Browsing: Uncategorized

Matt Basile makes us Brunch for Dinner

January26

IMG_20180125_091501_586 (2)

I first met Matt in the spring of 2017 at a Canola Summit. We happened to be sitting next to each other but I didn’t get much time to visit with him as he was also the MC of the event. I do feel that I got to know him better when we happened upon his Netflix series “Rebel without a Kitchen”. This is what I can say about Matt. He has boundless energy, believes that food should be fun, recognizes that food is a gift of love and that in this coming year he will cook on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. In all, my kinda guy. He demonstrated all of these traits in the 3 hours we got to spend with him recently as well as explain his Ellen fascination.

IMG_3955

When I say “we”, I mean the lovely ladies of canola, fellow canola alumni and a variety of other foodies who knew that Matt would deliver deliciously fun times. He did not disappoint. And by the way, we all got a copy of Matt’s Street Food Diaries. Matt says and I agree, sometimes the food stories in cookbooks are better than the recipes!

I was seated with 4 such foodies, Ellen (from canola, not THE Ellen), a dietician who works for Cancer Care Manitoba with Sister #3 and old friend Zen Becca. The ladies from De Luca Fine Wines were pouring three reds and I chose the Washington State Merlot. The perfect accompaniment to Brunch for Dinner!

As Matt declares: “breakfast is just a meal but brunch is a culture!” He has a brunch cookbook coming out in September 2018. Watch for it.

IMG_3953

First up was a Huevo Ranchero Tostada aka Vegetarian Tortillas. Two corn tortillas were topped with a sunny side up egg and a delectable combination of onions, jalapeños, black beans, two kinds of peppers and garden tomatoes. Matt indicated that if you didn’t have fresh tomatoes or desired a “loser” sauce, you could substitute a can of chopped tomatoes. I especially appreciated the cool tastes of sour cream and cilantro which topped the dish.

IMG_20180125_102244_594 (2)

Chimichurri skirt steak followed. Matt showed us how to cook and carve the steak so that is was full of flavour and perfectly tender. The steak strips were perched up a crostini and then topped with a poached egg. Matt’s Chimichurri sauce was chock full of cilantro and I loved this dish. I would never be afraid to serve it as a dinner entrée!

IMG_3958

Matt’s piece de resistance were his waffles and fried chicken. In fact Ellen (no not THAT Ellen) declared that she wanted to bring Matt back to Winnipeg just so that she could taste his fried chicken again! The chicken was so tender and delicious that I am going to try to duplicate it this evening. I had some thawed chicken breasts so I marinated them in pickle juice this morning (don’t knock it til you try it!) and buttermilk this afternoon. I am going to dredge and squeeze them into a flour mixture just as Matt demonstrated and I will let you know the results.

IMG_20180125_103109_000 (3)

In the mean time our dessert course was S’more French toast. A light toast smothered with Nutella and torched marshmallows. I cannot wait to serve them to the Wee Ones this summer at the lake.

PS My fried chicken was a hit (even when I ran out of canola oil)!

Kath’s quote: “You don’t want to make a steady diet of just lettuce. You don’t want to make a steady diet of fried chicken”. -Paula Deen

070

Love never fails.

 

 

The Harth, Mozza and Wine Bar

November20

IMG_3557

We were checking out a newly opened The Harth, Mozza & Wine Bar in the south end of the city. The dining room was so elegant, I could not believe we were in a strip mall. The best part (next to the food which was exceptional) was the story that our server told us about Tony. Tony once owned and operated his own hair salon, but sold it and retired a couple of years ago. Since he liked working so much, he is making himself useful at Harth. In fact I would say his efforts were instrumental as he handmade all of the fresh pasta and cured all the meats served in the restaurant. He also chopped all the wood for the giant pizza oven that dominates the front of the kitchen. The day we were there for lunch, he was doing dishes. “Why?” we asked our server. “Because the dishes needed doing” he replied. We wondered if Tony cut hair in the kitchen too.

IMG_3560

The secret to Italian food, as I have been told while travelling through Italy, are the ingredients. The Radditorie pasta, so named because the shape resembles a radiator, was simply tossed with exceptional ingredients-eggplant, heavenly tomatoes, surprising mint and ricotta salata. The latter being a fresh ricotta that is pressed and dried. The pasta was so delicious that I wished that the petite portion was a wee bit more substantial.

IMG_3559

My lunch mate had a difficult time deciding which Neapolitan pizza to sample. In the end she chose the Prosciutto which was also adorned with caramelized onion, gorgonzola, arugula and fior di latte. The latter literally means “milk’s flower” and distinguishes fresh mozzarella from cow’s milk rather than the traditional buffalo milk. The reason why my lunch mate was hesitant was the base of fig jam on the pizza. She prefers savoury to sweet tastes but I thought that the sweetness from the jam was the perfect foil to the pungent gorgonzola and the peppery arugula.

IMG_3561

I could taste another ingredient in both the pasta and the pizza and that was “love”. Why would Tony come out of retirement to wash dishes, chop wood, cure meats and roll pasta? It could only be love.

The Harth Mozza and Wine Bar is located at 980 St. Anne’s Road. They are open from Tuesday-Friday 11:30-2 pm for lunch and Monday-Saturday 5-11 pm for dinner. They remain closed on Sundays. Lunch and dinner menus are available and they are wheelchair accessible.

Kath’s quote: “Everything you see I owe to pasta.”-Sophia Loren

chanterelle

Love never fails.

 

Lake Life: Summer of 2016, Part 3

September9

 

lakelife10

What else do we do to make summers special at the lake? We eat!

