Friday, 2 December 2011

Munchies on Maryland.

Bella Vista is an Italian restaurant located at the corner of Maryland and Wolseley. Not a flashy joint from the outside, and covered in graffiti, the Bella Vista is exactly what you would expect it to be once you’re inside the front doors. This neighborhood restaurant has a hippy-ish lounge with a vintage bohemian feel.
A relatively small dining room with a lounge filled with what appeared to be regulars; there is something about the place that gives you the feeling like you’re at a family-run establishment. We sat at the bar, this way we could keep an eye on the hockey game and watch the jazz band set up their equipment for their first set. We had to wait for ten minutes before we got stools and the lounge was equally as busy as the dining room. Underneath the one large television showing the Jets game there was a small VLT area hidden from rest of the lounge by a curtain.
We ordered a pitcher of the only beer they carry on tap to drink. A local beer, Fort Garry Pale Ale, was fresh tasting and wet our appetites. The service was casual, as our server seemed to be chatty with all of her tables, giving the impression that Bella Vista is the kind of place that has its loyal patrons.
We sat for a few minutes with the menus closed before the server from the dining room noticed us and in an almost panicky but sincere manner, told us that our server shouldn’t be too much longer, asking if there was something she could get us to start. We decided on a large caesar salad, which we split three ways.
The salad portion was generous, which provided each of us with enough to be satisfied. The dressing is made in-house, and is perfect for anyone who is suffering from a cold; the sharp and tangy house signature is extremely garlicky with a blue cheese undertone. I had a good feeling about the pizza after tasting the salad.
A large Bella Vista was the right amount for three hungry adults. This thick crust traditional style pizza is the type of pizza you eat with a knife and fork. The toppings were piled high and there was no shortage of mozzarella. For dinner we switched to wine, the house red, which is the only wine on the menu that comes by the glass. The house red is an easy-drinking well-balanced wine that complements the spice of the pizza, a smooth finish with a hint of cherry.
The facilities were clean and small. There was lots of parking on the street and the parking lot behind the restaurant fits about ten cars.
The damage on the bill was 60 bucks for three people to eat one large caesar salad, one large house pizza, a pitcher of beer and a glass of house red each. The Jets had won the game and the Jazz band was ready to play. Bella Vista is a relaxing and casual spot where you can enjoy traditional homemade Italian food at a reasonable price.


Friday, 25 November 2011

Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken noodle soup comes in handy on a chilly day. I enjoy a bowl when I've got a lot of sports to play or I'm just not feeling all that great. You can taste chicken noodle soup in your bones, especially when it's home made!

Making chicken noodle soup is easy.

You just need to be patient.

A hearty treat that goes
well with cheese and crackers.

I recommend this!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Alfredo Lasagna

This is a fantastic dish, and a home run hit with friends and is also great for pot-lucks.

White Lasagna (use Tofu instead of meat as a substitute if preferred)
Shopping list
3 boxes of oven ready lasagna (it’s just easier this was)
1 lb ground turkey
1 lb ground Italian sausage
1 onion
1 litre cream (35%)
2 cups milk
1200 grams of frozen spinach
2 lb’s of mushroom
½ a head of garlic
1 cup of flour
4 tbl spoon of olive oil
½ lb butter
1 kilogram of ricotta
½ lb of sharp white cheddar
2 lb’s of mozzarella
250 grams of parmesan
2 tbl spoon of basil
Salt and pepper to taste

White sauce

Combine ¼ cup butter with one table spoon of olive oil in a large saucepot and melt together over medium heat. Add the one cup of flour and stir until combined and smooth. To this flour mixture, add all of the milk and cream and stir to combine over a medium heat. Once sauce has thickened slightly, add all of the frozen spinach, season with salt and pepper, and add about one liter of water to extend the sauce and make it thinner; Stir in the Basil.

Meat Mixture

Over high heat, melt some butter and add the onion (fine dice) and sauté till translucent. Add the ground turkey and the ground Italian sausage and cook until the meat is no longer pink and is cooked through; Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Build the Lasagna

This is when the fun begins. Start by putting a bottom layer of lasagna on the bottom of your pan. After this place a little sauce while adding layers of mushroom, meat and the cheeses. Repeat this procedure three times and throw in your preheated oven at 400 degrees. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the noodles are soft enough to poke a hole through. Serve with a baguette and your favourite wine.


Friday, 11 November 2011

Remembering and making corn chowder.

Friday November 11, was a day to remember all of those who have fought for our freedoms. It was also a chilly day and a perfect day to make corn chowder. My favorite cooking pal Shaun Ursall, picked me up after I attended a Remembrance day service at Valor Rd. Corn chowder had been the topic of discussion the previous week so we thought we should go ahead and give it a shot. This recipe is extremely easy to prepare and very cost effective, less than 5 dollars per liter. The total of all the ingredients was 50 bucks and we produced 11 liters plus the 2 bowls we ate before dividing up rest of the chowder. 

