Turkey day done

That's it, Thanksgiving done - at least here in Canada. We have it early enough to get in one last long weekend before the snow flies. Or at least until it stays on the ground. Apparently our Parliament  proclaimed it in January of 1957 as

A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed … to be observed on the 2nd Monday in October.

Before then it was November 6th, but still presumably with most of the credit to a supernatural - or maybe supranatural -  being. Last weekend my thanks focused on Loblaws, Visa, and The Beer Store. Oh, and Al Gore for the Internet.

I had my son and daughter-in-law and my grandson over for a different turkey this year. No, not a 32lb 4-legged one - I didn't have the crowd of 14 my brother did. This year I tried a prestuffed bird, injected with butter palm oil. No thawing and cleaning, no mixing up of stuffing mix, no decorative stitching needed to hold the bird together. Turkey just goes in frozen, bit of foil on top, cook at 325F all day, baste occasionally. It was very juicy and tender, and the stuffing was fine. I also did some garlic/cheddar mashed potatoes the day before, and some acorn squash nuked whole then halved and finished in the oven with butter and maple syrup. Gravy base was made ahead of time too, just finished it up with brown goo from the pan.

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I also discovered my grandson was quick to appreciate that pumpkin pie and whipped cream don't need to be together - whipped cream is more fun when it whooshes from the aerosol can right into your mouth. Was a bit of a rush for him, I can hardly wait until grandma(s) see it. Glad to be able to pass on a tradition.


The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

I've had some ups and downs lately, but that's probably the norm for most of us, what's important is to look for the balance in life. Are you a pessimist or an optimist, do you see the glass half full, or half empty, or do you just wonder if there's another cold beer left in the fridge?

Went downtown for Canada Day with a friend, we wanted to grab a beer and people watch in the market, and ended up at Stella Osteria. I was wondering what the heck an osteria was, this site says:

In Italy, restaurants are identified either as a ristorante, trattoria or osteria. Today, the names don’t carry the hierarchal meanings they once did, but back in the day they acted as a classification system. If the restaurant was called a ristorante, for example, you could expect a formal dining experience—a wine list, white table cloths and, of course, a price tag to match. A trattoria was more casual, but it did serve full, hearty meals. And an osteria was the least formal of the three—it was more of a gathering place that served wine and maybe some basic food.

What actually happens is that many places use the osteria label to imply rustic fare, therefore hearty and good, but then charge ristorante prices. Stella has done this, complete with the white table cloths and an extensive wine list. I've snacked there, and it was nice, but never had a full meal. So I won't pan them yet.

I was going to pan the $7/pint prices for a plastic glass of draft, but the cheaper prices at the Heart &Crown just up Clarence meant a long line waiting to get in there. We, on the other hand, got to sit on the patio in front and watch all the peculiar people go by. Almost like Halloween, in that it a chance for people to dress up and act a little on the wild side (after all, this is Ottawa). Tank tops, shorts that show some butt, and outlandish shoes were common - on men and women.

We then walked over to the Quebec side - with a detour to a depanneur for munchies and refreshments - then joined the party at a friends boat at the Hull Marina. It's just across the river from the fireworks launch site, so is an excellent vantage point. All good, no bad to think of. Even got a ride home, thus saving a crowded bus ride.

Continue reading "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" »


More McFats

Just in case that McDonalds tray is feeling a little light, you will soon be able to add a fancy coffee to it- whipped up by a barista. This is a trial in Rochester (USA) but is expected to expand further in 2009. The article also warns of price increases, due to a predicted shortages of beans. Supposedly prices at the producer level are not high enough, so there hasn't been much expansion. If you're interested, here's some more info on trading the coffee market.


Moose Milk

I went to a party a few weeks ago (Dec/05), where they served Moose Milk. Scuttlebutt there was that the potent drink was originally a Canadian military (Navy?) tradition, but it is a drink suitable for just about any winter party - military or civilian. Of course each branch of the services claims to have the original and best recipe for moose milk - Navy especially. I asked an RCMP friend if they made it at their own parties, she said they usually just checked online via  CSIS for the location of the nearest military mess serving it and went over and drank theirs. Her own at home recipe for it is just ice cream and rum.

