Browsing: Food Events

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.

 

 

 

Chef Charlie Palmer

April27

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D and I love everything about New York-the parks, the galleries, the restaurants and especially the people. So it was no surprise to me that New York Chef Charlie Palmer was the real deal. In spite of his culinary pedigree and I am guessing substantial wealth, he was as approachable and personable as the many hometown chefs that I have come to know.

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I was flattered by the last minute suggestion that I attend a soiree at Kitchen Sync, but really didn’t realize the magnitude of the invite. Sister #3 did though, she knew that Chef Palmer had been awarded numerous Michelin stars, the titles of his cookbooks and had seen many of his appearances on NBC’s Today Show.

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I loved watching him pull just roasted lamb chops out of the oven, spoon a savoury sauce over them and then, in one fell swoop, make small talk with the foodies, autograph cookbooks and pose for photos.

I am not usually inclined towards lamb but Chef Palmer has made me a recent convert. I noticed that there are two lamb recipes in his American Fare cookbook which has been recently added to my personal collection. I look forward to trying them out along with numerous other delectable looking recipes.

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Friend Chrissy Troy of Virgin Radio chatting with Chef Palmer

My life is often filled with lovely surprizes like a last minute invite to meet a Michelin chef.

Kath’s quote: “We take those things and kind of upgrade them. Give them a little twist, a little finesse, but it still has those flavors and those textures that people identify from their childhood.”-Charlie Palmer

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Love never fails.

 

 

A Christmas Gift from McDonald’s

December14

When our eldest child was five years old we had an extended stay at the Children’s Hospital here in Winnipeg. It was there that we met a little girl that I am going to call Britney. She was in the room next to ours and the two girls loved to play Barbie’s together and Britney’s Mom and I would try to support each other the best we could. I remember the day that we were able to finally go home after our ordeal. December 8 will long be fixed in my memory. Our daughter “Beep” as she is called in this space went to a new school in January where she received all of her necessary therapies as a part of her school day. Before that occurred though, she was an outpatient at the hospital and whenever we were in the building we would go to visit Britney. Beep even got to attend a Christmas party with Britney that was put on by Cancer Care. You see Britney had leukemia. On the day of Christmas Eve, Beep wanted us to delivery Britney’s Christmas present but when we arrived on the ward, we were told that Britney wasn’t feeling up to visitors. We left her gift for her to open whenever she felt up to it. On Boxing Day, without ever having opened her gifts Britney passed away. We had gone to visit the ward that day too and all the nurses were so upset that they were visibly weeping and trying to take care of all of the other sick little ones.

Britney’s Mother was a single Mom from somewhere in the province. She spent every single waking hour at the hospital by Britney’s side. Once Britney had fallen asleep at night, she was encouraged to go take some time for herself, have a good rest and return the next day. This went on for months on end. Luckily for Britney, her Mom was able to stay in the city the entire time and be within walking distance of the hospital. Britney’s Mom spent her nights at Ronald McDonald House. She shared with me that she did not know what she would have done if it were not for the House. She wasn’t willing to spend any time away from Britney as she must have known that their days together were few.

These days Beep has grown up to be a beautiful, intelligent woman and is in the midst of obtaining her Masters Degree at the University of Manitoba. My time had freed up and I was a volunteer at the Children’s Hospital, sometimes on the very ward where Beep and Britney played with their Barbies. In addition to the House which is close by, there is a Ronald McDonald suite right in the hospital. Here families can do their laundry, get caught up on the world through provided computers, make phone calls, relax in front of the fire, bake cookies, watch movies and play with their other children (as often times, a whole family will attend a sick child to the hospital). I have often encouraged parents to take a break and head to the facility while I spent some time hugging their baby or playing on the floor with their toddler.

Recently though, with our own grandbaby and another on the way, I spend the hours that I might have been volunteering, babysitting the Wee One. She is an absolute joy and both D and I are excited every time we get to spend time with her. This weekend she had a sleep over with us and on Saturday evening, I let her open a Christmas gift that had been delivered from McDonalds. A box was filled with a number of treats but the best one was that they had made a donation to Ronald McDonald House in my name, so that a Mom like Britney’s can be close to their child at Christmas.

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The Wee One hasn’t been to McDonalds very often and loved her happy meal with its little “Build a Bear” toy. In turn I was pleased with the sautéed onions, double cheese and pretzel bun of the Jolly Burger from their Holiday Warmer menu.

Here is the Wee One in the act of opening “Glamma’s” gift.

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Poppa read us the card from a Ronald McDonald House Family and then the Wee One gave us her rendition. A healthy child is a blessing that we never, ever take for granted.

Kath’s quote: None of Us is as Good as All of Us.”-Ray Kroc of McDonalds

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Love, that is all.

 

 

Canola Connect-Baked with Love

November20

Persons like me: haphazard, un-exacting, short attention span, make terrible bakers and I am a terrible baker! At Christmas, when it is time to bake festive cookies, I typically choose to prepare a slice or a candy or avoid the task all together and depend on the talents and gifts of my friends and family.

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We were as busy as little elves in the bakery. Friend Getty, is moving so fast, she went out of focus!

So when an opportunity came along from my friends the Manitoba Canola Growers to learn from one of Manitoba’s best bakers, in the company of many of my foodie pals, I jumped at it. Chef MJ Feeke is an instructor at Red River College, runs a multi-faceted food business AND perhaps most importantly, is a Mom to a busy family.

