Friday, February 4, 2011

Of Lassy Mogs and Mossy Bogs

As this is my 100th blog post it is a fitting time for one of a different order - a photo essay to illustrate and celebrate Canadian food. I do not write about Canadian food often, mostly because I cook from memories of past experiences. Canada is my present and I am still learning about the favorites here through reading and restaurants. These are a few Canadian dishes, desserts and quirks:

Hot Chicken. Tender cuts of chicken are sandwiched between soft white bread and topped with chicken gravy and green peas to create one of Quebec's comfort food classics. My version above is made with steamed turkey breast between toasted bread and a ladle full of turkey gravy to finish. I prefer to toast the bread as it stands up to the gravy better.

Poutine (pronounced POO-TIN) is the quintessential dish of Quebec. Fries covered in chicken gravy with melting cheese curds is the standard version, but there are entire menu boards devoted to serving poutine in all its incarnations.

There are varieties to suit every whim, including smoked meat, curry chicken, bacon, and foie gras to name just a few. My husband’s favorite is the Italian Poutine. This version consists of fries covered in a tomato-meat sauce with cheese curds. I can never resist stealing a few from his plate.

Smoked Meat. Montreal is famous for sandwiches containing smoked brisket piled high on rye bread, a splodge of yellow mustard and a dill pickle on the side. Schwartz's on St-Laurent is the most famous cash-only joint where the line is always out the door and the seating is communal - it's a tradition.


The Farmer's Plate. This is the Quebec version of a full English breakfast. This hearty brunch typically includes tourtière (ground pork and veal or beef folded in a flaky pastry crust), an omelette, baked beans, hash browns, ham, bacon, sausage, toast, cretons (a pork spread), tomato relish, fruit and a maple sugar spread. Wash it down with coffee and hard cider before a long walk through the apple orchard.

Buckwheat Galettes. Crepes made with buckwheat, called galettes, are usually reserved for savory fillings such as ham, vegetables and cheese. But another popular way to serve these for breakfast or dessert is with fancy molasses and butter. This is borrowed straight from the French and it is served in most breakfast restaurants in Quebec.

Bagged Milk. I had not seen this before moving to Canada. Milk is offered in cartons and small plastic jugs here as well but you will pay for the convenience. Many Canadians buy their milk in bags and fit it into a reusable plastic milk pitcher. The corner tip of the bag is snipped and the milk is poured from that end.

I use a clothes pin to secure our bag of milk due to contamination concerns, which may be a bit excessive. I will admit that I am not fully on board with the bagged milk idea. I can imagine the huge mess a child would make trying to pour from that contraption. Not to mention the time I got a lap full of milk when trying to retrieve one that had burst from the larger bag. But for now, it is less expensive and creates less bulky packaging waste.

Beaver Tails. These are flat ovals of fried dough that are gussied up with lemon and sugar, chocolate hazelnut spread and banana (shown here), maple butter or apples and cinnamon to name just a few of the available toppings. There was even a beaver tail created in honor of President Obama's visit to Canada. That pastry was made with cinnamon and sugar, chocolate sauce, maple butter and an "O" drawn with whipped cream.

Cider Doughnuts. Apple orchards are abundant in Quebec. Stands at the orchards sell these decadent, hot spheres of apple-flavored fried dough that have been rolled in cinnamon and sugar.

Lassy Mogs and Maple Creme Cookies. The maple cookie is simply made by sandwiching maple creme between two crunchy cookies. The Lassy Mog is a molasses cookie that originated along Canada’s Atlantic coast – that’s Nova Scotia to Newfoundland for all those geography lovers out there. The lassy mog is called as such because in the local dialect lassy means molasses and mogs are small cakes.

The maple cookie is very tasty, but the Lassy Mogs, made with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, currants (or raisins) and nuts (pecans or walnuts), evoke much more in my mind. For some reason when I see the words lassy mog, I think mossy bog because my head tends to wander somewhat. Which in turn leads to thoughts of gothic romances with their tales set on isolated foggy moors. So for me, this is the perfect cookie to eat in the depths of winter while cozied up by the fire with a cup of tea and a Brontë novel.

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  1. only thing worse than bagged milk is powdered milk. LOL

  2. Powdered milk is only good for nuclear disasters. At least bagged still tastes decent - you just have to work for it.