasted her’s.  Now I am pretty sure that everyone thinks that their Mom holds this title.  If so, send me your Mom’s recipe and I’ll test against my Mom’s:

2 1/2 c flour

1/2 t salt

3/4 c warm water

2 T oil

1 well beaten egg

After mixing, let the dough to rest in the fridge or an hour or so before rolling out.  I have also used a pasta roller for this process with great success. 

Kath’s quote:  “Food is a subject of conversation more spiritually refreshing even than the weather, for the number of possible remarks about the weather is limited, whereas of food you can talk on and on and on.”-A.A. Milne

Love endures.

The Turquoise Hutch

November10

D is away on vacation right (the secret to a fabulous marriage) and for some reason I always decide to take on a DIY project when he is away.  I suppose it is to prevent boredom which is crazy because I’ve got every available time slot booked up to hang with the kids, try new eating spots and get caught up with old friends.  And the refinishing project that I thought was going to take all week is already complete.  It was so much fun, I couldn’t stop myself.

I bought a dining room hutch a couple of years ago from a neighbour and the furniture style never worked in our house but because we entertain so many guests, I had to have a place to hold all our dining extras.  I’ve had an eye on distressing it for a long time and I’m crazy for turquoise.  The colour reminds me of the Mediterranean and Caribbean seas and having the colour surrounding me, does suppress the desire to live elsewhere.

If I were to do an inventory of what the hutch contains, you would know a great deal more about my family and me: 

-my first set of china acquired just recently and not purchased but handed down from Sister #2 who bought it at our favourite little second hand place

-huge wine glasses, at least a dozen for white and another larger size for red

-heart shaped rocks and shells collected from my favourite beaches

-hand-painted bowls made by Hortensia’s son’s in laws (my friend and one of my favourite inhabitants of Isla Mujeres)

-a set of flatware purchased at Dollorama because they contain all my favourite colours and look like they were hand made

-a set of Blue Willow dishes that I started saving when I was 17 and have just rediscovered

-the fixings for margaritas and martini’s

-a wine skin and wine decanters of all descriptions

-all kinds of colourful and mostly mismatched linen

So what prized possessions are hiding in your dining room sideboard?  Next project-the dining room table….. 

Kath’s quote:  “Ponder well on this point: the pleasant hours of our life are all connected by a more or less tangible link, with some memory of the table.”-Charles Pierre Monselet

Let love be multiplied.

Foodies do Slough Off

October25

Just to set the record straight…the life of a foodie is not always about dining out, trying new products and concocting inventive dishes, sometimes we just wanna be a couch potato.  Last night I served my family popcorn for supper.  And it wasn’t the trendy new sweet and salty variety and it wasn’t even air-popped.  It was Orville Redenbacher’s “Buttery”  (I thought that I exhibited amazing restraint by not grabbing the “Extra Butter” variety).  To make matters worse I didn’t pull it out of my well-stocked foodie pantry…I ran out and picked it up at Mac’s just before we settled in to watch “The Amazing Race” (a Sunday evening TV treat).  Since I have created this time of self-confession I should fess up that I then proceeded to watch another 2 hours of  TV because it was the finale show of “So You Think You Can Dance Canada” (my Wednesday TV treat).

So that you don’t get all concerned that I only consumed fat and carbs last night, I also had a two “just pulled from the garden” carrots and a glass of red wine.  So I did ingest some vitamins and anti-oxidants too.

In reality we did have a lovely sit down Sunday lunch instead of our usual dinner as D’s folks were able to join us from the country (hence the carrots).

Kath’s quote:  “But some of us are beginning to pull well away, in our irritation, from…the exquisite tasters, the vintage snobs, the three-star Michelin gourmets. There is, we feel, a decent area somewhere between boiled carrots and Beluga caviare, sour plonk and Chateau Lafitte, where we can take care of our gullets and bellies without worshipping them.”-J.B. Priestley

Let love be multiplied…..

Urban Myths

September27

I am not sure if I am remembering correctly or if I am perpetuating an urban myth but I recall that Chicken Fingers were invented at The Keg.  When the chicken breast craze started some 30 years ago (before then we were all content with drums and thighs), chicken processors had to find a use for the little strip of the chicken breast which does not always stay attached.  The guys at The Keg could get this product very inexpensively and it was actually the tenderest part of the breast so it could be cooked quickly, not dry out and be served as a bar food. 

In those days they were called “Chicken Tenders”.   As the new item was experimented with there were a number of coatings tried-my favourite being panko flakes.  In addition to a number of sauces which were invented to dip them into. 

Now, this part is absolutely true-the honey-dill dressing that fingers are often served with, absolutely was invented by The Keg.  It is still my favourite of any choice and we make it often at home-using equal parts of liquid honey and mayo and adding as much dry dill as desired.

Where’s you favourite place to order chicken fingers?  Do you have a recipe that you would be willing to share?  Stay tuned to read about Mitzi’s and see Jamie Oliver’s Crunch Garlic Chicken from his Food Revolution.

Kath’s quote: “‘Bee vomit,’ my brother said once, ‘that’s all honey is,’ so that I could not put my tongue to its jellied flame without tasting regurgitated blossoms.”-Rita Dove

Share the love

September20

Every fall when the leaves start to turn, I remember with clarity the details of “that” October.  The moment in time, when our growing little family changed forever.  Twenty years ago daughter #1 was excited to be starting Montessori kindergarten in the morning and French Immersion in the afternoon.  She was enrolled in ballet and tap classes and could sing like an angel (a mermaid actually).  I was in constant touch with our doctor but when I knew that what he described as the flu symptoms had developed into something much worse, we were off to the hospital and began a two month stay and a new life.

Sister #2 took time off work to be with us during those long days.  Sister #3 moved into our home to care for our three year old son.  Strangely enough what I remember the clearest about those grief filled days was the food, delivered to the hospital for D and I to warm in the nurses’ micro-wave so that we did not have to eat hospital food.  And the soups and loaves that were dropped off at our home to sustain the comings and goings of our fractured family and our new routine.  Ironically, I kept very little of that food down as I was in the first trimester of pregnancy with our youngest child.  

I can’t recall the tastes and details of the dishes now, but I can recall the love.  The time was a catastrophe but in its midst, we were so very loved. 

So here we are twenty years later….daughter #1 lives downtown with her precious baby dog Caleb.  She has her first degree and has just applied for grad school.  She has a busy social schedule but keeps Sundays open for our family dinners.  Her little brother is married and is still wonderful in his role of creating lightness and hilarity in our family.  Her baby sister is a natural care-giver and has travelled the world to look after little ones and works one-on-one with a client like daughter #1 who both live with permanent disabilities.

So what am I rambling on about?  To me, food=love.  Cook a double batch of something tonight and find some one’s doorstep to leave it on.  Let me know how that goes.  

Kath’s quote: “Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.”-M.F.K. Fisher

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