To Go!

DISCLAIMER: What follows is a rant, that, while very much applicable to Corner Brookers, may be construed as a digression from the task at hand –namely, food. Please scroll down for less volatile, and more savory, content.

Folks, I don’t know about you, but I feel especially cornered in Corner Brook when I try to book flights with Air Canada outta here. Sadly, West Jet, with all their seat-sales, teal uniforms and in-flight goofiness, only flies in and out of the Deer Lake Airport from mid-May to October, leaving most Corner Brookers with the only other option of Air Canada (and Provincial Airlines if you’re flying locally and their seats haven’t already sold out).

Naturally, Air Canada charges premium rates for their flights because of this market share, and lately they seem to charge for a whole lotta other stuff too (a 2nd checked bag, meals, seat-selection, even Aeroplan points for some reservations).

With all the aggravation it takes to get off this island, I like to travel as unencumbered as possible. And I also like the option of eating something on a 6:15 a.m. flight without having to pay $15 for a questionable, 3-day old sandwich.

That is why I created the perfect travel companion: Empanadas. They are compact, easy to carry, and they keep well (my fellow polite passengers out there will heave a sigh of relief when I tell you that these empanadas are also inoffensive, so you don’t have to worry about smelling like the guy with the pastrami sandwich in row 20).

They’re also simple to make, so no hassle at home before your flight. Simply bring to a boil:

1 1/2 cup of water

2 Tablespoons of Unsalted butter

A pinch of Smoked Paprika

Pour the liquid into a bowl and let it cool, then add 3 1/2 cups of All-Purpose or Whole Wheat flour. Using a wooden spoon, work the mixture into a ball, then turn it onto a floured surface and knead it for about 2 minutes. Return the ball to the bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour or over night.

Then it comes time to use your imagination. My favorite way to fill empanadas is, while not exactly traditional, delectably vegetarian. I sauté shallots in a little olive oil, add mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms brown and soften. After removing the mushrooms from the heat, I stir in some goat cheese, and sprinkle the mixture with thyme and salt & pepper.

Next, it’s time to roll out the pastry and cut it into circles using a biscuit cutter (or large mug, in my limited kitchen).

Drop one tablespoon of filling onto each circle, wet the perimeter of the pastry with a few dabs of water, and fold the circle over to make a half-moon shape, pinching the edges as you go. Brush with a bit of egg for a glossy finish.

Bake the empanadas at 350° for 1/2 hour, or until golden.

The sky is truly the limit when it comes to filling the empanadas. Just remember to steer clear of potential flight faux-pas: avoid smelly deli meats and cheeses, and  forgo liquid fillings (like pizza sauce or chili) that have the potential for a mess no one wants to experience at high altitudes.

And while I cannot guarantee you’ll have a hassle free flight, you’ll be able to comfort yourself with comfort food, even at 30, 000 feet. Bon Vogyage!

Coffee with a View

Many Corner Brookers, if they’re honest with themselves, can imagine great things for their city. Corner Brookers are not unique in this — after all, don’t people wherever they are want to improve the places they inhabit?

That’s why it was refreshing to visit Corner Brook’s Harbour Grounds café today.

Coffee with a View

Perhaps it was the sunshine (3 sunny days out of 7? We should be so lucky!)

The Last Icicles Cling

Or the delicious latte and cheesecake brownie I enjoyed:

Cheesecake + Brownie = Heaven

Perhaps it was the view of the snowy hills and the bay:

Looking West

Perhaps it was all three that got me imagining the possibilities that Corner Brook’s waterfront offers.

Immediately I imagined something like this:

Navy Pier, Chicago

Instead of this:

Highway Obstruction

And I imagined something like this:

Arts and Science Museum Singapore

Instead of this:

Can't Escape this View

And perhaps even this:

Prince of Wales Hotel, Niagara-on-the-Lake

Instead of this:

Hotel Corner Brook

And maybe even a restaurant like this:

Murphy's Restaurant, Halifax

Instead of this:

Lucky Star (I hear the food's good)

I have a big imagination, I know. And while such grand schemes take enormous efforts to materialize (and never simply one imagination alone), I am thankful in the meantime for the efforts of places like Harbour Grounds for imagining, in place of an old taxi stand, delicious coffee with a view.


A Greater Outlook

How do you imagine Corner Brook?