Here's my Canadian recipe for Moose Milk - metric of course:

  • 1 l rum
  • 1 l Kahlua
  • 1 l vodka
  • 3 l vanilla ice cream (softened)
  • 3 l 2% milk (just to be diet conscious)
  • chocolate pieces (break up a dark chocolate candy bar or two- this is the added secret moose poop garnish)
  • nutmeg

Stir together, leave in some lumps. Sprinkle nutmeg on top.

You may need to play with the proportions to suit your palate, less kick with less vodka obviously. Dark rum adds more flavour too. This recipe does make a lot, but that usually doesn't seem to be a problem, somehow it gets used up. It can leave you with a bit of a hangover, probably all that milk. Or maybe it's from heading out for spicy food after - been there, done that.

I did find a blender recipe for the solitary drinker - the single moose:

  • 1 oz. Dark rum
  • 1 oz. White rum
  • 0.5 oz. Kahlua
  • 2 scoops Ice cream
  • nutmeg

Blend just until smooth, sprinkle with nutmeg. Repeat as needed, but I'm betting that before you know it you'll have friends over encouraging you to fill the blender to the top and then you start looking for that old punch bowl. For either of these recipes, don't drink near an open flame, and be careful when standing up suddenly. This tastes best on a cold winter's day, but also works in warmer climes, to help Canadians brag about how cold it is back home.

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Edit Dec/09 - amazing how many hits this gets every Christmas - hopefully some of my readers will click on a couple of the Google ads to make me some pennies.

On a related note - some of my readers , if you've visited Toronto, may have noticed Moose statues around the city - they are left over from the Labatt's Blue sponsored Moose in the City back in 2000. There were originally over 300 life-sized statues, decorated by local artists and then auctioned off.

I've also added a link to the Wiki article for Moose Milk, it mainly refers to real milk from a moose - not necessary for these recipes. Do not head out after the punch bowl is empty to find the local zoo, real moose do not appreciate sudden surprises - like cold hands fumbling underneath. The article does clarify:

Canadian Air Force Messes traditionally serve "Moose Milk" at their New Year's Levees. This alcoholic concoction contains no moose milk whatsoever. The recipes vary, but tend to include eggs, sugar, maple syrup, cream, or ice cream, and some combination of rye whiskey and rum.

I don't know if it's served overseas, but judging by the amount of booze in it hopefuly not in an area with loaded guns.  

I remember we tried a variation of this one year with egg nog and brandy and whipping cream, "Uncle" Ted (ex RCAF?) made it for the family on Christmas Eve, it went down very smoothly. We never did make it to Midnight Mass. Good thing.

Half the fun is in exploring different ways to make this, so here's a link to some other moose milk recipe's to try. Let me know which ones you like - as long as the keyboard doesn't look too blurry to type. This video shows how to make a variation - with no measurements. He just adds some of this and some of that. A Canadian Army forum has a similar recipe - seems rum, ice cream, and some creamy liqueurs are the common brew to these. Some use beaten egg yokes, but if you want that variation it's easier to just add a quart of egg nog. And more rum to dilute the added nog. Happy experimenting, and don't forget to support me so that I can buy more rum!

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That's it for now - have to get going on cleaning/decorating. Kids are over tomorrow night to open stockings (the best part of Christmas) and share in the Moose Milk. I'll be using Soy Milk in my daughter's portions. Yuck!

If I don't get back on here before then - best wishes for the holidays to all. I'm off to TO for a few days after Christmas. 

If you're sitting around bored with nothing to do you could watch Rudolf and Frosty duke it out. You could also search out your local Food Bank to lend a hand sorting donations, or help out at a local group that's serving free Christmas dinners.

 

December 2011 - must be close to Christmas, as traffic is spiking here - almost all to Moose Milk. Kids will be over early again, just finished NaNoWriMo, so need to get rolling on my list - update here.

December 2012 - annual traffic spike. As before, NaNoWriMo done, kids over tomorrow, our presents are a food exchange. Mine is Tourtiere

December 2013 - more traffic. Did I mention I have published a novel?