Wednesday, December 17, 2008

French Memories of home

Sorry.. I have missed a couple of Monday memory days this month. I had no idea I would have to have not one but two major surgeries in the last 3 weeks. As I have been very slowly getting some things done for Christmas I pulled out my maternal grandmother's recipe book that my mom passed on to me and it made me smile. I have to admit I have been extremely stressed this past month has been almost more then I could handle most days.. what do you mean I have to not move... are you kidding me????

Anyway as I was reading her book late last night, this poor book that is paper thin, so yellowed out it's brown and the writings very faded in a lot of spots, I had a lot of smiles. A lot of memories. But 2 more then the others. One of the recipes is called "Tire De La Neige" where you take pure maple syrup (our family from Quebec always sent gallons down to us) and boil the heck out of it Then you take it by the spoonfuls and drizzle it over snow. Now that is just a recipe.

What the memory was when our cousins would come in from out of town for Christmas and we would be at our grandparents farm, or we would be over visiting on Sundays in December and their neighbors which happened to be my Dad's first cousins (small town what can I say) and we would have fresh snow, my Pepere would ask who wanted some Tire Du Neige? Of course my grandmother would sternly say "Bert (short for Albert) stop making them scream!".. but he would just grin and do it again... hmmm wonder where the males in my family now got that from????? We would get all dressed up and head out the door with my grandmother's steel wash tub. Our job was to fill it as high as we could with dire warnings not go get any yellow snow.

My grandmother would be boiling the syrup while we were doing that and usually the men would then come and get the tub from us to bring in. As we would be getting undressed, my grandmother would ladle this syrup right on the snow. It had to cool on the snow for a few minutes then we would be perched on chairs, benches, on the table for the youngest ones with our spoons in hand and when Memere would say ok it has cooled enough we would twirl our spoons around and around till it lifted off the snow kind of like you roll spagetti with your spoon. Then we would eat it.. oh mannnn you can not ever explain that taste.. ever.. sheer heaven... Then the mothers would start in telling us not to eat too much.. but the boys always did and always would throw up from all that sugar.. sigh .. life was so much simpler in those days.

Anyway here is the recipe as written by my grandmother

Tire d'érable sur la neige
Pour faire une tire d'érable sur la neige, rien de plus simple: prendre une boîte de sirop d'érable et la faire bouillir jusqu'à ce que votre thermomètre à bonbons soit à 230F. Ne pas brasser et surtout, prendre un grand chaudron car le liquide à tendance à prendre de l'expansion. Verser ensuite sur la neige.

Next memory of Christmas has to be the homemade tourtiere!! Now nothing says French Canadien like Tourtieres.. Even if you are too young to read a calendar to count days you know Christmas is getting close because of the smells of the pies baking.. We always had these Christmas Even supper while my mom would be running around getting things done at the last minute. She knew we would be having a huge turkey dinner at 2 am so it was no big deal to have just this for dinner but oh man.. again.. this dish just to me means Christmas. You can't have Christmas without it ever.. I have been wracking my brain trying to figure out how I am going to make them without rolling out dough which is a no no with non existing chest muscles at the moment but figured it out last night. Going to use our son Kim's version that he made last year when we were there for Christmas.. he used tart shells.. perfect.. then I just have to get a couple out at a time instead of one whole pie.. This is going to be this weekend's project when Keith is home so he can bend to get the pans in and out of the oven.. I am so happy !!

And the bonus part??? It's snowing!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHOOOHOOOOOO

Here is the recipe for the pie... I will put the translation following for those of you readers who aren't bilingual.

Tourtieres de Porc

1 c.à soupe (15 g) de beurre
1 oignon, haché finement
1 gousse d'ail, hachée finement
1 lbs (450 g) de Porc haché maigre
1/2 c.à thé (2 g) de sarriette
1/4 c.à thé (1 g) de clou de girofle moulu
1/4 c.à thé (1 g) de cannelle moulue
1/2 tasse (125 ml) de bouillon ou eau
Sel et poivre frais moulu, au goût
2 abaisses de pâte brisée
1 jaune d'oeuf, battu, pour badigeonner

Préchauffer le four à 350°F (180°C).

Dans une casserole, faire fondre le beurre et faire sauter l'oignon et l'ail pendant 3 minutes.

Ajouter le porc et faire sauter 5 minutes.

Incorporer la sarriette, le clou de girofle, la cannelle et le bouillon (ou l'eau); couvrir et laisser mijoter à feu doux pendant environ 30 minutes. Assaisonner de sel et de poivre au goût et réserver.

Foncer une assiette à tarte de 23 cm (9 po) d'une abaisse, puis garnir de la préparation de viande. Recouvrir de la deuxième abaisse et faire des petites incisions sur le dessus pour permettre à la vapeur de s'échapper.

Badigeonner de jaune d'œuf. Faire cuire au four pendant 30 minutes ou jusqu'à ce que la croûte soit dorée.

English version

1 TBSP(15 g) of butter
1 onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1 lbs (450g) of lean minced Pork
1/2 tsp(2 g) of savory
1/4 tsp(1 g) of ground clove
1/4 tsp (1 g) of ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (125 ml) of boiling broth or water
Salt and fresh ground pepper, to the taste
pie dough to form a 2 shell pie crust
1 egg yolk for whitewash

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
In a saucepan, let the butter melt and cook the onion and the garlic for 3 minutes.
Add the pork and let cook 5 minutes
Add the savory, the clove, the cinnamon and the broth (or water); cover and leave to simmer to medium low about 30 minutes. Season salt and of pepper to the taste and let completely cool (Years of experience lets me know that if you put the meat in the crust when it is hot the ough will remain soggy in the middle.)
Prepare your crusts. Cover with the second one Make sure you put vents in the top crust for steam to escape
Whitewash of beaten egg yolk only Bake for 30-40 minutes till crust is golden brown and your mouth is salivating hehehe

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Christmas Memory

I was getting the house started to decorate although I don't know why everything has to be stored so high up.. this year I can barely lift anything let alone lift things off of cupboards and shelves. But I came across our Santa pictures. A few years ago when I was sorting through pictures I noticed that when Keith and I were both single with our kids we had gone to the same Santa within minutes of each other, How ironic that of all the malls in the city we pick the same one. Fate and chemistry was hard at work :) Enjoy the pictures down our memory walk to Christmas Past :)

2 separate pictures of Santa with the kids

Darien, Latitia, Regan, Senthia Britnee Sinead

Senthia, Darien, Latitia, Santa, Brtinee, Dallas Uncle Doug

Me:) Telling Santa I wanted to have a whole lot less bumm that year and he came through WHOOHOO!!

Nana and Papa with Senthia Britnee Latitia and Terry

Nana and Papa with Senthia Terry and Britnee

our Stockings

1st Christmas together after being sealed as a family in the temple for all time and eternity!!!