3 Tbl spoon olive oil
1 Pound of carrots (rough chopped)
2 Onions (rough chopped)
200 Grams of double smoked bacon (rough chopped)
2 pounds of red potatoes (rough chopped)
1 Pound of gound chicken
1 pound of ground turkey
1 Tbl spoon chili powder
1 Tbl spoon Lemon herb season
1 Tbl spoon vegatble seasoning
1 Tbl spoon of driend basil
1 tbl spoon celery salt
1 tbl of onion powder
3 pounds of frozen corn
½ liter of milk
½ liter of whipping cream (35%)

 Believe it or not we just started throwing everything in a big pot and brought it to a boil and waited for the potatoes to cook. Add salt and pepper to taste and you’ve got yourself one tasty chowder. You can enjoy this chowder with some nice bread and butter. Another great thing about this chowder is that it freezes well.

 Next week we’re back to our old tricks again and will be preparing lasagna; however we have chosen to make white lasagna with chicken and mushroom this time. 
Here's a little jingle to get you in the mood for a little Italian.  

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

The Medium is the Message

Marshal McLuhan is arguably one of the greatest intellects Canada has ever produced. McLuhan is famous for tagging the line “The Medium is the Message”. This line, as simple as it seems is still relevant today, years after McLuhan’s passing. I wonder what Marshal would be saying today, considering all the technological advancements and the fact that social media has become a part of so many people’s lives.  What would Marshal say about Facebook, twitter or blogging for example. How would he feel about citizen journalism, and the movement of ordinary citizens creating the news?   

My smart phone is changing the way I communicate with my friends and loved ones. Receiving text messages and tweets can still put the humanization in modern day communication. A debate I recently heard was how much personality brands should demonstrate through their social media outlets. The side in favor of personality argues that social media is a medium that brands can use to be more relaxed and informal with their customers. This sort of communication they argue helps humanize the brand and allows customers to feel connected in a different way than they are traditionally used to.

One argument against using too much personality for a brand in social media is what happens when the personality goes away. When this happens who maintains the personality and the image that the social media manager has created for the brand.

Both of these points are valid and need to be considered when your brand is making the switch to include social media in your communication strategy. Because having Facebook and Twitter does show your customers that your company is willing to embrace organizational change and stay connected through a variety of mediums. I personally am in favor of show casing a personality for a brand. I think that this gives a brand an alternative identity and that this can be especially effective when targeting younger demographics. Because there is such a small percentage of the global population on Twitter, I would recommend as a business starting with Facebook. Facebook is relatively easy to use and navigate and it can help create awareness of your campaign, product or service. Practicing good business and having fun Mr. McLuhan, now what do you think about that?   

Friday, 21 October 2011

Chalk Another Win Up For The Good Guys.

Another “W” for the boys!
Thursday was a great day to prepare another Canadian classic, pea soup. This was the first time I made pea soup and I must brag a little bit because it turned out great. Pea soup is a wonderful soup that is easy to make and warms the belly on a cold Canadian winter night. Some people say that pea soup was originally fed to French Canadian Troops during World War One and would improve the soldier’s performance on the battle field.
The preparation of pea soup is easy and painless. The process of cooking the peas takes some time but if you have nice book to read or something else to do the time should pass relatively quickly.
 The first step is cooking the peas. For this you will need
5 pounds of peas
Ham bone
2 Carrots
1 stick of celery
5 Bay leafs
1 Onion
4 Cloves of garlic

Cook all of these together in a large pot for approximately 1-2 hours or until the peas are cooked. After this is done you strain the peas into a large bowl and let sit while you prepare the rest. Also at this point you discard the carrots, celery, bay leafs and ham bone, those simply provide flavor to your peas.

The next batch of ingredients includes
4 Litres of chicken stock
2 Diced white onion
4 Cloves of garlic chopped
4 Carrots chopped
4 Celery ribs chopped
¼ Pound of double smoked bacon
3 Pound ham

Combine all of these ingredients in a large pot and bring to a simmer. Once simmering add the peas and let cook for no longer than 30 minutes. Add some fresh dill and pepper and voila. This recipe makes 13 litres of soup. Perfect for freezing and goes well with a baguette. If you have any questions please feel free to ask. I hope you enjoy this recipe.  

Friday, 14 October 2011

Sweater Weather Stew!

