Browsing: Food Celebrations

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.

Winnipeg Wine Festival 2016 Gala Dinner

May13

Whenever I am invited to an event at the RBC Winnipeg Convention Centre main building, I marvel at how they get so many elaborate dishes out while still piping hot, when their kitchen is no where near the space that we are dining in. On the occasion of the Winnipeg Wine Festival, the gorgeous room with floor to ceiling windows was in the newly opened expansion of the Convention Centre and I am guessing that the kitchen is in closer proximity.

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The origin of the wines for the 2016 festival were the wines of California. The festival is held each year to raise coffers for Special Olympics Manitoba . When we sat down at the big round dining tables, we were flabbergasted by the number of empty wine glasses lined up at each place setting. How could we possibly make our way through so many selections?

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We commenced with a California Style Spring Roll on a Mango Chutney. The spring roll had been stuffed with crab, lychee nuts, cilantro and avocado and had a subtle taste. Of the William Hill Estate Winery North Coast Chardonnay and the Fetzer Gewurztraminer, I preferred the latter. We love Gewurztraminers, either on their own as a summer drink or with spicy food like the heat radiating from the mango chutney. We were off to a great start.

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Preferring reds to whites, I quite enjoyed the Menage a Trois Silk that accompanied the Applewood Smoked and Sliced Chicken Breast on a Red Beet Carpaccio rather than the Girard Chardonnay. The full-bodied Silk retained bright red fruit flavors and smooth mouthfeel and was especially nice with the beet flavours.

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Up next was a Pesto Crusted Fillet of Salmon on a Wild Rice Risotto, napped with a roasted red pepper sauce. I was delighted when the fish course was paired with two reds instead of the customary white. It was a toss up between the Rodney Strong Merlot (I am partial to Merlots) and the decadent red blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Petite Verdot and Petite Sirah of the Cupcake Black Forest.

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We could have happily laid down our forks and our wine glasses at this point but the piece de resistance was up next. The Seared Roast of Marinated Filet of Beef  was piping hot and perfectly prepared to a medium rare. The tenderloin came with two sauces: Madeira and Béarnaise, both exceptional. Served alongside were a yukon gold and California cheese galette, mushroom sauté, ratatouille stuffed zucchini and butter glazed steamed bok choy. The veggies were as perfectly prepared as the steak. By this time my taste buds were less discerning and I do not recall a preference between the Noble Vines 337 Cabernet Sauvignon and Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel.

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I usually turn down dessert but when the Honeycomb and Kiwi Mousse in a Tuile Basket was perched in front of me, I couldn’t resist. Thinking that I would simply eat the fresh berries and chocolate curls on top, of course I didn’t stop until I had consumed the entire dish, and the dish itself! I got a kick out of the Barefoot Bubbly Pink Moscato which concluded the evening on a high and very sweet note.

Not only were the dessert and wine sweet but so was our company. Love you Sue, Ron, Laura & Shea.

Kath’s quote: “At the shrine of friendship never say die, let the wine of friendship never run dry.” – Victor Hugo

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Love never fails.

 

Mother’s Day 2016

May10

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J2 and the Wee One jumping for joy in the back yard.

I am quite certain that being a Mom is the finest thing that I have ever done and I certainly don’t need “things” to celebrate my joy in doing so. My family know and understand that, so this Mother’s Day I received a very special gift. The gift of time, diligence, and hard work. I love my gardens and really enjoy spending time in the dirt every spring. This year though, I hadn’t been able to with a torn meniscus and my leg in a brace. D thought that I should spend the weekend at the lake so I did so and enjoyed every single moment.

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On Sunday I packed up and headed back into town. As soon as I pulled onto the parking pad I noticed that my railing boxes were full of flowers! It turned out that Boo and the Frenchman worked for hours on Saturday and then were back to finish things up with J1 on Sunday. J2 and Beep were the cheering section and they all pitched in on the flowers that were in the seven window boxes that I have on the house and back deck. In addition to lovely cards that I received, I was one happy Momma.

To top it off J1 made us all supper. J1 and J2 are part of a dinner club and last week they hosted.  J1 likes to work with a theme so he made a dinner which reflected our east European heritage and then recreated the menu for Sunday supper.

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After nibbles of Polish sausage while sitting in the now beautiful garden, D set up a table so we could picnic in the sun. On the menu was a delectable Pork Schnitzel with the unusual addition of curry powder in the flour dusting and big squeezes of lemon over all. Panko flakes made the tenderloin especially crunchy. To accompany we loved the sweet & sour cabbage and an amazing potato salad. The authentic recipe contained chopped up dill pickle (which my Polish Grandma always called “ogorki”)and a dash of the brine. From start to finish, the meal was fabulous especially when surrounded by my beloved family.

Another thing that makes Mother’s Day so special is celebrating with my own Mom (89 years old) which I did the week prior as well as my daughter-in-law who was to enjoy her special day on Monday.

Kath’s quote: “But kids don’t stay with you if you do it right. It’s the one job where, the better you are, the more surely you won’t be needed in the long run.”
Barbara Kingsolver

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Love never fails.

Celebrating Mom’s 89th Birthday!

February4

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Yes, our family is a close knit one. In winter it is more challenging to find reasons to assemble every month or so. But Mom’s 89th birthday was the perfect opportunity.

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I hope that I look as youthful and happy as Mom when I am 89 years young.

But what to get a Mom who never asks for anything and is always more willing to give than receive? Sister #3 had a great idea. Mom is so proud of her children, grandchildren and great-granchildren and all of their significant others, so it was decided that we would fashion Mom’s party around a talent fair!

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We set up three banquet tables to display photography, painting, writing, beer & wine making, wood working, leather work, other crafting and pottery.

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Many decided that cooking was their talent and having tasted everything, I can assure you that we have scads of culinary experts in our midst.

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In addition, everyone provided snacks, so there was more than enough for everyone.

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Once we had visited and tasted all of the fare, it was time for the entertainment portion of the evening. One sister-in-law recited a poem.

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Sister #3 serenaded us (acapella, no less).

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Three generations formed this musical trio and after a one night rehearsal, entertained us with “Crazy” by Patsy Cline, Elvis’ “Jailhouse Rock” and even a modified Ronny Milsap birthday themed song. It was the highlight of the evening and Mom grinned from ear to ear.

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A second sister-in-law baked Mom’s birthday cake.

Perhaps the secret to living 89 years is my Mom’s atttitude of giving, of gratitude and in the joy of her family. Mom lives a simple, blessed life that is full of love given and experienced.

Kath’s quote: “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” ― Albert Einstein

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The youngest member of our clan sitting on her soon to appear cousin. Birthing another member of our big loving family-a wonderful talent indeed!

Love, that is all.

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