D loves to cook the entire supper on the barbeque, so as to not heat up the cottage. This was the last evening of our holiday: grilled pork tenderloin, squashed potatoes, eggplant and corn.

lakelife23

lakelife32

We often sit out at the table on our front deck. Dining el fresco is especially lovely when surrounded by the tall pines and birch trees.

lakelife35lakelife38

lakelife39

When old friends joined me from Toronto and Vancouver the week that my Mom passed away, they did most of the cooking. I sat back and basked in their love and attention.

lakelife40

We take turns cooking when we are there on a given weekend. On this day Boo and the Frenchman were at it with freshly sliced pineapple and cinnamon and walnut French toast. Yes it was as delicious at it looked!

lakelife34

This simple meal was a particularly poignant one. The day that Mom died, Sister #3 and I stayed behind to pack up Mom’s things. Mom’s favourite meal was a tomato sandwich and she loved summer tomatoes that were ripe and bursting with flavour. She must have eaten half a tomato and had the second one wrapped and waiting for her in her little fridge. It would be impossible for me to describe the taste of that second tomato half.

lakelife16

lakelife17

Sometimes word gets around that we are all assembling at one of the six beach houses that my family owns. Sometimes it is for happy hour and other times it is at dinner time. You are instructed to bring along whatever you were cooking for supper and if you have enough to share “great”, if not, someone else is bound to have more than they need. This last weekend when one of my nephews hosted a games night, appetizers were brought along. They too were as tasty as they looked.

lakelife19

This weekend, was a little chillier and the wasps have driven us inside. We got out table extensions and folding chairs and eight of us assembled for an impromptu dinner of pickerel, shrimp, scallops, corn, potato wedges and green beans. Life is good, is very good indeed.

Kath’s quote: “Better is a dish of vegetables served with love than a fattened calf with animosity”. -Proverbs 15:17

heart-stone

Love never fails.

Lake Life: Summer of 2016, Part 2

September8

lakelife31

lakelife27

In Manitoba there are “lake people” and “beach people”. We are the latter. Our little place is not winterized. We have water and indoor plumbing from the May long weekend until Thanksgiving weekend. We like it this way. We have busy lives in the city and “Life is Good” (the name of the house) is the perfect summer retreat.

lakelife30

Time at the beach, defines our day. We fill non-beach days with other pastimes like reading, Netflex watching, visiting, walking and biking. But beach days are our favourites.

lakelife15

This is what the beach looked like last weekend. The water has receded and there are miles and miles of sand. We take up a lot of sand when all members of the family decide to accumulate at the beach. I typically plunk in the shade being fair and freckled. When D and I are on holidays, we love to take our coffee with us in the late morning and have a picnic lunch on the beach.

lakelife6

We love to do the crossword puzzles together and Doug will read the paper as I plow through a book.

lakelife3

lakelife4

We especially love this stretch of beach that we can climb over overturned trees and walk to. This area is actually the most eastern point of Grand Beach. When we are on the beach, we often do not see another soul, except in the distance. We consider ourselves especially blessed to have something so beautiful all to ourselves.

lakelife28

lakelife7

lakelife8

I love the patterns that water makes in the sand, the tree art that is everywhere; even the shadows on the shore.

lakelife11

But my all time favourite time of day, is when D and I will head back down to the beach with our beach chairs and wine “to go” cups and savour the last moments of the fading sun.

lakelife9

lakelife12

lakelife13

lakelife26

lakelife41

lakelife42

lakelife46

lakelife47

What a show! A sight that I could gaze at over and over and over again.

Kath’s quote: “Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” ― Rabindranath Tagore

13325524_1095402747198195_5371682351520145040_n

Love never fails.

 

 

 

Lakelife: Summer of 2016, Part 1

September7

Today is the first day back to school and even though D and I are empty nesters, the day still marks a time of reflection. The summer was a bittersweet for our family.

lakelife43

JoJo with the Frenchman.

We got to know our newest Grandaughter that much better when the family would assemble on weekends. She was such a trouper, sleeping on the beach and filling the world with smiles and laughter.

lakelife24

Her big sister loves lake life as much as the adults. One evening she excitedly reported: “I got to go to the beach…at night time”! Here she is whipping us up a batch of blueberry pancakes.

lakelife33

Cousins have been an important part of life at Lester Beach commencing with our kids’ generation and now continuing with another. Here is the Wee One with her second cousin Serena. Last night while babysitting the Wee One, she said her prayers for her best friends, Serena included.

lakelife29

One of our collection of cottages is often hosting something or other. We celebrated six birthdays at the lake over the last couple of months. The pic above is at my brother’s 70th birthday. Even my Mom booked a cab to be there. She loved every single moment of that day. Every time I looked at her she was staring at the poplars rustling against a clear blue sky. Little did we know then, that she would be gone before the next birthday was celebrated.

lakelife44

lakelife45

In spite of our sadness, we did our best to celebrate the Wee One’s birthday when she lead us in a dance off!

lakelife20

lakelife22

I was alone at our beach house for my birthday. My Sister-in-Law and her Sister put on a little party for me (bless their hearts). We supped on Hawaiian Chicken and they even had my favourite Jeanne’s cake for dessert.

lakelife21

My nephew who was also alone at their cottage, picked me up (I was recuperating from surgery) and drove me to the lookout so that I could watch the sunset the eve of my birthday. I was touched by all the thoughtfulness of family members after a tumour was removed from my kidney. BTW-I was good as new in no time!

Like waves of Lake Winnipeg, sorrow and joy took turns lapping onto shore.

Kath’s quote:”There is something urgent I have to say to you and you alone but it must wait while I drink in the joy of your approach, perhaps for the last time”. -William Carlos Williams

chanterelle

Love never fails.

 

« Older Entries