Browsing: Food Events

Picasso Feast at The Winnipeg Art Gallery

June1

You may have heard that the Winnipeg Art Gallery is hosting a special exhibit of the works of Pablo Picasso this summer. In celebration of this fabulous exhibit, the restaurant at the Gallery, headed up by Chef Mark Andrews is hosting a special dinner and gallery tour entitled “Feast: Picasso & Mediterranean Cuisine”.

“Feast” is both a noun and a verb. Recently some of my social media friends and I were treated by the WAG (Winnipeg Art Gallery) to a Picasso Feast. This was in celebration of the unique opportunity to view the “Picasso in Canada-Man & Beast” exhibit. We feasted upon three Mediterranean Cuisine courses as Picasso was born in Spain but lived in southern France for much of his life. The dishes themselves were exquisite to look at and we feasted with our eyes.

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We commenced with a first course of omelette nicoise, cherry tomato gazpacho and root vegetable ravioli. I chose this option and was delighted by the tartness of the gazpacho to balance the savoury ravioli and omelette.

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The non-vegetarian option featured a lamb rib instead of the ravioli.

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Our Main Course was free-range chicken with lemon paella cake, baby spring vegetables and the piece de resistance: saffron balsamic syrup! The vegetarian entrée substituted a wild mushroom and mixed bean paella.

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Stuffed to capacity, I do not know how I had the room for dessert but somehow managed to slurp down a banana caramel custard topped with sherry and coconut. The dinner from start to finish was absolutely delectable and enhances the Picasso exhibition with symbolic food choices. See if you can connect the significance of the cherry tomato gazpacho to the Picasso story.

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Our subsequent feast for the eyes was moving to the upper galleries for the Picasso exhibit. We were particularly blessed to have Rachel Baerg, head of education at the WAG along as our personal tour guide. Having studied the history of art as my second minor in university I knew that Picasso was a man way ahead of his time and was truly a genius artiste. Rachel’s enthusiasm absolutely bubbled over and I became to know more about Picasso the man, the husband, father and womanizer.

The installation is awe inspiring with hundreds of prints from The Vollard Suite as well as enormous and significant pieces on loan from other Canadian Galleries. I won’t tarnish your experience by revealing too much.  I had my favourites and so will you when you visit, and  visit you MUST!

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An artist’s (or a chef’s) hands have always fascinated me. How does the vision of the finished product move from the head, past the heart and into the fingers that then puts the piece on a canvas or a plate?

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I had never seen this gorgeous depiction of one of Picasso’s many muses. Her beauty is breathtaking and lovingly put to paper.

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My personal favourites were and always have been Picasso’s simple pencil drawings. He is so masterful that the simplest line is perfection!

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I also got a significant kick out of his self-portraits. What was it about this man that attracted younger lovers in a string over the decades?

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The exhibit is beautifully laid out.

The Feast at the Winnipeg Art Gallery (300 Memorial Blvd.) is available June 8, July 6 and August 10th, 2017. Dinner is at 6 pm dinner and the tour at 7:30 pm. Tickets to Exhibit Only are $18, to the Feast & Exhibit $70 and $65 for WAG members. Reserve your spot at http://wag.ca/visit/events/specialevents/display,event/991/feast or call 204.789.1290.

Kath’s quote: “Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not.”- Pablo Picasso

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Love never fails.

 

 

 

 

 

Mediteranean Fund-Raising Dinner at Mon Ami Louis

May16

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People find it increasingly difficult to find a unique way to fund-raise these days. Friends of ours came up with a brilliant idea but you would have to have access to an iconic restaurant and the talents of chefs to pull it off yourself. Our young friend is off to Greece this summer with an organization who works with fleeing immigrants by providing them assistance with their transition and some comfort as the process takes place.

Her boyfriend happens to be on Chef Luc Jean’s team at Mon Ami Louis. The latter graciously made his restaurant available in order to make the event a reality.

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In keeping with the Greek destination the evening’s theme was a Mediterranean one, commencing with a Greek Salad featuring premise-marinated olives that had been warmed to allow the full pungency of the olive to be experienced when tasted. I also detected some orange zest which I appreciated because I sometimes find the traditional recipe of olive oil and lemon juice too tart.

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Even when the salad was tossed around, the effect was beautiful. Mixing the salad allowed you to spear an olive, some feta and one of the veggies with each and every bite.

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Sister #3 who stepped in as Sous Chef always teases me that my life is a journey of searching for that perfect bite.

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The main course was a delectably stuffed Moroccan Chicken that the team managed to keep perfectly moist. The accompanying carrots and rice were topped with a cool dill sauce to offset the subtle spicy tastes of Moroccan spice. I did not see any plate retrieved by the volunteer staff that still had food on it. Everyone consumed every last bite. A sign of a meal well loved.

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Dessert was an espresso panna cotta (Italian cooked cream) with a raspberry coulis. The refreshingly thin fruit sauce complimented the rich panna cotta beautifully.

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In short, the meal was perfect but so too was the company and the setting. All this and creating a little bit of assistance to our lovely friend who is Greece bound.

Kath’s quote: “You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give”.

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Love never fails.

 

 

 

 

Canola Connect Community Summit 2017

April27

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I am blessed to be a part of a special community. Canola Alumni events take place on a regular basis so that the community can reconnect and share our passion for food and the farmers and scientists that are supporting the effort of producing a nutritious product for our families.  If you think that listening to futurists, sustainability excerpts and policy writers is boring, think again! The presentations were dynamic and they were interspersed with delicious food samplings and (new this year) progressive craft making sessions.  All this along with a mindfulness session and team-building drumming opportunity!

