Victoria Day is the distinctly Canadian holiday that officially wraps up winter. Even if the date marks the informal start of summer, you could be planning for a backyard barbecue or an impromptu indoor shut-in due to an array of snow, sleet, rain or hail.
Although we are well into the 21st century, in Canada we still celebrate Queen Victoria’s birthday over 100 years after her passing. The only other country in the Commonwealth to observe this celebration is Scotland. This is our oldest statuary holiday in Canada and is celebrated annually on the Monday preceding May 25th. In the maritime provinces it is a non-statuary ‘general’ holiday and in Quebec, ‘National Patriots Day’ is observed instead.
While we might hang onto the British queen’s name for old times sake, the tradition of Victoria Day is truly Canadian and has everything to do with the end of the cold weather and short days, and a lot to do with some great food.
My choice of food for today’s blog should work well with your own ‘barbecue’ meal. It is APPLE-TURKEY SAUSAGE ROLLS and STUFFED POTATO SKINS.
In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, saute apple, onion, sage, thyme & allspice in olive oil for 5 minutes. Apples & onions should be soft but not browned. Remove from heat & set aside to cool for 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine cooled apple mixture with ground turkey, salt & pepper. Using your hands, gently mix until everything is evenly combined, making sure not to overwork the mixture.
Unroll the puff pastry sheet onto a lightly floured work surface, cut crosswise to make three long, strips ((about 10 x 3.5" each) Brush a line of mustard down the middle of each strip. Divide filling into 3 equal portions. Roll into sausage shapes & place down the middle of each pastry rectangle. Brush edges firmly to seal.
Preheat oven to 400 F. Arrange the rolls, seam side down, on prepared baking sheet. Brush with remaining beaten egg, & sprinkle with poppy seeds. Cover with plastic wrap & place in the freezer to firm up, about 15 minutes.
Using a very sharp knife, cut each roll into 8 bite-sized pieces & arrange 1" apart on baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown & sausage is cooked through.
Stuffed Potato Skins
Microwave potatoes, uncovered, on high for 14-17 minutes or until tender but firm, turning once. Let stand for 5 minutes. Cut each potato in half lengthwise. Scoop out pulp, leaving a 1/4" shell ( pulp can be used elsewhere).
Combine oil & hot pepper sauce; brush over potato shells. Cut each potato shell in half lengthwise again. Place on baking sheets coated with baking spray. Sprinkle with the tomato, bacon, onion & cheese. Bake at 450 F. for 12-14 minutes or until heated through & cheese is melted. Serve with sour cream.
A day when ‘love is in the air’ — roses to be purchased, chocolates and valentine cards to be shared and dining over that special, very intimate supper meal. If only our world would focus more on this emotion all year around instead of just for one day. As I get older, the idea of cherishing each day and the people you care about the most has become so important.
Today is also important to me as it is now one year since I started publishing my blog. With the help of my husband Brion, we have posted 85 blog articles. These stories and recipes are being shared on Facebook and pinterest as well as our website. I have enjoyed the wonderful feedback I’m getting from many different countries as well as friends and family here at home. Thanks to all of you who have followed my blog and I hope you will continue to find it interesting.
Brion and I share a love of seafood so my Valentine supper is Mushroom Stuffed Shrimp. This meal lends itself to being an appetizer as well as a main course dish. Not a lot of fuss and muss, just a nice little elegant meal for the two of you to enjoy.
Peel & de-vein shrimp, leaving tails on. Butterfly each shrimp along the outside curve. In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, honey, water, ginger & garlic powder. Add raw shrimp & marinate for at least 30 minutes.
In a small bowl, dissolve bouillon in hot water. Stir in remaining stuffing ingredients. When marinated, remove shrimp from marinate & open shrimp flat & place with tails up in a buttered 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of stuffing onto each shrimp.
Bake at 375 F. for 5-8 minutes or until shrimp turns pink. Serve over rice as a main course.
After spending about 35 years in the food industry, I decided it was time for a change. Being a farmer’s daughter I naturally gravitated to the plant industry. Over the next 12 years this ‘little’ career change that all started with so few expectations became a very special journey in my life. The company I went to work for was one of a kind, taking garden center shopping to a whole new level.
Throughout the season, various events were hosted at this beautiful property. Some were for the public and others, just for staff. In the early years when the company was still quite small, our Christmas event started out as a small wine & cheese parties. The owner, with his passion for good food, would prepare some fabulous ‘terrines’ for us. They would be served with some great breads, French cheese and wine. As the years passed, spouses and guests were also invited, making it even nicer. Since my life’s work had been in the food industry, I was given the opportunity to give input into the food for the events.
Each year I enjoyed to try to make our Christmas event just a bit better than the last. These were ‘stand up’ events held at garden center. The menu now had shifted to hot and cold hors d’oeuvres’, desserts with hot mulled cider to drink. The ambiance was wonderful with all the beautiful Christmas store decor as the back drop to the food buffet. It was such a privilege to be a part of it all.
As the end of the year is fast approaching, many of you will be hosting New Years Eve parties. I thought it would be a great time to post a menu I had made for the garden center one year. Possibly it will be of some help with your plans.
In 2014, I had published my first recipe/memorabilia cookbook as a tribute to the years I had spent with this company. Any of you who have a copy will find all the recipes for the ‘menu’ being posted in it. Otherwise just email me and I’ll be glad to send them to you.
Make a lengthwise slit in each date & remove seed. Stuff each date with 1/2 tsp Gorgonzola cheese & one whole almond. Gently squeeze to close dates. Refrigerate until serving time.
In 2009, before Egypt was in such disarray, we visited this very unique country. Dates being a staple food there, Brion and I developed a real taste for them. Of course, when you add a little cheese and nuts, what's not to like?