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Benjamin’s Gourmet Foods on Eveline St. in Selkirk, Manitoba was already decorated for Christmas.

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We were in expert hands.

Baking alongside with us were Jen and Will Bergmann, a third generation farm couple who are also raising a family (three under the age of 3 1/2). They, along with so many farm families that I have had the pleasure to meet through Canola Connect, are the new generation of farmers: young, hip, attractive, passionate, educated, hard-working.

If you are watching your grocery budget, have a dairy sensitivity or allergy, the recipes that we used all contained canola margarine. Sister #3 (as she is known in this space) came along to add an extra dose of sweetness to my evening. We were in the same group of four and split up our dough forming duties.

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Chocolate Chip Orange Shortbread was rolled out and then cut into triangles.

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Chocolate Mint Crackle Cookies, were rolled (to the exact size of an eye-ball), thumb-pressed, baked, iced and sprinkled.

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Red Velvet Rose Cookies were piped (hard work I heard), baked, piped with cream cheese icing and sprinkled with red sugar.

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Lemon Poppy Seed Slices were cut, baked and drizzled with lemon icing. They were the easiest and in my humble opinion, the tastiest of the cookies.

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These festive wreaths were assembled from a myriad of mini holly leaf wafers and finished with a red bow.

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The heart shaped Brown Sugar Cut Outs are seen below. Somehow I missed photographing the Spicy Logs. Maybe it was because we made zillions of cookies that evening.

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I thought that these were the prettiest: White Chocolate Raspberry thumb cookies. They reminded me of the almond thimble cookies with raspberry jam that my little Polish Grandma used to make.

In the end, isn’t that what Christmas baking is all about? Sharing a treat, spreading love and good cheer, making memories and reminiscing about Christmases gone by. I hope that your Christmas preparations and the season ahead will be filled with peace, comfort, joy and….cookies!

Kath’s quote: When I buy cookies, I eat just four and throw the rest away. But first I spray them with Raid so I won’t dig them out of the garbage later. Be careful, though, because that Raid really doesn’t taste that bad.”-Janette Barber

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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food Bloggers Canada 2015 Recap – Last of Three Parts

November2

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For breakfast the last morning of the conference we were in for a treat of St. Viateur bagels, lox, capers, onions and cream cheese. Presented by Half Your Plate, I accompanied mine with a delicious fruit smoothie.

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The surprise treats of Cacao Barry chocolates were provided at our morning break. Chocolate always gets me going. These were exquisitely crafted.

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Another Montreal icon provided our lunch. Schwartz’s brought in a mini deli for our pleasure and we noshed on cole slaw, pickles, just sliced Montreal smoked meat and potato chips.

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The mini tastes of sugar pie were a lovely touch. Around this table I connected with Maria of She Loves Biscotti.

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And then before you knew it, the conference was over but since I was not departing for a couple of days, I still had more eating to do. Montrealer Evelyne was available to be our tour guide again and Joann, Michelle of The Tiffin Box and I hopped the metro for Marche Jean Talon where we tasted fine local wines, ciders and vermouths and took photos of the colourful produce  which was displayed so beautifully.

That evening Marlene, Joann and I pressed Montrealer Kimberlie to suggest her favourite local spot for dinner. Bouillon Bilk was an amazing way to crown the weekend with its sleek decor, personable staff and exquisite food. I am told that only locals frequent the place and this maybe because it is located in the most inconspicuous spot. After much indecision and deliberation, I chose carpaccio beef as my appetizer and a second starter of tortellini as my entree. Both provided perfection with each bite. These women were so generous in sharing their life stories and friendships were cemented. My photos could never do justice to the beauty of our plates.

Bouillon Bilk Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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We walked back to the Westin through Chinatown and detoured to the bar before all going up to perch on my roomie’s bed for additional chatter. We clearly were not ready for the weekend to end. In fact, before I clicked off the light that evening, I registered for the 2016 conference edition in Toronto where Food Bloggers Canada was born. And for me time in Montreal did not end. The next morning, before the Ontario entourage left for the train station, Charmian and I had one last treat together: Portuguese Custard Tarts that she had acquired on the walking food tour of Old Montreal and had stashed in our room fridge.

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Moving from the Westin to nearby Zero 1 Hotel, I was smack in the middle of Chinatown. Hearing from other bloggers that Pho Bang New York was the place try, I ordered a shrimp pho to go. I slowly dished it out in my hotel room, not wanting the fragrant broth, crunchy veggies and silky noodles to disappear too quickly.

Pho Bang New York Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Soon after, Kimberlie, who had become more and more of a dear friend by the minute, arrived to the lobby for one last rendezvous. We each sipped a drink at Brasserie T and ordered a Parmesan Fondue to be considerate of the sleek little restaurant and its lovely staff and to tie us over until dinner.

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Parmesan Fondue was the very first Quebec dish I sampled on the first night on my honeymoon, thirty-one years prior. Good food has the power to produce a life long memory.

Brasserie T! Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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We made our way by Metro to the illuminated lantern display at the Botanical Gardens before sharing an “old school” dinner of shrimp noodles, watercress and sizzling beef in Chinatown at Le Maison VIP before we finally said good-bye with embraces and commitments to keep in close touch.

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And still my Montreal indulgences continued with my last chocolate croissant at the hotel and an order of poutine at the airport.

FBC 2015 in Montreal, where new friends were made over tables laden with food.

Kath’s quote: “Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious.” ― Ruth Reichl

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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

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