Girls Weekend in Wine Country

We never get invited to Girls weekend. I think the reason is obvious.  But when you are invited to cater dinner, you can get an inside track.  This would be a bit of a test of our abilities and flexibility, as there were a few twists and turns to be navigated.

The idea started, as many things do, at the dentist…  Shawn was asked if he would be interested in catering a meal for a girl’s weekend. We didn’t know how many people, but it would be less formal, with a good group of people and the place they had rented looked great.  The menu planning was coming along, but then came a few bumps…  One vegetarian, well that was not an issue, since there would still be lots for her to eat. Then we were informed of a few dislikes and altered the menu accordingly.  The big monkey wrench came just a few weeks before the event.  The owners of the house the girls had rented had been sold.  This left them scrambling to find a new spot, not only to eat, but to stay for the weekend.  They ended up finding a lovely spot, but we were going in without knowing what to expect. the house was practically brand new. would they have enough cookware, serving pieces, or even plates???  Much of our menu was slated for the barbecue and we could not confirm until the day before, if one existed.  We had to have a backup plan for almost everything.  How would it all workout?  Well we took everything that we might need, including borrowing some serving pieces from Steph, some nice disposable plates and cutlery, and some of our own pots and pans. read more

A dinner(s) for Charity

Some time ago, we had auctioned our Monday Night Dining crew, to help raise Monday for our performance of Elgar’s The Apostles, by offering a 3 course dinner for up to 6 people, prepared and served in your own home.  The bidding went so well, we decided to offer 2 meals.  It turns out both of the winners were buying the dinner to celebrate their wives birthdays, so I think cake is in order.

Our first dinner was for Tom and Anne, whose house we have been to on a few occasions. This did take a little pressure off, since we had a good idea of the layout, and the fact that they have a primo stove. After setting out a menu and prepping as much as we could ahead of time, we arrived early to set up and prep. Turns out we were so well prepared, that we had time to join our hosts for a cocktail, before the last guests arrived.  After the guests had assembled and had a chance to decompress, they gathered around the table to enjoy a butternut squash tortellini, with sage and brown butter. read more

A trip to St Lawrence Market

Inspiration for menus come from different places.  At times we have a dish that we want to try and then match up other courses to go with it.  Sometimes the weather just puts us in a mood, for comfort food, or a particular cuisine. At times it is a challenge that we are given, often by dislikes or allergies.  This week we were inspired by 3 things….  good ingredients, comfort food, and a lot of leftovers.

We have a couple of important dinners coming up and are planning the menus, so we took a trip to the St Lawrence Market, to source some of the ingredients. When passing one of our favorite butchers, Shawn asked “did you see that nice rack?”  For once we were thinking the same thing.  Beautiful Ontario lamb (I know what you were thinking).  That lead us to other areas of the market to pickup fresh produce and of course a snack. I can’t wait to come back when more of the local produce is ready. read more

We need how many Chickens?

When people ask “What did you do this weekend?” the answers do change, but usually it involves some cooking.  Whether prepping for Monday, trying out a new dish, or cuisine, or just getting food in the fridge and freezer, for the weeks ahead,  there is always cooking.  This weekend was no exception, and one of the things we made (see above), just happens to be the appetizer for this week’s Monday Night Dining experience. So with our trio and guest Trish, we enjoyed Veal tortellini with a fried sage and butter sauce. read more

A Bon Voyage

This week marks the last week that our friend Luke will be able to join us for Monday Night Dining, at least for quite some time.  He will be heading state side, and then back to Australia, to start a new chapter in his life.  He has already had a few farewell get togethers, but we wanted to send him off in Monday Night Dining style.

We started out with a Seared scallop, with beurre blanc, hot sauce and tomato salsa.

Shawn is really becoming an expert at getting the scallops just right, and even without filling the apartment with smoke. The sauce on this one was so good, that I had to get out spoons, so we could get every drop. read more

A quiet Monday Night

We recently had a penumbral lunar eclipse…  This means 2 things… First of all werewolves… Now I have nothing against werewolves, if they are well behaved, but the fur…  Second is everyone seems to go bat crap crazy!!!  With our trio all dealing with people on a day to day basis, we needed a quiet evening. So our trio gathered with Luke, for what turned out to be a great meal that we should have invited guests to…  but no werewolves, Enzo hates werewolves.

We have been working on a recipe, for the past while, to tweak it just right.  I think it really works well now, so we served the new and improved Twice baked goat cheese souffles. read more

Post Gala confab

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Finally the secret is out.  For the past couple of months I have had to keep quiet about the décor for the annual Pax Christi fundraiser. Now I can finally show you what we have been up to, in the slide show above. I think the evening was lovely. Our musical guests, The York Jazz Trio, and Meredith Hall, accompanied by Bernard Farley, helped make the night a success.  We are truly blessed to call Meredith and Bernard friends. So engaging, warm and uplifting. If you missed this event, or especially if you were there, you need to hear her, and me, and a hundred or so other singers, and orchestra in Elgar’s “The Apostles.”  You knew I would add a shameless plug. read more

Il cane si trova sul tetto

Our friend Virginia has given us a challenge this week, as she is on a one month vegetarian cleanse. Then again, we have done veggie meals before, so maybe it’s not too challenging. The bigger challenge is where to put all of the décor items for the Pax fundraiser, that have taken over the dining room…. So Virginia joined our trio and Luke for a hearty Italian meal.

Soups are a great starter, when things are busy, because they can be made ahead, and with wintry weather, all the better. This Monday we had a hearty winter minestrone. read more

good ‘ol southern cooking

Lately we have been trying out some Southern dishes, just to try our hand at the cuisine, including an early creole Christmas dinner.  The most important thing I have learned is that when cooking blackened catfish, they mean it when they say to cook outside and DON’T breath in the smoke. This week we thought, why not bring some creole to Monday Night Dining??  Our trio gathered with Luke and Lindsay, for the tastes of the south.

We started the evening with Louisiana crab cakes with piquante butter sauce and pickled okra/sweet pepper relish. read more

Up Up and Away…

Now that all of the hub bub of the holidays is over, we can resume Monday Night Dining. This week also marks our return to rehearsals, as we start to learn Elgar’s – The Apostles. We are about to head up up and away, on a new musical journey, and this one is gonna be HUGE!  For me it’s always exciting, and a bit scary starting a new work, but I have the rest of the choir and Steph to help me.

Since it is our first week back, we decided to take it easy, with an Italian meal and just our trio and Luke. Once we were all gathered and had a moment to catch up, we started our meal with Duck confit ravioli, with thyme velouté. read more

Join us in our adventures through cooking and sharing with friends!