Browsing: Food Celebrations

The Newest Member of Our Family

March7

This is the first full day that the lovely Alicia is spending as the newest member of our clan. She married our nephew (Little A) in a private ceremony in Canmore yesterday and is today spending time with her new husband.

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Our family feels particularly connected to this union as it was J1 who introduced the two. J1 and Alicia became great pals when they worked together at the St. James Keg. Their first blind date, neither showed up but somehow those jitters got under control for a second rendezvous. The rest, as they say, is history.

The guys in the family got together last weekend for a gentlemen’s (I use the term loosely) event out at Lester Beach. So the way was made clear for the ladies to assemble too and welcome Alicia into our family.

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Alicia got some help opening presents by the Wee One and her cousin Serena.

We did so with warm wishes, presents (many of them cooking related) and food…glorious food!

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Kath’s quote: “Love is a partnership of two unique people who bring out the very best in each other, and who know that even though they are wonderful as individuals, they are even better together.”- Barbara Cage

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Love never fails.

 

The Frenchman’s 30th Birthday

February21

Three out seven family members turn 30 this year but the Frenchman was the first. Last night’s celebration was particularly noteworthy though. The Frenchman brought a new tradition to us when he first joined our family. For a birthday celebration everyone has an opportunity to express why they love the person we are celebrating. The Wee One decided the order of sharing starting with her Poppa and saving Auntie Boo for last. While her Mom was sharing, the Wee One (three years old) knew that she was next and you could see her wheels turning as to what she was going to say: “I love him because he is so nice and her loves me and he always plays with me.”

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Food traditions were also recognized. D typically finds a good deal on back ribs and prepares them with a lengthy slow roasting procedure which is detailed here: My Man’s Ribs.

The Frenchman (and the entire family) also love chicken wings and so I made a batch from a well-loved recipe and served them as an appetizer:

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Parmensan Chicken Wings
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer or Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c parmesan cheese (I use freshly grated but Kraft actually works best in this recipe)
  • 1 t parsley
  • 1 t paprika
  • 1 t salt
  • ¼ t pepper
  • ¼ t garlic powder
  • 2 lbs chicken wings (tips discarded)
  • ½ c melted butter
Instructions
  1. Measure first 6 ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Dip each piece in melted butter, then toss in cheese mixture.
  3. Coat completely.
  4. Place on a foil lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes.

A couple of hints:

  • In order to ease back richness and expense, I cut the parmesan in half and add a cup of breadcrumbs. Since the only crumbs I could find were already seasoned, I did not add the parsley flakes or salt and pepper.

 

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  • I am working very hard to lose 10% of my body weight for medical reasons and so I did not partake in the wings or ribs. Instead, I tossed a chicken breast in olive oil and then the parmesan mixture and had this with a pear, walnut & feta salad.

I was perfectly content while the rest of the family indulged in the above and also in poutine. The latter was made with real turkey gravy and Bothwell cheese curds. Even the youngest member of the family (one year) loved the wings and ribs!

Kath’s quote: “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”- JRR Tolkien

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Love never fails.

 

 

Cyber Wedding Shower

February7

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Dani and her fella are depicted here enjoying the Canadian Rockies.

One of my Goddaughters lives in Australia. I was disappointed that she was going to miss out on an “Aunties” bridal shower but her Mom (who has to resort to technology to stay in touch with her only daughter) thought that she could figure out a way to make it happen. Once we got the time zone thing solved and was able to recruit her Dad to set up his computer and projector in Winnipeg, we were almost set.

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Here are their bevies of gifts via Skype.

In Winnipeg we also needed to work ahead of ourselves and get financial commitments from those attending, so that her Mom could shop for her on line and then have everything delivered to the almost Mom-in-law (who also lives in Melbourne) so that she could wrap everything.

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Of course we also needed to figure out food and libations for the Winnipeg guests. Not surprisingly, the food was amazing and there was way too much of it.

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It was a Saturday evening (making it Sunday morning in Australia) when we assembled to celebrate a love across the pond.

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Here are the happy couple and said Mom-in-law too.

If you think that the thousands of miles would be a barrier to shower the bridal couple with love, laughs and best wishes, you would be wrong. We played a guessing game of Aussie sayings. Who knew that’s what a “budgie smuggler” was!  We ooh and aww as she opened her gifts. We could visibly see that Dani was moved when Sister #3 (another Auntie) and Boo (her first cousin) made their toasts with loving sentiments to the bride. We too had tears in our eyes as Dani tried to express what the shower and outpouring of love meant to her.

Kath’s quote:

A part of you has grown in me.
And so you see, it’s you and me
Together forever and never apart,
Maybe in distance, but never in heart“.-Anonymous

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Love never fails.

 

Fun Asian Themed Dinner

August16

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Our honourable hosts

Each year at approximately the same time, we join good friends from Toronto at the lake house that they retain at Willard lake. Designating a theme for each weekend we are together, happened quite by accident but has been one of the highlights of our time together. We were lucky this time as BIL David had gifted me with a real kimono when he traveled around the world a number of years back. D was able to find a judo uniform at Value Village so we were all set.

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Saki Mojito Cocktails were served as we were perched on the floor.

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This was after the entrance of another guest (check out the beard!)

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We were assigned to the appetizer and dessert and D had done a dry run the weekend before so we would have a sense of timing and recipe difficulty. The recipe for Korean shrimp and green onion pancakes was suggested by Sister #3 who had a Korean student live with her for a year (recipe below).

