Browsing: Food & Travel

Remembrance Day 2019 Road Trip-Chicago

November19

Here I am apologizing again for my tardiness in posting. The good news is that I have been so busy traveling (and working to offset those traveling bills) that I have not found enough hours in the day. But here it is a cozy Monday afternoon, my clients are all taken care of and I feel like writing!

We took our annual November weekend away with Boo and the Frenchman. They were aware of all the plans that D had made but until our anniversary on the September long weekend, I didn’t know a thing. D got it into his head that we should go see the renowned “Hamilton” in Chicago before their run was done. I had thought that we might wait until it was in Toronto but I understand that tickets there are already going very fast. So D made all the plans and I just had to sit back and enjoy.

I got picked up at work on the Thursday evening of our trip. Since we were almost at Bishop Grandin, we were out of the city in no time. We stopped for a quick supper at a new chicken place in Grand Forks and other than that it was full speed ahead.

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D made all the Air BnB arrangements for us and of course we arrived in St. Cloud in the dark. We were surprised as we looked through our kitchen window the next morning to see our neighbours-the cows! The only other real thing of note that was while trying to find a Panera for lunch we discovered Wisconsin Dells! We have heard all about it, but never been. Of course it was completely deserted in November.

As we got closer to Chicago the traffic got worse and worse. We stood completely still on a number of occasions. The good news was that our Chicago Air BnB was just off the freeway. We did have a tricky time finding it as the neighbourhood was a mashup of one ways and it looked like they were replacing sewers in the area. But we did eventually find our co-ordinates, lugged our bags in and then almost immediately headed out to find Chicago deep dish pizza.

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D and I had tasted the sensation at Giordano’s Deep Dish a number of years prior. When we had a stopover in Chicago en route from Paris to Winnipeg, we checked our luggage and hopped into a cab to enjoy the one closest to O’Hare. Our Air BnB host recommended Lou Manalti’s as her top choice so we were happy to compare notes. As I searched on line for their menu, I had a chance to read their colourful history including the fact that a car had crashed into their dining room on their opening night in the 1970’s!

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I liked everything about the family restaurant right from their colourful menus, to their wall of living plants to their family sized cesar salad with a refreshing addition of diced tomatoes and huge shards of Parmesan.

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As our server sliced up the pizza pie, ooey goeey strings of cheese stretched from the pizza to our plates. There are very few varieties of deep dish on their menu and that is because the ingredients must provide natural layers that can be stacked one on top of each other (more like lasagna). Ours was assembled with the bottom layer being pizza crust (you could eliminate this layer if you wished), cheese, an entire disc of sausage meat and then a delectable sauce. I ate one delicious, decadent piece and was done for the evening. We kept the rest in our fridge at the Air BnB and I think the guys enjoyed it on other occasions.

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We took this selfie as we departed and headed out for beer from a local brewery, groceries and wine. All were conveniently located across the street  from each other.

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I took this turquoise woodcut shot at one of our stops. By that time, we were tired out from the early start that morning and ventured home to ensure an early start the next day.

Kath’s quote: “Life is mostly pain and struggle; the rest is love and deep dish pizza”.  Authour unknown

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Love never fails.

 

 

 

 

Argentinean Barbeque

September16

If you live on the Canadian prairies, you will know that August didn’t exactly feel like summer. Friends, neighbours and family have been consoling themselves by saying “maybe we will get another little burst of summer in September”. Well, we are in the middle of that burst.

Yesterday might have been a beach day to make up for the ones that we never enjoyed while on holidays. But we had a commitment in the city, so we drove in from the lake early Sunday morning. In the afternoon Doug enjoyed the weather while cutting the lawn (and a neighbour’s too). Typically his reward for yard work is  to plunk down in a awn chair with an icy cold beer. Since a neighbour across the street was cutting his lawn simultaneously, D asked him over for that beer. Our neighbour did one better, he said:” It is such a gorgeous day, why don’t you come over for a barbeque?” D was quick to say yes as our neighbour happens to be from Argentina, a country widely known for their barbeque meat.

I threw some veggies in the oven to roast an D packed up some beer.

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When we arrived we found Adolfo hard at work. He had pork, chicken and sausage all on the barbecue. The latter being a type that we had not seen before. The coals were live and when the lid was closed, there were two chimneys coming out of the top. Soon after there was a knock on the back gate and neighbours John and Jodi were joining us at the lovely table set out in the garden. They had just returned from Italy and since we leave in a month’s time, we were glad to chat.