Now that fall seems to be here to stay, I have decided to make a hearty beef stew. Beef stew can warm your belly on a cold autumn night while filling it with nutrients essential for your body, mind and soul. This particular beef stew is simple to prepare and doesn’t hurt the wallet. I produced about 11 liters of stew and only spent 42 dollars. Now if we assume the average person requires half a liter for one serving then this stew costs less than 2 dollars a person. This stew also makes a great gift. Who doesn’t like a liter of homemade beef and lentil stew as a present?

Now that I’ve sold you on the idea of a hearty stew in the fall, let me tell you how to cook it.


4 sticks of celery
6 large carrots
2 white onions
6 cloves of garlic
2 cups of button mushrooms
1 medium sized butternut squash
1 rutabaga
2 cups of green beans
1 can of crushed tomatoes
1 inside round beef roast
4 cups lentils
¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
2 twigs of fresh rosemary
5 or 6 sage leafs
1-liter chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste

This recipe is easy to prepare because you just need to add everything except the lentils into a large pot and let it cook for about 1 hour. You should start with the firmer vegetables like the butternut squash, rutabaga and carrots etc. Add the beef after these have cooked for about 15 minutes and just continue to add everything except the lentils and green beans. Bring this to a boil and then let it simmers for about 30 minutes or until beef is tender and vegetables are soft. Cook the lentils in a separate pot. The water the lentils cook in generally doesn’t taste that great and that is why I suggest cooking them separately. Add the green beans right at the end as they only take a short time to cook.

The finished product freezes nicely so you can make it in bulk and save some for busy times and cold nights. I promise you, next week we’re doing ham and pea soup.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Food Poisoning 101

I'm sad to say but this week I will not be adding a recipe for Canadian style ham and pea soup. I contracted food poisoning during the wee hours of Wednesday morning and I’m happy to say that I am feeling much better. Instead this week I will be writing about some tips I have on how to avoid food poisoning and how you can spot these potential hazards.
As my duty as a citizen to the friendly province of Manitoba, I went to an election headquarters on Tuesday to take in all the hype and excitement.  I imagine most election headquarters had a generous spread of food laid out on the table for their guests to enjoy. Myself being a guest, and being a little hungry, I thought that I would partake in a taste or two of this classic spread that can be found at many functions.

I must warn participants of these platters to eat with caution. Although they may look tempting, one may find themselves out of commission for the following few days due to unhealthy bacteria’s and old stale food. If you find yourself ever to be in the same situation as me this past week; you can check out this link which has ten helpful tips on how to have a smooth and quick recovery.

Finally, to end on a positive note for the long weekend I wanted to share a song that should make your life a little bit more enjoyable. This song has helped me through some rough patches and I must have listened to it ten times this past week.

Friday, 30 September 2011

"First Page" taught me a little something.

This week my blog is about a documentary film called “First Page” which depicts modern day operations within the New York Times. You can catch this movie at Cinematheque which is located in the heart of the exchange.

This documentary demonstrates some challenges modern journalism faces especially within the New York Times context. The documentary also illustrates the growing demand for online journalism and how social media such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter play a significant role today in disseminating information. The documentary uses a case study that compares the Watergate scandal of the 1970’s with a video posted to YouTube by WikiLeaks that depicts US military negligence. In both cases there was information valuable and shocking to the citizenry about their countries war efforts overseas. In the case of Watergate scandal, the New York Times received documents portraying the Nixon administration negatively. The YouTube video posted by WikiLeaks also had negative connotations; however the medium of printed press wasn’t required in order for the message to reach the public. This aspect of the movie tended to be one of the main themes as it explained the changing roles of gatekeepers within the mass media. This changing landscape of modern media outlets especially within the print industry became clearer after I watched this film.   

I experienced the movie as entertainment rather than education. Although I did learn much about the NYTimes operations in general; the movie was produced the in a manner that left me smiling and laughing. The film featured a reporter named David Carr, a once drug addict turned into a highly respected reporter. This in itself was intriguing as I always appreciate a good underdog story. The movie portrayed the daily life of the NYTimes employees as being fast paced and exciting. This I believe contributed to the entertainment value of the movie as I was on the edge of my seat at times wondering what would David Carr say next.

In my opinion this documentary film was produced as a marketing tool to engage people and humanize the NYTimes. Personally, I have been to the NYTimes web site more often this past week than ever before in my life.  I find their website clear and easy to maneuver when comparing it with other online newspapers and journals. The NYTimes app for Blackberry is free only for the major headlines and stories. If you want the full app you have to subscribe and in return will have unlimited access to all of the NYTimes.

I would recommend this movie to anybody interested in modern day print media. I would also recommend this movie to anyone curious about the current state of mass media and globalization. I give this movie 3/5 stars.  