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Dinner stretched into the evening with prepping together and visiting our host as he barbequed double-boned pork chops that had been marinating all day.

Fun Asian Themed Dinner
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer or entree
Cuisine: Korean
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
We served a whole pancake to each person which was really too much for an appetizer portion. We intend to have them again for dinner this week.
Ingredients
  • Pancakes:
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ c cold water
  • ½ t salt
  • ½ t gochu garu (Korean red pepper powder-we found it an Asian specialty market). If you are unsuccessful you can substitute a ⅛ t cayenne pepper or a quick glug of sirachi sauce.
  • ¼ t pepper
  • 1½ c flour'1/2 lb. uncooked shrimp, peeked deveined, cut into ⅓ in pieces
  • 1 medium onion, halved, very thinly sliced
  • 8 green onions cut into 3-4 inch matchstick size strips
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut as green onions
  • Sauce:
  • ½ c soy sauce
  • 2 T water
  • 2 T fresh lemon juice
  • 2 t sesame oil
  • 1 t gohu garu
  • Pan preparation:
  • 4 T canola oil
Instructions
  1. Pancakes:
  2. Whisk eggs in medium bowl to blend. Whisk in 1½ c cold water, ½ t salt, gochu garu and pepper.
  3. Add flour and whisk until smooth.
  4. Mix in shrimp all onions and carrot.
  5. Let batter stand 1 hour at room temperature.
  6. Sauce:
  7. Mix all sauce ingredients and divide into small dipping bowls.
  8. Heat 1 T of oil into each 10" non-stick skillet that you have.
  9. Add 1 c pancake batter to each, spreading to the edge of the skillet.
  10. Cook until edges are firm and bottom is golden brown about 4 mins.
  11. Using a couple of spatulas or egg lifters, turn pancakes over.
  12. Cook until second side is golden brown and shrimp is cooked through, about 4 mins. more (centre will still be soft).
  13. Cook until underside is deep brown, approximately 1 min. more per side.
  14. Slide pancakes onto a cutting board.
  15. Repeat with remaining oil and batter, forming to more pancakes.
  16. Cut pancakes into wedges.
  17. Serve warm or at room temperature with dipping sauce.

The pancakes were a novelty and a big hit.

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Next up was a simple salad of cellophane noodles and slivers or cucumber.

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Our entree was the hearty pork chops, caramelized onions and roasted sweet potato halves.

We let ourselves rest a bit before we were in the kitchen again on dessert duty, preparing a Vietnamese dessert of battered and fried bananas with a sweet coconut milk dipping sauce and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

The evening and rest of the weekend was picture perfect. We recounted our joys and sorrows of the year since we had last been together. Then we toasted the time together, the time past and the time ahead.

Kath’s quote: “They talked in the shorthand of old friends and shared memories.”
― Dee Henderson, Before I Wake    

 

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As we opened fortune cookies over the weekend, they were taped to these antlers to be a permanent record of our time together.

Love never fails.

 

 

 

 

 

Table for Twenty

June10

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In 1996, farmers planted the first biotech crop. I was recently invited to Winnipeg’s “Table for Twenty” event at the Kitchen Sync. We assembled to celebrate that first crop and engage in continued conversation about plant biotechnology and the benefits to both Canadian farmers and consumers.

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I was very excited that Chef Gordon Bailey was our culinary host that evening. I first met Chef Bailey when I was a judge for a PEI Shellfish Festival held a couple of years ago in Winnipeg. He won the best seafood chowder contest (not the category that I judged) and represented Winnipeg at the national cook-off which he won as well. No surprise really as Chef Gord once owned a popular restaurant in PEI.

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First up was a basket of potato/whole wheat buns with smoked rosemary butter. I can usually refrain from the temptations of the bread basket but not on this evening. I ate not one but two-they could have been my entire meal!

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The salad course was a feast for the eyes-zucchini confit, vine ripened tomato, sweet corn relish, basil marinated tofu, cold-pressed canola oil and spring greens freshly plucked from the garden. The spritely flavours were a lovely way to commence the evening.

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A rustic bowl of goodness was the main course. Braised chicken thighs and wild mushrooms were perched upon split pea and yellow pulses.

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We concluded with a sparkling apple sorbet on a crunchy oat and chickpea biscuit accompanied by warm vanilla cream.

Even though the food was an absolute pleasure, the persons who rose to speak in between the courses and the engaging conversation around the table, made the evening even more enjoyable. Coming from a multi-generational agriculture and food family, I love the opportunity to connect with the people who are responsible for feeding my family and indeed the world.

At our table was Erin O’Hara one of our hosts from Crop Life Canada as well as Shawna Mathieson of the Prairie Oat Growers Association and my long time friend Ellen Pruden from the Manitoba Canola Growers. Farmers Rob & Shelly Bartley and Paul Orsak (who I have met on numerous occasions) really illuminated the advantages of bio-tech crops for me. Not only are crop yields higher but they are able to be kinder to the land they own in addition to being able to spend more time with their own families. Nita Sharda, a Dietician and fellow blogger, was an important part of the discussion indicating how she negates worries about bio-tech plants with her clients.

Of course there are also world-wide advantages of bio tech crops. For a more global perspective I found the Table for Twenty website a great resourse.

Kath’s quote: “Genetically modified organism foods are feared and hated by environmentalists and the public alike. Yet the scientific assessment of GMOs is remarkably different. Every major scientific evaluation of GMO technology has concluded that GMOs are safe for human consumption and are a benefit to the environment.”-Ramez Naam

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Love never fails.

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