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First up was a taste of pork. It was perfectly prepared to a succulent doneness and the salt and spice combination (a secret) were just to our liking. The bites of chicken, sausage and beef were equally delicious.

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By this time all the meats had been placed on the table and I added our vegetable dish. I had roasted sweet potato and beets in some truffle salt that had been gifted to me.

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The meal was lightened up with a crisp salad of apple and walnuts contributed by the back lane neighburs.

By this time the strings of patio lights had come one and we lingered over wine and beer with stories of travel and neighbourhood living. It was the perfect night.

Kath’s quotes: “Grilling, broiling, barbecuing – whatever you want to call it – is an art, not just a matter of building a pyre and throwing on a piece of meat as a sacrifice to the gods of the stomach.” James Beard

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Lover never fails.

 

Girl’s Craft Weekend at Lake Killarney, AirBnB

May8

I enjoyed an unexpected treat recently and that was checking out a new BnB in Killarney Manitoba.

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We packed up some meals, snacks, wine and crafts and we were off!

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The house right across from Killarney Beach has 4 bedrooms but sleeps 10.

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This is a view of the house from the beach.

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The first floor rooms sleep 3 each.

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The two 3rd floor rooms slept 2 each. The pillows, comforters, sheets and mattresses were chosen with cozy sleeps in mind.

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The bedrooms all had live plants in each; a novel touch for an Air BnB.

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One full bathroom was found on each floor with more fluffy white towels than you could possibly use. Beach towels were also available.

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The great room included throws to snuggle up under as we gazed at the pelicans on the lake or watched Netflix which was provided by the hosts.

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Although too chilly for our use, there was a barbeque and covered deck for el fresco dining.

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The well equipped kitchen overlooked the dining room with vantages of the lake just beyond.

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I am quite sure that this was not their regular practice but the host also had fresh cut flowers waiting for us along with a basket of wine, nuts and chocolate!

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The thing about crafting is that you can relax and chat while learning a new skill. One of my crafts was embellishing a wine glass in blues and mauves.

We spent most of our time busy creating at that dining room table, but we did find time to eat marvellous food too.

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I brought a charcuterie lunch and got off super easy in the food prep department.

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This amazing seared scallop dinner was lovingly prepared for us.

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The next morning we were treated to Gran Marnier French Toast.

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Pork tenderloin with sautéed apples and onions was served at dinner time accompanied by roasted potatoes, tomatoes and asparagus.

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Of course I had to stand on a chair to get the perfect shot of dinner.

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Dessert that evening were meringues filled with custard and topped with strawberries!

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Killarney has some great shopping (because no girls weekend would be complete without it). These images are from Sweet Pea & Willow Florist and Gifts.

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The views of both the sunrise and sunset were stunning.

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What made the house a wonderful retreat were the views of the fowl on the lake. We especially loved watching pairs of the 17 pelicans that reside there. In fact we were thinking that a unique name for the home could be “Pelican View, Killarney Lakehouse”.

Of course any adventure is only as good as the people that you share it with. In this case I would say it was a 10 out of 10!

Kath’s quote: “Being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasures.”-Bob Marley

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Love never fails.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mexican Rice from Cocina Islena

February8

I was at an event this week and a person sitting opposite me wondered where she could find an authentic Mexican Rice recipe. I have made this one oodles of time and sent it off to her.

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The first meal I ever ate on Isla was decades ago at La Lomita. Where was yours?

We are off to the island in 14 sleeps and I am eagerly anticipating one of the many reasons we love the island so much and that is the food! When I come home I cook Mexican food to keep the memories and experiences vivid. It occurred to me than many persons on the Isla Mujeres’ Food page (that I moderate) would be interested in these recipes too, when they regretfully arrive home.