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Curry in a Hurry

I’ve been told before that curry is only good when it is cooked right. This I believe can be said about a lot of things especially when it comes to food. However the curry I made with Chef Shaun Ursall last week was not too bad to say the least. Curry is the sort of dish that requires little money and minimum preparation. Curry can also be cooked in bulk so you can have lots of leftovers to freeze for later on when you know you’ll be busy and looking for something to heat up after a long day. We were fortunate to have some of the ingredients already in our possession; however this should end up feeding about 10 hungry people costing no more than 4 dollars per dish. Here is a list of ingredients we chose for our curry, remember this is just a guideline and you should feel free to ad whatever you like.
Ingredients (makes approximately 6 litres)
1 Eggplant
1 Whole chicken (pre cooked, spiced with rosemary and dill)
1 Red and green pepper
10 Red potatoes
1 cup of peas
6 Roma tomatoes
3 Carrots
2 cups of mushrooms
1 Large Spanish onion
6 Cloves of garlic
1 L of chicken stock (use whatever you have ex vegetable or beef is fine)
1 can of Coconut milk
Dollop of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup of yellow curry powder
1 tablespoon of red curry paste
The Procedure (cooking time approx 1hour)
Start by chopping your vegetables into sizes that you feel comfortable eating. Most men I have noticed like large coarse chunks while women tend to enjoy smaller pieces. (Know who you’re cooking for). Once this is all done start taking the chicken apart for its meat, I suggest saving the bones and skin for chicken stock because it contributes so much flavor to other meals you will make in the future. Once all your prep is done start off by sautéing the onions and mushroom in a large sauce pan. Once these have started to brown it is now time to add other vegetables saving tomatoes, peas, carrots and peppers for last. Let this cook for approximately 10 minutes before you add your chicken stock, coconut milk, yellow curry, curry paste and chicken pieces. I should also add that mincing your garlic as fine as you can allows the garlic to become a part of the sauce and will add some serious flavor. Cook for another 10 minutes or so before adding the rest of your veggies; Add salt and pepper to taste and allow everything to cook together for another 10-15 minutes.
The nice thing about this recipe is that you can eat it like a soup and enjoy a baguette along with it or you can cook up some rice or pasta and use the curry as a sauce. It’s whatever you prefer. I hope you find this recipe useful and that you continue to experiment with recipes and cooking; it’s not only more economical but also an easy way to be a hit at a party or function

Friday, 16 September 2011

Teemu Salami just got Big City!

Many restaurants use social media in order to promote their business. Twitter is another medium of communication available for individuals as well as business’s and in many cases can be interconnected. Since I’m new to twitter and blogging I have decided to follow three specific Twitter accounts related to food which is the purpose of my blog. I am following Chef Alex who is head chef and owner of 7 ¼ Bistro located in south Osborne. Everytime I’ve been there I left extremely satisfied. Buccacino’s, I served there for over a year and they have contests and menu updates through Twitter. I am also following Winnipeg_Food on Twitter. I can’t exactly pinpoint what Winnipeg_Food is all about yet however I thought I would give it a shot because I’m learning the Twitter universe. I believe that it’s important for me to inform you that I was skeptical about joining Twitter at first, and let you know that now that I am on Twitter I’ve really had a change of heart and am appreciating all the neat people/things I can connect with.
On the topic of food I would like to inform my readers that I have BIG plans for this blog. I discussed with my friend Shaun Ursall last night about our agenda and it looks like we’re going to be serving up some tasty dishes. Here is a list of what you can expect from us in the future.
Canadian style pea soup
Pulled Pork
Spaghetti Sauce
I do want to add that we made a very nice curry dish last night and I will be posting pictures and blogging about that as soon as Shaun sends them to me. For those of you who aren’t aware of who Shaun Ursall is he was head chef and manager at Bonfire Bistro on Corydon in the River Heights area for the past 4 years and is an extremely talented chef. I am very thrilled to have Shaun on board and would like to give him a shout out for the good times and delicious eats.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Cooking With Shaun Ursall

Shaun Ursall, a local Winnipeg celebrity and a dear friend of mine decided that it would be a good idea to make five large lasagna’s. We decided Friday would be appropriate and that we would purchase our ingredients from a few bulk grocery distributors. Being a young man who enjoys eating delicious wholesome food this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.

The budget required to make five large lasagna’s was approximately fifty bucks each. The ingredients we went with were as follows

Eggplant, spinach, ground beef, ground pork, onion, garlic, fresh basil, tomato sauce, ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella cheese’s and pre-cooked lasagna pasta.

The fun thing about making lasagna’s is that it’s easy simple and affordable. You can use your creative intuition and switch up ingredients as you are basically just making layers of goodness. We experimented, and no two lasagna’s turned out the same. 

Making food in bulk is handy for busy individuals as it is using your time wisely as well as being economical for the poorer student. I now have enough lasagna to last me until the Jet’s home opener that I’m sure will be an occasion that will call for good food and drink.