P.E.I. Shellfish Festival

January9

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We are a hardy crew in Winnipeg and this is one way that we cope. About the middle of January, we head away for sunny beaches and if we cannot, we at least dream about them. Another way is to ditch the winter stews and prepare food that is typically enjoyed in the summer time.  I have a gorgeous cookbook entitled “flavours of PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND a culinary journey” by Jeff McCourt, Allan Williams and Austin Clement. The over sized photos are expertly taken and breath-taking. To really sweep you away, imagine this scenario as described in the cookbook, taking place on one of those sandy beaches…..

Assemble a small charcoal barbeque  and start the coals burning. Let them burn for about 15 minutes then rake them to distribute them evenly. Cover the bottom of a large roasting pan with seaweed, making a layer about 2 inches thick. On top of this arrange the clams and mussels. Put in the onions, garlic and ginger and then cover them with a 2 inch layer of seaweed. Load on the potatoes, corn and hotdogs or sausages. Pour half of the beer over everything and cover with a clean, damp potato sack (or lid). Place this on the barbeque and begin steaming.

Once the steam starts, let everything cook for 1 hour. Add some beer if steam is escaping and add more charcoal if the fire degrades.

Serve family-style (that is, letting everyone help themselves) with melted butter and lemon.

Can’t you just feel the heat from the fire, smell the yeasty steam escaping the roaster, hear the fire snapping and taste an ice cold beer while you await your feast to cook?  Of course, the seaweed would have to be replaced with tinfoil on the prairies but other than that, there is nothing stopping you from enjoying fresh P.E.I. seafood next summer on the beaches of Lake Winnipeg. If you don’t care to wait, you could place your roster in the oven or dig out the barbeque and place the roster in there.

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Our extended family celebrate each Labour Day weekend with a dinner on the beach. The menu is typically comprised of local delicacies like chicken, veggie kabobs and the like. The fun is in the cooking process itself and the time spent together in anticipation of our upcoming meal. When the sunsets, we sometimes wash our dishes in the lake and then head back to our beach house for a round of crib or a televised football game.

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But we also dream of eating authentic clambake again, having done so years ago on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. With the current state of the Canadian dollar a more realistic alternate to the Cape would be the shores of PEI- a journey that we would love to make as we have only ventured to Nova Scotia and never set eyes on the other maritime provinces.

The good folks at WOW Hospitality must be dreaming of summer too, because they have decided to host the first PEI Seafood Festival right smack in the middle of winter. See here for everything you need to know:

Members of the Prince Edward Island seafood Community will be descending on Winnipeg January 16th, 17th and 18th with their products for the first ever PEI Seafood Festival. Take in one event, two events or all the events and enjoy the feel of PEI.

Friday, January 16th
Gala Dinner – 6pm at the Pavilion Centre in the Pavilion in Assiniboine Park
Tickets are $250.00 with net proceeds going to SOS (Share our Strength), a charity that works to alleviate and prevent hunger and poverty in our city including a program near and dear to my heart: St. Aidan’s Christian School in Winnipeg’s North End.
Tickets available by calling 204-942-1090 ext 230

Saturday, January 17th
9am Black Box Competition
Come out an watch top Winnipeg Chefs compete in the Black Box Competition. What will they creative with the products they are given in their box?
Yours truly is a judge.
Tickets: $25.00 Available by calling 204-942-1090 ext 230

1pm Oyster Schucking Championship – The Forks Centre Court
A competition to find the best Oyster Schucker in Manitoba.
Winner will represent Manitoba at the Canadian championship.

6pm East Coast Kitchen Party – 295 York
A Kitchen Party in East Coast style.
Enjoy sampling the best of PEI at different food stations while listening to East Coast Entertainment, Watch the Best Caesar Competition and meet members of the PEI shellfish Industry.
Tickets $40.00 and are available at any WOW Restaurant or by calling 204-942-1090 ext 230

Sunday, January 18th
1pm Best Mussel Competition – 295 York
Come Out and Watch Top Manitoba Chefs compete in the Manitoba Best Mussel Dish
No charge

3PM Best Seafood Chowder Competition – 295 York
No Charge

6pm Champagne & Oyster Tasting – 529 Wellington
Tickets are $100.00 and are available by calling 204-949-1090 ext 230

Kath’s quote: “We found some large clams…which the storm had torn up from the bottom, and cast ashore. I selected one of the largest, about six inches in length, and carried it. along…..We took our nooning under a sand-hill, covered with beach grass…I kindled a fire with a match and some paper, and cooked my clam on the embers for my dinner…..Though it was very tough, I found it sweet and savory, and ate the whole with a relish. Indeed, with the addition of a cracker or two, it would have been a bountiful dinner.”-‘Cape Cod’ Henry David Thoreau

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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

 

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