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So here we go:

Mexican Rice from Cocina Islena
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
This is the way the Islenas make their rice. You can cook it ahead, then heat it thoroughly but gently, in a tightly covered pot for about fifteen minutes. Leftover rice can be heated in the same way the next day and it freezes well. To reheat, make a foil package with the rice and place still frozen, in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups rice
  • ⅓ cup oil (I use canola)
  • I large tomato (1/2 pound) chopped
  • 1 glove of garlic chopped
  • 3½ cups chicken broth
Instructions
  1. Wash and clean rice, taking out any stones that may be in the bag.
  2. Drain in a colander.
  3. Heat the oil in a pan.
  4. Stir in the rice until all the grains are well covered, then fry until a light golden colour, stirring and turning the rice over so it will cook evenly and not get too dark.
  5. This should take about 10 minutes and should be done over a high flame.
  6. In a blender, blend the tomato, onion and garlic until smooth.
  7. Add the vegetables to the fried rice, then continuing to cook over a high flame, stir and scrape the bottom of the pan until the mixture is dry.
  8. Add the broth and add salt as necessary then stir well.
  9. Cook over a medium flame, uncovered until the liquid has been absorbed and small air holes appear in the rice.
  10. Remove from flame and cover tightly, so that no steam can escape, for about 20 minutes and the rice continues to cook in its own steam.

The cookbook was originally a fund-raiser so I ask that each time you print or cook a recipe, please make a donation to one of Isla’s many worthwhile charities. I will do the same. Here are a couple of our favourites:

http://littleyellowschoolhouse.org/

https://islakids.org/

http://islaanimals.org/

https://www.islascholarships.com/

Kath’s quote: “Education is the most powerful tool you can use to change the world”.-Nelson Mandela

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Love never fails.

 

Pan Seared Scallops in Lemon Caper Sauce

February4

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D and I love to cook together but we rarely get the opportunity. We have a wonderful division of tasks. D takes care of shoveling, laundry and garbage detail and I ensure the house is tidy and that supper is waiting for him when he is home from work. Sounds pretty tradition doesn’t it? It is and we love it this way.

We adore pan seared scallops and I was shocked to find such huge ones on for 30% off at Superstore (by the way…have you seen their fabulous new commercial?) We decided to go to a move Friday evening and have a popcorn supper so the scallops were waiting for us at the end of a busy Saturday. We had a number of plant based meals that week so I didn’t feel bad at serving an entrée with no veggies.

This is how we decided that it was supper time: D said “I am thirsty. I am going to pour us a glass of wine. Since we are wine-equipped why don’t we start on supper?”

We divided the tasks into two and I prepared the pasta portion while he seared the scallops. The dish was a keeper but so filling, we each left scallops and pasta in our bowl to have during the 3rd period of the Jet’s game when we typically get peckish.

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Pan Seared Scallops in Lemon Caper Sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: International
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 large portions
 
A two step recipe best prepared by two cooks.
Ingredients
  • 1 lb jumbo scallops
  • grinder of rock salt
  • 2 T ish olive oil
  • 3 T ish butter
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 225 g spaghettini (we like the President's Choice brand in the white box)
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • ½ c sauvignon blanc wine
  • 1 c chicken broth42 T lemon juice2 T capers
  • 1 T parsley (I was out of fresh and used dry)
  • 1 c chopped roma tomatoes
  • ¼ c ish parmesan
Instructions
  1. Scallops:
  2. Dry scallops really well with a clean cloth or paper towel.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Heat a skillet over high heat until the oil begins to slightly smoke.
  5. Place scallops with tongs into pan without crowding.
  6. Cook the scallops without moving them about 3 min.
  7. Add 1 T butter to pan, turn the scallops and brown on the second side about 90 sec.
  8. Turn off heat and hold.
  9. Pasta:
  10. Prepare pasta according to package directions.
  11. Select another pan and cook garlic on medium heat in 1 T butter, about 1 min.
  12. Increase heat and add wine.
  13. Cook until wine is reduced by half about 3 mins.
  14. Add chicken stock, lemon juice, capers and increase heat again. Cook until sauce is reduced to half (approximately 8-10 minutes).
  15. Turn off heat and another 1 T of butter.
  16. Drain pasta and add to sauce.
  17. Add parsley and tomatoes and toss all.
  18. Place scallops on pasta and top with grated parmesan.

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D at the stove in Charlottetown.

We had not had scallops since our sojourn to PEI last September. Coincidentally, that evening we arranged a meet up with those friends our first night on Isla Mujeres where alas, there are no scallops.

D poured another glass of wine and we sat down to our HNIC pre-game dinner.

Kath’s quote: “Close your eyes,” he had said to her. “Food demands complete submission.” And then he placed a perfect scallop in her mouth. “Do you taste the sea?” Delphine did. Not just the salt of the sea but the very air of the moment that the shell was pulled from the sand. “A storm, perhaps. There is a dark edge to the sweetness of the meat.” N.M. Kelby, White Truffles in Winter    Just reserved it on line from my library. I LOVE culinary fiction!

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Love never fails.

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