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This was our mid-morning snack as we commenced our first crafting session.

What I appreciate the most about attneding a Canola Connect event is having the opportunity to speak directly to Manitoba’s farmers. They answer my questions carefully but with passion. I met Pat and Paul Orsak a number of years ago when I visited their farm with Canola Camp. Paul spoke again at the recent Canola Community Summit. He got me thinking….

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Inventory for our crafts.

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Lunch of raw vegetable salads and tuna bowls with rice or spiraled zucchini.

I was reminded that organic standards leading to certified organic are NOT about nutritional value, food safety, or end use quality. Organic standards are about production methods and marketing. The setting of those standards is led and designed by the organic industry itself NOT by independent health regulators or science based third parties. Does this seem reasonable?

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Our afternoon snack of parsnip, carrot, beet and lotus chips with sweet potato hummus.

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Bruschetta made from three cold-pressed canola oils: Prairie Sky, Northern Lights and Heartland-all delicious in their distinct ways.

Innovations in plant genetics and precision farming practices ensures that land use is optimized. Natural wilderness areas can be preserved. Harmful tillage can be avoided, reducing the amount of silt going into rivers and streams. We should all be for this, shouldn’t we?

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Meat + Bread appetizers.

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Three salads for our salad course.

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Chicken with a fruit sauce and a savouring potato patty.

So if farmers want to produce the same amount of food organically, where are they going to get the extra land? Should farmers choose a production method that would require using more land? What do we think about deforestation? Clearing wilderness?

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The gang called these snowmen, I didn’t sample them…two desserts was enough!

Do we want to knowingly and willingly price food out of reach of some consumers? Are we concerned about food prices for those less privileged here at home, or for those who live in the third world?

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A cream puff filled with a chunky chocolate.

Can the global agriculture and food industry afford not to use all the tools in the tool box while still trying to feed a growing world population?

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Lemon Meringue Tarts

Farmers like Paul want to be sustainable. They  want to leave a legacy. They don’t want to squander the land resource they’ve been entrusted with and they want to leave the land in better condition than they got it. The farmers I have met through Canola Connect want to produce food that is affordable, safe, and abundant.

A couple of weeks later I am still rolling these questions over in my mind. The thing is, I know Paul, I know his wife, I know his daughter. I make decisions with my heart (that is pretty obvious if you spend any time on my blog space) and I know that Paul wants what is best for his family and ultimately for us all. Do I trust what I read on line? Do I trust the scare tactics that are promoted by extremists? Or do I trust Paul to make the best choices for his family and the world? I think that you know my answer to this…

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I was so proud that the beer poured that evening was son J1’s 1919 from Little Brown Jug.

Kath’s quote: “I love food. Farmers love food. I love farmers“. -Me

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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.

Spring Chicken!

May11

Like the seasons, one thing you can count on in Winnipeg is a special evening with Karen Webb and Manitoba Chicken in fall and spring. I chose a random seat at the dining table and ended up sitting with two lovely couples. One person I had met previously under different circumstances and the another is a very good friend of Sister #2. What a small world Winnipeg is.

Our family loves chicken and I can never get enough advice on varied ways to prepare it for just D and I or when the gang all assembles for Sunday dinner.

Deluca Fine Wines was the co-host for the evening and I enjoyed all of the pairings but the truth is, between being polite and visiting with the other guests at the table and making note of all the chef’s comments, I was hard-pressed to also get all the wine info recorded.

The chefs were from the Rossmere Golf & Country Club, a place that has been recently recommended to me by one of my Canstar Community Newspaper readers. Coincidentally, I grew up just steps away from the Country Club and can’t wait to visit.

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The evening commenced with Chicken croquettes assembled from ground chicken which had been merged with duck fat and foie gras. The earthy tastes were enhanced by a lovely puree of truffle and sweet corn.

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Next up was chicken soup which I bet was better than your Momma makes. The chicken consume had delicate noodle strands floating at the bottom and the spoon contained a dollop of decadent cream of chicken soup. I opted to stir mine together for the best of both worlds.

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Asian elements were played up in the salad course featuring spinach tossed in soya ginger vinaigrette, adorned with smoked chicken and compressed pineapple. Chef came around and added a dusting of a powdered barbeque sauce just before we tucked in.

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Our entrée was a clever take on the traditional chicken cordon bleu with comfortable additions like mashed potatoes, carrots and asparagus.

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A close up of the stuffed chicken.

Roasted ham and grated Bothwell Swiss cheese had been paired, cooked and then stuffed into whole deboned chickens which had been soaked in a citrus brine. The result was a lovely spin on a classic.

A little ice cream bar was set up with Cornell Cream ice creams and fun toppings. But my gaze went right to the chocolate petit fours and lemon tarts from High Tea Bakery. Both amazing!

I paced my wine consumption by splashing the remains of the white samplings into the spittoons, so that I could savour the lone red from Chateau du Charmes-the Niagara on the Lake vineyard that we loved touring.

Kath’s quote: “But my favorite remained the basic roast chicken. What a deceptively simple dish. I had come to believe that one can judge the quality of a cook by his or her roast chicken. Above all, it should taste like chicken: it should be so good that even a perfectly simple, buttery roast should be a delight.”  ― Julia Child

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Love, never fails.

 

 

 

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